Thursday 2 August 2018

#RPGaDay2018: Day 2 - What do you look for in an RPG?

RPGaDay2018 black and white graphic

When I first saw this question, I was sure I'd have no answer, but turns out I have a pretty good idea what I look for!

In terms of the system, I much prefer free xp expenditure over anything level based, but there are exceptions: the WFRP career paths make sense to me, and the Savage Worlds method feels more like that than D&D, for instance, and gives you plenty of choice and freedom to personalise. I don't like games like D&D that restrict you to a class; I like something allowing more freeform in character generation and progression.

Combat needs to be simple, but should still feel epic/dirty/dangerous as appropriate to the setting. Savage Worlds does this fairly well, though lacks a degree of epic in my experience. I like White Wolf games, but I've played a lot over the years so combat may well be less simple than I think, and it's just that I'm used to it. It's a long time since I played Buffy or ShadowRun, but I think they were both pretty good. It certainly shouldn't feel like fighting is the focus or even necessary, to really appeal to me.

I love rolling handfuls of dice - probably part of why I keep coming back to White Wolf and why I'm more keen to return to ShadowRun than Cyberpunk (though also, I really like the ShadowRun setting) - but I am intrigued by diceless systems.

It's harder for me to pinpoint what appeals to me in a setting. I'm pretty eclectic, enjoying high powered games, and low level, struggle-to-survive settings equally (while the Pathfinder campaign I write up here has been exciting, that's been down to the character and the story more than the setting, but I really liked the world of Midnight and like to explore there again some day). I love science fiction, though I get to play it less often, and I love fantasy and fantastical settings - and I love combining science and fantasy (like Exalted or ShadowRun). If I'm playing in the real world, or something that feels like the real world, I generally prefer some kind of supernatural twist - such as supplied by World of Darkness, or John Silence (whose Kickstarter will finish less than 3 hours after this goes live).

I think that's a clue to what I want from a setting: I want to be transported away from my life. Whether that means to the far future, or to a fantasy plane with magic and elves, or to be given superpowers doesn't matter so much as it not being mundane.

If you're taking part, don't forget to add a link to your response in the comments :)


  1. Wow! I wish I could have listed my likes in that manner - good post Fern

    1. Aw, thank you! I spent a fair bit of time thinking about this question, sure I'd struggle to answer it, but when I sat down to write it came really naturally

  2. Oh man! Just remembered another thing I look for: fun and interesting merits and especially flaws that I can pick during character creation! =D