Thursday, 30 January 2014

Role Playing Games

A friend of mine, who has dipped his toe in and out of wargaming in the past, asked about role playing games after we were watching an episode of Big Bang Theory.

I talked to him about the fun i've had playing Pathfinder and D&D 3.5 before that, to which he said he'd possibly want to try it out at some point! So I spoke to the two other guys from Red Wyvern about having a short adventure and when discussing which system would be best as an intro game, it was suggested that I look at the 'Dragon Age' RPG. 

So the first step was to watch the 'Tabletop' video review/play through of it - the game was run by the creator of the game (Chris Pramas - Warhammer Fantasy roleplay 2nd Edition) who is from Green Ronin (makers of the Song of Ice and Fire RPG)

I must say I was impressed with what I saw - the rules set is quite striped back compared to other 'traditional' games from a first look it doesn't look to suffer from the problems of granularity and over the top detail of other games.. This was at the forefront of what Chris wanted to achieve

"There's a reason I was hot to design a game that could bring new blood into the hobby: the market has been shrinking for many years. Part of that has to do with the increasing complexity of tabletop RPGs. In many ways the roleplaying hobby has built a wall around itself and then we've all complained that no one comes to visit anymore while watching our comrades drift away into other pursuits" 

I really appreciate this approach, the phenomenon that Chris talks about isn't just restricted to the world of RPGs, I feel it is also happening to the modelling world too. So a decent effort to make a game that has, built into it, a desire to bring in new blood is all too welcome. It also helps me out no end with introducing a new player.

Pick up a pack

So I picked up the 'Set 1' pack which includes Game Master's Guide, Players Guide and a map of the realm of Ferelden in which the game is based. 

So far i've only been able to skim read the player and GM guide, but i'm impressed. It uses a 3D6 combat system, which gives a much more even and predictable gaming experience. it makes it more likely that your hero will do what you expect and intend against an enemy weaker or stronger than them - it doesn't mean a surprising result isn't likely to happen - its just that much easier to judge and interpret the situation.
The above image shows the likelihood of rolling certain results, as you can see there's a real bell curve to this one as opposed to the flat rate percentage of scoring a particular result on a D20 (5%). You can read an interesting conversation on D20v3D6 here.

The other things that make it easier and simpler to get into the game is the character creation and advancement. There are only three races - Dwarf, Human and Elf. Only three classes - Warrior, Rogue and Mage. There are only a select number of classes too, they are 'specialised' by use of 'traits and focuses' but it isn't overwhelming - you create you character with background and story - not with minute and rules.

Anyway! I've sung the games praises enough today.. I'm going to have another - deeper - look at the rules and see what it looks like. I'll, hopefully, track my progress getting into this game and running the first adventure!