Monday, May 9, 2016

Discovering a new blog and reading about an RPG contest

I recently stumbled across Honestly, being someone who is interested in quirky RPGs, it's amazing it took me this long. And the first post I really poured over were the entries for the 2013 Harder Than Granite 24-Hour RPG competition.

Rob Lang, who writes the blog, set some pretty tough additional requirements. The games had to not include numbers and they had to fit in pocketmods. For them that don't know, a pocketmod is folding and cutting a regular sheet of paper into a little eight-page pamphlet.

No numbers was an interesting idea, since that meant so many basic RPG concepts get ruled out. Pocketmod seemed a bit more odd to me, since PDFs and ebooks and mobile devices have made me stop caring about the size of rule books :P

Oh, and he also wanted designers to include an NPC named after the guy who runs one thousand monkeys one thousand typewriters since 1KM1KT is the biggest online collection of free RPGs.

The contest gave me nineteen tiny, odd little RPGs to read through and I did that in over the course of twenty-four hours. Not that impressive when you remember that that was just reading nineteen single-sided sheets of paper.

I found that some of them were really just conflict resolution systems, which honestly didn't interest me that much. Some of those were really interesting ideas for mechanics but they didn't give me a game I wanted to play.

But others had much tighter focuses. They gave me settings and told me what kind of story I was going to get out of the game. They had serious structures. Which is actually really impressive for such a small space. They also usually had actually simpler rule sets but I'm cool with that.

You see, if I'm going to carry around a RPG in my pocket, I want to be able to play it at the drop of my hat with five minutes or less of teaching. Simplicity married to a structure/story is what I want.

Truth to tell, I came away with five or so games I think would be fun to play, a couple more than I want revisit and examine and one that is the product of an insane mind that I had to share with a bunch of friends. (The core rules of A Flask Full of Gasoline will put you in the emergency room.)

I am really happy that I found the Free RPG Blog and the 2013 contest was such a fun introduction.

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