Saturday, August 24, 2013

Dread and Ragnarok - Roleplaying Games at Fan Expo

Yesterday I tried a slew of roleplaying games at the convention Fan Expo. A number of them I really enjoyed and some I felt were broken.

THE GOOD

DREAD (I forget the name of the creator)

FIVE STARS

This was my favourite of the games I tried yesterday. Oddly enough it used a Jenga set to determine how the events unfolded. The game was rather freeform and the players had a lot of options to explore in a town that is apparently haunted, has weird funky mushrooms, and seems to attract rather psychotic characters - including my character who was a pyromaniac with an unusual personality that mimics the personalities of those around him.

The Jenga-based game follows the idea that every time a character does something that could potentially result in death they have to move a Jenga piece. If the Jenga falls over their character dies. I think it was quite an interesting and fun way to have a roleplaying game with a high death toll - and thus a good game system to use when fighting zombies, etc.

RAGNAROK (or its long title "Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok", created by Andrew Valkauskas)

FOUR STARS

The game takes place during the mythological Ragnarok (Norse for Doomsday), which conceptually means this game is likely to be very interesting and high in figures and monsters from Norse mythology.

I really liked this one despite its complicated system of using runestones for actions. Unlike most games which use dice, the runes system feels a bit more like card based roleplaying. It was fun and interesting - and my viking berserker got to kill stuff - but it does take a little getting used to.

THE BAD

D&D NEXT

TWO STARS

A variant if Dungeons and Dragons, but I felt the game was rather broken and unbalanced. It is a problem with the rules system that needs to be fixed to prevent players from taking advantage of gaping holes in the rules.

DUNGEON WORLD

ONE STAR

This game is another new version of D&D that someone was promoting. It had even more rules problems than D&D Next and was very unbalanced and broken. Certain classes were ridiculously overpowered and others were completely gimped. Many of the abilities given to characters had no logical reason for them and were completely unrealistic. eg. The Fighter is waaaaaay too powerful, the paladin has ridiculous abilities - and is gimped compared to the Fighter. Even the Paladin's "Lay Hands" ability was gimped and useless. Various other class related problems within the game.

I must admit I was rather disappointed by the two Dungeons and Dragons variants. I have tried quite a few different versions of the game and have determined previously that 1st, 2nd and 3rd Edition D&D are the best versions of the game. 3.5 is too overpowered and ridiculous. 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons is a complete flop for a long list of reasons.

Next week I will be trying "Pathfinder", which is based off of 3.5, but is supposedly more toned down - but don't quote me on that because I have yet to try it and form my own opinion on it. Some people refer to it as being "D&D 3.75" so we shall see how it fares...

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