August is RPGaDay month. Yep, a month solid of RPG-related posts, answering these questions:
Today’s question is this:
Which RPG do you enjoy adapting the most?
For me, the answer’s easy: it’s D&D. Now, when I say D&D you should bear in mind that the only D&D-type ruleset I have on hand right now is Lamentations of the Flame Princess. (I have a ton of AD&D 1st and 2nd edition stuff back in Canada, but in Korea, despite having about five feet of shelf space devoted to RPG books, the only D&D-type books I have fit into a single shelf.)
The reasons are pretty simple:
- This ruleset is so familiar that I can kind of sense what will fit, and what won’t fit. If I add new player character classes or races, it’s not hard to make ones that aren’t unbalanced, or to prevent niche encroachment.
- There’s a wealth of OSR-targeted homebrew material out there. Classes, monsters, rules for magic, adventures, settings, and just plain old bucketloads of tables. Seriously, there’s so much out there that even if you don’t have time to make up your own stuff to add to a game, you can go online and find cool stuff in very short order.
- This ruleset is so familiar—the system it’s largely based upon has been a part of my life since I was twelve, after all—I find that a fresh coat of paint and some new furniture can spruce things up from time to time. I think that’s what made so many people fans of the Dark Sun setting, for example, or Planescape: suddenly it felt like this game could do all kinds of things its original creators never used it to do.
I think this probably is a really old impulse, of course: if you have the first-edition Dungeon Master’s Guide, you’ve seen the bit about crossover games with other TSR lines. Yes, yes, that was product placement, but I feel like everyone eventually wanted to see a standoff between their party’s elven archer and Wyatt Earp, or to have their characters wander through a portal into a post-apocalyptic, mutant-infested landscape, if only few a few sessions.
I should add that I haven’t really bolted that much onto the LotFP game I run, and that most of it is available free online over at the campaign website for my now-on-hiatus game, Obtenebrations. There’s player-character races:
- the Dagonian (inspired by Lovecraft’s “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” they’re a sort degenerate subrace of folk with Deep One blood somewhere back up the bloodline)
- the Revenant (yes, an undead PC race, inspired by the TV show Les Revenants and the Wraith: The Oblivion supplement The Risen… as well as The Crow, some medieval accounts of revenants, and more)
- the Changeling (shamelessly adapted from my vague impression of a White Wolf game I’ve never actually played, plus some alien abductee lore I read as a kid)
… plus there’s webpages designed to do the following:
- generate results for a chaotic magical surge (or spell miscast result)
- generate inhuman features for a Dagonian PC (who gains them when using a Dagonian Gift and failing the associated saving throw)
- generate results for when a Revenant PC fails a saving throw versus Turning
- generate a random corruption for a Revenant PC (which are gained when the revenant is seriously injured, touches a corpse, or encounters a major delay to fulfilling the purpose that animates it)
Oh, and two more more things:
First, while I talk about D&D this way, I could just as easily have said Gamma World. That’s a game that’s also been part of my life since I was small, and is a game very much open to being remixed, mashed-up with other things, and reenvisioned. I plan to be doing that when I do eventually get around to running a postapocalyptic game, I just don’t know when that’ll be. Hopefully next year.
Second, I’m liable to make changes to pretty much any game I play, but I will say I find some systems more forgiving of houseruling, and others much less so. I’ll say more about this in tomorrow’s post, though, so I’ll end this for now.