#RPGaDAY 2017, Day 4: The Game Most Played Last Year

Today’s #RPGaDAY question: which RPG have I played the most this past year? Well, that’s Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. We’ve been playing through the Princes of the Apocalypse campaign setting most weeks, a few hours at a time for over a year now, but the cracks are starting to show in the product (and game system) and, well, I’m just hoping we’ll finish soon and move onto something else.

Before the new edition of D&D came out, I was done with the fantasy genre. I hated the complexity of third edition D&D (and 3.5 and Pathfinder) and fourth edition just wasn’t anything that I would have considered “fun”. The only option I was looking at for fantasy role-playing was the Dragon Age RPG, which seemed to take forever to publish set 3, the upper-level ruleset, but I know that was a significant delay due to licensing approvals. We would have been playing that if the licensor would have approved the game in a more speedy fashion. I am confident in thinking the delays in the approval process was what prompted Green Ronin to develop the IP-stripped Fantasy AGE game. However, 5th Edition came out before Dragon Age‘s last book was released and, unlike the previous iterations of the game, 5e played quickly and was actually good for what it tried to do!

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#RPGaDAY2015, Day 8: Favorite Appearance of RPGs in Media

Today, on #RPGaDAY, our writing prompt is Favorite Appearance of RPGs in the Media.

I can’t really think of any, or at least any that are positive. Either they’re played for jokes, or they’re present to show the players themselves are the jokes:

INT. SHELDON AND LEONARD’S APARTMENT. DAY.

PENNY
What have you guys got planned for the weekend?

SHELDON
We were going to play Dungeons & Dragons.

[audience laughter]

SHELDON
(holding up player’s handbook)
It’s Advanced.

[more audience laughter]

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Boardgames have a better presence in television. Over on Orphan Black, Runewars from Fantasy Flight Games made an appearance late in season two, with members of Cosima’s lab playing. The showrunner is a fan of the game, coordinated with FFG’s president, and went over the script with the actors to make sure they actually were (seemingly) playing the game. In season three1, more FFG games show up. Carcassone, Settlers of Catan, and other gateway games have been seen on other recent television shows. And that’s not counting things like Geek & Sundry’s Tabletop or the celebrity game night thing that came out on network television right after Tabletop became an internet sensation.

It’s a golden age for boardgames, but we’re not seeing that with role-playing games. The closest we’ve gotten are on the Geek & Sundry shows Tabletop and Titansgrave. Over on Tabletop, they ran Dragon Age and Fiasco2 ; Titansgrave was a campaign-length show that featured Fantasy AGE, based on the game that powered the Dragon Age game. But readers of this blog are probably aware of those.

4319880-6905332273-fonziThat Dragon Age episode, I particularly didn’t like. It’s an awesome example of what happens when you don’t have a social contract or good buy-in to the game you’re about to play. Pramas brings a dark fantasy game, Hardwick wants to play goofy fun dorkiness, and Wheaton just wants to have fun with his friends. After Hardwick describes his character as Fonzie, whose goal is to sleep with every woman in the setting, there’s a cut to Pramas diplomatically talking about how every group has a player like this.3 It’s an amazingly awful start to an episode that several people believe is a good example of gaming. When I mentioned this on Google Plus, one of the responses was, “it felt like Hardwick was mocking my favorite hobby. It really was not fun to watch.” I agree.

No, the better example of gaming is the Titansgrave series, where Wil Wheaton runs a game that lasts ten episodes.4 There, everyone is on the same page5 and it’s a great representation of role-playing games to people who haven’t played them before. The campaign book (and the base Fantasy AGE game) sold like crazy at Gen Con 2015. I’ve heard and read so many people talk about that game and how much they’ve enjoyed the setting. I’ve got nothing but goodness to talk about that series. It’s going to be something that brings more gamers into the hobby.

titansgrave2

  1. I haven’t caught up yet. No spoilers, please. []
  2. While the Fiasco episode was good, I think it’s better to compare the other two. []
  3. Which is complete BS, but this is a show, so rather than scream out in frustration, Chris Pramas takes the high road. []
  4. Chris Pramas and the rest of Green Ronin were on staff to facilitate. []
  5. Except the opening narrator, who seems to think there’s all this Foreboding and Darkness, when the game they’re actually playing is all about THE BEER!, robotic NPCs named “Keggy”, and general light goofiness in the foreground. []