Forty-five years ago, I drove to Chicago for an Army entrance test. I scored high on the “fold this box in your head & choose the correct one below” questions. They wanted to enlist me as a mapmaker; I wanted to be a graphic designer, so I drove back home a civilian.
(If I’d known map making was my buddy Larry Elmore‘s Army MOS, I’d’ve been smarter & enlisted.)
Still, those box-folding-in-your-head skills have come in handy lately for print-&-play PDFs of cards & bookmarks. The format I’ve come up with lets you choose between printing one side only & folding down the middle for front & back, or printing on both sides with front & back matched up.
I’m cleaning and reorganizing my stockroom (aka study closet) and have a number of unclaimed D13 RPG Premium Limited Edition’s to sell. Try as I might, I’ve been unable to contact the original backers, and after three years now, it’s time to let them go.
These are premium Smythe-sewn hardbounds, printed by Jostens, with top quality color and paper, unique endpapers, and an autographed illustrated bookplate.
The edition will never be reprinted, so it’s a collector’s item.
The books fall into three categories:
Foil Printed Name: 4 of these remaining, each with an original backer’s name. I’d like to give them free to players with a limited income. If that’s you or someone you know, message me.
Foil Numbered: 4 of these remaining, from a limited run of 100. $25 each, plus shipping. Each comes with two 50-cent DriveThruRPG coupons, one for the D13 PDF, and one for the Our House on Rupert Court, and Other Horrors adventure anthology.
Unnumbered: 16 of these remaining. Though technically not “limited edition,” these premium copies will almost certainly never be reprinted. $15 each, plus shipping.
The softcover edition on DriveThruRPG is $25, so these premium hardcovers (normally $40) are a steal, and just in time for Halloween!
[I’m a day late, but started drafting this yesterday.]
Again, a very problematic answer.
By way of preface, let me say that I try to judge my own work with the same measuring stick as other people’s. There are two voices in my head: One is an excitable little child that believes in own its genius, and that enthusiasm is a necessity for art. The other is an adult editor and product-line manager with three decades of experience encouraging and critiquing other writers. That side has learned to tell writers: “This bit is wonderful! But we both know you were lax on this other part. The thing is, the wonderful bit deserves to have the lax part brought up to its level. And only you can pull that off!”
(My youngest daughter recently convinced me that having two people in your head is a neuro-divergent way of coping with creative stress. Common to autism and ADHD. We shall see. At 67 years old, I’m finally seeking counseling.)
So, back to the question: smartest RPG I’ve played?
Lots of RPGs have genius creativity in one feature or another, usually the setting. Only a few have a genius of game mechanics. When the two fit together, it’s magical.
Of those magical ones, I’d list Lost Souls and WEG’s Star Wars (see my previous post.) I’d add Malix Nystul‘s Whispering Vault as third, with its ritual adventure structure, and a dice mechanic that feels just a bit ritualistic itself. Though I think I’ve seen that dice mechanic elsewhere, this was my first exposure to it, and it fits the game.
And I think I accidentally hit that mark, or close to it, with the Bookmark No HP RPG and a few of its settings–likely “Supers! and “Bookmark Cthulhu!” I can’t claim that other things I’ve designed over the years reach that level, but in this case my editor brain thinks my child brain pulled it off.
Of those RPGs, which is the smartest? Right now, I’d have to say that Lost Souls may be the very best.
Shuffle a poker deck. Cut for high card. Jokers are 0. Winner is dealer and invents a fairytale quest the group will pursue (kill a dragon, rescue a captive, find true love, etc.).
Deal each player 7 cards; the rest become a draw pile. Turn up the top draw card to start the story. Suits represent attributes: Spades = Grace; Clubs = Brawn; Hearts = Will; Diamonds = Wits; Jokers = Any suit.
Players each lay any card from their hand face down, then reveal simultaneously. Discard those that do not match the current story card suit.
The player of the highest remaining card (if any) describes a scene to match the story card attribute, how valiantly their character succeeded, and how terribly the lowest remaining card’s character (if any) fubarred. (Jokers always fubar.)
Players whose cards matched suit score one point; the “valiant” player scores two.
The fairytale ends in a climax with the 7th story card. The character with the most points becomes court Champion; the one with the fewest becomes court Jester; tied characters kill each other in a duel; any other characters are banished from court and forgotten.