RPGs, sweet RPGs, are what bring us together today. Whether they're traditional Gygaxian tabletop adventures or the most advanced video games, they're the things we argue bout and obsess over. We definitely fall asleep thinking about them. Read about our favorites after the jump, and then tell us about yours!
We're particularly delighted to add a special guest contributor to this week's Friday Five rollcall. Magnus Anderson lives and writes in London. He has made numerous appearances on Lollards of Pop on Resonance FM, discussing gaming and pop culture, and devised a cryptic treasure hunt which was published by Big Finish as part of a Bernice Summerfield anthology. He is currently working on a book due for publication in 2012.
Judge Dredd the Role Playing Game (Tabletop): Issued at the time when the comic was at its most sardonically playful, the mega-city’s bizarre criminals and futurisims lent themselves perfectly to the game’s source books, which which were liberally littered with comic art and came with cardboard miniatures of hundreds of characters. Colourful, gorgeous and thrill-powered.
The Hobbit (8-bit adventure): Innovative in so many ways, this made its mark as a proto-RPG with pioneering, autonomous non-player characters. Awe-inspiring in 1982, it also introduced frustrations that needed workarounds - after watching Thorin abandon the adventure to sit down and sing about gold too many times, the smart player’s strategy is to lure him to the troll’s cave and lock him in.
Fallout 3: A work of genius. It must be. I know this because it features hours of grindingly repetitive searches through metro stations and offices, punctuated by imbecilic conversations with pathetically inert characters and regular death-by-irradiated-mole. Yet I finished every possible mission, and want to play some more. Genius.
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (Tabletop): When Games Workshop stretched its wargaming franchise into a role-play universe, they produced adolescent catnip: a rulebook with three hundred course pages of cod-Teutonic myth making, and a single, endlessly intricate campaign about the demonic corrupt in of royalty. Perfect for twelve year olds.
Maelstrom: “It can take months to recover fully from a fight. If a character is in bed, resting, each of his wounds heals at a rate of one point a week. If he continued with his normal life, the rate is one point per month.” And that’s how real RPGs roll.