RPG tagged posts

Star Wars: Edge of the Empire: Players’ Response

The Castles & Cooks team finally sat down to play a proper game of Star Wars Edge of the Empire. We already did a review of the core rulebook, but after spending time with character creation, the world and the game itself we’re back to discuss the experience of playing the game. Previously we looked at what DMs (GMs) can expect. Today we tackle the game from perspective of the players.

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Star Wars Edge of the Empire: Being a GM

The Castles & Cooks team finally sat down to play a proper game of Star Wars Edge of the Empire. We already did a review of the core rulebook, but after spending time with character creation, the world and the game itself we’re back to discuss the experience of playing the game. Today we tackle the game from the role of the GM (or DM), and tomorrow we’ll look at it from the perspective of the players.

As someone who has played several RPGs, but only ever been the GM in Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) I must express a bit of trepidation that arose prior to my first session with Edge of the Empire. This game and this system are decidedly different from D&D, not just in how the game adjudicates combat or the addition of vehicles and rules for space combat.

Even using the book adventure as my guide, I still felt the need for an extended prep period. This wasn’t because I hadn’t played the game before (that was a small part of it), but because the way storytelling is woven into the fabric of everything the game does forces the GM to be prepared for unexpected moments. The PCs have more control over twisting the plot and taking the story in a new direction than they do in something like D&D.

How does this work and where did it impact my role as GM? Let’s break it down: 

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One-Hour Library Review: Numenera

When I first started playing in D&D, I didn’t start out in a “standard” fantasy setting like Greyhawk or Forgotten Realms. I started off in the weird, nightmarish, wonderful, though-provoking realms of Planescape, traveling from the City of Doors through portals to all corners of the multiverse. Behind this remarkable setting is a man named Monte Cook who started his own company years ago and created a number of fantastic d20 products like the epic-scaled urban setting of Ptolus and the psionic adventure If Thoughts Could Kill. When Monte joined the development team for D&D Next, I was excited and eager to see what his reunion with Wizards of the Coast would yield. When he left the project suddenly and without much explanation, I was disappointed but curious what else he had planned.

That’s when I started to see teasers for Numenera. It looked strange and confusing and intriguing and bizarre. It looked like everything I loved about Planescape, and every subsequent teaser is even more interesting. Now I have the pdf in front of me and I can’t wait to delve in for my first hour with the book. Come on down the rabbit hole…

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Arena Review: Scion

In Brief

Scion is a game with a peculiar and fun history, as well as an ambitious and engaging story. In most Roleplaying games you start off as a pretty average person (often with some small extras that other people can’t do) and you try to work your way up to larger-than-life, chatting-with-the-gods hero status. In Scion you start at that point and increase in power until you become a god yourself.

Your character is the offspring of one of the gods from any of the real-world mythologies. The little bit of divine power you inherit gives you the ability to act above-and-beyond a normal human which you use to defeat monsters, save towns, cure cancer, etc. Do this well enough and you join the ranks of the gods themselves.

Genre: Epic divine heroes
System: Revised Storyteller System (same as Exalted)
Potential Library: Moderate (3 main books, 4 supplements, 3 SAS scenarios)
Publisher: White Wolf

The main conflict in the game is between the gods and the titans, terms borrowed from Greek legend but applied to all mythologies. In the dawn of time the titans were in power but were such evil bastards that the gods rose up and threw them out of existence. This isn’t so permanent for a primeval hunger, however, and the titans have been biding their time in the spaces outside the universe, only to return recently with a vengeance and a desire to unmake the world. As if this wasn’t enough, there are threats from rival pantheons, corrupted gods, legendary beasts, and even human ambition to contend with. Sound exhausting? It is, but then again you have superhuman stamina so you can probably take it.

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Arena Review: A Song of Ice and Fire RPG

In Brief

The ever-increasing popularity of George R. R. Martin‘s A Song of Ice and Fire book series finds its home in the sturdy and functional Green Ronin RPG of the same name. It uses its own classless system and has a steady emphasis on noble houses and the sweep of history. Green Ronin is a solid company with a good reputation and it’s simple and elegant Song of Ice and Fire system is definitely something to try out, especially if you want to make a big event of Sunday’s Season 2 launch with your gaming group.

Genre: Heroic fantasy-realism.
d6-based original system.
Potential Library: Small (3 sourcebooks and 2 adventures).
Publisher: Green Ronin Publishing.

The lands of Westeros sit upon a brink. Robert Baratheon sits the Iron Throne, having taken it in a rebellion against the Mad King, Arys Targaryen. The seven kingdoms are hardly at peace, however, when the Ironmen of the western islands are still fuming over their recent rebellion, the Dornish in the south still smart over the death of their beloved princess in Robert’s rebellion, the Riverlands lords and the Westermen constantly squabble, and the North and the Eyrie remove themselves as much as possible from supporting the king. Everyone wants the Iron Throne and they will need to go through King Robert to do so. But in the Game of Thrones you either win or you die.

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Game Review: LEGO Heroica Waldurk Forest

LEGO has crossed a line. After a childhood of building with bricks and playing games, I’ve been amused by the LEGO Games line. Creationary was a great take on Pictionary while the Spinjitzu was a bit odd. But then LEGO revealed their next offering: a module, tabletop RPG. I don’t think they could have been a more perfect kryptonite for me.

Stop the dark druid from rising to power! Hidden in the ruins of Waldurk Forest, the Dark Druid is restoring his strength. You must use all your skill and power to find your way past his lurking monsters, but can you escape with the Chalice of Life?

Suggested ages: 8 and up
Number of players: 2 or 3
Playing time: 10 to 15 minutes
Contents: 225 LEGO bricks, 7 LEGO Microfigures, 1 buildable LEGO die, building instructions, rules booklet (in English, French and Spanish) and a mission map
Retail price: $19.99 available at Amazon.com or LEGO Shop

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