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"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Game Day: The RPG Bucket List

by Ken Newquist / December 14, 2014
Cover art for Eclipse Phase, one of the RPGs on my bucket list.
Cover art for Eclipse Phase, one of the RPGs on my bucket list.

While researching a column for Knights of the Dinner Table I came across a small meme called "The RPG Bucket List". Regular bucket lists are the things that people want to do before they die; and RPG bucket list is the list of games people want to play before they expire.

Here are all the bucket lists I found:

They got me thinking about my own bucket list, which is a mix of RPGs and campaign settings for those RPGs.

Play a short Amber Diceless campaign

The Amber Diceless RPG is a thing of legend: a dice less role-playing game (shock! horror! curiosity?) that successfully recreates the scheming, fantastic world of Roger Zelazny's Amber.

I bought my copy, and its sequel, Shadow Knight, back in the 1990s and they've been on my game shelf, read but never played, ever since. I'd love to run a short campaign (6-8 sessions) using the original Amber Diceless rules, which fit best with the style of the first five books in the series. Why a short campaign rather than a one shot? I think you need that long to really get into your character and grok the rule set; I doubt a single game would be enough.

Play Eclipse Phase

I have to admit I haven't read any of the rules for this post human, hard sf role-playing game but I love the background of terraforming, rogue artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and digital souls. I have the PDF for the game, and the hard copy's been on my Amazon wish list for a few years now.

Play Dogs in the Vineyard

When you think indie games, you probably think Spirit of the Century and Dogs in the Vineyard. Dogs is about Mormon gunslingers who travel the west establishing order, meting out justice, and discovering corruption. It's said to be a very intense RPG, and after reading through the rules I can see why. I'd be interested in trying this as a convention one-shot.

Try GURPS

GURPS is one of those games that I've heard people talk about for years, but never played. My own gaming circles were focused largely on D&D and its variants. We never ventured in to the GURPS branch of gaming geekdom.

I've got the two Basic Set rule books -- Characters and Campaign thinking that my gaming group might need a generic rule set some day. We did ... but those rules turned out to be Savage Worlds.

GURPS remains on my bookshelf in the hopes that one of these days I'll get to play it.

Run a Marvel Heroic Roleplaying one-shot

I bought this game because I'm a huge Marvel fan, and I enjoyed Margaret Weis Productions other Cortex-powered games. Plus they'd published a bunch of cool-looking sourcebooks covering Civil War and the Annihilation storyline.

And then they cancelled the line, apparently because the line was too expensive. I've made it about halfway through the book, and I liked what I read, particularly the different rules for characters working alone, as part of a duo, or as a team. It's high on my list of games to play (or perhaps run) at a convention.

Run a Superheroes Campaign

I loved my gaming group's Mutants & Masterminds-powered Infinity Storm campaign, even though it only lasted six episodes. I'd like to take what I learned from that game (namely, start with lower-level characters) and then create a new campaign that mashes up the Freedom City Campaign Setting with the Savage Worlds Superhero Companion.

Run a Fate game

I've played in several Fate games in the form of Spirit of the Century, and had a blast every time. I'd like to try my hand at running it, and purchased the Fate Core rulebook at GenCon specifically for that purpose.

Run a Warhammer 40K: Rogue Trader Campaign

I'm not a big Warhammer 40K guy. Sure, I like enjoy a game of Space Hulk as much as the next geek, but the desperate dark world of Warhammer 40K isn't one I want to spend a lot of time in.

Rogue Trader though ... that I could do. The idea of a crew exploring an unknown expanse, putting down crew rebellions, and seeking out (and oppressing/financing/uplifting) strange new civilizations sounds like it could be a hell of a lot of fun. I'd play it grand, imperious, and completely over the top -- go big, not bleak.

Run an Online Campaign

Many years ago I tried to run an online Spycraft campaign. It lasted a few weeks and then went down in a cloud of indifference. Someday, when I have more time and a better plan, I'd love to run another online game. I'd likely make it a mix of play-by-post and online sessions on Roll20. It'd probably be something story based, like Fate or diceless, like Amber, rather than a dice-centric game like D&D& or *Savage Worlds. I'd also make it a tight, short adventure rather than a sprawling campaign (or even a normal-length one-shot). I think online games work best if you can keep people engaged, and that might be easier to do if everyone knows the whole thing will be over in 2 or 3 weeks.