An A-to-Z List of Lesser-Known Roleplaying Games: Part 3

No Gravatar

I’m really glad people are enjoying my list. Here’s the next part:

  • Lace and Steel: A game set in a fantasy version of the 17th century which uses a card-based combat system. You can even play a centaur without pesky level penalties 😉 . BTW — if anyone’s looking to get rid of a copy of this game (either edition), let me know. I’m definitely in the market for one.
  • Murphy’s World: It’s called Murphy’s World for good reason — the game is set on a planet where Murphy’s Law is more reliable than gravity. The PCs are, like most of the world’s inhabitant, reluctant immigrants searching for a way back home. Which means you can create a character from nearly anywhere. After all, what other game would let you play a Giantish Lemming Herder or a Troll Tree-Hugger?
  • Macho Women with Guns: Yeah, I know this is a second “M”, but I really couldn’t leave out this (in)famous gem. The feminist side of me is horrified, but I’ve tried the game at a con and it’s a kick. In it you play, well … a macho, skimpily-clothed woman with big guns. No, not those guns … well, okay, yeah, those guns. But you get massive amounts of artillery and firepower, too. And you need it, if you’re going to hunt down and destory the forces of Drunken Frat Boys and other such dangerous “critters” (as non-female NPCs are known).
  • Nobilis: In Nobilis, you don’t really play a character that’s a person — you play the personification of a concept. What kind of concept? Well, any concept, from love to fire to puppies or small print. But this isn’t a humorous game. In Nomine players will find this easiest to grasp, since it’s similar in idea to the concept of a Word.
  • Over the Edge: One of the earliest games to use the dice pool concept. The game setting is more-or-less modern, taking place on a mysterious island in the Mediterranean called “Al Amarja”. If you like conspiracy-focused games, chances are you’ll like Over the Edge.
  • Pandemonium: Another humorous game, this one set in a version of our world where all the tabloid news stories are true, though most people still don’t believe them. PCs are among the Elightened, the people who know better. The game gives you a choice between E-Z rules, using pre-generated characters, or the Very Complicated Rules designed for experienced role-players. Even if you never play the game, the rules make entertaining reading.

Tomorrow: Games Q – U

4 responses to “An A-to-Z List of Lesser-Known Roleplaying Games: Part 3

  1. Nice list. I have Macho Women and OTE, the latter of which I didn’t think was “less known” having gone through more than one edition and being the direct ancestor of Unknown Armies.

    I’ve been looking for Nobilis for a while now, but the others you mention… mmm, well, they make me salivate too!

  2. I think that Over the Edge is more notable for the “descriptor skills” technique than the die pool system (which previously appeared in Star Wars and Ghostbusters). The descriptor skills go on to become the entirety of the Risus RPG effectively.

    And Over the Edge is an awesome surreal game. I think this was the first game to actually be marketed as surreal. The system is simple, the setting mostly believable. But the edges of the world of Over the Edge are a lot more like the hallucinations of Interzone in Naked Lunch, mixed with a liberal dosage of the Steve Jackson vision of the Illuminati. The fact that we started playing this right after the movie of Naked Lunch came out probably had a lot to do with the surreality of the games we played in the setting. We hunted for the meat of the giant aquatic centipede, we had missions given to us by payphones that grew anuses and then excreted the mission briefings into our hands, and we ate some mighty fine pea soup. All in a day’s work on Al-Amarja.
    .-= Dyson Logos´s last blog ..Mutant Future, Gamma World, and Me =-.

    • @Siskoid – Thanks for all your input! You’re right: Over the Edge isn’t as obscure as many of the others I’ve listed and that’s why I called them “Lesser Known” rather than “obscure” or “unknown”. Of course, I think how “lessor” some of them are known has a lot to do with how long you’ve been gaming and what’s popular in your area. I’ve had many people who’ve been gaming for 10-15 years who’ve looked at me blankly when I’ve mentioned OTE, so it’s very subjective. Keep the comments coming — I’m really enjoying them :) .

      @Dyson – Thanks of taking the time to post a comment. I love Over the Edge’s surreality [is that a word? Is now 😉 ] too. I reminds me of the Prisoner in feel, but I think that’s very much me reading into the game. You’re right about the descriptor skills technique. At some point, I want to do a biography of the gaming hobby, including things like “first game to use skill systems,” “first game to use dice pool,” etc. So keep the info coming. 😀 .

  3. Dyson: That is exactly how I perceived Al-Amarja too. Interzone all the way.

    Jade: Haha. Well, in some areas, anything other than D&D is met with dead stares.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge