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    Halfling in the Playground
     
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    Default A RPG without a lot of math.

    So me and my players are not very good at math.

    We started palying and I was "forced" in the position of GM.

    The thing is all the bookeeping and stats and rolls are killing me, killing the fun. They love the stories I make but all the numbers are soooo boring.

    Of all the games we played the only one I truly had fun was Paranoia since everything was simply solved with the roll of a d20 and the stats were simple and easy to deal wit.

    Do you guys have any tips, advices or recommendations on how to deal with this problem?

    A good but simple game without many stats or rolls?

    Or a way to deal with it in a classical game. I tried free form and really liked but my players didn’t like it, it was for them glorified make belief, they need the rolls, stats and natural 20s

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    PirateGuy

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    Default Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    What sort of genre are you looking to run, such as Fantasy, superheroes, sci-fi, etc? That may help people zero in on a game to recommend. Do you want to use a D20, or are alternate dice systems or dice pools allowed, as long as the game is math-light?

    Any other details about the types of games you want to run?
    Recapping or summarizing helps my own understanding, to ensure I'm learning what people are saying. I apologize if I misrepresent you or your position while working through the topic

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    Default Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jama7301 View Post
    What sort of genre are you looking to run, such as Fantasy, superheroes, sci-fi, etc? That may help people zero in on a game to recommend. Do you want to use a D20, or are alternate dice systems or dice pools allowed, as long as the game is math-light?

    Any other details about the types of games you want to run?
    I usually focus on dark fantasy. Paranoia was the only sci-fi we played, just to have fun. But hey give me your best shoot, anything that sounds like it fits the bill from my first post, just tell me I need help.

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    PirateGuy

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    Default Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    There are a few that jump out to me from passing familiarity. Others may be able to expand further.

    Dungeon World (Fantasy) or any of the Apocalypse World/Powered by the Apocalypse games - In most cases, players only roll (typically 2d6 + relevant stat or ability [called Moves]) to do things. Tries to be flexible in terms of storytelling.

    FATE - Fairly generic system that can work for many genres. In creation people choose Aspects that define their character (Handbook gives a thiefy character 'likes shiny objects') that can be invoked during play for bonuses. Players invoke them by spending a sort of Narrative currency to get a bonus to a roll ("My character likes treasure, yeah? So it follows they'd have some familiarity with security systems/vaults/etc"). Math appears to be limited to setting up your skills, then adding your bonus to the dice roll. Downside, it uses come custom D6s, that appear to range from -2 to +2, but using a normal D6 can cover for that if you outline the proper ranges. I haven't played FATE yet, so this is off-memory from what I read of the book.

    I like the mechanics behind a lot of Dice Pool systems, like a Shadowrun or World of Darkness (haven't found a proper fantasy one yet, but that's due to lack of looking). Take your associated Attribute, add your skill for the situation, roll that many D6s/D10s, try to hit the target score. Those games have their own host of issues, but I like pool systems myself.

    Edit: Avoid GURPS. GURPS can do pretty much anything. It's also got stats for EVERYTHING. I'm sure it's fine in playing, but creating a character was a chore for me when my friend tried to get me to join a game.
    Last edited by Jama7301; 2018-01-02 at 07:48 PM.
    Recapping or summarizing helps my own understanding, to ensure I'm learning what people are saying. I apologize if I misrepresent you or your position while working through the topic

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    Default Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    the simplest RPG rule set I have ever seen is you take three cliches and divide 10 dice between those 3 cliches. lets say ninja, chief and mad scientist were your 3 cliches, you write this down on a piece of paper and a number after the cliche, lets say ninja 4, chief 2, and mad scientist 4. in a given scenario you try to find ways of justifying using the dice for your cliches in an effort to roll as many of your ten dice as possible.
    the first half of the meaning of life is that there isn't one.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    Quote Originally Posted by vasilidor View Post
    the simplest RPG rule set I have ever seen is you take three cliches and divide 10 dice between those 3 cliches. lets say ninja, chief and mad scientist were your 3 cliches, you write this down on a piece of paper and a number after the cliche, lets say ninja 4, chief 2, and mad scientist 4. in a given scenario you try to find ways of justifying using the dice for your cliches in an effort to roll as many of your ten dice as possible.
    It's called Risus and it's frankly not a good system.

    I suggest FATE. The math is limited to substraction and addition in ranges that rarely go higher than 8-10. Not a lot of book keeping either, mostly "these aspects exist" in the scene.

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    Default Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    What game are you playing where you have to do more than first-year maths, like multiplying by two or three on rare occasions but otherwise adding and subtracting? Like, FATAL or something? Stick to literally anything else and I don't get what the problem would be. Keep a calculator handy if you really need to.
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    Default Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jormengand View Post
    What game are you playing where you have to do more than first-year maths, like multiplying by two or three on rare occasions but otherwise adding and subtracting? Like, FATAL or something? Stick to literally anything else and I don't get what the problem would be. Keep a calculator handy if you really need to.
    When I hear the math complaint, it's generally not actually about addition and subtraction - it's about tracking lots of finicky modifiers. D&D 3.5 (and by extension PF), GURPS, and Shadowrun are all major offenders in this category. For instance, there are about a dozen typed bonuses in 3.5, and you can have as many circumstance bonuses as you want, and some types of bonuses stack with themselves while others don't, and sometimes you have to apply things in the right order... etc. It's not math, it's the rules that govern what math is happening.
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    confused Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    Quote Originally Posted by tensai_oni View Post
    It's called Risus and it's frankly not a good system.

    I suggest FATE. The math is limited to substraction and addition in ranges that rarely go higher than 8-10. Not a lot of book keeping either, mostly "these aspects exist" in the scene.
    No, it's called FATE; But-Without-Proprietary-Dice

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    Default Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    Take Paranioa. You liked it, right?
    Swap lasers and reflec for swords and plate armor. Switch out the sewage plant for a hainted forest. Corrupt guardsmen for IntSec goons. Spells for mutant powers.
    It work out pretty well with a bit of practice.
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    Default Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    Quote Originally Posted by RFLS View Post
    When I hear the math complaint, it's generally not actually about addition and subtraction - it's about tracking lots of finicky modifiers. D&D 3.5 (and by extension PF), GURPS, and Shadowrun are all major offenders in this category. For instance, there are about a dozen typed bonuses in 3.5, and you can have as many circumstance bonuses as you want, and some types of bonuses stack with themselves while others don't, and sometimes you have to apply things in the right order... etc. It's not math, it's the rules that govern what math is happening.
    I don't see this as an issue that actually happens, especially since your AC, TAC, FFAC, MAB, RAB, each total skill bonus, each total save bonus, grapple bonus or CMB/CMD, and each weapon's damage should be written on the character sheet or monster entry (with an exception of the RAB of a monster with no ranged attacks) anyway, and it's not the DM who has to work any of the numbers out - it's either Wizards (though they admittedly got it wrong a fair bit - 10 points to anyone who can tell me what's up with the mohrg's initiative and FFAC) or the players. Combat should be as simple as "What did you roll to hit?" "18" *Checks monster's AC, it's 20* "You miss". What's the DM calculating in the middle of combat that's so hard?

    If you're trying to advance monsters through the standard advancement rules, then it's harder, sure. In which case, don't. Nothing about 3.5 says that the DM can't just slap 30 hit points on something, increase all its d20 rolls and damage rolls by 5, eyeball the CR, and call it a day.
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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    I was going to suggest Warhammer - which is simple, but maybe not what you're looking for. How about World of Darkness? I haven't played it in years, but that's pretty straightforward. I seem to recall.

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    Default Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    if you need help with book keeping, try a spread sheet for hit points. I also recommend against creating new creatures and keeping to existing ones. their are also combat tracker programs available, but I have not really used any myself so I would not know as to which to recommend for what game.
    the first half of the meaning of life is that there isn't one.

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    Default Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    I'll recommend two systems:

    1) Open D6. (It used to be the Star Wars D6 rules, but has since evolved into a generic system.) Fairly simple math. GM assigns a target number, players roll a number of D6 depending on the skill or attribute they are using, add the total together and see if they meet or beat the target number. That's pretty much all the math there is.

    2) Amber Diceless Roleplaying (Or it's current incarnation "Lords of Gossamer and Shadow"). No dice at all, and the only real math is at the beginning, when you are spending points to build your characters. After that, no math at all. No dice rolls, no charts or table to consult.

    I suppose I can put in an honorable mention for our own Mark Hall's One Deck Engine system that uses a deck of playing cards to resolve everything, and the playgrounds own "High school Harem Comedy." But that's a very niche game, lol
    "Sleeping late might not be a virtue, but it sure aint no vice. The old saw about the early bird and the worm just goes to show that the worm should have stayed in bed."

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    Default Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jormengand View Post
    I don't see this as an issue that actually happens, especially since your AC, TAC, FFAC, MAB, RAB, each total skill bonus, each total save bonus, grapple bonus or CMB/CMD, and each weapon's damage should be written on the character sheet or monster entry (with an exception of the RAB of a monster with no ranged attacks) anyway, and it's not the DM who has to work any of the numbers out - it's either Wizards (though they admittedly got it wrong a fair bit - 10 points to anyone who can tell me what's up with the mohrg's initiative and FFAC) or the players. Combat should be as simple as "What did you roll to hit?" "18" *Checks monster's AC, it's 20* "You miss". What's the DM calculating in the middle of combat that's so hard?

    If you're trying to advance monsters through the standard advancement rules, then it's harder, sure. In which case, don't. Nothing about 3.5 says that the DM can't just slap 30 hit points on something, increase all its d20 rolls and damage rolls by 5, eyeball the CR, and call it a day.
    Flanking, higher ground, charging, Bless, Inspire Courage, Point Blank Shot, Dodge, Bulls Strength, fatigue, ...

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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zendy View Post
    I usually focus on dark fantasy.
    Take a look at Shadow of the Demon Lord, a class-based dark fantasy RPG which is thematically very close to Warhammer Fantasy but using a good, simple and very robust rules system that's roughly en par with D&D 5th in terms of complexity.

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    Default Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    Let me suggest you a small free fantasy RPG called Otherkind. There is next to no math in the game, aside from spending a couple of metacurrency to add +1 to a d6.

    http://storygames.pbworks.com/f/otherkind.pdf
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    Default Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pelle View Post
    Flanking, higher ground, charging, Bless, Inspire Courage, Point Blank Shot, Dodge, Bulls Strength, fatigue, ...
    +1

    I don't have a problem with it - but I know many who do. I know that when I play my bard in PFS I get a bit repetitive reminding everyone about all of my various buffs. I just keep track of what I'm giving everyone (usually don't match since I use a few single target buffs) since I've found that most people don't/can't.

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    Default Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jormengand View Post
    I don't see this as an issue that actually happens, especially since your AC, TAC, FFAC, MAB, RAB, each total skill bonus, each total save bonus, grapple bonus or CMB/CMD, and each weapon's damage should be written on the character sheet or monster entry (with an exception of the RAB of a monster with no ranged attacks) anyway, and it's not the DM who has to work any of the numbers out - it's either Wizards (though they admittedly got it wrong a fair bit - 10 points to anyone who can tell me what's up with the mohrg's initiative and FFAC) or the players. Combat should be as simple as "What did you roll to hit?" "18" *Checks monster's AC, it's 20* "You miss". What's the DM calculating in the middle of combat that's so hard?

    If you're trying to advance monsters through the standard advancement rules, then it's harder, sure. In which case, don't. Nothing about 3.5 says that the DM can't just slap 30 hit points on something, increase all its d20 rolls and damage rolls by 5, eyeball the CR, and call it a day.
    It absolutely can happen that you have several situational modifiers on the role on your sheet. There's buff spells, for a start. IF someone casts bull's strength and bless, you have to keep track of that. Maybe you have favoured enemy against some enemies in a fight, but not others. Then, you get all those finicky situational modifiers (I leave them out as a DM) for stuff like higher ground or windy weather that might come in.
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    Default Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    OP: For clarification, is it the arithmetic that gets in the way of the fun (so, no systems where you roll a fistful of d6 and add up the totals) or the sheer quantity of numbers (so maybe avoid systems with 20 distinct skills and 20 different +2/-2s to a d20 roll)


    Quote Originally Posted by Jormengand View Post
    I don't see this as an issue that actually happens, especially since your AC, TAC, FFAC, MAB, RAB, each total skill bonus, each total save bonus, grapple bonus or CMB/CMD, and each weapon's damage should be written on the character sheet or monster entry (with an exception of the RAB of a monster with no ranged attacks) anyway,
    You're doing the thing where someone asks the forum for help, and the forum tells them the thing they're having a problem with isn't a problem.

    Consider that you rattled off about 20 different numbers on a character sheet. If you're a "Math is hard, let's go shopping" type of Barbie, juggling 20 numbers is too much math.

    Combat should be as simple as "What did you roll to hit?" "18" *Checks monster's AC, it's 20* "You miss". What's the DM calculating in the middle of combat that's so hard?
    Well, as you listed above, is it MAB, RAB? AC? FFAC? TAC? That's 6 different combos. Sure, it's almost always melee attack vs regular AC, or maybe ranged attack vs AC, but try to consider the problem from the POV of the person saying they have the problem.

    I think what you're trying to say is "If you're playing 3rd edition or Pathfinder, do all of the math in advance of the session and then just refer to it during the game." And we can talk about simplifying rule sets to reduce complexity--make Touch AC and Flat Footed AC not be a thing. (In this case BAd Gaming would be better than No Gaming.)

    If you're trying to advance monsters through the standard advancement rules, then it's harder, sure. In which case, don't. Nothing about 3.5 says that the DM can't just slap 30 hit points on something, increase all its d20 rolls and damage rolls by 5, eyeball the CR, and call it a day.
    That's probably helpful advice for OP.
    Last edited by johnbragg; 2018-01-03 at 09:55 AM.

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    Default Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zendy View Post
    So me and my players are not very good at math.

    We started palying and I was "forced" in the position of GM.

    The thing is all the bookeeping and stats and rolls are killing me, killing the fun. They love the stories I make but all the numbers are soooo boring.

    Of all the games we played the only one I truly had fun was Paranoia since everything was simply solved with the roll of a d20 and the stats were simple and easy to deal wit.

    Do you guys have any tips, advices or recommendations on how to deal with this problem?

    A good but simple game without many stats or rolls?

    Or a way to deal with it in a classical game. I tried free form and really liked but my players didn’t like it, it was for them glorified make belief, they need the rolls, stats and natural 20s
    FATE's pretty straight forward, especially if you grab some actual fudge die so you don't have to remember which d6 result means +, 0 and -. Plus, the core rules are free and you can more or less make up enemy stats on the spot thanks to the Aspects system: "Okay, there's a thug, so I'll make her high concept Violent Thug,"

    I'm also going to suggest Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e. It's dark fantasy, and pretty straight forward. Everything is a 1d100 roll, and there are very, very rarely any random situational modifiers to keep track of like there are in D20-based systems. It does have additional modifers to keep track of, though, but they're tactically applied (like a ganging up bonus, or fighting from high ground or aiming), there aren't many and it has a set of advanced tactical options you can add in when you're more comfortable with them. Beware that combat's pretty lethal, and it tends towards low fantasy rather than high fantasy.

    Zweihander is a recently released game system based on WFRP 2e's mechanics, but significantly more generic. I've not actually read it yet, but it's supposed to just fix a bit of the wonkiness of WFRP 2e's rules and remove all the baked in setting bits. Still dark fantasy, and pretty low fantasy though.

    World of Darkness... can be a pain to keep track of Successes unless you're using a digital roller or something. It's not necessarily hard, but it might be more than you want to deal with.

    The One Ring roleplaying game has very little book keeping and relatively straight forward mechanics. There's a D&D 5e version of this, too, for some bewildering reason, but there's very definitely a non-D&D version which is the one I'm suggesting here.
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    Default Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    I'll toss Savage Worlds hat into the ring here. The core book is only $10 and it is quite math light. Also very swingy though with high floors and low ceilings so if that's not your thing than maybe not.
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    Default Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    I'd recommend Desolation. It's a dark fantasy setting that fits your standard play, and it's built from the Ubiquity system and thus relatively light while still having enough crunch to satisfy most players.

    I'd also recommend Fudge. It's got mechanics, the basic rules are free online and work just fine on their own (107 pages, where the expanded edition is somewhere along the lines of 330) and it's very deliberately numbers light.
    Last edited by Knaight; 2018-01-03 at 04:02 PM.

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    Default Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    I'd actually recommend Fudge over Fate unless you want since narrative gameplay, Fate is essentially Fudge without Attributes and with Aspects tracked on (okay, Fudge doesn't quite have stunts, but they're essentially one kind of Gift that can be added in easily).

    The advantage of Fudge and Fate is that you can write out the ladder, and just read one spot up for every + and one spot down for every - (or of you're like me you'll take the adjective system out and replace it with numbers, but I like maths). Nice and simple.
    I prefer science fiction to fantasy, and generally play in the former genre. Due to this, I generally expect the laws of physics to apply to games, and work from that perspective.

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    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    I wonder how easily Technoir or Mechnoir could be hacked to fit fantasy, or if one exists in that system. That's less of a math intensive system and a language intensive one though, as you inflict 'damage' via various adjectives, rather than to an HP number.
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    Default Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    If your group likes Star Wars, I recommend Fantasy Flight Games' system (Age of Rebellion, Edge of the Empire, and Force & Destiny).

    Very little math. Succeeding or failing isn't about numbers. System is very simplified and abilities are easy to remember.

    The most math-y part of the game is managing gear, imo and ime, but that can be done between sessions so as to not occupy or bog down game-time.
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    Default Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    Quote Originally Posted by Faily View Post
    If your group likes Star Wars, I recommend Fantasy Flight Games' system (Age of Rebellion, Edge of the Empire, and Force & Destiny).

    Very little math. Succeeding or failing isn't about numbers. System is very simplified and abilities are easy to remember.

    The most math-y part of the game is managing gear, imo and ime, but that can be done between sessions so as to not occupy or bog down game-time.
    But then they all have to get special dice, and learn how to use them....just as bad as a lot of math IMHO when you are just starting out.
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    Default Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    Quote Originally Posted by Faily View Post
    If your group likes Star Wars, I recommend Fantasy Flight Games' system (Age of Rebellion, Edge of the Empire, and Force & Destiny).

    Very little math. Succeeding or failing isn't about numbers. System is very simplified and abilities are easy to remember.

    The most math-y part of the game is managing gear, imo and ime, but that can be done between sessions so as to not occupy or bog down game-time.
    I highly HIGHLY recommend this system. Its so much fun and yes there is some bookkeeping but once you understand how it works tis very very simple and takes much less time then DND to deal with and trust me I run both systems. To the people that cry CUSTOM DICE WAAAAAAA. Jesus people its not that expensive for the dice or you can buy the app for five bucks and if you want to be cheap there is a simple conversion table and use the dice you bought for DND. Or do what I did and buy the starter adventure for each addition. Each one comes with a set of dice and a map with adventure book and basic rule book with pre-made characters. If you look around you can literally find them on sale still for 20 bucks and you can get a lot of use out of them and get several sets of the dice for the table.

    For the OP the reason i like this system so much is that there are no rules for what you can or cannot do, simply a dice pool that dictates how likely you are based on your skills to succeed. Its a cinematic system. you describe your action on your turn, anyway you want to do it. if you want to leap over the table, grab a bottle and smash the guy over the head with it or jump across a roof with your guns blasting or weaving through enemies with your sword swinging you simply say you do that and its going to happen. The dice pool will determine how good or bad you accomplish this and whether there are any side effects from this action. There really is no numbers involved simply symbols you total up that dictated outcomes and its left to you as the Dm and player to explain what those good or bad outcomes are. Now space battles it gets a little different but hell you never have to mess with that if you don't want to :)

    Also I would recommend Mouseguard.

  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Knaight's Avatar

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    Default Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    Quote Originally Posted by Davrix View Post
    I highly HIGHLY recommend this system. Its so much fun and yes there is some bookkeeping but once you understand how it works tis very very simple and takes much less time then DND to deal with and trust me I run both systems.
    If dark fantasy is wanted Genesys is a better option - it's the generic system that just came out using the same engine as FFG Starwars. That includes the dice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Davrix View Post
    Also I would recommend Mouseguard.
    This on the other hand isn't a great option. The Burning Wheel family of games in general can get mathy, and while Mouseguard is on the lighter end (particularly given the existence of Burning Empires) it's still got its fair share of long lists of numbers.

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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: A RPG without a lot of math.

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    If dark fantasy is wanted Genesys is a better option - it's the generic system that just came out using the same engine as FFG Starwars. That includes the dice.


    This on the other hand isn't a great option. The Burning Wheel family of games in general can get mathy, and while Mouseguard is on the lighter end (particularly given the existence of Burning Empires) it's still got its fair share of long lists of numbers.
    Well I never found it that mathy but I suppose that's true but i didn't know about the Genesis system and I love the FF system so I may check that out now :)

    Curse you for telling me about this, I just had to spend 20 dollers to pick it up on Drive through RPG to read. This is going to eat up the next few nights of free time :P
    Last edited by Davrix; 2018-01-03 at 08:35 PM.

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