If you have not read any of my posts over the past six weeks or so you would be unaware of my trial. We are moving on from our year or so with Conan: Adventures In An Age Undreamed Of to a new game. I put out the options of what I wanted to play and then my player base chimed in. What they wanted to do was to have a game of each and then decide. So that is what we did. We started with a game Of Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC). We followed that up with a game of Cypher System using the Gods of the Fall setting. Then we played a game of second edition Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (AD&D). Finally, we had a game of Earthdawn to round out the four systems. So, now it is judgement time. I took on board the feedback I got from the players and have made a decision on what we are playing.
The Winner in my eyes
I am going to say that the game I had the most fun with is not going to be the one I choose. That was AD&D. The game allowed us to get through so much in a single setting. That is what I am looking for. A game where you can roleplay and take on action and get through a bunch of material in a night. Nearly a full eighteen encounter areas were covered and the game felt good.
Why I am not choosing this is because of the confusion that the various mini-systems in the game created. I could see the players being a little surprised at each change in the system. One time they need to roll high, others low, sometimes a modifier, sometimes not. This would go away in time, but it may take a while. I get why third edition did what it did with skills, saving throws and AC. I am not sure I agree too much on the ability to increase skills to ridiculous levels but I understand the rolling system. Third edition onwards you always wanted to roll high. If you know no rules as a player in those systems you know that you want to roll high.
If We Were To Run That AD&D Campaign…
I have been writing up that campaign world for around a year now. It is fairly well populated with information. I suppose now that if we were to run a game set inside the realm that DCC would be the way to go with it. It is a derivative of the same game and runs with the same spirit. It is unlike the newer versions of Dungeons and Dragons in that it trains the judge to be impartial. Let the dice lie where they land. I am very much for this, and I am also a big fan of magic in the DCC game. Spells are not Vancian (learn them, cast them, lose them) and instead allow for variation and surprise in the same spell. I think that DCC has cemented itself as my favourite generic fantasy game through this trial. But it was not the winner. It will surface again one day though.
Earthdawn is our backup game
If you read my last post then you are already aware that Earthdawn was not the hit I had hoped for and so is not the winner. But it is a game that I truly love, and have done since its inception in the early 90’s. I really feel this game works well with low numbers. Also, the setting and atmosphere in this game is one of my all time favourites. We will keep it so when numbers are low the players get some kind of game for the week.
So the winner is Cypher System!
But not the Gods of the Fall. I will do a full review of that setting in the longer term (I promise). It is not for me though and I found the substance of the game that we played for Cypher System to be very poor. The system, on the other hand, was brilliant. A clear winner. I had one player come into that game so horribly anti-cypher system. He had played Numenera Torment and hated it so he hated the system. he came out of it completely changed. The system is excellent and it really puts power into players’ hands.
Instead, I gave the choice of settings up to my players in a poll. The options were:
- Android Netrunner Styled Cyberpunk
- Shadowrun Styled Cyberpunk
- Sci-Fi Spaceships and Exploration
- High Fantasy
- Gritty Fantasy
I kind of knew how this would turn out, and I was right. My player base loves cyberpunk so it was really between options one and two. I had my fingers crossed and the final vote came in last night breaking the deadlock.
So, I finally get to run an RPG set in the Android Netrunner universe. I am pretty excited about the options here. I intend to get the players to make a couple of characters each. One that works in the corporation and one that works illicitly on the street. I will weave a tale that involves both groups over the game and sees where it takes us! So the trial is complete and we are playing something I did not expect to be! Keep rolling!