A friend of mine is an avid fan of ICE’s classic roleplaying game Rolemaster. I still have some very fond memories of our Rolemaster campaigns set into his homebrew world Ebur. When ICE announced HARP he preordered it and when it finally came out we tried it out as soon as possible. And it felt much like Rolemaster but more modern, more streamlined.
Rolemaster (especially in its later editions) can be mindboggling. If you like math-heavy and crunchy systems with a lot of tables (including very cool critical hit tables) Rolemaster is the perfect game system for you. But everyone else should have a look at HARP.
In my opinion HARP is Rolemaster done right. It still has the old-school feel of Rolemaster but is much less crunchy. And the best thing is that there’s actually a free preview version of HARP available. The 89-page PDF includes everything you need to play, including rules for character creation, combat and even a set of monsters.
By the way, my fellow blogger Zachary posted about HARP today, too, so check out his blog while you’re at it.
Some time ago I heard that Cubicle 7 Entertainment is working on a new Doctor Who RPG. Since I am a great fan of Doctor Who and Torchwood I was of course very excited. But at the same time I was a bit skeptical: Could this really work?
The Cubicle 7 website doesn’t give us any hints on what the focus of their roleplaying game may be. The most important question will be what the players will be. Will they be part of the Doctor’s companions? Some random guys who live in the “Whoniverse” or even Time Lords like the Doctor? Let’s speculate a bit…
The Doctor Who TV show is pretty much focussed on the adventures of Doctor Who and his various companions who are travelling through time and space, saving civilizations, correcting wrongs, solving mysteries and ensuring that London is visited by evil aliens at least every Christmas. One possible concept could be that the player characters are those companions that the Doctor has picked up in any place or any time (preferably on Earth) and now they are travelling with him in the TARDIS. Although this is my favorite idea of a Doctor Who game it has it’s flaws. At first the GM is faced with playing the Doctor all the time. What could be fun for a few sessions will probably turn into a problem fast. In fact the Doctor becomes the GM’s player character. And in the series it’s usually the Doctor and his favorite “plot device” aka his sonic screwdriver that saves the day. So the players move to the 2nd row.
Random guys The “whouniverse” is a big place, so why not make it your playground? The Doctor (and his companions) could be recurring characters that you’ll help in one adventure and that will save your hide in another session. But how do you allow the players to travel time and space like the Doctor does? The only thing that comes to mind is make them agents of that mysterious time agency Jack Harkness had been working for. That would allow them access to 51st century technology and time travel. So it’s probably best if the players are not some random guys but “time agents”. Hmm, this could work.
The Doctor tells us at least in every other episode that he’s the last member of his race, that his homeworld was destroyed in the time war. But that didn’t prevent the Master to come back. And although the Doctor thought the Daleks were gone for good too, they reappeared several times. So, it’s totally possible that there are still some Time Lords around. I hope that’s not what Cubicle 7 is aiming for with their Doctor Who RPG. Having a lot of very powerful Time Lords running loose in the “whoniverse” would probably destroy the special atmosphere of the series. And the fact that the Doctor is the last one of his kind makes him something unique.
Perhaps the creative minds at Cubicle 7 have come up with a lot more ideas on how a Doctor Who campaign could work. What are your thoughts on the subject? Could a Doctor Who RPG really work and what kind of campaign would you like to see?
Christmas is over and it’s time to make plans for New Year’s Eve. This year we are not having a big party (if I ever had a big party at New Year’s Eve) but some friends will come over to play “Dark Heresy” (Video review). I have ordered my copy as soon as it was out but we hadn’t found an opportunity to try it out. So this is our chance.
Initially I planned to run “Monte Cook’s World of Darkness” (Video review), but between digesting the Christmas goose and watching Doctor Who episodes I just couldn’t get my head around some of the more complex rules. And most members of my group have already played Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, so the transition to Dark Heresy shouldn’t be such a big step.
I am currently preparing one of the introductory adventures and I really hope my group will like it so we can expand it into a fully fledged campaign. I have always loved the Warhammer 40,000 setting and in my opinion Dark Heresy could be a lot of fun for the players and the GM alike.
A Roleplaying Games blog
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