Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Pen and Paper Gaming

So lately I've been reading RPGs that are a bit off from the normal of what I'd read.  Warning, wall of text incoming as I talk about them.

Lately it's been Dungeon World.  I had never heard of Apocalypse World before and looking back it's probably because it doesn't advertise, except through word of mouth, at least not in the usual areas of the internet I look for new RPGs to follow.  Someone linked to their Kickstarter and the initial pitch intrigued me enough to through in my support for the finished PDF.  The kickstarter ended and I got the link to download Dungeon World PDF.  I tried reading it a couple of times but it never really grabbed me.  Eventually I was reading a post on the Fate Core G+ community and someone referenced something from Dungeon World that sounded really cool.  I can't remember the exact details but it stuck in my head and I remembered I had the PDFs so I dug them out and read through the book.  I'm not going to lie, it takes a couple of tries at wrapping your mind around how Dungeon World works.  It is a very narrative game, actually its almost entirely narrative.  When you, as the GM, describe a scene, say one of combat with some kobolds, as soon as you finish describing the scene you look to the players and ask "What do you do?". You don't stop telling the story to set up the map and miniatures, you just start asking what they do, and they respond.  I know, I had a hard time wrapping my mind around this concept as well. So instead of having powers or charms or abilities, you have moves. Depending on your class you'll have moves for your class, but then everyone will also have basic moves.  They go something along the lines of When you attack an enemy in melee roll +STR. Then its roll your 2d6 and check what you've done.  You have stats that give you bonuses that you'll add when appropriate. Most of the time if you roll 10+ you succeed without problems. For the 7-9 you might succeed but you'll have complications. On a 6- you fail, but you get XP. The thing that really turned on the light bulb for me was the part about just describing how you attack can change how your attack works. If I say that I'm going to hide behind a pillar while the kobolds shoot arrows at me, I dont have to worry about armor from the pillar. I said I'm standing behind it, case closed. If I try to pop out now though, now I'll have a hail of arrows to contend with.  Once you read it and grok how everything works it really opens your eyes to roleplaying in a whole new light.  I could go on about it but really just read the rules and you'll see.  They're free online at Dungeon World on Github.

The other game I've been reading a lot of lately is Star Wars:Edge of the Empire.  I know what you're thinking, aren't you already playing in a WEG Star Wars game? Why yes, yes I am. I was intrigued by EotE though and its weird dice mechanics.  So with Edge you have custom dice which have specific purposes. When you roll, you build a pool, starting with your ability dice, which are a measure of innate skill from attributes and skills. Then you add in difficulty dice, which are an inherent measure of the difficulty of the task.  With those basics you roll and check for the symbols, positive dice will have Advantage and Success markings while the difficulty dice will have Threat and Failure symbols. Threat and Advantage cancel each other out and Success and Failure do the same.  You now have a two axis plot of how you're action was accomplished.  You can succeed but have Threat cause issues and you can fail but Advantages will help you out.  Reading through the beginner box set has a great production value and a very concise and easy to understand intro to their ruleset.  I am greatly looking forward to a chance to play this game.

So those are the games I've been reading up a bit on lately.  There have been others but I'll wait until I've read more of them to talk about them here.  If you have any comments or questions let me know.