View Full Version : Questions about specific RPGs

2007-10-14, 03:17 PM
I'm thinking of buying Werewolf: The Forsaken, Thieves' World, and Ars Magica 5th Edition. What are the basic systems of these games? (Race, class, character creation, combat)

Thanks in advance.

2007-10-15, 06:12 AM
That's... a lot of games purchasing. It seems like a lot of money to put down all at once, pulling in different directions.

Werewolf: It's a "buckets of d10s, count the number of successes" arrangement. Different flavours of werewolf have different Kewl Powerz. Rules-wise they are not as divisive as D&D classes - it's halfway to a points build system - but they come with personality traits ready-attached so they can role-split the party just as much.

Thieves' world I have no idea.

Ars Magica is stat+skill+dice vs target, if I remember correctly. Earlier versions were quite complex and rules-heavy but I am not familiar with 5th.

Kurald Galain
2007-10-15, 06:38 AM
Character creation in Werewolf (or indeed, any White Wolf game) is very easy and fun. You get a set number of "dots" to divide among your skills (that go from 1 to 5) and that's basically it. The manual even has descriptions for the various skill levels, e.g.

1 - you know which end of the gun to point at enemies.
2 - you own a gun, practice sometimes, and are a decent shot.
3 - you can hold your own in a gunfight, and win local competitions.
4 - you can perform tricks like shooting through a thrown dime.
5 - your skills rival Wild Bill Hickok.

2007-10-15, 03:26 PM
I just realized you need WoD to play Werewolf, so I think I'll get that instead of Thieves' World. I was only interested because of the cover art, anyway.

Thanks guys.

Kurald Galain
2007-10-15, 03:33 PM
I just realized you need WoD to play Werewolf

No, only if you want the new edition. And the old edition is easy to find in online stores and such, and it only requires a single book.

I've never even heard of thieves' world... :smallsmile:

2007-10-16, 05:27 PM
It's on Paizo.

2007-10-16, 07:09 PM
Never heard of the other games, but Werewolf is a blast (if its anything like the old versions). I loved playing Werewolf first and second. Making up a character is fun and easy, and like said above, the descriptions give a clear idea what can be accomplished with various skill levels. I'm only a little familiar with the new stuff, so much of this is based on older material. If they kept it much the same, its a very easy game to learn, easy to play and much easier to just free form with. (Simple rules that cover just about everyting. If ever unsure, all the DM has to do is come up with a reasonable Attribute+Skill+difficulty combo and away you go)

player: I want to do a flying spin-kick to that guys head.
GM: Dexterity+brawl vs 9

player: I want to hack the FBI mainframe
GM: Intelligence+computers vs 10

2007-10-16, 07:15 PM
Yes, and if you end up getting Werewolf: The Apocalypse, I will totally play.:smallcool:

2007-10-16, 07:58 PM
If it's any help, I seem to recall that Thieves' World has a True20 conversion (http://true20.com/support/).

2007-10-18, 09:42 AM
Ars Magica is stat+skill+dice vs target, if I remember correctly. Earlier versions were quite complex and rules-heavy but I am not familiar with 5th.

Ars magica has what many (myself included) consider the most incredibly cool magic system ever put to paper by the human race.

What raygungothic says about rules heavy is somewhat misleading from my experience but not entirely untrue. The ars system is actually fairly light (somewhat lighter than D&D, perhaps comparable to first edition L5R) and flows easily with the exceptions of magic and character advancement. These two parts of the game are big, really big. But they're also mostly handeled "off screen" as it were. So if a magus chooses to create an enchanted amulet which changes attacking arrow to butterfies there are lots of factors that can play into the equation (ie. rules heavy):

the magus's understanding of theory,
their knowlege of animals,
their knowge of wood,
their knowlege of transformation,
their access to appropriate magical materials,
the magical aura of their laboratory,
what enchantements and modifications they have made to their laboatory,
any personal virtues they have with regards to arrows, butterfiles, or transformations,
the thematic appropriateness of the materials and decorations of the amulet to be enchanted,
I'm sure that there could be more for specific characters ( such as the season or the astrologial appropriateness of the timing for the characters who have the appropriate virtues or flaws)

this rules heavy material is handeled (for the most part) outside of the play session so it does not slow down the game during play.

Other unusual things about the game are that the default setting Mythic Europe" is breifly described as historical medieval Europe with fantasy elements. It is a blend created from 20 years of material produced by three groups who have entirely different agendas:

Folks who want to have a high powered fantasy game and look at the rules then deduce what the setting must look like from application of the rules and their own love for modern fantasy influenced dragons, giants and wizards (I'd count the original creators among this group but they probably would not have considered themselves to be such when the game was first created)

Medieval histroians who like a bit of magic and wonder. they don't mind taking liberties with history but they loathe ignoreing history because someone couldn't be bothered to do their homework.

Fans of medieval folk tales who try to integrate any sort of a belief or story that they can find and date between around 1080 AD and 1350 AD. these folks often have some misgivings about how high powered the game is but they give it an entirely different spin than the RPG influenced folks.

Another unusual thing about the game is that the pacing of stories is set so they unfold over years and decades. No one is goning to go from level 2 to level 10 in a year.

The default play style that many people use but is really entirely optional is troupe style play. all of the players have a stable of at least two different characters (A wizard and a "companion" or non-wizard who is exceptional in some ways) and choose which one to play during a given story. Ideally players switch off as GM with each having their own areas of stories to develop. This is made practial by the pacing of stories and the fact that the main character of the stories is the "covenant" a sort of home/agreement for the wizards.

One more thing that makes the game unusual is that the ideal of balance between characters is discarded. Players have different characters of different power levels. Sometimes you'll play your mighy character, sometimes you'll play the cook. Wizards in this game are powerful and no effort is made to make being skilled in the practice of violence or being sneaky to be equivelently useful to the ability to rearrange the universe to fit your personal whim.

2007-10-18, 02:26 PM
Medieval histroians who like a bit of magic and wonder. they don't mind taking liberties with history but they loathe ignoreing history because someone couldn't be bothered to do their homework.

Just a note for how into the history Ars Magica players are: The current line editor, before he joined Atlas, got his doctorate in medieval history at Oxford... he started his studies because he was interested in Ars Magica.

And I love the game; I'm in two PBEMs currently, one 4th edition, one 5th edition.