Sunday, December 11, 2016

The RPG Character Library: Land of Og

Land of Og is one of those games that I was very much into, and very much tried to emulate, in the late '90s and early '00s--the rules-light funny fun time game.

Like most of the games that I acquired back then, I read it, chortled a great deal, and promptly put it away again.  It's definitely one of those games that you need the right night and the right group to play with; though if you have either one or both of those, you might as well just play a more fleshed-out RPG instead.

Land of Og, I just now discovered, was also written by one Aldo Ghiozzi, whose company did (and likely still does) fulfillment for SlugFest Games.  This isn't a really important detail, except that it allows me to show off my nerd cred while at the same time revealing that the games industry is surprisingly small.

The premise of the game is that you play cavemen.  Really stupid and inadequate cavemen.  How stupid and inadequate you say?  Well, your stats are measured on a chart that goes from 3-18, but you mostly only get to roll 1d6 for each of them.  Your "character class" matches one of the attributes and, for that attribute and that attribute only, you get to roll 2d6.

I rolled really well, except for my class attribute.  I was a "Smart" caveman who initially rolled a 3 in Brains.  This seemed like a flaw in the system (or an intrinsic part of the hilarity), so I re-rolled and got an 11.  It means I have a fudged and maxed-out caveman, but it's not like I'm submitting him for tournament play or anything.

One of core tenets of this game is that the cavemen only start out knowing one word (two if you're Smart).  The words that you know can be selected from a very short list provided in the rulebook. Cavemen can learn more words as they go up in level, but can only know a maximum number of words based on their Brains. The cavemen cannot teach words to one another (I think), so much of the game involves the players trying to communicate with grunts and with the words that they know. Words that, I should point out, the other cavemen might not necessarily know.

And yes, one of those words is verisimilitude. I didn't make that up.

There's a surprising bit of crunch for the rules, at least as far as character creation goes. I think this is to streamline play later by having all of your skills and abilities front-loaded and determined by your attributes. The rules suffer, a bit, from a problem that Yours Truly also had when designing games, which I will try to describe in the following paragraph:

If your character profession or species modifies your stats, do you put the profession/species before the stats or afterward? If you put them before, the players will have a better idea of what they can make, allowing them to choose a character concept and build toward it, however they may not have a concept of what the stats do or how they interact otherwise.

I was most confused by the equipment section. Some of the basic equipment is free (like rocks), but most of them costs some variable amount of small animal carcasses.  The game doesn't seem to give players small animal carcasses to start, so I just decided to pick up a rock and call it good.

Now, let's see if I can begin my quest for fire.

Land of Og

Nav the Smart Caveman
Level 1

Damage Adjust
Break Things %
Figure Things Out%
Forget How To%
Max Words
Dice Reduction
Initiative Adjust
Missile Bonus Dice
Melee Bonus Dice
HP Adjustment
Out Cold%
Something Happens%
Save Your Ass%

HP:  6
Base Attack Dice:  1
Hit Number:  1
Exp:  0

Attitude:  Kinda Good

Things I Can Do:  Climbing, Jumping, Running, Build Something

Words I Know:  You, Verisimilitude

Equipment:  Small Rock (Additional Attack Dice +0, Minimum Brains to Use 2, Small Animal Carcass Trade Value 0)

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