Roleplaying Games

Daniel Walden's picture
Submitted by Daniel Walden on Fri, 2006-11-24 02:07

I'm not sure how many fellow SOLOists were (or still are) lovers of the tabletop RPG, but I still get together every weekend in a friend's living room for a good game of Shadowrun. Roleplaying as a hobby gets a lot of bad press, especially in the States, and is generally regarded as a hobby for teenagers and college students. There are, however, several games worth mentioning that can be great fun even for adults. It can be particularly fun for Objectivists because in many of these games, you play the larger-than-life heroes who save the world for fun and profit. Some of my favorites:

Dungeons & Dragons - The great-granddaddy of them all. The classic sword & sorcery game where you take on the role of a fantasy hero, questing around, killing monsters and taking their stuff. Often gets rules-heavy, which is why so many groups play with a heavy dose of "house rules" rather than religiously keeping to the rulebooks. The books themselves also tend to be pricey, but it's not too bad if you can get the group to pool. Rather vanilla as RPGs go, but still the source of some of my best memories.

Mage: The Ascension - Now this is an interesting one. Mage posits a 20th-century world where reality is indeed collectively determined. You play one of the Awakened, those who have realized this and are able to hone their force of will enough to overcome this "static reality" and change it. Mages are engaged in a war with the Technocracy, a shadowy group that seeks to bind all of humanity to a single vision of reality: their own. All so-called "reality deviants" (which encompasses mages, vampires, werewolves, etc.) must be hunted down and exterminated. Mages need to be careful, however; reality doesn't like to be bent, and overtly vulgar spells (like conjuring lightning) may cost them their lives. A really interesting take on individuals in an utterly collectivized world.

Shadowrun - A post-apocalyptic game that mixes high-tech and high magic. The setting is a world in which a global society gives every citizen an ID number and corrupt businesses have become more powerful than countries. You play a Shadowrunner: someone who does odd jobs for anonymous employers in order to scratch out a living. A really fun game for indulging in your larcenous streak, especially if you're fond of chase scenes Smiling

Exalted - Now THIS is a game for any Objectivist to admire. You assume the role of a Solar Exalted: a mortal imbued with a portion of the power of the Unconquered Sun, the supreme deity in the pantheon. Other Exalted exist, but the Solars are easily the most powerful of them all. They were created to lead the armies of lesser Exalted in battle against ancient demonic proto-gods. After the war, the demons cursed the ancient Solars, causing them to become cruel and corrupt. The lesser Exalted all rose up and sealed the power of the Solar Exalted away. However, after a thousand years, something released the power of the Unconquered Sun, and certain exceptional mortals were Exalted as Solars again. The world, however, has grown hostile to the Solars; a thousand years of propaganda by the lesser Exalted has painted the Solars as demons. To make matters worse, a new caste of Exalted has appeared with power to match the Solars and a cruel, sadistic disposition. The game is all about exceptional individuals proving their worth to a hostile world. Your character can literally take on armies and win; the whole scope of the game is quite epic. As you can probably tell, this is my favorite.

All these games are either intended for mature players at the outset or are intended to adapt to a wide range of audiences. Anyone else have any favorite tabletop games, or any thoughts on the above?

( categories: )

Self confessed MMORPG addict

Sandi's picture

I have played Everquest as Solroni Incendari(Mage), for almost 5years now. Probably the highest rated person of my class here in NZ.

Looking back over the years, the memories "in game" amongst friends are just as precious and vivid as real life memories.

Many aspects of the game required full raids. It becomes necessary to join guilds and organise yourselves into a full-scale military operation. I have attended hundreds of raids consisting of 80 or so people, just to bring down a single target. Sometimes raids can take many hours, from 4 to 12 for example.

When I started EQ, it was much more fun at the beginning than where the game is going at present. It was extremely challenging, far less restricted and it was not a game for idiots. Nowdays, the games seem to get more simplified in order to reach more people. Programmers love to substitute quality for quantity. As more restrictions are imposed, the game begins to become a mere chore as opposed to an adventure. It is an interesting environment to be amongst so many psychologies, communities, groups and individuals. Each with their own agenda, each with their pecularaties (good and bad), in game economies, social and political dogma's. A society which has not so much written laws, government nor police. In some ways it is a free society, however you are only free within the confines of the restrictions imposed by the gamers.

As for describing the game of Everquest, I wouldn't know where to start.

I also play Yahoo Towers, amongst the 14 year old acne ridden, wannabe computer hackers. I have played this regularly for at least 7 years. As I am somewhat spatially challenged, I struggle with "vert's and rainbow hoo's". However, my average rating is about 1850-1900. Which is not too bad for an old fart. Nowadays, I play with a towel under my wrist as it is not unusual to get the odd bout of RSI, with the incessant thumping of the keyboard.

For those of you who have never tried Yahoo Towers, it is like "Tetris on Steroids". You can play against one other person or with a partner where there can be up to 6 of you battling it out. You are rained on with bricks/blocks, which fall in 3's. These are of various colours, letters and every 3rd broken block is electrified, being either defensive or offensive. The aim is to place these bricks (as they fall), into some sort of order that they spell (or have the potential to spell) "Yahoo", horizontally, vertically or diagonally, whilst you also set up lines of colours to break, causing electric defensive and offensive blocks to appear. These blocks stack in a column beside your screen and you fire them off as you play, to cause harm to others and assistance to yourself and or partner.

In the old days, many people formed guilds or clans and there were regular wars. For some reason, this style of play has all but disappeared. I guess it is because of the variety of MMORPG's out there today.

Gaming is wonderful fun but it sucks up an incredible amount of time faster than Monica Lewinski performing a quickie.


ethan_dawe's picture

I've played D&D and Shadowrun, plus many more. I've been an active gamer since 1980. I still play D&D with a few local people occasionally, though not as often as I would like.

I credit D&D in my younger years with teaching me a lot about creative problem solving. Always usuful in the everyday world. My friends and I had a lot of fun times. I'm trying to make a point to play more often. My daughter is a bit young to learn at 5, but she enjoys playing her "fun adventure" where I use a quasi D&D type game to teach her more about math and reading. I've also brought out all of my old figures and we are having fun painting them.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.