Guess what! It's another P&PTuesTAY! With LoserMLW! I know, you're SO excited you can barely maintain your composure. Keep it together, everyone. We'll get through this.
So, this week, I thought it would be fun to get some good input from you, the readers. I've been thinking a lot about all of the different game systems I've played over my time, and I've done a little list; my top 3 game systems of *ALL TIME! descending from #3 to #1.
* barring anything more **awesomer coming along.
**Yes, I know awesomer isn't a word.
3. AD&D, 2nd Edition
While I cut my pen and paper teeth on the Red Box, the majority of my most memorable adventures took place in AD&D, 2nd Edition. Whether it was the creativity of the DM, the gameplay mechanics or the experienced mix of players, this system really delivered the penultimate D&D experience. This system also gave birth to a lot of the best worlds within established D&D lore – Ravenloft, The Forgotten Realms, Spelljammer – you name the D&D setting, it likely was developed and released during 2nd Edition’s reign. As a whole, the system itself was somewhat rigid, but like a lot of DM’s, ours became an expert at crafting custom content and giving his players lots of options. For the years I spent in 2nd Edition, and the amount of fun I had there, this makes my number 3 slot.
Ever have a day where it feels like everything and everyone is working against you? Imagine that every second of every day, and there was a master Computer waiting for you to screw up so they could kill you and replace you with Yet Another Clone. Welcome to Paranoia.
The system is built to maintain a longer campaign, but we found it best suited to one-shot sessions. Paranoia easily produced some of the shortest, goofiest and most intense game sessions I've ever played. Getting into a logic argument with a computer terminal to just to OPEN THE DOOR TO MY APARTMENT, then being killed by said terminal after it became convinced I was a terrorist – that was a character that lasted about 10 minutes before being re-cloned, and my character awoke in their apartment, to start the argument all over again. The system is built to maintain a longer campaign, but we found it best suited to one-shot sessions.
1. West End Star Wars Roleplaying Game
Like most gamers my age, Star Wars played an integral part of my youth. Between my Empire Strikes Back Christmas, my Halloween costumes, and my plastic lightsaber that hummed when you swung the hollow, plastic blade, West End pretty much had me in it's pocket when this system came out. The dice mechanics were easy to learn, and the character generation system allowed for a lot of variety. I could make a Hutt Jedi? SOLD!
In addition, West End really ran with the license and brought in as much Expanded Universe information as possible, rounding out the original Lucas-provided content. The sheer volume of materials produced meant a good storyteller could really sink their teeth in and create a fleshed out campaign with the right amount of action and flavor. As a bonafide Star Wars Kid, I spent hours just reading the material, poring over the details.
I've played most of the newer Star Wars systems except for Edge of the Empire, but none of them really got the “feel” right, at least to me. West End nailed it, in my opinion.
Honorable Mention: Vampire: The Masquerade
While the talent/skill system could be a little confusing to a new player, the focus on characters and story really made this a hard choice for me. I wavered between Vampire and Paranoia, and Paranoia edged out Vampire just by benefit of being such a unique system and being so focused on quick, fun sessions.
So, here’s where I reach out to you guys – what are YOUR top 3 pen and paper systems? If you want, you can also provide your top 3 worst systems, or chide me for my choices. That’s the beauty of the Internets – you get to judge and ridicule me from the comfort of your keyboard!
After my +13th Age game from the other weekend, I received a summons from another of my old gaming compadres, and got an invite to a one-shot Shadowrun 5th Edition game this coming Thursday evening. It will be a short and sweet session, but I expect I'll have a lot to talk about next Tuesday. :) That’s all for this edition of P&PTuesTAY!
Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 2nd Edition - D&D Wikia
Paranoia - Wikipedia
West End Star Wars Roleplaying Game: 2nd Edition - Star Wars Wikia