ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Pen and Paper: Picking a Roleplaying Game

Updated on June 15, 2015
The gamer's treasure.
The gamer's treasure.

Picking the Right Game

I love roleplaying games and have for about ten years now. I started with Dungeons and Dragons but have played different rule sets and campaign settings since and I find the whole world of pen and paper, tabletop roleplaying to be one of the best forms of recreation and socializing out there. When I first began, it was mainly with family; my two uncles, my brother and my cousin. It was a great group, but we only met once a week and after a while, I wanted to be playing more than we met. That meant I needed to introduce the concept to my friends and hope that it panned out. Luckily, it was a hit with a bunch of them and I was able to get games going on a regular basis.

Now, years later, I’m in a post-college life. The friends I had brought to the world of dice and stats are far away now and, if I want to play again, I need to introduce my new friends to the world I was loved so dearly. First, I have to find the right game.

The problem I face, if it can really be described as a problem, is that I have a whole shelf of gaming books. The list is decently sized but manageable; Dungeons and Dragons, Marvel Superheroes, Traveller, Legend of the Five Rings, Savage Worlds, Vampire: The Masquerade, Star Wars, Alternity, and Shadowrun. Like I said, there’s plenty to choose from but choosing is the hardest part.

D20 all the way!
D20 all the way!

The Staple: Dungeons and Dragons

I own the old Red and Blue Book version of D&D, so it’s simpler to play then other versions. The thing is, I’ve only ever played the game; I’ve never run a version of D&D. You would think, what with it being the staple of tabletop games, I’d have gotten around to it, but it never happened. I love the game, ever since I played the first Baldur’s Gate game, but I don’t know if it’s the best choice for a new group of people who have never seen a d20. The other big issue I face is that I’d have to learn the rules well enough to run the game, but only have a few days to do so. I don’t want us to get going and have to pause for ten minutes while I search the book for the rules of climbing. Still, how great would it be if this groups first game was in the granddaddy of all roleplaying games?


Incredible, Fantastic, Amazing!
Incredible, Fantastic, Amazing!

True Believer: Marvel Superheroes

Marvel Superheroes is actually the first game I ever ran. My first game was with my brother, set in the Marvel universe, and was a fun learning experience. I had done a few other superhero games with the rule set, but when I introduced some friends to the experience, I adapted the game for a survival horror campaign set on a dinosaur island. All were a success and I always loved running the game. The problem was that after a while, the rules felt a bit limiting and never really did superheroes in a way I love. The game is easy to teach and new user friendly, but there’s a glass ceiling in there. It was fun but I feel as if, like a boy and his first crush, I’ve moved on to more interesting worlds.


Rokugan is calling.
Rokugan is calling.

The Far East: Legend of the Five Rings

Legend of the Five Rings is a wonderful setting that I’ve had a lot of fun with. I was able to play an extended campaign in this world and it was much more dynamic than some other fantasy games I’ve been a part of. The rule set, if I recall, was easy to learn. However, this is another case of me having played but never run. I would love to have a yearlong game with this set, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to get past the first campaign with a new group. I need to remember that it’s not that they’re new to playing this game together; they’re new to the whole concept of roleplaying. Plus, I’m not sure many of them are as interested in Far East Fantasy as I am.


But which Savage World?
But which Savage World?

The Favorite: Savage Worlds

Savage Worlds is high on my list and may very well win out. One: it is my favorite rule set by far. It’s fast and fun, character creation is great, and combat is easy to grasp (even if the Incapacitated rules aren’t). Two: it’s a generic rule set and can be used for any setting. All of the edges and hindrances can be easily applied to multiple campaigns; such as space marines or monster hunters. In fact, the Legend of the Five Rings world works wonderfully in Savage Worlds. Three: I’ve run plenty of games with this set and know it inside and out. It doesn’t do superheroes well but that’s what the extra book, Necessary Evil, is for. I’ve always found it easy to teach. The problem for this set is twofold; I know it so well that I never can pick a setting I want to play in and I’m getting a bit bored with it. With a whole shelf of possibilities, I’d hate to think I’m stagnating on one rule set, no matter how great it is.


The Choice

But, then, that leaves me with all new game books I’ve never played or run. Is Alternity any good? What if I learn the rules, try to run it, and it’s just a disaster? I don’t want to mar my group’s view of gaming because I picked the wrong game. Shadowrun looks like a lot of fun, doing fantasy cyberpunk, but it might be too high-concept for a new group, or to learn right away. Vampire: The Masquerade is right out, since a group that has never played before is not going to be ready to actually roleplay.

I feel like this is a universal worry for DMs. Do we run what we’re comfortable with or take a chance? How do we bring friends into this great, but seemingly strange world? Right now, I feel a tie between Dungeons and Dragons and Savage Worlds. It’s tough balancing having fun and making sure the group has more fun. If anyone has suggestions or opinions, please share in the comments below. Hopefully, I’ll be able to write about the experience of running this new group through their first game.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Eric Mikols profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Mikols 

      5 years ago from New England

      We ended up using Savage Worlds, which didn't surprise me. It's my ultimate go-to. If I can, I'd love to try Shadowrun next. We'll see.

      Thanks for commenting!

    • Procopius profile image

      James Thompson 

      5 years ago from Tampa, FL

      Well which one did you choose? I am thinking Savage Worlds, a new group of players can spice up your imagination and breath life into a system that you feel a little bored with. Hope you are having fun with table top games still.

    • Eric Mikols profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Mikols 

      6 years ago from New England

      I'll have to look Rifts up! Thanks for the suggestion!

    • profile image

      James Abbott 

      6 years ago

      You should try Rifts. It has easy rules and is a fun mix of tech and magic.

    • Eric Mikols profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Mikols 

      6 years ago from New England

      Will do! The early answer is it went very well!

    • Shane Aronson profile image

      Shane Aronson 

      6 years ago from Simi Valley, California

      I've never had the opportunity to playpen and paper games but I've always been interested :) let us know how the first try goes!

    • Eric Mikols profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Mikols 

      6 years ago from New England

      Cool! I'll have to try it out, and send it to my brother!

      Thanks for commenting!

    • William157 profile image

      William157 

      6 years ago from Southern California

      Rated up, useful and interesting!

      I'm a huge fan of Savage Worlds, but it's nice to see you cover the other systems. D&D is the tried and true classic, but sadly most people will never try anything else because D&D is the only one they've ever known.

      If you're interested, I made a system that's useful for RPGs that take place during long drives. The combat is more cinematic than statistical, but I played it with my group and it's smooth as butter.

      https://hubpages.com/games-hobbies/An-RPG-System-f...

    • Eric Mikols profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Mikols 

      6 years ago from New England

      Thanks. I'm glad me just working through issues in my head can be worth reading for others!

    • CrazedNovelist profile image

      A.E. Williams 

      6 years ago from Hampton, GA

      Nice article, buddy. :)

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)