Thursday, October 9, 2008

What do you enjoy in your RPG

Lately I have been pondering this and wondering why I am attracted to certain features in my RPG's I play.

I really had to dig through this as I have played many I like. Yet not too much is common on their themes.

From the old days of RPG's, I am the classic D&D teen. I played it when I was 14 years old. I played the 1st and 2nd edition rules (and briefly in 3.0).

When I started playing PC games, I was trouncing Orcs, Dragons, etc.
Bards Tale, Baldurs Gate, the D&D Gold Collection (Pools of Radiance).

Rarely did I touch on Sci-Fi, but still enjoyed a shooter here and there.

But, recently I have seen in my MMO's and RPG's what things I enjoy the most.

Norse Gods, Egyptian themes, the Undead.

I think the Elves and Orcs though have become a thing from my past.

I also am open to more settings. Space, weird worlds..

What do you think gets you involved? What catches you about a theme or setting?


adingworld said...

I am much more a SciFi fan than a Fantasy fan, but SciFi is a rather broad genre also and can cover a lot of different themes.

But in general I think I like themes that makes me curious about the world and its inhabitants and provides some room for evolving a character which is perhaps not quite set in stone.

Elves and dwarves have been used too much in various fantasy settings, neither the characters nor their typical environments trigger much interest for me nowadays.

Crimson Starfire said...

I'm a huge Forgotten Realms fan. I've got over 120 novels and still love reading them. The Baldur's Gate series were my all time favorite RPGs. Neverwinter Nights was also a lot of fun, but NWN2 was really average. If Bioware made a Forgotten Realms MMO, I'd probably quit my job to play 24-7.

I'm also a big fan of the Star Wars IP. Really looking forward to KOTORO.

I don't really care if the game is Sci-Fi or Fantasy. If it's fun, I'll play it. Although there is something about hold dual flaming katanas that gets me excited ;)

Ken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ken said...

Why would I enjoy? Something different than what we have!

Now I loved reading the Lord of the Rings books, the Dragonlance books, the Forgotten Realms books, the Dark Sun books, the Ravenloft books, the Wheel of Time books, and so forth, but it's well past a decade later, so why do I feel like I'm still reading them, just by way of a MMORPG?

I will say this: Asheron's Call, though extremely now dated, had the best cosmology of anything I played, especially in the early days. No orcs, elves, or dwarves. Undead who, though ruthless, more or less saved the world (on more than one occasion). And more than one skeleton in the closet of the titular NPC. It's a shame Turbine has evidently been completely incapable of producing anything that good since.

Sofonisbe (Who's feeling old upon realizing that it has been more than a decade later...)

Tesh said...

Norse gods, eh? Have you tried the Valkyrie Profile games? They play fast and loose with some of the Norse legends, but they are interesting stories in their own right.

I'm a fan of stories that riff off of real world legends. They can tap into centuries of lore and communicate interesting ideas very rapidly because the vocabulary is readily available.

It's like a story shorthand. For example, most people in the Western world understand allusions to the Sword in the Stone or the "Once and Future King". Using that to define a fictional world (like an alternate history setting) can make for some fun storytelling.

Of course, there are troubles with that approach, too. It's nice to take tangents and try new things with the stories, so long as the history is respected. The recent movie adaptation of King Arthur didn't do much for me, for example, but the Merlin novels by T. A. Barron are great stuff. I'm obviously a fan of some of the old English legends. Druids are pretty interesting, as are the Celts. I also love Norse legends and Chinese and Japanese folklore.

Fantasy worlds that are rooted in reality are also interesting to me. The Dinotopia mythos is very interesting, or at least, the core as told in the original books by James Gurney. (The TV and movie adaptations are pretty subpar by comparison.) Tolkien's Middle Earth is still good, as is Feist's Midkemia. Garth Nix has created some very interesting worlds in Sabriel and The Seven Towers. I still love "The Blue Sword" and "The Hero and the Crown" by Robin McKinley.

Steampunk is an interesting riff on alternate history, and the general concept of "divergent timelines" is fascinating to me.

I'm also a fan of the old Star Wars universe. The EU and newer movies tend to dull the experience considerably, but there's a lot to like in the older material. I tend to think that the EU peaked in the Thrawn/"I Jedi" era, and the New Jedi Order was a blight on the IP. KOTOR was brilliant, though, and I'm looking forward to that MMO.

...all in all, I like a well-thought out universe, with characters and history that feel plausible while maintaining a sense of whimsy or imagination. Fantasy, historical, sci-fi, it's all good, so long as it's treated with intelligence and integrity.