A while ago, I wrote an ill-considered post on Berin Kinsman’s ROLPUNK manifesto and, by extension, old school gaming.  The comments that followed from Berin and someone else I’ve forgotten made me quite angry at the time, but also made me realize how poorly written my post was and how poorly I’d considered the topic.  The post has now been deleted, and I do not intend to bring it back.  This paragraph is what amounts to an apology, I guess, to Berin especially but also to anyone else who took umbrage a that post.  Now, it’s time to move on to what I actually want to write about.

Warrior, Rogue, & Mage

Warrior, Rogue, & Mage

Over the last couple of days, I read a post by Berin Kinsman on character and Michael Wolf’s Warrior, Rogue, & Mage.  Lately I’ve been thinking about what I really like about gaming in an attempt to refocus my blogging, my GMing, and my playing.  To be honest, Berin’s post was a bit of a revelation for me.  Most of my gaming of late has focused around world building.  I enjoy creating a complex, real, deep world in which to play games.  It’s also pretty easy to create a setting by yourself when there’s no time to join in a session.  But I’ve also been feeling like my world building has lacked something.  Maybe I should have realized this before, but world building is like set dressing: it’s beautiful and can add a lot of depth, but it’s absolutely dead without characters who add character.

Now, I’m not knocking world building and settings.  But I think I have turned a corner in my own approach to gaming, and it’s all I can do to keep from dropping everything and marching my friends to the game table.  I am also not writing a manifesto or claiming to have some great insight into “the way gaming should be.”  Nonetheless, I like to mark important personal milestones.

So…where does Warrior, Rogue, & Mage come in?  While reading through the rules booklet (which is free), I was really struck by how well Michael nailed the “rules light” thing.  I haven’t had a chance to playtest it yet, but I’m hoping to do so later this week.  Regardless, the rules reminded me, like Berin’s post, of the importance of character.  Rules help you play a game, but, like a setting, they cannot stand on their own.  As I have less and less time to play games, it becomes even more important to me that my chosen system is simple and character-focused so that my players and I can focus on telling cool stories (which is also why I like the Rule of Cool and the Rule of Fun).  In that respect, I expect Warrior, Rogue, & Mage to succeed admirably.

I’m hoping to organize a Warrior, Rogue, & Mage session for later this week, and I’d also like to squeeze in some Savage Worlds and (finally) a test run of Swords & Wizardry.  But, most importantly, I’m going to try an old school approach to gaming as a GM (or referee) and I’m going to focus on the characters, because they are what matter in the end.  I know I’m a bit late to this old school party, but I figure it’s never too late for a gamer to (somewhat sheepishly) change his mind.

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