Wednesday, 8 January 2014

RPGs: My Great Nerdy Love

Tonight is Wednesday and Wednesday is RPG night for me.  This blog will principally focus on wargaming and board gaming since it's principally about me tracking my progress and rambling about my games - but roleplaying games are a big love of mine and I can't do my nerdity justice without talking about them.

Like Warhammer, I dabbled in RPGs in my younger days but hardly actually played.  While at school I picked up several Dungeons and Dragons starter kits, the Star Wars roleplaying game, the Lord of the Rings game and even the Street Fighter storytelling game.  (Which I've got to admit is one of the odder choices for a beginner gamer but there you go.)  I ran a couple of sessions as GM with one other player, trying to drum people to be interested in the game, but I mostly just enjoyed it the way I enjoyed Warhammer- I read the books and derived pleasure by designing stuff myself, rolling up characters or designing dungeons that were never explored.

From the makes of Vampire the Masquerade.  Because angsty goths in trenchcoats and green guys getting beaten up by English girls in pigtails have a lot in common.

Unlike Warhammer, however, the physical props weren't the problem so much as a player base.  When I went to Glasgow University at the tender age of 17 I sought out all the nerdy clubs and signed up post-haste.  GUGS, the Glasgow University Gaming Society, was a frequent stop throughout my years at Uni and I was finally able to play and run games.  I blipped out of the hobby for a year when I left Uni, but not long after moving in with Ailsa I found myself running an RPG night at my house on Thursday and that D&D campaign ended up lasting 6 years of play - it started as a brainless level 1 dungeon bash and mutated into a level 23 inter-dimensional epic. 

The cover to our main rule book between August 2004 and September 2010.

We moved nights to Wednesdays near the end of the D&D and, while many players have come and gone, RPG night continues - and some of the same players who started with my in 2004 still come along.  We play many different games - sometimes little one-offs, sometimes short campaigns of games.  Right now there are three short campaigns which rotate through like seasons of television shows - we tend to play each for two or three months, have a breather for a couple of one or two night games, then move on to the next season.

It's usually myself who takes the Games Master role - the one who designs adventures, administers the rules and acts out the villains and secondary characters while the rest of the players are the heroes.  Sometimes for one-offs on Wednesday night one of the players will try their hand at running a game - and I was, for a year or so, part of another group that met on Mondays and changed not only games every couple of months but also GMs, so everyone ended up running something every 6 months or so - but for the most part I am one of nature's GMs.  I enjoy world-building, planning out adventures and getting to roleplay a variety of different characters rather than one single hero.  Like all GMs I have my strengths and weaknesses - but like anything you do for a decade or so, I think I've definitely got better over time.

I'm also a prolific purchaser and reader of roleplaying game books.  Most gamers I've met - even people who have played for over a decade and taken part in years-long campaigns - only own three or four different games max, perhaps supplements for one or two they particularly like.  I am..... really not like that.  I have an entire bookcase stuffed top to bottom with RPG books, and a further two shoe-boxes crammed with little A6 booklet print outs of PDFs I bought on

The RPG bookcase.  (Shoeboxes not included.)  Top is boxed games; next three shelves are alphabetised, with D&D at the bottom since there's so much of it.  (Grouped by edition)

There's over a hundred different game systems represented in my collection - of which a major player is D&D, with several shelves set aside for the books, cards, magazines and boxes that go along with the different versions of D&D.  Other games with sizable shelf (or shoebox) space include Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, Mutants & Masterminds, King Arthur Pendragon, Paranoia, Burning Wheel and Traveller .

The bulk of my posts will remain connected to Warhammer, Blood Bowl, Dreadball and my various painting & gaming goals - but don't be surprised if I ramble about RPGs as well!

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