Thursday, August 11, 2016

#RPGaDay2016 Day #11 Which Gamer Most Affected the Way You Play

Day #11 Which Gamer Most Affected the Way You Play

I've already done an ode to my friend Charles from high school, who introduced me to the full crunchy variety and gloriousness of RPGs.  Unfortunately, we parted ways.  One of the reasons for the split up was his complaint that I didn't play "serious enough."   The cause for the change in playstyle goes to the honoree of today's question, another Eric, Eric T. Smith.   

Out of the army I immediately enrolled at the local community college, and, as fate would have it, the gaming club met right after my last class for the day. 

Initially the club covered a few staples of the early 90's:  AD&D, Battletech, Shadowrun, and was about to go into a foray of Twilight 2000/Dark Conspiracy when ET Smith joined the group.    The gamemaster missed the meeting one day, and with nothing to do, Eric whipped out TWERPS (The World's Easiest Role-Playing System).  One stat, one die (d10) and eight pages of basic rules was all you needed.  He ran a zombie game way before they were cool, and everyone had a blast making our way through the zombie horde with a stat, a weapon, and a few critical die rolls.

From there, the new flavor of the month became TWERPS.  Its basic rules expanded into  13 super-cheap ($3) supplements, all of them playable parodies of the genres they were describing, with enough puns to make even me slackjawed. 

From there, Eric expanded the groups horizons with two types of games.  Cheap and Simple... sometimes both. Tunnels and Trolls, Villians and Vigilantes, plus anything that was on the Gamescience catalog.   

Then there was Burning Plastic.  

Burning Plastic was a set of miniatures rules he designed to use with green plastic army soliders.  The soldiers were all robots (the out-of-scale vehicles were computerized as well) allowing for additional explosions and high casualty rates that had actually been a point of contention for the college in regards to the club (PC always existed on campus in some minor, but ridiculous form).    Burning Plastic was such a hit that we printed up copies of the rules and took it on the road to conventions from Philly to Buffalo.  I not only still run it at cons 22 years later, I just taught it to my daughter over the last month... without the self-destructing robot parts.

He also designed Agitator, which was 4th tier heroes were hired to make the news in a dystopian world.  It was also the first game to use the "d12" system. 

Mr Smith soon began to move around the US, first to Alaska, then New Hampshire, New York City, and most recently, St Louis.  His game selection and effective play style helped me become more relaxed as a GM and learn to love a rules-light format.  Outside one of my crunchy forays into D&D and Hackmaster, just about every one of the games I run try to be fast, simple, and fluid.

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