Saturday, October 20, 2012

Dragon Storm RPG -- when did I play that?

I found this curiosity amid my index cards for my First Greyhawk Campaign:

It isn't D&D, although it at first seems similar to D&D. I had the impression that it was from some kind of RPG, but more of a story-based card game. Yet, I only have a vague recollection of playing it--if I played it at all. And I'm not sure when. If so, they why did I write down this "character sheet?"

I googled some of the terminology and discovered that my impressions were right. It is a card-based RPG called Dragon Storm, designed by Susan Van Camp, and published by Black Dragon Press. The game has been around six 1996. And apparently it got a second edition in 2011. Van Camp said that after the initial boom of the late 1990s, the game became more of a cottage industry. It flew underneath my radar all of these years.

The premise of Dragon Storm is this: The characters are the descendants of dragons who the Necromancers killed off 200 years ago to conquer the realm of Grandilar. Each character has shape shifting powers and abilities tied to his or her dragonblood, which are used to fight against the Necromancers.

What intrigues me is that it tries to combine the best traits of a collectible card game and a table-top RPG. TSR had tried this with Dragonlance SAGA rules, which flopped. Dragon Storm, according to mixed reviews, both succeeded and failed. The creators succeeded in creating a CCG-based RPG that was fun, but failed in keeping players. It's a familiar story: the game was fun, but suffered from power creep and the company or its RPGA-like marketing arm (in this case the Stormriders Guild) started restricting old cards. I'll let you read the reviews themselves for the details. I'll take the first review with a grain of salt, given that the reviewer said that he'd gotten a raw deal from Black Dragon Press and the Stormriders Guild.

I still don't know whether or not I actually played the game. I might have played it once, probably more than 12 years ago, during a time when I was looking for different and more story-based RPGs to play. This would have been near the turn of the millennium, during Dragon Storm's heyday.

Yet knowing myself, I would have been turned off with the prospect of having to buy more cards to get a better character. It's one prospect of what turned me off to Magic: The Gathering. I didn't (and still don't) want to buy more cards, master a set of rules, only to have a year or two down the road have to do it all over again. But that's how collectible card games stay in business.

But Dragon Storm isn't a typical collectible card game. Maybe that's why I must have shown at least some interest in it all those years ago. I just don't remember playing it at all. 


Have you played or encountered Dragon Storm? If so, could you share some of your own experiences about the game?

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