Looking Forward To Games In The New Year
  • Looking Forward To Games In The New Year

    It is a new year. They already did the big lists of what everyone is looking forward to here at the site, and there are some great games on that list, but in this, my first column of the new year, I'm going to talk a bit about the things that I am looking forward to seeing, and playing, in the new year. None of this is in any particular order, just as it bubbles up into my rambling thoughts on things.

    Mythic D6 from Khepera Publishing and the West End Games Star Wars Role-Playing Game anniversary reissue from Fantasy Flight Games. I'm just going to lump these two together, since they're both nominally new D6 releases. My favorite incarnation of the D6 System is probably always going to be the "Legend" rules that West End Games used when they had the license for the DC Universe back in the late 90s and early 2000s. It is my favorite DC Universe role-playing game, and probably the least well known of the games that have been put out for the license.

    I liked how they streamlined things with D6 Legend, you counted successes and you didn't worry about pips. It made the process of the game go a lot faster, and since then it isn't unusual for me to substitute the task resolution system of the Legend variant in other D6 games I've run over the years. I get that it isn't favored by everyone, but I like it. When Purgatory Press had their big fire sale, the Legend variant ended up in the hands of Jerry Grayson of Khepera Publishing after he had licensed the system for his Godsend Agenda line of games. The edition that we're waiting on from the Kickstarter will be the second edition of Mythic D6, the first edition still being available through OneBookShelf.

    I was already interested in this because I liked the first edition, and I trust Grayson's design chops, but a couple of friends backed the Kickstarter for the second edition, and some of the previews that they showed me made me a lot more interested in the game. I like universal system, and I like advantage/disadvantage systems, but my interest in how games implement them have changed over the years. I'm not much of a fan of disadvantage systems that exist only to be gamed in order to get characters more points for building at the beginning, while being easy to ignore later on in play. I like a character that is complex, that has complications and drawbacks, and gives you mechanical hooks to encourage your role-playing during a game. I don't think that a game has to have these things, but man is it nice to get some mechanical support when your character is a stubborn hothead, and you play it that to the hilt. This is why I like rules sets like the Fate System.

    I also like games where you play heroes like they are heroes: larger than life forces of nature. This has always been a particular strength of the D6 rules for me and it looks like Grayson is bringing this to the forefront with the new edition of Mythic D6.

    This brings me around to close to the start of the D6 System with the 30th Anniversary Edition of the Star Wars Role-Playing Game that Fantasy Flight Games is putting out (hopefully) soon. Yes, I know that the Ghostbusters game started the D6 System (and I wish that we could get a nice hardcover reissue of that game), but the system's popularity owed a lot more to Star Wars than Ghostbusters. This will be my first time with the first edition of the game, because I came into Star Wars role-playing with the game's second edition.

    The reason that this game is interesting to me, outside of the game as a historical document, is the fact that the approach to setting by role-playing games, even in the case of a licensed game like Star Wars, is so dramatically different now than it was then. Outside of the photos throughout the book, a couple of starships statted out in the starships chapter, and the section on The Force, there really isn't a lot that sets up the Star Wars role-playing game as the Star Wars role-playing game. For example, you don't really get write-ups of the characters from the original trilogy until The Star Wars Sourcebook came out (which is also part of what Fantasy Flight Games will be offering up).

    This is a bit of a change for me from the second edition of the game, because it is more akin to what we would expect from a licensed game in that it has a lot more material specific to the setting as a part of the core book. But, while you would have had to have waited to be able to fight against Darth Vader when you bought the first edition of the Star Wars RPG, you did get a really good science fiction role-playing game that didn't do things like kill your character during the character creation process. Was this as much of a selling point for the first edition of the game as was the attachment to Star Wars? Maybe, for some people it was.

    Why am I looking forward to these games? Well, at the core, it is because I like the D6 system, and I like to see it being used for things. I would have different things to run with these games. I would like to give the first edition of Star Wars a run as a science fiction game, and see how the tires kick out. I enjoy science fiction games, and the experiences that our group had with playing a couple of editions of Traveller wasn't great. I like the simplicity of the Traveller rules, but they didn't mesh well with our particular group, and I think that the D6 rules would be a better fit. With Mythic D6, I am looking forward to the Project Mythic setting in the book. Project Mythic is described as a sort of Hellboy meets Fringe setting, in a genre that I refer to as Action Horror (i.e. it uses many of the tropes of horror, such as monsters, but the protagonists are on more of an equal footing with the horrors of the setting than they would be in a game such as Call of Cthulhu or Delta Green). It sounds like a setting that will really work with the strengths of the Mythic D6 rules.

    I do wish that Stewart Wieck had lived to see the reissues of the West End Games Star Wars game.

    My fantasy game is going to be Blueholme. I just received my hardcopy of it in the mail today, so it is probably going to take a little while to get to a proper exploration of it in my review slush pile, but I do have a few early ideas as to why I'm looking forward to giving it some play. This is a retroclone based on the original Eric Holmes revision of the Dungeon & Dragon rules that formed the original Basic Dungeons & Dragons game. I've been casting about for a new simplified D&D ruleset since the revelations about the publisher of the previous rules I had used left them with a bad taste in my mouth.

    I've looked at Iron Falcon and Basic Fantasy and Labyrinth Lord, but none of them gave me the spark that I had with the previous rules that our group used. But, just flipping through the Blueholme book has sparked something in me. The art is fun and full of energy. The monster descriptions are flavorful and give you hints to the world of the game, without developing a setting that gets in the way of building your own campaign world. It is interesting that it handles non-human characters in a manner similar to how the Runequest rules did it (which for those who don't know was basically "Turn this creature write-up into a character! Here's how!") Plus, it has thieves in the core rules.

    I like the fact that we have moved past retroclones just being a copy and paste restating of some original rules set, rephrased via the D&D 3.x SRD. I am ready to see the Arduin equivalents of the OSR, the crazy auteur expressions of a creator's inner worlds expressed through the idioms of Dungeons & Dragons. The original Basic Dungeons & Dragons created by Eric Holmes only addressed the first three levels of play of the game, while Blueholme is a complete role-playing game that takes the characters to the heights of character progression. It doesn't draw upon the later BEMCI rules for guidelines, being its own thing. The creatures in the book (with even a nod to Arduin) draw more deeply upon that late sixties and early seventies strain of weird fantasy that was popularized by authors and anthologists like Lin Carter for its inspirations.

    The game also assumes that you will probably have your own worlds that you will want to explore, so the book isn't cluttered up with setting material. When it comes around time for a fantasy game with the group again, I look forward to slotting this into the rotation. I am not a huge fan of fantasy, so I don't have many fantasy games that I really want to play. I would like to run some OpenQuest in the new year, and I've talked with one of the groups I game with about it, so we'll see what happens. I am also looking forward to finally getting to run some of The Nightmares Beneath in the new year as well. Hopefully I will have the time to fit in all of these things. Before we know it, it will be time again for a year end wrap up, and then a discussion of what we want to play in the New Year again.

    This piece ended up going on a lot longer than I expected, so I am going to break things off here and come back next week with a second part of this. Next week I'll talk some about horror games, so stay tuned for that.

    What are you looking forward to playing in the new year?
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. DM Howard's Avatar
      DM Howard -
      I'm excited to run Blueholme as well! After receiving my backer copies I must say that I really enjoy the Old School art direction. Not everything needs to be full color, black and white seems to let my imagination soar a little easier.
    1. Andrew Cousins's Avatar
      Andrew Cousins -
      Blueholme really is a fantastic book, everyone should own a copy. Mine arrived last week, the production values blew me away, I couldn't be happier with it. My gaming group will be making a switch from LotFP in the near future.
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