Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tabletop Gaming (Pt. 2)

Alright, time to wrap this up.

World of Darkness

The World of Darkness setting is actually quite fascinating to me.  It can be set in any time period, but most often is placed in the current year.  The core game has you playing as humans, in which you can take on natural or supernatural occurrences.  The expansions (Such as Vampire: The Masquerade, or Mage: The Awakening) can be played either as their own seperate game, or run in conjunction with the base World of Darkness game.  Simply put, the expansions are just new ways to play the game.  Hell, some campaigns even have the human players turn into Vampires, Werewolves, or Mages in the middle of a game.

The system for WoD games is fairly straightforward and easy to learn, making it a good introductory RPG.  The main difference between this series and say, Dungeons and Dragons, is that you don't earn XP (experience points) for killing enemies.  You earn it for doing story-based things.  If you think of a clever solution, or avoid a lot of trouble, the Storyteller may award extra XP.  Experience in WoD isn't like Experience in DnD, you don't level up when you hit a set number, instead you spend your XP like a currency, to make your character stronger, or more adept at a given task.  This way, growth is more open, instead of railroaded by a class.

The World of Darkness series of games is meant to be played almost as a horror game.  With it's darker tones, and focus on the supernatural and things outside the player's control, it isn't all 'fun and games' in the world.  I recommend this game to people who are interested in a tabletop RPG, but are put off by the High Fantasy of Dungeons and Dragons.


Shadowrun is set in the near future (2077 I believe) after a series of semi-catestrophic events.  The future setting allows it to add fantastic technology, but blends it with some familiar things.  Cars still exist, but computers can now fit in the palm of your hands and are more powerful than any current consumer PC on the market.  Guns also still exist, but they can be fitted with microcomputer that can link up to your glasses, contacts, or cybernetic eyes for better aiming and a HUD.

Leveling up in Shadowrun is akin to leveling up in World of Darkness, get Experience to raise attributes and stats.

The setting details are pretty fascinating for this game as well.  You play as a Shadowrunner, a street mercenary hired by a corporation to complete some task.  This could be an assassination, data theft/manipulation, escort, courier, etc.  No matter what the task is, there's likely to be danger though.  There are no preset classes, but there are archtypes your character can follow: Hacker, melee, weapons expert, etc.  Hilariously enough though, you can have a hacker who's deadly with an Automatic Shotgun... just sayin'.

The Corporations play a big part in the game.  The country is run by the Mega-Corps, a dozen or so giant companies that control huge sections of land across the United States.  Most of them are competitors with each other.  You will probably make enemies out of most of these AAA companies during the course of your Shadowrunning career.  Law enforcement is usually handled by high-grade Rent-A-Cops called Lone Star.  Their services usually go out to the highest bidder.

Shadowrun is a little more complex than World of Darkness (it's magic system takes a bit of learning), but otherwise it's another good tabletop game I'd recommend.

Well, there's a brief look at 4 different tabletop RPGs that I'm familiar with.  If there's any questions, comments or concerns, feel free to leave a comment.  Also, leave feedback if you want to see more of these, or if you want me to just focus on the video games.


1 comment:

  1. One of the key things I forgot to mention in the Shadowrun summation: The Matrix (the game was made before the movie came out). The Matrix is a global Wi-Fi connection. It connects your appliances, your commlink (Handheld computer) and everything else. This is convenient for the everyday man, but a bit troublesome for the Shadowrunners. Luckily, a false ID can be a Runner's best friend.