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View Full Version : Find That System! (A plea for a new game)



Freylorn
2010-04-29, 11:26 AM
The story so far...

I have played 3.5 and 4th edition D&D extensively, as well as playing in an ongoing Shadowrun 4th game and having dabbled (and had an overwhelmingly positive response) with RISUS.

So here's the problem. Our weekly 4th Edition game is... well, it's fun, but I'd like (if possible) to give a different system a spin. I was hoping I could list my complaints with the system in general, and have those of you versed in more systems give me some suggestions. As a matter of fact, I've heard of a few of them that greatly interest me - the problem here is that I've forgotten their names! :smalleek: Anyways, on to the criteria.

1) Set-up/battle time. This is the primary issue, in all honesty. There's a hefty build-up during storyline/RP, a heavy emotional charge, everyone's all pumped for the coming battle. Then we need to set up the tiles/board, get the minis ready, worry about our powers every turn, bear a multitude of tiny-yet-significant boni from party buffs in mind... it certainly kills the mood, so to speak. Now I know that there are ways to streamline combat, and trust me, they are being done. But it still doesn't have that climactic feel I'd like.

2) Setting. I'm using a lightly-modified version of our own fantastic Giant's setting for this campaign - namely, before the creation of the Gates. I'd like to do as little re-tooling of a system to fit this as possible, so let's avoid systems like Shadowrun or Star Wars Saga Edition if we can, please.

3) Learning curve. I and my players will be learning this system fresh, so the simpler it is to learn, the better. This is, admittedly, the least important section.

I mentioned above that I was already aware of a few systems that interested me, but I could not remember the names. I've heard excellent/fun things about both White Wolf and Exalted, but I have no idea about the actual workings of them or if they would fit. As already stated, the lack of necessity on board/minis is a nice thing, so something more RISUS-esque is helpful if I can manage it. I recall a system being mentioned where the combat was very heavily based on description, with a single d6 roll determining how well or poorly one fared. I cannot, for the life of me, recall the name though.

So this is the story up to now. I leave this in the hands of the most excellent Playground, in the hopes that my post is not too demanding nor confusing, and look forward to hearing your input with great anticipation.

EDIT: One last detail I failed to mention: I hate (HATE!) the Christmas Tree effect. Magical items abounding everywhere is one of my personal pet peeves, and as such, we are using the "no/low magic items" rule from the DMG II to great effect. Just something to keep in mind.

Lapak
2010-04-29, 11:32 AM
The first thing that leaps to mind for me is to stay within D&D but backtrack edition wise. Overshoot 3.x and head all the way back to 1st Edition AD&D - or even Basic. Or their freely-available respective (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labyrinth_Lord) equivalents (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OSRIC).

EDIT: Whoops. Reversed those links, but you get the idea.[/edit]

Minimal setting conversion required, significantly faster / stripped-down combat with a half-handful of variables at most to keep track of, next to no learning curve for your group. And it can be really fun to enjoy that first-level-is-death vibe again. :smallsmile:

EDIT for your edit: fits with that, too. Magical items aren't strictly necessary, and can certainly be kept down to one or two interesting/significant items per character.

gdiddy
2010-04-29, 11:34 AM
For a real life game with people you like and trust, use this:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/13967641/The-Pool-an-inde-RPG

Ormagoden
2010-04-29, 11:35 AM
Minds-eye theater (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind%27s_Eye_Theatre)! That's the PERFECT system for you...

Also see this (http://www.samkass.com/theories/RPSSL.html).

Sanguine
2010-04-29, 11:42 AM
Well Exalted fits the first criteria really well in my opinion and only really suffers from the christmas tree effect if you have have a dedicated crafter but do to the way crafting works you can really limit how often he can craft Artifacts(read as magic items) or of course you just give away Artifacts like candy. However it's highly setting specific and while I didn't have a lot of trouble learning the system I hear a lot of other have so it probably doesn't count as easy to learn. Fun as hell though. So I would say it really depends on how important the various things are to you as to whether or not it would be good for you.

TheThan
2010-04-29, 12:15 PM
Well lets see off the top of my head these are the ones Iíve come up with.

BESM 3rd edition system (or the tristatX system for a more generic game). The game is flexible enough to do anything and easy to learn, no need for miniatures and battle set up.


Mutants and master minds. Itís supposed to be pretty cool, Iíve only sampled it myself so I canít give you a complete run down.

Dice less. You could just drop a system all-together and run a pure diceless game. But this requires temperate and mature players to pull off otherwise it turns into a one-upmanship contest.

Anima: beyond fantasy. Iíve heard a lot from it and it seems to be way over complicated for a weakly game. I have a friend that has been trying to get us to play it. So far heís been unsuccessful.

hamlet
2010-04-29, 03:08 PM
The first thing that leaps to mind for me is to stay within D&D but backtrack edition wise. Overshoot 3.x and head all the way back to 1st Edition AD&D - or even Basic. Or their freely-available respective (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labyrinth_Lord) equivalents (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OSRIC).

EDIT: Whoops. Reversed those links, but you get the idea.[/edit]

Minimal setting conversion required, significantly faster / stripped-down combat with a half-handful of variables at most to keep track of, next to no learning curve for your group. And it can be really fun to enjoy that first-level-is-death vibe again. :smallsmile:

EDIT for your edit: fits with that, too. Magical items aren't strictly necessary, and can certainly be kept down to one or two interesting/significant items per character.

Seconded, though I'd also through AD&D 2e in the mix as well.

wizuriel
2010-04-29, 03:21 PM
Would second Mutants and Masterminds. It is a very fun and flexible system. Only problem is it is very easy to break.


Anima I don't think meets the criteria. There is still a lot involved in setting up battles and it is a reasonable complex system (it looks a lot harder than it actually is). Though the combat system in the game is amazing.

Thane of Fife
2010-04-29, 03:43 PM
I frequently see Wushu and Fudge heralded as quick, fun games, and I believe both are system-generic. Both are (sort-of) free online, too: Wushu Open (http://wiki.saberpunk.net/Wushu/WushuOpenRules) and FUDGE (http://www.fudgerpg.com/fudge.html).

Though, actually, if you've enjoyed RISUS, why not use that?

The Big Dice
2010-04-29, 04:28 PM
Try the One Roll Engine (http://www.discreteinfinity.com/games/rules.html). It's easy to learn and looks to be able to handle most things people throw at it.

Knaight
2010-04-29, 05:04 PM
I'm backing up Wushu, Fudge, and ORE. However, note that Wushu is far lighter than Fudge (Its lighter than Risus, and comparable to Over the Edge) usually is, and Fudge is somewhat lighter than ORE, on average. There are a lot of games to both of them.

Fudge in particular works well, its fast, no minis are required, and enough is left open to give major GM control. There are no set skill lists, set attributes, etc, but there is a very solid framework with enough optional rule sets strewn around to do whatever you want with with minimal fuss.

erikun
2010-04-29, 10:35 PM
I'm not terribly familiar with many D&D-esque alternate systems, as I'm usually looking for something different and most indie systems tend to be rather setting specific. I'm familiar with Mouse Guard RPG (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mouse_Guard#Games) and Faery's Tale (http://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/12/12347.phtml), both of which should be obvious what you will be playing as. FUDGE (http://www.fudgerpg.com/fudge.html) (previously linked) is quick and simple, although it requires a bit of DM adjudication. GURPS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GURPS) (not free) shouldn't be too difficult to run, although character creation will take awhile. Burning Wheel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burning_Wheel) is very nice but requires quite a bit of bookkeeping, and that doesn't sound like something you are interested in.

I'd recommend World of Darkness/Changeling as thematic for a medieval setting, although it sounds more like you want to transfer characters to a new system rather than make different characters.

Most systems that aren't D&D do not have the Christmas Tree effect, so you normally don't have to worry about that. In fact, a lot of systems either turn magic equipment into a skill (under the logic that the character needs to learn/mystically connect to the item to use it) or assumes they will always have it and requires the magic item to use their magical skills.

The game Dragon Storm (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_Storm_(game)) also comes to mind as being simple, interesting, with only a limited inventory. It does however "require" having the collectable cards on hand, so probably isn't what you were thinking about. The logo is rather memorable (http://www.gameswemake.com/addart/LOGOTIFF.png) if you're trying to recall.

senrath
2010-04-29, 10:53 PM
I'll throw in another vote for Tri-Stat DX. It's pretty simple, and I've had fun using it.

horseboy
2010-04-30, 12:59 PM
I'd +1 BESM, for a generic system it's quite flavorful.

For ease of conversion I'd go with Earthdawn. Stats are 3-18. Three have different names, but I'm sure you can figure out that Con=toughness. For a 4th edition character just divide the level by half and you have the circle. It'll take a bit to fiddle around with Exactly what you're talents and skills are.

1) No miniatures rules. So no having to set up a table and all that jazz. There are some modifiers but it's not balanced on the razor's edge and you have to have them to function. In fact, it's not build around "balance" it's built around archetype fulfillment. When a 3.X player came to the forum to complain about how "unbalanced" the system was because nobody could stand up against a warrior adept in a fight the developers universally went "duh".

2) Setting. It has a built in setting, but if you're willing to rip the fluff out of exalted, it shouldn't be much harder. It's setting was created by the same people that created the original Shadowrun setting, so you might see some familiar faces there.

3) Admittedly it's not the simplest system to learn, but if you're familiar with 4th, then most of the hurdles are already jumped. Characters have three defense numbers (Physical, Spell, Social). Armor works as DR. Healing surges are called recovery tests and have more sensical restrictions, including no waking up the next day fully healed. The hardest part is "Wait, what dice do I roll again?" after that.

The Christmas Tree effect: The system has a built in limit of magical items that actually makes sense rather than an arbitrary "rules say you can't have a ring until 10th level". But yeah, that's my main vote.

Eric Tolle
2010-04-30, 01:41 PM
At this point, it might be a good thing to describe what you want from, or at least what you like in systems, because at this point, you're going to get suggestions for everything from Nicotine Girls to Riddle of Steel.

And of course I'm going to do the same. :smalltongue:

If you had good results with an attribute system such as Risus, you might want to try some of the PDQ games. I've heard really good things about Jaws of the Six Serpents (http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product_info.php?products_id=60595&filters=0_0_0_10113), which takes a sword-and sorcery tack on the basic PDQ system (http://www.atomicsockmonkey.com/freebies/di/pdq-core.pdf). One nice thing about PDQ is that while you don't need to have magic items at all, the free-form nature of the Qualities means that you could represent a magic item as say "Sword of my Ancestors (Good +2), and use that in tests where it might apply. Here (http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=446611) is a play description.

On the other hand, if you want something similar to D&D, but streamlined, with a different magic system and much better balance, You might want to try True20 (http://true20.com/). With three generalized classes, a fatigue-based magic system based with feats, hero points, and a soak-based damage save, True20 to my mind is a more flexible system than 3.5, capable of doing sword-and-sorcery or high fantasy as written. One nice feature is that while high-level characters can be very tough, the damage save method means that any blow that gets through means something. And again, since magic items are not needed, one can add them or remove them as desired.