Amongst the deflated balls and controversial commercials this past week was a tiny Twitter hashtag of #FourRPGs. It simply wanted to you to post pictures of the four RPGs that influenced you the most.
For me, this could have been a wide assortment of games, but instead I focused on four that could denote specific peaks and valleys in my game
#1 Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (1st Edition)
" I won Dungeons and Dragons, and it was Advanced!"I cut my teeth on the Mentzer Red Box, but most of my gaming lifetime has been ADVANCED D&D. Most of my time has been second edition, but it was first, most specifically this printing of the DMG that got me involved. So many good pieces of information and so many random charts that they probably made a random chart for placement. All the rules were good, and should be used whenever possible.
"The Holy Rolled-Up Newspaper of God (Wednesday Edition)"
TWERPS shook my faith in complex games at its core, and confirmed for me that simple games can be even more fun. You can run a "straight" zombie game, an intergalactic love-fest for gnomes, or scuba diving for sunken treasure, and do it fun AND fast!
#3 Hackmaster (4th Edition)
"The Gazebo Attacks"
When my college AD&D game came to an end and I decided to start up my next fantasy campaign, I was going to go with a fully cinematic adventure campaign using Masterbook. Yes, the generic version of TORG. I was all set to make playmats and cardboard stand-ups, and then Hackmaster happened.
Sure, it had tons of bad humor, ridiculous skills and at GM vs PC vibe that people took a bit a too seriously, but it was also chock full of fun charts, a collection of all the cool things out of the other 1st edition books, but with opportunities to counter the munchkin-isms. But best of all was the d10,000 hit location chart. My original Hackmaster campaign only ran four years, but it brought back my love for minutiae.
"Teenage Yoda versus Snake Gandhi atop a Ferris Wheel"Risus didn't make the sudden swing with Hackmaster that TWERPS did with D&D. I knew that HM was the system I wanted for fantasy, I just wanted all the other genres to be a bit more... fluid. Despite numerous numerous websites telling me to expand the system and then "you can do all these cool things with it," I would rather play with the framework provided and possibly "wing it."
And it's the combination of these last two that allows me to run a fairly hiccup-free game of Call of Cthulhu. Embrace the crunchiness, but know how to work with your results into the game's favor.