Thursday, February 5, 2009

News: RPG Geek and PDQ#

This week, the Games on the Table News Dept has some topics of interest for you.

The new Geek in town

Don't you enjoy those times when your life is energized by the anticipation of something good? So do I. And right now, I'm really looking forward to a treat that's coming down the pipeline for roleplayers: RPG Geek.

When it comes to board gaming, BoardGameGeek is the ultimate one-stop website on the internet. They have everything you could want: community, a marketplace, a complex and comprehensive database of all the board games you can imagine, all synchronized through and through. You can track your personal collection, track plays, write reviews and articles, upload files and images - it does it all. The site is a masterpiece, meeting all the needs of people in the hobby.

Just this week, the code for BoardGameGeek was rewritten to improve functionality. Part of the upgrade to BGG 2.0 included the ability to more easily transpose the structure of BGG to other hobbies. This has been one of the constant requests from the BGG community, and now Scott Alden and his team have done it.

The first known transposition will be RPG Geek. I'm looking forward to this. Imagine one database where you can look at reviews, images, user-created files, and where you can track your own RPG collection, all the while communicating with other gamers. There are good RPG sites and communities out there, but none that do everything, especially not with the quality of the BGG interace. Get ready, my roleplaying friends. This will be a sweet site.

I'll have my eyes on the progress and release of RPG Geek. When the site is up, you know you'll hear about it here.

Swash your buckles with the new PDQ

Although I haven't yet had the opportunity to actually play or run a game using the PDQ system, I do follow the happenings of Chad Underkoffler's work on his PDQ system. The system interests me because it is rules-light, and seems to share some of the qualities I appreciate in Spirit of the Century (Fate 3.0 system). I do own Tim Gray's Questers of the Middle Realms which is built on the PDQ engine and look forward to playing it.

In late 2008, Mr. Underkoffler made available an updated version of the PDQ core rules called "PDQ#" (PDQ Sharp). This version is specifically tailored to a swashbuckling game. It is this set of rules that the upcoming Swashbucklers of the Seven Skies will be built upon.

When I first read about S7S last year, I was immediately intrigued. The idea of sky pirates and airships is just sweet to me. The airships in the Final Fantasy video game series were always fascinating, and while I didn't play Skies of Arcadia, it looked cool, and I bought the soundtrack. I love the idea of airships/sky pirates/sky sailors. (I also tried reading Paul Stewart's The Edge Chronicles, but the gritty style had me returning the book to the library before I finished the first half of the book. Still, the morsels about sky pirates were cool.)

So I was pretty excited about the concept of S7S, until I read this page in Mr. Underkoffler's blog. While the bit about "setting-heavy" isn't attractive to me, what really turns me off is this statement:
S7S has intriguing (to me) sexual politics. Each Island has a different take on gender relationships; this is intentional. I'm afraid that people won't notice it. The inclusion, here, is intended to spark intriguing thoughts: a female Viridese Warmaster interacting with a Colronan Musketeer SHOULD bring up culture-clash. I crave it.

But will other folks find it as interesting as I do?
This kind of thing would quickly spoil the good parts of an RPG for me. First of all, I work to keep "sexual" out of all my hobbies except for my marriage. But even worse is if sexuality is tied up in a world's politics. I just don't know what to think right now regarding S7S. I wonder if PDQ# would enable playing in my own world of airships and cloud islands? I have yet to read PDQ#, so I can't determine that just now. It's on my list of things to do when I get the time. Stay posted for my thoughts on PDQ and S7S in the future.

The taste of pulp

In another session or two, I'll finish the current adventure I've been GMing. It's in a fantasy setting, using the SotC rules. After that, one of the other guys is taking over as GM for a standard SotC game, by the book, with a few little mods.

In the past, I would have said, "I don't really want to play anything other than fantasy. That's part of the fun for me." I'm a big fantasy fan, hence my love for the fantasy setting in roleplaying. But now that I've been exposed to SotC, through reading the book and playing it, I've really come to appreciate the pulp genre. My tastes have adjusted to the point that I'm actually eager to play in the pulp setting now.

So, I'm psyched for the upcoming adventure, when I'll be sitting back into the player's seat. The guy who's GMing and I have been talking a lot about SotC, and how we can improve our use of it for the upcoming adventures. We've realized that we need to be much more active in our spending of Fate points and in performing maneuvers. We're also thinking of tweaking the skills system to use something other than the pyramid.

I also had a little burst of inspiration the other day and jotted down some neat ideas for the next SotC adventure I'll run. So much fun roleplaying, so little time. Drat!

So, thanks to the guys who created SotC, not only for a good system, but for writing a newbie's guide to the appreciation of pulp.


Chad Underkoffler said...

I hope that you do take a look at S7S, gender issues notwithstanding. (It's pretty low-impact, in any case.)

Alternately, PDQ# doesn't have ANY setting stuff in it, so you don't have to worry about seeing it there.

Thanks for the shout-out; sorry it took so long to comment!

TimothyP said...

I actually have my friend's copy of S7S in my hands, but have not yet had time to peruse. Thanks for commenting, Chad! I'm looking forward to looking over the swashbuckling goodness!