Wednesday, June 12, 2013

It Can Be Scary Your First Time...

This site's namesake, sort of
Twice tonight I got asked what a good intro-to-rpgs game would be, first from the perspective of a guy (who has GMd a 40K RPG I played in for a few weeks) who is looking to get his new girlfriend into gaming, and then from a guy who wants to start up a home game (because now he has a home!) but has never run anything before.

Now the first game I ever ran was this-
I ordered that when I worked in my first comic shop, wayyy before I actually got into this hobby, and it's a very simple, fun game that works. Game prep is just cutting things out of magazines or, now, doing a Google Image search and putting little numbers to what you find. Character generation is doodling the Iron Maiden dude and giving him T-Rex for hands. It's light, quick, easy, the values are very balanced and democratic, and there are a few cute conceits as well. It's not crazy deep but not all games need to be super deep. I love the shit out of Og and that's as shallow as you can get.

However, we didn't have that, and while I'd just seen a copy for dirt cheap on eBay the night before, I didn't want them to have to track anything down.

So I went with Risus...

...because it's free, the rules are straightforward and short (with more complicated options and a dirt simple method of prepping and complicating your game...dice are assigned to qualities so you can literally build enemies as the PCs fight them, assigning dice to their qualities as they come up until you're out of dice), can be played with any setting (including established ones like Buffy or World of Warcraft), and it plays fast and creative.

I also recommended the Basic rules listed above, available on, but also mentioned that if he didn't want to spend the five bucks....

LL is free, pretty much the same thing (put your stones down, grognards), and both represent lean games still replete with options. The best thing about these games as a first time player or first time GM is that whatever is happening you have like....5 things to keep track of: when you're gonna die, how fast you're killing the monster, how tough you are, when you go, and your character's name. If you're 4/7 of the classes in B/X, that's kind of all you ever need to know, with the situational stuff like halfling stealth and thief rolls coming up AS THEY COME UP.

Again, those games are free. I stress this because if it weren't for getting into this hobby when I did, in an information age where free games and free versions of games can be found with one Google search, I might not be playing right now myself. Obviously as a store we want to make money but I'm making game money from these two guys already. I did suggest they throw something in the way of tip jar money at Goblinoid and the Risus people, though.