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Anderlith
2016-12-29, 01:09 AM
I was just wondering if the Playground could recommend me some game systems that are more like Shadowrun or World of Darkness, that have point buy improvement rather than level based. I dont want the heroes to be superpowerful of the bat, but just reasonably competent, with room to grow outward & upward. With a cool magic system hopefully. That is medival/general fantasy based.

Arbane
2016-12-29, 01:29 AM
'Not superpowerful' leaves out Exalted. :D

RuneQuest
GURPS Fantasy
Earthdawn kind-of has levels, but it's VERY like Shadowrun... since it's canonically Shadowrun's pre-history.
Savage Worlds
Dungeon World is level-based...sort of.
If you want medieval stuff, how about Pendragon? (Which is explicitly about being Arthurian Knights.)
HERO System can do fantasy, but might be a bit number-crunchy.
FATE, because you can do anything in FATE.

Fri
2016-12-29, 01:31 AM
-Mutants and Mastermind, since Mutant and Mastermind also can do anything :p.
-Ryuutama (http://kotohi.com/ryuutama/)

Koo Rehtorb
2016-12-29, 01:51 AM
Burning Wheel. Each skill/attribute advances individually by using/practicing it. Depending on how many lifepaths you set at character creation you can play anything from literal 10 year old children to highly competent feudal lords or dwarven princes or elven kings.

Arbane
2016-12-29, 02:14 AM
-Mutants and Mastermind, since Mutant and Mastermind also can do anything :p.
-Ryuutama (http://kotohi.com/ryuutama/)

M&M has levels, even if they're supposed to be more 'power level' than 'current level of advancement'. But yes, it can do fantasy pretty well.

I have Ryuutama, I'm embarrassed I forgot about it.
IN that vein, Tenra Bansho Zero, which looks to resemble medieval Japan about as much as your typical D&D game resembles medieval Europe. :D

On the Sword and Sorcery front, I've heard these are pretty good:
Blades of the Iron Throne
Barbarians of Lemuria

Fri
2016-12-29, 02:32 AM
M&M has levels, even if they're supposed to be more 'power level' than 'current level of advancement'. But yes, it can do fantasy pretty well.


Yeah, but usually I don't count "power level" in MnM the way we usually treat level since it's considered more power cap instead of something we strive to advance. You usually try to grow laterally (adding more skills, powers) and minding the PL as the limitation of the campaign. Increase in PL is something more special, as in advancement from E6 campaign to E12 Campaign or something.

Mutazoia
2016-12-29, 02:54 AM
D6 Fantasy and Warhammer FRP spring to mind off the top of my head.

Firest Kathon
2016-12-29, 03:26 AM
Das Schwarze Auge (The Dark Eye) is levelless and fantasy. The default magic system is a standard mana- and spell-based system, but there are other "magic" subsystems (runes, alchemy, blood magic) which may qualify as "cool".

The new 5th Edition is available in English (http://www.ulisses-ebooks.de/browse.php?filters=45558), the much more expansive 4th Edition is mostly available only in German.

Frozen_Feet
2016-12-29, 04:57 AM
Praedor and Noitahovi, if you can read Finnish.

Anonymouswizard
2016-12-29, 08:09 AM
-Mutants and Mastermind, since Mutant and Mastermind also can do anything :p.

I want to add a clarification to this.

Mutants and Masterminds can do any genre (ignoring hard sci-fi, where you first need to put a cap on speed ranks and then once you leave the planet work out how you're doing space travel). However, it will lend itself towards a specific feel.

By which I mean if you want to do Fantasy it'll turn out more like Fantasy Superheroes or Exalted than it will like Lord of the Rings. Science Fiction? You have something more Star Wars than Transhuman Space (and that's assuming you're using low PLs, at PL 10 you're stronger than most Jedi). Wuxia is okay as long as you want high powered Wuxia, urban fantasy if you want high powered urban fantasy, and so on.

In several ways M&M is the anti GURPS. While GURPS will run anything but in a gritty style, M&M will run anything in a Superhero style. That's fine, not everybody wants to play Transhuman Space, some people want to play psychics mind crushing alien hordes, or brave explorers discovering new worlds and sleeping with the blue skinned space babes. However, when saying that something 'does anything' it's useful to note the eccentricities of the system.

For example, Fate can do any genre, at any power level (because the designers decided that there's no need to define what Great (+4) Physique can lift, it'll depend on the game). However, it focuses on the narrative much more, and so won't work for a dungeon crawl, and tends to be pulpy when not specifically configured otherwise.


-Ryuutama (http://kotohi.com/ryuutama/)

Interesting, I'll have a closer look, although I tend to play Science Fiction much more than fantasy these days.

Because I haven't seen it mentioned, d6Fantasy is free, and completely levelless. It's also classless, and has options both for freeform point buy, and category-based. Bare in mind that, unless you want to go to Amazon, you'll have to print out the book and stick it in a folder (as I've done with both d6Fantasy and d6Space).

RedWarlock
2016-12-29, 10:04 AM
So what counts as level-based or not? Rapidly inflating HP pools? Discrete levels of strength numbered 1-20ish? Or characters graded by their 'level' as opposed to by their experience/build-point total?

Beleriphon
2016-12-29, 11:42 AM
M&M has levels, even if they're supposed to be more 'power level' than 'current level of advancement'. But yes, it can do fantasy pretty well.

Yeah, but they're more of a way to categorize characters into competency ranges and provide some kind of limit on a point buy system.

Knaight
2016-12-29, 12:46 PM
Non-Level based is a pretty huge category (levels are downright rare outside of D&D), and Fantasy is quite possibly the single biggest genre. Interesting magic systems is the only thing that cuts down on this a bit, and even then there's a fair few games. So, a quick list
Strongly Recommended
REIGN: REIGN is just an excellent game in a lot of respects, working as a finely tuned fantasy game. It then has two big things going for it - the magic system is incredibly cool, consisting of a bunch of specific disciplines that are strongly themed and individually interesting, with yet more released for free by the main designer online. It also has thorough rules for large scale conflicts between organizations, and they work.
Ars Magica: Ars Magica is a game that takes mages in a medieval world seriously - it's set in Europe, and it's about a covenant of mages. It also has a seriously cool magic system built around a combination of nouns and verbs individually learned, and it's by far the best known game to implement troupe play, and worth playing for that reason alone.
Like Crunch?
Burning Wheel
GURPS Fantasy
Dislike Crunch?
Deyrini Realms
Barbarians of Lemuria
Warrior, Rogue, and Mage
Like Fate?
Legends of Anglerre
Age of Arthur
Dresden Files

Mark Hall
2016-12-29, 02:47 PM
Earthdawn kind-of has levels, but it's VERY like Shadowrun... since it's canonically Shadowrun's pre-history.


I'd say the different circles definitely count as levels... while it's not as strict as D&D's level system, you still need to qualify for 2nd Circle to get the Durability talent, which improves your various numbers.

The ones I was going to mention... Savage Worlds, D6 Fantasy, and Ars Magica have all been noted. I'd also add that I worked out a levelless version of Star Wars Saga that could work for a long-term non-SF game.

2D8HP
2016-12-29, 03:19 PM
From the same "rules family" as Call of Cthullu, Pendragon, Runequest, and Stormbringer; I suggest:

Magic World (http://www.chaosium.com/magic-world-2/)

slachance6
2016-12-29, 05:12 PM
I second GURPS for basically anything, including fantasy if you're not a fan of d20. That said, if you just want players to be more powerful from the start, you could just play D&D, or better yet, Pathfinder, and start at a higher level than 1.

Mark Hall
2016-12-29, 05:14 PM
I second GURPS for basically anything, including fantasy if you're not a fan of d20. That said, if you just want players to be more powerful from the start, you could just play D&D, or better yet, Pathfinder, and start at a higher level than 1.

"We are playing E6. Everyone starts at level 6."

Anonymouswizard
2016-12-29, 05:59 PM
"We are playing E6. Everyone starts at level 6."

To be fair, that is approximately how GURPS advancement worked when I it. We began of fairly powerful for the world as 100 point characters, and gained the equivalent of a great every 2-3 sessions (or a stat point every 4-5). It does actually work, if the players are okay with slow advancement.i personally love it.

slachance6
2016-12-29, 06:39 PM
We began of fairly powerful for the world as 100 point characters,

I'm not sure that's very powerful by GURPS standards. If the real world is E6, a 100-point character is probably level 3 at best. People like special forces, Olympians and billionaires could probably be built on well over 200 points.

Anonymouswizard
2016-12-29, 07:05 PM
I'm not sure that's very powerful by GURPS standards. If the real world is E6, a 100-point character is probably level 3 at best. People like special forces, Olympians and billionaires could probably be built on well over 200 points.

Not by GURPS standards, but by the standards of the world used we were at about level 5 when the game began, and fairly quickly hit the top percentile. It was a low power world. The GM likes lower powered worlds, we were playing closer to E4 or E5 than E6.

For what it's worth, I towards 150CP for my game, I find 200CP is too much but 100CP limits the racial templates i can include. Depending on the world it can put PCs at anywhere between the equivalent of level 3 and level 5.

TheCountAlucard
2016-12-29, 07:49 PM
I like the new third edition of Exalted, but if Exalts are too powerful for you, you could play as mortals.

Arbane
2016-12-30, 12:42 PM
I like the new third edition of Exalted, but if Exalts are too powerful for you, you could play as mortals.

That changes the genre from 'fantasy' to 'horror', I think - pretty much anything interesting in Exalted can kill mortals by looking at them funny. (In some cases, literally.)

Anderlith
2016-12-30, 07:18 PM
If anyone has taken a look at 7th Sea Second Edition, thats the kind of feel I want, but a more robust system with more options. & to trade the swashbuckling for more sword & sorcery

I hate any system I have to tool myself,
GURPS
M&M (doesnt give the right feel either)
FATE (my players hate trying to come up with suitable aspects)

If i had to I would rather homebrew 7th sea or Shadowrun to fit than build one up from scratch.

While i like Warhammer FRPG, Ive only played 2nd ed. & heard the 3rd ed. Is bad

Whats RuneQuest, Burning Wheel, & REIGN like?

TheCountAlucard
2016-12-30, 10:13 PM
That changes the genre from 'fantasy' to 'horror', I think - pretty much anything interesting in Exalted can kill mortals by looking at them funny. (In some cases, literally.)Have you played a mortals game in the new edition? As long as the group has a good medic, it's still pretty survivable, so long as the group doesn't try and fight Octavian.

Of course, maybe we have different standards for "anything interesting," but I'm hoping that's not the case.

Catullus
2016-12-30, 10:35 PM
Would Call of Cthulhu be good?

TheCountAlucard
2016-12-30, 10:52 PM
Would Call of Cthulhu be good?That's not quite a fantasy system. Also it's set in the 20th century. May be a bit too modern.

VoxRationis
2016-12-30, 10:59 PM
The Legend of the Five Rings RPG (at least the third edition, which is the only one I've seen) has Insight Ranks, which are sort of like levels, but there are only five of them and they are determined based on your stats, rather than the other way around. Much of the system is tied to the setting (particularly the magic), but the core skill and combat mechanics could be transferred to a more neutral environment without too much effort, and I like several aspects of its mechanics (particularly its separation of skill potential and skill reliability, which d20 fails at horribly).

Arbane
2016-12-30, 11:45 PM
Would Call of Cthulhu be good?

Regular Call of Cthulhu, probably not so much, as it's early-20th century horror adventures.
The Dreamlands sub-setting might actually be good for fantasy - ISTR it's less Cosmic Horror and more Cosmic Weirdness.

It uses pretty much the same system as RuneQuest (minus hit locations, IIRC), so it would be possible to use monsters from it in RQ (or vice versa).

Stryyke
2016-12-31, 12:59 AM
A bit of self-promotion, if you don't mind.

https://app.roll20.net/lfg/listing/64775/the-final-battle

It's a feat based progression system that provides a high degree of versatility and customization.

Mark Hall
2016-12-31, 10:04 AM
I would still class Legend of the Five Rings as level-based, despite it being an inversion of the usual level-based system (similar to Earthdawn), because your level determines your access to abilities. Not sufficient power to have insight rank 2? You cannot have insight rank 2 abilities. Not sufficiently powerful to advance to the 2nd Circle? You can't learn 2nd circle abilities.

Arbane
2016-12-31, 02:10 PM
RuneQuest is a pretty old system - it's been around since the 1970s, and while it's had a lot of revisions, it's still a mostly-percentile skill-based system.

All characters can use magic, and NOT doing so gives you a fairly big handicap. Most people learn quick and easy battle-magic spells, which tend to be fairly minor, but there's several different systems (Spirit Magic, Divine Magic, Sorcery, Mysticism) that are more powerful for dedicated users.

Characters, even experienced ones, are fairly fragile. If you get in a fight, wear armor, bring a shield, and hope your opponent doesn't crit.

The experience system is mainly 'learn by doing' - use a skill, you put a check-mark next to it and get to roll to see if it improves between adventures. You can also buy training, which is where a lot of skill increases will come from.

Religion is a big deal to characters - most magic is gained via the cult your character belongs to. (Also, in RQ's default world of Glorantha, myths are literally true.)

The default setting is for the most part kind-of Bronze Age, not medieval.

--------------

On the subject of Sword and Sorcery, there's a new Conan game coming out, using a new '2d20' system. From what I've seen so far, it looks good.

Bohandas
2016-12-31, 02:34 PM
The only non level-based P&P RPG I can think of is the "Dungeons and Toons" setting for Toon: The Cartoon Roleplaying Game.

Paranoia XP as also non-level-based, but is soft sci-fi, not fantasy.

Dwarf Fortress is non-level-based as well, but is a computer game rather than pen-and-paper

Alcore
2016-12-31, 03:09 PM
I do not know the systems you speak of but Warrior, Rogue, Mage is a non leveled system. One can "advance" but the details of what advances per 'level' is up to the player. One can add a talent, or a skill. Perhaps a player decides to increase base attributes. HP and mana only increase then as well but only when picked.


It is a bare bones system that can allow for making more rules or layers. A good game.

Anderlith
2016-12-31, 05:10 PM
If Lord of the Five Rings has a tier system like Only War/Dark Heresy 2nd Ed. I'm okay with that. I'm looking for versatility, & systems with little to no HP inflation. I like when a vetern lives because of skills & caution, instead of a massive HP pool.

Arbane
2016-12-31, 05:43 PM
If Lord of the Five Rings has a tier system like Only War/Dark Heresy 2nd Ed. I'm okay with that. I'm looking for versatility, & systems with little to no HP inflation. I like when a vetern lives because of skills & caution, instead of a massive HP pool.

Now I'm imagining Frodo and Aragorn with katanas. :smallbiggrin:

Legend of the Five Rings isn't bad, and is certainly worth looking at, but the system & setting have some issues - a big one being that at least in the basic rules it's assumed that PCs will be Samurai or Shugenja (spellcasters), and that's IT. (With all the Bullshido that goes with Japan As Written About By Westerners.) If the players aren't into Samurai, they will not like it. The setting has the small problem that Hell is literally on their south border, but most of the clans would rather fight each other for frankly STUPID reasons.
And, at least in older editions, The Metaplot Rules All.

7th Sea uses a similar system to L5R, and is set more in the 1700s or so - it's intended for swashbuckling adventures + magic.

Knaight
2016-12-31, 10:54 PM
If Lord of the Five Rings has a tier system like Only War/Dark Heresy 2nd Ed. I'm okay with that. I'm looking for versatility, & systems with little to no HP inflation. I like when a vetern lives because of skills & caution, instead of a massive HP pool.

Most of the systems listed use something other than HP for wounds anyways (although in some cases only barely different), so you're probably good on that. HP inflation is pretty much a D&D thing, there are other cases where it crops up but they're pretty rare and tend to be offshoots (e.g. 13th Age).

TheCountAlucard
2017-01-01, 12:39 AM
The default for hit points in the new Exalted system is seven health levels. The only ways to get more are through the Giant mutation or from magic.

(That said, a good number of attacks in third edition don't directly target the health track, instead performing various gambits and otherwise shifting the tide of the battle without necessarily delivering a disabling or lethal wound.)

Anderlith
2017-01-01, 12:57 AM
The default for hit points in the new Exalted system is seven health levels. The only ways to get more are through the Giant mutation or from magic.

(That said, a good number of attacks in third edition don't directly target the health track, instead performing various gambits and otherwise shifting the tide of the battle without necessarily delivering a disabling or lethal wound.)

Exalted is far to powerful to be run as a standard adventure game. While id like my players to start off competent Exalted starts them as Godlike, its very tied to its setting & the shear amount of charms make my head hurt. Also, no Dragonblooded yet.

TheCountAlucard
2017-01-01, 04:07 AM
Exalted is far to powerful to be run as a standard adventure game. While id like my players to start off competent Exalted starts them as Godlike, its very tied to its setting & the shear amount of charms make my head hurt. Also, no Dragonblooded yet.I already pointed out a bit ago that the system works just fine playing as mortals.

warty goblin
2017-01-01, 03:41 PM
Das Schwarze Auge (The Dark Eye) is levelless and fantasy. The default magic system is a standard mana- and spell-based system, but there are other "magic" subsystems (runes, alchemy, blood magic) which may qualify as "cool".

The new 5th Edition is available in English (http://www.ulisses-ebooks.de/browse.php?filters=45558), the much more expansive 4th Edition is mostly available only in German.

I've been reading the fifth edition for about a month, and it's really nice. It preserves a lot of the cool stuff from the previous edition, but cuts down most of the over-the-top rules heavy bits. No more linear equations to figure out the effect of wearing chainmail on your ability to swim, but you still get a usable encumbrance system. It also looks like it solves the problem with Parry being too strong, contains a much better selection of character types and special abilities, and generally a lot more readable.

It also does a really cool thing where the book has a bunch of sample characters, and uses their intros to basically run though a short adventure.


Plus, I just like the roll against three attributes skill system, which goes a long way towards solving the 'skill X should use attribute Y not Z' arguments, and making spells skills with individual advancement means magic users need a variety of good stats.

2D8HP
2017-01-01, 05:26 PM
I second GURPS for basically anything, including fantasy if you're not a fan of d20Besides the "Basic Game" which has some rules you could probably use right away, if you use GURPS you'll likely want one or more "World Book" (Fantasy, Vikings, Celtic Myth, etc). One "World Book" is called "Dungeon Fantasy" which replicates old-fashioned D&D, using GURPS rules, and may be worthwhile.
This week I picked up the "DiscWorld RPG (http://www.sjgames.com/discworld/) which while it uses GURPS rules, is a complete game and world book in one.

http://www.sjgames.com/discworld/img/cover_sm.jpg


Would Call of Cthulhu be good?

Call of Cthullu Dark Ages (https://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/15/15587.phtml) was a seperate complete rulebook that may fit your needs.

Like CoC (and Magic World, Pendragon, Stormbringer etc) it is a Runequest based part of Chaosium's Basic Roleplaying (http://www.chaosium.com/basic-roleplaying-brp/) family of RPG's, which for me is second only to old "Basic" D&D in being easy to use (maybe even more intuitive to use).
I am very partial to BRP, which I started playing with 1978 Runequest.
Actually anytime people say what they want a Swords & Sorcery RPG but not like this or that of D&D, it almost always sounds to me like what they want is Runequest, which makes me puzzled why it seems so little known.

If anyone has taken a look at 7th Sea Second Edition, thats the kind of feel I want, but a more robust system with more options. & to trade the swashbuckling for more sword & sorcery


I bought 7th Sea 2e earlier this year, because the setting looked AWESOME!, and I'm very curious why it doesn't fit your needs ("robust"?, "options"?, I don't understand these words)?

Anonymouswizard
2017-01-01, 06:20 PM
Besides the "Basic Game" which has some rules you could probably use right away, if you use GURPS you'll likely want one or more "World Book" (Fantasy, Vikings, Celtic Myth, etc). One "World Book" is called "Dungeon Fantasy" which replicates old-fashioned D&D, using GURPS rules, and may be worthwhile.

GURPS is a game where you should rarely be running with just the Basic Set, but you might find you go several sessions only needing Magic or X-Tech (Bio, High, Ultra, or Low). It's not that you can't run a game entirely with the basic set, it's just generally that there's enough books that there's likely enough at least one that'll improve your game.

I also feel like mentioning that until 3e GURPS Fantasy was a specific seeing called Yrth, currently using the title GURPS Banestorm, while 4e GURPS Fantasy is more a generic discussion on using GURPS to run fantasy.

When it comes to Dungeon Fantasy I recommend waiting for the new boxed version, which has everything you need to play in a box.

Anderlith
2017-01-01, 11:15 PM
I bought 7th Sea 2e earlier this year, because the setting looked AWESOME!, and I'm very curious why it doesn't fit your needs ("robust"?, "options"?, I don't understand these words)?

It leave a lot of the Sorceries to GM fiat, & doesnt really have any options for anything except swashbuckling heroics. Which is absolutely amazingly done. & i love the game, (im running a small game of 7th sea right now) it just isnt a fit for a particular style im looking for at the moment.

Joe the Rat
2017-01-04, 01:16 PM
Given the common heritage (AEG roll n' keep), I wonder how hard it would be to shoehorn L5R style magic onto 7th Sea.
Though that really doesn't help with the Swashbuckler heroics part.

Mutazoia
2017-01-05, 02:42 AM
I'm going to re-recommend Warhammer Fantasy Role Play. You don't even really have classes, just careers that you change when you want to. You still use HP, but AC is figured by location, so you can have a full plate chest piece and lether bracers and have two seperate AC values for those locations.