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"The New Golden Age of RPGs (and Podcasts)" Topic


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The Angry Piper13 Feb 2020 6:54 a.m. PST

Hi all.

I've been on a bit of a binge lately buying up a bunch of new Rpgs and new editions of classics. Many of these games I've only heard of theough gaming podcasts, both actual play and just gaming-related. I cobbled together my thoughts over at Dead Dick's Tavern. Check it out if so inclined.

angrypiper.com/?p=3559

Comments welcome, there or here.

Mithmee13 Feb 2020 1:21 p.m. PST

Role playing "Alien"

It is not that you are probably going to die…

but a matter when you will die.

stephen m13 Feb 2020 5:49 p.m. PST

My first question is are these RPGs or just combat games disguised as RPGs? Beyond giving your "characters" individual traits does the system encourage role playing.

I have seen a few so called RPGs recently which gave a part page of information on your character's background, motivation and history. Sounded hopeful but really I like to create my own, still maybe these were intended to be intro characters to learn a system with a pre-generated scenario. While others were playing the game I delved into the rule book. No character generation, no how to role play and how to run a role playing campaign, no character advancement or skill development. Nothing, nada. Talking with the designer after I learned this was the first of a series of stand alone games they intended to release. Oh, so the role playing is introduced in a module? No just the next adventure, characters included unless yours lived through this scenario and you wanted to play them again. Just start with the character and equipment as stated at the start of the first adventure.

Now that would be an extreme case but I see what should be called skirmish or something similar being foisted as RPGs. Take any game and add some character development and sell it as an RPG. Give nothing on what is an RPG and how not just to improve your character as they survive scenarios but how to flesh out characters, what to do between "missions" and how RPG interactions occur.

So my question stands. Are any of these true RPGs or just "skirmish" games? I also admit a lot of this is dependent on the players and especially the game master. In fact a great game master would be able to utilize almost any skirmish game into an RPG just with addition of imagination.

stephen m13 Feb 2020 5:51 p.m. PST

Role playing Alien is like playing OGRE where you are all the GEVs, with only one movement phase, there are only a handful of you and the Aliens are all various marks of OGRE numbering multiples of your characters.

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP14 Feb 2020 8:09 p.m. PST

Compare and contrast Aliens RPG and Call of Cthulhu with respect to the experience of playing and running each game.

The Angry Piper15 Feb 2020 5:04 a.m. PST

Stephen m: All the games I reviewed are roleplaying games, but character development is not a requirement for all games nowadays. Some of them, like Delta Green and the "cinematic" play of Alien, are designed to be one-shots or stand alone sessions due to their high lethality. So yeah, knowing how good a marine can fire his gun is more important than what he does in his downtime. Perhaps analogous to a skirmish-style miniatures game rather than a wargaming campaign.
That being said, some of the other games, like Call of Cthulhu and Red Markets, are definitely geared toward campaign play and likely play better that way. These games can be quite lethal, however, so one character's development can be cut short quite rapidly.
I should also restate that Alien offers options for campaign play and gives you a variety of choices of character "class", such as colonial marine, synthetic, space trucker, corporate operative, etc. Each character also has a rival, an ally and an agenda that tends to be secret. Advancing your agenda is how you advance in skill. You could set a a campaign on a ship or in a remote system and milk the corporate intrigue for some good roleplaying, I guess… but my personal thought is that Alien would play better in a cinematic session. Who wants to spend a lot of time in the Alien universe?
Obeelindes: I can't. I haven't played or run Aliens. I didn't even remember purchasing it.

joedog16 Feb 2020 11:59 a.m. PST

WHile they can be part of RPGs, character advancement and skill development =/= role playing. Leveling up and increasing stats are a part of a lot of video games that have no role-playing requirements.

Role playing is about playing the game in the spirit of the character you are playing. This can be done in an extended RPG campaign, a one-shot RPG, in an RPG-Light game, or even in a game that is not normally considered an RPG.

The Angry Piper18 Feb 2020 8:52 a.m. PST

Agreed, joedog. Wasn't my intention to make that equivalency, but it sure looks like I did.

That being said, your agenda, allies and rivals in the Alien rpg should, presumably, inform your roleplaying of your character. Red Markets is very roleplaying-intensive, as pretty much everything you do in that game is to ensure your own survival and that of your dependents. Roleplaying job negotiations and personal vignettes are an important part of not only getting deeper into a character's motivations and goals, but act as a game mechanic by which characters stave off detachment, stress and the hopelessness of existence post-apocalypse.

The Lifepath character generation system in Star Trek Adventures also encourages roleplaying. By building your character throughout the stages of their background, upbringing, time at Starfleet Academy and beyond, you begin play with a good idea of what your character's motivations are right off the bat. A character's personal values, in addition to functioning as a roleplaying guide, are also a game mechanic whereby determination points can be spent or acquired. (Determination is a powerful currency in the game, allowing your characters to achieve spectacular successes or help others do so.)

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