A blog about games, gamers, and various and sundry geek culture-related ephemera and paraphernalia.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Does Anyone Still Play Bureau 13: Stalking the Night Fantastic?

Today, I have another Halloween gift for you: my most recent Bureau 13: Stalking the Night Fantastic character sheet.

This game has probably gotten more play in our game group in the last 25+ years than any other. It's not that it's a particularly brilliant game but it seemed to sit well with all the players and GMs.

I don't imagine there are more than a handful of people who play this once award winning game. It's long-since been surpassed in terms of system design and graphic design, with rules layout and clearness and illustrations that can invoke TSR's original Dungeons and Dragons and Holmes Basic. And a lot of people could never get past the tongue-in-cheek vibe the cover, interior illos, and fluff, or the toolkit-style presentation of the rules. If they had dug a little deeper, though, they'd have found a nifty little game that allows for a lot of character creation flexibility and that can be played completely "straight" - as in: not in a humorous vein - to great effect. My group found that it offered a nice balance between the nihilism and hopelessness of Call of Cthulhu and the "super heroes fight monsters" feel of Beyond the Supernatural.

It also gave us The X-Files and Delta Green over a decade before these were even conceived.

B13 players will notice that some of the stats are missing - that's a result of a house rule that removed combat abilities from character attributes and turned them into skills, where our group generally agreed they belong.

Enough chatter - here's the sheet:

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3 comments:

  1. Huh. I never had a chance to check this out. Having recently considered doing something halfway between BTS and CoC (though with a B/X chassis), this might be something worth picking up first. Do you know if it's still available somewhere in PDF (for sale, I mean)?

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  2. JB - their entire library is available via their website: tritacgames.com. If you do buy one or more of the books from them, start with the 1990/92 edition (with the Phil Foglio cover). That's our go-to edition. The older first and second editions (essentially the same book, just different bindings) are interesting, but not as playable. And the later editions (attempts at D20-ifying the rules) are just a mess.

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  3. @ Chris B:

    As a long-time Foglio fan, there really is no other option.
    ; )

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