Appendix N Again – This Time: Roleplaying Games That Made A Mark

Whew, last week was so exciting – we launched a Beta 008, chock full of improvements, clarifications, and new features. Not only does the Beta include the core rules, it also includes a pre-written introductory adventure for you and your table. You can check out all the details at Breaking News Alert – Let Thrones Beware Playtest 008 is Live. When (not if) you do take a look, I encourage you to drop me a line and tell me what you and your group thought of the game!

 

Appendix N (2)

This week, we return to our discussion of Let Thrones Beware’s Appendix N; a review of some of the inspirations that have helped make Let Thrones Beware the game it is today. Today we’re looking at two roleplaying games that helped to shape development.

 

The New Easy to Master Dungeons and Dragons

That’s the good stuff!

This is where it all started. The New Easy to Master Dungeons and Dragons was an incredibly cool birthday gift I received in the heady days of the late eighties (or was it the early nineties)? Either way ,what it contained was astonishing. Forget the boardgames I knew. This had a map, and rules, but it was so much more sophisticated than the Monopoly and Life boardgames with which I was more familiar.

What has stuck with me for all these years isn’t the first few games I played with friends. No, what I remember most about this is paging through the rules, engrossed in a revolutionary new (for me) kind of game.

What Inspired Me

The thing about this particular D&D kit is that it was expressly designed as an instructional game. I used alongside the rulebook, dice, tokens, and map was something I haven’t seen replicated since. The box also contained Dragon Cards. Dozens of them. These two-sided cards walked new players through the concepts and rules of D&D. One side explained a concept in detail, and the other took you through and actual adventure that put the concept into practice.

I’ve always felt that this approach was a masterful one. Even at a young age I was able to understand the ides behind the game because the concepts were so plainly explained. Much later, I learned that the Dragon Cards were based on an actual educational tool used in classrooms. Who says learning can’t be fun?

I’ve taken to heart the approach used by the cards, and have built/am building a number of adventures which replicate the experience of Zanzer Tem’s Dungeon. Beginning with Rogue in the Woods and finishing with Bells of War, these adventures will explain and introduce you to everything you’ve need to know about playing Let Thrones Beware.

 

Quest for Glory

A graduate of the Famous Adventurer's Correspondence School
Ah, Spielberg!

Where to begin. The absolutely incredible Quest for Glory was the defining game quadrilogy of my childhood. Starting from humble beginnings, this groundbreaking game chronicled the heroism and growth of a graduate of the Famous Adventurer’s Correspondence School. You begin play as a fledgling fighter, wizard, or thief, in Spielberg, a mountain town cut off by an avalanche. As you made friends and righted wrongs, you’d gradually increase in ability. Eventually, sequels took you away from Spielberg. You journeyed Shapier, a city in a faraway desert. From there you travelled to Tarna, hidden away in the jungles. Lastly, you adventured in Mordavia, a decrepit gothic town plagued by the undead.

What Inspired Me

There are a few things I absolutely loved about this series of games. First, there’s an unapologetic goodness to the game. While there are opportunities as a thief to do a little burglary (don’t kick the cat), there’s no question that you are a hero and you exist to help solve problems and come to the aid of those in trouble. Though at first glance many of the monsters – especially in the first game – pose dire threats, creative thinking and thorough exploration reveal that not everything is as it seems. A measured approach can reveal unlikely allies and friends.

The other thing that Quest for Glory really impressed upon me was the idea that heroes of differing ability may approach challenges in distinct ways, no matter which class you’d selected when you started the game, you were equally capable of resolving the obstacles in front of you.

Dungeons and Dragons 4e

“No, really?” is what anyone who’s played Let Thrones Beware will say to the inclusion of this particular RPG on the list. Rather than write about it now, I’m going to come back to this a little later. I’ll spend some time writing about what makes the game tick and you’ve an opportunity to see how everything works.

 

Next Week

Writing about the things that have inspired Let Thrones Beware is a project that could last months! As much fun as that would be, next week I’m going to write about the design decisions behind the game. We’ll begin with the challenge, the fundamental mechanic that underpins the entire game.

 

Try Let Thrones Beware for Yourself

As always, you can download the playtest packet and try it for yourself. Visit drivethrurpg to download the beta and introductory adventure for free.

 

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