Friday, May 7, 2010

Open Friday: New Old School Games

Although the old school renaissance is currently focused rather heavily on fantasy (and D&D-derived fantasy at that), I think it's inevitable that it will expand beyond this initial focus into other genres/subjects. Which would you most like to see and why?

62 comments:

  1. I've always wanted to run a game based on Dune. I'd like to see that.

    And as much as I love Champions I'd love to see a version with maybe around 20% less crunch.

    I'd like to also see an updated version of Boot Hill.

    The fanboy side of me would like to see a game set in John Carpenters New York. Lot of interesting character types (gang member, cannibal, scientist, gov't agent infiltrator...)

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  2. I have the Last Unicorn rpg for Dune, and it looks excellent. Haven't had a chance to play, though.

    I'd like to see a real Barsoom rpg come along. (Maybe will happen with the movie.) And something for Dragaera.

    But I'm not sure what James is really asking. What old school games would I like to see increase in popularity, while remaining in a simpler style? I still love Cthulhu, RQ2 and Classic Traveller. I'd love for all of those to increase in popularity. Also anything in Tekumel, although the Tri-Stat system looks good, and I think BRP would be a good fit.

    Hey, I know. I wish for BRP to become more popular.

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  3. So I'm currently enamored with with KAP; but, Dune would translate well. The Fremen and the Imperial troops and all the noble houses would translate well. Those passions and traits would also work splendidly in the Dune universe.

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  4. I know that Al over at Beyond the Black Gate is working on "Warriors of the Red Planet" a sword and planet game (and I am EAGERLY awaiting that. I would like to see something like Deadlands.

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  5. I think it's high time the OSR delves into historical horror and I'm setting my sights in that direction in 2011 (after my inbox is cleared out).

    GORE, Goblinoid Games' forgotten stepchild of an OGL rule set, has been overshadowed by the success of Labyrinth Lord and Mutant Future. But GORE is both extremely lean on rules, begging to be tinkered with, and compatable with most of Chaosium's titles. It seems like the kind of tabula rasa project that we Old Schooler love to tinker with. I'm going to see what I can do with GORE while walking through the shadowy groves of history.

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  6. I haven't yet seen the science fiction RPG I really want. Traveller may be the nearest thing, but Classic Traveller is a little too rough for me to make heads or tails of, and I think TNE may be too big and crunchy to inflict on my friends. Moreover, the setting and basic concept feels way too dated; the whole concept of an Imperium, nobility, and all that seems preposterous. (Besides, the idea of 53rd century commerce being built on little tramp freighters, a zillion lightly populated colonies, and a... weakly specified... mode of production makes me a little uncomfortable. Don't even get me started on 'feudal technocracy'.)

    Maybe my ideal game would be lifted from Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space books, or Bruce Sterling's Schismatrix; at any rate, something incorporating the sensibilities of the New Wave and cyberpunk writers a bit more. No aristocracy, no assumption of monolithic planetary governments, some coherent basis for society, realistic levels of dysfunction, chaos, and social conflict, that sort of thing.

    FWIW, I'd totally go for a Dune-ish RPG, despite it not having a ton to do with the criteria above. I actually enjoyed the last couple of books, Heretics of Dune and Chapterhouse: Dune, and they could definitely be mined for RPG concepts.

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  7. I agree with Clayton Wheeler...a good, simple, straightforward sci-fi game is much needed.

    Something inspired by all our favorite pre-1980 sources.

    Something adaptable if you want to play Star Trek or Star Wars or Dune or even Farscape or Stargate.

    I don;t expect to ever see it, but one can but hope.

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  8. Seems to me that SF is pretty well covered at the moment with X-Plorers, and Starships & Spacemen 2E is on the way. I'm really excited about "Warriors of the Red Planet". Espionage would be fun, I haven't really played since Top Secret. But I think what I'd really like to see is something that played like Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers serials.

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  10. I agree with Robert Saint James on a good espionage game a la James Bond 007 or Top Secret(SI). Haven't seen many of those around lately, and there is no reason either franchise (or something similar) couldn't be brought back in some form.

    And I'll always have a place in my heart for Marvel Super Heroes and the FASERIP system. I really enjoyed the randomness of their character creation, rather than the HERO system of Champions. It always seemed to be keeping more with the "feel" of comic books to have no real idea what powers your character will have as a result of his mutation or exposure to cosmic rays or whatever. Loads of fun building your backstory afterwards.

    And when else did you get to use your d100?

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  11. I know I'm reaching a little too high, but I what a Barsoomian and Thundarrian-styled science fantasy!

    That is, a sword & sorcery/swords & planets game, with cutlasses and blasters, Conan-styled barbarians, Barsoomian-styled princesses, Flash Gorden-styled rocket-jocks, flying ships & rocket ships, mad-scientists, sorcerer-kings, items of strange science or dark sorcery, savage mutants & beast-men, cruel slavers, bizarre Hana-Barbara-styled creatures, some naked chicks for their own sake, and anything else you can pull from escapist fiction!

    The art should have a style like Jack Kerby and Bruce Timm, with gratuitous violence and nudity being a must! damn, that would be awesome!!!

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  12. I'd like an old school style, rules light wuxia/martial arts game, myself. Whether it's period (and fantasy) or modern wouldn't matter. In fact, being able to adapt the rules to either would be great. You could work on Drunken Master/Shaolin Temple/Crouching Tiger style period wuxia campaigns, or more modern gun-fu stuff with the same rules.

    Seems like a winning combination.

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  13. I would like to see something about Mutant Chronicles, maybe with an easier system. I know it's not exactly "old school", since it's 90's, but still awesome.

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  14. Although it isn't fully old-school in its aesthetics, Burning Sands: Jihad is an excellent Dune rpg (with the serial numbers incompletely filed off). It uses the Burning Wheel system (and requires ownership of that game).

    An espionage game would be pretty cool, but can anything really top James Bond 007 in that genre? That was nearly perfect.

    To me, the swords & sorcery leanings of D&D fit swords & planet and other science fantasy gaming to a 'T', so I don't see the need for a specific game there. That said, Under the Dying Sun (based on Spellcraft & Swordplay) seems to be an excellent entry into that mold, and I look forward to it being completed and a print version offered for sale.

    I'd like to see an occult conspiracy game set in the Elizabethan/Renaissance era using old-school ideas. A more subtle magic system (something like the system in GURPS Voodoo would make me really happy) and a focus on espionage in an earlier age would make for a fascinating game, I think.

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  15. I certainly agree that James Bond 007 was pretty close to perfect, but I think wanting to see it (or something like it) come back is keeping with the question that James asked.

    Many here are pretty sure the LBB or 1st Edition AD&D or whathaveyou are nearly perfect (or at least the best we've had), and that's what the OSR is trying to resurrect or improve upon.

    I would like to see 007 or a similar espionage/spy system come back into gaming because they were fun and well done and it's a genre completely lacking in today's market.

    Similarly, my love for Marvel's FASERIP system comes from the randomness of character generation. You get to play a superhero sure (and the direction D&D has headed through the 3rd and 4th editions apparently lots of people wanted to play superhumans) but it's likely not going to be some ridiculously overpowered, unstoppable, character that you've crunched numbers and calculated the perfect build for.

    Those kinds of systems bring out creativity in players and fun in sessions. You may think you're making the next Wolverine, but then you suddenly roll Prehensile Hair for your power. It's up to you to make it work as a character and in the game.

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  16. Terminal Space, SF supplement for OD&D, is almost done.
    Check out http://terminalspace.blogspot.com for some additional information, PDF will be available for free as soon as possible.

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  17. I'm excited by the new D&D-compatible Starships & Spacemen version coming out from Goblinoid Games.

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  18. Brunomac, if you are looking for a new-old version of Boot Hill. You may be interested in Clockwork

    It's a 1-page re-write of Boot Hill (ala Searchers of the Unknown) written up last year by
    JB over at B/X Blackrazor.

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  19. I'm looking forward to the Starships & Spacemen and Warriors of the Red Planet. I'd also like to see someone give the Mutant Future treatment to Boot Hill.

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  20. I'd like an "Old West" rpg. Possibly inspired by Sergio Leone's western movies.

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  21. Not quite a new old-school game as such, but I'd like to see some Call of Cthulhu material coming from the community. There is stuff coming from Chaosium, but nothing like what we got in the old days, and I'd dearly like to see someone challenge the dominance of Delta Green for modern-day games.

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  22. @Jeff - Do you mean a Boot Hill type game with B/X derived rules, or a Mutant/Western mash-up?

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  23. Fridays Unplugged lasted...all of a week? Not that I'm complaining...I need my daily Grognardia fix.

    I'm also looking forward to the LL edition of Starships & Spacemen. Being compatible with LL & MF means a wide spectrum of gaming goodness is covered under one system. I'm also a fan of GORE and understand that a revamp is on the cards at some point...

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  24. I'd love to see an updated version of Buck Rogers. Unfortunately, I think licensing issues will prevent that from ever happening.

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  25. Classic horror old school games, with players as monster hunters and investigators.

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  26. Is there still enthusiasm for gee-whiz SF? Cowboys in Space meets the Lensman challenge - "how big can you imagine it?" I'm not feeling it myself. regarding tramp freighters, I'd quite like a Phoenician or Genoese roots-of-Trav game. Lost tells me Fantasy Islands of the Odyssey are still in the collective consciousness, and maybe something episodic on these lines (shades of original series Trek) would be nice to see. I can at least imagine some fun tables for procedural mystery generation.

    But I'd really like to see something we've never seen before - something that throws RPGs into an entirely new genre, Like D&D, Trav and CoC did. Maybe something outside what we're used to thinking of as the "adventure" genres. Of course, I don't have it ready to wow you with right here. But I rather think the "alternative" crowd feel like they've got their hooks on the cutting edge of innovation right now, and I'd hate to see the OSR get precious about retreading old ground, or feel that it has to stick to rootsy topics, rather than a certain attitude of inventive co-creation.

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  27. I want to run a Silver Age comics campaign inspired by Green Lantern, Thor, Dr. Strange, and Legion of Super Heroes.

    The heroes will be fighting space aliens, demons, and giant monsters more than thugs, drug dealers, and cat burglars. They'll be patrolling the solar systems and the nearby planes of existence moreso than the neighborhoods and alleys of the city.

    I have no idea what system to use for this, but want it to be relatively "rues lite." I'd love for it to come from the OSR.

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  28. Maybe I'm showing my youth here, but I loved Alternity! It was the Sci-Fi version of D&D, it could be used for anything and it didn't break down. By my all time favorite game designer Bill Slavisek. Just in the main books we were able to run Star Wars, Star Trek, X-files, Warhammer 40K, and a Survival Horror type of thing. A buddy of mine used it for Harry Turtledove's World at War, and Dune. Only game I've ever played that kept the balance for all of them. It WORKED. Shame they canceled it for the Star Wars D20. It never really caught on, but it was buried too soon. Stupid WOTC.

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  29. This is what I feel is the problem with the OSR: Classic Traveller is exactly the game a lot of you want, for Dune, Star Trek, Stargate, Barsoom, etc, etc. There's no need to re-invent the wheel and make "new" old games, as the OSR tends to over and over; just strip away the Third Imperium fluff and play the game as you want to.

    When I first played Traveller, nobody had ever heard of the Imperium; our characters were like Northwest Smith and Flash Gordon, and the galaxy was like a 1930's pulp. Ray guns and cutlasses. (SMG = Ray gun.) When we saw "noble" we thought of Princess Aurora and Duke Leto. But you know, if you don't want nobles, ignore that; it's your game!

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  30. Absolutely. I would love to see some of those implemented using the Traveller mechanics. Just need to bolt on the setting.

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  31. Torg.

    It's not pure old-school but man, I miss the original incarnation of that game.

    As a close second, I would have to "+1" the comment from the prior writer about seeing cyberpunk get something of a refit for the "current" 21st century.

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  32. I'd like to see a Ghostbusters/ghostbusting game and I'm really looking forward to the "Warriors of the Red Planet".

    However, I think I agree with Dave and Paladin, at this point it's more about setting than anything else. Rules are just a framework.

    I'm happy playing with X-plorers, Swords & Wizardry, and Marvel Superheroes (yes, I'm aware of 4C). These cover all the bases for me.

    It's just where the heroes are going that's interesting to me now!

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  33. Are there any old-school revivals of post-apocalyptic games?

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  34. Who needs anything more? We already have Encounter Critical for Wild West (ie, same rules but no Wookies), detective pulp (less lasers), etc.....

    Seriously though, I have all the different rule-sets that I need.

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  35. I'd like to see an OSR treatment of Villains and Vigilantes. There is a very workable system in there and I'd like to crack it open.

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  36. Chris: oh hell yeah, V&V was my superhero game in between Superhero 2044 and Champs. We all rolled ourselves up as supers in that, plus a ton of other great random dudes. You would think random powers would suck, but bright players could come up with all kinds of angles for a guy with 4 arms, invisibility, and levitate powers.

    Someone mentioned Thundercats. I'd like to see it be popular so there would be a ton of hot cat girl figs like Cheetara (who should really be the Cheetos mascot instead of Chester the Cheeta Molester)

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  37. I like the 'What If' games like Dragons at Dawn, Encounter Critical, Mazes and Minotaurs, Emprise and X-plorers.

    Otherwise, it's the setting-based stuff like Planet Algol, Redwald and Urutsk that interests me.

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  38. I would honestly like to see a lighter mecha-inspired game, ala Gundam, Macross, and the like. They trend complex as a result of building and customizing mecha and technology, but there's got to be a way to keep some of the modularity and lose some of the complexity.

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  39. Ah, I forgot Gamma World / Metamorphosis Alpha. And I enjoy a good cyberpunk game, too.

    I have to agree with Dave's post though. I don't really want to learn more rules systems if I don't have to, and I think the spirit is supposed to be more along the lines of reviving the old school classics we love. Or updating them to increase their appeal.

    Ports written up to adapt genres and classics of literature to a particular rules system are the best solution for me. I'd love to see one site where all those ports can be made available.

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  40. Ohhh, if I had a choice, I'd go for an old-school version of one of my pet historical periods: Three Kingdoms-era China. Not the REALISTIC period, mind you, but the MYTHIC period, a la the novels films and video games set in the period. if you've seen the movie Hero, you have a pretty good idea of the vibe I'm looking for!

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  41. Re: Cyberpunk...

    Why refit it to 20th century sensibilities? Cyberpunk is now retro-SF, just like rockets & rayguns. Be cool to see an OSR take on classic Gibsonian cyberpunk. The game would certainly have a "future as it looked from the 80's" feel. Cyberdecks, netrunning, monomolecular whips, and big-ass mohawks.

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  42. I want not a clone of a specific game, but a neo-classic game for Cold War atomic horror, and another for '40s/'50s rocket patrol SF. Alien invasions, marauder robots, and giant radioactive insects. I have an idea for how to write the atomic horror game; the second one, too, although I guess someone's done a game more or less like that.

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  43. "future as it looked from the 80's"
    Best moment ever in irregularwebcomic:
    Vader: TEAR THIS SHIP APART UNTIL YOU FIND THOSE MEMORY TAPES.

    Guardsman: Did you just say "memory tapes?"

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  44. Hmm...one system for Star Wars and Star Trek?

    Although, I’ve always been interested in running some kind of “alternative Star Wars”. Like a mash-up of Star Wars with classic Traveller or GURPS.

    I’m interested in an old west system. I want to do something like the Wild Wild Wild West meets Brisco County, Jr. I’m not sure what the ideal system for that actually looks like, though.

    I’d love to see a lighter version of GURPS. Not like TFT, though.

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  45. Wow. Some great ideas in here.

    I'd like to see a WWII game. Not historical. Something along the lines of Castle Wolfenstein, Guns of Naverone, or Kelley's Heroes.

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  46. The thing that I love about the OSR as a concept is that it's the ultimate grass roots do-it-yourself movement that grows out of the open systems.

    So beyond the DIY dark fantasy I'm kicking about using S&W, what would I next do or like to see that harks back in time a little?

    Probably a post-apocalyptic/cyber-punky people in cars thing. A game that falls somewhere between Games Workshop's initial idea for Dark Future (a cyberpunk RPG) and the minis game it became.

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  47. Traveller. Halfway through the first episode of Firefly, it dawned on me what a great Traveller campaign that would make.

    I liked James Bond, but it seems like it only plays well with 1-2 players. Top Secret seemed like a better system for larger groups, though it wasn't as polished.

    My favorite, though technically not an RPG, would be Car Wars. It was a great "pick up" game for us.

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  48. I dig the GORR system too. and I really wish Goblinoid Games would do some more with it. Like maybe somr weird fantasy/ sci-fi/ horror game out of like Planet Argo or Arduin.

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  49. I found out about Firefly from the Traveller forum because even the pre-debut publicity made it sound like Traveller.

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  50. Yes, Firefly would be awesome as a traveller variant

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  51. Western (especially weird west) or Superheroes.

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  52. Traveller variant? Firefly is Traveller straight out of the old little black box before the 3rd Imperium setting smothered everything else. Mongoose Traveller is an easy fit for Firefly and much cleaner system that the official Serenity game.

    I'd like a good official Barsoom game. I've been grousing about that for over 20 years now. Adamant's MARS was well written but it used d20 = fail in book.

    As we seem to keep restating Chaosium's BRP (RQ, CoC, etc.) is still in print, still played, and hasn't needed much improving in almost 30 years. I should just stop complaining and write up MARS BRP.

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  53. I think it would be important not to drag Dune down with too techie of a system. I hate to say it but Pendragon's model of generations and the way it handles values may be a better match for the character system.

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  54. Traveller variant? Firefly is Traveller straight out of the old little black box before the 3rd Imperium setting smothered everything else. Mongoose Traveller is an easy fit for Firefly and much cleaner system that the official Serenity game.

    Add setting and bake for 50 minutes at 350F.

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  55. Jason Durall is writing BRP Interplanetary... http://basicroleplaying.com/content.php/12-Interplanetary ...due out sometime this year.

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  56. @Kelvingreen If you want a good Cthulhuesque style campaign set in the here and now, Miskatonic River Press has done Our Ladies of Sorrow. The other option is The Laundry RPG from Cubicle Seven based on the books by Charles Stross.

    @John Fletcher Adamant's MARS is also available for Savage Worlds.

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  57. An old-schooly western would be the bee's knees, in my opinion. Of all the old games I used to play, I believe the most fun I had was when playing the second edition Boot Hill. Yeah, yeah ... more war-gamey than role-playing - but fun, nonetheless. :)

    A very close second was the Boot Hill inspired Gangbusters.

    So my votes would be westerns and 20/30s-era gangsters.

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  58. There's an interesting mini-game from Dragon 47 - Crimefighters. It has that pulpy 20s - 30s feel to it. I haven't played it, but it reads like fun.

    Maybe the next thing for the OSR is to have a few mini-games. You know, the one-off for when half the group is sick/kids sick/summer vacation/overtime at work/etc.

    Many a Barsoom mini-game can get everything rolling...

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  59. RE: MARS, yes I'm tempted to get the Savage Worlds version but last time I checked the print edition was mail order from a British POD service - quite pricey.

    RE: BRP I've also heard about Jason Durall's Interplanetary. If it get good reviews I'll be the first one in line. I like my BRP about as complicated as CoC or Stormbringer. Full on RQ with strike ranks, hit locations, and 3 variant strap-on magic systems is a bit much for me.

    I am going to go dig out my copy of Pendragon - it might be a good template for Dune or even Barsoom.

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  60. Not to beat a dead horse, but most of the game genres mentioned wistfully here are already done, or near completion, for BRP:

    http://basicroleplaying.com/content.php

    Looking forward to reading the reviews!

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