Category Archives: News & Reviews

RPG a Day 2015 Challenge – Day 19

Third entry on favorites week for #RPGaDay2015! This time around it’s supers…

Day 19 – Favorite supers RPG

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For the longest time my answer would be Champions. I loved the idea of being able to make whatever character you wanted! I read the books and made hundreds of characters, and could never get anyone to play. Such was my burden! But the story has a happy ending, read on…

Just like sci-fi yesterday, superhero games are a category of RPGs to which people bring varied expectations. Despite the long history of superheroes and the icons and tropes that come with them, ask two people what makes a good supers story and you’ll rarely get them to agree. Some love classic golden age heroes, where good guys are good and the bad guys worse, everybody has over the top powers and the existence of superheroes has little real effect on the real world. Others like gritty street level heroes, low powered, very realistic, and everything in between, angst ridden mutants, comedic sidekicks, alternate history, you name it!

I grew up on classic DC and Marvel, collected them for the longest time, and worked at a comic book store after High School and through College, so I’ve been close to comics all my life. Before the big two publishers in the USA I also read  a lot of comics in Spanish, there were a lot of different heroes and character, such as Kaliman or Aguila Solitaria, so my tastes and sensibilities were an odd mix.

For a long time I tried to run a successful super campaign, and while there were some good runs with the Marvel FASERIP system (mostly a Daredevil solo campaign I ran for a friend) a couple of Heroes Unlimited campaigns, It wasn’t unlit recently that I ran my definitive (so far!) superhero campaign.

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When I began posting on this blog I had just discovered Icons and wrote a lot about the system, including some character write ups. I wanted to use that system, but not all my players were keen on the idea. I had participated as a player in a Mutants & Masterminds 2nd edition campaign son when DC Adventures, using the Mutants & Masterminds 3rd edition rules, I set on that system and what was meant to be a seven month campaign, became an almost two year-long game. I posted about the experience here in the blog in case you want to check it out.

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Mutants & Masterminds had the flexibility of character creating just like Champions did, but the system, while far from simple, was definitely easier to grasp and run than the Hero System, So Mutants & Masterminds is my current favorite supers game, with Icons a close second for shorter or lighter games. And like a pointed out in a previous post, bit games by Steve Kenson, the supers game guru!

So what’s your favorite supers game? Let us know in the comments. See you all tomorrow for my horror pick…

RPG a Day 2015 Challenge – Day 18

What I’ve dubbed the week of favorite continues on #RPGaDay2015 Challenge! I can hear the Stargazer struggling with his bonds in the basement, but I’m still running the ship around here… So on to the next topic:

Day 18 – Favorite sci-fi RPG

To those who read yesterday’s post, did you guess? If you said Star Frontiers you are correct!

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I’ve proclaimed my love for that game before, like here, and here. So I won’t repeat myself, needless to say click on the first of the previous two links if you want to look at the books yourself.

Like yesterday’s post I could list all the sci-fi media I enjoyed while growing up, Star Trek TOS (and later TNG) and Dr. Who (to me Tom Baker will always be my Doctor!) in Spanish when they were broadcast in local channels. There was a lot of Anime also translated to Spanish such as Star Blazers, Captain Harlock, G-Force, Mazinger Z, and Captain Future which Michael mentioned recently, among many others. My favorite Anime series was definitely Robotech. I also enjoyed Ulysses 31, and of course, the elephant in the room, an elephant from a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, Star Wars! And I haven’t listed any of the books…

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If you look at the sample above you can see the diverse types of sci-fi I grew up watching, classifying them into a catch all label is difficult, and thus choosing just one favorite sci-fi RPG is tough… So if I can digress a little and drill down to specifics, let’s break it down to my different favorite sci-fi games based on my incredibly arbitrary classifications.

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Star Frontiers is a sentimental favorite, I played the heck out of that system. I don’t know if I would run it again as is… The Last Parsec by Pinnacle Games for Savage Worlds is a terrific spiritual successor. My favorite sci-fantasy game I’ve never played is Fading Suns. For “hard” sci-fi game, Traveller, I actually got on the bandwagon late with Mega Traveller, but I was just enthralled by the vast backstory. I’ve since collected the original books, the Mongoose and GURPS version and more.

As for my favorite post-apocalyptic game, Gamma World of course (with Rifts a close 2nd despite the system), mecha game, Robotech (again despite the system); there is so much goodness to be had in sci-fi gaming! And then if we mix my love of comics with sci-fi well you get my favorite team, the Legion of Super Heroes, but that’s a whole new ballgame and favorite supers rpg is the topic for tomorrow. See you then.

What’s your favorite sci-fi RPG? Let us know in the comments bellow…

PS – On Day 7, Free Favorite RPG, my choice was Stars Without Number. If you are a fan of Traveller, issue #2 of the free irregular journal dedicated to Sine Nomine Publishing games has Lifepath Character Generation rules very reminiscent of Traveller for Stars Without Number, check out the free PDF here!

RPG a Day 2015 Challenge – Day 17

Let’s start another week with the #RPGaDay2015 Challenge! I assure you Michael is still around, I just tied him up and put him in the basement while I take over for a month with this project. I hope you are all having as much fun with it as I am. On to the week of favorite, and we begin with…

Day 17 – Favorite fantasy RPG

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I’ve said it before, despite playing in different genres and systems, and over the last 10 years about half of that time has been spent playing either sci-fi or supers games, my poison of choice has always been fantasy. It was a passion of mine before discovering RPGs, from literature, to movies and comics I devoured everything I could. Before RPGs I had read Tolkien and some Robert E. Howard. I had watched the Lord of the Rings animated film when I was 5 years old, Conan the Barbarian in theaters in 1982 (despite the R rating) and the comics based on the characters were among the first comics in English I read. Excalibur was among my favorite films (another R rated movie, and I am so grateful I was allowed to watch them) and to this day I can quote parts of the dialogue. Wizards I watched on TV along with the Hobbit animated movie (The Return of the King animated version I discovered in VHS).

Clash of the Titans began my love affair with Greek mythology and was the reason I read children’s versions of the Iliad and the Odyssey. I was a huge fan of the Simbad movies. I played with the World’s Greatest Super Knights toys as a kid and had AD&D action figures before I knew what D&D was!

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Perhaps the fantasy movie I watched the most as a teenager was Fire and Ice, and mind you, this was during the days of the Video Club, you really didn’t buy movies and back then, and I didn’t have two VHS recorders to copy the film… I rented it countless times! Fire and Ice along with the Elfquest collections were formative in my concepts of fantasy.

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This trip down  memory lane is simply meant to show you that I was destined to fall in love with Fantasy RPGs, especially with the very first game I played, Dungeons & Dragons. To this day, D&D in all it’s iterations, from Basic, to AD&D, AD&D 2nd edition, D&D 3rd edition, 3.5, Pathfinder and assorted retroclones, Dungeons and Dragons has always been the game I return to. The right way to look at it is, I play D&D, when I take a break, I play other games!

The astute reader might notice that there is one edtion missing from the previous list, D&D 4th edition. I didn’t hate it, it was just not for me, and I’ve talked about this at length, so it’s not worth repeating. However D&D 5th edition has me interested in the brand once more. Now I can play, Pathfinder, or D&D 5e, or Microlite20, or my favorite retorclone Basic Fantasy RPG. No matter what happens, I think I’ll be playing D&D for a long time…

So, what’s your favorite fantasy RPG? Let us know in the comments.

See you all tomorrow for the next favorite RPG, sci-fi. Care to take a guess? Come back to find out…