Day 20 of #RPGaDAY.
(Game you) Will still play in 20 year’s time
Short answer – who knows? 20 years is a long time in RPG development, and I certainly know that my gaming tastes have changed since I started roleplaying almost 20 years ago.
But, I think there are a couple of answers to this – one a safe bet, the other a game only published recently.
The safe bet – Dungeons and Dragons
This one seems like a pretty sure thing. D&D was the first RPG I played or ran, and it’s one I’m still playing and running when I can. Of course, several editions have happened over that time and the core mechanics have substantially changed as a result, but it’s still the same core experience – namely heroic fantasy roleplaying.
Over the years I’ve played in and DMed a lot of D&D. In fact, I’ve probably played more D&D than other RPGs combined (if I don’t take live games into account). The wide range of campaign settings offer a lot of different play experiences, and I’ve no doubt that there are loads of D&D stories that I’ve yet to tell as a player or DM.
Now, having said that, I’ve found for the first time ever that I’m not more excited about the latest edition of D&D than I am about what’s come before. While 5th Edition is without a doubt a slickly presented product that will feel familiar to fans of most editions of D&D, it’s a big step away from 4th Edition, my own preferred iteration of the RPG.
3rd Edition felt like a revolutionary refinement of the game from 2nd Edition, and 4th Edition was a remarkable move towards a new school of game design from the still pretty traditi0nalist 3.5 D&D. But 5th Edition really does feel like it’s playing it safe and trying to appeal to existing D&D players rather than draw new people in or make the game the best it can be. It’s comfortable and familiar, but it doesn’t really try much in the way of new things. And after two editions of notable innovation, that’s quite disappointing.
So, I’m sure I will be playing D&D in 20 years time, but who knows what edition? Here’s hoping the game continues to innovate, and be the flagship fantasy RPG out there.
The new kid on the block – Fate Accelerated Edition
The 2013 publication of Fate Core brought the Fate mechanics to the RPG market in an accessible, streamlined and cheap form. Fate Accelerated Edition (FAE) took this a step further, stripping the game down to its bare essentials and dropping the price to the exceedingly affordable point of $5.
It’s an excellent entry point RPG for new players, with simple mechanics and an approachable art style. The art is also perhaps aimed at a slightly younger age group than most RPGs, having more in common with the Young Adult fiction section of a bookshop than the high fantasy or serious sci-fi more common to a lot of other RPGs. Speaking of the art, I’d like to applaud it for being reasonably diverse within it’s limited page count in terms of gender and ethnicity, something that is still sadly rare in RPG illustration.
This would probably be my go-to game to bring new or young gamers into RPGs. Character creation is simple, imaginative and collaborative, the core mechanics are light on maths, and it encourages a wide range of approaches to problem solving beyond just combat. It’s also a lot closer to the “story gaming” approach than many other RPGs, with Aspects and Fate Points allowing players to have a sizeable amount of sway over their character’s destiny and establish facts about their characters and the world.
It’s also great for pick up and play games. It’s a small, lightweight book that you could easily carry around along with a set of Fate dice. Fate’s mechanics are easily adapted to accommodate most genres of gaming, and a bit of collaborative world building as part of character creation could easily have you up and running a game in its own new setting in an hour or two.
But while FAE is a great starting point for new players, I probably wouldn’t recommend it to new GMs. Perhaps unsurprisingly given the limited page count, the advice for running a game is really limited, and it feels as though the text assumes some prior knowledge of Fate when it comes to world building and designing stunts. None of this is a deal breaker, but I would imagine my 13 year old self would have been very confused by parts of it. The main Fate Core book is much better on this front, and I think a much better starting point for a new GM.
There’s no shortage of D&D resources online, so Google is your friend here. The new 5th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons has just been launched (and by just, I mean the Player’s Handbook hit stores yesterday) and while not entirely to my tastes certainly wouldn’t be a bad starting point for anyone looking to get (back) into the world’s most famous RPG. The Wizards of the Coast D&D website has plenty of information, including the stripped down but still remarkably comprehensive (seriously, you could run an entire campaign with them) free to download D&D Basic Rules.
Evil Hat Productions has loads of stuff for Fate Accelerated on its website. You can even legally download Fate Core and Fate Accelerated for free (or pay what you want, if you’re feeling a little more generous)!