#RPGaDay 7

Day 7 — Most “Intellectual” RPG Owned

(I’ll be honest, I’m a little uncertain about what the quotation marks are supposed to mean. But anyway.)

The snap response to this question is that all RPGs are, on some level, intellectual. Even the simplest or most seemingly slapstick RPG (I’m looking at you, Toon) is based on the idea of trying to create compelling narrative within a framework of storytelling rules. As such, I think it’s effectively impossible to create an RPG that doesn’t involve some amount of intellectual legwork. Though having said that, the intellectual legwork underlying an RPG can often go seriously wrong. (I’m looking at you, Carcosa.)

If I’m answering the question straight up, though, I’d have to say Middle-earth Role Playing (MERP), even though I don’t own very much of it.

Being built around the wickedly complicated Rolemaster system made MERP a game for thinking people to begin with, and the amount of Tolkienesque detail packed into the game’s setting supplements was insane. I never actually played MERP, partly because I never crossed paths with a group interested in playing it — but partly also because I always got a sense that the amount of time one could spend digging into the details of the setting and the system would quickly consume me.