I was thinking about required reading for games. You know, lists of fiction, books, background, etc.
I'm not a big fan of required background reading. This is probably because I don't like to do it. I prefer to learn background in play. Start with an elevator pitch, then have it all pick up as you go.
This is why my game started with a simple background, the PCs all knowing each other, a mission ("find and clear the evil shrine"), and handed out rumors to fill it in.
My game does have some fictional inspirations. There are novels and short stories which, if you read them, will reveal some of the origin of parts of the game. They'll show you some of the themes in the game. But they aren't really required. It doesn't matter if you've read them.
All of that said, we've played for 77 sessions. Some background has come up, and it's important to play to know it.
Generally I recommend players read:
- at least the past few sessions of play. All would be better, but it's not necessary. Reading none will hamper you as you try to keep up.
- read the accumulated rumors list.
- read the history posts (this one, and the one linked in it).
- it's helpful to read the whole "spreading rumors in town" post and attitude post and the PC Tips.
And that's about it for background. It was less when we started, but hey, 77 sessions.
I do like it when my players actually familiarize themselves with the rules. I don't really require people to learn the rules beyond the basics. It's helpful when they do.
- the abbreviated combat rules in Basic Set: Characters.
- the rules for Deceptive Attack and Rapid Strikes in Basic Set: Campaigns.
- your template.
- the first half of DF2. It's actually very player-centric, and you need to know what the game assumes you can and will do.
- the text of the advantages and skills you have, again, in Basic Set. If you took it, read it.
- Building a Better PC
- if you're running a spellcaster, you need to read the rules for spellcasting.
- If you're going to run a "support" character, you need to read this post.
- It's helpful if you know the Power-Ups available to your specific template (and which ones aren't, like the ones off your template, even if you've got a lens).
It's actually not that much. For most of my players, it's a couple of sections of Basic Set, a few posts, your specific traits, and half of DF2. You can get away with reading almost none of these, but you'll be hampered. You won't take advantage of everything you're capable of with your skills and advantages.
It's more than I hoped it would be, but that's cut down to the bare bones of what you need to read to be current and ready.