RPGaDay2022: Day 5/6/7

Playing catch-up, as is traditional, and on to day five, Friday’s question, which was: Why will they like this game?

It’ll be fun. Simple as that really. I mean, I presume they understand the general idea of RPGs, of what they’re getting into by showing up. The first game will be not too taxing stuff — maybe with pre-gen characters, maybe not — where the characters have to find this, stop that, rescue the whoever. Adventure, excitement, and really wild things. What’s not to like?

Day six, Saturday’s question: How would you get more people playing RPGs?

Tough one. I’m not sure there are many people who are unaware of RPGs at the moment, as they seem to be getting into more and more ‘general culture’ spaces these days. I think if I really wanted to give them a boost I’d maybe try for a big budget, star-name action adventure movie that shares the name of one of the main RPG systems. That might work?

Day seven, System Sunday: Describe a cool part of a system that you love.

If you’ve read any of my previous years of RPGaDay (I figure there’s bound to be one) then you probably already know I’m not that focused on systems. I’m more concerned with background, setting, genre, overall vibes, you know? I like a system that doesn’t get in the way. That said, there are bits and pieces of various systems that I do like.

For example:

The ‘tags’ for gear in the slow-dying-Earth environments of Apocalypse World are a neat aspect of the rules. They can be mechanical (eg combat rules stuff like armour piercing, amount of damage), constraints on how an item is used (takes time, needs to be close etc), or merely cues that suggest something to be said about the item (it’s big, it’s high-tech). Take for instance a revolver, rated in the game as “2-harm, close reload loud” – which describes the damage it does, the range, that it needs reloading, the fact that it’s not subtle. Say it’s a revolver with a scope on it and that adds ‘+far’ to the range options, meaning you can hit stuff further away. If you want it to be ornate, that adds ‘+valuable’ to the weapon – maybe it’s a particularly shiny example of the type.

It’s easy to come up with any amount of makeshift and custom weapons for your post-apocalyptic wanderings, simply by saying you want a big, messy, loud, bladed nightmare, or whatever else comes to mind.

I also like the dice mechanic that I think I first encountered in Amazing Tales, which is that there’s a single target score of ‘3 or more’ for everything, and what changes is the level of skill your character is using, represented by different dice. So if you’re playing a swashbuckling pirate, your sword skill may be a D12 but your horse-riding might be D6. You still have to get three plus whether you’re rolling to win a duel against an angry duke, or stealing a horse and fleeing the town.

In fact, I liked this mechanic so much I used a variation of it for Decadence, my game with vampires in it. Indeed I said much the same thing back when I was talking about that.

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