Continuing the series I started on Monday, I’m wrapping up the things I enjoyed most from the past year. It’s been an eventful year for pen-and-paper rpgs, with the resurrection of not one, but two beloved franchises. There’s been a lot of chaff too, but let’s concentrate on the good stuff.
Dark Sun once again graces the table of people who like their fantasy post-apocalyptic and dark. I’ve praised this before in these electronic pages, and it should be no surprise to see it in my list for top picks this year. It is, simply, the best use of the 4e engine so far, modifying the set-up to create a world that feels on the verge of total collapse.
On the Post Apocalyptic front, I finally had a chance to play the new version of Gamma World. It’s just as over the top and crazy as it has always been, and possibly even more so. Mutations rise and fall in the heroes, while technology is dangerous and unreliable. Character generation is random and quick, and players aren’t expected to live long. It’s a blast.
My winner for great games this year though has to be Fiasco. It’s a loose, narrativist rpg designed to set up the kinds of nightmarish failed heist stories that make for some of my favorite movies (Big Lebowski, Snatch, Fargo and the like.) Invariably, it spirals out of control and everything falls apart, and in the breaking becomes even more entertaining. Highly recommended.
Of course, any recap of the year in RPGs would be empty if I didn’t mention Paizo’s Pathfinder, for which I’ve written a bit of fiction. If you like your D&D more pulpy and a little old school, (but not retro-clone levels of old-school). It’s a good time, with some great settings.