View Full Version : System Recommendations for This Sort of Game?

2019-08-20, 06:56 PM
So, for the past couple of years, I've had the intermittent urge to play a game based loosely on the Millennium World arc of Yu-Gi-Oh. For those unfamiliar with what any of those words mean, I'll break down the essential aspects of my intended game concepts.

The campaign would cover two time periods played side by side - you'd play sorcerers (usually aristocrats, but not universally) in ancient Egypt, and their modern-day reincarnations who have suddenly started displaying their past incarnations' powers (gone and forgotten from the world outside of myth for thousands of years by this point) for unknown reasons. While they would have a degree of more "traditional" fantasy spellcasting, rituals, magic items, etc, their main/strongest power is the ability to bind a person's soul to their will in the form of a monster. When manifesting from their own soul, this probably has few ill effects on the user, except the probably obvious caveat that having your soul killed also kills you. However, unbinding someone else's soul from their own body to command it yourself is rather fatal for the other individual.

So the main things I'd want from the system are:
1) The ability to handle that sort of soul-monster-binding combat, both in the ancient and modern day. I have no problem with systems that don't put a lot of detail on the mundane human side of the equation so long as they're factored as existent - even just as Extras and whatnot. It would be ideal (but I'll figure something out if it isn't already baked in) if there's a way to make a individual-power-versus-scale tradeoff of some kind, so that even if somebody with an army of monster minions can do more groundbreaking-world-impact stuff, a clever heroic sort or group of such who don't want to strip the souls of the innocent as tools of war can still form a meaningful opposition. I don't want this to be a matter of PC-versus-NPC distinction, because...

2) This system should be able to handle good and evil PCs, who are not necessarily working in tandem all the time, and not fall apart the second you say PvP. (Mythender I'm looking at you... What an awful PvP resolution mechanic.)

3) This might not be hard to just staple onto an existing magic system, but it'd be nice if it can handle that aspect of "huge cost rituals/magic items creation" that I find very inspiring - I think Exalted has stuff like this, but could be misremembering? Like, for the Egyptian aristocracy side, the sort of thing where they devote huge masses of slave labor or make large-scale blood sacrifices for these region-shaking supernatural effects or artifacts of cosmic power, which the modern-day heroes can either find as relics of the past or try to orchestrate the logistics and political power necessary to make happen once again. This would also imply, but not necessarily require, a longer time scale for play.

4) Medium crunch levels. Like, Fate Core too "everyone feels the same"-y, GURPS too "oh my god please I want to be done defining every fiddly detail of human existence please."

I'm thinking something like Ars Magica could work, but I wouldn't know where to begin modeling this as a Magic tradition, so if you have any suggestions for taking it in that direction, please do share. Otherwise, any systems you can come up with would be very greatly appreciated!

Quarian Rex
2019-08-21, 01:40 AM
I recently stumbled on something that sounds like what you're looking for. The Book of Many Things Volume 2 (https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/239962/The-Book-of-Many-Things-Volume-2-Shattered-Worlds) has a Summoner archetype in it called the Hybrid Trainer (part of the expanded Kickstarter options that were added to later editions of the book) that is a combination of the Unchained Summoner (http://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/unchained-classes/summoner-unchained) and the Monster Trainer (https://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/3rd-party-classes/northwinter-press/monster-trainer/). It can capture monsters (generally creatures with no class levels) and store them within their soul via the Capture Monster (https://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic/3rd-party-spells/northwinter-press/capture-monster/) spell.

Monsters can be swapped as easily as drawing/sheathing weapons and their spells known (https://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic/spells-by-class-3rd-party/trainer-spells-by-monster) are based on the monster currently summoned (with Pathfinder Bestiary translations here (https://mysticalkom.wordpress.com/2015/06/05/bestiary-equivalent-monsters/)). Summoned monsters can be modified by an Eidolon evolution pool (so each one can be enhanced by 'deific' blessings) and it is nicely balanced with monster actions requiring caster action (removing problems of action economy, unless you add the expensive Mock Eidolon evolution to provide their own actions) and damage done to the monster is done to the caster when it is returned to his soul (to a minimum of -1 hp) to prevent serialized monster spam. While there is no limit to the number of monsters that can he stored in the casters soul Capture Monster cannot be used on monsters with a CR higher than his level. Though monsters of any CR can be traded with other trainers anything above their level cannot be summoned during combat (has to be out before combat begins, using the casters actions to move, warning possible enemies of what they might face, etc.).

Add Rituals (http://spheresofpower.wikidot.com/rituals) from Spheres of Power (with each caster limited to a single casting tradition, like Wizard, Cleric, Witch, etc) that can be used with their full caster level and you now have soul stealing monster hoarders that require expensive rituals to access their highest levels of power.

Not sure if you were looking for any 3.P options but you made me think of this.

2019-08-23, 12:56 AM
Have you looked into Godbound? is a system built on the backbone of another of Kevin Crawfords's systems (Exemplars and Eidolons), who's concept one could sum up as OSR-Big Damn Heroes. Godbound stacks overwhelming divine powers on top of that, giving you a mid-to-low crunch, very flavorful, very customisable alternative to Exalted.

Characters get authority over mortals and lesser being as they advance in levels, represented by a stat called Dominion, which can be used to model the egyptian aristocracy / masses of slaves side of things.

Heroic characters get a few special things: a different way to calculate their hit points (most foes have 1 hp, starting godbounds begin with 8-ish), a free action to deal some damage to lesser foes during combat without devoting action economy to it called the Fray Die, and three words, which represent concepts they represent and grants them powers, or Gifts in game terms. Words are things like Death, Fertility, Earth, Fire, Combat, etc, ..there's about 20 words in the core manual, and suggestions for making more or tweaking existing one to fit a new concept.

There is a separate system for mortal magic, which covers world-changing rituals as well. There is no clear requirement for heavy cost associated with this, so you would have to home-brew it, but the base system lends itself pretty well to such modifications. You have the dominion rules to give you a baseline of how many people are willing to be under your control, for instance.

I don't know if it completely covers your need, but it is a fun game system anyway, and free to boot (unless you want to pay for magic martial arts and magitech robots, which are, to be fair, pretty cool), so worth checking out anyway :)