March Madness Bloghop Thingy

I'm always torn about bloghops and that sort of thing.  On the one hand, I want the attention; on the other hand, I really only have time for my own content.  Sometimes, though, blogs you like sponsor the darned things and you just feel like chipping in somehow.  As a cheat, then, here are short answers to Tomb of Tedankhamen's Non-D&D March Madness Blogging Challenge:

1 What was the first roleplaying game other than D&D you played? Was it before or after you had played D&D?

Stormbringer, maybe?  Or Call of Cthulhu?  It was definitely one of those two and it was after D&D.

2 What was the first character you played in an RPG other than D&D? How was playing it different from playing a D&D character?

That would be a Garou ragabash in an aborted campaign of Werewolf: The Apocalypse (and one of the literally handful of times that I’ve been the player and not the GM).  The biggest difference was that instead of being self-motivated to go get rich by fighting monsters, we were instead hazed by our clan elders for a session.  I’ve never understood the weird, hierarchical structure of the Old World of Darkness.

3 Which game had the least or most enjoyable character generation?

I don’t think I’ve ever found character creation enjoyable in itself.  As a perennial GM, I guess Savage Worlds’ “just assign stats and don’t worry about it” approach to NPCs is my favorite, while D&D 3.5’s fiddly-ass, fair and balanced character creation is the absolute worst.  No wonder Paizo prints whole books worth of NPCs.

4 What other roleplaying author besides Gygax impressed you with their writing?

I have a serious soft spot for Ed Greenwood’s style, but I like his actual game writing much better than his fiction.

5 What other old school game should have become as big as D&D but didn’t? Why do you think so?

D&D really created an entire hobby, didn’t it?  I can’t really imagine anything else even possibly having that kind of effect.  Call of Cthulhu, maybe?  It was the first major horror game and everybody loves horror, so…  (Actually, I suspect Lovecraft’s popular success today is a side-effect of CoC so it kind did get the big breakout.)

6 What non-D&D monster do you think is as iconic as D&D ones like hook horrors or flumphs, and why do you think so?


7 What fantasy RPG other than D&D have you enjoyed most? Why?

King Arthur Pendragon because I love the source material and Savage Worlds because it’s actually the only other game system with which I’ve spent serious time playing fantasy settings.  (Shrugs.)

8 What spy RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.

I’ve never played any dedicated spy RPGs, but I did hack Cinematic Unisystem for a campaign using the setting fluff from the Spycraft ‘60s book.  Speed Racer, Batman and Talia, and James Bond all made cameos.

9 What superhero RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?

I’ve never played any dedicated superhero RPGs, so Savage Worlds wins by default. 

10 What science fiction RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.

WEG’s d6 Star Wars is a fantastic game that has influenced many since.  They turned the Skywalker saga into a universe where anyone could have wild adventures and established a brilliant example of unified design.

11 What post-apocalyptic RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?

I loathe post-apocalyptic settings.

12 What humorous RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.

I tried playing Toon and Tales from the Floating Vagabond, but was never really able to get into either.  My favorite humorous RPG is actually D&D.  Seriously, has anyone ever played a “serious” game of D&D?

13 What horror RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?

Rippers for Savage Worlds because Van Helsing by way of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is too cool for school.

14 What historical or cultural RPG have you enjoyed most? Give details.

Does Pirates of the Spanish Main for Savage Worlds count?

15 What pseudo or alternate history RPG have you enjoyed most? Why?

16 Which RPG besides D&D has the best magic system? Give details.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer actually has a great system that captures the feel of magic on the show (which also feels much more like “real-world” magic than anything else I’ve ever played) but which also manages to stay pretty flexible and simple.

17 Which RPG has the best high tech rules? Why?

Star Wars d6 again. 

18 What is the crunchiest RPG you have played? Was it enjoyable?

Gary Gygax’s Dangerous Journeys and “no.”

19 What is the fluffiest RPG you have played? Was it enjoyable?

Werewolf: The Apocalypse and “yes.”  OK, I guess I enjoy reading the setting books more than I enjoyed playing that one single session, but the answer still stands.

20 Which setting have you enjoyed most? Why?

Meaning “which setting besides the Forgotten Realms,” right?  I guess Pirates of the Spanish Main?

21 What is the narrowest genre RPG you have ever played? How was it?

Does anything get narrower than King Arthur Pendragon?

22 What is the most gonzo kitchen sink RPG you ever played? How was it?

23 What is the most broken game that you tried and were unable to play?

I really, really wanted to like Exalted 1st Edition, but I could never wrap my brain around either the setting or mechanics.

24 What is the most broken game that you tried and loved to play, warts and all?

I have the complete line of Kindred of the East supplements, but have never actually played it.  KotE has the most ridiculously complicated mana-tracking and powers system that I’ve ever seen; they basically combined the mechanics for Vampire: The Masquerade and Wraith: The Oblivion into one game.  Nevertheless, my fascination with the subject matter still ranks it as my favorite “broken” game.  (Funny enough, it basically inspired Exalted.)

25 Which game has the sleekest, most modern engine?

Umm…  FATE Accelerated Edition?

26 What RPG based on an IP did you enjoy most? Give details.

That’s a coin toss between Star Wars d6 and Pirates of the Spanish Main.  They both have freewheeling, anti-authoritarian sandbox settings and swordfights.  What’s not to love about that?

27 What IP (=Intellectual Property, be it book, movie or comic) that doesn’t have an RPG deserves it? Why?

Godzilla?  I mean, it’s one of the world’s best-known movie franchises, loved by millions, and homages pop up in practically every game I can think of (I own books with versions for CoC, Savage Worlds, and WtA, while Pathfinder recently introduced rules for kaiju) and yet I don’t think there’s ever been an official English-language Godzilla RPG.

28 What free RPG or what non-English RPG did you enjoy most? Give details.

Mazes and Minotaurs is awesome.

29 What OSR product have you enjoyed most? Explain why.

I’ve enjoyed the creativity of the OSR blogosphere as a whole more than any one specific product.  I LOVE BLOGS!

30 Which non-D&D supplemental product should everyone know about? Give details.

Secrets of Japan for Call of Cthulhu has an awesome backstory for Japanese kami that I have shamelessly repeatedly stolen for my campaigns, CoC stats for Godzilla, and also evil Buddha.  Somebody go buy it and give me some affiliate points.

31 What out-of-print RPG would you most like to see back in publication? Why?

I don't think anything I like is out of print.  I'm lucky that way.

Well, I guess there's Star Wars d6, but that ain't getting reprinted in my lifetime.


  1. HA! As a long time Japan resident I've had Secrets of Japan but been afraid to read it. Guess I've got to give it a look now that you've praised it so highly.

    1. The author also lived in Japan for a while, so it really feels like Japan and not just a bunch of anime tropes (says the Texan with two semesters of Japanese). It's dated now, but I think you'll be pleasantly surprised (unless you're a Buddhist).


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