RPG A Day: Day 17

Fantasy RPG’s outnumber most other RPG’s by an absolute cargo ship load.  Today asks me what my favourite flavour of these choices are.

Day 17: Favourite Fantasy RPG


I have tried so many fantasy RPG’s in my time and a lot of that testing has been in the last few years alone.  I will give you that my favourite Fantasy to run at this very time is Dungeon Crawl Classics.  I really like the OSR feel and the concentration on randomness and simplicity.  Dungeon World also does a lot that I like and though I know there are a lot of people that have played it for a continual long time, I just can’t seem to see the longevity of it.  Pathfinder is also great.  It gives players a massive amount of customisation for essentially a class based system and also puts strong tools in the hands of the GM.

Of all my fantasy experience though there is only one game that I think should take this title.  It is not likely to surprise anyone as it is Earthdawn.  I do say this with some provisos though.  I backed the new Earthdawn to the hilt and now I have I find out that I am not going to get shipped any of the print products until later because I am international.  There are people out there in the US of A that get to read and hold that book and the only way I can do that is through an iPad.  I will likely not read the new edition until I have the hard copy in my hands and this truly makes me sad.  But I am lead to believe that the core of Earthdawn remains.  It is a crunchy game that is based wholly and solely on storytelling.  There are many people that believe the words rules-lite and storytelling go hand in hand but this is not the case.  Earthdawn has the idea of storytelling built into almost every rule and certainly built into every Adept (class).


cover of the hardback first edition earthdawn book
The game is Earthdawn and the time is the early 1990’s

So why is it not Dungeon World?  I can’t see me running a campaign of Dungeon World.  It is a great system and very entertaining to play.  As the GM there is really very little prep you need to do except for Fronts which honestly confused me.  But as a GM you need to be so “on” all the time.  Taking notice of everything and asking questions.  I naturally do not ask a lot of questions and so this I found challenging, and very surprisingly tiring.  I think in the long run, this is the real reason that I could not do this long term.  A game of this really takes it out of me, unlike doing prep work and then running a Pathfinder session.

So why not Pathfinder?  I think that Pathfinder is a great game.  But it is a great game with flaws that continue to grow as they bring out more and more material for it.  There is a heap of customisation out there available and I am now coming across players that fully exploit that.  They are munchkins that build the most efficient characters they can to be effective.  To me that is not the fun of a game and hence it is a drain on me as a GM because I prefer story based outcomes.  Pathfinder needs to be modified heavily to get those story based outcomes.

Why not Dungeon Crawl Classics?  It seriously could be Dungeon Crawl Classics but I have found a bit of the community around this game uncomfortable.  I enjoy gaming and gamers but of course there is the good and the bad.  I have just found there seem to be more fanatical, vitriolic people that will tell you how you MUST play in this community.  I love the game and feel that in reality it is so well written and presented but this presence in the community makes me a little out of sorts with it.

So, there you have my call for the best fantasy games and the reasons why I think the others I play are just not as good.  Keep rolling.

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