March Madness OSR challenge

  1. What was the first roleplaying game other than D&D you played? Was it before or after you had played D&D?
     It was Powers & Perils. It was after AD&D 2nd edition, that I played extensively through many years.
  2. What was the first character you played in an RPG other than D&D? How was playing it different from playing a D&D character?
     Again, Powers & Perils. It was quite different. I had the feeling that my character was more real- at first you may think that this is because there are many stats on your sheet, but eventually the feeling doesn't vanish, I ended up having in front of me a character who was more “flesh & bone” -also, the feeling you got when the character develops was different from D&D and I was more satisfied. Last but not least, during combat there is the feeling of danger and menace (weapons may broke, you parry with the shield, armor absorbs damage, you can hit severe damage if you roll particularly low scores, etc..it was grim & gritty but fast. I appreciated that a lot.
  3. Which game had the least or most enjoyable character generation?
     Rolemaster and P&P. They both had in my opinion the most enjoyable character generation. But keep in mind that I love complicated and math-heavy games, so others might abhor the character generation process found in those games.
  4. What other roleplaying author besides Gygax impressed you with their writing?
     This is a very good question because it gives me the chance to stress how I feel that the historical development of the hobby should be treated with more respect and attention.This is a field of study, no more and no less than other fields (just take into account that some 40 years have elapsed since the beginning of this hobby) so the one we are currently living must necessarily be an era of comparison (comparative studies). That said, I must say that I was surely influenced by Richard Snider but the author who most impressed me so far is without doubt Ed Simbalist. I posted something on my blog in the past (scans taken from the fanzine called “Underworld Oracle”, but I also had the opportunity to read his contributions to “Alarums & Excursions”, and..no way guys, he's the man who understands what a fantasy rpg experience at a table should be like. I agree on basically everything that he says, and I admire his verbiage, his attention to details, his overall frame of mind and his perpetual struggling to pursue the Illusion (capital letter not mine), whilst sitting at a game table- which I believe is exactly the final aim of this kind of games. Also,we should treat Richard Snider (author of “Powers & Perils”) with more respect and interest because we often forget that, in addition to creating a fantasy game of his own from scratch- he developed another old-school fantasy rpg with no other than a titan such as Dave Arneson (“Adventures in fantasy” was the outcome of their collaborative effort).
    Besides Ed Simbalist, the other author (albeit not in the rpg field) who had the biggest impact and influence on my mind and imagination is without a doubt Clark Ashton Smith. He just casts his shadow on my mind always, and I even run sessions where my players where involved in some of his extra-terrestrial stories (namely, “The Maze of Maal Dweeb”). I cite CAS because his influence is visible at my gaming table. I remember when I first discovered the man- after reading three tales I was just flabbergasted and I just wondered: “who the hell is this man who is capable of conveying this ineffable visions and feelings in me?- I just sank into his tales ever since and abandoned Lovecraft entirely.
  5. What other old school game should have become as big as D&D but didn’t? Why do you think so?
     If you mean games that would have deserved to become as big as D&D, then the answer is: many. But among them there are some that- although works of art- (for instance, “Chivalry & Sorcery”) couldn't have achieved that status because they were kind of addressed to a niche of public, mainly because of their heavily medieval attention to details which some might dislike or just not been sought for. But not taking into account C&S, as I said before I am absolutely sure that there have been published in the past fantasy games which should have become as big as D&D. In this case, old fantasy rpgs I can mention are in particular those “alternative” version of OD&D, namely: “The Compleat Warlock”, “What price glory?!” at the very least, maybe even Bifrost if it was published extensively in America back in time. I also think that “Arduin trilogy” should have been played alone independently of OD&D and regarded as a stand-alone game. I am sure many persons played it that way and found it superior to OD&D.
  6. What non-D&D monster do you think is as iconic as D&D ones like hook horrors or flumphs, and why do you think so?
     I don't know. I must admit that I often use AD&D monsters although I play other fantasy rpg's, so I cannot recall at the moment of a particular monster found in, say, P&P which is as iconic as D&D one.
  7. What fantasy RPG other than D&D have you enjoyed most? Why?
     Probably Rolemaster and Chivalry & Sorcery. A mention goes to WPG as well, though I never had the chance to actually play it- but a cursory reading was very inspiring. Back to the question, I enjoyed most Rolemaster (speaking of 2nd edition boxed set and 1st edition) because I have always been fascinated by it and by its deluge of charts. Playing it gives me a sense of real immersion into a phantasmagorical and fantastic illusion mainly because of its extreme rules details. Chivalry & Sorcery has probably the most inspiring character generation method ever devised. Astrological influence, the time frame of the flow of the game, and the magic system which gives you thrills because it conveys a tremendous sense of the mystical.
  8. What spy RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.
     I never played a spy rpg.
  9. What superhero RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?
     Same as previous question.
  10. What science fiction RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.
     Spacemaster, mainly because of the same reasons given for Rolemaster. The details and seriousness of the game system. I have been fascinated by Cthulhutech as well, I love the idea of Coc dark gods descending physically from the space above...
  11. What post-apocalyptic RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?
     Never played such a kind of game.
  12. What humorous RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.
     Same as previous question.
  13. What horror RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?
     Cthulhu Dark Ages, because I find it fascinating and it is the only way I can hope to run a game in Averoigne style (Clark Ashton Smith's setting)
  14. What historical or cultural RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.
     Never played such a kind of game
  15. What pseudo or alternate history RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?
     Never played such a kind of game.
  16. Which RPG besides D&D has the best magic system? Give details.
     As I said before, undoubtedly Chivalry & Sorcery 1st and 2nd edition. If you go to forums around the web, you'll probably end up finding similar praises of it. The authors of the game knew it well, in fact they commend it in the books and explain how much time and energy they devoted to it. Apart from C&S, the second best fantasy magic system is that found in WPG. I am going to cover it on my blog in the future.
  17. Which RPG has the best high tech rules? Why?
     Honestly I don't know. I am not particulary involved in this kind of games. Nonetheless, I would like to read more carefully “Alien” rpg by Leading edge games because I suspect its way of handling combat using high-technology weapons is detailed and realistic and also because I am a fan of Alien movies.
  18. What is the crunchiest RPG you have played? Was it enjoyable?
     Well, maybe Powers & Perils is the crunchiest but only if you use all of the rules at the same time.But perhaps Rolemaster and C&S are even crunchier than it. There are several optional rules in the books (P&P),such as keeping track of the fatigue value weapons and armours. In this case, if players cooperate with the game master (especially in keeping track of the blows striken at monsters and the like) the game can flow smoothly. In the end, I think we should in general be less fearful of so-called “crunchy” rpgs, because it's all a matter of exposure to it and time devoted to master the rules, however difficult they may seem at a first glance. Once you master the rules and the game has come to reside inside your brain, that's it. And yes, P&P was enjoyable!
  19. What is the fluffiest RPG you have played? Was it enjoyable?
     Moldway Dungeons & Dragons. I just feel limited by it. I can't conceive I have to choose a class or profession (I think there only should be warriors and magicians in a fantasy games, and maybe rogues), and what are all those numbers for different saving throws? No, not my cup of tea. If I were to use saving throws, i'd never have my players write them on their character sheets, their very names spoil them of their appeal.Anyway, I am digressing.But I do love AD&D 1st editon!
  20. Which setting have you enjoyed most? Why?
     Al-Qadim, Ravenloft and Midnight rpg setting. Reasons: I love “A thousand and one nights” tales, horror setting (particularly gothic ones with werewolves and vampires), and I was struck by Midnight rpg setting the first time I read it. I find that the idea of a world where the Dark Lord has already vanquished the Good and is ruling over all is fascinating and inspiring.
  21. What is the narrowest genre RPG you have ever played? How was it?
     I would like to play “Bunnies & Barrows” by Fantasy games unlimited
  22. What is the most gonzo kitchen sink RPG you ever played? How was it?
     Arduin trilogy (that I own, read but sadly not played yet).
  23. What is the most broken game that you tried and were unable to play?
     Maybe AD&D 1st edition (i'm talking here about the first time i tried it, i was young and got confused).It had rules hidden everywhere and special cases that not everyone make use of. But it works, and I think part of its appeal stems from this very aspect, together with Gygax's bizantine style of writing.

  24. What is the most broken game that you tried and loved to play, warts and all?
    Again, Arduin Trilogy

    25 .Which game has the sleekest, most modern engine? Very difficult question. I feel that I am the least inclined person able to reply to this, because I basically dislike “sleek” engine, whereas I am always attracted to convoluted game mechanics.
    26 What RPG based on an IP did you enjoy most? Give details.
     Conan rpg by Mongoose publishing, because it has lot of geographical and historical info on the different regions of the hyborian world, and I revel in that, having been a fan of Conan comics since I was a teenager. Also, MERP because its geographical modules are still unparalleled today, and i'm sorry for Cubicle 7 but...wake me up when they will be able to publish a module such as Gorgoroth by ICE and so forth.
27 What IP (=Intellectual Property, be it book, movie or comic) that doesn’t have an RPG deserves it? Why?
 Clark Ashton Smith's Averoigne or any other cycles, and Tolkien's Silmarillion. Need I say why?
28 What free RPG or what non-English RPG did you enjoy most? Give details.
Barbarian of Lemuria. Because I can recreate a Conan-esque feeling without having to pay for “Crypts & things”. 

29 What OSR product have you enjoyed most? Explain why.
Among the new ones, I recently liked a lot “Bits of darkness: dungeons” that I bought on rpgnow. 

30 Which non-D&D supplemental product should everyone know about? Give details.
Central casting: "Heroes of Legend"

31 What out-of-print RPG would you most like to see back in publication? Why?
 Very interesting question but difficult to answer with certainty. I think the candidates are “What price glory?!” and “Bifrost”. The reason is (not taking into account their value as exceptional old-school fantasy role playing games), that both of them suffered from poor circulation in the past due to different reasons. WPG was self-published in 1978 and I suspect it circulated in no more than some hundred copies, while Bifrost (197...) never really found circulation in the U.S. It was published in UK and I recall having read somewhere (maybe it was a review on White dwarf but i'm not sure) that, as I said, in the American market was not flooded with copies of it (don't ask me why, but maybe this is a reason behind its obscurity and lack of spread).


Tedankhamen said...

Grat answers CL, thank you.
Although I expected many of your responses, some were quite surprising. I especially liked what you said for 4 and about the loss of history.

Charlie Warren said...

Interesting answers! I considered doing all of mine in one big post but I split it up into several. I posted the first one this morning and will be posting more as the month goes by.

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