Friday, December 26, 2014

Nuts & Bolts Special - Quattro con Carnage - Basic Fantasy RPG (a look at gaming across systems)

This blog references the Quattro con Carnage experiment being run by +James Walls and specifically the first and second sessions of the Basic Fantasy RPG segment. 

Earlier this week we completed the second of two sessions of Basic Fantasy RPG.  It was my first experience with BFRPG and my first exposure to "OSR" rules. The closest I ever got previously was some AD&D 2nd ed back in the early 90's, but I'm not certain that even counts (is that old school enough?) and 20 years have gone by since then.

The relative weakness of our character's was certainly eye opening. Every hit was worrying, and every spell was fairly jealously guarded. The fighter felt a little vanilla and with no undead in the story my cleric felt like a slightly less capable fighter who also had some healing.  Having pre-prepped spells meant I also was predefined in what I could do, as was the "magic user".

I commented after the session that I feel like when we get to Numenera (the fourth system in this experiment), and possibly Savage Worlds (system #3), I was expecting that my character was "going to feel like an ultra powerful superstar, in comparison" to BFRPG. I said this knowing that with Numenera I would have the ability to use my character's healing more frequently, and that I would be able to fight a little better as well.  In Numenera my cleric, Lommán, will have the focus "works miracles" which will cover his healing abilities nicely. I could play him as either a jack or a glaive type, but given that I envision him as a crusading cleric (almost paladin-like) I am leaning toward a glaive of some kind.  This will make him pop more in combat, though depending on what our fighter takes for a focus I don't expect to suddenly be a superstar.

I had more fun than I expected to, but I don't think I can say that these sessions have made me a fan of BFRPG or "OSR" just yet.  I don't think I'd ever prefer or choose to use Basic Fantasy RPG for anything but beer and pretzel one-off games personally. I prefer a little more heroics, and a little more option in my game tone and characters, respectively.

As far as OSR goes I'm going to with withhold judgement until the QcC experiment is complete. I fully expect to see different variations on the theme, and so I may find that the OSR principles aren't outside of my comfort zone, even if the most OSR inspired rules are.  Either way I am looking forward to seeing how the character's (mine and the other players') change with each system, as I believe that the tone of gameplay is as much about the mechanics as it is about the GM, group, themes, and setting.