RPGaDay is an annual celebration of tabletop roleplaying. This is the first year I’ve tried to do it.
Which RPG has the most jaw-dropping layout?
The word “jaw-dropping” is key here. I’m not the kind of person whose jaw drops very much, so I had to flip through a lot of my RPGs to find something that fit the bill. To be honest, I’ve gotta go with Vampire: The Masquerade from the ’90s, when the books had artwork on every other page. Maybe other World of Darkness products are similar, but I’m mostly familiar with Vampire. It’s not just the core rulebook either, but pretty much any book in that line. It’s just so consistently in-your-face about its so-called “Gothic-Punk” aesthetic. Pictures can be straightforwardly representative of game terms, but more often they are moody, creepy, expressionistic, or grotesque. Sometimes you have to wonder what the hell the designers were thinking. It’s incredibly varied, and yet also weirdly on-brand, held together by frames, watermarks and backgrounds that carry the mood through the book (only rarely affecting the legibility of the text). My jaw may not have dropped, but it’s the closest it’s come from an RPG.
I stopped getting books for Vampire: The Masquerade, or any other World of Darkness product, shortly after the Time of Judgement in 2004, so I’ve no idea how jaw-dropping the layout is in anything more recent.