First RPG Bought – RPGaDay 2023

The original question was:

First RPG Bought (this year)

And that’s a complicated old question, right?

The key issue that spirals out of this one is that I have played none of these games yet. Not for want of trying, but it hasn’t happened. I like to pick up new games, especially those that skip beyond my comfort zone as a gamer for one reason or another, but then finding the chance to play often evades me.

There are three answers:

  • First PDF: Paranormal, Inc.
  • First Physical Purchase: John Carter of Mars
  • First Secondhand Purchase: Jiangshi: Blood in the Banquet Hall

Paranormal, Inc. was a PDF pick-up with the intent to run it at one of the first events of the year, Revelation. Revelation is a Powered by the Apocalypse focussed event, and Paranormal, Inc. was just adjacent enough for me to be running it twice.

(Or did I buy it for another convention? Hmm. Let’s pretend it was definitely Revelation…)

Carved off from Brindlewood Bay, it’s a mystery investigation game with strong overtones of Ghostbusters International – the whole notion of taking your spook hunting solidly into franchise territory. While a couple of big players have taken the bulk of the supernatural investigation business, you’re one of the smaller outfits with something to prove.

It has a strong storytelling vibe with the players heavily in control, and the game’s events are influenced by random pulls from a deck of cards.

John Carter of Mars was a completionist pick-up because I have never really gotten along with the 2d20 system, but the stripped-down version herein worked for me when I ran it as a Quickstart.

I enjoy a solid bit of pulp, and the combat-orientated 2d20 system in this setup makes me feel comfortable enough that I might manage to run it. Or not.

While I’ve linked to the PDF version, Modiphius do occasionally have a sale or special offers. In January 2023, the sale meant that a lot of these books and dice were going for a quarter of the normal cover price.

Jiangshi: Blood in the Banquet Hall fascinated me in concept and presentation. The game comes in a weighty box with fantastic art on the cover. It was in the Bring and Buy section at Con-tingency for half price compared with the original Kickstarter pledge levels.

I like the idea of a storytelling game about an ordinary Chinese family who, as the blurb says, face threats of jiangshi (hopping vampires) at night and racism by day. I will definitely get this to the table at some point because the box alone is gorgeous and I want to do more than have it lurking on my Shelves of Shame!

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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