My Take On The Dresden Files RPG
When I received my PDF review copy of the Dresden Files I had not read the books. I wasn’t completely clueless on the setting since I had seen the TV show and attempted to start the first book multiple times. I just kept getting distracted. So going through the rule books I had a very basic framework to understand the world from. My wife had at that point read all the books and kept talking about wanting to play the game. This made me wonder if someone who did not completely understand the setting could capture the feel of the Dresden Files world and provide a game to satisfy a true fan. I also wondered if a system like FATE would work well for a group of people who either had not gamed, or only gamed a few times. That was my mindset as I read through the books.
The Dresden Files rulebook surprised me almost from the first page. It was all in character from the perspective of one of the novel characters. Billy the werewolf was writing an RPG for the sole purpose of informing people about the dangers they could face in the world. He is following in the foot steps of Bram Stroker who in the Dresden world wrote his book as a veiled way to spread the methods of killing a specific type of vampire. Harry and Bob the Skull serve as his proofreaders and leave frequently humorous post-it note style comments throughout the book. I found myself drawn into the rulebook like I were reading a novel instead of jumping around like I usually do. This book just had a different feel than other rule set I had seen and it was this feel and the short story written by Jim Butcher that finally drew me into the world enough to give the books another try. It was less about the rules themselves but how they were being presented. I was very short on time and didn’t think I could muster the focus needed for reading a series with so much going on. I can always listen to an audiobook while working though and our local libraries do stock them.
Over the next two weeks I listened to all 12 Dresden Files novels as audiobooks on my ipod. The world was so engrossing that I wanted to jump right to the next book as each one finished and all other podiobooks\podcasts took a backseat. I was also building more and more game ideas from the books. The further I got into them the more I wanted to run not just a one-shot, but a whole campaign. The rules for city building and tying characters together seemed to be the perfect foundation for a strong game and would allow the players to have a big part of the world that is their own creation. I just kept getting more and more excited about the system.
Then disaster struck. Chad got sick with a nasty bug that lasted two week and generously shared it with the rest of us. I caught the sickness and when I finally recovered I passed it on to my wife. The other players we were expecting decided that they didn’t want to game as World of Warcraft was their current priority. I had a few volunteers, but they were not new gamers and the sickness left me dragging and not in the mood to organize a game. With each day the idea of a beginner’s game slipped further and further away.
I approached the Dresden Files RPG from the perspective of using it to change fans of the book into gamers. What happened instead was the opposite. I found a captivating world and the book changed me as a gamer into a fan. I regret to say that as of writing this I have still not actually played the game, and I hope to rectify that someday soon and come back to share my experiences. I can’t say for certain if the system is as new player friendly as I believe it is. I know it was very easy to understand while reading it from a GMs perspective, but I don’t actually know how easy it is to run. What I can say at this point is that for the first time I am a fan of a game system that I have not played and that to me is a very strange concept.
* Atomic Array: Episode 047: Dresden Files, Vol 1: Your Story
* d20 Source: Welcome to The Dresden Files
* Dice Monkey: The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game
* 3.5 Private Sanctuary: PS0 140- Flavour – Backstories
* Emerson’s Bookshelf: City Creation and Cooperative Play
* Gnome Stew: Werewolves and Harpies, oh my!
* Atomic Array: Episode048: Dresden Files, Vol 2: Our World