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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Rynjin's Avatar

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    Default Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    I have a regular gaming group I GM for on Sundays. I would like to actually play in a game, and several of my players have offered to run a Pathfinder game on Friday, Saturday, or Monday.

    They have offered, planned, had everyone make characters, and discarded these games before the first session for months.

    Part of the issue is one of the players that often offers is new to RPGs in general, and GMing in particular. He come sup with very complex game ideas for Pathfinder that by necessity would involve either A LOT of homebrew or dumpster diving 1st and 3rd party material to make it work.

    I'm considering pitching the idea of a game that is very forgiving to new GMs; rules light with room to grow, but I honestly don't know any. All my favorite systems are rules medium at best (like Savage Worlds), but I figure you knowledgeable folks might have some ideas and personal experiences with simpler games, since I feel like a more newb-friendly system that has a more flexible, loose ruleset might allow the newer players to express their creativity without having to ask me how to make it work, how to build all the enemies, etc. which kind of takes the fun out of playing in a game even if one did get off the ground.

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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rynjin View Post
    I have a regular gaming group I GM for on Sundays. I would like to actually play in a game, and several of my players have offered to run a Pathfinder game on Friday, Saturday, or Monday.

    They have offered, planned, had everyone make characters, and discarded these games before the first session for months.

    Part of the issue is one of the players that often offers is new to RPGs in general, and GMing in particular. He come sup with very complex game ideas for Pathfinder that by necessity would involve either A LOT of homebrew or dumpster diving 1st and 3rd party material to make it work.

    I'm considering pitching the idea of a game that is very forgiving to new GMs; rules light with room to grow, but I honestly don't know any. All my favorite systems are rules medium at best (like Savage Worlds), but I figure you knowledgeable folks might have some ideas and personal experiences with simpler games, since I feel like a more newb-friendly system that has a more flexible, loose ruleset might allow the newer players to express their creativity without having to ask me how to make it work, how to build all the enemies, etc. which kind of takes the fun out of playing in a game even if one did get off the ground.
    Blades in the dark or Fate are my go to rules light games, you could possibly try a board game like Descent or play dnd with pregen characters.
    Last edited by iTreeby; 2019-08-15 at 06:04 PM.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    Fate Core. It's fairly simple, it's fairly easy to get into, it's easy to make content and can host a wide variety of games. Plus, you can get it for free from the developers making it easy to give everybody a copy. Fate Core also has a lot of books available, even though not all of them immediately set you up with a plot to run through. There's even an SRD for you to browse through, if you want an online resource for the game rules.

    The other game system I was going to mention was Savage Worlds, but it sounds like you already know about that. Most other systems I'm familiar with are either d20-based, or fairly complex in their own right.
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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    Well if you want to stay in the idea of Pathfinder/D&D, D&D 5th edition is pretty easy to learn and play.
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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    That's in the unfortunate confluence of "games said player actually knows how to GM" and "games I have no interest whatsoever in playing any more of". I put my time in with 5e (2 campaigns up to level 12, one to 8th, another to 6th, and a play by post) and it's really not my cup of tea.

    I've kind of brushed off Fate before, but that was yeaaaars ago and I'd probably like it better now. Blades in the Dark also sounds intriguing.

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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    Quote Originally Posted by iTreeby View Post
    Blades in the dark or Fate are my go to rules light games, you could possibly try a board game like Descent or play dnd with pregen characters.
    I actually was going to recommend Monster of the Week, which uses the same "Powered by the Apocolypse" system as Blades in the Dark but is much simpler for a new GM.
    What I really enjoy about Monster of the Week is that the Keeper (the GM) never rolls dice. Everything that "you" do is in response to the player character. If the player makes a Kick Some A** roll (the basic attack option), they deal a set amount damage and the monster deals a set amount of damage back (which may be mitigated if the player rolls exceptionally well).

    If you have even a passable amount of improvisational skills and understand the concept of "Yes, and-," this is the game for you.

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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    Were it not for its atrocious editing, OD&D is extremely light on rules. Theoretically, only the DM actually needs to know them at all, especially if you ignore the supplements (which set the stage for AD&D). If you ignore attribute rolls entirely (themselves very low-impact back then), character creation is mostly just shopping.
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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    I would go in a different direction than most of the above and recommend D&D 5e with a. Premade adventure, maybe a beginner box (not just for beginning players!) 5e's rules are fairly simple, especially if you stick to the "core" archetypes for each class (i.e. champion, dragon magic, and other archetypes that represent the "pure" class).

    Alternatively, Risus the anything. The game is a bit... quirky. and it doesn look terribly serious or take itself seriously, but it is still a functional game and can be a great way to tell weird stories without a ton of homebrew (and may allow people who want to play weird concepts a way to scratch that itch).

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    For non-D&D and non-complex gaming, I liked:

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    Unisystem is a generic role-playing game system created by CJ Carella and produced by Eden Studios, Inc. It is used in CJ Carella's WitchCraft (I liked playing and GMing) - Armageddon: The End Times, All Flesh Must Be Eaten, the Buffyverse role-playing games, Conspiracy X, and several other games. Games designed using Unisystem have been nominated for, and won, Origins Awards.
    The thing I liked was the Success Levels.
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    Actions are resolved by adding together the character's relevant Attribute, the applicable Skill, and a ten-sided die roll, plus any modifiers for difficulty; if the total is nine or greater, the action succeeds. Gamemasters (called "Chroniclers" in Classic, and "Directors" in Cinematic Unisystem) are also given tables of successes: characters that get a higher roll than the required nine have bonuses on their final outcome; this table describes how successful they turn out to be, and gives guidelines to figure out the resulting bonuses.
    Sure, not every possible Action was listed, but at least gave an idea on how to figure out bonuses and outcomes.
    Last edited by Great Dragon; 2019-08-18 at 09:40 AM.
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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    Quote Originally Posted by EndlessKng View Post
    I would go in a different direction than most of the above and recommend D&D 5e with a. Premade adventure, maybe a beginner box (not just for beginning players!) 5e's rules are fairly simple, especially if you stick to the "core" archetypes for each class (i.e. champion, dragon magic, and other archetypes that represent the "pure" class).
    See my previous post.

    Quote Originally Posted by EndlessKng View Post
    Alternatively, Risus the anything. The game is a bit... quirky. and it doesn look terribly serious or take itself seriously, but it is still a functional game and can be a great way to tell weird stories without a ton of homebrew (and may allow people who want to play weird concepts a way to scratch that itch).
    Ha. This game sounds fun, but probably wouldn't appeal to the group, sadly. It reminds me a bit of Time Wizards, which I couldn't get anybody to bite on either.

    @Great Dragon: Thanks for the suggestion. I've heard of some of those games, I didn't realize they were base don the same base system.

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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    “3:16 Carnage Amongst the Stars” is pretty simple. It is a military science fiction game involving alien contact. The rules are pretty simple, with a flashback mechanic allowing for role play character growth that can have a one time mechanical effect.

    Here is a review: https://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/14/14193.phtml
    Last edited by Particle_Man; 2019-08-18 at 08:43 PM.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    For simple and light RPGing I prefer the superhero genre. Everyone knows the premise and the setting, which sometimes can be the major part of the battle.
    Mutants and Masterminds is highly recommended but I have never played it myself.
    I have played BASH by Basic Action Games and that is a very quick and fun system to learn. The DM can dial up or down the level of detail, and the character creation can be anywhere from classic, a bit better than real people to modern anime over the top completely overpowered.

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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    I will second BASH for simplicity.

    Mutants and Masterminds, especially in later editions, is a point-based d20 system, which is cool, but can make it very complicated to make characters, balance out the powers, etc.

    Light the lamp not the rat LIGHT THE LAMP NOT THE RAT!!!

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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    STaRS. It's rules-light, loose, and incredibly simple to run. There's very little math or mechanical complexity, and pretty much all of it is on the player side (it's a players-roll-all-the-dice, roll-under-your-ability-score thing). All the GM needs to do is toss out the occasional ad-hoc bonus or penalty; enemies are as simple as "earth magic, 5 health, players have a penalty to checks against him."

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    BlueWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    I will second using a Powered by the Apocalypse system such as Monster of the Week.

    .... But I might have the very first game be something like Lasers & Feelings, so that they can get comfortable with the differences between table top role playing games and board games.

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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    You might want to go more rules medium than rules light - those can be tricky to GM for new GMs pretty often. I also assume you want to stay in the general same space as Pathfinder, which generally means fantasy, competent characters, combat focus, magic focus, multiple races, archetypal characters.

    I'd recommend Desolation. It's a fair bit lighter than D&D, it's flexible, and because it's attached to a semigeneric system (Ubiquity) you can easily port things in from the broader game family. There's pulp ridiculousness, gothic horror fantasy, and a few others that probably won't be relevant but could show up if tech mixing happens.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    Actually part of the thing that prompted this thread was he wanted to try and fit a cyberpunk styled game into pathfinder and wanted to super-turbo-homebrew everything from the ground up, so different genres are definitely welcome.

    He wants to try and run Shadowrun now, we'll see how that works out. If it doesn't, I have a pretty solid list of games to try now. Thanks a bunch!

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    HalflingRogueGuy

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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    The Pathfinder beginners box is pretty simple to run.

    Or you could try the Lost Mine of Phandelver in the D&D 5e starter set.

    Or something simple like the rules of Swords & Wizardry an ODD clone.
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    Any Apocalypse World game. Pick a genre you like. AW itself is of course the standout, MotW and DW are decent. PbtA games have the best support for new GMs of ANY system I've seen.

    Fate's not bad, but it does put a good amount of load on the GM, and the learning curve for it can be weird if you're well-versed in other games. It might be a decent choice for someone who's new to roleplaying games as a whole, as new players seem to grasp it easier.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    The game I'm most interested in doing a 1 shot of is Lady Blackbird.

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    Griffon

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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rynjin View Post
    I have a regular gaming group I GM for on Sundays. I would like to actually play in a game, and several of my players have offered to run a Pathfinder game on Friday, Saturday, or Monday.

    They have offered, planned, had everyone make characters, and discarded these games before the first session for months.

    Part of the issue is one of the players that often offers is new to RPGs in general, and GMing in particular. He come sup with very complex game ideas for Pathfinder that by necessity would involve either A LOT of homebrew or dumpster diving 1st and 3rd party material to make it work.

    I'm considering pitching the idea of a game that is very forgiving to new GMs; rules light with room to grow, but I honestly don't know any. All my favorite systems are rules medium at best (like Savage Worlds), but I figure you knowledgeable folks might have some ideas and personal experiences with simpler games, since I feel like a more newb-friendly system that has a more flexible, loose ruleset might allow the newer players to express their creativity without having to ask me how to make it work, how to build all the enemies, etc. which kind of takes the fun out of playing in a game even if one did get off the ground.
    If you want to stay with a simple game based on the D&D model, I'd say to look at Basic Fantasy the RPG. It is an Open Gaming License clone that is VERY simple just like the original Holmes Edition of D&D. As a bonus, the PDFs are basically free and print copies of the rules can be purchased from Amazon for $10 or less. Tell him to buy an older module like the The Village of Homlet or better yet, the original Keep on The Borderlands as these both have descriptions of towns where you can base your adventures out of.

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    Orc in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    Toon? Simple rules, play for maximum fun.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    My go-to system for new GM's has always been the WEG Star Wars D6 ruleset. It's a very easy game for new GM's and players alike. Any given task has a target number assigned by the GM based on difficulty. The player picks the skill (or ability) that they want to use, roll the number of D6 assigned to that skill and try to meet or beat the target number. Plus, who doesn't like Star Wars?

    If you want something a little more light-hearted (read corney) you could always try Teenages From Outter Space. It plays a lot like a Saturday morning cartoon (those of us old enough to remember the old Galaxy High cartoon can attest to this).
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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mutazoia View Post
    My go-to system for new GM's has always been the WEG Star Wars D6 ruleset. It's a very easy game for new GM's and players alike. Any given task has a target number assigned by the GM based on difficulty. The player picks the skill (or ability) that they want to use, roll the number of D6 assigned to that skill and try to meet or beat the target number. Plus, who doesn't like Star Wars?

    If you want something a little more light-hearted (read corney) you could always try Teenages From Outter Space. It plays a lot like a Saturday morning cartoon (those of us old enough to remember the old Galaxy High cartoon can attest to this).
    I do like d6 systems (Final Fantasy d6 is a group favorite), though I'm not sure anybody in the group is a big Star Wars fan. Worth pitching though.

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    If you are looking for a cyberpunk game that is on the simpler side, I would look into Technoir or The Sprawl (assuming you dont mind a FATE based game).

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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorren View Post
    If you are looking for a cyberpunk game that is on the simpler side, I would look into Technoir or The Sprawl (assuming you dont mind a FATE based game).
    I though The Sprawl was Powered by the Apocalypse?

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    RedKnightGirl

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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    I like Ryuutama. It has a focus on the journey more than the campaign, and lots of tools for building the journey in the book. It also has designated times the players are supposed to input world building, a super simple battle-mat, and you don't throw many dice at once. And it gives the GM a character who's job is to spy on the party and use magic to help keep things interesting without getting caught, helpful for reigning in GMs who want to railroad, or pushing passive GMs to engage with the players.

    It is filled with stuff to help people who don't normally play RPGs get the hang of it.
    Last edited by Spriteless; 2019-09-02 at 06:27 PM.
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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Burley View Post
    I actually was going to recommend Monster of the Week, which uses the same "Powered by the Apocolypse" system as Blades in the Dark but is much simpler for a new GM.
    To nitpick (you should always open with nitpicking): Blades does not use the same system. It's certainly from the same corner of the universe but not the same.

    That said, both are highly recommended. If you don't like the Blades setting, there are plenty of "Hacks" that adapt it to other settings, most notably Scum & Villany, which is Star Wars with the serial numbers filed off.

    For the actual Powered by the Apocalypse games there are plenty of hacks, too: Apocalypse World, the original, Dungeon World (which is brilliantly written, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to Pathfinder players), Masks for super heroes, The Sprawl for cyberpunk, MotW etc.

    I would add Paranoia to the list, which is obviously the best game, but only really good for one shots.

    Call of Cthulhu hasn't been mentioned, which is a very accessible system for Lovecraftian horror. Less action, more investigation and psychology. If you want to ramp up the action, you can instead chose Delta Green.

    One other thing: From what you mention I wonder if the system is really the problem here. Maybe your fellow GMs' aspiration are just a little bit too high. Why not start with a pre-published adventure and see where it goes? Start small and see what happens from there ...
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    Flumph

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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    Honestly.....Pugmire....
    Its a 5e based game but....you are all dogs...magic is technology you don't understand from the lost human era....
    And basically everyone is your friend until proven otherwise...admittedly the Cats are weird and the Rats of LabroTor cults are the scary rats so stay away from them, but the others are mostly okay.
    It is ridiculously wholesome which seems to bring out both funny dog jokes (basically bad dog puns and dad jokes up to your collar) and people's general good nature. And that good nature helps for running the game and getting people to work together, which is a good thing for a new DM.

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    Default Re: Good Simple Games For New GMs?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rynjin View Post
    I do like d6 systems (Final Fantasy d6 is a group favorite), though I'm not sure anybody in the group is a big Star Wars fan. Worth pitching though.
    WEG's d6 Star Wars also has later descendants that are very similar. d6 Space is basically Star Wars minus the IP, d6 Fantasy and d6 Adventure are the other two in the family covering other major genres. I'm not a particular fan of any of them due to some dice mechanic quirks, but they're all solid options.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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