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[General Roleplaying Games] It is our Fate to Run the Shadows Bearing Torches

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  • bssbss Brostoyevsky Madison, WIRegistered User regular
    I've sifted through the 13th Age stuff more now and am going to start actually playing with it, maybe even running a touch of the game tonight. Here are my thoughts. I'm going to end up comparing things to 4e a lot, not because the game is a close resemblance to 4e, but because it's my favorite d20 iteration and also my most recent.

    WORDS
    Chapter 1 - Icons

    The icons are well done, to the point that I was originally thinking I'd brew my own setting with different forces, but the intrigues and on-the-edge balance that they've written into 13 short summaries makes me want to just stick with those and maybe reflavor one or two. The opportunities for story are really well done here.

    Chapter 2 - Character Rules

    Races are straight-up d20 fantasy races. Humans, couple elf variants, dwarves, etc etc etc. No surprises here. More on them later, along with less-common options coming from 4e. A little note on how to come up with your own race (spoiler alert: find something with stats/abilities that you like and reskin it).

    Classes: barbarian, bard, cleric, fighter, monk, paladin, ranger, rogue, sorcerer, wizard. A druid's coming but it won't be done in time for the core book. Kind of bummed that there isn't a warlord or somesuch. Following the list of classes is a note that multiclassing is for pros only, but it's broken in the Escalation Edition so you probably shouldn't even look at it yet.

    Races and classes both provide one +2 to an option of at least two ability scores; you can choose freely aside from not being able to use both your racial and class bonus on the same ability score. This ends up working like a more flexible version of how the racial bonuses work in 4e, because now you're guaranteed to get at least one bonus for whatever your class needs. Like it.

    The way they rolled up the standard four 4e defenses into three (AC, physical and mental defense) is a bit weird to me because of the shared space between AC and reflex defenses, and the 13th Age method is partitioned a bit weirdly to me, but d20 has always had this problem so I'm not miffed by it.

    The One Unique Thing and icon relationships are great ideas. OUT might be a bit hard to get out of people at first. Both things' main role though is to keep the game moving and keep the PCs as agents in the story, which is rad. If there's anything I want my players to like about the system it's this, and it's one of the more portable pieces of the rules, which is great in case we don't end up playing 13th Age proper. Just to drive the icon relationships home, there's a lot of suggestions about what the 3x3 relatioships mean and how they can be interpreted against the icons.

    Backgrounds: what Lochiel said. An interesting note that yes, some classes get more backgrounds than others, for aesthetic reasons, and if that annoys you, just change it to 8 for everyone. This is as good as a time as any to mention that I really like the conversational tone in the sidebars, and I hope (and assume) it lives on to the final revision.

    No 3x3 alignment system, unless you want to add it of course. I personally think the 3x3 icon relationships are a lot more interesting, but you could have both, so whatever floats one's boat.

    Less focus on gear and related minutea is a good thing. 13th Age handles this by having your class provide recommended gear and direct stats, so you can choose whatever fits thematically and say you're wielding/wearing that. There are still distinctions between e.g. light armor and heavy armor, and different classes treat it differently, but it doesn't seem like there'd be any issue with just deciding "yeah, sure thing barbarian, you're wearing really mobile plate armor" if it's what someone really wanted.

    Chapter 3 - Races

    Each race gets at least one ability or feature to use in combat. Most of them are encounter powers in the 4e nomenclature, though they get pretty esoteric. Wood elves' Elven Grace is way more fiddily than humans' Quick to Fight; they're using the racial ability space nicely.

    Chapter 4 - Classes

    The chapter opens with an ease of play section that breaks down the classes in terms of how much there is to the play style of each one. Barbs are easiest with all basic attacks, things scale from there through the middle of sorc and monk, ending in bard and wizard.

    Looking at the table of background points per class, I'm indifferent as to the decision to have them be different for some classes (lowest is barbarian with 6, 12 for rogue). The main takeaway I've gotten from the PDF so far is that balance only matters as much as you and your group want it to, so there's a base level of balance in the rules but if you want to mess with it, go ahead. Each class also comes with its own base HP, recovery die, and defenses. A bit more variety than found in 4e.

    Generally liking what 4e PHB3 and Essentials did with the design space, I'm loving the 13th Age classes. Each has its own unique way of behaving in combat, which I feel was the most exciting part about Essentials --- how it played with the core framework. Barbarians get basic attacks and massive damage, clerics get heal and buff spells, fighters get the maneuver options. Tons of variety. Special shout-out to the monk, which have forms --- an opening move, a flow attack, and a finishing attack. You get a bunch of these and can iterate between them over the rounds. I guess it's from Feng Shui? I don't know but it's pretty awesome.

    Chapter 5 - Combat Rules & Mechanics

    Fairly standard opening. Some stuff on dice conventions, because you can end up rolling an absurd amount of dice. (A hypothetical from the SA thread was a 10th level character rolling 40d8+28d12+24d10 for damage.) The number of approaches tend towards "allow average if you don't care, but you can roll it if you want to because it's cool". Some of my players (and myself) like picking up huge piles of dice and spending 30 seconds on the absurdity strewn across the table, so I figure "cool" will be relative.

    Eschewing the grid, movement and speed are relative. You're generally one of a couple classifications of distance from other things, and that determines whether how many actions it takes to approach. There are opportunity attacks when engaged. I've pondered doing basically this to 4e, so I'm excited to see it in play.

    I'm actually kind of indifferent towards the escalation die in its basic form, personally, but I do like how it ties into some classes' and monsters' abilities. If nothing else, it's a little something to keep the combat rounds from feeling samey, so that's a definite benefit. I need to buy a big d6.

    Healing! You roll to heal (noooooooooo), unless you don't want to, in which case you can take the average (yay!). The rules suggest that the player should get this option each time they are using a recovery, depending on their mood and whether or not my evil DM aura has cursed their dice. If nothing else, having the average be an explicit option means the players have no one to blame but themselves if they're near-death after healing. Wounded is bloodied with the 4e filed off. Death saves are in, because they're cool, but they are more decisive than 4e's --- 1-15 on a save is a failure, 16+ grants a recovery. So either way, you're not dying for long.

    Full heal-up/extended rest is cool like Lochiel said. The concept of campaign failures is cool and it's good to see them maake liberal use of the idea in the rules, rather than providing no option other than the ham-fisted "you can't sleep because you just slept". I also like that there's no reason to assume that you actually rest to get a full heal-up.

    Chapter 6 - Running the Game

    This chapter could have only one thing and I'd love it, and that's the "Skill Check DCs & Impromptu Damage" table. Why this kind of thing hasn't been in every d20 game is a mystery to me. It's broken down by tier and degree of difficulty, so it's concise and universally applicable.

    Ritual casting appears to be how to take any spell in the book and twist it a bit to do whatever you want out of combat. It takes time and skill checks and comes with all sorts of fail-forward story risks if you screw it up. I like this, since I wanted to like the rituals in 4e but they were so disjoint from everything and a bit of a resource drain. This appears to work way better.

    Couple pages on encounter design. Instead of working on XP budgets (since there isn't any XP), the design hinges on monster levels and a standard challenge fight having one standard monster per PC. And that's of course altered by mooks and more menacing creatures. For some reason, the math gets a bit off-kilter in champion and epic tiers, so where fair would be 5 1st level PCs vs. 5 1st level monsters, in champion tier it's 5 6th level PCs vs. 5 7th level monsters. Shrug.

    The rest of this chapter has other random tidbits. How to run a shorter campaign, how to tweak the icons, how to totally mess with the icons, how to handle leveling, how to hand out treasure, how to introduce actual gods rather than the icons. All good stuff, but as they hint at in the intro, this chapter is kind of scattershot and could use some reorganization.

    Chapter 7 - Monsters

    I started glossing over this section just because as a playtest PDF it's a lot of stat blocks and not much else to break it up. They're monsters, they kill PCs and get killed by PCs. Maybe I'll come back to it, but it doesn't look like there's anything that warrants a Denada-style trouncing of the chapter.

    There aren't swarm rules that I can see; the mook rules satisfy half of that need (here's 10 kobolds that are represented by this one lump of hit points) but it looks like those 10 kobolds would still make individual attacks? Kind of on the fence about that. Monsters have their cool tricks too, some stuff that depends on the escalation die. Many blocks include suggestions on how to make a monster a "higher level special", such as giving the ogre some DR, or dire rat mooks a bonus depending on how much they're mobbing one PC.

    Hopefully the final edition has a spiffy 4e-style monster block, because a lot of this info could use some organization, right now they're a kind of 3e-style barf of data and it hurts to read. The monsters sound cool, and look more like a 4e monster than 3e, but they need some real help on the presentation.

    Chapter ends with advice on creating your own monsters, and another lovely set of tables: "Baseline Stats for Normal Monsters", "Baseline Stats for Mooks", and "Baseline Stats for Large Monsters". If you need a monster right now, here's the math. Love it.

    Chapter 8 - The Dragon Empire

    A little bit about the default world of 13th Age. Like I said above, another nicely-done Points of Light-style setting. The icons fit in it, but there's nothing stopping you from taking them and dropping them in your own world (reskinning as necessary).

    Chapter 9 - Magic Items

    The rules that bake in a limit on "true" magic items but allow for a character having more power at the cost of his own free will is a pretty cool one. Magic items are meant to be special and interesting rather than everyone skipping through the fields with whatevers of hitting +1. Those bonuses still exist, but they're not the main reason to get magic items --- it's for the extra effects and the roleplay opportunities.

    There's a blurb about using the magic item quirks as "ohshitohshit the DM's looking at me expecting me to roleplay" outs. Can't think of something for your character to do? Have him kick a puppy because the evil sword he's been carrying around for a year hates puppies but likes foot sports. I love this idea.

    Chapter 10 - Introductory Adventures

    The first is basically a combat scrum to get feelers for the game. I'll probably run it first with my groups so they get the mechanical stuff out of the way. It's not much more than that and that's fine. Then I'd run the second, which is a bit more involved, with NPC characters to interact with and a couple sites to visit, ending with a lead-in for further adventures. The usual stuff, though Rob and Jonathan feel it's a bit railroady and are going to change it.

    The last thing in the PDF is the OGL 1.0a, since I don't think that's been mentioned here yet. Kind of obvious given the "yeah, use this wherever" nature of the book, but there you have it. Other stuff in the preorder packet is a list of feats, the aforementioned gorgeous map, a character sheet that they're still working on, and a logo if you want to boast to all your Internet buddies that you preordered the game.

    So yeah, I'm really liking it so far. It has a lot of promise, and I think it will be a good game for my groups that like variety in their tabletop. I'm running 4e for three groups right now, and while I haven't honestly looked at the topic of converting my existing campaigns (and I'm not sure if any of them would let me), I want to try this with all of them and can see it gaining real traction with at least two of them. If conversion/another campaign doesn't happen, I would almost certainly extract the icons and icon relationships from the game and tweak them as appropriate.

    3DS: 2466-2307-8384 PSN: bssteph Steam: bsstephan Twitch: bsstephan
    Tabletop:13th Age (mm-mmm), D&D 4e
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  • SUPERSUGASUPERSUGA Registered User regular
    "Failing Forward" sounds like some great gm advice.

  • SJSJ Registered User regular
    SO

    I'm going to be running a game themed on a bunch of alien conspiracy stuff: XCOM, MIB, The X-Files, etc, etc. At the moment I'm planning to run it via FATE, but I recently became aware of a unisystem game called Conspiracy X 2.0. Has anyone here got experience with that game in particular or the unisystem in general? Savage Worlds, for instance.

  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    Ok people of CF. I'm after a recommendation. I'll be spending a week in a house in France with some friends and figure this is a good time to get some good old fashioned p&p RPG going on. Thing is, much as I love these people, and they enjoy gaming, they're not very good with complex rules systems. We played some 4e way back when it was new and this felt like it was running on the limits of the ability of a few of them. They'd pick it up as we went and we'd get rolling along well enough, but a few weeks away from it and it'd be like teaching combat all over again, and character creation and levelling caused their eyes to glaze over as they failed to parse the math language of 4e powers and lost interest at the sight of pages of available feats.

    So what other systems might I consider? I guess a non exhaustive and non essential list of desires would be:

    - Simple system.

    - Simple character gen (or pre-gens?)

    - 3-5 players.

    - Less involved combat = more plot?

    - A nice self contained published story runnable in a few evening sessions.

    - With no background reading on the world required because they are rubbish at homework!

    I've only ever really played D&D before so know little of other systems. Might some Call of Cthulu work? Is that pretty easy to run? I imagine it has some nice self contained stories. Though I'm slightly wary that a horror game might require a certain mindset I'm not sure they can achieve. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh there.

    Classic high fantasy is sure to go over well but I'm willing to consider any kind of setting.

    Any thoughts?

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  • dresdenphiledresdenphile Watch out for snakes!Registered User regular
    White Wolf has a few quick-start/demos for their New World of Darkness games that might fit the bill. Story and pre-gen characters and not super combat-heavy.

    They used to be direct downloads from WW directly, but they should be on DriveThruRPG, too.

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  • Gandalf_the_CrazedGandalf_the_Crazed Vigilo ConfidoRegistered User regular
    Ok people of CF. I'm after a recommendation. I'll be spending a week in a house in France with some friends and figure this is a good time to get some good old fashioned p&p RPG going on. Thing is, much as I love these people, and they enjoy gaming, they're not very good with complex rules systems. We played some 4e way back when it was new and this felt like it was running on the limits of the ability of a few of them. They'd pick it up as we went and we'd get rolling along well enough, but a few weeks away from it and it'd be like teaching combat all over again, and character creation and levelling caused their eyes to glaze over as they failed to parse the math language of 4e powers and lost interest at the sight of pages of available feats.

    So what other systems might I consider? I guess a non exhaustive and non essential list of desires would be:

    - Simple system.

    - Simple character gen (or pre-gens?)

    - 3-5 players.

    - Less involved combat = more plot?

    - A nice self contained published story runnable in a few evening sessions.

    - With no background reading on the world required because they are rubbish at homework!

    I've only ever really played D&D before so know little of other systems. Might some Call of Cthulu work? Is that pretty easy to run? I imagine it has some nice self contained stories. Though I'm slightly wary that a horror game might require a certain mindset I'm not sure they can achieve. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh there.

    Classic high fantasy is sure to go over well but I'm willing to consider any kind of setting.

    Any thoughts?

    Land of Og
    Microscope
    Dawn of Worlds
    My personal recommendation: Use Dawn of Worlds to create a world together, but stop before the "Relations" phase, then use the Microscope rules to tell a story about the world you've just created.

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  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User regular
    I'd like to mention Old School Hack; OSH also comes with pre-gen characters that explain the mechanics nice and succinctly. Microlite20 might also be an option; probably not all that simple by some standards, but they're both easy enough to pick up and they lend themselves well to fantasy settings (although some of the Microlite adaptations in that monster PDF are differently themed).

    cBY55.gifbmJsl.png
  • SJSJ Registered User regular
    Old School Hack fucking owns hard and everyone should play it.

  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    Ok people of CF. I'm after a recommendation. I'll be spending a week in a house in France with some friends and figure this is a good time to get some good old fashioned p&p RPG going on. Thing is, much as I love these people, and they enjoy gaming, they're not very good with complex rules systems. We played some 4e way back when it was new and this felt like it was running on the limits of the ability of a few of them. They'd pick it up as we went and we'd get rolling along well enough, but a few weeks away from it and it'd be like teaching combat all over again, and character creation and levelling caused their eyes to glaze over as they failed to parse the math language of 4e powers and lost interest at the sight of pages of available feats.

    So what other systems might I consider? I guess a non exhaustive and non essential list of desires would be:

    - Simple system.

    - Simple character gen (or pre-gens?)

    - 3-5 players.

    - Less involved combat = more plot?

    - A nice self contained published story runnable in a few evening sessions.

    - With no background reading on the world required because they are rubbish at homework!

    I've only ever really played D&D before so know little of other systems. Might some Call of Cthulu work? Is that pretty easy to run? I imagine it has some nice self contained stories. Though I'm slightly wary that a horror game might require a certain mindset I'm not sure they can achieve. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh there.

    Classic high fantasy is sure to go over well but I'm willing to consider any kind of setting.

    Any thoughts?

    Any of the FATE games (Spirit of the Century and Dresden Files are the best) would be ideal. They're simple, story-based, no background reading necessary (Spirit of the Century is set in the pulp world of the 1920s and 30s - i.e. Indiana Jones's world and Dresden Files is set in the Dresden Files books, or indeed in any modern city with added magic).

    The rules are very original but very simple, so new RPGers do better with them than experienced ones, in my experience.

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • EdcrabEdcrab Registered User regular
    Yeah, FATE is a really obvious choice now that I come to think of it. You can also throw in abstracted flavour of just about any kind, it's wonderfully versatile

    cBY55.gifbmJsl.png
  • PMAversPMAvers Registered User regular
    AspectVoid wrote: »
    I have never looked at MHR before. I did run a DC Universe game for a few months for my group. It started out fun, and we had some good times, but after a bit all of the characters started feeling the same due to the mechanics causing everything to feel...well, the same, just with a different flavor text to go with it.

    Currently, I am working on putting together a Legend of Five Rings campaign for my group. I've just started laying the ground work for it, putting together the over all plot structure and creating the major NPCs. I'm rather excited about it, as I've wanted to get an L5R game going for over a decade now. I'm also excited because its going to push me as a DM. The current game I'm running (Pathfinder) had ended up really more of a tactics game with a lose story tying it together. L5R, however, is heavy on the social interactions and relies a lot on character interaction. I am really looking forward to using it to grow as a DM.

    L5R is probably one of my favorite settings for an RPG. Personally, I love all the history and detail that they put into their setting. It really does depend on what edition you're playing, though, and possibly what time period. I somewhat refuse to move to 4e, simply because the rulebook stripped most of the background and fluff, but I hear it's better mechanically. The social interaction bit is definitely the most interesting part, and it's actually kind of nice that the combat is appropriately deadly.

    That's definitely a YMMV thing, since one of the goals they set out for with 4e was to make it timeline neutral so you could use it to play whenever you wanted. I'm actually pretty happy with how the core book and the supplements have turned out. Especially the reprint of Emerald Empire and Imperial Histories. The core has enough fluff to get a game up and running, and then you've got those two books for specifics and detail.

    Personally, I think the current arc with the Colonies in the ruined Ivory Kingdoms is the most fascinating and awesome thing they've ever done in the line. And I totally can't wait for the new Second City box-set to come out at GenCon.

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  • tzeentchlingtzeentchling Doctor of Rocks San DiegoRegistered User regular
    I agree that the Colonies aspect is pretty interesting. The Spider Clan getting recognized, the Destroyer War,
    Fu Leng dying to Kali and Daigotsu taking his place in Jigoku!
    , it's all pretty huge. I suppose that as long as they didn't actually do away with all the fluff and history, 4e is decent - it's just, if you compare the 3e and the 4e rulebook and look at what's left out/how things changed, it's pretty huge. Stuff that got pages before got paragraphs, if they were lucky, in the new.

  • Mikey CTSMikey CTS Registered User regular
    edited July 2012

    Really? THat's actually pretty awesome. Diagotsu was a far better villian than Fu Leng ever was. I think I need to pick up the newest version of the rules and give them a read, if that's the direction the setting took.

    Mikey CTS on
    // PSN: wyrd_warrior // MHW Name: Josei //
  • tzeentchlingtzeentchling Doctor of Rocks San DiegoRegistered User regular
    Mikey CTS wrote: »
    Really? THat's actually pretty awesome. Diagotsu was a far better villian than Fu Leng ever was. I think I need to pick up the newest version of the rules and give them a read, if that's the direction the setting took.

    The link to the story in which it happened is here.

  • NullzoneNullzone Registered User regular
    Ok people of CF. I'm after a recommendation. I'll be spending a week in a house in France with some friends and figure this is a good time to get some good old fashioned p&p RPG going on. Thing is, much as I love these people, and they enjoy gaming, they're not very good with complex rules systems. We played some 4e way back when it was new and this felt like it was running on the limits of the ability of a few of them. They'd pick it up as we went and we'd get rolling along well enough, but a few weeks away from it and it'd be like teaching combat all over again, and character creation and levelling caused their eyes to glaze over as they failed to parse the math language of 4e powers and lost interest at the sight of pages of available feats.

    So what other systems might I consider? I guess a non exhaustive and non essential list of desires would be:

    - Simple system.

    - Simple character gen (or pre-gens?)

    - 3-5 players.

    - Less involved combat = more plot?

    - A nice self contained published story runnable in a few evening sessions.

    - With no background reading on the world required because they are rubbish at homework!

    I've only ever really played D&D before so know little of other systems. Might some Call of Cthulu work? Is that pretty easy to run? I imagine it has some nice self contained stories. Though I'm slightly wary that a horror game might require a certain mindset I'm not sure they can achieve. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh there.

    Classic high fantasy is sure to go over well but I'm willing to consider any kind of setting.

    Any thoughts?

    Old School Hack will fit your entire bill, including some premade scenarios and character templates here.

  • AthenorAthenor Battle Hardened Optimist Registered User regular
    A couple weeks ago I was posting on how I was really enjoying the L5R 4th edition stuff.. and a gentleman PMed me talking about the things he disliked about the game. I really didn't care, because I loved the engine changes and the book is gorgeous - and the look of a DTE can help sell it to other players just as easily as anything else can.

    Still, like any new edition, people have qualms. I hope that individual steps forward and talks openly about his thoughts to spur on discussion. *nudge nudge*

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  • ChrysisChrysis Registered User regular
    Ok people of CF. I'm after a recommendation. I'll be spending a week in a house in France with some friends and figure this is a good time to get some good old fashioned p&p RPG going on. Thing is, much as I love these people, and they enjoy gaming, they're not very good with complex rules systems. We played some 4e way back when it was new and this felt like it was running on the limits of the ability of a few of them. They'd pick it up as we went and we'd get rolling along well enough, but a few weeks away from it and it'd be like teaching combat all over again, and character creation and levelling caused their eyes to glaze over as they failed to parse the math language of 4e powers and lost interest at the sight of pages of available feats.

    So what other systems might I consider? I guess a non exhaustive and non essential list of desires would be:

    - Simple system.

    - Simple character gen (or pre-gens?)

    - 3-5 players.

    - Less involved combat = more plot?

    - A nice self contained published story runnable in a few evening sessions.

    - With no background reading on the world required because they are rubbish at homework!

    I've only ever really played D&D before so know little of other systems. Might some Call of Cthulu work? Is that pretty easy to run? I imagine it has some nice self contained stories. Though I'm slightly wary that a horror game might require a certain mindset I'm not sure they can achieve. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh there.

    Classic high fantasy is sure to go over well but I'm willing to consider any kind of setting.

    Any thoughts?

    Paranoia.

    The rules are above their clearance, and combat ends practically immediately.

    Although maybe not the best plan if you're stuck together for a week, as it's a game about stabbing each other in the back.

    Tri-Optimum reminds you that there are only one-hundred-sixty-three shopping days until Christmas. Just 1 extra work cycle twice a week will give you the spending money you need to make this holiday a very special one.
  • CapfalconCapfalcon Tunnel Snakes Rule Capital WastelandRegistered User regular
    edited July 2012
    Chrysis wrote: »
    Ok people of CF. I'm after a recommendation. I'll be spending a week in a house in France with some friends and figure this is a good time to get some good old fashioned p&p RPG going on. Thing is, much as I love these people, and they enjoy gaming, they're not very good with complex rules systems. We played some 4e way back when it was new and this felt like it was running on the limits of the ability of a few of them. They'd pick it up as we went and we'd get rolling along well enough, but a few weeks away from it and it'd be like teaching combat all over again, and character creation and levelling caused their eyes to glaze over as they failed to parse the math language of 4e powers and lost interest at the sight of pages of available feats.

    So what other systems might I consider? I guess a non exhaustive and non essential list of desires would be:

    - Simple system.

    - Simple character gen (or pre-gens?)

    - 3-5 players.

    - Less involved combat = more plot?

    - A nice self contained published story runnable in a few evening sessions.

    - With no background reading on the world required because they are rubbish at homework!

    I've only ever really played D&D before so know little of other systems. Might some Call of Cthulu work? Is that pretty easy to run? I imagine it has some nice self contained stories. Though I'm slightly wary that a horror game might require a certain mindset I'm not sure they can achieve. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh there.

    Classic high fantasy is sure to go over well but I'm willing to consider any kind of setting.

    Any thoughts?

    Paranoia.

    The rules are above their clearance, and combat ends practically immediately.

    Although maybe not the best plan if you're stuck together for a week, as it's a game about stabbing each other in the back.

    I'll second this. Paranoia is a really good game for people who just want to sit down and play a game. Just... make it clear at the outset that the game is about backstabbing the backstabber who was backstabbing the guy you WERE going to backstab until the previously mentioned backstabie turned his back on you and then you stabbed it. If you get the 25th Anniversary Troubleshooters book (i.e. the latest), just read the page where the Computer is talking to the potential troubleshooter, and that should get everyone on the same page, as it were.

    Otherwise, there may be hurt feelings or severe cases of boredom.

    Capfalcon on
  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    Brief looks into Paranoia sound very promising. Keep talking to me enthusiasts!

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  • BogartBogart I Will Cure You Registered User, Moderator mod
    Call of Cthulhu is pretty simple. You have skills and you have to roll under them on a D100 to succeed at doing something. That's basically it. Characters can be pregenned into niche roles by you (bookish professor, slick gumshoe, etc).

  • CerberusCerberus Registered User regular
    White Wolf has a few quick-start/demos for their New World of Darkness games that might fit the bill. Story and pre-gen characters and not super combat-heavy.

    They used to be direct downloads from WW directly, but they should be on DriveThruRPG, too.

    White Wolf is such a simple system, especially if playing as humans that it is possible for anyone including non gamers to pick it up.
    If I ever have to run a game for people not used to RP or with little interest in complex rules, I break out one of two things.

    1) White Wolf, it is simple to grasp, quick and easy and is a great world with lots of history and depth
    2) Shadowrun, if I don't like the people and want to be a jerk and confuse them a lot... Its not a very productive session!

    So in summary... WW/WOD is the way to go!

  • Lord PalingtonLord Palington Registered User regular
    Brief looks into Paranoia sound very promising. Keep talking to me enthusiasts!

    I know you said 4e was a little on the complicated side, but you could always do Gamma World. The newest edition is based on 4e, but it is simplified a bit. There aren't any pre-gen, but character rolling is randomized and takes all of 10-15 minutes the first time, and 5-10 any time after that. It's definitely on the less serious side of things, and since things are pretty lethal, self-contained stories are easy enough.

    For instance, our current party consists of Robo from Chrono Trigger (Android/Yeti), a Coca-Cola polar bear addicted to caffeine (Yeti/Speedster), a self replicating fist sized rock (Seismic/Doppleganger), and a woman who is so fast she can be two places at once (Speedster/Doppleganger).

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  • RendRend Registered User regular
    Capfalcon wrote: »
    Chrysis wrote: »
    Ok people of CF. I'm after a recommendation. I'll be spending a week in a house in France with some friends and figure this is a good time to get some good old fashioned p&p RPG going on. Thing is, much as I love these people, and they enjoy gaming, they're not very good with complex rules systems. We played some 4e way back when it was new and this felt like it was running on the limits of the ability of a few of them. They'd pick it up as we went and we'd get rolling along well enough, but a few weeks away from it and it'd be like teaching combat all over again, and character creation and levelling caused their eyes to glaze over as they failed to parse the math language of 4e powers and lost interest at the sight of pages of available feats.

    So what other systems might I consider? I guess a non exhaustive and non essential list of desires would be:

    - Simple system.

    - Simple character gen (or pre-gens?)

    - 3-5 players.

    - Less involved combat = more plot?

    - A nice self contained published story runnable in a few evening sessions.

    - With no background reading on the world required because they are rubbish at homework!

    I've only ever really played D&D before so know little of other systems. Might some Call of Cthulu work? Is that pretty easy to run? I imagine it has some nice self contained stories. Though I'm slightly wary that a horror game might require a certain mindset I'm not sure they can achieve. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh there.

    Classic high fantasy is sure to go over well but I'm willing to consider any kind of setting.

    Any thoughts?

    Paranoia.

    The rules are above their clearance, and combat ends practically immediately.

    Although maybe not the best plan if you're stuck together for a week, as it's a game about stabbing each other in the back.

    I'll second this. Paranoia is a really good game for people who just want to sit down and play a game. Just... make it clear at the outset that the game is about backstabbing the backstabber who was backstabbing the guy you WERE going to backstab until the previously mentioned backstabie turned his back on you and then you stabbed it. If you get the 25th Anniversary Troubleshooters book (i.e. the latest), just read the page where the Computer is talking to the potential troubleshooter, and that should get everyone on the same page, as it were.

    Otherwise, there may be hurt feelings or severe cases of boredom.

    The best thing about paranoia is that if you buy the book, even if you never ever play it, it's such a good read.

    That being said, it is a hilariously good time for the GM to be tossing poker chips around the room every time someone says or does something you like. And to show blatant favoritism in order to spur jealousy and betrayal in the party. And to watch as parties completely uninvolved in a roll literally use half or more of their chips to sabotage a "fellow troubleshooter's" attempt at something.

    It's not a game I would recommend for a longstanding thing, but for a one-off? It may be the best system I know.

  • AntimatterAntimatter Registered User regular
    Brief looks into Paranoia sound very promising. Keep talking to me enthusiasts!

    I know you said 4e was a little on the complicated side, but you could always do Gamma World. The newest edition is based on 4e, but it is simplified a bit. There aren't any pre-gen, but character rolling is randomized and takes all of 10-15 minutes the first time, and 5-10 any time after that. It's definitely on the less serious side of things, and since things are pretty lethal, self-contained stories are easy enough.

    For instance, our current party consists of Robo from Chrono Trigger (Android/Yeti), a Coca-Cola polar bear addicted to caffeine (Yeti/Speedster), a self replicating fist sized rock (Seismic/Doppleganger), and a woman who is so fast she can be two places at once (Speedster/Doppleganger).

    Using the online character generator means that you can build guys in seconds.
    http://www.wizards.com/dnd/blank.aspx?x=dnd/4dnd/gwsheet

  • NealnealNealneal Registered User regular
    Man...I want to play my Electrokinetic/Mind Breaker again. Doctor Volta will see you now!

  • LochielLochiel Registered User regular
    I have played both WoD and CoC as a player in a short campaign. In neither system did I bother to learn the rules; I just rolled what my GM told me to. The CoC game was pretty good, the WoD game is still the best campaign I have ever played.

  • AspectVoidAspectVoid Registered User regular
    edited July 2012
    World of Darkness is great as Human or low level Supernatural. Once you hit higher levels, it becomes game breaking. Especially in a mix setting campaign. A Werewolf + Mage can destroy everything that ever existed in WoD. I know from experience, I was the mage. By the end of the game, I had the Werewolf rolling 30+ dice on attack rolls while under an 8-Again rule.

    So, yeah, don't let a WoD game go on too long, or the players WILL break it.

    AspectVoid on
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  • dresdenphiledresdenphile Watch out for snakes!Registered User regular
    Regarding what I mentioned earlier, here's a free quick-start for World of Darkness dealing with a haunted apartment building. The characters are all normal humans, but spoooooky things are happening.

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  • EndaroEndaro Registered User regular
    I'm really glad this thread exists so I can have somewhere to talk about how great Trail of Cthulhu is and why everyone should be playing it instead of Call of Cthulhu for forever and ever. It is a vast improvement in so many ways, only one of which is how great the Pelgrane releases have been in comparison to Chaosiums work.
    poshniallo wrote: »

    If I had spare cash at the moment, I would be buying Marvel Heroic and the Lord of the Rings RPG. I was originally going to play a LOTR campaign using Legends of Anglerre (a fantasy FATE RPG) and The Atlas of Middle-Earth, but the actual LOTR RPG looks great, and the designer has an excellent reputation.

    Do you mean the Lord of the Rings RPG (as it is known) that was released around the time of the Peter Jackson trilogy, or the recently released The One Ring: Adventures Over the Edge of the Wild? I would HIGHLY recommend the latter. While the LOTR RPG released about a decade ago did some things right (they toned down the magic from the Middle Earth RPG of the 80's), it is in many ways still lackluster (the combat mechanics and vanished support most of all).

    The One Ring RPG is a really beautiful game and well worth a read. It was designed by one of the creatures of the popular War of the Ring board game, and comes with beautiful elven-runed custom dice and large fold out maps. The system is custom made around a lot of LOTR concepts, attempting to mirror the feel of the books. For example, traveling and the journey is an integral component, instead of glossed over rpg narration. Players have to plan routes on the map, followed by the GM using his own custom map to determine the length of the journey and play out each leg with various obstacles and challenges. Instead of health mechanics, where players are at full strength until they fall over dead, endurance is used to simulate mental, physical, and spiritual resilience (combined with weary states as it drops lower). Hope, heart, and a resistance to the shadow eventually become more important than mere strength, and poorly played characters (with weak morals) decay over time as they slip further down their paths of weakness (dragon sickness, wrath, etc).

  • poshnialloposhniallo Registered User regular
    Endaro wrote: »
    I'm really glad this thread exists so I can have somewhere to talk about how great Trail of Cthulhu is and why everyone should be playing it instead of Call of Cthulhu for forever and ever. It is a vast improvement in so many ways, only one of which is how great the Pelgrane releases have been in comparison to Chaosiums work.
    poshniallo wrote: »

    If I had spare cash at the moment, I would be buying Marvel Heroic and the Lord of the Rings RPG. I was originally going to play a LOTR campaign using Legends of Anglerre (a fantasy FATE RPG) and The Atlas of Middle-Earth, but the actual LOTR RPG looks great, and the designer has an excellent reputation.

    Do you mean the Lord of the Rings RPG (as it is known) that was released around the time of the Peter Jackson trilogy, or the recently released The One Ring: Adventures Over the Edge of the Wild? I would HIGHLY recommend the latter. While the LOTR RPG released about a decade ago did some things right (they toned down the magic from the Middle Earth RPG of the 80's), it is in many ways still lackluster (the combat mechanics and vanished support most of all).

    The One Ring RPG is a really beautiful game and well worth a read. It was designed by one of the creatures of the popular War of the Ring board game, and comes with beautiful elven-runed custom dice and large fold out maps. The system is custom made around a lot of LOTR concepts, attempting to mirror the feel of the books. For example, traveling and the journey is an integral component, instead of glossed over rpg narration. Players have to plan routes on the map, followed by the GM using his own custom map to determine the length of the journey and play out each leg with various obstacles and challenges. Instead of health mechanics, where players are at full strength until they fall over dead, endurance is used to simulate mental, physical, and spiritual resilience (combined with weary states as it drops lower). Hope, heart, and a resistance to the shadow eventually become more important than mere strength, and poorly played characters (with weak morals) decay over time as they slip further down their paths of weakness (dragon sickness, wrath, etc).

    Yeah, I meant that one. That's why I mentioned the designer - he made the excellent War of the Ring boardgame, among other things.

    The One Ring is great in that it, like Tolkien, focuses on a spiritual side to the heroics, rather than the mechanistic world of D&D.

    I figure I could take a bear.
  • Der Waffle MousDer Waffle Mous Blame this on the misfortune of your birth. New Yark, New Yark.Registered User regular
    I believe there's also a hack for Mouse Guard called Realm Guard.

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    Steam PSN: DerWaffleMous Origin: DerWaffleMous Bnet: DerWaffle#1682
  • EndaroEndaro Registered User regular
    poshniallo wrote: »
    Endaro wrote: »
    I'm really glad this thread exists so I can have somewhere to talk about how great Trail of Cthulhu is and why everyone should be playing it instead of Call of Cthulhu for forever and ever. It is a vast improvement in so many ways, only one of which is how great the Pelgrane releases have been in comparison to Chaosiums work.
    poshniallo wrote: »

    If I had spare cash at the moment, I would be buying Marvel Heroic and the Lord of the Rings RPG. I was originally going to play a LOTR campaign using Legends of Anglerre (a fantasy FATE RPG) and The Atlas of Middle-Earth, but the actual LOTR RPG looks great, and the designer has an excellent reputation.

    Do you mean the Lord of the Rings RPG (as it is known) that was released around the time of the Peter Jackson trilogy, or the recently released The One Ring: Adventures Over the Edge of the Wild? I would HIGHLY recommend the latter. While the LOTR RPG released about a decade ago did some things right (they toned down the magic from the Middle Earth RPG of the 80's), it is in many ways still lackluster (the combat mechanics and vanished support most of all).

    The One Ring RPG is a really beautiful game and well worth a read. It was designed by one of the creatures of the popular War of the Ring board game, and comes with beautiful elven-runed custom dice and large fold out maps. The system is custom made around a lot of LOTR concepts, attempting to mirror the feel of the books. For example, traveling and the journey is an integral component, instead of glossed over rpg narration. Players have to plan routes on the map, followed by the GM using his own custom map to determine the length of the journey and play out each leg with various obstacles and challenges. Instead of health mechanics, where players are at full strength until they fall over dead, endurance is used to simulate mental, physical, and spiritual resilience (combined with weary states as it drops lower). Hope, heart, and a resistance to the shadow eventually become more important than mere strength, and poorly played characters (with weak morals) decay over time as they slip further down their paths of weakness (dragon sickness, wrath, etc).

    Yeah, I meant that one. That's why I mentioned the designer - he made the excellent War of the Ring boardgame, among other things.

    The One Ring is great in that it, like Tolkien, focuses on a spiritual side to the heroics, rather than the mechanistic world of D&D.

    Well then you have chosen wisely! I will point out they changed their initial release plans from 3 core rulebooks (Focusing on Wilderland, Eriador, and Gondor/Rohan) to leaving the Wilderland as the only core rulebook and releasing the rest through supplements. It was for the best in the end, as they dont really need to rehash the rules, only focus on setting, characters, and newly introduced cultures. A Keepers Screen and Laketown Setting book should be releasing soon, and a Mirkwood campaign/one-shot book was recently released. If you want to get a good feel for their material quality, they released Words of the Wise for free on Drive-Thru RPG, though I think the material within the corebook itself is of higher quality.

  • VanguardVanguard Je suis le savant au fauteuil sombre. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    If you're looking to run a high-octane game, DCC RPG would probably be a good fit. Character creation is 100% random, so as long as they can follow instructions on how to roll dice, they should be fine.

    I would recommend grabbing the core book and maybe the Sailors on the Starless Sea if you wanted to run something right out of the box.

    Combat is very simple, for the most part. It's like any other D20 game where you roll 1d20 + physical ability modifier and hope you hit. Spells seem complicated, but that's only because every one has a chart to roll on. If you note what page they're on, throw your spell check, you'll resolve them about as quickly as anything else.

    What's fun about this system, I think, is that you can easily finish combats in five minutes. It allows you to maintain a much better ratio between plot and action.

  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    edited July 2012
    This is too hard. Too many interesting sounding systems and I want to run them all!

    I suppose what I should be doing is offering the general concepts to my potential victims players and getting their input.

    Jam Warrior on
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  • Mr_RoseMr_Rose 83 Blue Ridge Protects the Holy Registered User regular
    edited July 2012
    For one-shots, I always like stealing being inspired by movie plots. The first player to name the film gets a bonus!

    Not that they know this beforehand….

    Mr_Rose on
    ...because dragons are AWESOME! That's why.
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  • LoserForHireXLoserForHireX Registered User regular
    L5R 3rd Edition and 4th Edition are both good. The systems are very similar, and the fluff is nearly identical. With the more books coming out for 4th, the fluff is getting better and better for it. It's one of my favorite games ever, because I love social interaction and such.

    "The only way to get rid of a temptation is to give into it." - Oscar Wilde
    "We believe in the people and their 'wisdom' as if there was some special secret entrance to knowledge that barred to anyone who had ever learned anything." - Friedrich Nietzsche
  • VanguardVanguard Je suis le savant au fauteuil sombre. Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    This is too hard. Too many interesting sounding systems and I want to run them all!

    I suppose what I should be doing is offering the general concepts to my potential victims players and getting their input.

    Yep.

    Not all game systems are created equal. Knowing what you want to accomplish will help find a better fit.

  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    Before I give them the pitch, any last minute recommendations?

    I'm putting Paranoia, Call of Cthulu and Dungon Crawl Classic up before them. Also the option to stick with 4e I guess (maybe Darksun?), and possibly Gamma World if there's a suitable adventure out there (as I hear the one in the rule book is a bit dull dungeon crawly).

    WoD just doesn't appeal to me for now for some reason. Definately want to try it myself one day, but my gut feeling is this is not it.

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  • AntimatterAntimatter Registered User regular
    There's a christmas themed PDF for gamma world that's very silly

    http://www.wizards.com/dnd/article.aspx?x=dnd/duad/20101222
    Haven't run it, but it exists

  • Grey_ChocolateGrey_Chocolate Registered User regular
    Hey, guys, shot in the dark;

    If you had to recommend one of those "OSR"/retroclone/old school D&D systems, which one would you choose that's fairly balanced in terms of classes, has simple and plainly stated mechanics, and doesn't have too many fiddly legacy mechanics?

    I'm not particularly interested in old D&D, but seeking out groups online is easier if you have familiarity with popular systems.

    Hitting the broken computer does not fix the broken computer. Fixing the broken computer, fixes the broken computer.
This discussion has been closed.