Recently the extremely successful Dragon Age: Origins by Bioware was brought to the gaming table by Green Ronin Publishing. But the Dragon Age RPG is much more than just a simple conversion of the game world presented in the computer game but a beginner friendly RPG with lot of old-school charm. Green Ronin has put a lot of love and effort into that project and it shows. In my opinion there are some other video games that would probably work great at the gaming table. This is what I came up with:
The Mass Effect series (Mass Effect 2 has been released just a few days ago) is another Bioware franchise. The game has been praised for its graphics, gameplay and story, but also for the deep background. The ingame Codex contains tons of information about every sapient species mentioned in the game, technology, planets, history, you name it. The next episode of the planned trilogy, Mass Effect 2, expands on that background and adds new places, technology and species to the mix.
With that amount of background information, I would love to explore the Mass Effect universe on my terms in an official pen & paper game. I am just hoping that Bioware already plans to cooperate with Green Ronin (or another publisher) on a Mass Effect RPG when the Dragon Age RPG becomes a commercial success. In my humble opinion this game could be a blast at the gaming table.
Arcanum – Of Steamworks and Magicks Obscura
Troika Games’ debut game is still one of my favorites. Although it was full of bugs at the release, the computer RPG set into a world reminiscent of the Victorian age filled with strange magic and steampunk goodness, still intrigues me today. There are a lot of games that mix magic and steampunk, but what made Arcanum special was the fact that there was a dichotomy of magic and technology in the game world. Both concepts are incompatible to the point that they interfere with each other. I always tried to come up with an Arcanum pen & paper of my own, but alas this project never left the planning stages. Since Troika Games, the development studio which created Arcanum, went out of business and Activision-Blizzard, which holds the rights to Arcanum, doesn’t seem to be interested in the franchise, the chances for an official pen & paper RPG are close to zero. It’s a shame actually.
The Fallout series is another classic computer RPG franchise which lacks an official pen & paper RPG. Fallout is set in and after the 22nd and 23rd century but style and artwork are heavily influenced by the culture of 1950s America. This definitely sets Fallout apart from most other post-apocalyptic roleplaying games out there. In my humble opinion the Fallout world would work great in an pen & paper game and even the SPECIAL system used in the computer games could be easily adapted for use at the game table.
A couple years back, Jason Mical wrote a fan-made version of a Fallout Pen and Paper RPG that still has a lot of fans today. There also were plans to create a Fallout Pen & Paper d20 game, but the project had been cancelled due to legal issues between Glutton Creeper Games and Bethesda Softworks.
The Elder Scrolls
Another Bethesda franchise is the Elder Scrolls series. On a first glance, the Elder Scrolls games is just another fantasy game. The continent of Tamriel has all the common fantasy tropes but also some interesting twists that would make it an interesting world for a pen & paper game.
Especially Vvardenfell, the home of the Dunmer (Dark Elves) which was setting for the third part of the series, Morrowind, is a place I would love to run adventures in. Dunmer architecture and craftsmanship really set Morrowind apart from your standard fantasy game.
Alas I’ve never heard about any plans to bring The Elder Scrolls to the game table. But there are quite a few fan conversions floating around in the intertubes. 😉
As with the aforementioned Dragon Age game, a game based on the Elder Scrolls series could probably get some people interested into the roleplaying hobby.
These are my current Top 5 games I would love to see turned into decent pen and paper games. The Dragon Age RPG has shown that it’s possible to create top-quality pen and paper games based on computer game franchises. So why not try to repeat this feat with some of the games I’ve mentioned here?