D&December 2017 – W1D7 – Your Player Character?? Nope, Fave RPG PC Games

DnDecember2017

My current character is named Qen. Since I wrote about him recently, I’ll just refer you to that page. What I’ll write today instead of that summary is this. My favorite RPG PC games.

Why computer? Am I including console games? Nope. And I’ll tell you why. Because you can’t play a good RPG, a REAL RPG, using a D-pad. I’ve said it. I won’t take it back. And if you wanna argue with me, don’t bother. You are wrong, and clearly wrong, yet no amount of proof will ever be acceptable to you. And don’t even get me started on the Mac. 🙂 

Nor will I include MMORPGs. I’ve played most of the popular ones. They can be mildly enjoyable as action games, but not one of them has ever measured up as an RPG with their endless, repetitive fetch this quests and raids. At least not yet.

Neverwinter Nights 2

This is the game that got it all right. Everything. Well, eventually anyway. When it launched it was a mess. It was full of bugs, crashed frequently, and didn’t even come close to the promised features list that had originally been promoted. They got most of it right by the end. The story-line, the characters, the voice acting, the game-play. It was all amazing. And when the Mask of the Betrayer was added, it reached new heights of insane goodness. Even today it is a fantastically enjoyable game that holds up against ANY modern RPG game.

Fallout & Fallout 2

While the sequels have mostly all been great action games, nothing compares to the RPG chops of the original and it’s successor. I remember many fond hours customizing every aspect of my character, then starting again just to try something different. These were perhaps the first games where I really felt like my decisions, both in character creation and in gameplay, actually had an effect on the world around me. 

Baldur’s Gate 2

While not quite as good as Neverwinter Nights 2, BG2 and it’s expansions had fantastic story-lines and great game-play. I have played and replayed this game so many times I’ve lost count. This is the game where I first got to know Minsc. And it has forever stuck with me. “Now Minsc leads! Swords for everyone!”

Knights of the Old Republic 2

The only Star Wars RPG that’s worth playing. Unlike the cookie-cutter crap that Disney puts out today, it has an actual story and actions actually have an effect on the game. Especially when you add the Sith Lords Restored mod, this game is endlessly fun and re-playable.

The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind & Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion

These are the two shining stars of the Elder Scrolls series. Skyrim is fun to play, don’t get me wrong, but I think it lost a lot of the flavor and feel of III and IV. I think Oblivion is the first game I came across where I just got on my horse and just rode and rode. The graphics were amazing for their time and the stories for both III and IV felt compelling and constantly drove me onward. That was lost with Skyrim.

Pool of Radiance

There were two games that kept my interest in D&D alive during the late 80’s & early 90’s. The first is this game. I played this game so much I wore out the floppy disk and had to buy the game again. This was the game made me learn how to use DOS extenders, memory managers and boot discs for our 286 PC, later 386 PCs. 

Death Knights of Krynn

This was the second game that kept my D&D love alive. I had been a fan of the Krynn setting since reading the first Dragonlance novel. Being able to play in that world on my PC as a Solamnic Knight or a mage of the white or red robes was just amazing. While I also loved this games’ predecessor, Champions of Krynn, this one always seemed more fun to me.

DragonAge: Origins & DragonAge: Inquisition

Pretty much every DragonAge game is well done. Great, compelling stories. Fantastic combat. The feeling that what you do matters, especially in your character interactions with your companions. I wish, however, they were more open world. All too often they have a very railroad feel to them.

 

There you have it. My favorite REAL RPG games of all time. Yeah, a lot of games have RPG aspects to them, but just because your game has different scores for strength and dexterity and you can customize their clothes or armor, doesn’t make that game and RPG. 

Character Portrait – Qen

Qen - Mini by Chris Fry
Qen
Qen – Source: HeroLab

The mini above is Qen. Painted and assembled by Chris Fry. Thanks Chris!

I’ll start with my current character because he’s the freshest in my memory. A year or two ago, we decided to move our ongoing campaign from Faerun to Golarion. The current arc is based in the deserts of Osirion, running through the Mummy’s Mask and related modules. 

Qen is a Suli cleric of Ra, the old god of law and justice. He’s descended from the djinn mistress of an ancient pharaoh of Osirion. Which one exactly his mother has declined to share with him. Qen rather believes the true identity has long been lost to passage of time.

His ancestors have always been loyal and faithful to the old gods, worshiping as they may in secret and dismissing the current pantheons as pretenders and usurpers. Once Qen completed his training, after many days of meditation in the desert, he came to the belief that it was time to restore the faith of the lost gods.

Leaving behind his mother and sisters in Sothis, he followed the guidance of Ra. Soon he found himself in the city of Wati, at the crook of the Asp and Sphinx rivers. There he began teaching among the poor and destitute of that ancient city. While his upbringing among the merchant classes of Sothis would be termed middle class, he holds no wealth himself.

In Wati, he quickly learned to despise those of the wealthy classes. He saw them abandoning their moral obligations to aid those in need in favor of their own comfortable lifestyles and protections. He began to lay plans for the eventual overthrow of that city’s corrupt government, beginning with bringing organization to the street gangs of the docks district.

While he gathered some followers to the true faith, there came a day which changed his path. It was announced that the pretender pharaoh was opening the walls ancient burial grounds of the Necropolis to adventurers. Seeing an opportunity to possibly find ancient relics of the true gods, Qen joined himself to a band of adventurers and went with them into the Necropolis. During those forays into the Necropolis, the band found a mask that held a part of the soul of an ancient ruler called the Sky Pharaoh. Thus began the adventures that have brought him to where he is now. 

From Wati, the adventurers were led to Tephu. There they spent many a day wandering and studying within the ancient libraries of that city. And from there, they set out for Ipec and the deserts beyond. The party is pursued by a band of cultists seeking to restore the Sky Pharaoh to life and rule. Currently, the band is wandering the sands of the Parched Dunes. They seek the secrets needed to lay the spirit of the Sky Pharaoh to rest once and for all. 

Qen firmly follows the path of Ra, being a lawful neutral cleric that epitomizes everything the true faith of Ra stands for, especially the rule of justice and order. While he accepts the flaws of his companions, he has no compunction about turning one of them over to the proper authorities should their actions warrant arrest. 

Everywhere he has gone, Qen has left behind a few souls brought to true enlightenment. Qen seeks not gain for himself. Much of his earned treasure has gone to building up the true faith and bringing justice to all. He looks forward to the day when the pharaoh of Osirion is brought back to the true gods. Failing that, he has no problem with replacing the pharaoh with a true believer.