RPG Challenge, Day Four (observed) and Day Five
Favorite Game World and Favorite Die or Set of Dice
I missed a day, and I am sure it’ll happen again. So today you get Day Four and Day Five (which is a short answer, anyway).
Day Four – Favorite Game World
I love me a lot of game worlds. I have sat around for hours reading the histories and travelogues of imaginary places just for fun. Heck, I *have* the Dictionary of Imaginary Places on my bookshelf. So I take my love of fictional worlds seriously. Which makes it so weird that my favorite game world isn’t particularly well-defined, as game worlds go.
It’s Gamma World.
Mostly as the setting for 2nd ed Gamma World, but part of the point is that it doesn’t really matter. It’s the world of skyscrapers that turn into twisted girders at the 14th floor. Of warriors with STOP-sign shields. Of anthropomorphic animals, radiation that gives you superpowers, and devices from the Old World that you may-or-may-not understand. I read every adventure, every settingbook, I could get my hands on. And the loose, often contradictory descriptions are a big part of what I love about it.
It is also the perfect sci-fi setting for D&D-style rpg games. First, as Jonathan Tweet noted once long before I had the idea, because it’s set up to kill the monster, and take their stuff – the most basic of rpg plots. Second, and this is my humble opinion, because it doesn’t require you to obey the dictates of normal society. In most sci-fi games, there are social rules much stronger than in a typical rpg world, and while that’s great if you want to explore the societal norms of an imaginary realm (and sometimes I do), it works less well for people who want to be frontier viking explorer cowboy ruin raider samurai lone wolves (or pack wolves) who face challenges on their own terms. In Gamma World, you can have powered battle armor (see Day Three of the challenge) and still take over an abandoned building and clear out the lands around it to build your own kingdom.
And third, because characters based on wildly different societies can hang out together, and most people seem fine with that. My personal theory on why fantasy rpgs are (in general) more popular than sci-fi rpgs is that if a group of players have based their characters on Red Sonja, King Arthur, Elrond, Rand al-Thor, and Polgara, most players can accept that there’s a fantasy world where all those characters can co-exist; but if players make characters based on Captain Kirk, RoboCop, Ahsoka Tano, Priss (Bladerunner OR Bubblegum Crisis), and Aeon Flux, it’s MUCH harder for them to accept there is a sci-fi setting where those characters all make sense.
Except having post-apocalyptic version of the characters on Gamma World, and then it’s fine.
Day Five – Favorite Die or Set of Dice
The d12. It doesn’t get enough to do, and it presents a lovely range of numbers without getting into too many double digits. I’ve worked on new game systems that focus on the d12 more than once, but never liked the end result that much. But it’s wonderfully round and rolls well without tumbling along forever before it stops, it’s easy to read, and it’s great for table-rugby. It’s perfect.
Honorable mention for the d5 and d7, which are wonderfully nonstandard, AND would make certain Pathfinder weapon designs I’d like to play with easier if they were widespread enough I could use them for published products.