RPGaDay 2016 – Day 2
What is the best game session you have had since August 2015?
Short Answer: I haven’t.
Long Answer: My name is Andrew, and it has been over a year since I last took part in a roleplaying game. Based on this admission, taking part in this year’s RPGaDay might seem like an odd choice. Perhaps it is, but I’m not going to let that stop me.
While I haven’t roleplayed, I have done a lot of wargaming – fantasy, historical, and sci-fi. Why the preference for models over books? Basically, those are the games I can get into. There’s a gaming club that meets every second Sunday a few minutes drive from my house that has players for just about every game under the sun, and people who are willing to try something new – as long as it doesn’t require them to purchase large amounts of specific models.
While the average wargame battle isn’t the same as a roleplaying session, it isn’t that different. Some games lend themselves more readily to narrative play than others, and some are essentially roleplaying games where almost all the focus is on combat. While it’s not guaranteed, it’s the skirmish games that tend more towards an innate narrative structure. I’ve played two of these games in the last year, the post-apocalyptic This is Not a Test (TNT) and the more magical Frostgrave.
Of these two games, I’ve found TNT lends itself more to a strong narrative. Every model in your warband gains experience and improves over time, and even the between game actions can have long-lasting effects. I took part in a TNT campaign late last year at my local and had a blast from just a few games. I put together a Tribal warband, and based on the models I had available at the time, decided to use some old Empire Free Company miniatures from Warhammer Fantasy. Guys running around with swords and blackpowder pistols doesn’t exactly sound post-apocalyptic, so I came up with a thematic explanation. My warband were, basically, LARPers.
I ended up only playing a few battles with my warband before attention drifted to other games, but those games were all a blast. Even the times where my warband took a thrashing from a superior foe. As time went on, by warband’s members gained new skills as well as injuries. After a couple of games, my three Tribal Warriors had gone from carbon copies to unique characters.
How does this all relate to today’s question? Well, my best “session” would have been my games of TNT. They engaged me on a level I don’t normally get with wargames. While we might have moved on other things, the print version of the game (recently funded through Kickstarter) should ship soon and I suspect that will reignite interest in the game. I’ve even started on a whole new warband in preparation. I can’t wait to see them take the field.