I’ve blogged at length about Puerto Rico Role Players, a local group of role-playing game enthusiasts dedicated to promoting tabletop RPG games in Puerto Rico. Besides running demos a cons, something that’s become a tradition over the last three years have been the geeknics. Picnics for geeks where we gather to game; spend time with other RPG and share the love for all things geek!
It’s been three years now… How time flies! And for the anniversary of our first large gathering as a group we planned a BIG bash. We are going back to the same place where the first one was held, Luis Muñoz Marín Park and we plan various special activities.
Members of the group have already announced there will be a D&D Next playtest game, a Vampire Storyteller is recruiting players for his game and I will run a very special game, more about this momentarily! Besides the RPGs there is always somebody that brings a board game or card game to play. At the last geeknic people played card games, miniatures games and board games as well. So there is something for everyone!
Some of you may remember the column “Ask The Stargazer” that I introduced back in 2011. I posted a couple of replies to your questions since then, but for various reasons the column has lost steam in 2012. But there are still a few unanswered emails in my inbox, so I decided to get “Ask The Stargazer” back into gear again!
Here’s the first question for 2013:
I have one more question that I kindly would ask: What is the best fantasy rpg?
Could you please give short overview of the most popular fantasy rpgs with a summary of pros and cons? I have played d&d 3rd, ad&d 2nd, d&d 3.5 and now I’m playing Pathfinder. Although there is a lot of differences between these editions this mostly one game. My problem is that I find this game a bit heavy – having to much rules and the combat takes to much time. In addition I hate class levels, making it too difficult for the DM/GM to make an adventure. So the thing I actually what to find out is what other options do I have? I have played some general rpgs as well, but I didn’t find those very intriguing.
Deciding which fantasy RPG is best for you is actually not easily answered. There’s no such thing as the best RPG. Every game out there has its flaws and it’s entirely possible that the game I love is total rubbish to you. As the saying goes: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. But before I get too philosophical, let’s have a look at a few popular games.
A note: I will give you my thoughts on each of the games but going into detail will definitely beyond the scope of a blog post, so if you’re interested to learn more about a particular game, check out the game’s official site or post your question in the comments below.
Bruce Heard is a name I will forever associate with classic D&D content, but for the uninitiated I have just one word, Mystara! Of course it wasn’t always called Mystara, once upon a time it was just the Known World, the starting setting and the greater world hinted at in the Dungeons & Dragons boxed sets with which I learned how to role-play.
That world came alive for me with the Gazetteer series. I remember when I got my hands on the first one, The Grand Duchy of Karameikos. It showed me what a D&D setting could be, it was at once familiar and surprising. I learned the word gazetteer that day. Of course the book that really blew my socks of was the Principalities of Glantri, the land rules by magicians cemented what this world was like in my mind and made me a long life fan. Back then I didn’t really know much about who wrote what but I remember looking at the cover and wondering just who this guy Bruce Heard was…
Imagine my surprise when I got to talk to him online not too long ago! After all these years I actually was exchanging messages with someone who was instrumental in my formation as a role-player and game master. Isn’t social media grand! Of course one of the first things I did was pester him about and interview and he was so kind as to answer the long list of questions I sent him. So now without further ado, here is my interview with Mr. Bruce Heard…
Fall is upon us (well those of us living in the northern hemisphere at least)! It’s the time of harvest, leaves fall, the weather turns colder, and apparently Kobolds come out of their den. I received a review copy of the Fall issue of Kobold Quarterly, number 23, by the friends from Kobold Press and sat down to write a review about it over the weekend, when their Kobold Courier newsletter arrived in my e-mail I and I read about a wonderful new contest they are having which I thought may be of interest to our readers, so I thought I’d combine both into a post!
Yesterday the D&D Next playtest package has been made available – at least for the lucky few who were able to download them. It seems WotC’s bad luck streak when it comes to all things digital hasn’t ended yet. A part of the problem is obviously that they didn’t just make a download available, but it seems all steps in the process are run through their website’s account system which can’t handle the current traffic. As with a lot of things that happen at WotC, I get the feeling the whole process was dictated by lawyers.
But let’s not dwell on that and have a look at the playtest rules. The ZIP file you get includes a couple of PDFs that include an adventure, five pregenerated characters, rules for the players and some DM guidelines. It’s definitely enough material to run a few playtest sessions, especially since you get some information on how the character develop during the first three level.
The rules themselves have surprised me a lot – and in a good way. You may remember my stance on D&D 4th Edition. I still think it’s a good game, but just not something I enjoy playing. For me it feels more like a miniature skirmish game. Again, I am not trying to bash 4E here, it’s just how it feels to me.
The editions of D&D that I played the most were D&D 3E and 3.5. But when playing I definitely preferred the early levels, because things were still pretty fast, easy and fun. With every new level, new feats, new abilities etc. the game slowed down (especially in combat). I eventually reached the point where I just couldn’t stand it anymore.
There’s another Kickstarter project that grabbed my attention. Autarch is currently raising money to fund an expansion to the very intriguing Adventurer Conqueror King System. I picked up the core book a while ago and posted my initial thoughts on the blog.
The Player’s Companion will contain new classes, 144 character generation templates, new spells and a point-based customized class system. That allows you to create your own classes. As with the Kickstarter I mentioned in my last post, Autarch has actually already reached their goal of $4,000 already, but that’s no reason for you not to back the project.
Backers can actually already download the current draft of the rules, and there will be another bonus level at $25,000. If this goal is met, all backers will get a special preview of the Auran Empire Campaign Setting. You still have four days to back the project.