RPGaDay – Day 23 & 24

Coolest looking RPG.  Art isn’t all that important to me in RPG books.  In that I often don’t pay much mind unless the art is crappy enough that it makes me not want to look at the book. 

I while ago I blew up this website trying to make it better and while I was spending time “fixing” it I stopped posting the AG story on Wattpad.  And then I just never started again (yet).  BUT back when I was posting on Wattpad I would tweet out that there was a new story to my zero Twitter followers.  Point being for quite a while I was on twitter almost every day. 

I mostly follow artist on twitter, and a lot of artist tweets are “hey, I’m poor, please pay me money to draw something”.  The other thing I do most days is look at digital RPG products, many of which have either very generic cover art or really crappy cover art.  I thought to myself, this seems like a “problem” that should resolve itself.  For a real book the cover art is not as important I think but for a digital thing that’s going to be a mostly seen as thumbnail online I think some decent cover art would make a big difference. 

BUT maybe it’s not worth it.  In my experience you can get someone to make you some pretty sweet art for $50.  First of all that may be a losing proposition in and of itself.  When you put your product on drivethrurpg for $1.95 how many people buy it?  I have no idea.  The only data I have is from a blog that stopped posting a while ago from a dude who made stuff and put it on drivethru as PWYW.  His average was 60-70 people would grab it for free and maybe one or two would come back and give him a buck.  I’m no economist but even if some good cover art doubles your sales spending 50 to get 4 isn’t a great deal.

Second of all I know nothing about commercial art.  Maybe if you say I’m going to put this on a book and sell that book the artists fee becomes $500.  Or $5,000.  I have no clue.  Actually, now that I say that that’s not true, if I remember correctly the dude who did one of the first Ela drawings, who I believe mostly does children’s book illustrations, said that if I wanted to buy the image for commercial use it would be $1700.  So I have a little clue.

Most complex RPG you play.  I really only play D&D 5th edition these days.  But overall?  It’s kind of a tricky area.  Shadowrun and Pathfinder aren’t really “that” complex inherently, but making a “good” character can get pretty complex.  There’s a little bit of a learning curve but if I was GMing a game with a new group to either of those games it would be fine I think.  Problems with complexity crop up when you mix people like my buddies Ropis, Count Popula & Jimmy Eyeholes who like viewing character creation as solving a math problem with normals. 

It’s not hard to make a workable character in either of those systems and understand how to play them but if you want to keep up with the Count Popula’s of the world and have your character actually be useful you have to know every option in every book and how to smush them all together for maximum synergy.  Which is not fun for most people.  So I get why there are complaints about complexity for those systems.

Shadowrun does have one of my least favorite complications in that the standard combat is – attacker rolls, defender rolls, if it’s a hit attacker rolls damage, defender rolls to absorb damage, and then there’s usually a 5th roll for some kind of effect beyond damage.  That’s too much rolling per action.  God forbid you’re making a magic attack because that adds three more rolls.  And if you summon a spirit to fight for you?  Session over man.

I will always (until dementia) remember a Shadowrun combat that was 3 pcs in a firefight with one dude that took at least 4 hours. 

There have been a few systems that I’ve looked at and said “no way” and set aside.  The most complicated system that I have actually played is probably Hero.   X years ago before I kind of gave up on running RPGs there was nothing I was very excited about running in my giant pile of RPG stuff so I wanted to try a new system.  And the internet was all like “Jeremy, Hero 6th edition is the best RPG ever made!”  So I bought it. 

Good one internet, you tricked me good. 

Sometimes we play rules light games and it’s kind of funny to watch my buddy Ohio Samm-Samm’s brain implode. 

“Okay, I climb halfway up the building and then I jump and do a flip and grab the flagpole and pole vault off the car and slam into the Terminator what will that do?”

“It’s just a standard attack roll for standard damage.”

“Okay, okay, what if I take the machine pistol and link the trigger to my smart gun system and then load that into my cyber-blunderbuss and then I drive my motorcycle at a 30 degree angle concurrent to the release plane and then . . “

“It’s just a normal attack roll for damage.”

“Alright, but what if it . . .”

“It’s all just the same roll, anything you do!  Everything is abstracted in this game!  There are two numbers on your character sheet for god sake!”

“Sure, sure, but what if I . . .”

Simplest game you play.  Probably Dungeon Crawl Classics.  Cypher is the other one that comes to mind but it’s really only the character creation that’s super simple, keeping track of all your abilities is a little complicated.  So probably DCC. 

The games that fall into the sweet spot for me, being not so complicated that it can get annoying but not so simplistic that you lose the “game” aspect are D6 Star Wars, Cortex/Firefly, and Shadowrun Anarchy.  And maybe Cypher but that’s an incomplete grade.  I was just getting a feel for it when we switched things up.  Although maybe the fact that I played it 5-6 times and didn’t have the feel for it disqualifies it from the running. 


  1. Whomever came up with the 23rd question needs a hard punch in the mouth. Different strokes for different folks, some people like an anime style, some like an old-school line drawing, and some like Mork Bjork. If you’re buying TTRPG books because there’s a 1/2 naked warrior woman on the front, whatev, just don’t bank on it being any good.

    DCC can be very complex or very easy, depending on what’s going on – player level, situational spell casting, etc Cypher seems like the easiest rule set for sure, but I think once you get a feel for what you’re character is good at, it’s fine. I think some house rules should probably be used if/when we ever try it again. Awarding experience in game that can also be used in game for re-rolls OR saved to level up have some people NEVER using them for re-rolls. I think the intrusion mechanic XP being ONLY usable for during game play is the best way to do it. Also super easy for the game master, you don’t roll anything!

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