#RPGaDay2022 – Day 2 – What?

The question for Day Two of #RPGaDay2022 is: What is a great introductory RPG? This is a deceptively simple-looking question. On the one hand, it seems perfectly viable to recommend the same game that we ourselves started with. On the other, it seems appropriate to recommend something that we prefer more now. When we hang in stasis between the two hands, it can be hard to pierce the veil of preference to get to the specifically relevant nuances of the no man’s land of “it depends,”

DAY TWO – written by hand, not typed, on my new Galaxy TAB S8 Ultra, while one arm was pinned beneath a sleeping English Setter. Please DO NOT send help. We like it here, it’s nice~

Apparently, I like navigating that ambiguous-seeming land. In my experience, and in line with my preferences for play, it is extremely helpful to be able to draw on motivations other than potential for fun after learning a new way to play. The motivations I look for are the pre-existing drive to do the things that the characters in the game are called upon or are given the opportunity to attempt. Discovering genre interests, estimating a degree of interest in and capacity for processing the mechanisms of play provided by the system, and measuring your own interest in and panache handling the system being proposed are essential steps in selecting the best option from the literal hundreds available. There are tens of thousands of games out there but matches for who you are going to be playing with, what genre and degree of intensity inherent in the system that group is best suited to play with, and your own ability to put it in front of them in an engaging and productive way are for fewer.

To speak directly to my post from yesterday, I would have been best served by pitching Chaosium’s Stormbringer to “He Who Was Not Named Roger.” It was wild enough, unpredictable enough, over-the-top enough, tactically interesting enough, simple enough, and by Arioch METAL enough to have really fired his imagination and interest. Sadly, I did not think to ever invite him, and even if I had, I had not yet heard of Stormbringer or any other BRP game. I would have pitched AD&D as that was the only item being consistently served at our tables in those days. Sometimes one BASIC or another would resurface for a while. That would have been okay, too. It is not as perfect a match, but in those days, I was as skilled with AD&D as I would ever be, and I could play the game from memory and run it smoothly regardless of how familiar the players were with it. I think he would have enjoyed it, but I think Stormbringer would have stuck.

In a more general case, as a proof-of-concept example, I would suggest Broken Compass. It has a very low barrier to entry and scales up both easily and interestingly. It is written in an engaging style with useful resources to help identify the genre of play, support that genre, and support learning it and the rules-quickly. Further, it is both attractive to look at and quite compact, so as your eye is drawn to the pages you start reading and completing whole sections before you realize it. It also has the advantage of being more nuanced than it at first appears, which leads to value as a game for mixed newcomers and experienced players.

It is not the only great introductory game out there, but for those who like action films, summer blockbusters, and iconic characters it is near the top of a fairly short list.

This week

I may be able to post daily on this blog if I can manage to write less than this. Earlier today, I posted responses for Days 2 through 6 on Youtube. You can view that video HERE. I will probably do a similer composite release for the podcast, but I am not sure on which day it will be made available, nor how many days it might cover. Links to each platform will be added with each release.

The next question

The question for Day 3 is: When were you introduced to RPGs? As with all the questions this week, the theme revolves around the notion of introducing someone to gaming.

One Response to “#RPGaDay2022 – Day 2 – What?”
  1. Delta Green, it’s easy

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