It’s a friday night, all of your mates are out on the town, clubbin’ it up. But that isn’t your scene is it? You would rather do something geeky, maybe some paper mache dragon’s eggs, or finishing up the last few chapters of your favorite fantasy novel. I have another suggestion, grab a few friends, hunt down some d20’s and let’s Pen and Paper RPG it up.
I’ve been wanting to write this article for a while but kept on running into the best way to present it. You want to get new people into the hobby, introduce veterans to different systems, or just try something new then hopefully there will be something in this article that will appeal to the RPG geek in you. So here is a list of things that are always helpful to decide before playing your first Pen and Paper RPG.
1. ) Decide which type of PnP RPG you want to run or play – There is a wide variety of gameplay styles and genres in the pen and paper rpg market. Deciding which one you would like to try or which your group of friends would enjoy can be a difficult choice, or can be as easy as pie. One of the easiest ways to decide is pick a genre and then find a system that matches your style.
2.) Can’t decide on a genre? Here are a few of my favorite genres and settings, hopefully they’ll jump start some ideas.
Deadlands – This game is the epitome of the “Weird West” genre, set in an alternate universe USA were all sorts of foul creatures have risen up from beyond the stars, and some right out of the dirt. Deadlands has seen multiple printings, multiple systems have been used and for those of you new to roleplaying they even have a d20 version (D&D version more or less).
Pathfinder – Originally a Dungeons and Dragons setting, Pathfinder has evolved over the course of it’s lifespan to become what many people know as D&D 3.75. With rules that even the playing field for the characters and merge or simplify some of the more unwieldy rules Pathfinder is one of my favorite settings that have come out of the D&D OGL* era. I can tell you about the setting itself (Golarion), or we could talk about the society that criss crosses the world, exploring the hidden places, and forgotten dungeons (The Pathfinder Society). But maybe the picture of one of the coolest looking dwarves ever could give you just the tiniest of nudges in the right direction. If you are looking for somewhere to start look no further than Pathfinder.
Call of Cthulhu 1920 – Welcome to Horror, welcome to Arkham, to Dunwich. The Call of Cthulhu RPG line has always appealed to the part of me that loves the darkness in the world, the hidden corners and the horror of both the common and the mundane.
Dragon Age RPG – I love Dragon Age, it’s pretty plain and simple, I loved the first game, I loved the second game. Although I didn’t love them the same way I could not help but still enjoy the shit out of them. While I could tell you everything I love about this game and the system it is built on. In this case I would like you to watch a video, a video filled with the dulcet tones of Chris Hardwick, Sam Witwer, Kevin Sussman, and the ineffable Wil “Don’t Be a Dick” Wheaton.Please enter the url to a YouTube video.
Mutants and Masterminds – Superheroes, tights, one of the best superhero role playing games out there. The newer editions allow for so much creativity and freedom that it might seem a little daunting but with the right people it can end up being the superhero tale of a lifetime.
Ravenloft – “Ravenloft is a campaign setting for the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. It is an alternate time-space existence known as a pocket dimension called the Demiplane of Dread, which consists of a collection of land pieces called domains brought together by a mysterious force known only as “The Dark Powers“. Each domain is mystically ruled by a being called a “Darklord“.” – Wikipedia.
Ravenloft is this and so much more, my first introduction to Ravenloft was the original module when I was but a wee lad, a few friends and I had found it in his father’s books and aspired to run a game, what ended up occurring was nothing like dungeons and dragons but was such a pure form of storytelling and imagination that I still think back on that first game to this day. That is where it all began for me, where my love of telling an engaging story and watching the looks on my friends faces transform from horror, to awe, and then to whatever emotion lay in between.
So, what does all this mean? There are many more numbers to that list of things I mentioned and we only got through the first two. Hopefully I did not bore you too much, and you’ll all come back to read numbers three through… Ummm whenever I run out of numbers I suppose.