Thursday, August 7, 2014

RPGaDAY - Day 7 - Most Intellectual RPG Owned?

I'm not even sure what that means. System-wise or setting-wise? Concept-wise? Time spent thinking about it -wise? I don't own any of the more popular games that I suspect are meant to be identified here like Dogs in the Vineyard, Monsters and Other Childish Things, or Microscope, but I do have some possible candidates:

  • For time spent noodling over the mechanics and how to make characters while liking the system, Champions is probably up there. Mutants and Masterminds is not too far behind.
  • For time spent trying to envision the mechanics and how it all works together Marvel Heroic, or Cortex Plus as the mechanics are now known, was a fairly recent mind expander. 

  • For time spent in my head trying to make a coherent set of rules out of it, hands down it is Rifts, the unsolvable problem of RPG's.
  • For time spent building worlds and equipment, some form of Traveller - Original, Mega, maybe even New Era - as it had some construction rules down to where you could design your own guns down to bore in mm and type of propellant. I did. 

  • Concept-wise I think Reign is a level beyond the "normal" view of most RPG's. I don't know that I'll ever get to run or play it but just reading it made me think differently about some aspects of all of my games.  

  • I'll also throw Dawn of Worlds in there - it's a world-building game that's even more different than most RPG's. It's definitely on the edge of what should even be called an RPG, but there it is. More on it here.


Barking Alien said...


In 4 out of your 6 games, you mention some aspect or application of the rules or mechanics.

Is that what Intellectual means to you? I never even thought of it (the term 'Intellectual') as pertaining to rules.

Very different perspecitives.

Blacksteel said...

Definition of "intellectual" -
"of or relating to the intellect."

That's a big help. Definition of "intellect" -
"the faculty of reasoning and understanding objectively, especially with regard to abstract or academic matters."

So it's the thinking side, rather than the feeling side of things.

So yes, a lot of my time as a DM is spent around the mechanics, "does this set of rules communicate the setting or concept the way I want them to?" - I'm OK with that.

You could take it more as being about the concept of the game or the events that happen in-game instead and that seems like a perfectly valid way of looking at it too. I think you get those kinds of concepts more in a sci-fi game than a fantasy game - "what does it mean to be a human?" and that kind of thing. The closest D&D gets to this kind of thing is whether or not to kill the orc young when you've finished killing the parents in the Caves of Chaos (or wherever) and most players are not looking for that kind of debate in that game. Alignment debates might fall into the same territory too, so maybe there's more there than I thought.

Blacksteel said...

Also, I'd say most non-gamers would consider RPG's as a whole to be a pretty "intellectual" hobby. Picking the most intellectual is finding a bluer kind of white at that level.