Saturday, October 1, 2011

What's All This Then?

Hi, my name is Finn and I really like roleplaying games, that wonderful hobby where you sit around a dining table (or couches/game store table/bedroom floor) for several hours pretending to be elves (or superheroes/vampires/bunnies), fighting imaginary dragons (or supervillains/zombies/bears with laser eye vision), rolling dice and generally nerding up the vicinity. Good times. But I don't just like playing games or running them as a GM, something I’ve been doing for a bit over a decade now. I like collecting them. As I write this, I'm awaiting the arrival of seven different RPGs. I have spent over $500 on the hobby this year, on more than I could ever realistically run or play in, let alone the many I already possess.

But I've realized I'm okay with that. I get intellectual enjoyment from RPGs as well as enjoyment from the experience of play. I like thinking about campaigns I'll never run, characters I'll never play. But I really want to write about RPGs more, to share my thoughts about games and expose people to some of the more bizarre and wonderful ones out there. At the very least I want an excuse to pore over my collection and engage with it a little more than just reading and re-reading.

So that's why I decided to create this blog. This is a create a character blog, in which I go through each of the games I possess, use the guidelines to create a character as if I were preparing one for an actual game and then post the results online. It certainly is not unique, other such blogs exist, some written by folks who have written things for the industry! I would strongly advise you check out 'A Character for Every Game', my favourite such example, if only for the author's hilarious attempts to create a dead Earth character (Yes, ‘attempt’ is the appropriate word here. It takes him two times to make one that lives to the end of creation. The capitalisation is also intentional).

I had a go at doing one of these before. It wasn't much of a success, for two main reasons. Firstly, I set to cover games in a specific order. Unfortunately, that meant when I got to games I wasn't really motivated to cover, the whole thing ground to a halt and became a sort of mandatory fun, a thing I had to do to get to the good stuff. Not exactly ideal for what was supposed to be a purely fun little web project. Secondly, the manner in which I covered the games was not exactly thorough, or useful. Have you ever had one of those drawing books like this? My blog was a tad like that, vaguely covering the initial steps of the character creation process, skipping a whole bunch and presenting the finished article. If you didn't already know what was going on, it would have been pretty impenetrable. So, that was a bit lame. On a minor note, I wrote in what I kind of think was a faux excitable, forced style with way too many exclamation marks. Here’s hoping this attempt has less of that.

I'm going to do a couple of things differently to make sure I don't have the same problems. Firstly, I'm going to just do any game I damn well feel like. Since I'm not educating the masses or covering topical issues, there's no reason to have them in any specific order or adhere to strict updating rules and it means I won't encounter that 'mandatory fun' problem again. The second change is I'm going to be more thorough. I'm going to go over each step in detail, so hopefully readers who aren't familiar with the game in question can still follow the process and have some understanding of what the finished character can do.

How do I intend to go about this? Let's look at the format:

Game Premise

Here I go over what the game is actually about and what kind of characters you would play as.

Game Overview

One part general description, one part review, this section will be a more general look at the game, the basics of the system, what experiences I've had, if any, and perhaps a minor critique.

The Character

What this blog is about! I make the character, step-by-step as faithful as possible to the process as laid out in the game. At the end, I'll post the finished result at the end.

How I'd Run It

A diversion from the blog's stated purpose, this bit is where I outline an idea or two for how I'd run that game as a GM. Some will be fairly straight adaptations of the game as intended, others massively divergent, like my idea where I run a kaiju game using the Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition rules (better than it sounds, trust me).

I doubt the readership of this is going to be anything more than one or two people, but that’s OK by me. On the off chance that someone other than my wonderful girlfriend deigns to take a look, firstly, I hope you find what I write both enjoyable and informative and secondly, if you have any suggestions, particularly games you’d like me to cover, please don’t hesitate to comment!

First character coming soon. I’m starting with the game that I consider my awakening to the wide world of RPGs outside the ‘big two’ (that would be D&D and the World of Darkness games) – WW2 superhero game Godlike.


  1. Hi Finn.

    I was referred here by Abby.

    I'd love to hear your take on Scion, (especially how you'd house-rule it to not be horribly broken past Hero level) or one of the Warhammer 40k roleplaying games.


  2. Hi Ben!

    Sadly, I do not possess a copy of any version of Scion (at least I *think* I don't. I may have picked up a pdf in one of the several charity bundles I picked up last year), but I have glanced on it and yeah, it's got some mechanical issues. The sad thing is that Legend, which as I understand it is directly tied to advancing to the other tiers is essentially the most powerful thing ever, causing the game to sort of collapse under its own weight. White Wolf has never been amazing when it comes to mechanics and while that's alright when you're at the low power scales of World of Darkness, but when you're dealing with things like Exalted and Scion it gets out of hand

    I do, on the other hand, possess Dark Heresy and can tackle that!

  3. I absolutely adore the setting of both Exalted and Scion. I love them to bits despite their (incredibly in scion's case) flawed systems, because the setting just really resonates with me.

    I'd love to play a game using the Wild Talents system, using the setting of Scion.

    I like the idea of divinely-empowered heroes taken under the wing of the ancient pantheons, bringing modern-day tactics into an aeons-old struggle.

    I think taking the setting of Scion, along with the far superior mechanics of the ORE, has potential to be super awesome.

    What do you think?

  4. I pretty much agree with everything you said. I expected to love both Exalted and Scion, but the systems meant the whole thing fell just a teensy bit flat. That isn't to say people haven't run awesome games with the system, it's just that there's some improvement that could be there.

    ORE would definitely be a decent replacement (although it errs towards the grittier side of combat, so good GM oversight to make sure the players aren't making characters that are squishy would be necessary). In fact, one attempted conversion for eExalted can be found here!

    The trick would be to get the right point totals for characters. I think somewhere between 150-250 would be the sweet spot. I've have living god(esse)s in my 150 points Kerberos Club campaigns, so it seems like a good starting point.

  5. Heya Finn,
    Just found out about this from your facebook update, and I am now, as you may be able to guess, working my way through your archive.
    However your first post here has foolishly requested comments... Hahahahaha! *maniacal laughter* Prepare for comments my friend!
    I'm really excited to read what you've written, it's just the kind of thing I've been looking for as I am currently starved of informed rpg based discussions.
    If nothing else, I can inform you that your blog has an international readership.
    -Hat Guy