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    Default Non d20 games thread

    Inspired by the d100 thread, what are some of your favorite non-d20 RPGs?

    Personally, I liked playing:

    1) Mechwarrior (2nd edition, although I believe there is a 3rd now)- RPG set as a companion to the Battletech wargame. Used a d6, skill based system

    2) Old West End Games Star Wars- Another d6, skill based system, although vastly different mechanics.

    3) Old Marvel Superheroes- used percentile die.

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    Default Re: Non d20 games thread

    I have to say Exalted is the first thing that comes to mind.
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    Default Re: Non d20 games thread

    I'm a big fan of Scion, even with limited time that I actually played it.

    Deadlands is also a wonderfully weird set-up, where, oddly enough, the d12 is akin to a king.


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    Default Re: Non d20 games thread

    By non-d20, do you mean games that are not part of the d20 family, or are you also including other games that use a D20 as it's primary resolution mechanic (ie, palladium)
    Kungaloosh!

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    Default Re: Non d20 games thread

    After seeing the recent d100 (d%) game thread, I almost posted about my favorite game ever, hands-down, but I didn't. This thread, however, appeared during my lunch time, so now I shall post. My name is Mordar, and I love Rolemaster.

    A wonderfully comprehensive game, Rolemaster allows so much flexability and opportunity to emulate all of the heroes we've grown up reading about - from the burliest barbarian to the knight who inspires armies to battle on the field (and damsels in the ballroom) to the slick-as-Silk diplomat who can also survive an epic trek. It is at once complex (in its choices and options) and simple (never have to remember which dice you need), accomodates most any vision of fantasy RP, and was among the first games that I played to reward diversity of action.

    I've spoilered my somewhat rambling comments - I'm just not feeling well focused today, and I had to let some residual geek out...

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    While it does require more bookkeeping than many, it's "fun" bookkeeping - tracking the creatures defeated in combat, for instance. Everything is skill-based, from your skill with 1H bashing weapons to your ability to dance, so you have a pile of skill points to allocate at each level. What some see as a burden, many see as opporunity to show improvement and development.

    Combat in Rolemaster can be lengthy but is the most enjoyable semi-simulation game I have ever had the pleasure of playing. Weapons, armor and skill are all considered in resolution. To whit, the attacker makes a d% roll, adds their skill (and any applicable modifiers). The defender subtracts their skill (and any applicable modifiers). The GM takes the final number and determines the result based on the weapon and armor class. If the attack is particularly sucessful, a critical hit is scored and the attacker gets to roll to determine the nature of the critical.

    RoleMaster has been dubbed "ChartMaster" by detractors, claiming that "you have to roll on a chart to see what chart you roll on" and that combat is bogged down by math and chart lookups. Advocates, however, point out that particular weapons serve very different purposes and different armor types impact the effectiveness of weapons...that rapier is *generally* less effective against plate armor, for instance, but can more easily pierce the defender through the gaps in chain mail, leading to bleeding damage. Rolemaster has 1-roll resolution - unlike, say, D&D - for all non-critical hits...the attack roll determines damage.

    RoleMaster's spellcasting is a embarassment of riches - point based casting, spell lists that are logical and inclusive while speaking to the flavor of any magician from any flavor of fiction, and a wonderful array of "classes" capable of casting from the purest academic to the mystical kung-fu master.


    For anyone interested in on-the-sheet character development to go along with their RP or backstory development, this is my most heartfelt recommendation. The detail available (but not mandatory) is wonderful, the combats are both exciting and involved and the breadth of opportunity is unmatched outside of strictly-in-your-head sandbox games (compared to any I have played in my nearly 30 year history)...and in years of play I never saw any "CharOp" threads or "Don't take [skill X], it's a waste of time, n00b" comments about this game.

    I understand subsequent ICE games (HarnMaster? Others?) and some inspired or influenced by RoleMaster remain out there and strong and I hope there are groups having as much fun with them as I did with mine.

    - M

    PS: I recognize every game can be wonderful and every game can be ruined by MixMaximus, bad luck or a poor group. That being said, I long for the days of playing my Montebanc or Nightblade...and the Archmage and Chaoslord too...after all, where else could my perform (harp), perform (composing) and Bluff skills all come together to draw the Efreeti Lord out of his manse so that my companions could sneak inside and secure the objective of our quest to the City of Brass (you know, like on the old AD&D book)?

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    Default Re: Non d20 games thread

    Risus, GURPS, Exalted and nWoD, I guess. I don't really care about what dice a game uses...
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    Default Re: Non d20 games thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayabalard View Post
    By non-d20, do you mean games that are not part of the d20 family, or are you also including other games that use a D20 as it's primary resolution mechanic (ie, palladium)
    The ones that don't use a d20 as primary resolution (either use d6s, percentile/d100, etc). Superficially, d20 games tend to use level based systems while non d20 games tend to focus on developing skills, attributes and powers for advancement.

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    Default Re: Non d20 games thread

    Risus is a lot of fun. So is Wuthering Heights, though I advise changing the problem table to have fewer physical ailments and more mental and social issues.

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    Default Re: Non d20 games thread

    Mechwarrior (2nd edition, although I believe there is a 3rd now)- RPG set as a companion to the Battletech wargame. Used a d6, skill based system
    I loved 2nd edition mechwarrior. Such a sdimple yet elegant game design. As far as I know, the 3rd edition is a true brain bug. I mean, what's the sense in a mechwarrior game,which is not compatible with the Battletech boardgame?

    But hey, let's list a few underappriciated jewels of Roleplaying:

    The Unisystem Games by Eden Studios. All Flesh Must Be Eaten is probably the best known one of those, but there are actually quite a few games using the same - excellent - rules.Unisystem is a very broad generic system, and while it does not play in the same league like Gurps or Hero, it is pretty much what Savage Worlds wants to be a fast game which is easy to learn and makes actually fun. Unisystem uses a mechanism very similar to D20 (ability + skill +1d10, against a fixed difficulty). The settings include such gems like Witchcraft (pretty much "World of Darkness, concentrated"), Armageddon ("What if heaven, hell, and Asgard join forces with different human forces to fight against the Elder Gods? Because can you think of a more awesome group of characters than an Avatar of Thor, Merlin, Harry Dresden, a Seraphim and a pissed of shapeshifting cat fighting against Cthulluh?"), and Terra Primate (the universal game of big bad apes. I know it sounds stupid, but it is actually a pretty good game).

    Legend of the Five Rings by AEG. I know that I only like this game out of ignorance. It is a samurai / eastern fantasy game, and it actually makes a lot of fun to play (even though it is a bit bloodthirsty...) and the rule system works well enough. The background is okay, but a bit too much focused on becoming more and more awesome per edition, which leads to the opposite effect than intended. The problem is, that I am quite sure that if I had more than token knowledge about eastern cultures and customs I would probably groan a lot about this game; the same people made one of the abslutely worst RPG settings ever, Seventh Sea, and if they treat another culture with as much intuition and understanding as this piece of crap in L5R as well, I probably wouldn't touch it. But as it is, it's a fun game.

    Degenesis. The most beautiful roleplaying game I have ever hold in my hands. Truly astonishing artwork (in its own groteque way). And an absolutely intriguing back story. Yes it is yet another endtime post apocalypse setting, but in this regard, it is an unachieved masterpiece... background-wise. The rules are not that elegant, but it was certainly the RPG book that made the most fun to simply read I have ever seen. Unfortunately, it is a pure German game, and the planned English translation was finished, but never published. But hey, if you speak German, the core book can be downloaded for free. And it's worth it.

    And there is Harnmaster, which is probably the game with the highest tension quota per combat I know. It is a bit old school, using a d% and all this, but the combats are unmatched in their gritty suspension building.

    I could also rant a lot about over-hyped systems like Savage Worlds, or truly bad ones like the Song of ice and Fire RPG by Green Ronin, but it is nicer to say something positive.

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    Default Re: Non d20 games thread

    The Second edition of Warhammer Fantasy Role Play was quite good; haven't quite looked into the third edition yet, though.
    Last edited by Theodoric; 2010-01-07 at 03:30 PM.

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    Default Re: Non d20 games thread

    Shadowrun: Cyberpunk+Fantasy? Sign me up!
    World of Darkness: I've always liked Vampires, Magie, Werewolves and the like
    From Another Time, Another Land: Deserves special mention as a benchmark

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    Default Re: Non d20 games thread

    WEG Star Wars -- I really liked that system, but haven't had a chance to play it in many years. :-(

    GURPS is another one of my favorites.

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    Default Re: Non d20 games thread

    Unhallowed Metropolis! Oh boy!

    1905, a huge the dead rose. Suddenly, all of Europe and the Americas were brought to the brink of extinction, most falling back into a dark age of small hamlets and disorganized city states. Great Britain, however, lost it's colonies, but, due to being an island, managed to abandon the main cities, shoot them to dust, and slowly, ever so slowly, regain them. This was known as the Reclamation, and lasted about 60 years, ending with the full Reclamation of London. But the plague, and what it brought, changed the world forever. A Wasteland started to appear, slowly eating the green fields of England, and replacing them with unfertile, poisonous soil. Ever spreading, noone knows what the source of this corruption is, or how to stop it.
    The wave of death and misery wore thin the barriers between life and death, and psychic phenomena and hauntings began to manifest among the already harrowed refugees, as well as persons who controlled spirits and the powers of the mind.
    The dead no longer sleep peacefully, and the more miserably the place somebody died, the more likely it is that his corps will rise to seek the flesh of the living. Many cities were never reclaimed, standing as Sepulchres in the wastes, a place of death and despair, haunted by Animates and Ghouls.
    London, known as the Metropolis, rises as a bastion behind 40 feet walls, manned by the ever vigilant Deathwatch, it's streets prowled by Undertakers, licenced bounty hunters on the lookout for Vampires or Zombies.
    With the rediscoverd power of Alchemy or Tesa power, ressurectionists seek to restore life to the dead form, creating a legion of horrors in the process. Mad doctors seek the ultimate cure to the Plague, trying to distill the Elixier Vitea and end mankind's suffering.
    High above, the aristocrats and barons of industry watch full of disinterest, lost in the eternal game of society and plagued by ennui. They see themselves above the Common man, and many indulge in any vice just to ease the boredom, seldom being stopped by the Law.
    The misery of the overcrowded city has given birth to a new kind of killer, men and women driven mad by the life they are forced to live, ever competing with Vampires for the headlines of the dailys.
    The poor live out their short lifes in the slums, serving from sunup to sundown, easing their pain with cheap pills or cheap liquor.
    The ashes of the dead, who must be cremated under pain of death, and the fumes of London's rampant industry have poisoed the air to such a level that leaving home without a gas mask is to invite sickness and suffering.

    All in all, it's a mixture of gothic horror, steampunk, the penny dreadfuls and mad science come to an unholy semblance of life. It has some very interesting mechanics (like incrasing your corruption, a rating which measures the depravity of a character) to gain rerolls, and a unique and incredibly detailed setting. The mechanics are simple (mostly roll 2d10+ability/skill agains a TN) and combar is deadly, with a wound system that can easily cripple or kill characters. Most fascinating, but a very special setting.
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    Default Re: Non d20 games thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Satyr View Post
    ...The Unisystem Games by Eden Studios. All Flesh Must Be Eaten is probably the best known one of those, but there are actually quite a few games using the same - excellent - rules.Unisystem is a very broad generic system, and while it does not play in the same league like Gurps or Hero, it is pretty much what Savage Worlds wants to be a fast game which is easy to learn and makes actually fun. Unisystem uses a mechanism very similar to D20 (ability + skill +1d10, against a fixed difficulty). The settings include such gems like Witchcraft (pretty much "World of Darkness, concentrated"), Armageddon ("What if heaven, hell, and Asgard join forces with different human forces to fight against the Elder Gods? Because can you think of a more awesome group of characters than an Avatar of Thor, Merlin, Harry Dresden, a Seraphim and a pissed of shapeshifting cat fighting against Cthulluh?"), and Terra Primate (the universal game of big bad apes. I know it sounds stupid, but it is actually a pretty good game)...
    Unisystem and AFMBE is the only system I've tried other than D20. I've found the game to be much more realistic than D20. Guns in this can kill in one shot, and even if you survive you're not going to heal back to full health for at least a month, and that's with hospital care!

    The only other system I've tried is Paranoia, but I think that still counts as "D20".
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    Default Re: Non d20 games thread

    Shadowrun and Exalted both jump to the forefront of my brain.

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    Default Re: Non d20 games thread

    FATAL.

    Not because I played it and found it fun or anything, but it's always nice to have something to point to and say, "This is not how you do it."

    Like why everyone likes My Immortal.
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    Default Re: Non d20 games thread

    The only D20 game I played that I liked was D&D4e. While I think it's a good game to play, I could never run it. I've played a lot of systems over the years, it's one of just three I think is any good at all.

    If I'm running something, it's a choice of two. For one-shots, nothing beats Wushu. Takes five minutes to explain the rules in their entirety, characters and setting/premise can be done in half an hour if necessary (I prefer offering a number of fixed premises with pregens, rather than burn up creativity and enthusiasm with setting-gen and chargen), a whole scenario can be done and dusted in under four hours.

    If I'm playing something longer (ideally in the region of 5-10 sessions), FATE, hacked to fit the premise, is my go-to. A game where it's not just what the characters can do that matters, but who they are as well. Aspects are a really powerful way of not only making that relevant, but getting the players to think beyond their characters as collections of skills on a character sheet. I also like that it puts the players' desires front and centre, if something matters to you it features in your character's Aspects.

    But then it's also got the concrete side of things covered with very traditional Skills and Stunts.
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    Default Re: Non d20 games thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayabalard View Post
    By non-d20, do you mean games that are not part of the d20 family, or are you also including other games that use a D20 as it's primary resolution mechanic (ie, palladium)
    Maybe we just had a weird campaign when I played, but we used the d30 considerably more than the d20 in Rifts.

    I'm still scarred by that game, but that's a story for another time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snoopy13a View Post
    Inspired by the d100 thread, what are some of your favorite non-d20 RPGs?

    Personally, I liked playing:

    1) Mechwarrior (2nd edition, although I believe there is a 3rd now)- RPG set as a companion to the Battletech wargame. Used a d6, skill based system
    Universe at War is in beta right now last I checked; It is hilariously well written.
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    Default Re: Non d20 games thread

    World of Darkness and Shadowrun are two that I like and are fairly familiar with. Burning Wheel and Muntants and Masterminds (d20 mechanism) also deserve mention, although I haven't used those two yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mordar View Post
    I understand subsequent ICE games (HarnMaster? Others?) and some inspired or influenced by RoleMaster remain out there and strong and I hope there are groups having as much fun with them as I did with mine.
    HârnMaster isn't an ICE game - perhaps you are thinking of HARP (High Adventure Role Playing)? HARP is an ICE game that's a "successor" to RoleMaster, to the point where it's relatively easy to convert characters/creatures/items/etc back and forth between the two... or so I've been told. I've only played in HARP games, not RoleMaster, so I don't know from first-hand experience, but one of my HARP GM's said that he has converted creatures and items from RoleMaster to HARP with ease.
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    Quote Originally Posted by erikun View Post
    World of Darkness and Shadowrun are two that I like and are fairly familiar with. Burning Wheel and Muntants and Masterminds (d20 mechanism) also deserve mention, although I haven't used those two yet.
    I am also a big fan of shadowrun (3e haven't played the newer editions) and world of darkness (especally old mage and vampire and the new core set).

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    Default Re: Non d20 games thread

    Degenesis. The most beautiful roleplaying game I have ever hold in my hands. Truly astonishing artwork (in its own groteque way). And an absolutely intriguing back story. Yes it is yet another endtime post apocalypse setting, but in this regard, it is an unachieved masterpiece... background-wise. The rules are not that elegant, but it was certainly the RPG book that made the most fun to simply read I have ever seen. Unfortunately, it is a pure German game, and the planned English translation was finished, but never published. But hey, if you speak German, the core book can be downloaded for free. And it's worth it.
    Oh, yes, Degenesis. I've skimmed the pages, as I don't like reading on the PC, but one day I'll have to read it properly.
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    Wushu for the win. Because nothing is beats a game where "I vault over the balcony, kick him in the chest and let my momentum carry me forward over his body so that I can stab his friend in the face" is more likely to succeed than just "I stab him in the face."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swordgleam View Post
    Wushu for the win. Because nothing is beats a game where "I vault over the balcony, kick him in the chest and let my momentum carry me forward over his body so that I can stab his friend in the face" is more likely to succeed than just "I stab him in the face."
    So, like, Exalted and Pandemonium don't even get honorable mention? Because they have stunt mechanics, too.

    Besides, Wushu, if I recall correctly, has no success or failure. It just has degrees of affecting the outcome.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GolemsVoice
    Oh, yes, Degenesis. I've skimmed the pages, as I don't like reading on the PC, but one day I'll have to read it properly.
    I read it, I bought it. Than I played it using the original rules, found them annoying, and replaced them with Gurps (nowadays I would probably use Unisystem for the conversion, but back in the days, I didn't know those existed) to play a very cool and impressive campaign.

    Wushu for the win. Because nothing is beats a game where "I vault over the balcony, kick him in the chest and let my momentum carry me forward over his body so that I can stab his friend in the face" is more likely to succeed than just "I stab him in the face."
    How about a game that treats iditic actions as if they they were in fact idiotic, and not reward them? Wushu, and games with a similar scope suffer from the very problem of permanent overkill and thuse undermine their very intent; by making everything spectacular and outstanding, nothing is outstanding anymore and every action, no matter how awesome they would be in any game where they would be a true achievement, are just bland giveaways.

    And, continuing the praise of underappriciated games:

    Earthdawn. The only truly good high magic setting I have ever seen. The setting is fantastic, exotic and actually imaginative (at least in parts, and for a game that uses the standard array of fantasy species, you know dwarves, elves and orcs), the mechanics are solid (and were ripped of by Savage Worlds, and then made bland and boring - which is actually kind of an achievement), and it is the only game I ever saw where classes and levels made actually sense and were not something like a metagaming artifact with no inherent correspondence in the true game, but had a plausible in-game concept.
    I am actually surprised that this wasn't mentioned earlier. There was a time when Earthdawn was actually kind of a big game, back in the days when FASA still existed.

    Unknown Armies. Okay, this might be a bit esoteric, and you just know that any roleplaying game that describes itself as 'post-modern' has it's very own issues, but it is actually a very good game. You could probably compare it to the World of Darkness Mage games, but Unknown Armies is a lot more creative in its presentation of the supernatural. Magic comes from paradox, and the forms of magic are actually making sense, in their own ways. These are not the ancient orders of Atlantis, or the secret lodge of the knights templar or a similar stale standard example; these are mages basing their powers on libraries (the more books you own and read, the more powerful your magic becomes), Dipsomancers draw power from binge drinking, and not to forget the powers of pornomancy. Others become the incarnation of global concepts of the collective subconsciousness, and take the role of these godlike figures. It is an truly spectacular game, with a tendency of decent understatement. It is also completely anthropocentric, which is a refreshing alternative to the World of Darkness (which seem to be so full with supernatural creatures that pure, naive humans alomst appear to be a minority). As a big plus, Unknown Armies is almost as well written as Degenesis. Almost. And the other big plus, it has the most coherent and fun rules for actual insanity I have ever seen. If I would create a Frankenstein Monster of the best roleplaying games to create the game to end all games, I would totally vivisect Unknown Armies to steal these insanity rules.
    There's a cult in California who've found a way of crossing voudoun with The Picture of Dorian Grey. They stay the most beautiful of the beautiful people while a village in Kansas gets steadily uglier.

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Non d20 games thread

    I would also like to mention the dark eye (das schwarze auge) I think it´s not so very well known outside of germany.
    The rules are quite complex and for the most part well thought out but what really makes this one stand out is the prewritten campaign and all the fluff in it.

    If I would have to compare it to the d&d adventure modules it would be like comparing lord of the rings/wheel of time or other fantasy epics compared to a duck tales comic

    It is played with 3d20 but not in the "normal" d20 way you roll those three d20 to determine successes and failures so its more played like d6 games but with d20s instead.
    So in essence I think it falls under the non d20 games despite using d20s ^^
    Last edited by Emmerask; 2010-01-08 at 05:28 AM.

  28. - Top - End - #28
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    Satyr's Avatar

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    Default Re: Non d20 games thread

    The rules are quite complex and for the most part well thought out but what really makes this one stand out is the prewritten campaign and all the fluff in it.
    There are several campaigns in it. Some are awesome (Year of the Griffin, Phileasson Saga, and of course Borbarad's Return, and my personal favorite, Bloody Sea), some are mediocre (Kingmakers, In the Shadow of Simyala) and a few are truly bad and bland (the Orcland Trilogy, Year of Fire). Okay, even the bad ones are an equal match or even superior to supposedly 'good' D&D campaigns like Red Hand of Doom, but the rules... let's be honest, The Dark Eye rules are messed-up, incoherent nightmare. There is a lot of traditional baggage which is just carried along, there are too many authors who don't understand their own rules, and in many, many ways the rules seem to try to take the most arbitrarily complicated rule possible.
    A streamlined version of the Dark Eye would be an absolutely awesome game. But as it is, it's a great setting with absolutely ingenious campaigns (Borbarad alone is probably better than anything ever published for D&D... I know that sounds like a hyperbole, but that is one truly epic campaign, if you don't mind the strong tendency to railroading) and rules that are just plain bad. I love the world, I love the general feeling of the world, but I think I could write better rules than that.
    Last edited by Satyr; 2010-01-08 at 05:59 AM.

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Default Re: Non d20 games thread

    I love 7th Sea. Mechanically, everything is based off of a d10, with your attributes and skills determining how many die you roll and how many of those die you count. I found it to be streamlined and very enjoyable.

    What I really liked, though, was how it was sort of a parallel to 17th century Europe and that each nation had a unique form of sorcery. The setting was so well-thought out and well-written that I just fell in love with it.

    Personally, I liked playing a Montaigne (French) sorcerer best. The Montaigne bloodline carries Porte sorcery. My hands were stained with the blood of the universe. I literally ripped screaming, bloody holes in the flesh of reality, and used those holes to transport myself anywhere in the world. I was also a mooch and a complete pansy.

    Good times.

  30. - Top - End - #30
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    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Non d20 games thread

    Here Here to Seventh Sea.

    Tonov, the indestructable Ussuran raises a mug to a fellow fan.

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