All righty! I’m finally going back and organizing and cataloguing my extensive RPG collection. I’ve been buying games since getting Star Frontiers in 1982. I get more virtual than physical these days, but I still prefer paper for something I’m going to use. So I thought I’d share as I go!
The first section is basically the “non-D&D RPGs.” I have 11 shelves worth of these and then another 11 of D&D+Pathfinder. Shelf 1 is 65 items mostly in the “A”s! Here’s a link to the Google sheet I’m using for the inventory, it’ll fill in as I go.
All right, we kick it off with the new 7th Sea 2e, which I recently got via Kickstarter and haven’t read fully yet. It’s a swashbuckling game by John Wick.
Next is 13th Age from Pelgrane Press, kind of a semi-story take on D&D, which I am not sure I want to play but am up for stealing ideas from – each character gets “One Unique Thing,” which I assume is a Jonathan Tweet import because it feels like Over The Edge, and the game revolves around semi-deity “Icons” and their relationships.
Aberrant is a long forgotten White Wolf superhero game, but I played it at conventions in Tennessee in the ’90’s. Uses a system like all those old White Wolf games, which were all basically superhero games anyway so not sure why this didn’t take off at all. Was related to the Trinity sci-fi game I also played.
Aces & Eights needs a lot of investment to get players to learn some big ass ruleset but it’s a straightforward Wild West game (no magic or other genre-bending) and I’d love to play it. Deadwood the RPG, basically. It has whole sections on cattle drives and mining for gold and court trials.
Aletheia is a modern paranormal game I got on clearance. I might steal the well detailed home base building for their paranormal-fighting club for it at some point.
Aliens Adventure Game! I hear there’s a new Alien (no s) game that just came out, but this is an old school licensed RPG for Aliens, aka “the best Alien movie.” Real old – the system uses tables, which makes it a hard sell to get people to play nowadays. Maybe I can combine it with Starship Troopers or Star Frontiers or something to make it happen.
All Flesh Must Be Eaten is a zombie survival game with a stunning number of supplements, I only have a handful. Was popular in con play back in the day and I’ve run it as well, it uses the Eden Studios Unisystem and is good.
Alternity is a TSR/WotC science fiction game I really like, you can tell since I have 23 books in the line. I ran it back when it came out, more recently another GM in our group ran a huge StarDrive campaign where we were the command staff of the Lighthouse and everything. I really want to run their modern paranormal Dark Matter setting, I might be able to since a lot of our group has played Alternity and is used to the system if a bit sassy about it.
Then I have a handful of Amazing Engine games that I got in a lot mostly on the strength of Bughunters, which is an Aliens meets Space: Above and Beyond kind of setting, which is cool. The “Amazing Engine,” which was a very very brief TSR attempt at a generic system, went nowhere however. “We’ll make a GURPS clone and crush them! Oh wait maybe not…”
Next is Amber Diceless Roleplaying. All you kids think diceless and stuff is from newfangled indie games, but nope we had it back in 1991. This is a cool game, it’s PvP – each of the players is a Prince in Amber from the Roger Zelazny books and is largely against each other. Stats are just ranked – you’re the best or second best or third best at Warfare, just among the princes because no one else really could ever match you. Erick Wujcik wrote this and it’s a classic.
Then we have Aria: Canticle of the Monomyth. It’s less an RPG and more of a master’s thesis. It did have the idea of story-creating a world and such, like the more modern Microscope, but no one could slog through the 500+ pages to get there. Alas.
Armageddon is a modern supernatural end of the world game by CJ Carella. I think I got this while I was in an In Nomine fueled haze during that year or two of gaming.
Ah, Ars Magica. Another “indie before there was such a thing” game. Very innovative both for the troupe system (you didn’t play just one character, usually each player had a single super powerful mage character and one person would run them and others would run Companions (decently powerful supporting characters) or Grogs (random low powered goons and serfs). Also, the magic system was a greatly flexible Latin-powered system – “Perdo Ignam!” would put out fires and make things cold, for example. Sadly, despite winning many awards, it’s been dead about a decade, the last corebook (5th edition) came out in 2004. I think this one would be a great one to revive in a much smaller/lighter indie game format nowadays. Hmm, I do see on their Web page that there are some Fiasco playsets for it! Well OK maybe not quite *that* light and indie, but you know, not 300+ pages either.
Ashen Stars is a GUMSHOE game of interstellar troubleshooters, I have the corebook in PDF but I have this one adventure supplement in paper (I try to support my FLGSes when they have something I want to buy…)
Then two editions of the Babylon 5 RPG! Still my favorite sci-fi TV show of all time, but still hard to re-watch (it was free for a brief moment and is now expensive again). Heck I wrote my first RPG.net review about this in 1997. They never got much product out for it, and then Mongoose came out with a second edition that did – but unfortunately converted it over to d20 during the d20 glut where everything got converted over even if it was a terrible fit system-wise for it. Maybe one day I’ll find some folks with B5 love and do something with this.
I kickstarted Russ Peyton from RPPR’s Base Raiders game, a FATE-powered game where basically the superheroes have all gone away and now people are looting their cool super-bases for stolen tech and bragging rights.
And then I have two supplements for Battlelords of the Twenty-Third Century, because they seem bananas in that Rifts kind of way. It’s a science fiction game that strips away everything except blowing things up. Somewhat similar to Warhammer 40k, though they didn’t bother to make that into a RPG until recently, it’s about shooting things in a galaxy at war but for megacorps and not the Emperor. “SLA Industries In Space!” I’ll call it. This is from the ’90’s but apparently a 7th edition has been kickstarted recently! Hmm, I’m gonna download the quickstart now, might make a fun one-shot. Ah, critical hit tables, I can see I’ll like this.
OK, that’s shelf 1 of 22 (not counting several shelves of Dungeon and Dragon magazines). Chime in below, have you played any of these? What should be stolen from them to use in gaming nowadays?
I’m very fond of 13th Age and it’s probably my favourite non-OSR version of D&D. The One Unique Thing is a great idea and does wonderful things for a campaign because it ties the player-characters into the setting and creates new setting concepts so even the GM can discover things about their own game. I found it spurred my creativity and made my campaign better and more interesting.
The background system is also neat, and I like the way it ties together backstory and the game’s skill system but is also very rules light.
I didn’t get on as well with the Icon system as the core rules lack good advice on how it works in play. I think the book that came with the GM screen had a decent essay in it about using the Icons, but it really should have been in the main rulebook. My players enjoyed using Icon rolls during the session to call in favours and affect the narrative, but didn’t enjoy how transparent and gamey it could be at times. “Who does this assassin work for?” (rolls Icon dice) “The Archmage!”
I’m also very fond of the monster design principles in the Bestiary. There are some good ideas in there about flexible dice rolls and reskinning creatures, none of which is revolutionary, but all of which has been useful for me in running all sorts of games other than 13th Age.
Hey man! Yeah, it seems like there’s a good bunch of steal-able bits from 13th Age. On the one hand I like the monster simplicity, on the other I worry it can get boring over time when everything really is just a set of hit point and an attack… A lot of more story-oriented games require a lot more work in the mid and long term as the novelty wears off, how have you found that to work out?
Yeah, monsters are a bit odd in 13A, especially if you’re coming from a more traditional version of D&D. It’s another place where the core book doesn’t do the best job of showing what the system can do; the Bestiary is a massive upgrade to the way monsters work, giving you more options without overcomplicating things and detracting from the basic simplicity of the statblock.
The general philosophy is to build complexity and interesting twists into the attacks and special abilities, while keeping the core statblock as three defence numbers and a hit point total. It mostly works; I managed about 15 sessions without anyone getting bored with the opposition.
Man I love these bookshelf tours! You have an amazing collection! My mostly 1980-90’s era collection of mostly TSR stuff has been lost for years now, but I have quite a bit on PDF’s after having reawakened about 6 years ago. Actual books are by far better IMO.
The value of some of these products on your shelf is idea stealing and inspiration! Hope to see more of this tour!
Will do! Holidays and the collapse of our government is putting a crimp in my free time but I intend to see this through.