Weird, Specific Loves

What about a particular role-playing game do you love?
It can be a nostalgic love or any other type of love, of which there are many.
Let's pretend I list a bunch of different kinds of love here.

I love the city maps in Marvel Super Heroes.

I think most maps slow down play, but there's something about the look of those maps.

Comments

  • edited March 2
    I love Eon for changing the name of orcs, ogres and goblins to tiraks, trukhs and ghurds which somehow was enough to drop all the stereotypical ideas of orcs and buy into that settings specific vision for them (which in differed little from the stereotype).
  • I love Rolemaster's critical hit tables (2e).

    I've tried to incorporate them in different games, have tried to 'fix' Rolemaster (to my tastes, obviously) so I could keep using them, but none of that has ever worked out. They are so very erratic, so intricately tied to the combat system (stun, must parry etc.), but I just can't seem to let go.
  • I love Rolemaster's critical hit tables (2e).

    I've tried to incorporate them in different games, have tried to 'fix' Rolemaster (to my tastes, obviously) so I could keep using them, but none of that has ever worked out. They are so very erratic, so intricately tied to the combat system (stun, must parry etc.), but I just can't seem to let go.
    I also have a bit of love for those critical hit(& miss)tables. I miss things going horribly awry.
  • I love how aspect in Fate are double-edged.

    I love the illustrations, maps, and general design aesthetic of The Black Hack.

    I love how Lasers & Feelings uses just one stat, and has you roll over or under depending on what you’re doing.

    I love how The Smallville RPG/Cortex Drama uses value statements and die sizes to mechanize the idea of a character arc.
  • I love how conflicts with unknown outcome in Okult are resolved by asking your co-players "What do you think will happen?"
  • I love the way that Chuubo's Marvelous Wish Granting Engine mechanizes character arcs and their pacing. It's so useful that I've found myself using it in my non-rpg fiction writing, because it generally just lays out such a fantastic structure and pacing for the genres I work in.
  • I love creating new things in Vast & Starlit.
  • I love in A Penny For My Thoughts when two players have to suggest what happens next, particularly the second player. The first player has all sorts of freedom, to narrate many different paths. But the second player's decisions are very different: they can offer a completely different path for the story... or they can take the first player's idea and augment it. Build on it. Give the same basic story, but with slightly different details.

    So the central player, who has to pick between the two paths, sometimes has to decide between wildly different outcomes. Sometimes, though, they have their choices constrained: if both people suggesting a path agree that one event will happen, then it happens, and the active player's only choice is about some smaller details.


    One other thing I love about this: it means that at least two players have approved any course to the story. This is a subtle feature in a lot of successful games, from Fiasco to Swords Without Master. Here, it means that any moment of uncertainty is supported by two people at the table: the one who created the path and the active player that chose it. This isn't the full group's consensus, but it does mean at least someone at the table supports where the story is going.
  • edited March 6
    I love that:
    Otherkind dice let the player decide how the narrative is likely going to go after they roll the dice and it's their decision if attaining the goal is worth the sacrifice, usually (most elegant yet compelling dice mechanic ever);

    Danger Patrol's style and role cards can create memorable characters in under five minutes, and they are a cheat-sheet for play (best character sheet ever);

    Ghost/Echo's simple but suggestive/evocative list of names for people, places, and things lets players create a whole narrative/world almost from scratch without all the usual head-scratching about names (most fecund world-creation tool ever). And I love that it fits on one sheet.

    Mesopotamians' pre-gens are undead Mesopotamian kings traveling across the country trying to make it big as a rock band (Weirdest setup for a story I've ever seen).

    in A Thousand Years Under the Sun, you can tell the story of a community's rise (and fall) by drawing pictures on a map (illustrated history as a game--cool idea).

    in Love and Darkness, you can tell a compelling story about a 'family' with just a deck of playing cards (handiest game ever).





  • Otherkind dice let the player decide how the narrative is likely going to go after they roll the dice and it's their decision if attaining the goal is worth the sacrifice, usually (most elegant yet compelling dice mechanic ever)
    Couldn't agree more!

  • There's nothing weird about loving Otherkind's dice mechanic. It's just really a good idea that can be used in a lot of interesting ways.
    Mesopotamians' pre-gens are undead Mesopotamian kings traveling across the country trying to make it big as a rock band (Weirdest setup for a story I've ever seen).
    The weird premise comes directly from the song the game is based on.
  • edited March 7
    @NickWedig Yes, but I love otherkind dice to the point of distraction yet I'm only luke-warm about the game setting.
  • Two of my favorite mechanics are Devil's Bargains in Blades in the Dark. Offering a narrative twist to an action, that doesn't automatically dominate the end result, in exchange for a bonus die? Love it.

    Additionally, I'm super into the scene structure cards from Untold, the Rory Story Cube RPG. They are pretty minimalist but I think there is a lot of creative space lurking around here.
  • I love Fulminata (first ed) initiative system - players move in order of social status (all aristrocrats go first, all equestrians go second, all plebs go last). To hell with realism, the aristocracy really does run everything.

    Which reminds me - Steal Away Jordan - where the GM assigns names to the characters. What a simple upending of a central RP mechanic that immediately sets the tone for the game!
  • I remember how excited I was when I found the Spellburn mechanic in Dungeon Crawl Classics, it was the first non-mainstream rpg I had ever read.

    Basically the mechanic says that a wizard can sacrifice part of themselves to make their spells more powerful. Mechanically this just involves reducing one of your stats and adding it to the roll, and in the fiction this could mean anything from a sacrifice of blood to giving up some of your youthfulness and suddenly aging.

    Magic is very difficult and dangerous in the game, and Spellburning is often necessary. At the end of the day it's just another kind of resource management, but the fiction around it made the choice feel so much more dramatic. I still love mechanics that focus on what a character is willing to sacrifice to achieve their goals, like re-rolls in Trollbabe which seem like purer version of the same sort of choice.
  • In D&D, I love the art on p 148, p 76, and p 188 in the 5e PHB.
  • I love that Gangbusters specifically tells GMs not to make adventures for Criminal Class characters. It's their players' jobs to find the action on their own in the setting, and make their own breaks in the world.


    That's not true of any of the other classes.
  • Wow, that's great!
  • I love basically everything about Meikyuu Kingdom, but in particular the implied functionality of certain rules to support long-term campaign play with multiple and/or replacement PCs. Some specific ones include:
    • If you want to play a non-human (or technically "non-generic") PC, you have to actually encounter a monster during play, persuade them to join you, and then "convert" them into a new PC once they're back in your kingdom (and you can acquire custom mounts through the same process).
    • The question of what level new PCs start at? There's explicitly a facility for your kingdom that you have to pay to build (and it's a tavern too, because of course that's where high-level characters hang out) in order to let new PCs start at the party's average level, otherwise it's level 1. Similarly, another option lets you create a new PC that's essentially a clone of a PC who just died.
    • PCs that aren't taken on an adventure give potential benefits when you leave them behind based on their Job (but at the same time, you also start to get penalized for having too many PCs as part of your kingdom).
    Which is all like...okay, in and of themselves those are pretty straightforward rules. But the way they're presented as diegetic options you have to actually procure in-game to use, and the fact that some of them (new PC level, dead character clones, monster PCs) are nods to classic D&D conundrums have always made me smile.
  • I love the exact phrase Polaris uses for the most common mechanic in the game: "But Only If". It's great because it fits perfectly in the game and also out of the game. We who have played Polaris will say "but only if" to each other in real life, half tongue in cheek but half no-really-I'm-serious. Best three words in an RPG.
  • The names in Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple, and also how the entire game reflects growing and entering a new phase of life (coming of age, the journey from childhood to adulthood, and what Erikson would call “core conflicts”)

    The simplicity of the free words in Happy Birthday Robot (and, but) and how they make it able to continue the one sentence limitation and give the ability to add to something (and) or twist it (but).
  • @yukamichi I love the depth of thought and the careful understanding of play that those little tidbits display! Very cool.
  • I love a lot of things about Archipelago, but I especially love the "No, And" cards, because of the splattered blood on them.
  • edited June 10
    I love that the initiation missions in Dogs in the Vineyard, especially that your opposition might be the version of yourself that you want to move past.

    I love the seasons in Mouse Guard, that they have their own dice pools (and thus you roll against Winter itself) and that they change after a number of weather-related twists.

    I love the Grind in Torchbearer for how it makes action economy an ever-present part of the game.

    I love conditions in Masks, because their input and effect are mechanical (gain one by failing certain rolls, they impact your rolls) but you remove them purely narratively (lashing out at someone, destroying something, opening up, etc).

    I love the claims map in Blades in the Dark, for offering players a non-geographical campaign map.
  • OT: Will Meikyuu Kingdom ever be translated? I’ve read so many tantalizing glimpses of the setting and mechanics but I don’t read Japanese!
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