Among the Tweets from half a dozen talkative people on my RPG list I almost missed that Monte Cook left Wizards of the Coast, quitting work on D&D. But more importantly, for me, I almost missed his "What's the tabletop roleplaying game that's got you excited right now?" Tweet. This is an important question for me, because it is something I actually wanted to talk about for a while.
To give a short answer, it is not D&D anymore, be it 3e or 4E. A few months ago, after many frustrating dungeon crawls in which I participated as a player, my group came to the conclusion that D&D had lost its appeal. Mostly because it lost touch with the R in RPG. Although there were other reasons as well, automatic advancement of skills, attack and defenses being one of the more prominent ones.
To make a long story with a few heated discussions short, we decided a switch to another RPG system was in order. Determining which system this would be was yet another story, with yet more heated discussions. Initially I would have preferred to game master Dark Heresy or Artesia Adventures in the Known World as I like the formers d100 System and the laters setting, but player interests lay elsewhere.
In the end we decided to return to our RPG roots. Now you might ask, how someones roots in the world of roleplaying games could not be D&D, especially considering the age bracket into which I fall. The reason for this is simple, I stem from a german speaking country. At the time I got started with roleplaying the local market was heavily dominated by Das Schwarze Auge and its game world Aventurien (The link leads to the german website of the publisher, as there never was an english translation - The dark eye - that really satisfied me).
DSA in its latest version 4.1, my group decided, would be our new old game. And five game sessions later we are just about to finish our first short adventure and I do not regret this choice in the slightest (It probably helped that my players volunteered to buy the new rule books which are a tad on the expensive side, leaving me only with the expenses for the adventures.).
There is the answer. Finally. The tabletop roleplaying game that's got me excited right now is:
Das Schwarze Auge.
What has me so excited about DSA? Why do I not feel the same kind of excitement for D&D anymore?
- D&D had Dungeon Delves, lots of them. Especially 4E. Sadly I never got to play a 4E D&D game that was not a dungeon delve (If there actually are 4E modules from WotC or third party publishers that are not primarily dungeon delves I'd be grateful if you point them out to me). DSA on the other hand has Adventures! Lots of them. Only in a rare few of them do you have to enter something resembling a dungeon even for a short period of time.
- Even after being away from DSA for quite a few years (enough to play three 3e campaigns and start one 4E game) I still remember more background info about its game world than I ever knew about any D&D setting. And with every day back to Aventurien I remember more of the Fluff. And ever more gets published as the game world is a living one.
- The rules. No levels, point buy with classes that have almost more influence on the roleplay than on the game mechanics. Almost infinite possibilities to individualize your character, beyond what gear will I wear at which level. And especially I like the skill mechanics of DSA and the way that both magic and combat are esentially specialized applications of these mechanics instead of completely separate rule sets. (No in depth discussion of the rules as that would be beyond the scope of any single blog post.)