Favourite Licensed RPG – RPGaDay 2023

Today’s RPGaDAY question is:

Favourite Licensed RPG

Tough one. There have been some great licensed products over the years.

Marvel Superheroes, from TSR with the much loved FASERIP system, was a solid piece of entertainment for me over many years. We played a bunch of adventures, and I read many more that I never got around to playing.

I have high hopes for the new Marvel Multiverse RPG from Matt Forbeck, given he has a pedigree (from the Marvel Universe RPG) and he’s an all-round nice guy. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on my copy and giving it a thorough read-through. Maybe a chance to play later in the year.

James Bond is a much-loved license that Victory Games held in the 80s. They produced a pile of great box sets that played with the source material so that even if you had read the books or seen the movie, there was still something new to uncover when you took on the role of an agent.

The boxes were always crammed with great handouts in manilla envelopes. I didn’t play this as much as I would like, but again I had a lot of fun reading through them and collected most of the line when Virgin Megastores discounted it in the early 90s!

Star Wars and Star Trek have had a long history in licensed RPGs. One has benefited hugely from the relationship, with aspects of West End Games material colouring the canon of the on-screen universe. Star Trek hasn’t quite had the same relationship – indeed, FASA had a habit of playing too fast and loose with the material sometimes for the taste of the license holder.

But, to pick a favourite, it would have to be Lord of the Rings, and specifically the Middle-Earth Role Playing game from Iron Crown Enterprises. Part of the reason would be the long engagement with the material, playing, reading, and collecting. Long summer campaigns and regular lunchtime sessions at school meant I played many hours in the 80s.

Over time, the license passed to other companies, currently sitting with Sophisticated Games and published by Free League. I haven’t had as much experience with playing, but I was sufficiently impressed with the journey rules that I adapted them to Symbaroum, which also deals with dangerous trips through hazardous wilds.

But, my heart will always be with MERP.

RPGaDay is a prompt-driven experience in tabletop roleplaying, initiated by Dave Chapman of Autocratik and powered by you and me.

The prompts for this year are as follows — and you can find out more on Dave’s website.


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