Earlier this month I posted a poll here on Swords Against the Outer Dark asking, "of the games listed below, which would YOU choose to power your Sword & Sanity campaign?" I listed twelve games I liked, that I felt would be logical choices, and these were also games I felt I might want to support if the demand was there. It looks like 95 people voted in 20 days, and the results are very interesting. By number of votes, here were the games and the results of the poll:
- Labyrinth Lord - 33% (32 votes)
- Call of Cthulhu (BRP) - 13% (13 votes)
- Basic Fantasy Role-Playing - 11% (11 votes)
- Savage Worlds - 11% (11 votes)
- Barbarians of Lemuria - 9% (9 votes)
- OpenQuest - 6% (6 votes)
- Castles & Crusades - 5% (5 votes)
- Call of Cthulhu (d20) - 4% (4 votes)
- NEMESIS - 2% (2 votes)
- PDQ - 2% (2 votes)
- Grim Tales - 0% (0 votes)
- Mazes & Minotaurs - 0% (0 votes)
Looking over the results here are a few thoughts that come to mind:
Labyrinth Lord - winner by a huge margin! I wonder if the release of the Advanced Edition Companion has anything to do with the love I see LL getting right now? My guess is, HELL YES! I am as excited about this as everyone else seems to be. Rules-lite system, free to download and play, OGL, captures a "true" 1st Edition D&D feel -- what is there not to love? The oracle has spoken, and I must step up my support for Labyrinth Lord even more.
Call of Cthulhu (BRP) - this coming in second place is no big surprise to me at all. I have been asked more times than I can count why I haven't been running/using CoC to back my Sword & Sanity concept. The easiest answer I can give is that I love fantasy roleplaying games, and to truly capture the sword & sorcery flavor I am after I need to use a game that is built for fantasy. At the heart of every fantasy story (or game) is a horror tale. This is just my opinion, but I feel fantasy -at its best- already is infused with elements of horror. Also, and here again this is just my opinion, Call of Cthulhu comes pre-packaged with a lot of preconceived notions. Even before the game begins players knowingly joining in on a CoC game are ready to battle the forces of the Mythos. Using a fantasy roleplaying game leaves a lot more breathing room for storytelling, and allows for "the unknown" to weave its weird magic at the game table.
Basic Fantasy Role-Playing - OK, I must confess that I have never actually played BFRP. I have used a lot of this game for reference material, but I have never used the system itself to power a game. I have never used OSRIC either, but again I have used it for reference. I added BFRP to the list because I was interested to see just how many people were playing it. I am impressed with the fact that it came in third place. Luckily, BFRP is so close to Labyrinth Lord and other retro-clones that anything I release for one will be cross compatible with the other.
Savage Worlds - bottom line, I have playtested SW one time. The use of the cards kind of put me off the game a bit, but I realize that this can be easily house-ruled away. It seems like a decent enough system, and I would be interested in playing more of it, but I just haven't had the opportunity to do so. I added it to the list out of sheer curiosity. Honestly, with the recent release of Realms of Cthulhu I would have guess this would have beat out Basic Fantasy Role-Playing.
Barbarians of Lemuria - yet another game I have little experience with, but added to the list out of curiosity. I have the PDF and pretty much know the rules, but just haven't had a chance to playtest it as of yet. I think it is a very clever system that looks like a great vehicle to run a Sword & Sanity game with, and hopefully I will have an opportunity to play it in the near future.
OpenQuest - this is my favorite RuneQuest/BRP/d100 spin-off game of all time. The problem is that there are too many great games on my shelf and not enough time to play them all. Newt Newport has designed a very slick system, and OQ is a game that deserves a lot more of my time.
Castles & Crusades - I have to say that I am stunned that C&C did not get more votes than it did. Mainly because most of the system specific material I have presented here has been geared toward C&C. I love the system, and have stated so many times in the past, but for whatever reason I have lost a bit of interest. In general, (and this is just something I have observed over time) it seems that C&C is loosing steam with other gamers as well. I could be wrong, but I just don't see the chatter about the game like I used to. I hate to say it, but I fear that Troll Lord Games may have missed the golden opportunity they had two or three years ago to become the go-to-game for the retro D&D community...
Call of Cthulhu (d20) - see the comments I made above for Call of Cthulhu (BRP) and they pretty much apply here...
NEMESIS - this is a badass little game. When it was released a few years back I was very excited about this game, and played it quite a bit. I have a lot of notes on using it for Sword & Sanity, and hopefully one day I will have enough time to clean them up, and post them here.
PDQ - see the comments made for Barbarians of Lemuria, and insert them here...
Grim Tales - the comments I made for Basic Fantasy Role-Playing can be applied to Grim Tales as well. I have used this game extensively as a reference for other games. Unfortunately, I am the only gamer I know who owns a copy of GT, so there just has not been any opportunity to actually play this excellent game.
Mazes & Minotaurs - with the release of Minotaur Quarterly Issue 6: Heroes, Horrors & Hyperborea I felt that M&M had received the perfect toolkit to run a Sword & Sanity game. I still feel this way, and I am a little disappointed that M&M did not receive any votes at all. What a shame...