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Wild Talents and the One Roll Engine

Watching the season finale of The Flash reminded me of this article I wrote for the Arc Dream blog a few years ago. It was the first in a series of articles detailing power sets for superhero characters built in the Wild Talents system. For a time, I was seriously into ORE. I even started a Google+ community for the system when that functionality first became available. I technically still moderate it, though it doesn't get much traffic and I haven't posted anything to it myself in a long time.

My first full exposure to Wild Talents in particular and the One Roll Engine in general came when I picked up a copy of the Wild Talents Essential Edition on the last day of Gen Con in what must have been 2008.

I had heard about Godlike and the crazy dice system +Greg Stolze had created, but I hadn't read that game, as the realistic World War II setting didn't jump out at me for superpowered gaming. But the Essential Edition was sitting on the corner of a booth across from where my wife was picking up a last-minute purchase just before leaving Indianapolis on Sunday afternoon. And it was half off. And I just happened to have $5 in my pocket. Any gamer knows that spells trouble. I walked out of the convention center with that little black book in my hand, and I read the whole thing on the ride home.

I was impressed with both the innovative dice pool system and the flexible power creation rules. Over the next few years, Arc Dream released the full Wild Talents 2nd Edition rulebook and a series of phenomenal settings to go with it. (Seriously, read The Kerberos Club, This Favored Land, and especially Progenitor.) I picked up nearly everything that was printed for the line.

And other games were developed using the One Roll Engine to different effect than gritty super heroics. A Dirty World is a gem of concise genre emulation. Reign blows up traditional fantasy into a game of factional conflict while still allowing you to trudge through dungeons to finance your mercenary company. And Monsters and Other Childish Things lets you play Calvin and Hobbes if Hobbes were a Lovecraftian horror.

In the end, I've drifted away from the One Roll Engine and Wild Talents, but it holds a warm place in my heart. Sometimes it still calls to me. And one day soon, I may just find myself breaking out the 2nd Edition book and working up a speedster dressed in red.

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