So, if there’s one thing I’m rapidly coming to realize upon staying at home all day, it’s that I have a lot of tabletop RPG rulebooks lying around, many of which I just haven’t read at all. I’ve rapidly run out of excuses for not reading these, for reasons readily apparent to anyone else currently living through this pandemic, and now that I’m all but certain that I will be working from home through the end of the year, I might as well read all these books, and while I’m gonna read all these books, I might as well write about them.
I’m specifically hoping to look at some books in my collection that I think have new, exciting ideas: either ideas I can pull into campaigns that I am game mastering, or mechanical ideas I can riff on in my own designs. This search for novelty has guided my choice of the eleven games I will be reading as a part of that series, but I also want to read games that don’t have as much writing on them around the internet. I could finally get around to reading my copy of Cthulhutech cover to cover, but at this point everyone knows what Cthulhutech‘s deal is, and if you don’t you can Google your way into knowing pretty fast.
The 11 games I will be reading and commenting on in this series are as follows. I’m not necessarily committing to this order, mind you, but here’s the list.
Quest, by The Adventure Guild, a light, easy-to-learn fantasy game angling itself as an ideal RPG for beginners.
Magicians, by Kyle Simons, a game of teenage drama and magic as the player characters enroll in a school of magic to learn sorcery and you, the player, learn Korean in the process.
Durance, by Jason Morningstar, a Fiasco-like collaborative storytelling game where players come together to tell the story of a godforsaken prison planet on the edge of civilized space.
Red Markets, by Hebanon Games, a post-apocalyptic game of zombie horror which differentiates itself from the pack by framing itself in the systems and verbage of macroeconomics.
Shadowrun: Anarchy, by Catalyst Game Labs, a port of Shadowrun‘s setting away from its notorious dice pool system (hey I like 3E fight me) into the rules-light Cue System.
Over The Edge, Third Edition, by Atlas Games, the latest edition of a classic game of conspiracy and offbeat adventure in a totalitarian… libertarian island nation? I think?
Imp of the Perverse, by Nathan D. Paoletta, a monster-of-the-week game of Victorian horror where characters grapple with metaphysical manifestations of their suppressed desires.
Karanduun, by Joaquin Kyle Saavedra, a high-flying heroic action game of Filipino fantasy where players are scrappy warriors who set out to attack one of three Gods inspired by three tyrannical systems that have oppressed the Philippines in the past.
Invisible Sun, by Monte Cook Games, the legendary “big expensive cube” game of surreal fantasy that builds off of the MCG’s popular, if svelte, Cypher System.
Balikbayan: Returning Home, by Jamila R. Nedjadi, a diceless, potentially GMless post-cyberpunk/fantasy game heavily drawing upon Filipino folklore.
Armour Astir: Advent, by Briar Sovereign, a high-fantasy PbtA RPG where players rebel against an oppressive regime and its schemes with huge enchanted suits of armor (okay mechs they’re 100% mechs).
I will try to read these books cover to cover, but I am not going to guarantee it. Some of these books are, uh, large (the sprawling books that came with my digital copy of Invisible Sun are deeply intimidating to me), but I will attempt to gain at least a holistic view of both their setting, their mechanics, and their general mode(s) of play. If one of these games secretly has 50 pages of gear (eyes Shadowrun), I’m not promising you I’ll read the stat lines of every Spear of Goodstabbing or +4 Vorpal Gun.
So, cool! This should be fun! I’m gonna be cracking into the first game tonight, so hopefully my first writeup should be coming soon! Look forward to it!