John Kahane (jkahane) wrote,
John Kahane
jkahane

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RPGaDay in August - August 1st: First!

Since the month of August and GenCon 2019 (and I'm not going to the convention this year) are upon us, it's time to inaugurate the annual tradition started by Dave Chapman (aka autocratik), #RPGaDay. Once again, Anthony Boyd and the RPGBrigade are stepping in to host this year.

Just like previous years, #RPGaDAY is a celebration of everything positive and fun about tabletop roleplaying. The premise is simple - just download the image with all the questions on it from the RPGBrigade site (or the image posted below). Look at the questions, and then, one question per day in August, post something on social media, your blog, anything you like. Just spread the word about how cool RPGing is. If you like, you can share your post on the #RPGaDAY page on the RPGBrigade site and they'll collate everyone's posts.

Enjoy! :)





Day 1 - First!

This seems like a good time to tell folks where I started with rpgs. This is the piece that I wrote on my blog back when I had a Comnet account back in 2005. It was linked to in my blog when I first started here in July of 2006 on LJ, so I'll start with that "first"...

*****
The Basics
Welcome to my page devoted to roleplaying games and other games that might be of interest to you. There are, of course, many different games out there, but this page is devoted to specific game types, notably several roleplaying games. One never knows what I might add at the spur of the moment to this page!

The most obvious question that one can start with is, "What is roleplaying?" There are many answers to this question, but I have written a small article that attempts to answer the question of what roleplaying is. Or not. You will have to decide whether the answer is satisfactory for yourself, but there are other considerations to take into account here. (Note the page I wrote about mentioned above is no longer available, so not included here.)

Gaming is a hobby for most of the people who like roleplaying games and other such games. Roleplaying games are very interesting, have a lot of creativity and imagination that has gone into the creation of the adventures for the roleplaying experience. Many times the person who runs the game, called the Dungeon Master, GamesMaster, Storyteller, or any other number of titles, has gone to great lengths to research one or more aspects of the adventure, also called a scenario, that he or she is about to run. Some fans devote way to much time to playing roleplaying games, but this is equally true of all hobbies where it turns into an obssession.

One of the most positive aspects of the roleplaying game is that it is a social game, very much involving interaction between players and allowing those who play to develop their social and cultural skills. Roleplaying games teach rules, they teach a form of etiquette that is unique to roleplaying (but which translates well into other settings), and they teach the ability to think on one's feet and to deal with unexpected situations. There are plenty of other positive aspects of roleplaying games that one could discuss, but there are also the negative sides.

The Issues
There are many issues that come up in roleplaying games, issues of morality, violence, and other questionable behaviour and idiosyncracies. I have chosen not to deal with these here in the introduction, but have devoted a separate page to these issues that you-- Hmm, that page is no longer available to view either. Rats!

My Roleplaying
With that out of the way, I guess we can now talk about the roleplaying pages that are in front of you. I have been roleplaying now for almost thirty years; some would argue a large chunk of my life, but for me it has always been a means of expressing my creativity and imagination. Everyone begins roleplaying in different ways...so I guess I should tell you a little bit about this.

Fantasy Roleplaying Games
I was first introduced to roleplaying games in 1970, at the age of 15, by David Fisher, a friend of mine at the school (and later, the CEGEP I was attending in Montréal). A small group of players would get together and play a game that one of the folks called "Laertia." It was a world and a set of rules that he had created, since he was fond of a set of sf and fantasy books that he had read once, and he wanted to play in that world. In 1974, David picked up and showed me a copy of the game that later became the major fantasy rpg of the day, Chainmail . I was enthralled by the game, and took it up myself and started to run my first campaign; I switched to the Dungeons and Dragons game when they came out in late 1974 or early 1975, but didn't play that for long, because in 1975, the first edition of Empire of the Petal Throne, based on the world of Tékumel created by Professor M.A.R. Barker came out, and I was hooked on this truly innovative game world.

I ran (and played on the odd occasion) games in the world of Tékumel using that first set of rules for a good two or three years, on and off, playing in Dave's Dungeons and Dragons until the advent of RuneQuest, and Chivalry & Sorcery. Both of these games had worlds that were interesting to me, moreso than the world of D&D, especially the RuneQuest RPG by CHAOSium. This was a game that really stretched the imagination moreso than D&D had ever done, simply because the world created for
this game was one that was more of a storytelling world, as opposed to the type of world created by the TSR people. Sometime in this period, I also discovered the original Traveller, and found the entirely new side of the gaming within the science fiction genre.

I abandoned the world of Tékumel and the Empire of the Petal Throne in or about 1978, as I had had enough of the Dungeons & Dragons system. In 1979, I was fortunate enough to obtain a copy of a game system called DragonQuest, a game system that was different enough from most of the other fantasy rpgs out there, but which had a lot of elements that I really liked, notably the magic and magic item creation mechanics. I ran DragonQuest for several years in the world of the basic D & D system, and then decided in 1983 to adapt the world of Lyra, created by author Patricia C. Wrede in a series of novels, to that game. While I have run several other fantasy rpgs - notably Ars Magica , Talislanta, Lace & Steel, GURPS, Agone and The Dying Earth (set against the world created by Jack Vance, with a creative set of rules
by Robin D. Laws), and Arrowflight - over the years, I have run DragonQuest for the most part for almost 25 years now, even with the dabbling with several other fantasy rpgs.

And then came the real twist of fate... In 2005, Guardians of Order (the company best known for the BESM rpg) released a Tri-Stat version of Tékumel: Empire of the Petal Throne. When I looked at the game, I realised that I had finally found a truly gameable roleplaying game based on the world of Tékumel created by M.A.R. Barker, that I had
been searching for all these years subconsciously. I picked up some of the Tékumel world-related materials off the internet, bought the game itself, and have joyously gone back to running stuff in M.A.R. Barker's highly detailed game world. So my fantasy rpging experience has now come full circle.

Science Fiction Roleplaying Games
On the science fiction side of things, let's see... I first discovered the science fiction
rpg in the late 1970s with Traveller and Universe, but over the years I've found that I'm not all that much of a science fiction rpg fan, even if I did run Universe for the longest time, heck, not quite for as long as I have the DragonQuest fantasy system cited above (this should come as no surprise, since the two games were created by SPI within about a couple of years of one another, before the company collapsed). In another twist, one of the games that I have run sporadically on and off over the years, that I have always considered science fiction despite the fantasy-like trappings, has been Skyrealms of Jorune , an rpg that was first published in 1984. The world of Jorune is quite unique and has a distinctive feel to it, and to be honest, reminded me a lot of both the world of Tékumel and the world of Talislanta - not surprising since it was influenced by both of those worlds and Vance's Dying Earth as well. I ran Skyrealms of Jorune sporadically over the years, and have never really regretted it at all. The world of Jorune gave me a playground in a science fiction setting that made a nice alternative to the Universe game system with all its star-spanning action. In addition to these two systems and Traveler, I have run a few other systems even more sporadically over the years - Ringworld (based on Larry Niven's books), Space: 1889 (Victorian science fiction and still a favourite), Doctor Who (the FASA version of the game), Fading
Suns
, Blue Planet, Orbit, and several others that I have forgotten about.

Meanwhile, 1999 saw the release of what has to be the most innovative, creative concept for a time travel roleplaying game to come along in a very long time. While I have been a fan of Doctor Who for a long time (and even ran the FASA version of the game), I have always wanted to find a decent, scientifically based time travel roleplaying game. I have been a fan
of the Continuum: Roleplaying in the Yet rpg now since its debut, and have enjoyed many hours of running this game (although I do wish I could play it as well), although the gaming groups that I play with have decided to play the game only once in a while, as they find it to be both somewhat complex and a bit mind-numbing. Oh, well, c'ést la vie and all that.

Modern-Day Roleplaying Games
Horror roleplaying games are not something that I've played or worked with a lot in my life, simply because I prefer to read about that kind of stuff, rather than play it. On the other hand, the faerie and urban fantasy genres has always interested me (especially after Emma Bull's wonderful War for the Oaks novel), but there had never really been a solid modern-day roleplaying game that allowed one to deal with this subject adequately. I began running horror roleplaying games with the Call of Cthulhu rpg, based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft, back in the 1980s and stuck with that for the most part, although I did run the Chill roleplaying game as well, and there were a couple of others as well in that time that I've forgotten about. In addition, I ran Jonathan Tweet's marvellous Over the Edge rpg of modern-day surrealism, although I haven't run that in years for various reasons. In 1996, the WitchCraft roleplaying game of the supernatural came out from
Myrmidon Press (and later evolved when it was picked up by Eden Studios, and given a make-over; I was heavily involved in the Eden Studios' creation of the 2nd Edition of the game, but won't deal with that here - you can read the credits on the game, if you like!). While I ran Eden Studios wonderful WitchCraft RPG for several years, the game system and the
manner in which the Unisystem rules are divided amongst other books in their various lines, has grated on me (sort of like GURPS), I switched between various systems over the years. I have run various systems - including Underworld (not to be confused with the movie of the same name), Principia Malefex, Dreamwalker, and Noir (the roleplaying game of film noir, set in the 1920's and 1930's), among others.

However, I soon came to recognise that I didn't actually want a horror rpg, per sé, so much as one that was set against the world of faerie tales and modern urban fantasy. Late in 2003, I discovered that Phil Brucato had created just a roleplaying game that was being marketed by Laughing Pan Productions, called Deliria: Faerie Tales for a New Millennium, and I fell in love with the game when I picked it up. It was exactly the urban fantasy roleplaying game that I had been looking for, and had an element of the gothic and the horror to it that was just right. I've been running the Deliria rpg ever since, and have been pleasantly surprised with its sheer scope and quality.

Other Roleplaying Games
Over the years, I've played and run a few roleplaying games that don't really fit neatly into the genres covered above. I've been a fan of the super-hero comics for a long time (being a long-time Golden Age and Legion of Super-Heroes fan!), and ran the DC Heroes roleplaying game, originally from Mayfair Games (now the deathly generic Blood of Heroes rpg from Pulsar Games), although I had looked at Champions, Villains & Vigilantes, Golden Heroes, and a couple of others that I've forgotten about. I've also run a wonderful game from West End Games called Torg: The Possibility Wars, a game that still bears the distinction of being the first multi-genre game, positing as it did alternate worlds and dimensions set against specific genre types. There was also SteamLogic's Mechanical Dream, a very interesting, very alien rpg that had a game world unlike many that I had seen (but which can be best compared to Tékumel and Skyrealms of Jorune. Finally, there is Malcolm Craig's wonderful astate rpg that is very much an apocalyptic Dickensian vision of the future, with a marvellous game world, a sense of mystery and "Big Brother is watching you" to it, but a game that is largely oriented around PDF game products and the like.

Final Thoughts
And there you have it, my life with roleplaying games and this hobby. In the years that I've been playing roleplaying games, I've probably played and ran at least fifty different roleplaying games - some of which I've mentioned above, and many of which have good memories for me, and some of which have very...sour memories. I've run/played some of these games as
strictly "one-shots" (where players have decided they didn't really like the game or wanted to really play something else). I've pretty much enjoyed my (roleplaying) gaming hobby over the years, although I have to admit to being more creative and enjoying myself more as a GamesMaster than as a player, although being a player is a good way to keep one's "hands" in the playing side; it provides a balance to the GMing side, and never lets one forget... And I've played some pretty enjoyable, and memorable, characters in my time.
*****

My tastes and habits in gaming have changed since I wrote this post way back in 2005/6, and to be honest, I guess that should be expected. I'm not the gamer I was back then, and I like to think I've grown in positive ways both in real life and in my gaming since those days. So, take this old perspective on gaming of mine with a grain of thyme and coriander. :)

And there you have this "First!" post for #RPGaDay for August, 2019. Comments, thoughts, questions, etc. are all welcome, of course.
Tags: #rpgaday, gaming hut, personal, rpg hut
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