GenCon is over. And now I’ve got a huge pile of loot sitting in my gaming room, just waiting to be read. Amazingly, there’s not a single Dungeons & Dragons book to be found among the stack, not even the Expedition to Castle Greyhawk, which I was sorely tempted to buy, but resisted at the last moment.
The Role-playing Games
Unsurprisingly, role-playing games dominate the pile. I picked up Battlestar Galactica (which I will be playtesting and reviewing shortly) and — after the BSG setting went so well — a copy of the Serenity RPG. The guys in my group love both series, so I should be able to get them to play at least one of these games.
Venturing beyond Margaret Weis Productions reveals Evil Hat’s much-praised (and rightly so) Spirit of the Century. This pulpy adventure game is designed as a light pickup game, and assuming my group goes for it, it could make for the perfect light-weight game between sessions of D&D.
Another game that may fit that bill is Savage Worlds (and in all likely hood, I could see us alternating between the two as our group moves forward). Playing three sessions of the game in three diverse settings — Soloman Kane (1600s supernatural campaign), Pirates of the Spanish Main (1700s pirates campaign) and Sundered Skies (post-apocalyptic fantasy) — left me very impressed with the system. So impressed that I bought a copy of the $10 Explorers Edition of the core rules, as well as the Pirates of the Spanish Main RPG.
Turning from pulp adventure to fantasy, I picked up the indy game Burning Wheel, which features a game system inspired by such books as the Wizard of Earthsea and the Lord of the Rings. I’ve heard good things about it, and since some of those good things were uttered by Berin at UncleBear.com, I decided to pick it up. I also snagged a copy of the Hellboy RPG and Sourcebook, which I got for free when I bought the Serenity RPG from Steve Jackson Games (yes, strange that they were selling it, but it worked in my favor since Margaret Weis Productions sold out of their copies). I can’t imagine we’ll play the Hellboy game, since it uses GURPS rules (and we’re not much a GURPS group) but it could be an excellent resource for a Savage Worlds powered B.P.R.D campaign.
Of course you can’t go to a con and not buy some accessories. Foremost among these would be my Shadow dice by Chessex, which are dark black/blue dice with swirls of green, purple, and blue. They’re numbered in gold, making them highly readable.
Since I’m on a Savage Worlds kick, I bought a GM screen and a deck of over-sized initiative cards (I was joined in this by fellow campaigner Jon, who was equally impressed by them). Savage Worlds uses a variant of the FATE RPG system, so I bought four sets of Fudge Dice. I also picked up a handful of d12s with Roman numerals on them — I saw these used to great effect as stand-ins for enemies during my Battlestar Galactica game.
What to read first?
It’s a big pile, and it has me drooling in anticipation … and wishing I could read three books at once. I need to read Battlestar Galactica first so I can do my playtest and get the review done, but after that I think I’m going to have to delve into Pirates of the Spanish Main — the game looks like a blast, and I really want to run a two-or-three session arc for my friends. After that it’s a toss up between Serenity and Spirit of the Century; I’m inclined to go with SotC simply because it’ll be another new game mechanic, and I’m eager to have my friends try out as many of those as possible ahead of Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition.