RPG-a-Day, Week 2, Days 8-14

So, between travel, sickness, and extra work, I didn’t follow along in real time. I don’t actually have a lot of good answers though… so I’ll write down the questions and see if the answers come. Otherwise, blanks may persist.

8. What is a good RPG to play for sessions of 2-hours or less?
This one’s tricky; I don’t know that I have a good game at hand. Honestly, under 2-hours is a great length for so many board games that I’d lean that way. It’d also work great for creating a good PBeM post–as a player, at least!

9. What is a good RPG to play for about 10 sessions? Each of Bryan’s Star Wars Saga games worked well at this length, though the lower level game was slightly better from a game structure POV. I’d enjoy trying out a 9 session season of Primetime Adventures; I’ve only played 5 session seasons, and never 2 successive seasons (which would be its own perfect 10 session game).

10. Where do you go for RPG reviews?
Google often takes me to RPG.net, though less than it used to. I loved Shannon Appelcline’s reviews.

11. Which dead game would you like to see reborn?
There are a lot of 80s games that I loved, but not their system. If we get to assume significant modernization, Mechwarrior would be great. (Though I don’t know how you solve the fact that most of the combat fun occurs in a related system–Battletech, rather than Mechwarrior. I was vaguely interested in Mechaton back in the day, largely because the two halves, pilots and mechs, seemed more cohesive. And it wasn’t Rifts, which had its own way of merging the two…)

12. Which RPG has the best interior art?
You know how bad I said I felt last week about cover art? I pay even less attention to interior art. I mean, not in the moment–I do notice it when I first read the book, and it can be good for illustrating the world and setting. And I’m a sucker for maps. But art usually feels like it’s in the way when I’m looking up a rule, or flipping through character creation–I can’t really picture interior art when thinking about the games on my shelf.

13. Describe a game experience that changed how you play.
Nothing strong (with the exception of the answer to #7) comes to mind, though lots of little examples crop up. The disastrous Amber game where Pat and I made characters who got assigned a mission, got trounced by Shadow opposition, had to run home and cry for help (particularly in the form of a GMPC…) multiple times… that was bad. Ender Peskins, on the other hand, was a great example of how a “zany” character could work, instead of just being a showboating annoyance. Or Dad’s session of running a Xanth RPG off the cuff for my friends and I in high school… where the numbers faded to the background, until a cry of “you’re just a storyteller” burbled up from Scott Miller. (Such a cutting insult… or not.)

14. Which RPG do you prefer for open ended campaign play?
I don’t think I’ve really played in an open ended campaign in a long while–at least, not a campaign that really stands out as qualitatively different than a 10 session campaign.

Playing, long campaigns have almost always been D&D. It does a good job of having enough lures to keep it interesting–or to keep me grasping for power–as we level up. Dad’s Dragon’s Talons campaign to level 15 was one of the longest games I’ve played. As ever, the system got creaky as we got into double digits–but there was enough cool stuff to lust after that it didn’t feel like it was level 3 with bigger numbers. (Of course, his efforts in making the world feel detailed and rewarding deeper engagement helped a lot with that too.)

As a GM, I loved the Storyteller system, particularly Mage, for open ended play. It didn’t bog down quite as quickly as D&D (for prep, etc.) These days, though, I kind of crave defined endings and the idea of a character seeing a story through. I suppose, given the challenges of coordinating adult schedules, it comes down to not believing that long consistent games are really an option. Particularly not with the lesser prep that I strongly prefer…