Okay, this post arose from some frustrations of mine on an RPG list, that spilled over onto twitter, resulting in at least one old-school roleplayer looking at what I was describing with incomprehension and horror…
So this is kind of a beginners guide to what’s out in the wilds beyond emulating heroic fantasy* in RPG land…
Breaking the Ice , a game that provoked much derision on twitter, a two hander, no prep RPG of the first three dates of a relationship, playable in one evening… ideal as a first date, in fact!
Universalis is about the only truly “universal” rpg I’ve seen. Also GM less, creates an economy of story control to drive narrative.
Steal Away Jordan, a game where the PC’s are slaves in ante-bellum southern USA.
Grey Ranks , where PC’s are young (think child-adolescent-young adult) participants in the doomed Polish uprising of 1944
Nicotine Girls Where PC’s are dead-end girls.
From the same writer: My Life with Master, PC’s are minions of a Gothic villain, struggling for love.
Dogs in the Vineyard where PC’s are religious enforcers in a thinly fictionalised late 19th century west, called on to make moral judgements of the people. And occasionally shoot them. And each other.
And the list wouldn’t be complete without Sorcerer , the grandaddy of STORY NOW games; it looks like a conventional RPG in the White Wolf Vampire / Mage mold… but it suckers you. It’s all about dysfunctional relationships, and how much of an unspeakable sh*t your PC is prepared to become to get what they want… and what that makes them. Fantasy, yes. Heroic… only on it’s own terms.
Next time: more conventional, but kick ass games.
*In this case fantasy being any kind of adventure fiction simulator, be it D&D, Traveller, RuneQuest, Shadowrun… regardless of presence of magic, Dwarves, Elves and Capital Letters