Sunday, September 15, 2013

Culling the Collection Intro

A few weeks ago I decided that I needed to reduce my RPG collection significantly. I just have way too many games, many of which I know I will never play. In fact the entire area under the stairs of my house is full of RPG books are the shelves in my office. Due to the nature of my career path, I expect to move a few times over the next few years, so we rent. This means we move on a fairly regular basis, and I am starting to haul around too much stuff. I have decided to cut my collection by at least half, but I have a feeling that I will wind up cutting more by the end. The following is a series of posts I have done on the Fear the Boot forums so far. I will be continuing the series here.


I got these books years ago when I bought a lot of Battletech (I'll be getting to you) stuff in an eBay auction. I was a huge fan of Robotech as a kid and found that I still enjoyed it about a decade ago when I bought the DVDs.

The books are neat as a fan, and it is cool to read some of the background that I never caught while watching the show. There are lots of cool, detailed mech pics and the expected Palladium stat porn. I have about 12 books, and they are not in super great shape. Some are in good shape, others are in pretty bad shape. It is obvious that at some point Siembieda had mined the series (and the Sentinels) for all it was worth and started making his own stuff up. Some of this is better than what was available from the shows, some of it is... well... there.

The books were very enjoyable to read, on their own merit and as a nostalgia trip. There are plenty of cool adventure ideas and mech pictures here, but the fact is I am never going to run it. I also seem to have three digest Robotech RPG books that cover a lot of the same material and are much newer.

I won't lie, I enjoyed these enough that I sat down and read through all of them this weekend. I had a good time, but they have no practical use for me. I have the three digest books if I decide I want Robotech source material.

Sorry Robotech, it is thumbs down. You have been kicked off the island.

Runequest II

Next up is Runequest. I have things related to a few different versions of RuneQuest, despite not ever playing any of them. The Mongoose RuneQuest II stuff is pretty nice looking with fake leather covers and very high production qualities. The system is pretty neat, it is percentage based like CoC, and the Cults are a pretty cool idea. Glorantha seems like a pretty cool setting, and the book seems really detailed. But here is the problem, I have never read any of these book all the way through. I have had them since 2010 and never used them for anything. I am interested to learn more about RuneQuest, but it honestly seems unlikely that I ever will. I have so many different FRPGs already that I just don't need another set of ncely made tomes sitting on the shelf (or in a box). I am sorry RuneQuest, but its thumbs down, you are off the island.

Like I said my RuneQuest collection is all over the place:

Mongoose RuneQuest II Core Rulebook (fake leather)
Mongoose Monster Coliseum (fake leather)
Mongoose Glorantha Core Rulebook (hardcover)
RuneQuest II Screen
OpenQuest (softcover) this is a "retroclone" or RuneQuest
The Savage North (softcover) this is a sourcebook for OpenQuest

Savage Worlds

Savage Worlds is next. I have a lot of Savage Worlds. I love Savage Worlds. It is my absolute favorite con/one-shot system. I have almost all of the official settings, and some of the licensed ones. I have a lot of Savage Worlds books.

The problem is that I have not actually had a chance to play Savage Worlds in almost 4 years. I have a whole bunch of settings that I have never used at all, and the amount of books I have (at least 16) means that by keeping Savage Worlds, I will have to make some hard cuts elsewhere.

But I love the ideas I get from reading Savage Worlds books, and if I get a chance to play it, I can have it up and running very quickly. I am willing to make those cuts to keep Savage Worlds. It's thumbs up, you are safe.

D20 Modern

Next up is D20 Modern/Future. I think I ran one short campaign with this right after it launched. I like that it called back to Alternity by including Dark Matter and some Star*Drive information. But at the end of the day, I have GURPS and Savage Worlds. Savage Worlds takes care of the pulpy games, and GURPS handles the more realistic/gritty stuff. There is just no room left for a level based generic system that shoots for the middle. This seems to be a fine game, and if I did not have so many other similar systems, I bet it would have more use. It's thumbs down D20 Modern. The tribe has spoken. You are off the island.

Hero System 6th Ed

I have two editions of Hero System, 5th and 6th. I really enjoy reading the books for Hero System, but rarely get to play it. I had high hopes with the introduction of 6th Edition because they came out with a Basic book. I thought I would be able to draw in people who were unreasonably scared of Hero due to its size. Sadly, they followed up the basic book with not one, but two cinder blocks of rules. What was in those rules was awesome, and full color, but I just could not get people on board to try it out. And my friends that played Hero preferred to stick with 5th Edition.

Hero System is like GURPS, people look at the size and assume that the game is going to be insanely complicated. Hero is actually fairly simple (though more complicated in play than GURPS), all of those pages are just toolkit. In play you really only need to know what is in that slim Basic book.

I never got to use you Hero System 6th edition, but I got my money's worth just from reading the books. I really enjoyed this edition of Fantasy Hero. The Bestiary book was pretty good, and Ultimate Base was really useful just for the maps. But, I am never going to get to use this game.

I am sorry Hero System 6th Edition, it is time to hang up your apron. To eBay with you.

Hackmaster 5th Edition

This is a really neat, in depth game. I fell in love with this version after playing Hackmaster Basic at GenCon a few years ago. The game uses a phased movement mechanic, similar to a starship command game like BattleStations. While this makes for a very detailed and crunchy combat system, it means that everyone gets to go on a regular basis. So any given combat will take a long time, but each player will get to go on a regular basis. You make a bunch of short actions instead of one long turn.

I went on to get the Frandor's Keep module, Hackmaster's answer to Keep on the Borderlands and the full Hackmaster Player's Handbook and Hacklopedia of Beasts. Both of these are nice, fake leather volumes with color artwork (although more of it is public domain than I would like) and are well laid out.

The main problem with Hackmaster is that I could never play it with my current group. I regularly GM for 7-8 players in a 3-4 hour session. These conditions pretty much eliminate a heavily tactical game like Hackmaster. The game would be nothing but one combat a night, and we already have that when we run 4E. The other issue is that I have so many different versions of D&D and its spin offs that I am unlikely to play this one even given the time.

Sorry Hackmaster 5E, you are a good looking game with a cool combat mechanic, but I just don't see us staying together. It's not you, it's me.

The current tally is:

17 Kept
31 Eliminated

Of course, I haven't ad to make any really hard choices yet. But those are coming.