Saturday, May 15, 2010

Brief Follow-Ups

Three quick points:

1. As a reminder, Open Fridays are a replacement for my daily posts on Friday when I'm offline. I write them in advance and don't participate in the comments because I don't see the comments until the next days, by which point they're usually too many in number for me to even hope to keep up, assuming I ever intended to do so (which I didn't).

2. That said, my own personal candidate for an underappreciated pre-1984 RPG is probably Stormbringer. Lots of people know about the game's existence -- note I said underappreciated -- but, in my experience, its virtues are not well-known. It was overshadowed by its "big brother," RuneQuest and many gamers dismiss it as a licensed game, either because licensed games are often poor or because they had little interest in the world of Elric. Neither is true in the case of Stormbringer, which both shows the flexibility of the Young Kingdoms as a setting and has really evocative rules for dark fantasy even if you choose to play the game "generically."

(I'll also agree with several others that both Lords of Creation and Powers & Perils deserve nods as underappreciated RPGs, which, like Stormbringer, often get dismissed for false reasons)

3. On the subject of energy drain, I'm still very divided. I like many of the suggestions offered by people in the comments, some of which look elegant mechanically and intriguing from an in-game perspective. However, despite my misgivings, I've yet to decide to abandon the existing mechanic, which, as other people have shown, work from both perspective, or can anyway, with some work. So, for now, energy drain stays in Dwimmermount as written.

9 comments:

  1. I always felt Elric spoiled the beauty of Stormbringer. The only thing I use from editions after the first is the variable power rule for demons. But the demon-summoning mechanism was tres magnifique.

    Powers & Perils was definitely written by a wargaming company, but had a much better feel for Hyperborean sword & sorcery than anything else at the time (and I can't think of anything that easily approaches it even now). The magic system heavily integrates with the campaign world and cosmology of Perilous Lands by the way, but you don't really realise that until you get that part of it (the basic rule set is a set of rules, almost without explanation and context).

    On the other hand I've always felt Lords of Creation was even shoddier than mid-AH Runequest supplements. They shared much of the same production quality, and an overlap in time, which may make it an unthinking prejudice on my part.

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  2. I really like Elric! (the 1993 version of SB). It's one of my favourite incarnations of BRP. I'm curious why some people think that it is so inferior to 1e Stormbringer (which I don't own, and seems prohibitively expensive these days).

    Also, aren't editions 1e-4e of Stormbringer essentially the same (with later editions simply including material from the companion, additional rules tweaks, etc.)?

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  3. One thing I always loved about Stormbringer and early CoC is the fantastic Gene Day art used in those publications. My favorite being the cover of Stormbringer Companion: http://tinyurl.com/29jtrb7

    A great artist who died way too young...

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  4. I have all three games and I concur that they are all under-appreciated.

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  5. Wait, hold on...

    P&P? Really?

    I remember it being an apocalypse of formulas and game mechanics bad enough to make FGU's Aftermath look streamlined.

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  6. If I'd thought Stormbringer was under-appreciated I would have voted it. Probably my favorite game ever. But I guess pretty much anything that's not D&D or WoD could be defined as underappreciated.

    If Stormbringer is acceptable, Stormbringer would be my vote, followed by T&T. Otherwise DragonQuest.

    Powers & Perils? Seriously? Wow. I bought a copy two years ago, read the rules, and was astounded by needlessly complex mechanics, a desperate need for errata, and dry writing.

    I haven't had the chance to read Lords of Creation.

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  7. On the other hand I've always felt Lords of Creation was even shoddier than mid-AH Runequest supplements. They shared much of the same production quality, and an overlap in time, which may make it an unthinking prejudice on my part.

    It's not wholly unthinking. The production values were terrible and the game itself is something of an acquired taste. I didn't like it much as a younger man, but I came to appreciate it more as I got older and, even then, I'm not entirely sure I could play it straight, as it's very "wahoo" in its approach. Still, there are some excellent ideas within its page.

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  8. P&P? Really?

    I remember it being an apocalypse of formulas and game mechanics bad enough to make FGU's Aftermath look streamlined.


    The game itself has lots of issues and mathematical complexity is definitely one of them. However, its setting is superb and the way the rules and the setting worked together (especially magic) was inspiring. Also, it was written by Richard Snider, a player in Dave Arneson's Blackmoor campaign and some of its rules bear resemblance to more developed versions of what we saw in Adventures in Fantasy.

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  9. Yeah, Stormbringer is great. I guess I just appreciate it too much to realize it's underappreciated. Huh. Funny.

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