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exelsisxax
2017-12-06, 05:04 PM
My group plays pathfinder. After a minor bout of existential depression triggered by trying to fix PF's problems and seeing the true unfathomable madness that underlies 3.PF game design, I decided that I need something different - hopefully with coherent design principles.

I don't want rules-lite, and I loathe narrative games, so any post that recommends FATE or similar will be ignored. Medium to high crunch? I enjoy the character creation minigame, so making a character in 5 minutes is certainly not an advantage, while not necessarily a drawback. What I would really like is an efficient system that actually diverges from the standard pitfalls of D&D and similar systems, while maintaining the expandability and versatility of something like pathfinder. Fantasy-themed, if possible.

So basically, who has a unicorn? Can you share?

Mark Hall
2017-12-06, 05:31 PM
Well, one of my go-to games is Hackmaster, which frequently describes itself as a "game of hard choices". There's a free beginning game (www.kenzerco.com/free_files/hackmaster_basic_free_.pdf), with the full game (and a slightly more advanced game) available for purchase.

I'd call it a relatively high-crunch game, though it doesn't always suffer if you leave some things out (for example, I've long ignored the full fatigue rules). Character creation is lengthy and a little bit swingy, but all of the classes do well at mattering... fighters remain relevant, without mages becoming irrelevant.

Calthropstu
2017-12-06, 05:43 PM
I would also recommend Shadowrun and, although a lot of people here knock it, whitewolf's world of darkness setting.
Shadowrun remains one of my favorite game concepts, a futuristic meets fantasy type game with a fairly dark premise.

Koo Rehtorb
2017-12-06, 05:52 PM
Burning Wheel.

You make characters by plotting out their entire lives up until the point where you start play, after which characters will continue to progress in individual skills by using them.

There's an app for making Burning Wheel characters here. https://charred.herokuapp.com/#/ Four lifepaths is "standard".

MrZJunior
2017-12-06, 06:29 PM
If you like the character creation mini game Traveller has an interesting one. You can die during character creation!

Anonymouswizard
2017-12-06, 07:02 PM
My favourites:

Keltia: low fantasy Arthurian mythology, Celts in post Roman Britain. Actually more PC usable magic than Pendragon, but firmly in the 'trying to be historically accurate' category. The system isn't great, and as a point buy system balance can be really wonky, but a decent little stat-skill system, the only real 'powers' are combat techniques and spells.

Traveller: low key space opera, characters are generated by a life path system that does not ensure balance. It's definitely not Start Wars or Star Trek, being much closer setting wise to Foundation or maybe the Night's Dawn trilogy, with the speed of interstellar craft a major limiting factor on empires.

Rocket Age: my sell for this is simple, you can fight Nazis with ray guns on Mars (in answer to the 'who gets the ray guns' question, yes). Essentially planetary romance/1930s space opera, it's based on a solid rules system with a few interesting ideas but nothing mind blowing. Just don't expect science from the game itself, although if wanted you can add in some touches (in my version rockets do have large reaction mass tanks, and all Earthling RAY weapons are essentially particle beams). But you're not playing it for the science, you're playing it to strap a rocket pack to your back and leap out of a rocket in Marian orbit to attack the Nazi war walkers getting close to your ally's city with your RAY rifle. On the down side it is rather narrative.

Eclipse Phase: while I'm of the opinion that the actual rules are a clunky mess and will only touch it via the Fate hack, it's a really cool transhumanist sf horror setting. Think more cyberpunk, less space opera.

The Laundry: wish Call of Cthulhu was less depressing (but not too much)? Welcome to the British government's first line of defence against the many angled ones. If you've read the books then the humour is spot on, and it's a good adaption of an older version of BRP. Although I suppose such things as computational sorcery make it really weird, the best way to cast a spell is with a computer (a piece of equipment is the 'necronomiphone', a phone loaded with a basic set of useful spell apps, and it's not too hard to get the permission for one in character creation).

Unfortunately after this the main systems I'm into these days are either retroclones or Fate.

Jay R
2017-12-06, 07:04 PM
If arithmetic and complicated character design are not problems, then I recommend Fantasy Hero. It's the same system as Champions. You have near-infinite flexibility to design weapons, magic spells, magic systems, etc.

I once designed a magic system for a bard, revolving around buff spells, in the form of inspiring songs. The spell system had the advantage Area Effect and extended duration (24 hours), and the limitations, incantation, requires gestures (playing the harp), Focus (harp), takes five minutes, only effective on entities that can hear him, etc. This made buff spells fairly cheap, and left him free to join the melee.

The crucial fact is that I designed the spells, not the rulebook. The rules decided how many points they would cost.

It tracks Stun points, Endurance, and Body points separately. If you run out of Endurance, for instance, many of your abilities can't be used (you're out of breath). I always build a few utility powers that don't cost endurance.

Lots of people don't like the arithmetic involved in character design. My best friend was one of them. I used to make his characters to his ideas, which he then had no problem running.

Guizonde
2017-12-06, 07:48 PM
if i may: warhammer frp, for your crunchiness, gurps for your options (i hope you're better at math than me). also, try pendragon, i only hear good things about it. hope this helps.

paddyfool
2017-12-06, 08:45 PM
I rather like Fantasy Craft, for something that branched off in quite a different way from the whole d20 family of games, and has, among other things, much better balanced classes than 3.5 or 3.P. Sadly, it has a limited fan base and further expansions are in development hell, but the existing materials work.

It's certainly high crunch in terms of character development. It does have more of the narrative elements you dislike than Pathfinder, but a lot less than the likes of FATE or Burning Wheel, and some of them are just optional. What did you particularly dislike about Pathfinder and want to avoid?

Max_Killjoy
2017-12-06, 09:03 PM
The aforementioned HERO system, my preference is 5th edition.

For something completely different, the Planet Mercenary RPG.

exelsisxax
2017-12-06, 11:30 PM
I rather like Fantasy Craft, for something that branched off in quite a different way from the whole d20 family of games, and has, among other things, much better balanced classes than 3.5 or 3.P. Sadly, it has a limited fan base and further expansions are in development hell, but the existing materials work.

It's certainly high crunch in terms of character development. It does have more of the narrative elements you dislike than Pathfinder, but a lot less than the likes of FATE or Burning Wheel, and some of them are just optional. What did you particularly dislike about Pathfinder and want to avoid?

It's not that I dislike pathfinder, it mostly does what it was made to do. But in remaining a steadfastly faithful successor to 3.5, it inherited the broken foundations. I was basically trying to do your standard pathfinder 'fix' like everybody and their mom, but in a moment of horrifying insight, after opening a dozen new text documents, I realized that "redo all the character statistics, skill system, combat, equipment, and magic" was writing my own RPG. I don't have time for that.

I want the vast breadth of options and mechanical distinctiveness that pathfinder can do, but not made from plywood held together by yarn.

WoD and fate don't have that, and they barely even count as games. Not only are they incapable of providing mechanical distinctions, they barely have any mechanics at all.

So maybe what I really want is just a solid system that runs well that has a bunch of subsystems that work rather than enciting me to rewrite all of them by being so bad.

Arbane
2017-12-06, 11:43 PM
RuneQuest, maybe? No classes, no levels, pretty much everything your character can do is either a stat check or a percentile skill. Everyone knows a little magic. If you get in a fight, wear armor and have a shield, or prepare to learn to tie your shoes one-handed.

GURPS: Extremely flexible character generation. Pointbuy for EVERYTHING. Has sourcebooks for every genre ever thought of.

Feng Shui: Action-Movie roleplaying. Can do Fantasy from the main book if you like Mythic China, could do Western Fantasy with a bit of hacking.

Nifft
2017-12-06, 11:54 PM
Have you tried D&D 5e yet?

It's not perfect, but it's a lot less broken than 3.5/PF in specific and d20 systems in general.

1337 b4k4
2017-12-07, 12:07 AM
So maybe what I really want is just a solid system that runs well that has a bunch of subsystems that work rather than enciting me to rewrite all of them by being so bad.

Then what you want is GURPS. Seriously, no joke, that's the system you want. If you don't want to shell out for both of the main books plus supplements to narrow down to Fantasy you have a handful of options:

A) You can just buy the two core books and make what you need for fantasy from it. The two core books in hard cover will run you about $85 or you can get them in PDF for around $55. They will have everything you need to build and run any type of game, and everything really does work together, and you can add or remove as much as you want.

B) You can buy their new Dungeon Fantasy box set (http://www.sjgames.com/dungeonfantasy/) which pares down the core rules to what's necessary for a fantasy game and then tacks on some stuff from the fantasy supplements. At $60 for the hard copy, it's not a terrible price if you want to get started fast without having to build your bestiary from the ground up

C) You can pick up GURPS Lite (http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/lite/) for free, and build what you need from there. At 32 pages, it's the basics of GURPS, but it's really all you need for players, and for GMs it's good enough to work from if you've got a head for seeing how mechanics work.

D) You can pick up GURPS 3rd edition (http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/books/basic/3e/) either for $20 PDF or for whatever you can find it for on ebay/amazon. It's a perfectly good system, and served from 1988-2004. As a single book it's cheaper to get the "whole game" and there's a metric crap ton (not imperial) of supplements and material for it. Chances are your FLGS has some in the clearance section.

No matter what you pick, as long as you remember that because it's a universal system there's a lot you won't need so be prepared to toss stuff out, you'll get what you're looking for.

Haven
2017-12-07, 12:52 AM
I've been partial to Strike! (http://www.strikerpg.com/) lately. It's a d6 system, similar to 4th edition D&D, but it plays a lot more smoothly. It's also setting-agnostic; I ran an Overwatch one-shot and it worked really well.

Anonymouswizard
2017-12-07, 06:04 AM
WoD and fate don't have that, and they barely even count as games. Not only are they incapable of providing mechanical distinctions, they barely have any mechanics at all.

Cut the ****. Just because they have less crunch than you like does not mean they have barely any mechanics at all. Fate is actually packed with both mechanics and discussion of mechanics that makes it flexible, 'here's how stunts work, this is how you make them, and we'll provide you with a bunch of basic ones'. Repeat that with Extras, a little bit of it with skills, and a lot of discussion on how to use the three consequences of Aspects (Permissions, Invocations, and Compels) to make a deep game. Then there's the contest and conflict rules, which are essentially frameworks for using the existing skills in a competitive or offensive fashion (which in some ways is much better than D&D's traditional 'let's separate combat and noncombat statistics'). Skills and Stunts give a good degree of mechanical distinctions between characters even if everybody is using exactly the same systems.

I could go through the same sort of thing with the WoD games, but that's tiring.

Heck Lasers & Feelings (http://onesevendesign.com/lasers_and_feelings_rpg.pdf) has about half a side of A4 in rules, characters are differentiated by one number and a couple of words, and it's still a game. It might not be a game that you like, but it's still a game.

So please, next time say 'I like crunchy games' instead of saying 'games that aren't crunchy barely even count as games'. It's much, much less offensive, and isn't presenting subjective opinion as an objective fact.


So maybe what I really want is just a solid system that runs well that has a bunch of subsystems that work rather than enciting me to rewrite all of them by being so bad.

I think you might like Anima: Beyond Fantasy, if you're willing to deal with the fact that character creation is more complicated than 3.PF (it's essentially a Rolemaster descendant). Base Attack Bonus? Ha, if you want a higher Attack bonus spend DP on it, if you don't let it remain at no points invested and put more points into skills or one of the five different power systems (Ki, Magic, Summoning, Psychic Powers, Elan) that are all in the core rulebook and all moderately balanced if you use the rules as written and track time properly (Magic is very powerful but it takes days to recharge Zeon, Ki recharges relatively quickly but you burn through it quickly, Psychic Powers are always available but Power Points are used to both learn them and make them more powerful/likely to succeed, Elan is rather restrictive, and Summon requires a lot of prep work to be worthwhile).


Have you tried D&D 5e yet?

It's not perfect, but it's a lot less broken than 3.5/PF in specific and d20 systems in general.

Oh yeah, suggest a game with arguably less rules than Fate (but more options). Not that it's bad, but if somebody likes the complexity of 3.X then it likely isn't what they're looking for.

Grod_The_Giant
2017-12-07, 08:02 AM
WoD and fate don't have that, and they barely even count as games. Not only are they incapable of providing mechanical distinctions, they barely have any mechanics at all.
Um. I'll leave Fate aside, as it's probably not to your taste even if it's not as bad as you claim, but White Wolf's assorted gamelines are hardcore crunch, mate. They're got a lot of setting-specific fluff and such as well, but they're every bit as rules-heavy as D&D. If not more so; I can at least make a simple Fighter or Rogue or something in D&D, but good luck making a "simple" character in Exalted.

Which would be one of my two recommendations-- Exalted, particularly Exalted 3e. The basic idea is that the players are all demigods (~5 of 300, though I think around half have been stolen and corrupted), returning to a crapsack fantasy world that's been slowly deteriorating in their absence. The whole thing has a heavy eastern/Chinese mythological influence-- great heavenly bureaucracies, gods and demons hiding around every tree, magic kung fu, that sort of thing. And the power scale is very high. You start out able to push pure mortals around like it ain't no thing, and scale up to the point where you can walk into a nation and take it over in, like, ten minutes.

The meat of the system lies in its Charms, which are somewhere between feats and spells. They're fairly standard point-buy rules-packet type things, but there are lots of them. You start with 15, and there are dozens of them in the core book... for each skill. So sure, you've got your big skill trees for athletics and melee combat, lots of games have those sorts of things... but how many have equally large trees for social skills? For weird stuff like Bureaucracy and Performance and Sail? Charms are level- and prerequisite-gated, but every character gets to pick one set and ignore the level-based prereqs, meaning that each starting character will be phenomenally good at something. One guy in the group may start character creation with the ability to shrug off an erupting volcano and tank siege weapons with their face; another might be able to walk into a temple and seduce the sworn-to-celibacy high priest; a third can lead a hundred farmers to victory over a legion of trained soldiers.

Of course, you've also got highly in-depth rules for not just the usual adventuring stuff, but for social stuff, mass combat, leading countries and other large organizations, doing massive crafting projects, and more.

It's a fun game.

----------

My other recommendation is Mutants and Masterminds 3e, which is-- in my opinion-- the finest superpower system out there. It's got fairly straightforward framework, and has you build your own powers from a limited set of Effects and Modifiers. It's not hard to learn the basics, but you can spend days playing around with creating weird character ideas. It plays quite quickly once you sit down at the table, and works as well for high-power fantasy as it does for superheroes.

exelsisxax
2017-12-07, 11:40 AM
RuneQuest, maybe? No classes, no levels, pretty much everything your character can do is either a stat check or a percentile skill. Everyone knows a little magic. If you get in a fight, wear armor and have a shield, or prepare to learn to tie your shoes one-handed.

GURPS: Extremely flexible character generation. Pointbuy for EVERYTHING. Has sourcebooks for every genre ever thought of.

Feng Shui: Action-Movie roleplaying. Can do Fantasy from the main book if you like Mythic China, could do Western Fantasy with a bit of hacking.
With runequest, is it a dedicated skill-based system? That's something i'm avoiding, because they are not meaningfully expandable. They don't really support subsystems once everything is unified by "roll against X". Making new skills just isn't the same as "here's a new thing that works totally different!" Basically the same with GURPS, except that also has a lot more busywork and chores to do in character creation.

I really don't know anything about feng shui. But i'm really not looking for something to make action scenes with or i'd probably be a fate or PbtA player.


Have you tried D&D 5e yet?

It's not perfect, but it's a lot less broken than 3.5/PF in specific and d20 systems in general.

I personally believe that 5e is only less broken in areas where it doesn't have rules, but for everything important it is still fundamentally crippled by 3e core design that it still imported. It also has very little content, so I have no reason to play it at all.


Cut the ****. Just because they have less crunch than you like does not mean they have barely any mechanics at all. Fate is actually packed with both mechanics and discussion of mechanics that makes it flexible, 'here's how stunts work, this is how you make them, and we'll provide you with a bunch of basic ones'. Repeat that with Extras, a little bit of it with skills, and a lot of discussion on how to use the three consequences of Aspects (Permissions, Invocations, and Compels) to make a deep game. Then there's the contest and conflict rules, which are essentially frameworks for using the existing skills in a competitive or offensive fashion (which in some ways is much better than D&D's traditional 'let's separate combat and noncombat statistics'). Skills and Stunts give a good degree of mechanical distinctions between characters even if everybody is using exactly the same systems.

I could go through the same sort of thing with the WoD games, but that's tiring.

Heck Lasers & Feelings (http://onesevendesign.com/lasers_and_feelings_rpg.pdf) has about half a side of A4 in rules, characters are differentiated by one number and a couple of words, and it's still a game. It might not be a game that you like, but it's still a game.

So please, next time say 'I like crunchy games' instead of saying 'games that aren't crunchy barely even count as games'. It's much, much less offensive, and isn't presenting subjective opinion as an objective fact.

Yeah, "not games" is a bad description. They are certainly games, but they are not primarily games. They're storytelling engines. Like Microscope, the point isn't to play the game, but using the game to produce a story.

I want something that is definitely a game. This is completely orthogonal to the rules-heavyness and crunchiness of a system.



I think you might like Anima: Beyond Fantasy, if you're willing to deal with the fact that character creation is more complicated than 3.PF (it's essentially a Rolemaster descendant). Base Attack Bonus? Ha, if you want a higher Attack bonus spend DP on it, if you don't let it remain at no points invested and put more points into skills or one of the five different power systems (Ki, Magic, Summoning, Psychic Powers, Elan) that are all in the core rulebook and all moderately balanced if you use the rules as written and track time properly (Magic is very powerful but it takes days to recharge Zeon, Ki recharges relatively quickly but you burn through it quickly, Psychic Powers are always available but Power Points are used to both learn them and make them more powerful/likely to succeed, Elan is rather restrictive, and Summon requires a lot of prep work to be worthwhile).

I can deal with heavy character creation, but is it logical or a convoluted thing with a bunch of derived stats that make everything pointlessly interconnected? And what's the system itself? I have never played rolemaster.


Um. I'll leave Fate aside, as it's probably not to your taste even if it's not as bad as you claim, but White Wolf's assorted gamelines are hardcore crunch, mate. They're got a lot of setting-specific fluff and such as well, but they're every bit as rules-heavy as D&D. If not more so; I can at least make a simple Fighter or Rogue or something in D&D, but good luck making a "simple" character in Exalted.

Which would be one of my two recommendations-- Exalted, particularly Exalted 3e. The basic idea is that the players are all demigods (~5 of 300, though I think around half have been stolen and corrupted), returning to a crapsack fantasy world that's been slowly deteriorating in their absence. The whole thing has a heavy eastern/Chinese mythological influence-- great heavenly bureaucracies, gods and demons hiding around every tree, magic kung fu, that sort of thing. And the power scale is very high. You start out able to push pure mortals around like it ain't no thing, and scale up to the point where you can walk into a nation and take it over in, like, ten minutes.

The meat of the system lies in its Charms, which are somewhere between feats and spells. They're fairly standard point-buy rules-packet type things, but there are lots of them. You start with 15, and there are dozens of them in the core book... for each skill. So sure, you've got your big skill trees for athletics and melee combat, lots of games have those sorts of things... but how many have equally large trees for social skills? For weird stuff like Bureaucracy and Performance and Sail? Charms are level- and prerequisite-gated, but every character gets to pick one set and ignore the level-based prereqs, meaning that each starting character will be phenomenally good at something. One guy in the group may start character creation with the ability to shrug off an erupting volcano and tank siege weapons with their face; another might be able to walk into a temple and seduce the sworn-to-celibacy high priest; a third can lead a hundred farmers to victory over a legion of trained soldiers.

Of course, you've also got highly in-depth rules for not just the usual adventuring stuff, but for social stuff, mass combat, leading countries and other large organizations, doing massive crafting projects, and more.

It's a fun game.

I am definitely not lumping in exalted with WoD. But i've heard some horror stories - do you really need to carry dice bags like you're about to play a 40K match as imperial guard?

I'm aware of the exalted setting (too anime even for japan) but don't know much about the system other than having the same general framework as VtM, and apparently they have their own edition wars. What's the good one to look into, and is there any sort of online resource for it to look into?



My other recommendation is Mutants and Masterminds 3e, which is-- in my opinion-- the finest superpower system out there. It's got fairly straightforward framework, and has you build your own powers from a limited set of Effects and Modifiers. It's not hard to learn the basics, but you can spend days playing around with creating weird character ideas. It plays quite quickly once you sit down at the table, and works as well for high-power fantasy as it does for superheroes.

is there any sense of character progression? It seems like the system is geared towards once-and-done characters.

Anonymouswizard
2017-12-07, 12:36 PM
With runequest, is it a dedicated skill-based system? That's something i'm avoiding, because they are not meaningfully expandable. They don't really support subsystems once everything is unified by "roll against X". Making new skills just isn't the same as "here's a new thing that works totally different!" Basically the same with GURPS, except that also has a lot more busywork and chores to do in character creation.

I really don't know anything about feng shui. But i'm really not looking for something to make action scenes with or i'd probably be a fate or PbtA player.

You're making quite a few untrue exertions in this, GURPS is probably the primary example of how to build additional subsystems into a stat-skill (really skill-power) system with it's umpteen magic systems. The general rule is that the skill roll should be in there somewhere, but apart from that anything goes (heck, GURPS has at least one magic system where rolling isn't a requirement).

I highly recommend a copy of GURPS Thaumatology just to see how different magic systems can be while keeping within a basic framework. It begins with some basic tweaks to it's spell system (including Vancian Magic), goes onto Path/Book magic (rituals grouped into themed sets, with also shows how you can change the casting system instead of the spells to represent a different type of magic by providing two ways to use it), touches on updates to the GURPS alchemy system, and even goes into both verb-noun magic and realm magic. Sure, at the end of the day you'll be rolling skill checks in all of them, but only one lets you make spells on the fly, only one tires the caster, only one focuses on creating items, and only one requires the better part of an hour to cast spells.


Yeah, "not games" is a bad description. They are certainly games, but they are not primarily games. They're storytelling engines. Like Microscope, the point isn't to play the game, but using the game to produce a story.

I want something that is definitely a game. This is completely orthogonal to the rules-heavyness and crunchiness of a system.

You're kind of dealing with a distinction without a difference there. All games must fall somewhere on the world-story simulation axis, although they might care only about the world (GURPS), only about the story (Fate), or somewhere in between (Rocket Age). If Fate is a storytelling engine then D&D is a worldshowing engine, while Fate exists to model the ups and downs of a story D&D exist to model the physics of a world (at least in theory).


I can deal with heavy character creation, but is it logical or a convoluted thing with a bunch of derived stats that make everything pointlessly interconnected? And what's the system itself? I have never played rolemaster.

A bit of derived stats, but not a lot of interconnectivity. You can however spend points on everything except primary attributes, and Advantages can lower the point cost of certain things.


I am definitely not lumping in exalted with WoD. But i've heard some horror stories - do you really need to carry dice bags like you're about to play a 40K match as imperial guard?

I'm aware of the exalted setting (too anime even for japan) but don't know much about the system other than having the same general framework as VtM, and apparently they have their own edition wars. What's the good one to look into, and is there any sort of online resource for it to look into?

Main differences:
-Static target number instead of a variable one (you always need to roll above, I think it's seven).
-Static defences instead of rolled defences.

That's essentially it. Which makes your insistence that WoD is a storytelling engine hilarious (not even CoD manages it, although it does add in some modelling of character motivations). Oh sure, there's a few minor things, and 3e strays further away, but those are the main differences.

You can even view CoD's engine as a streamlining of Exalted's. It's not a perfect fit, things like defence have been completely changed, but it's essentially true.


is there any sense of character progression? It seems like the system is geared towards once-and-done characters.

Yes, but it's not the game's draw. More Power Points whenever the GM gives them out, a new Power Level when the GM declares you've gone up (often after every fifteen Power Points). But it works just as well with static heroes as slowly developing heroes, as far as the system is concerned growing in power is more of a bonus than a core part of the experience.

Knaight
2017-12-07, 01:09 PM
If you're looking for crunchy, thoroughly defined fantasy systems with a tendency towards subsystem use I'd recommend REIGN. It's got a stat-skill baseline, plus three talent/power systems - one for skills (think D&D 3.5 skill tricks), one for combat (think martial feats, except that they tend to actually be good), and then the magic system. It's an ORE game, so the underlying mechanics are solid and just work.

Beyond a high core functionality REIGN has three major points in its favor. One is that it is easily expanded - beyond the core rule book's 450ish pages there's another 1000 pages of free online supplements*. The other two are systemic; there's a really interesting set of magic paths and the best rules for organizational conflict in the hobby.

Magic in REIGN has a few core assumptions. One is that just knowing magic is never enough, every magical path has a non-magical skill that's critical to it. As just one example, the flame dancers need to be able to dance, and for their more elaborate or larger spells they need to be able to dance for hours. Another is that characters are involved in fairly specific setting-linked magical traditions. There isn't just a pile of spells, there are individual thematic paths with very different capabilities and specializations. A lot of them are also really cool, with the Sunwise healers, Earthquake Drummers, and Smoke sculptors being my personal favorites.

Then there's the rules for organizations and conflict between them, for everything from a street gang to a nation. They've got a set of five organizational attributes, a codified system of interactions which all use two of those attributes, rules for individual notable assets, rules for large scale conflicts with a lot of groups, rules for the merging and splitting of organizations, and most critically rules for how individual action can shape group conflicts. Said rules are all designed to be easily portable to other systems, and capable of working on their own; with that said there are character-side rules in REIGN that explicitly tie in to them.

*Technically they're less free than already paid for. REIGN releases use a financial model referred to as the "ransom model" where they're made, people pay whatever they want for them, and once the people interested collectively pay enough they're released for everyone.

Grod_The_Giant
2017-12-07, 03:16 PM
I am definitely not lumping in exalted with WoD. But i've heard some horror stories - do you really need to carry dice bags like you're about to play a 40K match as imperial guard?

I'm aware of the exalted setting (too anime even for japan) but don't know much about the system other than having the same general framework as VtM, and apparently they have their own edition wars. What's the good one to look into, and is there any sort of online resource for it to look into?
I've not read much WoD, but from what I've seen they're all at about the same level of crunch. I can only really speak for the 3rd edition, which is the newest and most streamlined version, but it's not comically bad. I can't see throwing more than twenty-odd dice at once, and that only on a really big splashy combat roll where you're going all-out.

Second Edition was huge and sprawling, with dozens of books of various quality and options for playing many different types of Exalt. It also had some deep systematic flaws-- there was an emphasis on perfect attacks, stoppable only by perfect defenses, which could make combat turn into an attrition-based slog where you hoped your opponent ran out of magic to spend on defense before you. Third runs more cleanly, but is still a new edition and is trickling out slowly.


is there any sense of character progression? It seems like the system is geared towards once-and-done characters.
There's not that much vertical growth, but there tends to be a lot of horizontal stuff. Characters don't get significantly punchier, though you certainly can invest in more defensive abilities and more modifiers for your offensive ones, but they do get more and more well-rounded. You pick up lots of new tricks and new powers. I've played in and run long campaigns with it, and 1-2 points/session gives you a nice steady rate of character development.

(You could offer frequent power level jumps if you want, I guess, but scale tends to be more about what sorts of powers you buy and how you flavor things than how many ranks of Damage you have)

As a point-buy game, it does require some oversight to prevent heavy abuse, but you can't really accidentally break it like you can 3.x-- if you come up with a largely-perfect defense or offense, it's pretty clear that you did so.

Friv
2017-12-07, 05:36 PM
I am definitely not lumping in exalted with WoD. But i've heard some horror stories - do you really need to carry dice bags like you're about to play a 40K match as imperial guard?

I'm aware of the exalted setting (too anime even for japan) but don't know much about the system other than having the same general framework as VtM, and apparently they have their own edition wars. What's the good one to look into, and is there any sort of online resource for it to look into?

So, Exalted.

If you're looking for a high-crunch, generally functioning fantasy system, Third Edition is not a bad choice. It has an in-depth momentum-based combat system, a crunchy social mechanical system, roughly a billion magical powers, and a lot of cool setting.

Both First and Second edition are, mechanically speaking, rough. First Edition is the closest in style to the WoD system, which makes it reliably unreliable and sort of wonky at every level. Second Edition tried some new things, which work great until they don't - it's a minefield of a system that seems like a wonderful romp through a grassy field until and unless you step on the wrong patch of dirty and explode.

The only downside to Third Edition is that books come out roughly once every three years, and there are a dozen different types of integrated supernatural beings in the setting, of whom we currently have the mechanics for... one (the second should come out some time in 2018). How comfortable are you hand-waving supernatural abilities? There are some rough guidelines to handwave other Exalt types beyond the 'default', but it won't be mechanically rigorous. There are also some fan projects out there. No idea how good they are.

Mr Beer
2017-12-07, 09:22 PM
Then what you want is GURPS. Seriously, no joke, that's the system you want. If you don't want to shell out for both of the main books plus supplements to narrow down to Fantasy you have a handful of options:

Exactly what this guy said.

Crunch and dozens of sub-systems which are all consistent with the core rules and work.

GURPS is more of a toolkit to build a game system than a game system as such. The Basic Set will let you run any game but the supplementary books are what makes it so good (and they hang off a very solid core system).

In your shoes I would buy Dungeon Fantasy box set because someone has already used GURPS to build a fantasy game. It grew out of GURPS, coupled with the Dungeon Fantasy series of pdfs. It saves you having to work out which of the many awesome sub-systems you do and don't want to use, leaving you free to learn the crunch as written.

Bruno Carvalho
2017-12-08, 07:13 AM
Would you care to play a free indie game?

I'd like to suggest you my own Final Fantasy RPG, which you can download here on the gitp forums (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?420600-PEACH-New-FFRPG). You got your medium crunch fix (with the standard Theater of Mind rules for combat - if you use the optional Map Combat rules, in the FF Tactics sourcebook, it becomes high crunch), you got meaningless decision for character creation (and advancement, as each class get to choose which abilities they'll gain at character progression), and you get rid of the inherent brokeness of the 3.PF system.


Heck, I'll cut the slack and copy the download links here:

FFRPG Complete 4th Edition http://bit.ly/FFRPG4CE

Final Fantasy IV Worldbook: http://bit.ly/FFRPG4thDLC2

Final Fantasy VI Worldbook: http://bit.ly/FFRPG4thDLC3

Final Fantasy Tactics Worldbook: http://bit.ly/FFRPG4thDLC4

Character Sheet: http://bit.ly/FFRPG4eSheet

MrZJunior
2017-12-08, 04:34 PM
What makes point buy systems broken and open to abuse?

Blackhawk748
2017-12-08, 04:41 PM
I havent seen Savage Worlds mentioned. Yes its lighter on crunch and it is classless, but theres plenty of mechanics to dig around in and enough skills to make decisions feel worthwhile.

On the other end of the spectrum is the WH 40k line of RPGs. While each one has its own issues, they all play fairly well and the one you'd probably like best is Rogue Trader. Their Life Path system is beautiful.


What makes point buy systems broken and open to abuse?

Because its very easy to super optimize to be amazing at most things while never being truly bad at anything? I mean, to use MM 2e as an example, its stupid easy to make a literally unkillable character that can contribute beyond that.

Max_Killjoy
2017-12-08, 04:46 PM
Because its very easy to super optimize to be amazing at most things while never being truly bad at anything? I mean, to use MM 2e as an example, its stupid easy to make a literally unkillable character that can contribute beyond that.


Which is a signal that M&M 2e is specifically broken in a way that is not general to all point-based systems, and/or that the GM in question isn't doing the other half of setting up a game using a point-buy system (see, the standard practice in HERO of establishing campaign limits beyond raw point value). Saying "all point buy is broken because someone can hypothetically build a totally invulnerable character" is like saying "D&D is broken because a first-level fighter can hypothetically have a +5 Holy Avenger With Fries".

Eurus
2017-12-08, 04:47 PM
The Laundry: wish Call of Cthulhu was less depressing (but not too much)? Welcome to the British government's first line of defence against the many angled ones. If you've read the books then the humour is spot on, and it's a good adaption of an older version of BRP. Although I suppose such things as computational sorcery make it really weird, the best way to cast a spell is with a computer (a piece of equipment is the 'necronomiphone', a phone loaded with a basic set of useful spell apps, and it's not too hard to get the permission for one in character creation).

There's an RPG for The Laundry?

...Want.

Blackhawk748
2017-12-08, 04:58 PM
Which is a signal that M&M 2e is specifically broken in a way that is not general to all point-based systems, and/or that the GM in question isn't doing the other half of setting up a game using a point-buy system (see, the standard practice in HERO of establishing campaign limits beyond raw point value). Saying "all point buy is broken because someone can hypothetically build a totally invulnerable character" is like sayinghttp://www.giantitp.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?30-Roleplaying-Games "D&D is broken because a first-level fighter can hypothetically have a +5 Holy Avenger With Fries".

That analogy doesnt work. A level 1 Fighter is not supposed to have a +5 Holy Avenger according to the rules, whereas, by RAW, you are perfectly allowed to make an unkillable character *cough*Superman*cough* and anything the GM does about that is houseruling. Which is fine, as point buy requires that.

And the question was what makes point buy broken and open to abuse, and i answered: Most point buy allows you to make a character with no real flaws very easily, and some of them (M&M 2e) allow you to make spectacularly broken ones just as easy. I didnt say they where all broken, i just said its a flaw point buy systems have, much like how things based off of DnD 3.5 have that inherent issue of Casters being better than mundanes.

Scripten
2017-12-08, 05:07 PM
There's an RPG for The Laundry?

...Want.

It's cheap and well made! Unfortunately not canon, though. The Stross has declared it as an alternate universe.

Max_Killjoy
2017-12-08, 05:07 PM
That analogy doesnt work. A level 1 Fighter is not supposed to have a +5 Holy Avenger according to the rules, whereas, by RAW, you are perfectly allowed to make an unkillable character *cough*Superman*cough* and anything the GM does about that is houseruling. Which is fine, as point buy requires that.

And the question was what makes point buy broken and open to abuse, and i answered: Most point buy allows you to make a character with no real flaws very easily, and some of them (M&M 2e) allow you to make spectacularly broken ones just as easy. I didnt say they where all broken, i just said its a flaw point buy systems have, much like how things based off of DnD 3.5 have that inherent issue of Casters being better than mundanes.

Campaign limits (for damage dice, defenses, combat skill, etc) beyond simple point totals are part of the system as published -- not houserules -- for HERO, at the very least. Just to make that clear, additional constraints are an intended part of the system; if the GM of a Champions/superheroic campaign isn't using them, then he's not houseruling, he's simply ignoring part of the standard setup for a campaign.

If you don't take any Disadvantages in Superheroic campaign in HERO (that is, your character has no "flaws"), it is difficult to impossible to afford the sorts of powers that break the game, and the character is far more likely to cause issues by being chronically underpowered.

If other point-based systems don't work out this way, then the problem isn't point-buy, it's those systems.

Jay R
2017-12-08, 08:32 PM
The problem is that many effects can be simulated by a math function in the reasonable range, but extended too far, that function becomes ludicrous. For instance, the rule for sidekicks in Champions lets you double the number of sidekicks you have for an additional 5 points. That makes sense, at small numbers - 3, 4, 8. But for an additional 165 points, it's possible for a starting character to have 8 billion sidekicks - everybody in the entire world is yours to control. That's (one reason) why GMs must always have the ability to overrule the rules.

There was some Steve Jackson game in the 1980s that included a statement that if a player finds a loophole that gives significantly more power than the rules intended, the GM should congratulate the player on his ingenuity and ruthlessly disallow it.

With this rule and a competent GM, the risks of any system are manageable. Without this rule, most systems can lead to absurd results.

Anonymouswizard
2017-12-09, 05:42 AM
What makes point buy systems broken and open to abuse?

Options.

Specifically, in a classed game there's a smaller number of potential character builds (most of the time), so I just have to check if a Paladin 5 is equal to a Firedancer 5 (or at least are levels are roughly balanced enough that the difference never matters). But in a point buy game there are generally over a thousand potential combinations in the corebook alone, which can lead to a lot of synergies being overlooked. Note that most of 5e's balance issues come from either multiclassing or feats, which add more options, with the classes being roughly balanced (barring some outliers).


There's an RPG for The Laundry?

...Want.

Yes, yes there is (http://cubicle7.co.uk/our-games/the-laundry/). Technically noncanon, as has been said, but it certainly works for pre-whateverthelatestbookiscalled Laundry rather well. It even gives the rules to play in any department, from operations to catering to the shrieking half mad sorcerers in R&D.

BWR
2017-12-09, 06:10 AM
There's an RPG for The Laundry?

...Want.

On the whole it is decent. The splat books, some of the missions, etc. are all fun and useful. The biggest issue I had was how the magic system was generally a bit wonky and didn't quite match up to the books, especially anything after Fuller Memorandum.
If you don't focus too much on that, and like the BRP, you're golden. If you aren't too fond of BRP (I'm at best lukewarm towards it) it's fine with a few houserules.

RazorChain
2017-12-09, 09:08 AM
What makes point buy systems broken and open to abuse?

Lack of GM control, nothing else

Anonymouswizard
2017-12-09, 09:26 AM
Lack of GM control, nothing else

True for open to abuse, but not to being broken.

It's a well known fact that, ignoring some outliers (3.5 is the well known one) point buy systems tend to be unbalanced and feature insane combos compared to classed systems. In several superhero systems it is possible to build a starting character who can put out the sun (either by explicitly having the power 'put out the sun' or by having a more versatile power that just happens to be capable of it), which is fine if the GM okays it and nobody else has brought Batman to the table, and in M&M3e being alive and awake at the beginning of every round costs only 60PP (Immortality 20 plus Regeneration 10 means you revive at the beginning of the round and remove your worst damage condition at the start of your turn) which is actually relatively weak because you so very rarely go down without several hits. These options just don't exist in D&D 4e/5e.

Max_Killjoy
2017-12-09, 10:24 AM
True for open to abuse, but not to being broken.

It's a well known fact that, ignoring some outliers (3.5 is the well known one) point buy systems tend to be unbalanced and feature insane combos compared to classed systems. In several superhero systems it is possible to build a starting character who can put out the sun (either by explicitly having the power 'put out the sun' or by having a more versatile power that just happens to be capable of it), which is fine if the GM okays it and nobody else has brought Batman to the table, and in M&M3e being alive and awake at the beginning of every round costs only 60PP (Immortality 20 plus Regeneration 10 means you revive at the beginning of the round and remove your worst damage condition at the start of your turn) which is actually relatively weak because you so very rarely go down without several hits. These options just don't exist in D&D 4e/5e.

1) Those "superhero" games are attempting to emulate a very different sort of character and setting.

2) It sounds like some of those other point-buy systems are still trying to catch up to what HERO did long ago. It's not a perfect game, but IME it doesn't have the sort of crazy-arse problems people chalk up to "a point-based thing".

3) I'll take the need for player and GM discretion over imposed cliches archetypes 10 out of 10 times.

Whenever this stuff about "but in this example point-buy system I can work up this combination that breaks the game" comes up, I'm reminded of the apocryphal quote about censorship attributed to Mark Twain.

JellyPooga
2017-12-09, 10:50 AM
I'm going to recommend The One Ring.

It's a very narrative driven game, but not in the same sense that, say, FATE is. TOR has a diverse set of sub-systems for different aspects of play, but combines them in an easy to grok and unobtrusive manner. Unlike d20, TOR resolves everything with the same basic dice mechanic, from social skill checks to damage in combat to how long it takes to get from A to B. This makes it easy to know what you're rolling and how to resolve it. On the flipside, it's definitely a game about feeling like a badass, with a multitude of special/unique abilities for all kinds of situations (e.g. one character might be able to use magic to improve their archery skills and then turn around and get an automatic success on some deep thinking with his Smoking aspect, then climb nimbly to the top of a hill by acing his roll on an Athletics test).

WARNING: TOR has a fair bit of book-keeping involved, so if you don't like the idea of playing half a session to resolve travelling from the Lonely Mountain to the Gates of Mirkwood without actually enacting any combat along the way, OR you don't like the notion that you'll have to track your encumbrance because it has significant in and out of combat implications, among other things, then this is probably not for you.

That said, I love The One Ring. It's focus on action and narrative without bogging down in minute details has a massive appeal to me. If I had to describe it in one word, that word would be "elegant".

Anonymouswizard
2017-12-09, 11:12 AM
1) Those "superhero" games are attempting to emulate a very different sort of character and setting.

2) It sounds like some of those other point-buy systems are still trying to catch up to what HERO did long ago. It's not a perfect game, but IME it doesn't have the sort of crazy-arse problems people chalk up to "a point-based thing".

3) I'll take the need for player and GM discretion over imposed cliches archetypes 10 out of 10 times.

Whenever this stuff about "but in this example point-buy system I can work up this combination that breaks the game" comes up, I'm reminded of the apocryphal quote about censorship attributed to Mark Twain.

1) Sure, but my point was that characters can vary wildly, with Batman and 'put out the sun man' as an intentionally extreme example (although in most games Batman would be the better character).

2) Eh, HERO still suffers from some problems IIRC, a big one being that how powerful your character is is based on how they're built (as in, there's some methods that essentially give you free points compared to making a power the 'normal' way, sometimes up to a 100% increase in effective points spend), but I don't have an interest because I own GURPS, and I'm more interested in the games GURPS is suited to (relatively hard science fiction and modern games with mundane characters) than the high power level HERO was originally designed for. It's a personal taste (and FWIW GURPS has effectively caught up to HERO in the versatility department, in that the supplement books no longer need to add in rules, although it's not quite there).

3) Sure, I was explaining why it's relatively well known that point buy games tend to be less well balanced (although depending on the scope some can be at the level of not having power builds).

The point isn't that 'I can do this specific thing in a point buy system' (I believe that 'put out the sun man' is an example of a possible power in Wild Talents, which they then politely ask you not to use), 'point buy systems tend to have enough variables that characters tend to have a higher power ceiling and lower power floor' is the point. Heck, I like point buy, as I have said many times on this forum, but the fact that it tends to require more GM oversight for players to be at the same rough power level.

Calthropstu
2017-12-09, 11:56 AM
So, are there any rpg's that haven't been mentioned yet? I feel we've pitched just about everything to this guy.

The Glyphstone
2017-12-09, 01:00 PM
Technically speaking, FATAL is fantasy themed and has an extremely complex character creation process....😁

Blackhawk748
2017-12-09, 01:31 PM
Technically speaking, FATAL is fantasy themed and has an extremely complex character creation process....😁

Go and beg forgiveness from the Gods of Gaming.

Knaight
2017-12-09, 05:03 PM
And the question was what makes point buy broken and open to abuse, and i answered: Most point buy allows you to make a character with no real flaws very easily, and some of them (M&M 2e) allow you to make spectacularly broken ones just as easy. I didnt say they where all broken, i just said its a flaw point buy systems have, much like how things based off of DnD 3.5 have that inherent issue of Casters being better than mundanes.

In several superhero systems it is possible to build a starting character who can put out the sun (either by explicitly having the power 'put out the sun' or by having a more versatile power that just happens to be capable of it), which is fine if the GM okays it and nobody else has brought Batman to the table, and in M&M3e being alive and awake at the beginning of every round costs only 60PP (Immortality 20 plus Regeneration 10 means you revive at the beginning of the round and remove your worst damage condition at the start of your turn) which is actually relatively weak because you so very rarely go down without several hits. These options just don't exist in D&D 4e/5e.
This says less about point buy systems and more about superhero systems - specifically that any superhero system that is even slightly thorough is going to include a wide variety of superpowers, and that these superpowers can get pretty ridiculous when extended upwards for high power campaigns. The ORE system really shows this - it's point buy and generally pretty grounded, except for the superhero iteration which has some real shenanigans.


So, are there any rpg's that haven't been mentioned yet? I feel we've pitched just about everything to this guy.
As a conservative estimate, the unmentioned rpg count is about 10,000.

Anonymouswizard
2017-12-09, 05:37 PM
So, are there any rpg's that haven't been mentioned yet? I feel we've pitched just about everything to this guy.

At least four I can name from memory, several I've probably forgotten I own, and the thousands not mentioned that I don't own?

Airk
2017-12-10, 01:49 PM
As a conservative estimate, the unmentioned rpg count is about 10,000.

Yes, but the number of them that fit the criteria of "Basically Pathfinder, but without all the problems that come from making a game like Pathfinder" is substantially smaller. :P

Knaight
2017-12-10, 05:51 PM
Yes, but the number of them that fit the criteria of "Basically Pathfinder, but without all the problems that come from making a game like Pathfinder" is substantially smaller. :P

True, but in the context of whether there are "RPGs that haven't been mentioned yet" those criteria quickly vanish. Plus, there's a lot of stuff that fits in the crunchy fantasy mold that is very non-Pathfinder. I stand by my REIGN suggestion, and it's very much not PF.

caden_varn
2017-12-11, 04:28 AM
Earthdawn is crunchy fantasy. Has it's issues, but definitely not the same ones as PF. It is class-based, but with everyone being specifically magical, it gets around some of the caster cs mundane by giving outright magical abilities to fighter-types. Never played at high enough rank to see how that works out in practice though.

If you want crunchy fantasy with looong character generation, and you can find it (I am going to guess you probably can't, but who knows?), you could try Gary Gygax's Dangerous Journeys system. The fantasy version was called Mythus. Haven't played it for about 20 years, but my memory is of a long (as in multiple hour) char gen that did then lead to reasonably fast game play - it pushed most of the maths on the char gen part. Not sure how much I'd trust my memory that far back though, so take with a pinch of salt. No idea how balanced it is, but I am going to guess there are going to be issues. Certainly lucky rolling on the birth rank table can boost your power significantly (you need to be REALLY lucky, but 7th of a 7th son gets a lot of advantages from hwta I recall)

Anonymouswizard
2017-12-11, 07:35 AM
Another interesting idea is Victoriana. Much more Steampunk Shadowrun than anything D&D, although there are lots of differences (more races, including Halflings, Gnomes, and Beastmen, who have been around since recorded history began, and magic seems to be on the decline rather than on the rise). It uses a d6 dice pool system where your competency is measured by 'white dice' and is equal to Attribute+Skill+positive circumstances, while the difficulty of the action is represented by 'black dice'. If you roll more successes (1s or 6s) on your white dice than your black dice you succeed, one extra success is marginal, two is complete. 6s explode.

There are some problems in that it's possible to have negative dice pools (Attributes range from about -3 to about 8ish), but the advice I've seen the designer give is 'in this case roll one white dice, with extra black dice equal to your negative score plus one'. It is also 100% point buy, although it does provide a lot of example packages in the core book. Social class also has a big impact (because Victorian Britain), it determines your starting money for equipment, how good the Income talent is for you, and how much extra money you get at the beginning of an adventure, as well as impacting where your character can go, what careers are acceptable for them, and how people react to them. On the flip side, the higher your social class the lower your Fortitude attribute. Plus if you do want to play an Orc gentleman or an Elf prostitute, there's a Talent that allows you to pick an unusual social class.

exelsisxax
2017-12-11, 08:55 AM
Yes, but the number of them that fit the criteria of "Basically Pathfinder, but without all the problems that come from making a game like Pathfinder" is substantially smaller. :P

I don't want, narrowly, "basically pathfinder". I want something with the slew of options and content that pathfinder has and can support. It could be a classless card-draw based system with no magic items and highly abstracted combat and still fit the criteria. A fixed PF 2e sort of thing would work, but is not the only solution.

Airk
2017-12-11, 10:21 AM
I don't want, narrowly, "basically pathfinder". I want something with the slew of options and content that pathfinder has and can support. It could be a classless card-draw based system with no magic items and highly abstracted combat and still fit the criteria. A fixed PF 2e sort of thing would work, but is not the only solution.

That makes it both easier and harder. You're NEVER going to find another game with as much "options and content" as PF, because they've literally spent like 12 years or whatever churning out options and content. But your point about the nature of the game is well taken. Though I confess to having trouble reconciling "It could have abstract combat for all I care!" with "it needs as many options (presumably mechanical) as I can possibly get"?

Anonymouswizard
2017-12-11, 12:00 PM
That makes it both easier and harder. You're NEVER going to find another game with as much "options and content" as PF, because they've literally spent like 12 years or whatever churning out options and content. But your point about the nature of the game is well taken. Though I confess to having trouble reconciling "It could have abstract combat for all I care!" with "it needs as many options (presumably mechanical) as I can possibly get"?

Actually, if we can pull from before 4e, GURPS probably has more options and content than PF does, and if we can't it comes pretty close. They seem to have begun actual book support again recently as well, with titles being put into PoD and new ones being released (even if the recent releases I know of have mainly been compiling pdfs and licences). Even if we just count 4e, GURPS is crunchy and via it's genre books has a lot more content than Pathfinder, and probably more practical options in any campaign (due to it not being quite as combat focused, although tactical combat still gets an entire chapter). Plus in we go into pdf some of the settings have recieved updates from 3e (the big one being Transhuman Space), which tend to bring more options with them plus the content of the nonupdated settings.

OP, it really is sounding like you want a generic system, at which point as Fate is out the big four to consider will be HERO (probably the leader in terms of doing things with the corebook in crunchy systems), FUDGE (probably actually more versatile than HERO, but lighter), GURPS (preferred to HERO on this forum due to character creation requiring slightly less maths, and is more supplements centric but abuses that to give you a lot of options to use in any genre*), and Savage Worlds (which is the least flexible of the four). Bare in mind each generic will have a certain tone, GURPS will be grittier than Savage Worlds of FUDGE which will be grittier than HERO.

For what you've asked for I'd recommend GURPS or HERO over FUDGE, and FUDGE over Savage Worlds. Note that while FUDGE is the game Fate is based on, all the narrative stuff is 100% Fate, with the exception of Fudge Points (which, due to the lack of other narrative stuff, are much less prominent). My vote would be for GURPS, but that's because I adore the GURPS supplement books and the depth they get into, with the corebook still allowing anything up to near future play, I'm sure Knaight would vote that you try FUDGE and I think Max_Killjoy would say that HERO is better. These are all personal preferences though.

* Seriously, the X-tech books are basically set up so technology is in categories and you can allow say TL12 lasers but only TL10 computers, or TL10 medicine with TL3 weapons and armour.

1337 b4k4
2017-12-11, 07:31 PM
I don't want, narrowly, "basically pathfinder". I want something with the slew of options and content that pathfinder has and can support. It could be a classless card-draw based system with no magic items and highly abstracted combat and still fit the criteria. A fixed PF 2e sort of thing would work, but is not the only solution.

I reiterate that you really do want GURPS.

2D8HP
2017-12-11, 08:02 PM
RuneQuest, maybe? No classes, no levels, pretty much everything your character can do is either a stat check or a percentile skill. Everyone knows a little magic. If you get in a fight, wear armor and have a shield, or prepare to learn to tie your shoes one-handed..
I second RuneQuest (https://www.chaosium.com/blog/runequest-quickstart-is-here/)

and

Chaosium's BRP, which is just so intuitive.
(Here's a pdf sample (https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwi2yMuqooTUAhVpz1QKHZrTAPAQFggfMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.chaosium.com%2Fcontent%2FFree PDFs%2FBRP%2FCHA2021%2520-%2520Basic%2520RolePlaying%2520Quick-Start.pdf&usg=AFQjCNGmy2_JQrnYDUhYIyRJT3ghBDKF-Q)), is my "go-to" generic system.

They're many BRP based games, the most known of which is Call of Cthullu, which I found to be one of the easiest RPG's to Gamemaster or "Keeper", more D&D like were RuneQuest (the original "BRP" game), Pendragon (my favorite, here's a pdf sample (https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwj07PStxsnRAhWLqlQKHWzeAQUQFggaMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Flolthefol.jdr.free.fr%2FphpBB2%2F fichiersjdr%2FPendragon%2FPendragon.-.5th.Edition.Core.Rules.pdf&usg=AFQjCNH25RJ2olEXmoRhEW6i9-yKFjBeiQ) of some of the 5th edition rules, the latest I have, a 5.2 is out now).

Chaosium's Stormbringer had a magic system based on summoning supernatural entities, which I really recommend.

Here is a

review of Stormbringer (http://projects.inklesspen.com/fatal-and-friends/traveller/stormbringer-5th-edition--elric/)

that seems to go deepest into the "mechanics" that I've been able to find (warning NSFW language).

I really have a hard time in reading PDF's, but here's a

Quick start Magic World PDF (https://www.chaosium.com/content/FreePDFs/Magic%20World/Magic%20World%20Quickstart.pdf)

the rules of which I'm told are based on Stormbringer. but was the most D&D like as Magic World was designed to use "Runequest like rules, but with a gonzo D&D feel".

Lady Tialait
2017-12-12, 08:09 AM
Has anyone mentioned Rifts? While not technically fantasy, it can scratch that itch. The pure insanity of the game can sometimes be fun in of itself. The real downfall of the whole game is that there is too much going on, and the game designers were not interested in balancing things with very opinionated views towards spellcasters, negative opinion.

If you are looking for lots of different classes many with very interesting powers and advancements I would suggest Rifts.

kyoryu
2017-12-12, 01:49 PM
I'm going to recommend GURPS or Savage Worlds, depending on how crunchy you want.

Yes, GURPS uses a single core mechanic, but as others have pointed out, that's just what you roll when it comes to roll dice - not much different than most rolls in PF being a d20.

Beyond that, how you get there, what modifiers, etc., can all be impacted by whatever subsystem you're using.


Burning Wheel.

You make characters by plotting out their entire lives up until the point where you start play, after which characters will continue to progress in individual skills by using them.

There's an app for making Burning Wheel characters here. https://charred.herokuapp.com/#/ Four lifepaths is "standard".

Yeah... Burning Wheel is, if anything, even more narrative than Fate. It's a hell of a jump from Pathfinder.

Knaight
2017-12-12, 02:00 PM
Yeah... Burning Wheel is, if anything, even more narrative than Fate. It's a hell of a jump from Pathfinder.

While this is true, it's largely because Fate really isn't that narrative - it's basically Fudge with one significant narrative system attached, and Fudge is very much a lightweight sim.

Friv
2017-12-12, 03:15 PM
That makes it both easier and harder. You're NEVER going to find another game with as much "options and content" as PF, because they've literally spent like 12 years or whatever churning out options and content. But your point about the nature of the game is well taken. Though I confess to having trouble reconciling "It could have abstract combat for all I care!" with "it needs as many options (presumably mechanical) as I can possibly get"?

Not inherently. You can have a mixture of abstract systems and narrative options. As a random example, the Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine corebook is over 500 pages, and does not even have a combat system.

Airk
2017-12-12, 03:32 PM
Not inherently. You can have a mixture of abstract systems and narrative options. As a random example, the Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine corebook is over 500 pages, and does not even have a combat system.

I've read the Chuubo's rulebook, and I'm STILL not sure what the hell it filled all 500 of those pages with.

As far as I can recall, it was just a huge pile of quests/paths. I am not certain it would be very satisfying for someone looking for a lot of character options.

Nifft
2017-12-12, 04:37 PM
I've read the Chuubo's rulebook, and I'm STILL not sure what the hell it filled all 500 of those pages with.

As far as I can recall, it was just a huge pile of quests/paths. I am not certain it would be very satisfying for someone looking for a lot of character options.

Chuubo's quests / paths stuff is somewhat similar to your current profession in Warhammer Fantasy.

You've got some specifics you need to meet before embarking. You've got some things to accomplish / experience as you progress through the path / profession. When you complete one, you move on to the next one.

You could probably make tracking cards for each one, just as WFRP3 did make tracking cards for professions & their traversal.

(Now I kind of want a pastoral WHFRP game...)

Cluedrew
2017-12-13, 10:22 PM
There's an RPG for The Laundry?

...Want.I love these threads. I don't even know what this laundry thing is but someone is excited that there is an role-playing game made out of it and that makes me happy.


Yes, yes there is (http://cubicle7.co.uk/our-games/the-laundry/). Technically noncanon, as has been said, but it certainly works for pre-whateverthelatestbookiscalled Laundry rather well. It even gives the rules to play in any department, from operations to catering to the shrieking half mad sorcerers in R&D.Wait, wait.

Catering?

Anonymouswizard
2017-12-14, 03:13 AM
I love these threads. I don't even know what this laundry thing is but someone is excited that there is an role-playing game made out of it and that makes me happy.

The Laundry Files is a Lovecraft Mythos Spy Fiction book series revolving around the British anti-mythos government department known as The Laundry. Because it's old headquarters were above a Chinese Laundry.

It actually manages to be a relatively funny and well written series, while also being an interesting take on the Mythos (humanity is less doomed than in some stories, but is still insignificant, and at primitive compared to the Deep Ones).

Note that old bat wings squid head seems not to exist in this continuity (or at least not in the primary universe of the series), and the series stereotypes Americans. Not in a great way either, the American counterpart to The Laundry is highly unethical.


Wait, wait.

Catering?

Part of character creation (pretty much the least mechanical step) is selecting what department you work for and receiving training. Your supposed to pick something useful for fieldwork, like the plumbers (field sorcerers), computational demonology, or armoury. However, the game gives a full organisational chart of the Laundry as well as the training packages for reach department, which means of you want you can play somebody from Residual Human Resources or the Department of Audits. But Catering is generally the funny one in my Redbridge, because it doesn't even make sense as a specialist for the mission.

noob
2017-12-14, 04:39 AM
That universe looks quite cool.

EldritchWeaver
2017-12-15, 11:19 AM
I don't want, narrowly, "basically pathfinder". I want something with the slew of options and content that pathfinder has and can support. It could be a classless card-draw based system with no magic items and highly abstracted combat and still fit the criteria. A fixed PF 2e sort of thing would work, but is not the only solution.

Because no one has mentioned it before: There are attempts to deal with PF's heritage problems, which means that you don't need to write your own RPG. PF Unchained is Paizo's limited version (dealing with 3 legacy classes). More holistic approaches require replacing the existing options wholecloth. Spheres of Power grants better balanced magic. Path of War and Spheres of Might deal with sucky martials. For skills there is no holistic replacement at this point, but there should be still something like Spheres of Skills being owed from the SoM Kickstarter, IIRC. So more of a matter of time. I'm not aware of anything which changes the way stats and equipment work, though. So maybe those alternatives are good enough for you.

Edit: I checked and I missed that Spheres of Skills is incompatible to base PF assumptions, so it isn't going to be written at all.

Grod_The_Giant
2017-12-15, 09:48 PM
Because no one has mentioned it before: There are attempts to deal with PF's heritage problems, which means that you don't need to write your own RPG. PF Unchained is Paizo's limited version (dealing with 3 legacy classes). More holistic approaches require replacing the existing options wholecloth. Spheres of Power grants better balanced magic. Path of War and Spheres of Might deal with sucky martials. For skills there is no holistic replacement at this point, but there should be still something like Spheres of Skills being owed from the SoM Kickstarter, IIRC. So more of a matter of time. I'm not aware of anything which changes the way stats and equipment work, though. So maybe those alternatives are good enough for you.
You could probably stitch together something by picking and choosing your favorite homebrew overhauls.

ngilop
2017-12-15, 11:45 PM
GURPS there is literally a sourcebook for anything you can think of, Revolutionary russia.. Yep that exists.

Champions super heroes and according to a lot of people you need to use an entire computer program to create a character..

I must have played in some weird twilight zone becuase I just had a sheet of paper and a pencil...

those two would be the top on my list for crunch and takes more than 5 minutes to make a character.

Arbane
2017-12-16, 09:25 PM
GURPS there is literally a sourcebook for anything you can think of, Revolutionary russia.. Yep that exists.

Champions super heroes and according to a lot of people you need to use an entire computer program to create a character..


Only if you're REALLY bad at math.

2D8HP
2017-12-16, 10:03 PM
GURPS there is literally a sourcebook for anything you can think of, Revolutionary russia.. Yep that exists.

Champions super heroes and according to a lot of people you need to use an entire computer program to create a character..

I must have played in some weird twilight zone becuase I just had a sheet of paper and a pencil...

those two would be the top on my list for crunch and takes more than 5 minutes to make a character..
I've made PC's for both of those systems. It was a lot like making a "custom car" in Car Wars.

Tedious now, but I once found those sorts of "mini-games" fun, but I had more free time and mental agility back then.


Only if you're REALLY bad at math..
That would be me these days.

Knaight
2017-12-17, 03:05 PM
Only if you're REALLY bad at math.

Or you just don't want to deal with spending that much time on one character - although it's less an entire computer program and more one excel spreadsheet.

ngilop
2017-12-20, 02:32 AM
Or you just don't want to deal with spending that much time on one character - although it's less an entire computer program and more one excel spreadsheet.

again, I just want to point out that
I played this as a pre-teen
I used an 8 1/2 by 11 inch sheet of ruled paper and a pencil
I did not know what computers were, let alone what excel was at the time
It did not take me, nor anyone I played with any longer to create a character than say.. AD&D 2nd ed or Shadowrun


The first time I have ever seen or read about anybody saying how 'involved' the character creation process was, was on these forums.. like 3-ish years ago?


I can understand if you are one of those complete-ists who need to do 'the everythings' and that's why it takes so long for one to create a character, but I think most would not experience such.

Knaight
2017-12-20, 02:52 AM
again, I just want to point out that
I played this as a pre-teen
I used an 8 1/2 by 11 inch sheet of ruled paper and a pencil
I did not know what computers were, let alone what excel was at the time
It did not take me, nor anyone I played with any longer to create a character than say.. AD&D 2nd ed or Shadowrun



The finickiness is at least partially opt-in, but AD&D 2nd ed and Shadowrun can both have characters made in half an hour. HERO tends towards longer than that.

BWR
2017-12-20, 03:08 AM
and the series stereotypes Americans. Not in a great way either, the American counterpart to The Laundry is highly unethical.


There are some English stereotypes in there as well, and when you think about it, the Laundry isn't particularly nice or ethical either. Stross himself has made it clear that Bob is an unreliable narrator and you have to kind of read between the lines and look at what happens from outside his perspective to see that things might not be quite how Bob says they are.


Part of character creation (pretty much the least mechanical step) is selecting what department you work for and receiving training. Your supposed to pick something useful for fieldwork, like the plumbers (field sorcerers), computational demonology, or armoury. However, the game gives a full organisational chart of the Laundry as well as the training packages for reach department, which means of you want you can play somebody from Residual Human Resources or the Department of Audits. But Catering is generally the funny one in my Redbridge, because it doesn't even make sense as a specialist for the mission.

I just love the little descriptions they give of each department. As for making sense, the Laundry is terminally short-staffed, especially with CNG approaching. You make do with what you have, even if it means sending the cook to investigate the reports of swarms of cats are eating people in some remote town. Think back to the Atrocity Archives - Bob wasn't plucked as a field agent when he started his career with the Laundry, he applied for field work and was accepted when they needed an extra hand- the same thing could be possible for someone in Catering, and if they don't mess up/bring shame on the organization/let the world get eaten, they might be transferred to another department after a few missions. It actually makes less sense for the Auditors to work in the field than Catering.

BWR
2017-12-20, 03:13 AM
Wait, wait.

Catering?

From the Laundry RPG


The unsung heroes of the war against cosmic horrors, the Laundry's catering corps provides nigh-endless cups of tea and nigh-inedible sandwiches to the staff. Catering is also responsible for the dietary needs of various 'biological assets' and specialist staff. The long-running dispute about who is responsible for procuring souls has finally been resolved in Catering's favor (you cannot stick a fork in a soul so it is not their problem).

Anonymouswizard
2017-12-20, 06:28 AM
From the Laundry RPG

My favourite is still the description of Predictive Branch, which notes that it's essentially in a superposition where it was founded early on and has been active continuously, except in those cases where it would cause the Laundry to suffer disaster, in which case they never existed. Nobody outside of predictive branch has determined how it works.

Scripten
2017-12-20, 10:36 AM
There are some English stereotypes in there as well, and when you think about it, the Laundry isn't particularly nice or ethical either. Stross himself has made it clear that Bob is an unreliable narrator and you have to kind of read between the lines and look at what happens from outside his perspective to see that things might not be quite how Bob says they are.


This. The American characters (who are not villains) in the series are portrayed just as sympathetically as the British ones, I'd argue. Certain elements of their government are definitely a problem, but that's more for want of giving The Laundry (as Bob sees it) an evil foil.

The Glyphstone
2017-12-20, 11:35 AM
Plus, by the end of the The Delirium Brief, the Laundry and Britain have jumped right off the same moral event horizon that the Black Chamber did, so the gap between them has shrunken even further.

Leewei
2017-12-20, 02:30 PM
Feng Shui: Action-Movie roleplaying. Can do Fantasy from the main book if you like Mythic China, could do Western Fantasy with a bit of hacking.A rule book may be hard to find for this, but I give it a big thumbs-up. This is a game where you can have characters based on Jack Burton, John Wick, Wing Chun, and Ludo (from Labyrinth) rubbing shoulders - and not only is it hella fun, it makes sense.

exelsisxax
2017-12-22, 11:52 AM
Because no one has mentioned it before: There are attempts to deal with PF's heritage problems, which means that you don't need to write your own RPG. PF Unchained is Paizo's limited version (dealing with 3 legacy classes). More holistic approaches require replacing the existing options wholecloth. Spheres of Power grants better balanced magic. Path of War and Spheres of Might deal with sucky martials. For skills there is no holistic replacement at this point, but there should be still something like Spheres of Skills being owed from the SoM Kickstarter, IIRC. So more of a matter of time. I'm not aware of anything which changes the way stats and equipment work, though. So maybe those alternatives are good enough for you.

Edit: I checked and I missed that Spheres of Skills is incompatible to base PF assumptions, so it isn't going to be written at all.

The bold is basically the issue. PoW and SoP are great and i'll never run or play a game without them, but they can't fix PFs underlying problems. Unchained has fixes for surface-level imbalance and playability, it doesn't fix the game itself. Truly addressing the issues with the default D&D mechanics it has inherited can't be done without making a new game. I feel like the 13th age authors basically did that on accident - homebrewed and houserules until it didn't count as PF anymore, despite still cleaving so close to tradition.

Lots of people have come up with great systems over the years, but the most thorough tend to not actually work in pathfinder because of the base mechanics and assumptions. I know paizo isn't, but is anyone else actually trying to make anything like a new edition or "D&D but we learned something since 3.5 came out" sort of thing?

noob
2017-12-22, 11:58 AM
Dnd 4e did learn that giving powers that does too much out of battle to only some people and not the others was a bad idea.

exelsisxax
2017-12-22, 01:01 PM
Dnd 4e did learn that giving powers that does too much out of battle to only some people and not the others was a bad idea.

Did they? Or was it more of an accident because of the huge emphasis they put on tactical grid combat to the exclusion of many non-combat mechanics?

kitanas
2017-12-22, 02:07 PM
@exelsisxax: I don't think you have ever fully articulated what you see as the fundamental problems of DND. If you did that, we might be able to point you in a better direction.

exelsisxax
2017-12-22, 03:07 PM
@exelsisxax: I don't think you have ever fully articulated what you see as the fundamental problems of DND. If you did that, we might be able to point you in a better direction.

Basing character progression mostly on steep linear numerical increase, the resulting number-chase that eventually makes dice rolls meaningless compared to bonuses, and the accompanying headache of trying to make encounters in such a knife-edged system. The resource and rocket tag style that means you're fighting at 100% until, suddenly, you die and probably get TPKd. System and setting breaking caster supremacy. Skills being variously too broad, narrow, ubiquitous, superfluous, pointless to adventurers, basic requirements, weak, and quickly invalidated by spells. The pattern of detailed and useful rules for things explicitly locked behind prereqs even if you chose the right class(magic item crafting) despite NOT being locked up setting-wise, compared to cumbersome and hard to use rules for doing something so damn common that D&D was actually invented to supplement(kingdom building).

If the wizard wants to walk out his front door, build a wall, and teleport to a different city all in 6 seconds there's rules for exactly those things. If someone wants to be a baronet, you get nothing. If you want to rule a kingdom, get some reading glasses and a bunch of graph paper because those rules don't play nice. The whole game is like that, with a heaping of pointless numerical increase that adds nothing but more math because obstacles are created to directly counteract those increases.

Grod_The_Giant
2017-12-22, 05:53 PM
Basing character progression mostly on steep linear numerical increase, the resulting number-chase that eventually makes dice rolls meaningless compared to bonuses, and the accompanying headache of trying to make encounters in such a knife-edged system. The resource and rocket tag style that means you're fighting at 100% until, suddenly, you die and probably get TPKd. System and setting breaking caster supremacy. Skills being variously too broad, narrow, ubiquitous, superfluous, pointless to adventurers, basic requirements, weak, and quickly invalidated by spells. The pattern of detailed and useful rules for things explicitly locked behind prereqs even if you chose the right class(magic item crafting) despite NOT being locked up setting-wise, compared to cumbersome and hard to use rules for doing something so damn common that D&D was actually invented to supplement(kingdom building).

If the wizard wants to walk out his front door, build a wall, and teleport to a different city all in 6 seconds there's rules for exactly those things. If someone wants to be a baronet, you get nothing. If you want to rule a kingdom, get some reading glasses and a bunch of graph paper because those rules don't play nice. The whole game is like that, with a heaping of pointless numerical increase that adds nothing but more math because obstacles are created to directly counteract those increases.
So, my take-away of this is that you want a game which is:

Rules heavy, with a strong simulationist approach that handles non-standard elements with unique subsystems (rather than using the same basic mechanics in slightly different ways)
Expansive, with lots and lots of content to play with.
Well-balanced, with a controlled progression that doesn't create number inflation or lead one type of character to dominate everything.


Of the things that have been mentioned, and the ones which have been rejected, I think Knaight's suggestion of REIGN (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showsinglepost.php?p=22641937&postcount=20) is probably your best bet? At least for the way they made it sound; I can't speak for it personally, it having been on my list of "games to learn" for some time now.

Anonymouswizard
2017-12-23, 06:34 PM
Yes, I think everybody agrees that you can take d20 and make a good game out of it, but you have to abandon some of the assumptions of D&D.

Six ability scores, skills, feats, classes, the core mechanic, it all works. The problems are in the details.

So, I have vague ideas for a more intrigue focused variant of d20, which I'll outline below. I'm still assuming a fairly traditional fantasy setting.

I'm changing the stats a bit, to Brawns, Grace, Wit, Charm, and Resolve. Originally it was Beauty/Brains/Brawn, but I decided Septuagint being graceful from being charming and willpower from intelligence would be more useful. It's essentially three six stats with Strength and Constitution put into one stat. Modifiers only, to make it simpler.

Skills are being reduced, not sure of the exact ones I'll use but I'm planning on around 20 (with everybody receiving 4+int skill points per level). No class skills.

The classes are the Courtier, the Duelist, the Minstrel, the Scholar, and the Spy. They reach have a similar progression of abilities, increasing in potency with levels (although multiclassing is encouraged for versatility).

Feats work as normal, and ate the only way to learn spells. Spells cost HP to cast, but HP is explicitly narrative importance/fate, and restored whenever characters can catch their breath (in exchange for only being equal to 10+level*brawn).

Combat us radically changed in some respects. Anybody can take a feat to learn a weapon style (and duelists get one for free), which gives an initiative bonus, attack bonus, and damage bonus. Damage dice on a successful attack are a number of d6 based on your level (so more powerful characters ate more likely to get a character in a position where they can be seriously hurt). PCs and major NPCs who run out of HP ate still in the fight, but start taking injuries and other Setbacks unless they surrender. I'm considering making it more complicated, making you need to gain advantage before attacking someone, but I'm unsure how to implement it outside of duels.

The idea is that PCs well spend the entire adventure in one city or on a country estate, so there's little in there for dungeon delving. It's also relatively low magic, so characters won't have many 'push button' solutions. An alternative would be to go fill Exalted.

Rhedyn
2018-01-27, 11:48 AM
My group plays pathfinder. After a minor bout of existential depression triggered by trying to fix PF's problems and seeing the true unfathomable madness that underlies 3.PF game design, I decided that I need something different - hopefully with coherent design principles.

I don't want rules-lite, and I loathe narrative games, so any post that recommends FATE or similar will be ignored. Medium to high crunch? I enjoy the character creation minigame, so making a character in 5 minutes is certainly not an advantage, while not necessarily a drawback. What I would really like is an efficient system that actually diverges from the standard pitfalls of D&D and similar systems, while maintaining the expandability and versatility of something like pathfinder. Fantasy-themed, if possible.

So basically, who has a unicorn? Can you share?
I'm like you, except I still like Pathfinder. But I'm more of a rules heavy kind of guy.

In comes Savage Worlds.
The "bad":
1. The skill system has a 2 subjective GM difficulty mod to skill rolls. I tossed that out. I prefer my players knowing what they need to roll. So far it hasn't been a problem, the game works just fine without inserting "rules light" 'GM makes up rules' stuff.

2. Lack of crafting rules. 3pp and 1st party settings tend to add these rules back. But 'making stuff' is not really in the core book.

3. Utility magic. Aside from the "No power point variant rule", your ability to break the world is very limited. Things like invisibility is measured in rounds.

I recommend taking the core rules, the fantasy companion and running either Hellfrost, Shaintar, or 'Beast and Barbarians' settings to flesh out the rules.

If the kind of fantasy you want is Pathfinder levels of power, try Shaintar and get deep into legendary rank.

If you want more low-tier D&D that stays there, go Hellfrost. (I'm mean low tier in grittyness not "ability to do things)

If you want Conan the Barbarian, go Beast and Barbarians.

Savage Worlds is far less complex than Pathfinder, but the mechanics are there and it can satisfy a crunch heavy player like myself, but requires reading less pages. Character builds are hard to optimise, as in I'm still figuring out. Traditional min/maxing gets you killed, but you will want flaws to have strengths. I like building out characters, but you have to go deep into "epic" levels for the build to actually get complicated. The good thing about this game is that you can keep leveling forever and the game doesn't really break down. (I'm running a Starfinder setting and am letting players enchant mechs and mass drivers while having hundreds of magic items on top of leveling them every session. I'm trying to break the game and am not really having trouble making appropriate encounters)

Bohandas
2018-01-27, 11:56 AM
Has anybody suggested Paranoia yet?

It's not fantasy but it's crunchy

MrStabby
2018-02-08, 06:17 AM
Not saying it is right for you, but a couple of aspects of d&d 5th edition might be worth covering.

5th was content light. Very light. The thing is that you shouldn't base the amount of content on the comments of people who played it at release and not since. With four expansion books (even ignoring unearthed arcana) there is now substantially more content than when the edition began.

Another feature of 5th is it is pretty well balanced. Depending on your definition of content depth, this might help. Does something with 100 options of which 5 are viable have more depth than a system with 15 options, 10 of which are viable?

The structure of the game/classes also makes it really easy to homebrew in the gaps so with the right DM content isn't an issue.

Crunch - in terms of rules complexity is low. No real getting arround that. Spells can have complex effects but rules for casting are pretty simple (most of the time). This may mean it isn't for you as a system, but depending on how strong each of your desires are for a system it might be less bad than you think.