Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Top 10 Gaming Products

Let’s see if I can follow Dyver’s lead here. I tend to like a lot of gaming products, so picking a top 10 is difficult. Here is my list, not in order of preference:

Legends & Lore (2E) – I still have this book, and often flip through it. Detailing pantheons from several real-world cultures, plus Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar, I used to sit and piece together my own pantheons using gods and godesses from this book. A really great source of information, in and out of the game.

Oriental Adventures – This book allowed you to play Samurai, Ninja, and my favorite, Kensai. Although I never got to play it much, I remember reading over the martial arts section a lot. I would later adapt those rules to other settings, and my own creations.

SpyCraft – Arguably the best Spy/Action RPG ever produced. Yes, I do have a nostalgic soft spot for Top Secret and James Bond. But SpyCraft took the d20 rules (which I love), and adapted them flawlessly to the modern action genre. If I could, I would still run a game of this.

World Builder’s Guidebook - I mentioned this on Dyver’s blog, but this a great resource for those of us who are never fully happy playing in other peoples’ sandboxes. Although the book is set up so that you can, in theory, roll up a completely random setting, its main strength is in that it details every facet of a well-conceived fictional world. As a writer, as well as a gamer, I have found this book to be chock full of good advice.

Marvel Super Heroes RPG – My first true RPG love, outside of D&D. I have waxed on this game many times, and am currently still writing an updated variation of the rules. Mechanically, it’s far from perfect. And can easily be broken, if you let it. But it is a narrative masterpiece. And it captures the feel of Silver Age comics better than any other game out there. I would still play this if someone ran it.

Dragonlance Adventures – During the fall after I graduated HS in 1988, we went on a cross-country trip in my grandparents’ camper. So, I spent two weeks in the back of a camper reading and listening to music. And what I was reading was the Dragonlance Chronicles, and then Legends. By the time I was done, I was positively HOOKED on Dragonlance. So, imagine my delight when I found a sourcebook for AD&D! This book had all kinds of stuff in it, but I was totally fascinated by the Solamnic Knights (Sturm was my favorite character).

Mutants & Masterminds – Mechanically, the best Supers RPG ever, IMHO. Like SpyCraft, M&M takes the d20 mechanic, and perfectly adapts it to the comic book genre. I made many characters for this game (almost as many as I made for MSH back in the day), and played it a lot with friends.

Player’s Handbook, 3.xE – The innovations this version of D&D brought in were amazing. The idea that I could make, literally, any kind of D&D character I wanted, without having to house-rule anything, was great. Although I love the simplicity of B/X, and the nostalgia of AD&D, 3E is still my favorite edition.

Moldvay’s Basic D&D – This was where it all started. Received on my 12th birthday, and devoured multiple times. Ironically, I never actually played it all that much. By the time I found a group to play with on a semi-regular basis, we had moved on to AD&D. But, even today, I get a thrill opening that red book. And this, combined with Cook Expert Set, provide the primary inspiration for all of my current OSR undertakings.

A1: Slave Pits of the Undercity – The very first module I ever owned, and the first I ever went through. I got this from a friend the same year I got the Basic Set (his mom didn’t know the difference between Basic and AD&D). I have always wanted to run this series as a DM. I currently own all four in PDF, and the first two in physical copies.

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