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What if you could live your life over again?

You are in a warm, dark, comfortable place. This has been your place since you became aware that you are alive. It's almost time to enter a different world now. In 1986, Activision published a roleplaying computer game called Alter Ego. Unlike the action and fantasy titles that ruled the day, this game simulated the course of a single ordinary life. Beginning at birth, players navigated a series of vignettes: learning to crawl, reacting to strangers, getting a first haircut. The outcome of each scenario subtly influenced one's path, and with every choice players slowly progressed through infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age. Graphically minimalist -- one's lifestream is represented by simple icons, and the scenarios are all text -- the game was nevertheless engaging, describing the world in a playful, good-natured tone tinged by darkness and melancholy. And it had quite a pedigree; developer and psychology PhD Peter Favaro interviewed hundreds of people on their most memorable life experiences to generate the game's 1,200 pages of material. Unfortunately for Dr. Favaro, the game didn't sell very well. But it lives on through the web -- PlayAlterEgo.com offers a full copy of the game free to play in your browser, and the same port is available as a $5 app for iPhone and Android. More: Port discussion group - Wishlist - Vintage review - Original game manual (text or scans)
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 31, 2010 - 46 comments

Just add dice

List of Libre Games. Open Game Systems. Compendium of Free Role Playing Games. Free RPGs at 1000 Monkeys, 1000 Typewriters. Tired of role-playing game books the size and price of textbooks? You've got a lot of alternatives. [more inside]
posted by Zed on Dec 23, 2010 - 18 comments

Tymar lives!

Speak With Monsters -- A comic about the most interesting parts of D&D. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Nov 29, 2010 - 35 comments

The Warlocks of Firetop Mountain

An Illustrated History of Games Workshop and Fighting Fantasy - Jackson and Livingstone - audio, sans illustrations. The story of how Steve Jackson (not that Steve Jackson) and Ian Livingstone kickstarted tabletop roleplaying in the UK and founded a gaming behemoth that is very different today.
posted by Artw on Nov 25, 2010 - 42 comments

Did Mike Mearls ruin everything?

"With 4th Edition, there were good intentions." Escapist Magazine's "Check for Traps" columnist Alexander Macris interviews Dungeons & Dragons Manager Mike Mearls about 4th Edition Essentials, Ryan Dancey's "death spiral" comment, Justin Alexander's "Disassociated Mechanics", and the new Red Box.
posted by Avenger50 on Nov 5, 2010 - 44 comments

Your new corporate home and personal hell

Synergon is a fully-playable ruleset for BLARPing (Business Live-Action Role-Playing).
posted by BitterOldPunk on Nov 3, 2010 - 21 comments

Space Funeral

Space Funeral is a short surrealist freeware RPG.
posted by LSK on Nov 2, 2010 - 24 comments

You see a well groomed garden. In the middle, on a small hill, you see a gazebo.

Wanna Play D&D? Nobody to play with? Got a computer? Wanna experience The Temple of Elemental Evil, Castle Amber, The Palace of the Silver Princess, and Danger at Dunwater in your pajamas? Start with Circle of Eight Modpack forThe Temple of Elemental Evil and play the most complete Dungeons and Dragon game ever made. Think 3rd edition is for chumps? Show your true Moxie and revisit the modules of yore with the Classic Adventures Mod for Baldur's Gate II. [more inside]
posted by Lord_Pall on Oct 17, 2010 - 42 comments

" Orcs are mammals and therefore do not spawn."

Got a question about old-school Dungeons and Dragons? Perhaps you should consult this database of questions and answers from Dragon Magazine's "Sage Advice" column.
posted by Pope Guilty on Oct 12, 2010 - 144 comments

At Fate's Edge

Nehrim is atotal conversion of the Oblivion engine by the German amateur team at SureAI. Four years in the making and one of the largest mod projects ever completed, it features a massive new hand-crafted world, an elaborate and compelling main quest, dozens of side-quests, over 50 professional voice actors, a reworked leveling and crafting system, new spells, new items, new enemies and an original score of over 50 songs. Those who persevere through the prologue into this open world will be rewarded with a truly brilliant classical RPG. [more inside]
posted by sophist on Oct 7, 2010 - 17 comments

Haiku Quest an indie RPG featuring haiku poetry and Christopher Walken

Haiku Quest is an indie rpg featuring voiceover from Christopher Walken. Yes, really. (windows only) [more inside]
posted by juv3nal on Aug 30, 2010 - 31 comments

These tunnels go down forever

One of the better online random dungeon generators out there. Scroll down a bit to see it. You can change the size and learn more about it from the home page. [more inside]
posted by JHarris on Aug 5, 2010 - 80 comments

Whatever you do, don't tell Warport Security that you have a bomb

Flash Friday: Mardek 3 is an rpg similar in style and length to the Final Fantasy or Earthbound games from the SNES days. But that's not all! [more inside]
posted by Lemurrhea on Jul 16, 2010 - 11 comments

Play like it's 1974!

In 1974, a pair of wargame enthusiasts from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin transformed the nascent hobby gaming world by publishing three little brown booklets. Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson's Dungeons & Dragons has become an important part of the lives of generations of young gamers. Along the way, D&D went through numerous editions, each with increasingly complex rules. [more inside]
posted by paulg on Jul 13, 2010 - 157 comments

Laputan machine

Taking Liberties: a Deus Ex story - on the enduring appeal of the 2000 Cyberpunk RPG/FPS. The Making of Deus Ex. Behind the scenes.
posted by Artw on Jun 16, 2010 - 62 comments

Don't smile at me

Avatar Days (SLYT) World of Warcraft in real life.
posted by blue_beetle on Jun 8, 2010 - 26 comments

Pass the Grog!

"The impression that Ars Magica requires a Ph.d in medieval history to play was not helped by several supplements for the fourth edition that were in fact written by Ph.d’s in medieval history." Don't let that stop you, though; you can download the fourth edition for free. [more inside]
posted by kaibutsu on Jun 7, 2010 - 19 comments

Monsters I Have Known.

Impressions of D&D Monsters: Laughing Squid helps you penetrate the pencils/dice barrier in order to fully experience the horror of the Gelatinous Cube. (SLYT)
posted by darth_tedious on Jun 2, 2010 - 62 comments

Do: real armour, don't: real weapons

LARP - what is it? - a comprehensive guide in comicbook form.
posted by Artw on May 30, 2010 - 151 comments

Roll for mutations

old School Science Fiction RPGs: Traveller, Metamorphosis Alpha, Gamma World.
posted by Artw on May 27, 2010 - 99 comments

The Lair of Kazoth

"This map was drawn by my cousin, Tim, who introduced me to gaming back in the earlier '80s."
posted by Artw on May 3, 2010 - 97 comments

Synopsis Quest

Synopsis Quest is a flash collection of retro RPG-themed minigames. An amusing way to kill a half hour or so.
posted by CrunchyFrog on Apr 1, 2010 - 18 comments

Natural Born Killer - Genocide of the Fallout 3 World

I'm on a mission - not to praise Jesus or ensure that every child in Namibia has a netbook, but to kill every single living vaguely human-like character in Fallout 3. ... everyone ... no matter how friendly, helpful, or beneficial to my completion of the game, must be put into the ground. "Natural Born Killer", an experiment in virtual genocide, parts One, Two and Three.
posted by slimepuppy on Mar 26, 2010 - 45 comments

WOOT

RPG heroes are jerks!
posted by P.o.B. on Mar 25, 2010 - 84 comments

110100100

Monday Morning Nerd-Porn
posted by jtron on Mar 22, 2010 - 28 comments

A cool place to play

I have been working on and off for about 2 years building our "D&D ROOM" to hold most of our collection and give us a cool place to play...
posted by Joe Beese on Feb 24, 2010 - 61 comments

"Mass Affect" - BioWare's Upcoming Hipster RPG

Mass Affect will offer a plethora of engaging side-quests, including bike messenger assignments, competitive coffee-brand disparagement, horrible-dancing competitions, and an interactive café-posturing minigame that involves using motion controls to keep the cover of your barely-skimmed copy of Dostoevsky's "The Idiot" within eyeshot of as many cute girls as possible.
posted by griphus on Feb 3, 2010 - 70 comments

Wisconsin inmate loses battle to play Dungeons and Dragons in jail

Wisconsin inmate loses battle to play Dungeons and Dragons in jail. News article and 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion.
posted by seliopou on Jan 26, 2010 - 182 comments

You will never vanquish the Lizard People, Monsieur Debonaire! Mwahahaha!

Maybe D&D has disappointed you. Too complicated*, too slow, too restrictive? Spirit of the Century (free version, blurbs/store) is a Fate game designed for fast-paced, pulpy adventures. And we should thank Fudge, too. [more inside]
posted by ersatz on Jan 23, 2010 - 57 comments

Relationship has levelled Up

Level Up! A sweet and oddly deep little RPG/platformer flash game that's all about grinding, stats, and broken fences. [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Dec 4, 2009 - 35 comments

Tomes of ancient lore

Although it's commonplace nowadays to assume that J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings was the primary source of inspiration for Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax when they created the world's first tabletop roleplaying game, Dungeons & Dragons, a careful examination of the game suggests otherwise... James Maliszewski on The Books That Founded D&D. Some disagreement.
posted by Artw on Nov 24, 2009 - 109 comments

You have survived another day!

Elona Shooter - a fantastic castle-defence-shooter-RPG in Flash. Warning: insanely hard.
posted by catchingsignals on Nov 8, 2009 - 19 comments

The Lurking Fear

Lovecraft 101: Get To Know The Master of Scifi-Horror. For more detailed insights into each of Lovecraft's tales in publication order you might want to follow the H.P.Lovecraft Literary Podcast. For another story-by-story guide to Lovecraft you might want to check out Kenneth Hite's Tour De Lovecraft (also available in expanded form as a book). China Mieville on Lovecraft and racism and a lecture at Treadwells by Archaeologist James Holloway which delves deep into Lovecraft and identity. The making of the Call of Cthulhu RPG. The making of Cthulhu (Hipsters! Ego! Madness!). Happy Halloween with H.P. Lovecraft!
posted by Artw on Oct 31, 2009 - 54 comments

It's like Drug Wars in the Wild Frontier!

Friday Flash Fun: Frontier is an adventure RPG with an economic bent, very similar to Caravaneer. You travel from town to town dealing in the goods available in each town. [more inside]
posted by schyler523 on Oct 16, 2009 - 15 comments

Save vs. Obscurity

The Play-Generated Map and Document Archive: finally providing a place to put all those odd doodles, detailed maps, and character sketches that come out of your weekly gaming sessions. [more inside]
posted by Scattercat on Aug 18, 2009 - 28 comments

Today your destiny becomes fate!

In a similar vein to Progress Quest, but (slightly) more interactive, is... Linear RPG. [more inside]
posted by FatherDagon on Aug 12, 2009 - 54 comments

"Magic missile!"

The New York Times profiles Jack Vance (but fails to mention Vancian Magic. (Curse you Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition!)
posted by Artw on Jul 16, 2009 - 53 comments

... Do not look to the horizon of the eye drops.

Pictures from an epic Russian Fallout LARP. English translation via Google.
posted by permafrost on Jul 8, 2009 - 73 comments

When Gravity Fails

Editor Marty Halpern looks back at the career of George Alec Effinger (part 1, part 2, part 3), a prolific author best known for his work set in the Budayeen, a walled city in a future Islamic state, teeming with gangsters, hustlers and transsexual prostitutes, many of them habitual users of plug in personality modules. The noirish tone and exotic technology of the Marîd Audran books (When Gravity Fails, A Fire In The Sun, The Exile Kiss) made Effinger one of the leading lights in the cyberpunk movie, and spawned a videogame - a rare attempt at a graphical adventure from Infocom - and an RPG setting. Sadly Effinger faded from prominence after that, and he suffered from a number of health and financial setbacks before passing away in 2002. His work has had somewhat of a resurgence in popularity of late, with the Marîd Audran books coming back into print in 2007, a long with a collection containing The Wolves of Memory, Effinger's personal favourite amongst his novels.
posted by Artw on Jun 9, 2009 - 32 comments

When I get to the custom weapons creation section, I will keep turning those pages.

“I can't make anyone Jewish with a called shot.” “I cannot start the game pregnant.” “My medical supply bag will contain more than just a bone-saw and a bottle of whiskey.” “My halfling cannot take the flaw, 'Obsession: Ring of Invisibility.'” “Even if he was a paragon of humanity in his alternate dimension, Good Hitler is not an appropriate superhero concept.” “No more Crazy Ivans while I'm driving the AT-AT.” “I do not have to check before each adventure that my fellow adventurers are not doppelgangers, Cylons or pod people.” “'Everybody Wang Chung tonight' is not an acceptable use of the Mass Suggestion spell.” 1250 things Mr. Welch can no longer do during an RPG. (SLLJ)
posted by Navelgazer on Mar 12, 2009 - 73 comments

true scientific realism on every page

Encounter Critical is the awesomest Fantasy/Sci-Fi RPG to come out of an alternate 1979. Full list of game-related resources here (Yahoo group, reg req'd).
posted by mkultra on Mar 10, 2009 - 17 comments

What will become of the Baron? Surely this time he will not escape.

A man whose bravery and fame is matched only by his commitment to truth, the great Baron Münchhausen has permeated all artistic mediums of any worth: books (on-line and off), films (old and new), cartoons (french, english), an animated short film, an online graphic novel, even a game of role-playing -- if you are so despicable a person as to, for no other reason than the amusement of yourself and your fellows, slander the Baron's name with lies of your own invention. Though a similarly-named syndrome would falsely imply otherwise, he is an entirely honest man who exaggerates as little as he boasts, and as to the latter I have assurances from no less a personage than the Baron himself that his humility is without equal in the 7 earth continents, and 2 out of 3 of the moon's.
posted by TimeTravelSpeed on Feb 27, 2009 - 22 comments

Flash Friday RPG

Flash Friday RPG Fun: Hands of War. Set in a kingdom in the midst of a civil war, choose the factions you support while re-assembling the Heartstone.
posted by never used baby shoes on Feb 13, 2009 - 18 comments

World Building

Interview with Jon Schindehette, senior art director at Wizards of the Coast for Dungeons and Dragons. See more fantasy art at his blog, ArtOrder.
posted by Artw on Jan 29, 2009 - 24 comments

Savage 2, Free Hybrid FPS/RPG/RTS

Savage 2 is an innovative mix of first-person shooter, third-person action rpg, and real-time strategy. Teams consisting of 18 different classes, each with unique abilities, are divided in squads led by an officer, and under the direction of a single commander with a top down view of the action. Players must help their commander capture resources, advance their front line, and eventually destroy the enemy’s stronghold while accumulating experience and improving their abilities. Did I mention as of December 9th, it has become free to play? [more inside]
posted by paradoxflow on Jan 19, 2009 - 10 comments

The Pups of War

Sergeant Pen Farthing of the Royal Marines likes dogs. [more inside]
posted by Dipsomaniac on Jan 18, 2009 - 10 comments

"just numbers on a piece of paper"

I do not want to spend too much time beating a dead war-horse, but your average D&D game consists of a group of white players acting out how their white characters encounter and destroy orcs and goblins, who are, as a race evil, uncivilized, and dark-skinned. To quote Steve Sumner’s essay again, “Unless played very carefully, Dungeons & Dragons could easily become a proxy race war, with your group filling the shoes of the noble white power crusaders seeking to extinguish any orc war bands or goblin villages they happened across.” I would argue with Sumner’s use of the phrase “could become,” and say that unless played very carefully, D&D usually becomes a proxy race war. Any adventurer knows that if you see an orc, you kill it. You don’t talk to it, you don’t ask what it’s doing there - you kill it, since it’s life is worth less than the treasure it carries and the experience points you’ll get from the kill. If filmed, your average D&D campaign would look something like Birth of a Nation set in Greyhawk.
- Race in Dungeons & Dragons by Chris van Dyke, a powerpoint talk given at Nerd Nite. Via Ta-Nehisi Coates' blog where there's a smart discussion going on about the essay.
posted by Kattullus on Nov 19, 2008 - 195 comments

Wow, Boogle. It looks brown and soft and it smells terrible. We’ve just got to get some of that!

Annotated playthrough of Torin's Passage. There are 12 videos so far. See also: Ways to die in the game, including the easter egg message you got if you made a hilarious but stupid choice at the end.
posted by Tehanu on Nov 18, 2008 - 11 comments

Mother 3 Fan Translation

Mother 3 fan translation completed. Earthbound (known as Mother 2 in Japan) is one of the most highly regarded RPGs for the Super Nintendo. The game suffered disappointing sales in America, but has since gained the status of a cult classic. A sequel, Mother 3, was released for the Game Boy Advance, but it has never been officially translated into English. After a long development, a fan translation patch has just been released. Trailer. [more inside]
posted by painquale on Oct 17, 2008 - 44 comments

The Tao that can be played is not the eternal Tao

The Way is a 2D Japanese-style rpg you would do well to play if you are interested in the genre. It invests in characters, keeps you wanting to see what happens next and has one on one duels that are usually a part of the storyline. It's all fun and games until (your) blood gets spilt on the screen. First stop: Episode 1. [more inside]
posted by ersatz on Oct 17, 2008 - 13 comments

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