Check for Traps #1 - Starter Set

Check for Traps #1 - Starter Set

Publisher Alexander Macris looks at two new, innovative tabletop RPGs for beginners and experts alike.

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They may be new, but how can you call them innovative?

read the article mate :P

Clearly states that he finds the "dragon dice" and "battlemap" concept new innovations.
I haven't played enough 'around-the-table'-RPG to comment on if they are indeed new innovations, but from the sideline I haven't heard of that implementation of game-mechanics before.

This article gave me a lust for playing table-RGB again :) .. now to find some likeminded individuals

The Dragon Dice mechanic is absolutely fantastic. I'm really looking forward to running a game using it.

I like the battlemap concept as well, which I suspect would be very easy to adapt to any game system as a easy way to keep track of overall positioning without a full battle grid. It's a nice halfway point between pure mental positioning and full miniature combat.

Virgil:
The Dragon Dice mechanic is absolutely fantastic. I'm really looking forward to running a game using it.

I like the battlemap concept as well, which I suspect would be very easy to adapt to any game system as a easy way to keep track of overall positioning without a full battle grid. It's a nice halfway point between pure mental positioning and full miniature combat.

Blank sheet of A4 and a pencil always did well enough for me.

Im curious as to how this stunt points things works. I can see that it's basically a critical hit mechanic that allows you a bit of choice in what the effect of the critical hit is, but I don't quite get how it also handles aimed shots, multiple attacks etc.

I'll have to get /tg/'s opinion on this one before I make a final assessment...

But from what I've seen, it sounds pretty interesting. I probably wouldn't touch the Dragon Age one. I'm notorious among my peers for being relentless towards Dragon Age's setting.

Always happy to see more table-top content on the Escapist!

I haven't yet played the Dragon Age table-top RPG, but it's on my list. Ancient Odysseys is new to me, but I'll be sure to check it out.

This article reminded me of "Kobalds ate my Baby". The only source book is the thickness of 2-3 commic books. It revolves arround being a Kobald and doing stupid Kobald things. If "Check for Traps" becomes a regular escapist feature, you may want to look into this fun little RP system for later episodes.

Good read. I always assumed the Dragon Age game wasn't for me because it did not leave much room for character progression, but perhaps I was wrong. In any case I think it would have been better if they had started with an Mass Effect tabletop game instead... until I'll just have to settle with my system :P

This is something I will peruse with interest. I like the designer's thinking behind Dragon Age's RPG. It's a lot in line with TSR's when they began releasing D&D. Tou woo the unconverted with things they understand.

scumofsociety:

Im curious as to how this stunt points things works. I can see that it's basically a critical hit mechanic that allows you a bit of choice in what the effect of the critical hit is, but I don't quite get how it also handles aimed shots, multiple attacks etc.

Without having seen the game, my guess is that because the character creation is as simple as possible, your attack-skills are determined by your class and level. Then when you roll a "critical" you get the options to use those points (1-6) on your critical-skills being multiple attacks, aimed shot or annoying your opponent with a rhyming song and dance perfomance.

To start out, it is always great to hear there new games to challenge the 800 lb gorilla that is D&D. I starting playing D&D around the same time grunge music was popular, and I would state pen and paper RPGs (particularly D&D) are more accessible today that ever. To be sure, you have to buy 3 books plus dice rather than a boxed set, however; minus the dice all can be found in any bookstore I've been to. From what I have seen of 4th edition, the game is easier to learn now than when they had crazy little thing called thac0.

Of course, that was not the purpose of this article, and like I said at the beginning, I welcome any game that competes against D&D. Well maybe not Champions or Rolemaster, but that is personal opinion.

If I understand the Action Map idea correctly is sounds like the first space combat ranges they used in Star Wars d20. The very first edition after Episode 1 came out in theaters.

Still think I prefer Battle Grid. Allows for much more tactical combat, and interesting monster advantages (10 foot reach plus Greater Cleave is PAINFUL) Kinda interested in the Dragon Age one though. Paizo should so release a Pathfinder starter set.

This sound very interesting - especially the Dragon Age "Dragon Dice" mechanic (innovation in a licensed product? The apocalypse is surely upon us). At the same time, though, I'm not completely sold on the "keep it simple, stupid" counter-trend in role-playing design. As someone who has grown up through all of D&D's various editions since the '70s, my recollection is that the drive for ever greater complexity originated with players seeking the means to better model the various aspects of their campaign settings. Clearly publishers saw the financial benefit of filling this drive with supplemental rulebooks, but that is hardly a compelling argument against more choice and detail. It's always easier to toss/modify the rules that don't work rather than create what doesn't exist.

Pros and cons to both approaches, Craddoke.

My personal take on it is that I like a simpler rules set that I can then expand. With rules sets like D&D 3.5, I end up having to pare back ("no, you can't play a Half-Fiend Vampire Dread Necromancer") so much that I'd rather start with something simpler. On the other hand, if you WANT to play gonzo-anything-goes gaming, then 3.5 is a great place to start. My taste runs more vanilla.

Wow, those both sound awesome. What elegant design solutions to some of the largest, hassle-creating problems. Which I'm aware is what you said, Archon, but it's pretty stunning. Stunt Dice remind me of the Opportunity commands from FFTactics.

While both of those games are great for the noninitiated to get into tabletop RPG's, they both seem to ignore the hardest part to understand - the roleplaying. For the next chapter of Check for Traps, I'd like to see some games which introduce new players to roleplaying, in-character, noncombat encounters, and so on. Combat is simple to understand, especially if you're familiar with videogames.

Bring on the RP in RPG!

scumofsociety:
Im curious as to how this stunt points things works. I can see that it's basically a critical hit mechanic that allows you a bit of choice in what the effect of the critical hit is, but I don't quite get how it also handles aimed shots, multiple attacks etc.

I'll see if I can explain it in more detail.

As Alex explained, if you hit, and you get doubles on any of the three dice, then you get the Dragon Die value in points to spend on stunts. These must be used on the current attack (or discarded) and you can perform multiple stunts per round.

For physical attacks, options are available to move yourself or your target, to reload your ranged weapon, to knock the enemy prone, to take a defensive stance, to attempt a disarm, to increase your damage, to lower your enemy's armor rating, to make an immediate second attack, to hit multiple available targets, or to force yourself to the top of the initiative list next round. Each one costs between 1 and 4 stunt points to use, and a different list is available for magic attacks.

The stunts can be combined if you have enough points. If you earned 6 points, for example, a character could halve the defense of their target, deal an extra 1d6 damage (a 30-50% increase), and attempt a disarm all in the same action (plus their normal weapon damage).

What I like the most about this is that it removes the whole "How difficult would it be to ______?" negotiation phase of the battle that frequently comes up with aimed shot rules and specialty attacks. Instead, a given character just performs their attack, and once every three-ish die rolls they get the opportunity to do something extraordinary.

I don't think there is as much utility in a starter set as some. It assumes a large number of people who are going to dive into a new hobby. Most new players I've seen over the last 35 years found the hobby by joining an existing group. That's how they get the invite, by knowing someone who already plays, and that's how they learn the rules - from people who already know them. When I first picked up D&D (1974) there were very few players. It grew. The various starter sets helped, but I think it's safe to say more people were brought into existing games than just dropped in out of the blue with an intro set.

If you are going to do an intro set I think you should go ahead and have the full blown game available for more experienced players who might want to try a new game. I didn't buy the Dradon Age game (despite enjoying the CRPG) because I didn't want to be spoon fed a new game. I considered buying it until I heard it was being broken into multiple boxed sets and not available as a unified game. I don't really see it prying me away from my 3.5 / Pathfinder addiction, but at this point they lost any opportunity to do that. Not to speak of a sale...

As for game mechanics, even if I didn't play a new game, new mechanics are always interesting. If it's a complete game. And yes, I know they always add to "complete" games later, but it's a playable stand alone game, not reliant on the next boxed set to continue.

My 2cp.

While I may be somewhat new to pen-&-paper roleplaying, my problem isn't with understanding the rules; it's finding a group.

I live out in the country, and in the city closest to me, the only thing tabletop related is a place that primarily sells collectable models. Lacking transport to go elsewhere, I'm forced to try on-line. Unfortunately, I can only ever seem to find communities that aren't exactly newb friendly; most campaigns I've seen generally require large bios of decent quality. Not an unreasonable requirement, but somewhat hard to accomplish when one doesn't have any experience of making them!

Meh, the Dragon Age one sounds good for beginners I guess, I'm gonna stick to Exalted still for my fantasy RPG needs. I absolutely despise random character generation, it's just a terrible concept in my opinion as I prefer to carefully craft my character as I see fit. Me and my buddies would spend what would be an entire play session just looking through the Exalted books and choosing skills and distributing points accordingly.

Actually...from that brief description of the Dragon Age RPG and from what my friend (our DM) has mentioned, i really just feels like a more simplistic Exalted. Hell the whole "stunt" point thing is pretty much what martial arts was used for in Exalted or what Daredevil is used for in Alternity, although with some differences of course. I guess it'll just be too simplistic and somewhat "familiar" for me and my pals' as my GM has already informed me.

Oh well if this can bring in new comers to table top/ PnP RPG's that's great. Hopefully it will broaden peoples horizons in the process and make them try more awesome games. I say if you do end up liking Dragon Age, definitely try Exalted. It's fucking awesome, complex, great story and far more unique world and races.

That point about the boxed set being more "game" friendly than a rule book is, I think, a very good one. One that Paranoia might have done well to keep in its latest version..

..hmm. I'll have to think on this more.

The Dragon Age one definetly sounds interesting with the 'Dragon Dice' mechanic. Now if only I could find willing participants.

My brain hurts...

If I could get a hold of a few friends, then I wouldn't mind trying these sorts of things out.

I'll keep these starters in mind.

Virgil:
I'll see if I can explain it in more detail.
*SNIP*.
What I like the most about this is that it removes the whole "How difficult would it be to ______?" negotiation phase of the battle that frequently comes up with aimed shot rules and specialty attacks. Instead, a given character just performs their attack, and once every three-ish die rolls they get the opportunity to do something extraordinary.

I see...so basically you can only do any of those things (multiple attacks, aim etc) on a critical hit? Is that correct? I really don't like the sound of that at all.

So I noticed it says #1 at the top.. Is this a new table-top gaming weekly article? That would be pretty awesome.

Liked what was brought up in this first article and I might even have to check out some of those products next time we want something new for game-night.

Oooo, more TT columns on the Escapist? /stalks

Both of those games sound very interesting. I cut my TTRPG teeth on D&D3.5 when my bf introduced it to me, but I'm always fascinated by other games with interesting mechanics. My bf bought me "Duty & Honour" (a Sharpe's Rifles-esque RPG) for Christmas - it has a very neat-seeming card-based system.

Looks like I have 2 more RPGs to add to my ever growing collection. :)

I'm keen on buying Treasure Awaits! and would like to know if you guys have any further opinions on it.

I just got a red box about a few months ago from a garage sale oddly enough all the pieces were there. I wish they had this when I was a kid...Well lets just say I wish they didn't make D&D satanic -.-

 

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