RPG Texts that are worthwhile as literature

This is a simple canvassing question, Jeff-style: Given that I started re-reading Delta Green tonight, and was again swept away by the honeyed words of Dennis Detwiller and company, what other rpg texts would one recommend to somebody wishing to read good books?

The same question might be expressed by stating that I'm interested in good settings or campaign books, but that's not quite enough; there certainly are settings that are good (as objectively as one can state these things, anyway) without being presented in a compelling literary form. Thinking of a good example, I'll suggest Exalted: I think it's a compelling setting, and arguably there are source books more and less dense in interesting setting prose, but ultimately the Exalted books I've read have been merely mediocre as reading experiences. This probably has to do with an excessive amount of nitpicky mechanical crunch, the sheer length of the supplement treadmill (which forces them to parcel out the material), plus the flatness of the presentation (too much gazetteer, not enough campaign framework, which is of course arguably a virtue for actual gaming use), or something like that.

I'll list a couple of examples of what I personally consider to be rpg texts with high literary quality. You probably have your own ways of evaluating an aesthetic question like this, but my benchmark is simply whether the book stands up as a relevant work when stacked next to other literature in its genre. In other words, it needs to be good enough to read even if you don't actually plan to play it.

Glorantha materials occasionally surpass my benchmark. The King of Sartar setting history slash fantasy novel ranks particularly high to my mind, it's a delightful and relevant read for anybody interested in good fantasy literature (of a particular Tolkienist sort, perhaps, but still). Actual setting sourcebooks are also regular good reads; the less mechanics the better, generally speaking.

The aforementioned Delta Green essentially builds its line profile on this stuff: the books are nothing but exquisitely detailed conspiracy horror scenarios of the highest caliber. The rpg sourcebook format (consisting of setting exposition and adventure scenarios) actually works pretty well for this sort of literary material compared to your typical novel structure with its plots and explicitly arranged drama and such. The information density alone is to be commended, not to speak of the degree of realistic detail; such features make for something that far surpasses say X-Files or Atrocity Archives or other works of the genre in quality.

Pendragon, and particularly the Great Pendragon Campaign, are an interesting and rewarding read for anybody interested in historical, mythical fantasy. Few Arthurian fantasies are as detailed, self-consistent and literarily ambitious. The fact that the material is constantly pressured by gaming needs to have a popular slant and multiple stylistic possibilities only adds to the cleverness and kaleidoscopic tapestry. Arthurian fantasy is usually written in a very dramatically focused way, putting important characters in the forefront, and usually over-emphasizing Mallory and a few other sources; not so in this masterpiece.

Other games that feature something resembling this level of quality in at least some of their material include the likes of JAGS Wonderland, Cyberpunk 2020, 2300 AD, Ars Magica, Polaris (hey, they don't all need to be long works)... there's probably quite a few games that I'm not thinking of right now. Obviously a remarkably high level of literary quality isn't the most common thing (wouldn't be remarkable if it was), but I find it highly likely that there are games that I'm not thinking of, or even ones that I haven't ever read.

So, can you point me towards any new candidates for my discerning list of remarkable literature in rpgs?
«1

Comments

  • edited November 2017
    I have yet to read it—so I can’t speak to its quality as literature—but The Drifter’s Escape might qualify. For those unfamiliar, it is an anthology of short stories and a role-playing game by Ben Lehman.
  • In my eyes, some norwegian roleplaying games are written very poetic. "Archipelago" is written like a gently shining meditation exercise. "Itras By" is like a friendly manierism and "Trip to the moon" sounds like a good childrens book.
  • @Eero_Tuovinen I'm going to side-step your question for the moment. You mentioned King of Sartar. Do you know about the web-comic Prince of Sartar? http://www.princeofsartar.com/comic/introduction-chapter-1/ It's quite good.
  • From what I remember, Polaris is really good. Much of it is intended to be read out loud, as well.
  • Thanks, all. Keep the suggestions coming, I'll throw them in the ol' culture mill.

    One more example occurred to me just now: Unknown Armies has some pretty sweet feverish urban fantasy stylings going for it at its best. I don't like it quite as much as I like some more grim urban fantasy/horror titles (such as the aforementioned Delta Green), as it gets a bit cheesy and toothless in its cosmological bits, but the street level stuff - Dipsomancers and fast food conspiracies - is fun.

    And I guess I'll need to mention Don't Rest Your Head, Urchin, Scorn and Acts of Evil, too, if I'm listing legit horror fantasy rpgs with good, explicit setting work. Most are on the short side as literary works, but what they've got definitely has its high points. I especially recommend Don't Lose Your Mind, Benjamin Baugh's sourcebook for DRYH as a tour de force into absurd psychological horror; in many ways it's a perfect example of what one of these traditional "rpg writer as an author of your dreams" types puts together when let loose.

    Drifter's Escape is a sweet book and a very exciting game; the stories are by Ben's brother Jake, and I remember finding them pleasantly exotic in the way Americana tends to be. A very literary game book, and an appropriate call-out here. Ben's one of my all-time favourite designers specifically because we share a love of literature.

    I haven't read Archipelago (yes, that is strange), but perhaps I should, although I'm not necessarily looking for rules texts written in flavourful ways so much as good world-building prose or plot or such.

    Itras By is, indeed, another good example of a game with literary dimension; I do not truly appreciate the artificial obscurity in how it explains its setting (Polaris does the absurd fantasy setting thing with more grace), but the actual content is cool through and through.

    And yes, I am aware of Prince of Sartar. It is to be recommended to both new-comers and old Glorantha fans; even if it does drag a bit in storytelling terms at times, it makes up for it with the careful visual work on complex concepts. I'll be glad when the current cradle-robbing arc is finally finished, the extended action sequence makes the comic feel like it doesn't progress at all [grin].

    So yeah, I second many of these suggestions. Now, give me something I don't know yet. The boundless maw requires new experiences and strange passions to consume, and right now it's hungry for something with distinctly non-dramatic slant, such as rpg setting books. It is a great joy on occasion to read something that simply tells you about a strange world without having to be force-fed a whitebread protagonist viewpoint on the side. Too much carb in that, I need fat to survive the winter months.
  • You mention Cyberpunk 2020. Some parts of the rulebook are impressive, but the best large scale writing I remember is in the first sequel, Cybergeneration and its supplements: a worse than usual dystopia narrated through gear lists, character classes and newtech introductory explanations, far more coherent and depressing than the standard violence of Night City.
  • Veins of the Earth by Patrick Stuart.
  • edited November 2017
    The French produced game Agone (poetic fantasy) is pretty sweet to read, and so is the German produced Degenesis (post-apoc). I think the latter can be found online.

    There are two Swedish games, but only in Swedish, that probably have the best RPG texts out there. Oktoberlandet (Russian steampunk) that changes meaning depending on the user's interpretation, and Chronopia (fantasy punk) that presents the whole setting in a really well written story.
  • The French produced game Agone (poetic fantasy) is pretty sweet to read, and so is the German produced Degenesis (post-apoc). I think the latter can be found online.

    I think that Degenesis is the most beautiful RPG rulebook/setting guide that I've ever read. The maps, the artwork, even the type and formatting really do it for me.
  • Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine, by Jenna Moran, is (as prose) simultaneously heart-warming, hilarious and deeply weird — sort of Miyazaki vs Kelly Link vs Donald Barthelme, maybe?. I know nothing about Nobilis other than that she also wrote it, but it probably reads well too.

    JAGS Wonderland ... brrrr. That was a seriously creepy read. Super effective.

    Avery McDaldno has written some beautiful little roleplaying poems, like Teen Witch and that one about being a secret bird.
  • I was just reading Pendragon the other day! Very absorbing. I also second Polaris.

    The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen is another delightful read.
  • edited November 2017
    Unknown Armies (also older source books)
    Little Fears (read 1st edition, play 2nd)
    Paranoid (enjoyed reading more older versions)
    Primetime Adventures (not really literature but very well written, smooth enjoyable reading)
    Playing Nature's Year by Meguey Baker (poetic and touching)
    BRP Mythic Iceland Sourcebook (insightful)
    Dresden Files - Paranet Papers (inspiring settings, fun to read)
  • I also really enjoyed reading Swashbucklers Of The Seven Skies by Chad Underkoffler — not really as literature, but as an engrossing travelogue of an interesting fantasy world stuffed full of detailed environments, societies and (magical) technologies.
  • [Warning: I'm a non-native English reader commenting on English language texts, so, well...]

    I know I'm perhaps not being very original here, but I find game texts by Vincent Baker to be great reads, usually. Apocalypse World, despite its rambling length, was a pleasure to read... I'm thinking of the pre-release playtest version, now, which was my first encounter with it. I remember approaching it skeptically because of a bit of a shallow prejudice of mine against post-apocalyptica, then being totally won over by the imaginative language way before I had wrapped my head around the playstyle and mechanics.
    In a Wicked Age... and Poison'd are, in my opinion, sweet texts: short, to the point, full of flavor. Midsummer Wood is like that, and perhaps better. I also love the various clever bits of swords & sorcery, planetary romance or plain weird fantasy flavor found throughout Vincent's The Seclusium of Orphone and the Freebooting Venus and Rock of Tahamaat drafts.

    Moving on to works by other people, I remember having a great time reading A Taste for Murder by Graham Walmsley, and especially its extensive historical appendix.
    Speaking of good non-fiction literature in role-playing books, Spione and Shahida by Ron Edwards are excellent reads, both evocative and provocative.
  • Sorry, Eero! Looks like I was replying to the thread title more than to your actual request... Most (though not all) of your examples would end up into my TL;DR bin if I tried reading them these days! Just yesterday, for example, I was lamenting to the friend who'd given it to me to read that the main flaw I could find in Blades in the Dark is it's too setting-intensive: while the actually actionable setting material is presented in a very usable form, it does contain more "weird overall world stuff" players are supposed to know upfront than I can convey in a 5-minute speech -- which has always been a huge playability hurdle in my general experience.

    What about Shock: Human Contact? It's one of those settings I found enticing upon reading, but I had to give up playing because my attempt to info-dump it onto other people backfired forever.

    Or, are you familiar with Jeff Himmelman's Kingdom of Nothing? I remember it as a great game - much more intriguing than DRYH, to mention something sort-of similar - but also as a book I gave up reading because it front-loaded too much setting info. Might be your cup of tea, though. Another book I ended up not reading, for the same reason, is Hot War.

    Which makes me realize... I can power through any amount of setting material in a RPG manual - be it sharp or dull - as long as it comes after some moderately grabby instructions for playing to wet my interest, but not the other way around. Blades in the Dark was OK for me because most of that stuff was at the end of the book - it leads with the actual game. If you put setting stuff before anything else in your RPG book, it has either to be really good, really well-written setting material (like, Polaris level of good!) or you'll lose me. Almanacs of fictional characters, places, etc. are better confined to appendixes, as far as I'm concerned.
  • Or, are you familiar with Jeff Himmelman's Kingdom of Nothing? I remember it as a great game - much more intriguing than DRYH, to mention something sort-of similar - but also as a book I gave up reading because it front-loaded too much setting info.
    I actually gave up because the background image made it hard to read the book. But yeah, a lot of setting info. I wondered, after a few pages, how I would be able to game master that and find the equivalent words in Swedish.
  • edited November 2017
    I actually gave up because the background image made it hard to read the book. But yeah, a lot of setting info. I wondered, after a few pages, how I would be able to game master that and find the equivalent words in Swedish.
    I'm not the only one who can't digest setting-first books anymore, then? But I remember definitely enjoying the game, so I'll probably try again - I recommend you do so as well.

    Having to translate terminology on the fly is a problem dear to my heart -- mostly, the manuals I buy are in English, but then the games are played in Italian. Sometimes it's part of the fun of hosting a game, sometimes it's a pain in the ass, sometimes in between.

    Back on track... Eero, I haven't bought The Hour Between Dog and Wolf yet, but I played a preliminary draft years ago. It was called Fragile Minds back then, and the text was interesting to read, a distillation of non-fiction about serial killers: "types" of serial killers, they're motivations, etc. I know a vast corpus of popularized criminology works exist in the bookstores, and, while I'm not interested enough in the genuine thing, I enjoyed reading a short summary of those in role-playing manual form.
  • Thanks, all - you've listed many games I'm familiar with, but also a few titles I haven't read yet.

    The obvious inclination in the recommendations towards new and short games, that you touch upon Rafu, is an interesting one. My own experience is that generally speaking the greatest literary feats in the rpg field have been attempted in trad games. You can see the summation of my own experiences in the games I've mentioned; even as my actual favourite rpgs tend to be progressive works from the last 15 years, I haven't usually experienced them as excellent prose fiction myself. Clearly shows which forum we're posting on [grin].

    (There are of course exceptions, of which Rafu listed many - I largely agree with him about which Forgite classics make for good reads. Still, being good reading fiction isn't the goal for the technically progressive modern rpg in the way it is for a traditional supplement treadmill title.)

    For my own purposes, honorary mentions go to Cybergenerations (I've heard others commend it, too), Veins of the Earth (a good point, I know it's going to be good, haven't yet gotten around to reading it), Rickard's European titles that I haven't even heard of, Parapet Papers (the concept sounds like it might succeed in being literature) and Swashbucklers of the Seven Skies (a title I'm only vaguely aware of existing) and Shock: Human Contact (haven't read that despite being quite familiar with the actual game).

    Another relevant title occurs to me, one that hasn't been mentioned yet: the Amber rpg is a very worthwhile companion work to the novel(s) it's based on. It has the same sort of "densely literate" texture that I appreciate in e.g. Pendragon, as it embraces its source work thoroughly and enhances the reader's understanding of the corpus. It's taken me a long time to start appreciating the Chronicles of Amber as fantasy literature (I first needed to realize that Day of the Jackal is a great thriller, basically), but now that I have, I'm also much more appreciative of the rpg text.
  • Mispent Youth, eyebleed edition, really is stylish.

    Shadowrun Street Samurai catalog is a piece of postmodern literature.

  • Shadowrun Street Samurai catalog is a piece of postmodern literature.
    How about Shadowrun in general? I've read a fair amount of Earthdawn, which makes me expect that it wouldn't be particularly noteworthy in this regard, but perhaps I am mistaken. I haven't read one Shadowrun book ever, so for all I know it could be much more intricate than the "elves and dwarves as cyberpunks" premise promises.
  • It I had to name just one, I'd say The Clay That Woke.
    Absolutely.

    I also loved AW for both the tone and writing mixed with mechanics. A perfect balance, for my taste.
  • edited November 2017
    The catalog only (and maybe the biotech supplement).
    It's presented as a document leaked by hackers. You constantly have multiple reading levels : the corps abusing rhetorics on their target audience. The hackers commenting the corps and talking between themselves about recent events. Several narrators, characters and short stories thus emerge through the grapevine.

    The editorial device is reminiscent of 18th century faux-mémoires and travel logs, AND epistolary novels. What is postmodern is narrators competing for veracity.

    "Literature" is not contained in "style".
  • edited November 2017
    I've always been a big fan of the Shadowrun campaign Renraku Arcology Shutdown. Most of it is presented as epistolary in-universe segments: collected news articles, personal reports of events, hacked logs and audio transcripts, commentary from posters on Shadowrun's ubiquitous Shadowland BBS. As a youth I found it very engrossing.

    This approach is actually fairly common for SR books (at least, it used to be: I haven't really followed the game closely since the early 00s), and to some extent Battletech material as well, though the latter is usually much dryer: mostly technical overviews of equipment, military history lessons, atlases, and cetera.
  • I could see Battletech game texts as something I could get into, actually. I like the setting, and have had all sorts of incidental exposure over the years (video games, a few novels, that sort of thing). I can see how it could get remarkably boring, too, but that's the risk you gotta take with a certain kind of wargamer historiography. Still better than the geeky elfdwarf fantasy chronicles of your average D&D spinoff [grin].
  • edited November 2017
    It I had to name just one, I'd say The Clay That Woke.
    Absolutely.
    I’ve also heard that The Clay That Woke is very literature-esque; although, I’ve never read it myself.
  • This may be a slightly different angle on this whole thing, but I remember an oddball game from roughly 2005 called "untitled". (I think; my memory is a bit blurry here.)

    What was remarkable about it was that its "flavour text" contained all the rules of the game. In other words, the entire booklet/PDF was just a bunch of text - a diary or journal or something like that. To a regular reader, it made total sense. However, a clever gamer reading the same text could (with some puzzle-solving abilities) distill from that prose all the rules of the game itself.

    Pretty remarkable.
  • It I had to name just one, I'd say The Clay That Woke.
    Absolutely.
    I’ve also heard that The Clay That Woke is very literature-esque; although, I’ve never read it myself.
    Well pointed out, Davide!

    Jeff, Clay is written as a swords & sorcery novelette - the purpose of which is to introduce the themes of the game as well as to give the reader a tour of the setting - alternating with passages of rules. The order the rules are introduced is somewhat (very loosely) based on the encapsulating fiction. The fiction itself is exemplary of the sort of things a player-character may expect to experience.

    As a fantasy story, it's an enjoyable read, and well-written as far as I can tell -- despite the burden of having to describe a setting for play (if it fails somewhere, it's in occasionally being opaque as a setting sourcebook, not in being a dull read). I'd characterize it as contemporary "weird" swords & sorcery with a bit of a SF bent, not unlike what I would expect from Worlds Without Master. I understand it was Paul's goal for it to have literary quality, and I believe he succeeded.

    My only two complaints - not relevant here - are that the structure of the book makes it hard to use as a reference (but then, all RPG manuals have to make a choice anyway between being teaching texts or reference texts first, or some kind of compromise) and (my standard boilerplate complaint) that complex, imaginative settings like this tend to require a majority of players who've actually read the book to successfully translate to play.
  • edited November 2017
    Very cool, Rafu!

    Eero, based on Rafu’s description above, it sounds like The Clay That Woke may be a good option for you.
  • So it does. I've always been a big fan of Paul's work, but I just haven't gotten around to examine The Clay yet. His Acts of Evil ranks very high in literary terms to my mind (it's a wonderful little horror fantasy setting, sort of like Hellraiser structurally), for example.
  • edited November 2017
    Actually, Ten Candles is also very well written. Not really literature, still creating a certain ambience.
  • The first chapter of the 5E manual Volo's Guide to Monsters is a fucking masterpiece. What they did is take a bunch of iconic D&D monsters, such as the Beholder, Hags, Gnolls, etc, and then did a deep dive on them one at a time. They present their history, culture, ecology, religion, allies, enemies, motivations, and often a sample map lair.

    Meanwhile, in the margins, you get Volo and Elminster sniping at each other and telling each other they're wrong about key details. This is not only amusing, but has an obvious meta-textual benefit: making clear to GMs that the information presented in this chapter is not "canon" in any definite sense, but merely meant as a jumping-off point for your own creativity.

    But the idea of basing a campaign around a single monstrous group / organization and its minions, affiliates, etc., is also a really cool idea that this book helps support, without the outright or quasi railroading of hardback adventures. And there's like, 13 of these things presented as options.

    So. Good.
  • Ten Candles and The Clay That Woke are good texts.

    I would say that the world of TCTW is even more exotic than Tekumel. Not because of weird setting lore but because of a very specific tone. Which is very hard to grasp and appreciate if you have never been to south east asia and you dont like decay :) I love this game but never tried it: no players.
  • That sounds fantastic, Deliverator! Clever presentation.
  • OK, so I lied, there are actually only 9 sub-chapters. And it's not a perfect selection; I'm a tiny bit annoyed at how many of them are humanoids. On the other hand, Volo's does a great job of giving them distinct cultures; for too many players, Orcs and Gnolls are just "bigger Goblins," and this book does away with that.
  • Been a while since I've read it, so maybe my memory is rosy, but I recall that "The Way of Shadow" adventure for the original Legend of the Five Rings RPG had a great 'literature' part to it.

    Basically, the book was a written story about a Crane Magistrate investing weird stuff at a remote castle. But, after each chapter of the story, it went into how to run that chapter as an adventure for the RPG.

    Thing is, I remember the story being really gripping. I never actually ran the scenario, but I kept the book because I thought the story was so good.
  • edited November 2017
    .
  • edited November 2017
    Rather than reading RPGs with expectations of literary value I tend to read them for good rules alone, enjoying the occasional scattered flashes of genius. Thinking of examples, it's clearly difficult to separate literary value from great rules and intrinsic value from the context that makes something significant and important.

    For example, the multiple choice galactic history questionnaire and the keyless map in Mekton Empire are novel and elegant and carry a large game design weight; the player questions about team formation in Masks: a New Generation are even more clever and elegant, but too brief and simple to qualify as "literary"; the combat rules reference flowchart in GURPS Compendium is practically useful and well researched, but it needs thousands of pages of previous supplements to be deliciously ironic to boot; the deconstruction of weapon types and bonuses in Dream Park, while a milestone by itself, is more impressive because it comes from Mike Pondsmith.
  • too brief and simple to qualify as "literary"
    gasp

    - Sigh -
  • too brief and simple to qualify as "literary"
    gasp

    - Sigh -
    Something that is over before you understand it can only be appreciated retrospectively, not read as an enjoyable activity. This thread is about extended RPG materials, mostly whole manuals, that are worth reading.
  • As somewhat of a counterpoint, I've seen excerpts of Beyond the Wall's lifepath character creation system, and seems to have literary merit, to me.

    Some quotes from a discussion about the system:

    From the Elf Highborn playbook:

    What token did you people leave you when you left them? Roll 1d6:
    1. A drape of the stars. Gain +2 Int and a cloak like the night.

    [...]

    It's full of this stuff!

    Just little gems. Stuff that can become epic in play. My guy got the witches charred staff after she died defending him from something awful. Such a simple thing, so many implications.

    [...]

    Also from the Elf Highborn playbook (one of my favorites, I thnk):

    What token did you(sic) people leave you when you left them?
    6. Your mother's mourning song. Gain +2 Wis and a voice you will always keep within you.

    That's a lot of melancholy packed into a short snippet from a game manual, and feels just so elvish.
  • Something that is over before you understand it can only be appreciated retrospectively, not read as an enjoyable activity. This thread is about extended RPG materials, mostly whole manuals, that are worth reading.
    Agreed, as far as I'm concerned. Not that I don't appreciate poetry as an art form, but I'm not primarily on the look-out for rpg books that happen to have the odd moment of poetry in them.

    In case you're wondering, there is potential for gaming application in this canvassing for literarily readable games. Aside from wanting to read good books, I've been working on my techniques for actually playing stuff like this. Perhaps I'll find some missing piece of insight in some game text that I'm completely ignoring right now.
  • I think that's a worthwhile project, Eero, and I'm sure you'll find something (and hopefully share with us).

    My impression is that the readers here just don't read a whole lot of high page count traditional resource books. Might be worth asking the same question on a different forum, even, to get more responses from a different crowd.
  • I actually don't mind reading those (though I tend to regard them as pretty dull non-fiction). I've spent a lot of enjoyable hours over the years reading both rules-texts and RPG "fluff" texts (I also enjoy reading encyclopedias and essays, however, and "real world" source material often happens to be more surprising than purpose-made RPG sourcebooks).
    My objection to long-winded setting books (well, to anything going longer than a couple pages, really) is entirely practical: either everyone at the table has read it, or what actual use is it?
  • Yeah, I've noticed the general gist of it. I've been entertaining a theory about that- I've become an old coot without noticing it, and the traditional gaming scene from whence this sort of stuff mostly blossoms is actually ancient history for most people here [grin].

    If this is the case for you, dear reader, I suggest taking a look at some of the games mentioned in favourable light here. Yes, they're traditional (with all the baggage that implies), but occasionally they're actually very legit on axes other than strict playability. Setting stuff, for instance, is transferable, and there's no particular reason why one couldn't use say the painstakingly produced future history, star maps and alien culture write-ups of 2300 AD in a more approachable game.

    But that, of course, presumes that you find something that's good enough to use. This is a high threshold if you're worth shit as a gamer and author yourself, as the stuff needs to be better than you can be bothered to whip up yourself, and in some way relevant even when put next to all the other sources you could be tapping just as well. Most rpgs tend to fall slightly short of the goal. I could make long, long lists of games that have sort of nice fluff, but not quite good enough for me to really care about using it. The '90s produced a lot of these, from Deadlands to Earthdawn to most Whitewolf games: lots of fluff, hundreds upon hundreds of pages per gameline, and mostly it's sort of good enough that I can see how it would be compelling for its creator, but not quite there for the end-user like me, who only cares about the very top of the pyramid.

    A random though: has anybody read any Palladium stuff recently (or at all)? Is it any good in terms of setting-building? I've read like the core Rifts book years ago, maybe, and I've occasionally heard some wacky details about the setting, but I've never read any setting books for the game. I understand that quite a few exist, so it qualifies as a major game line in terms of text bulk, at least. Geeky schlock or wild underground fantasy extravaganza? Anybody know?
  • edited November 2017
    In terms of content (not necessarily written style), one group of supplements that hasn't been mentioned here is the various lines of GURPS books. Some of them were so good that people who didn't even play GURPS considered them some of their best purchases.

    For what it's worth, they often read as more "grown-up" than the sorts of sourcebooks which seemed to be marketed to young readers and contained mostly "schlocky" material. (Then again, though, I was a young teenager when I was reading them.)
  • Oh, I forgot Deadlands. Shane Hensley is probably one of the best writers out there. You will follow the Prospector as he explains the world for you.
  • edited November 2017
    I find the GURPS World of Darkness adaptations far more pleasant and readable than the original games: they are restrained to be concise and straightforward, like an encyclopedia, without extravagant fluff and abject graphics. Alignment with "native" GURPS supplements like Blood Types and Cabal is an added bonus.

    Other adaptations of existing games, like Castle Falkenstein, tend to miss the point a little, while original GURPS-based franchise adaptations tend to be an easy job given the available tools (e.g. The Prisoner, Prime Directive), or good thanks to standard GURPS encyclopedic treatment (e.g. Discworld), or good thanks to special rules (e.g. Goblins).
  • This may be a slightly different angle on this whole thing, but I remember an oddball game from roughly 2005 called "untitled".
    This sounds fascinating and I'd love to read it, but it's got a very SEO-unfriendly name, i.e. a quick search for "untitled rpg" turned up a bunch of stuff, including at least two games called "Untitled", but nothing like what you're recalling. Any further clues?
  • Yeah, that's a BIG problem. Anyone else have a clue?
Sign In or Register to comment.