At the risk of sounding like a broken record I might have said have said Monte Cook Games, because of Numenera, but that was until recently. As great as they are, they are’t EU friendly, especially on their Kickstarters and that bothers me as an EU resident. Unfortunately for me, the postage on Monte Cook Games items is just far too high, doubling the cost of a book and there isn’t a reasonable alternative that makes me willing to endorse them.
That leaves me in a bit of a bind, the only other companies I buy from with any regularity are Catalyst for Shadowrun and Fantasy Flight Games for the 40k rpgs and I haven’t bought from them in some time. I can’t say Catalyst are my favourite RPG publisher, their editing process is too lax and the quality of the writing is too varied for me to feel the need to rush out and buy their ware, which would be the best sign of them being my top publisher.
So, in line with the general theme of this blog, I think I’m going to have to go with something a little more old school and pick TSR. It’s not an original choice and, I’ll be honest, they did put out a whole load of weak products but, at the end of the day, they did some fantastic things as well.
Just to break it down why TSR are my favourite RPG publisher, well, first, they created Dragonlance, my absolute number 1 game world of all time. I’ve been reading Dragonlance for 25 years and if there is any one thing that really spurred me to get into the world of gaming it’s Dragonlance. As a kid I wanted to play through the Chronicles with mu own characters and, 25 years later, I’m still re-reading the novels and I’m preparing for a Dragonlance Campaign in 5th edition.
Second, and it’s weird that this is second, but they were the company that produced D&D, my absolute number 1 game of all time. It’s a bit cliche now to say that about D&D, most people think that they have moved on from D&D to other games and left it behind but, for me, nothing compares to good D&D, be it a long story based campaign or some good old fashioned dungeon crawling.
Above and beyond Dragonlance TSR are responsible for a couple of my other favourite settings of all time, being the amazing Planescape and the chilling Ravenloft. Planescape is one of the most inventive campaign settings i’ve ever had the pleasure to run and my complete collection is the pride of my games collection. Ravenloft has so many clever little elements and touches that it’s hard for someone to not find something they like there. For me the Ravenloft products of Castles Forlorn and The Nightmare Lands stand out as examples of what horror can be like, done right.
Sure TSR released some less than stellar items and there was some heavy bloat in virtually every line by the end but especially in the sheer number of campaign settings that they were churning out, but, in their heyday, they were a powerhouse that paved the way for all of the companies, games and worlds I love today. Without TSR there wouldn’t be an RPG hobby for me to enjoy and write about and for that alone they have to be my favourite company.