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I decided I wanted to try a pen & paper RPG with my parents (not kidding!) and a friend or two. Due to the players being who they are, I think the potential for hilarity and good times is pretty massive. The caveat is: I have never done this before.
I've polled my players for a list of what elements they think are important in an adventure, and this is the list so far:
sense of comradeship
scenery / beautiful locations
situations with multiple solutions / outcomes
"... but by puzzle I don't necessarily mean something like zelda of course, I mean maybe I spill a drink on a guy at the bar- do I end up getting in a fight, getting the party into a bar brawl, do I talk my way out of it, do I lose money or make a friend..."
I am currently working my way through the D&D 4th edition handbook, which is what I defaulted to because I've played a shitload of D&D-based CRPG's (and read the damn rule book for the relevant edition on more than one occasion to make sense of one thing or another). But it is pretty complicated, there is a lot to do and keep track of with characters (for my parents I will probably pre-make a set that they can choose from), just lots of stuff in the game world. Also, WOTC has done its best to make me have to buy a whole bunch of crap. I'm hoping to get away with just some dice and the one hard copy of each of the "big three" books and try to keep things simple for my players, but still.
I'm perfectly willing to study up so that I can be a badass DM and keep everything moving, but I am wondering if there is another system out there that would be just as fun/balanced (with potential for real depth) and less work for everyone. (Setting is generic fantasy for now, probably PG or PG-13 for minimum awkwardness.)