RPGaDay 2017, Day 23: Which RPG has the most jaw-dropping layout?

RPGaDay 2017 infographic

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.

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RPGaDay 2017, Day 17: Which RPG have you owned the longest but not played?

RPGaDay 2017 infographic

RPGaDay is an annual celebration of tabletop roleplaying. This is the first year I’ve tried to do it.

Which RPG have you owned the longest but not played?

That would be Kindred of the East, which claims to be a supplement for Vampire: The Masquerade but is basically a game all of its own. It’s the One World of Darkness game that features vampires based on Asian (primarily Chinese) folklore, which are totally unrelated to the vampires featured in Masquerade. For several reasons, I am content to never play this game, so I suppose it will always be the game that I’ve owned the longest and never played.

Good RPGs encourage good experiences—it doesn’t matter how!

Declaring that a game is “good” (or, worse, “bad”) is almost always a controversial prospect. In general, I prefer to say that I have liked or disliked a game rather than claim that it has an absolute or objective quality. “Good” is a subjective distinction, and opinion will vary from player to player.

That said, I feel pretty confident in defining what a good game is, as long as the definition itself leaves room for subjectivity.

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Character advancement vs Character development

Anakin Skywalker's journey to become Darth Vader: Fear, Anger, Hate, Suffering.
Character advancement and character development sometimes go hand in hand… but character development isn’t always a joyful experience for the character itself

One of the great joys of playing roleplaying games, especially playing a single character through a long campaign, is in seeing your character grow and change. In traditional high fantasy games, it’s fun to rise from humble beginnings to be an important and powerful figure in the campaign world.

However, it’s relatively rare in roleplaying games to see the sort of deep, personal character transformation that you might see in books, TV shows or films. That’s because the sort of growth and change encouraged by traditional roleplaying games is different from the growth and change that most popular media is built on.

Character advancement is not the same thing as character development.

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Let me tell you about my backstory

Cover of the Warhammer Quest Roleplay Book

Today, I’m going to talk about myself. It’s a bit self-indulgent, but it’s my blog so I’m going to do it anyway.

Specifically, I’m going to talk about my history with roleplaying games, through the lens of the games that I played before I became fully immersed in the hobby about two and a half years ago.

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