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Perenix
2018-11-20, 09:23 AM
So ... Some friends and I been playing "Dungeons and Dragons 5e" for a while now. (to which I'll refer to only as DD from this point on)
I'm currently only playing (not DMing), and even though I like it a lot, recently I've been considering to game master a new campaign. As soon as I started some draft, I realized I would do changes to the system to fit what I want. And then I would spend a lot of time balancing things to fit those changes.
So I thought it was worth a shot asking for recommendations on other systems that may already fit better what I'm looking for, before changing DD.

So I'll list the changes I would do to DD and hopefully some of you guys can tell me if you know a system that fits better, or would give me less work adapting.

1. Increase the starting HP and drastically decrease the HP gained per level.
From this I want to make'm less likely to die too easily on lower levels , and make combat still dangerous on higher levels, even against lower level enemies.
Also want to make combats in general to be shorter. As in no one can really take much damage and still on feet.
This probably is the change that would give me the most work on balancing afterwards.

2. The setting will be of medieval high fantasy. But I'll make magic scarcer than usual. And black-powder-based-stuff will be really rare.

3. Weapon choice will have a little bit more weight on combat results. Just enough to make one interested in maybe carrying 2 or 3 weapons instead of just one, so one has options when needed.

4. Armor will absorb some damage from weapon attacks.

5. The focus will be in RP over mechanics. So great acting, descriptions and character interpretation and interaction (and so on) will be rewarded with a "new" resource. I would change 'inspiration', call it heroism or something, make it a lil bit stronger, and allow it to stack.

6. I'll add one new stackable resource called karma, and when things go bad with a player he will gain some karma that can be spent just like the 'heroism' from item 2. So that if someone is really in bad luck, the person can use karma to balance things a bit.

I think that sums up the most vital changes I would do.
I would tweak a lil bit the potion usage, the dual wielding, breath weapon... but those are really secondary and with little to none balancing work consequences...

I do not want a system that's kinda "complex" like pathfinder tho. I would definitely just change DD over taking something like pathfinder, for my players and I enjoy a less rule heavy system.

Ps. I'm not the biggest fan of randomness (even tho I understand its value and uses) in character creation or check rolls in general. So I usually use 'point buy' and 'passive' skills A LOT to go around it.
For that reason, if the system relies less on randomness (or uses a shorter range of randomness) than DD does, that would be a nice plus.

Thanks a lot in advance for any help.

Kyrell1978
2018-11-20, 10:10 AM
So ... Some friends {snip} help.

That's a pretty tough list of requirements to fit into a single game. You would probably do better modifying the system you know. Here's my thoughts on where to look for inspiration to do so.

1) The HP-Both Starfinder and 4th ed D&D start out with higher hp (I find Starfinder's particularly interesting as it is a number based on species added to a number based on class and gives decent variety of starts). They still give approximately the same per level though. Starfinder had an interesting fix to this to keep weapons relevant though, the weapons themselves are on a scaling level and do more damage at higher levels.

2) The setting is kind of dependent on how much work you want to do. The best way to get exactly what you want is to design your own world, but that is a great deal of work. There are a lot of great settings both in fiction and in other role playing games that may fit your needs though.

3) Take a look at the old 2nd ed D&D rule for specific armors vs. weapon types for this (for example chain mail does pretty well against slashing weapons but not so much against piercing). They had a whole chart about it in the phb I think.

4) Palladium has a system for this. Each armor has a set number of "hp" (S.D.C.) and an Armor Rating. Any roll of a 5 or higher "hits" but if you don't exceed the Armor Rating you do damage to the armor rather than to the person wearing it. Don't know if that's what you're going for but that was my first thought. The other though I had was the 3.5 Star Wars where armor did not give a defense bonus, but rather acted as DR.

5) You seem to have this one under control already

6) Several games use stuff like this. Force points in 3.5 Star Wars, Action Points in Ebberon, Karma in Shadowrun can be used in this manner, Fate points, etc.

Hope it helps, and good luck.

Perenix
2018-11-20, 11:12 AM
That's a pretty tough list of requirements to fit into a single game. You would probably do better modifying the system you know. Here's my thoughts on where to look for inspiration to do so.

{list}

Hope it helps, and good luck.

Thank you for your response Kyrell1978.

It's not really requirements, more like, maybe in some of those I'm going in the direction of something that already exists.
I wouldn't know since I know just a few other systems.

I appreciate your toughs for inspiration material, thank you.

Edit: I think it's worth mentioning that on item 2 I pretty much have the world built already, I built it 'system agnostic' over the years.

Nepenthe
2018-11-20, 12:14 PM
It sounds like Torchbearer would be right up your alley.

Knaight
2018-11-20, 12:27 PM
GURPS basically covers all of this. That said:

It's hard to have a sense of your tastes when you've only tried one thing, whether that's just playing one RPG making it hard to assess your RPG tastes or only ever eating one type of fruit making it hard to determine your taste in fruits. Try a variety of games, preferably less related ones with very different designs.

Perenix
2018-11-20, 12:39 PM
It sounds like Torchbearer would be right up your alley.

I'll make sure to check it, thanks.

Perenix
2018-11-20, 12:50 PM
GURPS basically covers all of this. That said:

It's hard to have a sense of your tastes when you've only tried one thing, whether that's just playing one RPG making it hard to assess your RPG tastes or only ever eating one type of fruit making it hard to determine your taste in fruits. Try a variety of games, preferably less related ones with very different designs.

I feel you.

I must say it's not like I never payed other systems.
I did play a bit of GURPS before. An old version, It was a long time ago, so I'm not really sure, but I guess it was 2nd edition.
I think GURPS is great, but it's definitely not what I'm looking for. Idk how it changed over time, but from what I can remember GURPS would be just 'rule heavy' for what I'm looking for.

I've played Vampire, Werewolf and Mage like ... maybe 15 years ago? Those were nice as well, but not at all what I'm looking for.
I've played Paranoia a few times, love it, but again not what I'm looking for.
I tried a lil bit of Tagmar, but droped it before really getting a feel on it.
I've played pretty much all the versions of D&D at some point in time.
I've played one that I'm not sure on the name but i think it was BattleTech ... it was about Mechs.

I mean ... it's not like I played lot's , but I did play a few.

All of that was pretty much at very least 15 years ago. (with maybe the exception of a few rare plays on different editions of D&D)
Then this last year I got back for D&D 5e.

Does that help at all?

Xalyz
2018-11-20, 01:04 PM
You can try FFG's Genesys system.

It is a levelless system, it is also meant to be flexible.

Magic is typically more availlable but weaker.

Weapons end up feeling rather unique because of special traits such as Pierce and vicious. Although differences in damage will be small.

It is focused more on story and has a point system for players to control the plot

Perenix
2018-11-20, 01:16 PM
You can try FFG's Genesys system.

It is a levelless system, it is also meant to be flexible.

Magic is typically more availlable but weaker.

Weapons end up feeling rather unique because of special traits such as Pierce and vicious. Although differences in damage will be small.

It is focused more on story and has a point system for players to control the plot

Never heard of it, will take a look, thanks.

Mark Hall
2018-11-20, 01:34 PM
Savage Worlds might be up your alley; they just completed a big kickstarter for their new edition, due to drop in January, but their old edition i (https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/92743/Savage-Worlds-Deluxe?affiliate_id=315505)s pretty good and mostly similar, and conversion documents will be free.


1. Increase the starting HP and drastically decrease the HP gained per level.
From this I want to make'm less likely to die too easily on lower levels , and make combat still dangerous on higher levels, even against lower level enemies.
Also want to make combats in general to be shorter. As in no one can really take much damage and still on feet.
This probably is the change that would give me the most work on balancing afterwards.

2. The setting will be of medieval high fantasy. But I'll make magic scarcer than usual. And black-powder-based-stuff will be really rare.

3. Weapon choice will have a little bit more weight on combat results. Just enough to make one interested in maybe carrying 2 or 3 weapons instead of just one, so one has options when needed.

4. Armor will absorb some damage from weapon attacks.

5. The focus will be in RP over mechanics. So great acting, descriptions and character interpretation and interaction (and so on) will be rewarded with a "new" resource. I would change 'inspiration', call it heroism or something, make it a lil bit stronger, and allow it to stack.

6. I'll add one new stackable resource called karma, and when things go bad with a player he will gain some karma that can be spent just like the 'heroism' from item 2. So that if someone is really in bad luck, the person can use karma to balance things a bit.


1) HP is gone, replaced with Toughness, a stat derived from your Vigor attribute, and modifiers. You also have Parry, derived from your Fighting ability

2) Medieval High Fantasy is very doable; they have a Fantasy companion to help mold the core system to fantasy, but I've run a game about diabolist dwarves with just the core book.

3) Weapon choice is likely your weakest connection, but weapons have changes like Armor Piercing, Parry Bonuses, and Reach to help differentiate them.

4) Armor reduces the severity of any hit; armor piercing weapons reduce some of the value of your armor.

5 & 6) SW has a resource called "Bennies" that function as a metagame mechanic, and you can specifically get them for invoking your own Hindrances against yourself, as well as other things.

The system focuses on being "Fast! Furious! Fun!", and I find it is easy to scale to levels of crunch... but even at its highest crunch, it's nowhere near D&D levels.

(My other suggestion would be Hackmaster (https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/104757/HackMaster-Basic-free?affiliate_id=315505), but that game READS really crunchy, and emphasizes randomness in character creation more than a lot of people like).

Perenix
2018-11-20, 01:57 PM
Savage Worlds might be up your alley; they just completed a big kickstarter for their new edition, due to drop in January, but their old edition is pretty good and mostly similar, and conversion documents will be free.

1) HP is gone, replaced with Toughness, a stat derived from your Vigor attribute, and modifiers. You also have Parry, derived from your Fighting ability

2) Medieval High Fantasy is very doable; they have a Fantasy companion to help mold the core system to fantasy, but I've run a game about diabolist dwarves with just the core book.

3) Weapon choice is likely your weakest connection, but weapons have changes like Armor Piercing, Parry Bonuses, and Reach to help differentiate them.

4) Armor reduces the severity of any hit; armor piercing weapons reduce some of the value of your armor.

5 & 6) SW has a resource called "Bennies" that function as a metagame mechanic, and you can specifically get them for invoking your own Hindrances against yourself, as well as other things.

The system focuses on being "Fast! Furious! Fun!", and I find it is easy to scale to levels of crunch... but even at its highest crunch, it's nowhere near D&D levels.

(My other suggestion would be Hackmaster, but that game READS really crunchy, and emphasizes randomness in character creation more than a lot of people like).

Sounds really good. I'll surely check that. Thanks!

exelsisxax
2018-11-20, 04:26 PM
1. Do you not like the number increasing? This is an odd, D&D centric complaint. Lots of systems don't really have something like HP, including things like "everything disables you automatically" and "you always lose at fighting, no matter what". What do you actually mean, here? Are you talking about actual PC durability relative to dagger stabbings? Numerophobia? Not liking long combats? What you're doing is basically remarking upon the fact that you don't think tomatoes are a fruit as one of your stipulations for a recommendation for a car mechanic. This really has nothing to do with system itself - the numbers can be changed arbitrarily to produce any variety of frailness and durability.

2. Setting is independent of system in most cases. You can run any fantasy RPG in a medieval fantasy setting. This doesn't narrow it down, because fantasy is implied from your title.

3. This doesn't really mean anything without more context. What does 'weapon choice' even mean? Are you saying that you think swords and axes should be very different in combat use, so people should carry options? Because real life doesn't work like that. Everything is basically the same until you consider armor, which makes everything useless unless it was designed to overcome that armor. Do you want to play rock-paper-scissors with your weapon?

4. There were armor DR variant rules in 3.5 and PF, you could rip them for a 5e adaptation without all this trouble.

5. So you want a system that you are going to regularly not use? You can just stick with 5e then, or use FATE.

6. This is a houserule. I don't know why this is in your list, because this cannot possibly include or exclude any system under any circumstances. That said, go read FATE. It's perfect for people that put fluff over fiction, player over character, and acting over playing.


Maybe tell us what kind of campaign (specifically) you want to run. Your criteria are generally system-independent, and so not useful criteria. Campaigns are highly system-relevant.

2D8HP
2018-11-20, 06:54 PM
I'm very partial to RuneQuest which I played a lot in the 1980's.
There's a new edition that incorporates some Pendragon like rules (which is another favorite).

Here's a sample Free PDF of the "quickstart" rules (https://www.chaosium.com/content/FreePDFs/RuneQuest/CHA4027%20-%20RuneQuest%20Quickstart.pdf).

I do warn you though, unlike the '78 rulebook, the new 2018 full rulebook is physically very heavy.

Pauly
2018-11-20, 07:39 PM
Iíll second GURPS and Runequest. I never used GURPs for fantasy, mainly sci-fi, old west and historical renaissance and it is a very solid engine. I always had more fun with Runequest than D20 systems because I found it more internally consistent even if sometimes got a bit heavy on the micromanagement.

The Robot Goat
2018-11-20, 07:55 PM
In regards to weapons/armor, you could always try Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, but it doesn't tick all of your boxes. Normally it's more random then normal, as you roll for race/class/etc, but you could always just pick em. And characters are a little squishy in WH, but they also don't get a ton more powerful then at the start, at least not very quickly. In the end, I think you'd probably have to do a similar amount of converting to 5e, so it maybe isn't what your looking for, but have a peak anyway. It even has gunpowder rules.

If you want something more pulp-y then I second Savage World's, it has some odd mechanics (cards for initiative?), but it works well enough and it's pretty fun.

Perenix
2018-11-21, 05:57 AM
1. Do you not like the number increasing? This is an odd, D&D centric complaint. Lots of systems don't really have something like HP, including things like "everything disables you automatically" and "you always lose at fighting, no matter what". What do you actually mean, here? Are you talking about actual PC durability relative to dagger stabbings? Numerophobia? Not liking long combats? What you're doing is basically remarking upon the fact that you don't think tomatoes are a fruit as one of your stipulations for a recommendation for a car mechanic. This really has nothing to do with system itself - the numbers can be changed arbitrarily to produce any variety of frailness and durability.

2. Setting is independent of system in most cases. You can run any fantasy RPG in a medieval fantasy setting. This doesn't narrow it down, because fantasy is implied from your title.

3. This doesn't really mean anything without more context. What does 'weapon choice' even mean? Are you saying that you think swords and axes should be very different in combat use, so people should carry options? Because real life doesn't work like that. Everything is basically the same until you consider armor, which makes everything useless unless it was designed to overcome that armor. Do you want to play rock-paper-scissors with your weapon?

4. There were armor DR variant rules in 3.5 and PF, you could rip them for a 5e adaptation without all this trouble.

5. So you want a system that you are going to regularly not use? You can just stick with 5e then, or use FATE.

6. This is a houserule. I don't know why this is in your list, because this cannot possibly include or exclude any system under any circumstances. That said, go read FATE. It's perfect for people that put fluff over fiction, player over character, and acting over playing.


Maybe tell us what kind of campaign (specifically) you want to run. Your criteria are generally system-independent, and so not useful criteria. Campaigns are highly system-relevant.

1. Do you not like the number increasing? This is an odd, D&D centric complaint.
I'm not complaining about D&D, I love D&D. I'm just looking for something else atm.

Lots of systems don't really have something like HP, including things like "everything disables you automatically" and "you always lose at fighting, no matter what". What do you actually mean, here?
definitely not something like "everything disables you automatically" and "you always lose at fighting, no matter what".

Are you talking about actual PC durability relative to dagger stabbings? Numerophobia? Not liking long combats?
I'm taking about "making the characters less likely to die too easily on lower levels" and "make combats in general shorter"

What you're doing is basically remarking upon the fact that you don't think tomatoes are a fruit as one of your stipulations for a recommendation for a car mechanic. This really has nothing to do with system itself
Maybe we just disagree in this regard.

- the numbers can be changed arbitrarily to produce any variety of frailness and durability.
Maybe we just agree in this regard.


2. Setting is independent of system in most cases. You can run any fantasy RPG in a medieval fantasy setting. This doesn't narrow it down, because fantasy is implied from your title.
Maybe you're right, but also maybe one would be able to consider a system that favor scarcer magic (compared to the DD take on magic), so maybe it could narrow something down.

3. This doesn't really mean anything without more context. What does 'weapon choice' even mean? Are you saying that you think swords and axes should be very different in combat use, so people should carry options? Because real life doesn't work like that. Everything is basically the same until you consider armor, which makes everything useless unless it was designed to overcome that armor. Do you want to play rock-paper-scissors with your weapon?
I'm saying that maybe one would like to carry a spear for reach and control, and also a sword to maybe deal with someone who already got in close range, or a broken spear. Maybe rock-paper-scissors is a good analogy to what I want.

4. There were armor DR variant rules in 3.5 and PF, you could rip them for a 5e adaptation without all this trouble.
Don't really know what trouble are you referring too, but i'll check the DR variant you mention, thanks.

5. So you want a system that you are going to regularly not use? You can just stick with 5e then, or use FATE.
I expect to use it a lot. Not sure why you think I wouldn't.

6. This is a houserule. I don't know why this is in your list, because this cannot possibly include or exclude any system under any circumstances. That said, go read FATE. It's perfect for people that put fluff over fiction, player over character, and acting over playing.
Kyrel said "Several games use stuff like this. Force points in 3.5 Star Wars, Action Points in Ebberon, Karma in Shadowrun can be used in this manner, Fate points, etc. "
So maybe that does include some systems ... That said, i'll go read FATE. I'm not sure if I put "fluff over fiction, player over character, and acting over playing" but sounds like a good recommendation. Thanks.


Can you tell me maybe an example of what you mean by "what kind of campaign" ? In my mind " medieval high fantasy with magic scarcer than usual" is the kind of campaign.

Thanks for your answer.

Perenix
2018-11-21, 05:59 AM
I'm very partial to RuneQuest which I played a lot in the 1980's.
There's a new edition that incorporates some Pendragon like rules (which is another favorite).

Here's a sample Free PDF of the "quickstart" rules.

I do warn you though, unlike the '78 rulebook, the new 2018 full rulebook is physically very heavy.

Never heard of it. I'll check it out.
Thanks.

Perenix
2018-11-21, 06:01 AM
Iíll second GURPS and Runequest. I never used GURPs for fantasy, mainly sci-fi, old west and historical renaissance and it is a very solid engine. I always had more fun with Runequest than D20 systems because I found it more internally consistent even if sometimes got a bit heavy on the micromanagement.

I'm kinda running from "rule heavy" and "heavy micromanagement", but i'll check it out nonetheless.
Maybe I have a misconception on GURPS.
Thanks.

Perenix
2018-11-21, 06:02 AM
In regards to weapons/armor, you could always try Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, but it doesn't tick all of your boxes. Normally it's more random then normal, as you roll for race/class/etc, but you could always just pick em. And characters are a little squishy in WH, but they also don't get a ton more powerful then at the start, at least not very quickly. In the end, I think you'd probably have to do a similar amount of converting to 5e, so it maybe isn't what your looking for, but have a peak anyway. It even has gunpowder rules.

If you want something more pulp-y then I second Savage World's, it has some odd mechanics (cards for initiative?), but it works well enough and it's pretty fun.

Thanks, I'll check both.

Pauly
2018-11-21, 06:11 AM
I'm kinda running from "rule heavy" and "heavy micromanagement", but i'll check it out nonetheless.
Maybe I have a misconception on GURPS.
Thanks.

GURPS looks heavier than it really is because you are never using all the options.

My experience with Runequest was that there were more rules and stats than D&D but it flowed more smoothly because of the way the mechanics worked. My group often cut out some of the more fiddly rules and the system worked just fine without them.

Pauly
2018-11-21, 06:13 AM
Thanks, I'll check both.

Warhammer RPG is a lot of fun, but donít get too attached to your characters.

Perenix
2018-11-21, 09:09 AM
Warhammer RPG is a lot of fun, but donít get too attached to your characters.

That's just an overall good advice for any system imo, don't get too attached to your characters. lol

Knaight
2018-11-21, 09:43 AM
On GURPS: It's a heavy system. It's not as heavy as it gets portrayed as some times (i.e. it's lighter than D&D 3.x), but there's a lot of crunch there. Fortunately there are other generics that will cover the same ground pretty well if you're up for something a bit lighter. Notably.

Fudge: A direct GURPS descendant made by a GURPS author to accomplish two main goals. One was to be even more generic, an ambitious goal which Fudge managed to pull off. The other was to come in significantly lighter than GURPS, which is a less ambitious goal Fudge also succeeded at. It meets every criteria given for the thread except for not having hit points by default (it uses a wound system), but adding non-scaling HP to Fudge is a staggeringly easy house rule (HP = Toughness/Constitution/Whatever-Your-Chosen-Attribute + 6, DR ignores Toughness/Constitution/Whatever-Your-Chosen-Attribute). It also handles variation in size better than any game I've seen.

Open d6: Specifically you'll want the d6 Fantasy offshoot here. It's solid, it meets all your criteria, I personally like it a bit less than Fudge but it definitely works pretty well. If you want details from someone who loves it hit up Mark Hall.

Reign: Reign is a medieval fantasy game that generally fits your criteria. More than that though it's a masterpiece of mechanical design that generally works beautifully, and the sort of game that tends to fall in the "never knew you needed" camp. Give it a look.


2. Setting is independent of system in most cases. You can run any fantasy RPG in a medieval fantasy setting. This doesn't narrow it down, because fantasy is implied from your title.

Technically yes, but it's a real uphill battle in some cases. Getting medieval fantasy out of Nahuatl, Amber, or Qin: The Warring States is going to be a pain, and that's without getting into fantasy-horror games like Unknown Armies.

Perenix
2018-11-21, 10:55 AM
On GURPS: It's a heavy system. It's not as heavy as it gets portrayed as some times (i.e. it's lighter than D&D 3.x), but there's a lot of crunch there. Fortunately there are other generics that will cover the same ground pretty well if you're up for something a bit lighter. Notably.

Fudge: A direct GURPS descendant made by a GURPS author to accomplish two main goals. One was to be even more generic, an ambitious goal which Fudge managed to pull off. The other was to come in significantly lighter than GURPS, which is a less ambitious goal Fudge also succeeded at. It meets every criteria given for the thread except for not having hit points by default (it uses a wound system), but adding non-scaling HP to Fudge is a staggeringly easy house rule (HP = Toughness/Constitution/Whatever-Your-Chosen-Attribute + 6, DR ignores Toughness/Constitution/Whatever-Your-Chosen-Attribute). It also handles variation in size better than any game I've seen.

Open d6: Specifically you'll want the d6 Fantasy offshoot here. It's solid, it meets all your criteria, I personally like it a bit less than Fudge but it definitely works pretty well. If you want details from someone who loves it hit up Mark Hall.

Reign: Reign is a medieval fantasy game that generally fits your criteria. More than that though it's a masterpiece of mechanical design that generally works beautifully, and the sort of game that tends to fall in the "never knew you needed" camp. Give it a look.



Technically yes, but it's a real uphill battle in some cases. Getting medieval fantasy out of Nahuatl, Amber, or Qin: The Warring States is going to be a pain, and that's without getting into fantasy-horror games like Unknown Armies.


I did not have time to look up all the suggestions so far, I don't even know where to find more about each and I don't really have that much free time.

But I'm loving all the options and suggestions, and I'll check each of them! And i'll make sure to not miss those 3!

Thank you very much for coming back and leaving those recommendations.

RazorChain
2018-11-22, 07:31 PM
On GURPS: It's a heavy system. It's not as heavy as it gets portrayed as some times (i.e. it's lighter than D&D 3.x), but there's a lot of crunch there. Fortunately there are other generics that will cover the same ground pretty well if you're up for something a bit lighter.

I agree, have been running GURPS on and off since '93. Mostly it's just roll under stat or skill to succeed. Combat options make this a tad more complex, I for example use the advance combat rules with a lot of optional rules from Martial Arts.

Even 5e is relatively complex rules wise because each class has rules that pertains only to them.