Which Should I Buy?

My last poll for which non-RPG book to buy worked very well. I was going to do one for January’s RPG book too, but I found a decently priced Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay hardcover, so that decision was already made. Now February is upon us, and I need advice again to help select my one RPG purchase. There should be a poll included at the end of this post.

I believe the TSR products need no introduction, but here are some details about the lesser known options. Microscope is a collaborative world build game by Ben Robbins of West Marches fame (see this summary by Risus Monkey). Weird Adventures is by Trey Causey at From The Sorcerer’s Skull and seems to be getting universal acclaim. GURPS Goblins is a game about goblins that live in the underworld of Georgian London. I don’t expect to play GURPS any time soon, but that book just looks like it would be fun to read. Barrowmaze is a megadungeon by Greg Gillespie of Discourse & Dragons. Iron Heroes is a low-magic fantasy game by Mike Mearls that I became interested in after reading this discussion at Monsters & Manuals. The Fane of Poisoned Prophecies is a module by Guy Fullerton. Metamorphosis Alpha is perhaps the first science fiction RPG, and the precursor to Gamma World. It was recently re-released in hardcopy on Lulu.

7 thoughts on “Which Should I Buy?

  1. Keith Davies

    I have many of the books above. Of them all, Microscope is the one I consider most brilliant. Iron Heroes has some cool ideas, others up there are good, but Microscope may change the way you think.

  2. faoladh

    In GURPS Goblins, the whole world is goblins, but the goblins of Georgian London are the focus. It’s really quite good, and full of gin, goblins, tea, and gin.

    Still, I voted for Empire of the Petal Throne, because everyone should have a copy.

  3. cyclopeatron

    B4 is one of the greatest TSR modules in my opinion. I find it quite sad that almost no one talks about what a great adventure this is. Although there’s a lot of great “inspirational” stuff on your list I would predict B4 is the item that would be most likely to actually hit your gaming table – even if it’s just through a few stolen ideas. Also, you can get a used copy of B4 for just a couple bucks on eBay.

  4. Talysman

    GURPS Goblins is actually the best *written* RPG book I’ve ever seen. As in: even if you never use it in an actual game, it’s fun to read.

    There are a couple ideas in it that could be translated into other games. In fact, there’s a “reaction roll for God” mechanic that, now that I think about it, was a big influence on my reaction rolls for weather idea.

  5. Anathemata

    Wow, what a hard choice. While I have never played or even really looked at Microscope, I am told by a friend of mine (whose opinion on RPGs I greatly respect) that it is a brilliant game. Says the said friend of its creator, ‘He’s like Ron Edwards, but not a dick, and a genuine revolutionary.’ But I cannot recommend it personally. The original Dark Sun setting is my hands-down favorite D&D setting ever. If you love Tekumel, then you will find much to embrace on the dying world of Athas. Iron Heroes is one of the most innovative (and to me, useful) d20 products ever if you love low-magic campaigns, or you just want more power in your violence. Others have argued that it is overcomplicated; I find it rather straightforward (for a d20 game). I would run it, warts and all, right out of the box for a full campaign. And the new M. Alpha re-print makes me salivate.

    But in the end, I’ll go with B4, if only for historical reasons (it came before the others). It is one of the only TSR modules that I would consider using without modification at the table for a bunch of noobs or experienced players. Also, I’m thinking of running it very soon! I agree with everything Cyclopeatron pointed out, and suggest you read Grognardia’s review if you haven’t already.


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