Tuesday, January 22, 2008

How I Found Role Playing

Missing the first scheduled update is hardly a noble way to go about this. Unfortunately, last week had an undue amount of distractions. I’ll try to make multiple updates anytime I miss the normal one as compensation.

I was always a child with more imaginary friends than real ones. (Some are still waiting for me downstairs, and I’m in my mid-20s!) At some point around fifth or sixth grade I acquired a “chose your own adventure” type book called “Car Wars: Green Circle Blues” – based on the game Car Wars of course, though I didn’t know of the progenitor at the time.

The notable difference between this tome and similar books I read before was the element of chance and conflict. Rather than just turning to a numbered paragraph – the start of the adventure had you create a simple character with four skills – Gunnery, Driving, Mechanics, and Prestige. Throughout the book were various battles, fought with rolls of 2d6 + your skill. To this day I recall the car, “Jupiter”, had two recoilless rifles (linked, to front) and a Vulcan cannon (turret) even though the book was lost in a flood years ago.

After a while, I created a simple system to make my own cars, and during lunch I’d have “auto-duels” with my friends. This would eventually expand into assorted spaceships and robots made with a similar system.

Yet still, I never played an actual RPG until junior year of high school some 3-4 years later. Being a fairly shy person, I was reluctant to join the Interactive Gamers’ Club at my School.

“Rifts”, by Palladium Games, was the first true RPG that I played.

There’s an old joke –

  • The Engineering Student asks, “How does it work?”
  • The business Student asks, “How much does it cost?”
  • And the Liberal Arts major asks, “Do you want fries with that?”

Well, after substantially re-writing the rules for other games I’ve played I wanted to test myself, and what I was learning in college. Thus I began writing a game called “D.A.N.” – Dramatic Action Now (and a nod to my three friends named Dan) – correcting the faults in Rifts I’d experienced over the years.

Seven years later, DAN is still unfinished, as I have learned much about game theory and layout since that time. Yet I have completed other works, and still strive towards the goal of completing both that early system and its space opera XenoExodous setting one day.

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