When I was growing up, I played a hell of a lot of role playing games. I started on D&D, but also played a ludicrous amount of Star Frontiers and Traveller. As I got older, I played lots of Shadowrun and Vampire. Even after I got married, I played Deadlands and Talislanta and a whole heck of a lot of other games.
But in the last ten years or so, I've kind of given that up. For one thing, I changed. I think RPGs appeal to people who wish they could be someone else. It's natural for a kid to want to be more powerful, but I think after a point, adults realize that they're more satisfied with their real lives, and lose patience with games that require them to pretend to be someone else. I'm pretty happy with who I am now (though I wouldn't mind losing a few pounds, and it wouldn't bother me if my hairline quit receding). So RPGs just don't grab me the way they did when I was so dissatisfied with my life.
Time was a big factor, too. Think of some seriously long board games, like Samurai Swords or Through the Ages, and you can still start and finish them before you could normally finish rolling up characters for a whole group. Even complicated rules will be like 40 pages, where your average RPG sourcebook these days is like 300 pages, and that's before you even start considering support material like sourcebooks and modules. The time you need to play an RPG can be overwhelming, especially if you have a lot happening on the side.
However, role playing games still have a lot going for them. You can exercise your imagination, and sometimes just reading through a rulebook can amaze you with the possibilities that other people have created. The process of group-based storytelling is downright compelling, even if you're well past being impressed by the ability to speak with a fake English accent. And these days, some of the most amazing artists in the world are being employed to create the illustrations and designs that grace nearly every RPG on the market.
Not only that, but my kids have been pestering me to play some RPGs with them. They know I'm good at it, having spent decades honing my gamemastering voodoo, and they want to try being someone else for a while. Like I said, this is a pretty natural tendency in kids. And honestly, any time my teenagers are actually asking me to spend time with them, I'm loathe to pass up the chance.
So I've decided to expand my horizons a little. I've reviewed roleplaying games once or twice at Drake's Flames, and I used to do it pretty regularly for RPG.net. So I think it might be fun to take a look at what people are making now. It's been so long that I don't even know what's out there, but it could be fun rediscovering something that was such a part of my life for so long.
I'm not going to replace the board game reviews - I love those - but I might sub in an RPG review every other week or so. They still take a stupid long time to read and play, so it's not like I could crunch through three a week, but every now and then, I can get my kids to sit around a table and pretend to be robots, or high elves, or barbarian bloodletters.
Here's where I could use some help, though. Since I don't have the foggiest idea what games are out there, I wouldn't mind some suggestions. And if you know someone who would like to get their RPG reviewed, have them drop me a line, and I'll see what I can do.
RPG fans, here's your chance to see your favorite games get a little recognition. It's also a chance to see the dorkiest games ever made get ridiculed mercilessly. You don't want to miss that, do you?