While cruising around Facebook earlier, I stumbled upon a discussion about sympathetic villains focusing on Mind Flayers. One party believed the newest writings on them found within The Monster Manual, and expanded further in Volo’s Guide to Monsters, presented them as beings we should feel sorry for, tragic heroes, thus compromising their villainous nature. The argument on the opposite side was that sympathy for the creatures is necessary as it deepens the narrative. And, as I often do, my hat was thrown into the ring. Here’s the thing: while having sympathy for a villain can be an important narrative tool, it’s not required to have a deep and meaningful, character driven narrative.
Role Playing is a game where we all become equals around the table. Race, gender, sex, political alignment, religious beliefs and any other personal identifiers have the opportunity to be rendered moot (let's face it, people get side tracked and talk about whatever they want at the table; additionally, people of diametrically opposed ideals have a hard time being cordial these days). However, the random experience of individuals in real life is a hard thing to manage in a fictional character, or series of characters — not to mention it sucks when everyone else at the table is amazing and can kill swaths of goblins while you die after tripping on a stone. In order to make things more even for everyone, a way to track character progression and make story encounters equal are usually included in game systems. As great as this effort is, I take a fairly different stance: "play balance" is an illusion. Allow me to explain in two parts. The first thing I'd like to address is "play balance" by way of encounters.
As in, "Be aware! There are new miniatures for your tables available!" and not "This is only mildly alarming, or whatever."
So we've been getting in a TON of stuff lately from Kickstarters, deals, and amazing publishers giving us products and decided it was high time we started posting reviews.
"But wait, wasn't Retro Roleplaying supposed to be a way to review games?"
Yes. Yes, it is. However, we only review games on R&R, and don't really get a chance to talk about other things for your game table. Additionally, Those videos generally end up being three hours of struggling through games only to get to a more comprehensive review at the end. While we still feel this format is beneficial, as viewers are able to see the system in action as well as where there may be hang ups during play, we recognize its hard to sit through a whole session.
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Niklas has been a dreamer for many years and has recently decided to join with long term his associate, James Curwen, to bring their dreams of cheap, fun games to the masses.
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