Tuesday, December 20, 2022

My Grail RPG

Board game hobbyists are sometimes known to speak of their “grail game.” This is that one game that they would love to have in their collection that is either too expensive to obtain, or perhaps nearly impossible to find. Like the Holy Grail of lore, the game has become the object of a quest that can sometimes span years. It occurred to me that I don’t often (or indeed have I ever) heard an RPG gamer speak about their “grail RPG.” Is it that we RPG grognards (such as we are) simply never get rid of anything?

A project that has my recent focus, and one that I have fiddled with on and off for years is an implementation of the SAGA game rules introduced by TSR back in 1996. I’ve perceived the card deck component (called: the deck of fate) as a weakness (which indeed it is, more on that in a moment) and have tried to construct a method that would allow the SAGA rules to work as well with a standard deck of playing cards. This has had me thinking about and reviewing the SAGA rules a lot lately.

I have all of the rules from the Marvel Super Heroes Adventure Game that was published in 1998. This game is an overlooked gem of game design. It uses the SAGA system and is the game that I have been focused on as I work to create a rules set free of reliance on the Fate Deck and on the Marvel Super Hero IP. But the Marvel Game isn’t the only game that used the SAGA system. The system originated in 1996 with DragonLance: Fifth Age. I used to have all of (or most of) the products from this line as well. I currently have none of it.

Somewhere along the way, all of the DragonLance: Fifth Age materials that I possessed were lost. This stuff is not cheap to replace. However, thanks to the persistence of old-school gamers like myself, old games are never forgotten and are constantly being reborn. This has created the movement known as the “Old School Renaissance” and thanks to it, Wizards of the Coast has made a huge catalog of classic RPG publications available in PDF format. Most of the DragonLance: Fifth Age library is among them. But, the Fate Deck - the cards needed to play the game are not available. They are nowhere to be found. (See? Weakness!)

So, for me - DragonLance: Fifth Age is my grail RPG. It’s the game system that I would love to see returned to my game shelves probably more than any other.

What about you? Do you have a “Grail RPG?” Leave a comment or join the discussion on my Facebook Group. I'd love to hear from you!

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