#RPGaDAY 2017 – Which RPG feature the best writing?

Judging RPG writing is a tricky things. More tricksey, even than nasty hobbitses. Some people think RPGs read like a technical manual and are impossible to get through; they use them as a reference only. I have many RPGs like this. Some RPGs have so much prose that have nothing to do with the rules that they’re incomprehensible for use as a reference. Others strike a nice balance.

There has been one, and only one RPG that I’ve been able to read straight through, from beginning to end: Monte Cook’s Arcana Unearthed. The setting was the most evocative I’d read at the time, even though the rules were essentially tweaked D&D 3.X. Reading it made me want to run a game, play a game, write. I enjoyed reading it, and that, to me, is the most important metric when determining if something is well-written. A piece of writing can be technically perfect, but it can also be dry, dull, and lack soul.

I also have to give props to Shadowrun’s 4th edition Anniversary edition. I was tangentially familiar with Shadowrun when I acquired it, but had never played a game nor read anything about it. Much of the rules system still puts me off, but the setting… oh my, the setting. I fell in love with an alternate future where magic, elves, dwarves, trolls, and other monsters returned to the world, a future where uncaring corporations wield nation-like power, a world that ours is beginning to resembling in a frightful way, but without all the cool accoutrements. Shadowrun is also an excellent example of a game that I would never run using its native system; though I have yet to find an alternative that presses all the right buttons. But, that’s a topic for another day…

Categories: Random Thoughts | Tags: , , ,

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One thought on “#RPGaDAY 2017 – Which RPG feature the best writing?

  1. bruxistential

    I am playing in a 5th edition SR game now. The rules for it are also a mess, but I have been having a blast.

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