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Table-top gaming is no nerdier than waiting two days in the cold for a PS3, raiding for 'phat lootz', or 'teabagging' a foe in Halo 2.

Methinks the Ziff folk doth protest too much. ;)

Mark Strecker

I think the ideal game for you (from the vast catalogs of published RPGs, of course) would be Castle Falkenstein.


The game is set towards the end of the 19th century in a world where nearly all of the literature of that time is true. Not only is Jules Verne the French Minister of Defense - Captain Nemo is terrorizing the coasts. Sherlock Holmes is solving cases, and the young novelist Arthur Conan Doyle is instead a journalist tracking the sensational detective.

One of the most interesting things about the game, in my opinion, is that it eschews the usual trappings of RPGs. There are no character sheets, there are instead character diaries. No, statistics, but descriptions of your character. You might be remarkable in ettiquette, but a very poor fencer.

The character diary also allows more freedom to the players - who are encouraged to handle downtime events in their journals. Want to equip your character? Write up a shopping list in your journal and show it to the GM later, if he challenges you. Need to say goodbye to your sisters before you cross the channel? A short description is all that's necessary.

Unfortunately I only had the chance to play a few sessions before the campaign broke up. But it's been sitting on my shelf ever since, awaiting the right combination of time and players.

Jens Alfke

There's also Universalis, "The Game Of Infinite Stories":


I've got the rulebook, but have never actually played. It's more of a collaborative storytelling system with RPG elements: the players can shift perspective between characters, and take turns leading the story. You have to spend tokens (poker chips) to affect the story -- to add a plot twist, create scenery, introduce characters -- so no player can dominate too much. It all sounds really neat.


Mark - awesome that you mention Castle Falkenstein, as I just came across that recently while researching steampunk games. It does seem to have the narrative flexibility I'm looking for... and the no dice thing is pretty interesting! I'll definitely give it a try.


A paladin with a ranged weapon...?

And I dunno about Novato, but running through the woods in Malibu on a moonless night through waist-high grass buried in fog, wearing chainmail and wielding a huge PVC sword, knowing that there are baddies lurking about (in elaborate undead costumes)... that's pretty fun. ;)

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