Another week, another set of seven #RPGaDay posts to catch up with, this time live from GenCon! Let’s see what we’ve got…
- Favourite Character. It would have to be Doctor Mannfred Gotterich, German Jewish archaeologist, fleeing a newly fascist Germany to investigate mythos atrocities in my friend’s Trail of Cthulhu game two years ago. Part combat medic, part explorer, part lead investigator, Mannfred’s strange blend of scepticism and sentimentality was an absolute delight to play through. The campaign was one of the best I’ve ever played, and a big chunk of that was seeing through the whole length of Mannfred’s character arc: starting as stable leader of the group’s murder investigation, gradually projecting more and more of the murder victim’s experiences onto himself, eventually undergoing a severe breakdown when the full spectre of the mythos’ horror was unveiled at the campaign’s conclusion. I enjoyed playing Mannfred so much that he remains the ONLY character I’ve played in more than one campaign – I’m currently involved in the sequel to the last Trail of Cthulhu game, and Mannfred continues to stagger through that too in shell-shocked incomprehension. What a man.
- Favourite Die/Dice Set. Let’s give this to The One Ring. When Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay brought out its third edition, the game was criticised by many for its use of custom dice. I didn’t really understand the objection then, and I don’t understand it now – the symbols on the dice are quite intuitive to read and understand (unless the exception is monetary cost, in which case I agree). The One Ring’s genius is in creating something similar, with custom dice that reveal multiple bits of information on a single roll, but ALSO something that more reluctant players can accomplish with a normal set of D12s and D6s if they don’t want to buy the new set. The One Ring also gets bonus points for its prominent use of D12s in its basic action resolution mechanic. Love that die.
- Favourite tie-in Novel/Game Fiction. Hmm, I’m not really into this side of the hobby. I’m going to cheat and allow Black Library novels, the fiction for Games Workshop’s Warhammer and 40K lines, since it’s the closest I can get away with. I’m a fan of the Horus Heresy series, or at least I was when I was still up-to-date, and anything Dan Abnett is sure to be a good read, particularly for Eisenhorn or Ravenor. But let’s go with Simon Spurrier’s “Lord of the Night”. Dark, scary, characterful, and leaking with that 40K universe goodness that I love so much. Getting to see the same events from two wildly different starting points is very entertaining, and the connection to the Horus Heresy is a bonus. Good story.
- Weirdest RPG Owned. So it’s “owned”, not “played” or even “read”, so the answer is probably some bizarre high concept indie RPG that I picked up in a Bundle of Holding and haven’t read since. Digging into my folder structure I’ve found octaNe: premium uNleaded which bills itself as “The psychotronic game of post-modern trash-culture America” which “blends high adventure, sci-fi weirdness, and a rock’n’roll attitude to create one of the strangest RPGs in existence.” That’ll do right? I dunno, I have a high tolerance for gaming weirdness.
- Oldest RPG you still play/read. Glancing across my shelf, it would seem to be New World of Darkness, which aptly exposes the absurdity that we still call this “New” (it came out ten years ago!). I know that’s not very old, but what do you want from me, I’m a new generation gamer. If there was any justice, we’d be renaming The God Machine Chronicle to “New World of Darkness”, the old New World of Darkness to Old World of Darkness (keep up), and forgetting about Old World of Darkness entirely. Then again, if there was any justice then The God Machine Chronicle would just be “WoD 3rd ed rulebook”, and since that’s never going to happen, maybe my standards are too high for this ultimately flawed existence.
- Most Memorable Character Death. I have a story that’s not about one of my characters, but I ran the game that it was in, so I’m going to count it. Two years ago I ran (another) Warhammer 40K game, a three-parter in which the players were Ork Boyz. The death toll was… high. Whilst one player set the bar high by riding a psychic nuke into a planet, another decided to go one step further by CRASHING A FLAMING MOTORCYCLE INTO SPACE. Don’t think I’m likely to top this one anytime soon.
- Best Convention Purchase. …okay, confession time. I’m not writing this from GenCon: I’m writing this from the plane on the way to GenCon, to post later in the week. Which means I can’t really judge what my Best Convention Purchase is, because it might be something I purchase the day after tomorrow! In the meantime, let’s go with the jug of dice that I got from Dragonmeet 2012, because it got me all the dice I’m ever likely to need for the rest of my roleplaying career at a very reasonable price. Not that interesting a pick, maybe, but I’m just setting the bar for GenCon to beat. Right?