Which RPGs hold special value for you because of something other than the game itself?

I have special feelings for my copy of Alternity’s Dark*Matter for its visual direction and the way it showed me that games didn’t have to be about buff dudes with swords or vampires and werewolves. I also love my copies of white cover Tenra Bansho Zero that I received for helping Andy during his work to localize it. It reminds me of the good times we spent together.

I’m sure there are more, I’ll have to look them up when I’m at home and not at work.

How about you? What books (or digital games) hold meaning for you? What stories or moments do they remind you of?


Like you and Tenra, Mark, I have a deep fondness for non-English games I helped bring to an English-speaking audience, like Montsegur: 1244 and The Beast. Good memories are inexorably tied up with the physical objects.


For me, it’s The Shab-al-Hiri Roach. I don’t have a strong desire to play it anymore, but I distinctly remember seeing it on the game store shelf, and the sense of mystery and possibility that welled up in me. It was such a weird, almost DIY-looking thing, especially tucked next to big, glossy Pathfinder books. I bought it and read it, and it felt like a whole world of ttrpg possibilities opened up for me. I was enthralled by the idea of indie ttrpgs that were about something other than fantasy adventurers or robots. And, importantly, it looked like something I could do. The very concept of publishing games felt less mysterious.

Fast forward to 2019, and here we are!


Similar to Jason’s post above, for me it is Swords Without Master.

I played D&D as a young teen and then had no affiliation or interest in tabletop roleplaying games for nearly 20 years afterwards. Then I stumbled upon this article.

So I bought a copy of Worlds without Master issue 3 and read the rules for SwM and still had no clue how to play the game. This led to YouTube searches and eventually to G+ where I managed to get into a couple of sessions run by Eppy. I was hooked and soon after I discovered the other communities on G+ supporting indie TTRPG’s (including the Gauntlet).

Thus my descent into our world of imagination was spurred by a random article that popped into my Iphone feed one day. Swords Without Master was my gateway game to being here today.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness. It’s a rubbish game but I had a lot of fun running it back in the day all the same.


Fiasco reminds me of my friend Karen’s wedding, where I first played it and heard about Camp Nerdly.

My love that of that game has little enough to do with the mechanics or the playset (fantasy adventurers after the loot, which turned into romance plots hooray), but about the connections and community that it lead me to because one guy thought playing Fiasco at a reception was a really good idea.


Strangely mine would probably be TMNT as well, though for different reasons. Mostly it reminds me of an older kid who I hung out with when I was younger. He introduced me to non-TSR games and to The Sandman comics and his family became a surrogate family of sorts for me for a couple hard years. Sadly I have had zero luck ever getting back in touch with him…


Mage the Ascension. It’s my white whale.

Have played it a few times, the system is clunky, but I love the concepts, while its in one sense easy to relate to since its earth-now, its also hard because you need to grasp what spheres to use and at what rank in order to fully utilise the magic system.

The scope of the premise is huge, so there’s plenty of room to narrow down your series situation.


Yes!! I never ran or played it - but I read through the book heaps of times… major nostalgia.


Marvel Heroic came along at the right time in my life and for the couple of years it was out in the world it was the gateway to exactly the flavor of comics role-playing I had been looking for my entire life but always fell short of. I have at least as vivid memories of the plot lines in those sessions as I do for any of the comics I read through the years. That game getting axed was bar-none the most traumatic pop culture cancellation I’ve ever experienced. It’s a masterpiece of genre emulation.


I can’t play Fiasco as an RPG anymore because I turned it into an improv long form with my troupe. It became our main form and the back end of most of our shows. I love it but it’s no longer an RPG for me.

Blades in the Dark was a game I ran a few limited shots of but, for me, it’ll always be the game I ran when I directed She Kills Monsters. The audience came in and I was on stage with 4 of the actors, running the game. Ours was goofy and hectic and high-energy and that entire cast and show were really special. I kind of want to go back to running it but, in a way, it would feel like I was chasing something that was pretty singular (even though I wouldn’t normally want to run it the way we did it before the show).


Decipher’s Lord of the Rings RPG. This goes back to teenage me, around when Fellowship of the Ring was coming out. I was in a Borders bookstore, and they had all sorts of LOTR merchandise out. So I picked up this book emblazoned with Sauron’s gauntlet bearing The One Ring. A “roleplaying game”? What was this?

My word. It’s a game where you play characters, and they have numbers and stuff (there were multiple levels of Health with different descriptors, I remember that specifically being fascinating to my younger self)…but you get to say whatever they do. You play the game, but you actually get to just…do whatever you want, instead of predefined routes? Whoa.

I didn’t buy the game. I’ve never played the game. But that’s where it all started.


Savage Worlds. I came to it after long years of DnD 3.5 and was blown away. The community and the hacks of the rules showed me for the first time that it wasn’t that impossible to do your own thing. It was my start into hacking rules and writing my own games.


@BlakeRyan Let me tell you about a LARP that I participated in called Epiphany.

This was a weekend long larp run in a farmhouse outside of Austin. The setup was this: The Event is an awakening across traditions. Each player plays a mage, either going through an Awakening or a Mentor. The system was entirely consensual, with advanced magick going on in the black box theater.

The characters were intentionally thin, almost ourselves. We discussed philosophy, the nature of reality, consent, the various traditions, and all the rest.

It was by far the best Mage game I ever got to play, and it wasn’t a Mage game at all.


For me it is Planescape. I wrote a long post about this several years back, but here’s the story. We have a pretty tight f2f group, with several of us having played together since the late 1980s. Barry was a main fixture of that group-- a cheerful, artistic, and weirdly outgoing guy. He was one of the few people in our group besides myself who actively searched out and read new games. Everyone else stuck with trad or just picked up supplements for old games.

In 2005 we wrapped up a big, multi-year Fantasy GURPS campaign. In the final session, Barry’s character sacrificed himself to shut a demon gate. He threw himself in to contain the magics and vanished into the void. It was awesome and wondrous. To decompress after that we did a few sessions of a M&M campaign that went pretty well. Then during the Xmas holidays Barry died. He wanted to make some extra cash and so he was bouncing at a local club. He helped break up a fight and then his heart gave out. It was a combination of genetic condition and not great eating habits. His brother would pass the same way several years later.

It hit us hard, and I’m not sure his best friend Kenny ever fully recovered. But we kept playing games, despite the challenge. Then I ran a Planescape campaign, my one and only D&D 3 game. I used The Black Company as an inspiration and our characters commanded a group of sellswords on the planes, based in Sigil. Kenny’s character came from the world of the Fantasy GURPS campaign and his backstory involved searching for Barry’s lost character. In the course of play, the group found him, saved him, and brought him back. It was weird, but it gave a certain closure to the loss for me and saved a character we’d strongly associated with him.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot this week with the passing of Paul. Until someone’s gone from a group, you don’t realize everything they bring: how they changed the dynamic, what stories they pushed for, and how much you enjoyed playing with them.

So yeah, Planescape.


Blue Rose.

I bought the age books as they came, and although the mechanics are not my jam the setting, and it’s desire for inclusivity and focus on personal narratives is something I can only love.
I’ve pretty much taken the sexuality, gender and love parts of that book, and added them to every fantasy setting I’ve run since.

Plus, my Blue Rose Dungeon World game is how I first came across a Gauntleteer in-game, so I count it as my first gauntlet experience. :grin:


For me it is probably Wraith: the Oblivion. I have had clinical depression since I was 14 and RPGs were one of the few things that dug me out of that in general or gave me a mental exercise to focus on. Hormonal changes of puberty and depression aren’t good bed partners after all.

I started TTRPGs with Vampire: the Masquerade and “graduated” to the adults table at 13. Then, at 14, after being diagnosed with depression, I got Wraith. Most of it in fact since it had just been discontinued. I read through this world, learning of how the ghosts see the world was much like how it felt to me: Grey, lifeless, without purpose. That ever Wraith had a Shadow, a conglomeration of their negative traits trying to push them to destruction. It was oddly liberating and as I learned through meditation and medication to separate the "depressive: voice from my own thoughts I have only ever thought of my depressive thoughts as a Shadow.

What else sticks with me was the tie to the mortal world Wraiths had, these temporary bursts of pure emotion which allowed them to experience what it was to be alive again. They had mechanical ways to induce these, of course, but with reactions to songs, movies, and games I can really empathize with that game.

I have a Sigil Emerald tattoo on my right hand, a memory of the world of Wraith: the Oblivion and how much it means to me. To this day I think it is the only complete WW collection I have.


'Toon was a beacon of pure fun in my old school world of “serious” roleplaying games. Still laughing at the failed intelligence check to be able to run across a chasm without dropping into it.
It was wild, it was short, it was no campaign, it was silly and soooo much fun.



It was the game that taught me about using an RPG for political satire, how character death can be a desired outcome in a game, and that gallows humor is a perfectly acceptable reaction when things go pear-shaped.

“Stay alert! Trust no one! Keep your laser handy!”


Champions (which I would never play again but I gamed extensively with in my teens and can not get rid of). Same for all of my World of Darkness, Conan 3.5, Space 1889, AD&D2nd Ed plus accompanying setting boxed and WEG Star Wars.

I can never seem to get rid of games with the great sentimental value of wonderful stories and times spent with friends.