Friday, October 7, 2011

Open Friday: Other Games

Though initially RPGs and RPG campaigns were heavily inspired by literature, it didn't take long before other media made their influence felt -- including other games. This was true even of myself, who generally tried to avoid mixing one game with another back in the day. But, for my 12th birthday in 1981, I was given a card game called Dragonmaster and I fell in love with its beautifully illustrated deck, whose suits depicted four contending noble families. In fairly short order, I found myself using the cards to represent NPCs in my campaign, a practice I continued for a very long time.

Though I no longer have the game -- though I wish I did -- I think back fondly on how I used it in conjunction with D&D. So, my question for today is: did anyone else do something similar with a non-RPG? If so, what non-RPG game did you incorporate into your roleplaying campaign and how?

30 comments:

  1. For a short-lived pulp Feng Shui game, I used card game cards as "miniatures." I slipped them into little plastic stands and set them up to show approximate location. There wasn't any grid involved, but it gave a colorful sense of the scene. Some of the games I raided cards from were Mythos, Magic: The Gathering, and Before I Kill You, Mister Bond.

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  2. The classic example is, of course, Avalon Hill's Outdoor Survival. That was really before my time, though - I relied on the outdoor rules from the Expert Set onwards.

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  3. Wow - I too had Runesword as a teenager! I'd completely forgotten about it, however seeing the images, I definitely remember the game...

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  4. I loved playing Dragonmaster with my parents and uncle growing up. They still have 1.5 sets somewhere (kids are hard on games with pieces...)I wish someone like Fantasy Flight would get the rights to reprint it.

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  5. These cards look a little familiar... Did this game have "stackable" (interlocking) plastic jewels?

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  6. In case anyone doesn't know, the Dragonmaster art is by Bob Pepper, who also did the art for the Milton Bradley Dark Tower game:

    Dragonmaster

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  7. I've used the cards from Dominion to generate ideas for setting components - and even discussed the process here.

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  8. Shadowlord:

    http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/1146/shadowlord

    I remember the game itself being fairly popular around my household, but I loved how the character cards were so suggestive of personality. We used them a great deal in the 83-85 timeframe in our D&D games. I might track down a copy someday...

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  9. ""In case anyone doesn't know, the Dragonmaster art is by Bob Pepper, who also did the art for the Milton Bradley Dark Tower game:"

    I did not know that, but I thought the style reminded me of Dark Tower, especially the brigands from that game.

    I had Dragonmaster when I was a kid, but I don't recall if I ever actually played it. No idea what happened to it.

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  10. @R Flowers, yes, Dragonmaster had interlocking 'jewels.'

    I had Dragonmaster, and my best friend had Shadowlord. Both games affected our roleplaying games to some extent, but I don't remember us ever using the characters from them directly as NPCs. More of just inspiration for types of characters or factions.

    I think my little sister got my Dragonmaster game. No idea if she still has it or not.

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  11. James, I did the same thing with these cards. I think there were even a few PCs in my game that took their names from characters here--particularly the druids.

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  12. "In case anyone doesn't know, the Dragonmaster art is by Bob Pepper, who also did the art for the Milton Bradley Dark Tower game"

    I didn't realize it either but I love his art.

    I almost want to track down a copy of that game now.

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  13. I'm a big fan of 'fidgets' in my game, things like bags of glass beads for gems, prop blades, real scrolls, etc. Things the players can pick up and gain a sense of tangibility from. Anyway, back in... 2002? Pressman toys released a game called 'Dungeon of Doom'. An electronic game with a talking skull. You had to complete various mini games to earn keys. Use the keys to unlock the central chest and win the treasure. My brother had a copy of this game, and I borrowed it to be the end piece to a short campaign.

    My players get to the end of the campaign, and I set the game on the table-top. Much time was spent having fun with the silly thing, and to this day, the characters speak of the many trials of the Dungeon of Doom.

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  14. We all have stacks and stacks of Magic the Gathering cards that we don't play with anymore, right? I don't like much of the art on Magic cards, so I've reduced my collection down to mostly just cards with art that I like. Here's two things I've done with them:

    1. As random encounter table. I've built a stack of dungeon encounters and a stack of wilderness encounters. In fact, the cards practically serve as a "monster manual" for me, because I can base the monster's combat capabilities on the stats found on the card. For example, a 3/5 monster can indicate that it attacks as a 3 HD monster but has 5 HD worth of hit points.

    2. As random inspiration generator. I put together separate stacks for different environments: weird dungeon, deep jungle, snowy mountains, etc. Draw a card for flash inspiration. Draw several cards and mix-and-match elements to create something bizarre.

    I'm also thinking of ways to use Land cards to generate wilderness and represent discoveries made while exploring the wilderness.

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  15. I used the Gettysburg board for a Call of Cthulhu game.

    Starship Troopers board got used in Gamma World and Traveller games, probably because of the big pad of sheets used fro arachnid tunnels.

    I commandeered all the Yahtzee dice to play D&D.

    A chess set got used in place of miniatures now and again. (and not for the cliche chess room)

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  16. @fireinthejungle - Awesome idea! If I could "exalt" or "+1" you, I would!

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  17. The start of the end of a long drawn campaign was done in a PC game (warlords I think) where the PCs would take actions over email or via phone or face to face - I would translate them to the PC and let the game turn play out.

    In the end the final chapter of the campaign begun with the high level PCs holding what they had acquired via the computer game and went on from there.

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  18. When we were younger and too cheap and impatient to buy or paint lead minis, we used the plastic pieces from Milton Bradley's Shogun boardgame. The ninja was particularly popular.

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  19. I had/have a pack of dinosaur & prehistoric animal flash cards (picture on front, name & species info on the reverse). I taped D&D stat info on the back; show one side to the players, run via the back side. Used for stuff like X1, Isle of the Ape, the "Lost Valley", etc.

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  20. Or how about this: I had a 2-foot tall plastic Godzilla toy in the "Shogun Warriors" line. One time in high school we were playing Marvel Superheroes (using board & inch-high fold-up figures), and halfway through a session I drop that down on the city map and say "here's what you see". (Godzilla did have a comic in Marvel continuity, after all.)

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  21. Zenopus Archives said: "In case anyone doesn't know, the Dragonmaster art is by Bob Pepper, who also did the art for the Milton Bradley Dark Tower game"

    Thank you for confirming that! At first glance, I thought James was talking about some expansion to Dark Tower, actually!

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  22. I used a far-flung corner of the starmap from Frontier: Elite II as the basis for my Rogue Trader campaign. In hindsight, this was probably a mistake; while scientifically plausible, it wasn't melodramatic enough for 40K.

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  23. I have never even heard of this card game, but those cards are very pretty.

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  24. Legos were excellent for building dungeons and walls and the like.

    Also got a lot of use out of my 'Crossbows and Catapults' game...both for "cyclopean" walls and the assorted figures that game with it.

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  25. Thanks for the blast form the past, I had a copy of the game and I think we played a couple of times, but the cards became NPC's in our game as well. Thanks for bringing back some awesome memories.

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  26. When I first started running my own games I used the maps and tokens from the Vampyre TSR minigame for Basic D&D. Wish I still had that game.
    I've also used a Clue board for a Call of Cthulhu scenario as well as a Sherlock Holmes:Consulting Detective game for gaslight Cthulhu adventure ideas.

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  27. Thanks for this article. I've been trying to remember the name of this game for years. I had it as a young man as well but couldn't talk my family into playing it. I've been wracking my brain for the title and you've done it. Awesome!

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  28. I used, and still have the Dragonmaster game as well actually I mapped it to use for a deck of many things :D (also got it as a birthday gift!) I also still have the cheezy plastic crystals! The only thing i'm missing is the manual and original box (were lost in a flood actually) but thanks to boardgamegeek i got the manual (you know 2nd game on bbg btw! http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2/dragonmaster )

    -david
    http://www.d4d6d8d10d12d20.com - My Gaming RPG/Battletech Blog

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  29. I have used MB's Hero Quest board and minis and props for my early D&D games.

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