A few years ago, I decided to try out one new RPG each year. I figured that the best way to jump in was at Gen Con. Two years ago it was D&D 5. The slow release dates of the core books allowed me to drift away from the game until it became little more than casual one-shots. Last year, it wasn't a single game, but a type of game system: fast, one-shot games that blurred the line between RPG and board games. Story telling card games like GLOOM and Once Upon A Time were popular. I've seen a few board games that looked good (Dread and Betrayal at House on the Hill). Then there are pure creative fare such as Fiasco and Driver (where you play it in a car, RPG-ing the parts of a heist gone bad). In the end, I created a board game / RPG with my daughter and we had fun with it for a month or so.
Sooooooo, this year I decided to let myself get hooked into Wyrd Games' Through the Breach RPG this Gen Con.
In a nutshell, this is wild west meets steampunk meets Clive Barker. The game world itself began a number of years ago as the setting for small army skirmish battles set in an otherworldly realm. Last year, the TTB RPG dropped as an expansion from tactical battle games into the storytelling world.
It's been an interesting read. I am a complete noob in this game system. It follows a card mechanic (draw cards instead of rolling dice) that also involves the suits in the drawn result. Like cards, you can 'cheat' at the draws as well (as long as the 'cheat' follows the cheat rules). For whatever reason, the mechanic is throwing me for a loop. Reading through the players handbook (The Fated Almanac); where the heart of most of the game's rules may be found, has left me somewhat disillusioned. The trick is reading it 'in the spirit of the rules' and not letting myself get bogged down in the (often) generalized technical language of the rules themselves. The Fatemaster's Almanac (the DM guide) is more of a bestiary that expands on some of the rules mentioned in the Fated Almanac.
I've set out to create a handful of characters. The method follows a simplified Tarot draw of 5 cards. This got me hooked into the game in a big way. Each card results in two elements: first is a character creation mechanic that provides numbers / slots for skills or abilities for the character archetype that has been chosen. Second, a literal fortune is told from each card. When the 5 fortunes (eventually) play out for the character, then the character is retired / slain / returns to the masses. This makes for episodic games that focus upon one or two of the players each session.
Lastly, there is the NYTHERA event that begins this month. This is an in-game world building / history building event that will allow the players to determine how the game will evolve in the coming years. There are two even types: the skirmish battles and the TTB RPG games. My copy of the first (of three) RPG games (Title: Penny Dreadful: Nythera) has downloaded just last night.
More to come as I read and jump into the world of Wyrd-ness!