Tabletop Roleplaying Games
Here's a selection of the tabletop games that have been played at LURPS in the last couple of years.
Since everyone has a different view of each game, some games may have multiple blurbs. If you want to add your own viewpoint, or there's a game we've missed, email it to us and we'll (probably) post it at some point.
Due to the sheer number of games we've played recently, they've been collected on several sub-pages. Click on the links and have a read.
Call of Cthulhu
H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937) wrote dozens of horror stories during his life, many of which overlapped, particularly in the recurring invocation or appearances of the same fictional deities (one of whom was Cthulhu). Other writers, including Ramsey Campbell, Robert E. Howard and August Derleth, also used Lovecraft's creations alongside their own. After Lovecraft's premature death, Derleth coined the term 'Cthulhu Mythos' to refer to the whole shared universe, and ensured that Lovecraft's work, at the time confined to magazines and anthologies, remained in print.
Since then, Lovecraft has become renowned as one of the most influential horror writers of the 20th century, and his creations have crept into many spheres. His Necronomicon spell book has been referenced in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, while some place Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian novels into a prehistoric portion of Mythos Earth's prehistory. Several bands have written songs or tunes inspired by the Mythos (Metallica's The Call of the Ktulu, for example), and Cthulhu himself once turned up as a bad guy in an episode of The Real Ghostbusters cartoon.
Oh, and Chaosium Inc. made a popular roleplaying game as well.
These are games that are based on the d20 System first seen in Dungeons & Dragons, the game regarded as being responsible for the roleplaying hobby in its modern form. d20 has been used for most genres, and is the mechanic behind the official Star Wars and Stargate RPGs.
d20 is the most widespread system in roleplaying, largely thanks to the Open Gaming Licence (OGL), that allows designers to produce variants of the d20 System at no cost. This saves them the effort of writing their own system, a fact which has flooded some parts of the market with substandard OGL products, which unfortunately detracts from the decent products out there.
Wizards of the Coast (d20 System's owners) have admitted that OGL was an attempt to dominate the roleplaying market. It appears to have failed, resulting even in cheaper OGL versions of the main D&D rulebooks. What happens next is being watched with interest.
On the plus side, OGL means that there is something for everyone available in the d20 System, if you just look hard enough.
World Of Darkness
The World of Darkness was the setting for several modern horror games produced by White Wolf since the early 1990s. Nowadays, The World of Darkness is a system in its own right, with its predecessors' sequels being plug-and-play settings.
One of the most notable things about the World of Darkness line was the Gehenna plotline. Essentially, during the setting's first incarnation, each game within the World of Darkness line (Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse and Mage: The Ascension, amongst others) had its own meta-plot, whereby there was a story happening away from the tabletop, in the minds of the game's writers.
On the one hand, this made the World of Darkness a rich and deep setting. On the other, it took control of the world out of the hands of the gamers, and placed it firmly into the hands of the writers. This was fine for most gamers, but it did mean that as more and more writers became involved, and older writers left to be replaced by newer ones, the meta-plot became complicated to the point of ridicule. Meta-plotted events would occasionally have such a large impact on the world that if a GM and his/her players wanted to continue gaming within the official meta-plot, they would have to alter their game slightly; one example is that a certain vampire clan significantly changed their abilities at a particular point in history, due to a meta-plotted event.
To deal with this and other issues, White Wolf had a stroke of marketing and creative genius. All of the World of Darkness settings had the common theme that their meta-plot was leading towards the end of the world. White Wolf took the decision to kill the World of Darkness. Over a year or so, they gradually introduced more and more meta-plot events of increasing intensity, finally resulting in Gehenna, the end of all things.
Then they released The World of Darkness in its current incarnation. The 'new' World of Darkness is a completely different setting, where meta-plot has been eliminated, to be replaced by a bundle of far more free-form settings, in the form of Vampire: The Requiem, Werewolf: The Forsaken and Mage: The Awakening.
These are the games that either have their own systems unique to their settings, or that are just less popular amongst LURPS than the ones that get their own pages. This is by no means a reflection of their quality; hell, Unknown Armies, one of LURPS's best loved games, and often seen as an industry benchmark in system, setting and quality of writing, is on this page.
Almost every roleplayer has a game in them somewhere. Sometimes, they even write it down and play it. A few of them have been tested at LURPS, and here, the creators get to have a rant.