View Full Version : Looking for a RPG

2013-11-01, 01:19 PM

Alright, dear people of this forum, I have a request. Recently I've been trying to expand my horizon when it comes to roleplaying games. So far, I've only had direct experience with D&D. And before I go out and try to read the books of every RPG I can find, I wanted to get some starting points.

I actually have something rather specific in mind and I'm not sure if it can be fulfilled, but these aren't necessary aspects. I just want to know if there are games that go into these directions.

- I would prefer if the sources that are required to play the game are, let's say, "compact". By that I mean that it would be great if there is either a Wiki (or a Compendium like $e has right now), or if the books (if any?) are at least available in PDF form. If playing the game requires having physical copies of lots of books to carry around, that's not so good. Also, I don't particularly like having to look up if there's been errata, so bonus points if there isn't any, the game is playable while ignoring it or it's integrated in the sources and doesn't require reading two books at once.

- The classes (if any?) a new player would look at and get the desire to play should be somewhat balanced against each other. By that I mean that scenarios that occured in 3.5 like the Fighter being outclassed by the bear that follows the druid around.

- This is an odd one, but I'd very much be interested in the type of games that are like this (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?p=13525262) (but not that extreme), with PCs quickly becoming far larger than life, possessing abilities that go far beyond what mere mortals (that are still an essential part of the game world) can do and Demigod is somewhat low in the carreer ladder of the average PC.

- This is probably impossible, but I would like to see a magic system where casters can do most of their stuff (possibly excluding the really stupidly powerful stuff) close to (or actually) at will. This is obviously not particularly easy to balance, but it ties in to the "the guy who fights using his muscles should be on par with the guy who reshapes reality with his thoughts" point. It's just that I and the people I play with never really liked that it's possible for a character to run out of the ability to be awesome.

Again, not all of these criteria need to be satisfied, I'm really just looking for options at this point and I'm grateful for any input on this.

2013-11-01, 01:37 PM
Fate Core immediately comes to mind, primarily because the Fate Accelerated Edition is only 50 pages long and because you can get it online for free (http://www.evilhat.com/home/fate-core-downloads/). Note that the Fate Core rulebook is a little bit different from Fate Accelerated Edition, although the core rulebook alone is still only $25 for a physical copy. (and free as well, by PDF) Note that Fate is considerably different from what you're used to, with no actual classes and a different method of playing the game.

Mutants and Masterminds has a SRD available online (http://www.d20herosrd.com/), is similar enough to D&D3e to make everything familiar, but different enough (and good enough) to make it a different playing experience. It's more of a skill-based system still in the framework of the d20 System, though, so there aren't any classes to worry about.

2013-11-01, 01:52 PM
You may want to look into New World of Darkness. Each of the systems has a lot of fluff books, but the game can be played perfectly well with just the blue Mortals book and the core book for the specific game (Vampire: the Requiem, Mage: the Awakening, Werewolf: the Forsaken, Changling: the Lost)

2013-11-01, 02:31 PM
Are you more interested in systems or settings?
While failing on the last two, I would have to plug Legend of the Five Rings and Ars Magica.

In AM you take on the roles of mages in Mythic Europe (basically 1200s Europe, except that the world really does include God, dragons, fairies, dragons, etc.) While mages vastly outclass all mundane characters, the magic system is very fun, and the game is less centered on single characters becoming awesome (though they start out good and can become pretty powerful, if not as insane as 3.x wizards), and more on cooperative storytelling and building the group's stronghold into a solid organization. Stories tend to be less combat focused (very lethal and very minimal) and more exploration, politics and economics. There are lots of splatbooks, all of which are excellent, but for average games you really only need to have the core book at hand.

L5R is basically a primarily Japanese inspired empire with magic and monsters. While I'm not particularly fond of the most recent edition of the rules, they do work fairly well and are generally considered to be the best edition rules-wise. It has a continually evolving story with player input from the CCG (again, I'm not fond of the last 3 years or so of story, but on the whole it's pretty good), and an unequaled wealth of detail and characters to draw on. Also, it has a lot of short fiction (probably the equivalent of several novel's worth) available for free, which helps you get a feel for the setting and characters.
The art is amazing, and casters are awesome but so are warriors and courtiers. It's primarily focused on samurai drama so monster books are not necessary unless you wish to run that kind of game, and the splat books are mostly good and useful fluff. There's an extensive wiki detailing characters and history for easy reference.
And while there was at least one way to win the game with a beginning level charcter if you don't look too closely at which editions you mix, it doesn't reach the absurdities of 3.x while still making you feel like an exceptional individual.

2013-11-01, 04:17 PM
Mutants and Masterminds has a SRD available online (http://www.d20herosrd.com/), is similar enough to D&D3e to make everything familiar, but different enough (and good enough) to make it a different playing experience. It's more of a skill-based system still in the framework of the d20 System, though, so there aren't any classes to worry about.
Seconded. It easily fits all of your criteria, and is a monumentally fun game to play. Character creation is a bit complex, but is astoundingly versatile and powerful once you get used to it, and is really easy to fake if you're the GM. Balance is... well, it's not necessarily super-balanced, but it's easy to see that you're choosing to play, say, Green Arrow in a party with the Flash and Green Lantern. (And even at its worst, it's miles better from 3.5)

2013-11-02, 11:47 PM
I definitely second New World of Darkness, as it has one of the most intuitive rules-medium systems I've ever seen, and should super easy to get a grasp of. And Changeling: The Lost is fairy tales unhinged with the best looking RPG rulebook I have ever seen, with Mage: The Awakening as the most impressive magic system for a purely magical party. All of the subgames are very well done.

2013-11-03, 11:43 PM
Can't really go wrong with Shadowrun if you're looking for a good time with lots of ridiculously overpowered (and probably not particularly intelligent) adventurers. A well-optimized Physical Adept who specializes in thrown weapons and has a roll of quarters handy can hold his own against an entire SWAT team. Just don't let him "subdue" any hostages or bystanders, unless you particularly like making your Runners pay for cleaner fees.

The Shadowrun CLUE files (google 'em up or look for them on GiantitP, they're solid gold), despite being about the worst of the worst players, actually got me more interested in the game than any of the official source material. And ye, almost all the books are available in .pdf format.

2013-11-04, 10:46 AM
Numenera's 3 classes are pretty balanced IMO, as even with some of the nicest Nano spells, they still can't have decent armor and will still die if they don't put points into Might or Speed instead of mashing all their points into Intellect.
A pdf of its player's guide (basic lore, item/equipment description, chargen) is a measly $7, probably less somewhere.
Power levels are somewhat relative. You don't shatter mountains, but in a pseudo-medieval society when someone busts out power armor you might as well be.
And due to the Effort/Edge system, most characters can use their minor techniques/spells at-will unless they want to supe them up a bit.

2013-11-04, 01:26 PM
13th Age is a GREAT game that is only one book, available as a PDF, and has an SRD. Very story focused and easy to house rule, combat is fun and fast.

The only caster that has a tone of "At will" magic is the wizard, but caster have slower unlimited out of combat casting via rituals that you and the player make up. You can increase the "at will" magic by making daily spells be recharge based instead of straight daily. Also you can let casters expend a recovery to regain a daily spell.

The classes are very well balanced, and the fighter is done amazingly. The second book will be out first quarter next year with more classes.

2013-11-04, 03:18 PM
Mythender. (http://www.mythenderrpg.com)

The Pitch: you are a group of fighters (though I say "fighter", I mean that in the broadest sense--you use weapons, magic, mythic power, whatever to fight) who have set out to slay the Norse gods, because in this universe, the Aesir are unquestionably jerkish and evil towards pathetic humans. On the other hand, your character absorbs Mythic power as they journey, coming closer to becoming what they hate and seek to kill. It's a fantastic game that explores the notion of what it's like to be a being with that much power.

Compactness: One book. It's free in PDF form, and you can buy a snazzy Print-On-Demand version for about $25. On the downside, as far as "buying stuff" goes, you need a lot of d6es, along with tokens to represent the power you've charged up through your attacks. I would also recommend printing up a copy of the Gifts for each player to reference. (Gifts are the system's equivalent of Feats, and players can pick them up on-the-fly in the middle of a fight.)

Class Balance: Classes differ in one way: the story behind them. You mix-and-match bits of your character's background in a way that doesn't impact mechanics. It alters what the flavor of the character is, though. In general, your attacks are freeform.

Super Power Level: Check, check, and double-check. You fight deities and your characters can potentially lose by achieving apotheosis. Characters are encouraged to up the ante on what their actions achieve--although their foes tend to be just as powerful. The mortal world turns into so much breakable furniture.

At-Will Casting: All attacks are at-will. Some special abilities require a limited resource to activate, but that's usually just for an augment on one of your attacks. This goes with before--the what of your action is not nearly as important. What's more important is how epic you make it, and the balance that you straddle between your mortality and your Mythic nature.

Here's a quick-and-speedy recap of a Mythender game that showcases the kind of action you can expect. (http://derailedgaming.wordpress.com/2013/04/25/mythender-actual-play-moments/)
Here's what Wil Wheaton thought of the game. (http://mythenderrpg.com/a-word-from-wil-wheaton/)
And here's the link where you can download it for FREE. (http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/110779/Mythender-Roleplaying-Game&affiliate_id=104153)

Fable Wright
2013-11-04, 07:57 PM
Maybe Legend (http://www.ruleofcool.com/get-the-game/)? It's entirely free, built around class balance, has game rules that let spell slot-based casters refresh spells as the plot demands and has rules for casters that just plug spells all day long, there is only the core rulebook to deal with (which is pretty well organized), characters are taking on mortal armies and coming off with pretty much no damage by level 11, and are basically demigods by level 16.

2013-11-05, 03:26 PM
Mythender. (http://www.mythenderrpg.com)

I second this one. From what I've seen, it's right up your apparent ally.

But because it fits and I'm contractually obligated to, how about Nobilis (http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/89003/Nobilis-The-Essentials-Volume-1)?

The Pitch: You play one of the Nobilis, a mortal entity that has been granted power over some fundamental aspect of reality be it Love, Death, Fire, or Instant Noodles. You work with fellow Nobles under your Imperator, the cosmic entity going around ennobling mortals for inscrutable reasons, to fight in a war against the forces of oblivion who seek to unmake the world. Combat with the forces of oblivion and your fellow Nobles tend to range from larger-than-life to strangely abstract.

Compactness: Only one book, the core book, is needed. The only other two books in the line right now are a villain splatbook which is recommended for being awesome but is not necessary for play, and a free booklet that explains Treasure, one of the harder attributes to grok. All are available in PDF.

Class Balance: Despite playing and fighting phenomenally powerful beings, it's pretty balanced. Part of this is that the system discourages direct conflict, part is that what you can do is limited mainly by what you can justify, and part is that the health system measures agency rather than attempting to model damage in a traditional manner. I will note that mechanical advancement, while possible, is not a focus of the game so it's entirely reasonable for you to go through a campaign and not gain in mechanical power. There are also a lot of elements on your character sheet that you can change if you find they're not working for you or if you have some reason to change them, ideological or otherwise.

Super Power Level: There aren't many games that can claim to be higher power levels than this, and despite the serious reputation the game can have, whimsy is had all the goddamn time.

At-Will Casting: Most miracles (most of your powers are these) take place more or less instantly. Those that don't take however long they'd reasonably take and lots of them give you preternaturally good timing and/or explicit plot speeds. Important to note that there's no specific combat timing system like ticks or rounds so at-will casting is less important than in other systems.

And here, have a silly campaign log (http://nobilis.me/logs:the-booth-clause).