Wednesday, July 4, 2012

My Few Thoughts on the Cosmic Patrol Quick-Start Rules (from Free RPG Day)

I've been meaning to read the Cosmic Patrol Quick-Start Rules: The Kahn Protocal since I got them shortly after Free RPG Daqy. I have the Cosmic Patrol rules in PDF, and was never able to get myself to sit down and read them straight through. They looked interesting, but I wasn't quite grasping the rules.

I tried reading them this past Saturday after my hell week at work, and fell asleep somewhere on the second page. I blamed that on the week from hell.

Yesterday I took this with me to the town beach on the lake and I just wasn't able to get through it. The rotating narrator idea throws one hell of a wrench in my preconceived notion of what constitutes an RPG, and Cosmic Patrol doesn't fit the definition for me. I have no idea how to run it, or I do, but don't feel it would ever run right that way with folks with mainline RPG experience.

I never finished reading the quickstart of Comic Patrol either.


  1. I think that there is more and more differences between roleplaying games and storytelling games.

    I have not much interest in storytelling games, and using a clearer terminology would be useful for everyone.

    The self-serving distinction that was proposed between narrativist, gamist and simulationnist only muddied the issue, letting what are storytelling games parade as roleplaying games, which they are not.

    Just my 2 cents....

  2. Bhoritz:

    There are a lot of things more in common with the "new school" of gaming and the OSR-style -- first and foremost is player agency. It's disingenuous to dismiss them all as "not roleplaying games" regardless of a potential customer's interest.

    No one is required to enjoy Cosmic Patrol, however it plays just fine with only one person as the Lead Narrator. The characters have understandable skills, there is no hugging required at the play table, and everyone *is* carrying a ray-gun. That they can shoot whenever they want. (Just like taking an axe to the King's guards in OD&D, sometimes shooting it is a bad thing).

  3. Thank God there is no hugging ;)

    Cosmic Patrol still "looks cool" to me, but I can't seem to wrap my head around it - the default rotating narrator threw me for a spin in the core rules, and the quick-start hit me with the same wrench in the works.

  4. Doug, what makes the difference between roleplaying games and storytelling games is the point of view of the player. In a roleplaying game, he plays his character and has access only to choices his character would have. In a storytelling game, the player has access to decision only the scenarist have, meaning that the player is not in character, but outside character. There is a compleat loss of immersion in favor of staging.

    That's a trend that is quite clear in a lot of "new school" games, and no, it is not something in common with OSR.
    I have a fuller explanation here, if you are interested:


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