Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Look at Alternity

This is one of those games I adore, but have never been able to play. I'll buy just about any gaming book that interests me, money willing. I've always loved to read, so to me there's never been a difference between paying for a hardback of some novel or historical book, and paying for a gaming book. As long as I am entertained/educated/enlightened, I got my money's worth. As a result of that I've run into a lot of games over the years that I read but never played. Most of the time I could live with that. I knew going in that my group (when I had such a thing) wasn't going to be swayed from D&D. Still, every once in a while, I did read a game I tried to pitch to them, and when I failed to sway, became sad and a little bitter. This was such.

This is not intended as a review, an overview, or any other view. It is simply me lamenting missed opportunities with what I thought was a great game. In fact, it is the rediscovery of this line that has seen me so absent from the blog this week. Between getting reacquainted and wondering if I should even post something about this game (it is not "old school" except under the most esoteric definition), I discovered that there are quite a few diehards still feeling the Alternity love.

If you've never checked it out, you really should give it a look. There are quick starts and a metric ton of support and resources at Most of the line is available from Amazon. You can get used copies of the two core books, plus one of the campaign settings for less than what one of the books cost at release. If any of you do end up checking it out, I'd be interested in hearing your impressions.


  1. I have some Alternity books, but have only run it once. I'm one of those "counter intuitive" guys you blog about in this entry and the next. I don't hate Alternity, though... I just find the system to be a little clunky. I've enjoyed games with clunky systems before, but I don't think many of the folks I play with these days would have much patience for it.

    I was kind of surprised that some of the people who bagged on it were AD&D fans, though... ability checks, anyone?

    I do find something oddly endearing about Alternity and I'd like to give it another try someday. I'd probably convert the steps to just a flat +/-2 modifier per step, though.

    Oh, and I must say...I love the artwork in Alternity. If nothing else, I'll keep the books because I love their physical presentation.

  2. Yeah, the artwork was very evocative. For a minute it seemed like TSR was really committed to it. It didn't fit with WotC's business model, though. I won't bash the Wizards too much, they did give us the OGL, after all. Still and all, a cleaned-up and tightened-up revision might have really kicked Alternity into high gear. Too bad we'll never know.