Friday, March 28, 2008

Rules, Rules, Rules...

Lately I've been on a RPG buying spree. Besides Hollow Earth Expedition, I also picked up the Savage Worlds basic rules, and-- truth be told-- some more d20 stuff. I'm interested in seeing how all of the different systems work-- not just playing one because that's the one I'm familiar with. Who knows?-- I might find out that one of the other systems is way better. So be prepared guys, I'll need someone to test these things out with me.

Of course, as Leelu and I discussed the other night, one of the great, yet wholly irrational appeals of the d20 system is the dice. All those lovely polyhedrals just make it so much fun. Which is the problem with GURPS (a system I haven't yet bought, but just might still)-- it only uses d6... which is kinda boring. Savage Worlds uses different dice, and in fact may give you more opportunities to use a variety of dice than d20 does. Hollow Earth Expedition introduces the Ubiquity system which is based on an even/odd "success" roll, so you can use any dice you want.

I want to try all of these rules at one time or another, for one game or another, but we'll probably always find our way back to d20. Why? Familiarity, investment of time, and last but certainly not least-- investment of money. I've got way too many d20 books to simply forsake the system. Which of course raises the question-- Fourth Edition or no? Let's be honest... we all know I'm going to buy the new set when it comes out (Happy Birthday to me!), but is it going to be the system I use? I don't know. It might not be the system I use when I DM-- which I really am planning on doing some day, honest. You might have to wait until after the Bar exam... but that is getting closer and closer all the time. Quite frankly, I've been buying so much RPG stuff and have so many games I want to run I don't know how I'll ever have time for it all. Maybe I'll leave all the 4.0 game mastering to Scott and Jason. I really do want to do a Hollow Earth Expedition campaign, and maybe a Savage Worlds pirate-themed campaign (with high fantasy already covered by d20 I think the other systems could be better used for something else). I also wouldn't mind tackling a couple of old school games... and when I say old school, I do mean old (not Chainmail old, but still...), Basic and Expert. Who wouldn't like to play Keep on the Borderlands using the old rules?

But then, I've got 3.5 modules, adventures, and resources out the yin-yang. Which brings us to...

Ptolus. Ptolus was written for and with the 3rd edition rules. By the time it came out, everything was adapted for 3.5, so it only makes sense to use the 3.5 rules to play it. I'm not sure how difficult 4.0 conversion would be for Ptolus, but why bother? I know a lot of you are really excited about the prospect of visiting the city by the spire, and so am I, but there is another adventure I'm also pumped about running: Rise of the Runelords (Tiger-- don't read these! You've already read or played the Hook Mountain Massacre, haven't you?).

Paizo has really stepped up to the plate with the Pathfinder series. Bigtime. I was blown away when I read the first chapter of Rise of the Runelords-- Burnt Offerings. It is one hell of an adventure, and the Pathfinder setting is simply awesome. We will definitely be playing it-- maybe before Ptolus. While the Ptolus setting is amazing and meticulously detailed, I wasn't as impressed by the adventures. The material is there to make some really in-depth and exciting stories, sure, but the "Welcome to Ptolus" modules pale in comparison to the Pathfinder adventures. I've been so impressed by all of the Pathfinder stuff I've read, that I might just make it the default setting for my Dm'ing. Which just makes recent events in the gaming world more interesting. Paizo recently announced that they will not convert Pathfinder to 4.0. In fact, they are spinning off Pathfinder as a new RPG under the Open Game License. Basically, Paizo decided it was going to release 3.75. For the next year Paizo is doing open play testing on the new system (not really new, it's just a major tweak of 3.5). The alpha version is available as a .pdf here. The beta version will be for sale as a paperback, or available as a free .pdf in August. Next August they plan on releasing the fully playtested version in hardback. Unless 4.0 completely blows me away... I think there is a very good chance that Pathfinder might be my game of choice in the future.



Leelu said...

I've spoken to people who've played some preliminary 4e mini-adventures. They have universally loved it. It's a thought.

Tiger said...

*shudder* Yeah I have.

Unfortunately, the thing about haveing two goups is that one group might already be running a series of games that the other group will want to play.

Degolar said...

I have to admit I'm resistant to changing too much too quickly, so I'm not anticipating 4e. the rules we have now seem to work well enough and I don't see any reason to need to change. Nevertheless, I know we'll end up making the transition sooner or later and I accept the inevitable. All the support materials and new books will make the conversion, and we will follow. So when it happens, it happens.

And I went through a phase where I experimented with lots of different games and systems, but I guess I found the one I like. I'll go along if you want to try some other things, but probably won't lead the charge.

I'm really looking forward to Ptolus, though. I think there's so much more you can do with an urban setting than dungeoneering.