Thursday, May 12, 2005

Swords Against The Dragon

My memory is not the most reliable, as I'm very good at forgetting things I don't want to remember. One of the things I tend to forget is the money I've sunk into RPGs that aren't D&D but involves "you know, elves and shit" as the creators of QAGS so succinctly put it. It all comes back to the classic irrefutable argument from reluctant players: "Why don't we just play D&D?" That question always cuts me to the bone. Why, indeed, should we all go through the bother of learning a new system and buying new books just to kill some orcs? Yet I'm a sucker for innovative new game mechanic or a new take on orc-killing. I've given up on running SenZar or Exalted, because I finally realized that 3.5 can handle all the things that I would want to do with those games. I'd still kinda like to run World of Synnibarr at least once so I can say that I did it, but like SenZar and Exalted I can accomplish the same sort of game with a properly over-the-top D&D campaign. The Riddle of Steel still has some appeal, but it looks like Mike Mearl's Iron Lore will cover much of the same ground. Add in a good narrative-driven tweak to recreate TRoS's passion mechanic and we should be good to go. As I mentioned earlier in the week Dungeon Bash looks like a better deal for me than Rune, assuming Dungeon Bash doesn't suck. I feel bad eschewing Robin Law's work for some unknown, but when it comes to finding players workmanlike d20 mechanics trump brilliant non-d20 mechanics. So I've managed to talk myself out of buying or at least playing all these non-d20 fantasy games because of redundancy issues. That leaves Burning Wheel. I really only know a few things about Burning Wheel. First, that the magic system has a nifty fumble system whereby at least one player has accidentally destroyed his campaign world via a particularly bad roll. Also it uses some sort of lifepath system for char gen. Finally, the conflict resolution system can be invoked for all sorts of non-combat conflict. One recent RPGnet report suggests that players can have a battle of wits amongst themselves using this system as a crunchy way to resolve intraparty conflict. Sounds interesting and decidedly un-D&D.