Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Role Playing Game (RPG) Week: 3 of 6

by Nathan Stout (of AccordingToWhim.com)

Welcome to part 3 of our RPG week. In the last post I wrote I talked about general stuff like Dungeons and Dragons drama in the 80's, dice, and getting into RPGs with Robotech.

A friend had introduced me to Robotech via the RPG book (the source book) and I fell in love with both Robotech and the concept of the RPG. As I got more and more into Robotech the RPG grew into more than just a basic game. This was a universe I was really into and being able to take on the role of a character in that universe was a big thrill.

For some reason I seemed to fall into the role of the GM (Game Master) when we played. I am not sure why but I guess that's a compliment. I would come up with stories that my friend would experience complete with maps and NPC (non-player characters). Since I liked to draw anyway the whole map making aspect of RPGs was just icing on the cake. My friend also got a couple of his friends into the game too (but in a much less enthusiastic way) and we had a four player game a few times. The two other guys would argue a lot so in my frustration I would make bad things happen in the game because of their real life arguments.

During all this time I would make weekly trips to Heroes Workshop in Fort Worth to look for Robotech stuff. Anime was still called Japanimation at the time and was somewhat hard to come by. Since Robotech was past it's heyday it was just as hard to find as some of that Japanimation. Most comic book stores did carry the RPG books since they were still fairly new. The prices (for me at the time) were just too high so I rarely bought the new RPG books.

As a side note to the RPG books... I blogged about the Robotech Fanzine Protoculture Addicts a while back which gives more detail about my history with Robotech. Well one of the founders of the fanzine went on to draw for some of the later Pallidum RPG books. Just and FYI there...

I played the RPG until my friend lost interest. He found the all mighty beer and soon lost interest in most of what we mutually enjoyed. I was still in high school and I soon found a new friend that liked Robotech, James. James, his brother Joey, and his sister Susan went to school and we all hung out together. I eventually got to playing the RPG again with James and Joey. I can't remember exactly but I do want to say I Susan played once (maybe). We played the 3rd part of Robotech called 'The New Generation'. I basically copied the shows storyline and applied it to their adventures. We played on and off for several months and ended with a big send off where I basically forced the character to sacrifice themselves in order to take out the enemy base.

When we finished playing Robotech I started looking into Dungeons and Dragons. Robotech was my 'gateway drug' into the evil, satanic world of D&D...

There's not much to say really. As I had suspected all those years D&D was NOT satanic or evil in any way. In fact I found it a bit confusing at times (all the rules). D&D had been developed in the 70's and had gone through many changes and was up to the 2nd Edition rules by the time I got into it. It needed to evolve and grow to give long time players enough to keep them interested. I started off with a box set and learned just the basics. I got James to play with me but we only ever played a couple of times. You see, we had discovered something else that was quasi-RPG... Warhammer Quest!

Let's start off at the beginning... Hero Quest was a board game developed by Games Workshop (a UK miniatures company) and released by Mattel as a sort of 'gateway drug' into the world miniatures gaming (an off shoot of RPG gaming). Games Workshop had a successful miniatures game series called Warhammer (and still does to this day). Games Workshop had an off-shoot of Warhammer called Warhammer Quest which was a 'dungeon crawler' type game. It is a game that takes place in a dungeon as opposed to the big battlefield like Warhammer.

I got into Hero Quest after I bought one at the Kmart I worked at. My friend Barrett and I played the crap out of that game for almost 2 years. As I now write all this out I find it interesting how I had these different parts of my life segmented off. Barrett and I played Hero Quest at the same time as James and I were playing Robotech RPG. I find it funny how the 2 never came together. I think we probably tried and Barrett wasn't into the Robotech RPG and James wasn't into Hero Quest. Anyway, as it was intended to do I was seduced into harder stuff by the seemingly innocent Hero Quest. I found the 'real' version of this dungeon crawler... Warhammer Quest.

Join me in my final part on Friday as I write some more about Warhammer Quest and my other RPG thoughts.

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