Its looking like I will be facilitating a face to face regular Role Playing Game (RPG 📖) game. And now I’m looking at the systems that I’m planning to suggest to the group:
- Whitehack (WH 📖)
- Dungeons and Dragons: Fifth Edition (5E 📖)
- Wrath of the Autarch (WotA 📖)
- Scarlet Heroes
- Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC 📖)
Of particular note, Dungeon World (DW 📖) is not on the offering. One of my players has requested a bit more “crunch” than Dungeon World. And as I pressed him for more information, it sounded as though he had worn through the playbooks. He has just started a 5E game and enjoys the diverse characters within a given class.
Whitehack 2nd Edition is on the list because the rules are a streamlined revisitation of Dungeons and Dragons: Original Edition (0E 📖) with some more modern sensibilities. I believe there is enough “crunch” to this game even though the rulebook is quite compact. At present this is one I want to see in play.
5E is on the list because at its heart, my game table has been a Dungeons & Dragons table. I’ve run Advanced Dungeons and Dragons: Second Edition (2E 📖), Dungeons and Dragons: Third Edition (3E 📖), and played Dungeons and Dragons: Fourth Edition (4E 📖). And 5E is an amazing re-engineering of previous editions with attention to some modern developments (bonds and aspects).
Wrath of the Autarch, a dark horse but one with a lot of appeal. First its heavily inspired by Birthright, so that’s a huge plus for me.
Scarlet Heroes is on the list in part because I love the Red Tide campaign tooling. I would love to have a system that requires little in the way of translation for that tooling. Since I’ve been considering a Sandbox campaign, I would like to use Sine Nomine products - the gold standard of sandbox adventuring.
I decided to add DCC RPG to the mix based on a conversation about character funnels. DCC recommends that players start with a few 0th level characters, fragile and weak, then send them through a funnel and see who survives.
When I bring the games to the table I’ll ask the players what they are after:
- Do you want a “story arc game” in which encounters are always feasible for the characters to overcome? This will result in a more “railroaded” story being told.
- Would you rather have a “sand box game” in which characters choose where to go, and reconnaissance is greatly rewarded as encounters are not tailored for character level? This should result in more emergent stories.
- What style of Fantasy are we looking for? I had talked a bit about Eberron’s pulp-noir feel, but I have a campaign map brewed up as well.
- How do you feel about starting with a character funnel? Make 3 or 4 characters and lets play some disposable characters to see what “sticks”
I played in a 2E Birthright in which the Game Master (GM 📖) started everyone as 0-level characters and we played a few sessions. The GM took notes and when we hit level 1, he handed us a standard class with a few tweaks to show our character’s nuances. It was an interesting experience in which the players had to rely on player skill to overcome challenges.
One thing is clear, I will bring to bear numerous resources from the Old School Renaissance (OSR 📖) that I’ve been accumulating. More on that later.