Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Weekend of roleplaying

I played four, count 'em, four different RPGs this past weekend. Even more mind-bogglingly amazing is the fact that I had never played any of the four games before.

First up, some folks from had scheduled what is evidently a semi-annual day of gaming this past Saturday at Dragon's Lair. They broke the day up into two sessions, scheduling a few games to take place at each session. I got in on a Cyberpunk v3 session in the afternoon, and a Deadlands: Reloaded session in the evening, both with strangers I had never met before. (Well, I played with some of the evening people at the previous session. Doesn't count.) Know ye that I had played many many many games of the earlier editions of both of these games: Cyberpunk 2020 and good ol' fashioned needs-a-bucket o' dice classic Deadlands.

Overall, I was less than satisfied with the Cyberpunk session and pretty jazzed about Deadlands. I could rant for some time about the revisions in both, mind you. But in a nutshell:

I don't really like the setting as changed in CP3, and the presentation of the manual doesn't help with reading it- the layout is not good and all of the art is action figures, photographed. It turned me off enough to not really read the manual and see what has mechanically changed. I've actually read more of the GM screen than the manual. This is interesting because the FlashPak promotes itself as having microrules, pregen characters and bad guys, scenarios, and the usual tables and charts. Almost makes the rest of the manual obsolete, but far from it. There's very little setting info to put things into context.

Deadlands is still Deadlands: cowboys, Indians, and zombies. It's a little hokey but high on fun, delivering about exactly what it promises- a spaghetti western with supernatural horror. The slick new Savage Worlds rules definitely improve the speed of gameplay over the classic mechanics. I wouldn't say there's anything super revolutionary or innovative going on here, but the system has definitely evolved. I'm looking forward to playing more of it.

Sunday proved to be a day of madness for the Renegade Roleplayers of Austin, my gaming group. Our afternoon session was My Life with Master and we played the Shab-Al-Hiri Roach in the evening. With luck, one of the other guys in the group might yet write up an Actual Play post, so I'll mention it when it happens.

My Life with Master, the game of "playing Igor," was a little bit of a letdown, but several factors could have contributed to the situation: None of us had played the game before, and Nick and Nick had only made characters. I also think we had too many players- four, which resulted in a lot of downtime for the non-spotlight players. I bet this would play better with only three PCs and some cheatsheets for what-to-roll-when. I ultimately elect to reserve my opinion.

The Shab-al-Hiri Roach, on the other hand, was hella fun. It's GMless, which is weird, and 1984 Prime beat it in the 2005 Game Chef Competition, which is stranger. It's depraved and political and academia and unknowable horror based around a soul-destroying insect, but I hadn't before realized just how funny the game proved to be. I swear I hurt myself laughing. This one's definitely on the play it again list.

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