Let’s face it, some of the most popular RPGs out there are part of popular franchises. It’s hardly something to complain about. Roleplaying comes out of investment in a story, and a lot of things that hook people is a universe in which they are already immersed. I don’t believe that it is an accident that we’ve written a number of articles that include the Star Wars, Mistborn, and Witcher RPGs, nor that there are numerous iterations of RPGs based off of pop culture phenomena (I am personally aware of Buffy, Firefly and Doctor Who RPGs) as well as my personal experience with GMs use Genesys as a universal system to build games in the Harry Potter and the Stormlight Archive universes. Even for systems that were always games first there is an impressive amount of lore that has been generated over the years in novels, such as the adventures of Drizzt Do’Urden in the Forgotten Realms or Theo Bell in Vampire the Masquerade, and for any players these stories are distinctive part of what they love.
This leads to what I refer to as the “fanfic quandary”. The reason why you pick a work of fiction to base your own story on is that you want to immerse yourself in it, but how do you make your mark on that universe? Players generally want to have agency, want to be the heroes (or villains) of the day, but how do they do so when that work’s main character is the Chosen One.Well, the problem is not unique to RPGs. The aforementioned “fanfic” can get a bad rap, but quite a few have turned out interesting over the years, and as previously mentioned some have been officially licensed novels, so why not take a look at some of the techniques these writers use and see the potential benefits and pitfalls.
If you’re looking for a holiday tabletop roleplaying one-shot we have some ideas for you in the latest round of Pitch Me, from Jewish knights to Christmas changelings to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Lunar Exalt! Then we get a little more serious, talking about corporate commercialization making its way into the hobby, in this episode of Cannibal Halfling Radio!
A monk of the Immaculate Order and a student of Air Dragon Style who sees the Anathema as the true threat. A scheming sorceress who will do anything she can to gain power and put her House’s leader on the throne. A warrior and commander, graduate of the House of Bells, who sees the Realm surrounded by enemies and seeks to bolster the legions against them. A master of Terrestrial Hero Style from a House of mortals, who sees those un-Exalted beings as the foundation the Realm must rest upon. A Dynast of unmatched breeding, a warrior and a socialite, determined to expand her small House with herself in a position of power. Each Meet the Party article gives you an entire group of ready-to-play adventurers (maybe even some heroes) for your gaming needs for a variety of systems and settings. We’re going back to Creation, this time to the Blessed Isle itself, to meet a Sworn Brotherhood of the Dragon-Blooded for Exalted Second Edition!
An unparalleled archer determined to forge a new nation with an army at her back. A priest of the Unconquered Sun who can withstand any blow in his quest to stand against abuses of power. A sorcerer with an insatiable hunger for magical power, worshipped as if he were a god because of his gift. An assassin and master of supernatural martial arts, determined to kill until the Realm has fallen. A fallen member of a fallen house, determined to put an end to the Time of Troubles for the good of all. Each Meet the Party article gives you an entire group of ready-to-play adventurers (maybe even some heroes) for your gaming needs for a variety of systems and settings. This time we’re heading to Creation, where the stakes are high and the power levels even higher, to meet a full Solar Circle for Exalted Second Edition!