Greg Saunders is currently kickstarting the 2nd edition of his Summerland RPG. You might remember him from his SF roleplaying game Exilium which I wrote about on this very blog. I also had the chance to interview him back then.
Summerland has actually been first released about 10 years ago and is IMHO a very intriguing and original post-apocalytic roleplaying game. In Summerland the world has been destroyed by a vast forest which appeared overnight. The Call lured people into the forest, where some slowly lost their will and eventually even forgot that they are human. The player characters are among the few humans able to resist the Call. But this resistance comes at a price – the demons of the past are what shield them but the player characters are also haunted by their past.
Like Exilium, Summerland is not just an adventure game set into an exotic world, it does what all good science fiction does: it asks fundamental questions about the human condition. Both Exilium and Summerland might not be for everyone, but if you don’t mind some philosophy thrown into your games, both games are definitely worth a look.
The 2nd edition will be featuring full-color artwork created by Tithi Luadthong and new game mechanics based on AntiPaladin’s MiniSix. The original Kickstarter goal of £3000 has already been reached after just four days, but if you’re interested you still have about 25 days to decide whether you want to support Greg’s project or not.
I already put my money where my mouth is and decided to support Summerland 2nd Edition on Kickstarter. For more information on the project, check out the Summerland 2nd Edition Kickstarter page.
Following on from a couple of recent posts (http://www.stargazersworld.com/2017/10/28/looking-for-a-spiritual-home/ and http://www.stargazersworld.com/2017/11/10/first-impressions-of-west-end-games-d6/) I actually got to play over the weekend. We played the D6 Fantasy version and I played a thief.
It was my original intention to run a session but as it turned out my intended player had run the game before so offered to GM for me. That has to be the best way of testing anything, with an enthusiastic and talented GM to draw you in.
The game was rather stealthy, stealthy, hack and slash but as an intro adventure showed off the skills system quite nicely. The rule book has loads of template PCs to choose but I went for rolling my own PC. In that case the templates served as a model as to what I should be aiming for. All in we were playing the intro scene in less than 30 minutes including a lot of hand holding and explaining the classes, advantages and disadvantages. It is inevitable that if you have the players hundreds of options to customise their characters then it will take time to review them.
I tend to measure every thing in Rolemaster time and it takes me 30 minutes to create a starting character in my preferred (house ruled) version when I know the rules like the back of my hand. Comparing that to 30 minutes for a complete novice and having everything explained and reading every possible advantage and disadvantage shows how much easier WEG is compared to Rolemaster.
The combat system was slightly simpler than the version in the core D6 core system book. There was only one thing that jarred. At one point I was unarmoured when I was attacked. They hit me with a broadsword. I dodged, as you do, but they still hit me. They rolled damage, I rolled my physique. I rolled well, they rolled poorly and I walked away with no damage. I have a problem imagining who that played out for the character. No one has swords bounce off them doing no harm. That certainly is a solid six pack if you ask me!
That niggle aside (and I don’t believe there is a game anywhere that doesn’t have some little weird kink in it) I was suitably impressed. I would definitely like to play this game again in more than a single one shot.
The game system definitely didn’t get in the way of the role playing and once I had come up to speed, knowing where to find the right numbers on the character sheet when called for things were pretty slick.
D6 Fantasy has just been revived and the books are being revised as we speak. For that reason I would be inclined to only buy the PDF so you can get updates as they happen. Buy the printed book now and you are stuck with out of date rules. Definitely worth spending $3 on.
I am one of those people who is an incredibly slow reader. If Mrs R is showing me an article on a webpage she is forever trying to scroll down long before I get to the end of the screen. I am also pretty slow and untidy when I have to write using a pen. I think that is part of what attracted me to role playing in the first place, the ability to tell incredible stories without the torture of having to write it all down. In a single sentence or two I can paint a picture for my players that would take hundreds of words to describe in a book. If they imagine something different to what I am seeing that makes no difference. Their character is a product of their imagination. If I told you…”The inn is dark and shuttered up with just rays of light from splits in the boards, the tables are upturned barrels and the only seating, planks resting on smaller kegs. The locals all turn to face you as the door opens and the inn falls silent. A curl of smoke drifts up though a shaft of light from a pipe held by bear of a man sat close to the door and nearest to you.” I would hope you are all imagining at least something like the inn in my minds eye.
So for a blog that does a lot of reviews I am not a brilliant reviewer as it takes me forever and a day to read rule books and to top it off I tend to dig deep. I have been looking at Mini SIX and that lead me to WEG D6 OGL System book from West End Games. From 40 pages to read and understand that goes up to 130. Just reading RPG rule books is not enough, you need to create characters and ideally run a session or two as well.
So I thought I would do a ‘first impressions’ post first to buy me some time. I don’t want to disappear off the radar for ages as it looks like I asked for advice, got it and then completely ignored it.
First Impression 1
I am a huge fan of OGL games and content. The fact that the D6 system book is OGL immediately makes me want to like this system. That is a good start!
First Impression 2
The scope of the system book is brilliant. It has fantasy, modern, sci-fi and supers all in the one book. That is more than I hoped for. I have a project on the back burner to create a d100 system like that and I think I can learn a lot from this book in terms of game design!
First Impression 3
The art in section 1, character creation is really creepily sexualised. The book was published in 1996 and I would have thought attitudes would have moved on by then, but apparently not.
I created my first character in about 5 minutes which was cool. I had the idea of a Fantasy style version of John McClane (Die Hard) and the sample professions gave me all the direction I needed.
So what comes next?
Over this weekend I will get a chance to run a quick session so I have downloaded A Dark and Stormy Knight. I want to see if I can through a single character through a 1st level D&D adventure with little or no prep. Before the session I will read up on how to make monsters.
So right now, having never played the game I am quite impressed. I have not read the GMs material yet but I did see references to Stunned and Lacerations which instantly appealed to my inner Rolemaster-kin.