Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Discussion: The Best Reads In RPGs?

Well, the last vestiges of summer have gone, and we are left with an increasingly chilly fall ahead of us! Time to grab some cider, find a warm spot near the fireplace, and do some reading.

And that leads us to the topic of today’s Friday Discussion (a proud, time-honored tradition here at RPG Blog 2):

What RPG or RPG Product Is The Most Fun To Read? I’m talking about sitting down and reading through—which one is the most entertaining or interesting to you as far as pure reading goes, and why?

For me, reading the Rifts World Books and items like the Greyhawk Gazetteer appeal immensely because of their setting descriptions and background information. I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts.

Have a great weekend, and if you haven’t done so already, why not treat yourself to one of our awesome thank-you discounts? Only 1 week left on many of these deals!

27 comments:

Gleichman said...

Can I put a vote in for 'none'?

Real books are better, although a gaming book is a lighter and quicker read for the most part. Good for the bathroom...

rologutwein said...

One of my favorite RPG reads was from the Gazetteer series they put out for D&D—Namely Gazetteer 1: The Grand Duchy of Karameikos. I mean, I loved the Greyhawk worldbook, with its descriptions of the various nations, but here we had an in-depth (and to me very interesting) look at a single realm, detailing all sorts of things, from geography, to politics to some great NPCs—all of which relate back to my earliest days of gaming (which no doubt is one of the reasons I love it so much). To me, this book set the standard for what a 'worldbook' should be. Enough information to be satisfying, but with enough room and starter ideas to expand upon with my own imagination. Long live Duke Stephan!

Victor Raymond said...

Okay, so I know that might be far afield, but "Yellow Clearance Blak Box Blues" by John M. Ford, for Paranoia just might be the funniest read in role-playing games. I'm not sure it would be as funny to play - but reading it is a side-splitter, definitely.

Tyler said...

Unknown Armies is a blast to read, as are Ken Hite's Suppressed Transmission collections.

PatrickWR said...

I love flipping open any of the Dark Heresy RPG books from Fantasy Flight—they're just full of great, evocative sci-fi elements.

Jason Richards said...

I always enjoyed picking up and flipping through any of my WEG Star Wars books. I suppose it's just the source material that I love, so it makes diving in deeper a more satisfying experience.

HinterWelt said...

I am with you Zach on the Rifts stuff although I have to say that i prefer the MERPs supplements. Some are awesome while others...not so much but on the average, excellent reading.

David said...

Threats from Beyond for the Alternity system Star*Drive setting. It's basically a book of news items and adventure ideas. Great stuff to add to any sci-fi space opera game.

Matt said...

Gygax's DM's Guide can be quite engrossing. 30 years later and I still come across things in there I hadn't noticed before.

Matthew said...

Nobilis was a great read, actually. I never did play it- but I read it multiple times, just soaking in the crazy psychedelic animism of it all.

And Paranoia, of course, has always been a favorite for, well, leaving on the tank of the toilet. Fun to pick up and read. It's not only a game, it's a perfectly readable satire of every other role playing book. I'm most familiar with the Mongoose version/XP, which has made me laugh out loud even well after the first reading.

Anonymous said...

There was a game called "HOL" (for "Human Occupied Landfill"); a humorous science-fiction rpg in which the characters are trying to survive on a planet which is used as a refuse dump by the evil, uncaring galactic federation. Screamingly funny.

Tyson J. Hayes said...

Anything by Privateer Press. Their Iron Kingdoms books are excellent reads. I've read all of them cover to cover. Their Warmachine books not only introduce new units and rules but delve into the "story thus far..." and advance it further. All of them are great reads.

da Trux said...

i like Twilight 2000 2nd edition's rule book. the fluff is brilliant and it is just chock full of information.

i also like Bill Coffin's books for Palladium; namely the Land of the Damned books and Northern Hinterlands.

also, Erick Wujcik's After the Bomb series was always fun to just read through.

lately, i've been looking through ADnD 2nd edition Barbarian, Druid, and Ranger's handbooks. i've been using them for inspiration and ideas for a game/campaign i'm writing. for the most part, they are pretty neat, but the text is dry (even the fluff) and it just makes me remember why i never liked DnD. it leaves very little to the imagination

Alan said...

Delta Green and Delta Green: Countdown from Pagan Publishing for the Call of Cthulhu RPG are spectacular to read, and wonderful to use in play.

As others have said, WEG's Paranoia rulebook and modules are pure gold.

Hungry said...

Paranoia is the top of my list for enjoyable RPG reads. The best stuff is from Costikyan and Ford.

Alex Schroeder said...

I'm Gleichman: I have never read any ROG book cover to cover. I much prefer reading a novel.

Tim Shorts said...

The 1st edition DMG is one of those magical tomes that even now, so many years later I still find things in it I don't remember reading. But my favorite products to read were always the CityBooks put out by Flying Buffalo.

kelvingreen said...

It's monster books for me. It doesn't really matter which one, as they're all pretty much the same (except the 4e Monster Manual), though if pressed on a favourite, it would probably be Out of the Pit. They have all the fun of reading an encyclopaedia (that's not just me, right?), but with the added bonus of being pieces about cool monsters, rather than boring old facts. ;)

Talysman said...

I'm mostly with Gleichman and Kelvin. RPG books are usually pretty badly written, as far as entertainment value goes. Monster manuals or the equivalent are sometimes the exception, but even there only in excerpts.

The one honest-to-Grid exception: GURPS Goblins. It's an unusually funny and fun book. The old Teenagers From Outer Space game almost got this right, too.

Questing GM said...

I find the Volo's guide series to be very enjoyable from a DM and reader standpoint.

It reveals so much details about a fictional world that it gets my mind brewing.

Norman Harman said...

Rifts books, me also. I totally got into the whole ongoing Tolkeen/Coalition? war thing.

ICE MERP stuff. The books, but really the maps. Lordy those maps are awesome to pour over.

Ars Magica and Harn for the vague realism and totally different style/atmosphere.

I'll second the FB CityBooks.

Lately Fight On! magazine has been the best RPG reading ever. So much cool cramed in there. Not so good for reading through though as it keeps making jump up and work on my maps/dungeons/campaigns!

Barking Alien said...

Castle Falkenstein by R. Talsorian Games. It is essentially a storybook with role playing game rules attached.

Also from R. Talsorian, Teenagers from Outer Space. Wacky, campy and super fun.

Badelaire said...

I will second Delta Green. This really is one of the best-written RPG books I've ever read.

And although it isn't an RPG, the Warhammer 40K main rulebook and its codices are always a great read from a fluff/setting perspective.

DNAphil said...

From this year...I would have to say that Bloodstained Stars, for Burning Empires was excellent to read. Burning Empires, itself was an excellent read.

For setting, I think the D&D Eberron books were very good, as well as the books for Corporation.

I was also a big fan of the Underground rule books.

L. Beau said...

AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide - the flowering of High Gygaxian prose. Yes, I realize that Gary's writing wasn't for everyone, but what other book was going to send the ten-year-old me to the dictionary to find the meaning of words like "squamous", "avaricious", "mutable" and "doxy"? The only possibilities that spring immediately to mind are H.P. Lovecraft, whose work wasn't really to my taste, or Jack Vance, a writer whom I discovered several years later, and then with the help of the DMG's valuable appendix N.

Avatar said...

Certainly the Paranoia is one of the most funniest RPG books to read. But, there are several of titles created by White Wolf that also gives a good reading.
The clan and tribe books are just amazing...

Andreas Davour said...

Unknown Armies is indeed readable. Greg Stoltze is actually a really good writer.