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View Full Version : Innovative/Quirky/Different game systems?



stormywaters
2011-09-27, 04:24 PM
I'm pretty bored with D&D, and have no desire to play any of its clones. I'm looking for new mechanics, quirky games, something new and refreshing! Heck, even a game based on something interesting!

Here are a couple of my personal likes:

1. Pokethulhu - Yes, Pokemon and Cthulhu mixed. Don't ask why, just ask "how may I serve you, master?"

2. In Nomine - Angels and Demons, the interesting "d666" mechanic, the discord mechanic, cool stuff!

3. Legend of Zelda RPG - 'nuff said.


What kinds of off-beat games do you guys like?

Totally Guy
2011-09-27, 05:14 PM
A rules light game that I love is called Lacuna. It's a bit like an Inception RPG. The mechanics are all inside the dream. When you roll to do something your heart rate increases and if it gets too high you end up in lots of danger. The more you mess with the dream, the more weirdness follows you. If this gets too high the GM can have guys assault the players just for being there. Amazingly this game was released years before Inception.

I'm also loving Mouse Guard at the moment. It's a great game about mice on missions to keep the mouse society running in spite of seasons, predators and each other. The characters all have a belief or moral code that is core to their personality and challenged by the GM. The traits of the character are frequently brought into play as something that helps the character but also as hindrances. Characters get beaten up but they keep on working towards the greater good in spite of this. The better the players play the more the characters shine for who they are.

Xefas
2011-09-27, 05:39 PM
Kobolds Ate My Baby, I would describe as something of a "Rogue-like" RPG. Which is kind of funny, considering rogue-like games were an attempt at emulating old D&D stuff. But, since then, roguelikes have taken on their own unique aspects.

In this game, you play a kobold. You are terrible at everything and everything is trying to kill you. Fighting just about anything will kill you. Casting a spell will kill you. Running too fast will kill you. Being exceptionally ugly will kill you. Fleeing all forms of harm will kill you. Etc etc.

Your job is to raid a village, snatch up babies, and bring them back to your kobold king. If you don't do this, he'll kill you. However, a single kobold isn't even a credible threat to the various stray dogs or domesticated chickens in the town, much less the well armed adventurers that might be lurked about. That's where teamwork comes in. Together, an entire party of kobolds might possibly be able to almost get something done.

But, as you may have guessed, other kobolds get rewarded for killing you. So, they're much more inclined to toss you out into a room full of adventurers and use the distraction to snatch a baby, rather than to make sure both of you make it out alive and share the credit.

Character death is a major mechanic of the game, and pretty much every other mechanic is designed around it. When a character dies, someone else has to stand up and give a short eulogy of their life (which usually involves "Sir Yikyik died as he lived. Smelling of old boots and covered in fire ants.") and rerolling a new character afterward takes about 2 minutes or less. In a typical session of play, one can expect to go through a dozen or so different characters.

Coupled with that kind of lethality, other roguelike aspects include the fact that all of your starting traits, skills, and equipment are randomized - everything you pick up is more likely than not more dangerous than not having it at all - and there *is* character advancement, for the few lucky souls who manage to survive for truly heroic amounts of time; but, sadly, even with the doubling or tripling of your power, you very rarely exceed the potency of an especially irate hamster.

--------

Kill Puppies For Satan is a game about people who kill puppies for Satan. A lot of people hate you, and one of them is your mother. Not a whole lot more can be said.

stormywaters
2011-09-27, 06:00 PM
I laughed so hard at that description!! I must play Kobolds Ate My Baby!!

lerg2
2011-09-28, 03:35 PM
Halo RPGs!!!
What, you mean a game setting? I thought...Never..... oh wait, they have that too.
It's really fun, there are a couple different ones and it shouldn't be hard to convince people to play.

Nero24200
2011-09-28, 04:36 PM
I laughed so hard at that description!! I must play Kobolds Ate My Baby!!

It also has the "All Hail King Torg" rule, in which whenever a player (either IC or OOCly) says the name Torg, all players must (ICly and OOCly) say "All Hail King Torg!".

The rules are pretty interesting in that many actions require the players to perform something OOCly. For instance on of the spells requires the player to sit there with a pout and fold their arms.

Knaight
2011-09-30, 04:34 AM
Og - You are a caveman. You have a lexicon of 17 words which you use to communicate. Yes, seventeen. For perspective this description contained twenty different words.

dsmiles
2011-09-30, 06:32 AM
Really? I'm in before RISUS (http://www222.pair.com/sjohn/risus.htm)?

And FATE (http://www.faterpg.com/)/FUDGE (http://www.fudgerpg.com/)?

AND ENCOUNTER CRITICAL (http://www222.pair.com/sjohn/encounter-critical.htm)?

Oracle_Hunter
2011-09-30, 10:37 AM
Bliss Stage (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BlissStage)

Aside from being Neon Genesis Evangelion the RPG, it has an honest-to-god relationship mechanic! Importantly, this is also the only game mechanic I've found that turns munchkins into free-form roleplayers. While other games may find mechanical rewards for tracking character motivations (e.g. Burning Wheel), Bliss Stage characters only get more powerful if they act out scenes with enough depth that a third party judges them to be adequate.

Knaight
2011-09-30, 01:37 PM
Really? I'm in before RISUS (http://www222.pair.com/sjohn/risus.htm)?

And FATE (http://www.faterpg.com/)/FUDGE (http://www.fudgerpg.com/)?

AND ENCOUNTER CRITICAL (http://www222.pair.com/sjohn/encounter-critical.htm)?

I'm not sure I'd call any of those quirky. FATE was quirky once, but Aspects and similar are so common now that FATE is practically standard rules light narrative. Fudge was quirky back in 1995 for the word scale and new dice, but both have spread enough for the quirkiness to have left. Risus might be quirky, but because of stuff like aspects cliches just make sense. As for Encounter Critical, I'm not sure it was ever quirky to begin with.

stormywaters
2011-09-30, 08:06 PM
Thanks guys! Lots of cool games to check out.

Can someone PM me a location to pick up Lacuna?

Xefas
2011-09-30, 08:22 PM
Can someone PM me a location to pick up Lacuna?

Here (http://memento-mori.com/online-store/) is the Memento Mori store, from which it's sold. You'll have to scroll down past the Parsley stuff to find it. It's the one with the red cover of the communist tarantula.

If you play it and like it, you may also like InSpectres and Free Market, by the same guy, and sold in the same place.

erikun
2011-09-30, 09:33 PM
All Flesh Must Be Eaten, Call of Cthulhu, MAID, Paranoia, Bunnies & Burrows, and Amber Diceless all come to mind. Please note that I haven't played any of these, so I am not sure how much they deviate from the D&D norm. I hope that others can highlight the benefits of each.

FUDGE definitely has a different system. Rather than using a standard set of skills or ability scores, the GM determines what will be the appropriate Attributes/Skills for the setting. Skills and Attributes are ranked from Terrible to Superb, based on how good a character is at them. Success is determined by rolling "Fudge dice", which are six-sided dice with two + faces, two - faces, and two blank faces. Thus, any particular roll has a result within two grades above or below the character's skill level. Oh, and it's free online (http://www.fudgerpg.com/goodies/fudge-files/core/).

Mouse Guard is a fun system, and runs with a lot of different assumptions than D&D and similar systems. Namely, failing a roll doesn't necessarily mean failure of the task, but rather than the character ran into an obstacle they also need to overcome. Equipment is not the necessity it is in D&D, and there are skills designed to allow the character to craft equipment with the materials on-hand. Social circles and contacts are far superior to D&D diplomancy rules (although that isn't saying much), and the Beliefs, Goals, and Instincts give the character a very good sense through the game mechanics. Not available online, though.

Faery's Tale is an easy and simple system that I like, both because it's simple to pick up and the entire system has a very thematic feel. "Essence" is both the character's life points and magical reservoir, giving you an easy way to produce magic without using complicated magic-resource management. Experience is in the form of "Boons", fae promises that can be exchanged for skill increases, acquiring magical items, or even calling in the promise. There are also rules allowing players to create challanges for themselves, and in-game rewards for doing so (granting Essence). Just note that, as a very small system, there isn't a large variety of skills or game mechanics there. Also not free.

Warrior Cats has a RPG (which they call an "Adventure Game") available online. There isn't much significant about it - three abilities, ability plus skill for checks - except that it is a diceless system. It's the only one I know about besides Amber, so you might give it a try and play a few games if you are curious how it will work out. Another bonus: it is also free. The core rules are here (http://www.warriorcats.com/data/downloads/adventure/WarriorsGame_gamerules.pdf), and the character sheet here (http://www.warriorcats.com/data/downloads/adventure/Warrior_charactersheet.pdf). You can find the rest on their flash website (http://www.warriorcats.com/warriorshell.html), under Games & Extras (top menu) > Games > Adventure Game.


A few other mentions: World of Darkness (d10 dice pool system, Morality mechanic, Willpower mechanic), Eclipse Phase (d% dice system, body-switching mechanic, sanity mechanic), IronClaw (d4+d6+d8+d10+d12 dice mechanics), and Burning Wheel (basically a much more complex version of Mouse Guard, including skill-use progression rather than XP-gain).

Glimbur
2011-09-30, 10:14 PM
Og - You are a caveman. You have a lexicon of 17 words which you use to communicate. Yes, seventeen. For perspective this description contained twenty different words.

Nonsense! Cavemen are not nearly that smart. You have a lexicon of 1-6ish words. You understand other words, but you cannot speak them.

Wuthering Heights (http://www.unseelie.org/rpg/wh/index.html) is technically a d100 based system, but I find that actual die rolls are few and far between. Most of the time is spent, as rich and bored persons are wont to do, plotting. Each character has a rating in Rage, Despair, and Oldness. You also receive 2-5 problems from the problem table. Once a game ended with a swordfight in front of a burning tavern. Once it ended with the Civil War ending early due to the North having zombies, and the ladies of the group rode off together into the sunset. Often not every character survives until the end... I can't imagine running it not as a one shot, but it makes an interesting one shot.

dsmiles
2011-10-03, 07:27 AM
Also, Maid (http://www.maidrpg.com/).

Saintheart
2011-10-03, 07:36 AM
Continuum. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuum_%28role-playing_game%29) I've yet to run a game in it, but I picked up the gamebook recently and it blew my mind. This is the first game I've run into where the concepts thrown up by the fluff require more mental agility than the rules themselves.

Nero Grimes
2011-10-05, 06:51 PM
Really? I'm in before RISUS (http://www222.pair.com/sjohn/risus.htm)?

And FATE (http://www.faterpg.com/)/FUDGE (http://www.fudgerpg.com/)?
Risus gets my vote.

Followed by Mini Six
http://antipaladingames.com/minisix.html


To the above I would add

PDQ and its variant PDQ#
http://www.atomicsockmonkey.com/freebies.asp#pdq

and

SKETCH
http://www.farsightgames.com/free-sketch-system/4530546334

Das Platyvark
2011-10-05, 07:02 PM
I've heard good things about Everyone is John.

Knaight
2011-10-05, 07:10 PM
SKETCH
http://www.farsightgames.com/free-sketch-system/4530546334

Sketch isn't quirky at all. I like sketch - for that matter, I'm pseudopublished in ODDS, which is essentially the official SKETCH ezine - but it is a pretty standard rules light game.

Nero Grimes
2011-10-07, 09:52 PM
Sketch isn't quirky at all. I like sketch - for that matter, I'm pseudopublished in ODDS, which is essentially the official SKETCH ezine - but it is a pretty standard rules light game.

It's still fun as hell. One of the last ftf games I ran was Alligator in the Sewers powered by SKETCH. Fun fast and furious.

If you want quirky try Fudge on the Fly
http://www.fudgefactor.org/2004/05/05/fudge_on_the_fly.html
There's a variant of Fate on the fly, but I've never played FATE.

Funkyodor
2011-10-08, 07:06 AM
Has anyone mentioned Dungeons: The Dragoning 40,000 7th Edition yet? It's an april fools joke gone wrong that sounds fun. It's free to download, so at least worth checking out.

Silverlich
2011-10-08, 08:06 AM
Nobilis is a diceless system in which all players start out at roughly the power level of an ancient Greek god.

Nero Grimes
2011-10-08, 05:06 PM
Nobilis is a diceless system in which all players start out at roughly the power level of an ancient Greek god.

I've tried to get players interested in DiclessRisus, which I understand borrows from Nobilis and Active Exploit, but so far nothing.

Knaight
2011-10-08, 06:19 PM
It's still fun as hell. One of the last ftf games I ran was Alligator in the Sewers powered by SKETCH. Fun fast and furious.

If you want quirky try Fudge on the Fly
http://www.fudgefactor.org/2004/05/05/fudge_on_the_fly.html
There's a variant of Fate on the fly, but I've never played FATE.

I'm not - nor will I - call SKETCH unfun. Its a fun game, its written by a likeable guy, and it fills its role as a quick game for 1 shots perfectly. All I've said is that it isn't quirky.

As for Fudge on the Fly, I'll acknowledge the quirk there. Its a lot of fun too, and likely pioneered FATE's skill pyramid (none of the other Fudge character generation systems are pyramidal).

JackShandy
2011-10-09, 08:33 AM
The Secret Lives of Gingerbread Men Character creation involves decorating a gingerbread man, and after the adventure is over you can eat it -- or you can eat parts during the adventure to represent injuries.

It Was a Mutual Decision A game about a breakup where all the men in the group play the woman and all the women play the man. One or both people may turn out to be a murderous were-rat (there's a 'rat die' that you can throw for a mechanical advantage but a chance of becoming more rat-like).

Drifter's Escape About a struggle between The Man and The Devil for control of the life of The Drifter who is trying to keep control of his own life.

Fri
2011-10-09, 10:18 AM
It's Me, Dave (http://www.criticalmiss.com/issue11/ItsMeDave.html)

Quoted from the excerpts.


"A fun and simple, albeit mildly sociopathic, game of bluff, bull**** and social manipulation. Can you convince a random member of the public that you're his long-lost mate, Dave?"

And something by our own Gaurd Juris who won gamechef's system design contest.

Forsooth (http://www.1km1kt.net/rpg/forsooth), A Shakesperean RPG.

excerpts from the author:




You get to yell "I am killed!"
There is a mechanic called Aside
There is a mechanic called Soliloquy
Dead characters can return as ghosts and earn more applause from beyond the grave.



Any player can foreshadow the death of any character during a soliloquy (this uses up that characters Sol. for the game). Thereafter, in a later scene, any character can kill the marked-for-death character at any time by saying "I kill him," or in the case of suicide, "I kill myself," and then describing how. Characters can also kill themselves off stage in between scenes, as long as it's been foreshadowed. Characters who die get the chance to have a "death scene" in which they can gain applauds from the other players for the dead character, who still qualifies for winning the game.

If death has not been foreshadowed:

Any player can at any time say "I kill [character name]" as long as they are in a scene together, even if it hasnít been foreshadowed. However, this opens up options for the character who you are killing.

1) The players says "You have killed me!" He then gets to enact his death scene, and possibly win applauds.

2) The player says "I fight back and escape wounded." He immediately exits, and cannot bring on a sub character from his roster.

3) The player says "And I kill you." He dies, but kills the attacker in the process, and they share a death scene. Players applaud whoever they thought was better, and you can applaud your killer if you wish.

Knaight
2011-10-09, 12:25 PM
Fiasco - Its the only game that plays like a Coen Brothers' movie. What's not to like?

Eric Tolle
2011-10-09, 09:21 PM
MSG (http://www.flamesrising.com/msg-rpg-review/): cyberpunk if it was written by the writer of "Office Space". You are all corporate reelancers or flunkies, trying to shepard a project to completion. Meanwhile, the rotating role of the company is doing it's best to screw everything up, because well, that's what corporate bureaucracies do. The major stats are Compassion and Self, which you spend in taking risks in order to gain resources, all the while bargaining with or screwing over the other players.

The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen (http://www.flamesrising.com/msg-rpg-review/): The players, being bored noblemen, take turns entertaining each other with stories of their adventures. Occasionally (often) one of the listeners may take issue with a detail of the story, and wager a change. If that wager is met, the detail has to be incorporated into the tale. And so it continues, until the stories are finished, and the winner buys a round of drinks.

Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple (http://danielsolisblog.blogspot.com/2007/08/do-pilgrims-of-flying-temple.html?m=1): more of a storytelling game than an rpg, the characters are young people sent out by the temple in response to letters asking for help. The problem is the characters are more enthusiastic than skilled, and so they'll get into trouble as much as they help.

The characters are based around the two words that make up their names; the first name indicates the way they get in trouble, and the second name is based around how they help people. So a character named "Leaping Kitten" may get in trouble by getting stuck in places he cant get out of, and he helps by distracting people with amusing tricks.

As for trouble and helping, the missions involve a bunch of keywords based on the problem outlined in the letter. On a player's turn they draw three tokens from a bag of black and white stones. Depending on the colors they keep, they help, get in trouble, or both. If the player helps, he quotes a sentence using one of the keywords describing how his character helps toward resolving the situation; if he gets in trouble the other players use a keyword to describe what happened. Players can also use a sentence without a keyword to get a player in trouble out of trouble.

Finally, if the players use all the keywords while there's still stones in the bag, final sentence is crafted describing their victorious departure. If they use up all the stones the pilgrims still leave...only in a more pitchforks and torches sort of way.

It's again, more of a storytelling game than an rpg, but it's awesome fun, and something I'm going to get my non-rpger neice.

Mark Hall
2011-10-10, 12:30 AM
Fairy Meat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairy_Meat)

A 1:1 scale minatures game. You play a fairy who is an insane cannibal. You gain power by eating other fairies, and, occasionally, other creatures (like gnomes and squirrels)

Thane of Fife
2011-10-10, 08:28 PM
Metal Opera (http://www.harlekin-maus.com/games/metalopera/metalopera.html) is a game about being angry Rockers fighting against the oppression of the state with incredible amounts of violence, both physical and musical. A sample rule from this game:
Your group must first come up with a band name. The only rule here is that your band's name must rock. Basically, it's a game about being Metal!

StickGuy the Role-Playing Game (http://www.1km1kt.net/rpg/stickguy-the-role-playing-game)! Have you ever wanted to roleplay being an awesome stickdude (or stickdudette)!? Don't be shy, of course you have! Well, now you can. In StickGuy, your character sheet is pretty much just a stick figure. But he can be a deadly, katana-wielding traveling salesman of DOOM! if that's what you want out of him.

beyond reality
2011-10-10, 11:14 PM
PDQ is a cool one that's already been mentioned.

Dread is a particularly unusual game that I've been wanting to play for quite a while. It's Jenga-based, meant to simulate horror-movies, survival horror and similar games. Basically when you attempt an action you must make a draw from the tower (sometimes more for particularly difficult ones). If the tower falls then you die, if it remains standing you succeed. There's a bit more to it than that, but it's definitely different.

Sleepycrow
2011-10-11, 10:41 AM
I've played Dread. Actually there isn't much more to it than that. Every time you do something that would put your character in danger, you make a pull. More difficult tasks require more pulls. The build-up of tension over the course of the evening is great, though you could never run an ongoing campaign. Generally a one-night stand. ;)

I see you're moving away from D&D based games, but you might consider Goodman Games' Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. Character generation is completely randomized, and players have between 3 and 4 characters (think big peasant mob). You get to roll on this fun d% table for occupation, which could be anything from farmer to jester, with the very rare elf, dwarf or halfling showing up.

The game begins at 0-level, -100XP. The goal of the first sessions is to reach 1XP. Whichever characters survive, which won't be many (1d4 hp), become the party. Getting to play a non-human is rare and special since you need to have rolled as such on the starting occupation table.

Goodman Games (http://goodman-games.com)

Anyway, this thread is turning into an awesome resource for alternative RPG's. :D

CarpeGuitarrem
2011-10-11, 11:07 AM
Snowball (http://www.twistedconfessions.com/snowball.php): the base assumption is that you play the game in backwards chronological order.

Yeah, that's right. This is the game which by default is arranged to handle Memento. And the core philosophies found in it could easily be applied to other narrative/dramatic systems, such as FATE.

Fri
2011-10-11, 01:12 PM
Fairy Meat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairy_Meat)

A 1:1 scale minatures game. You play a fairy who is an insane cannibal. You gain power by eating other fairies, and, occasionally, other creatures (like gnomes and squirrels)

From that article, Fairy Meat totally looks like a Guillermo del Torro's work.

Nero Grimes
2011-10-14, 10:06 AM
Dice Chucker is fun with a quirky mechanic.

http://www.oversoul-games.com/oversoul_download.html

Knaight
2011-10-16, 03:37 AM
I've played Dread. Actually there isn't much more to it than that. Every time you do something that would put your character in danger, you make a pull. More difficult tasks require more pulls. The build-up of tension over the course of the evening is great, though you could never run an ongoing campaign. Generally a one-night stand. ;)


Well, there is the deliberate toppling mechanic, wherein you stand up and shove the tower over, sacrificing your character in a blaze of glory (perhaps a fairly literal blaze of glory) to protect the party.