PDA

View Full Version : Choosing a system



KyleG
2021-02-21, 10:45 PM
With a play history only in dnd5e and a shaky desire to run a more homebrew campaign its been suggested on other posts that some of my thoughts might be better suited to other systems.
Now there are plenty out there so what im after is really three things. 1. What does each bring that 5e doesn't? What does it lose? And how easy is it to learn as the dm, and for potential players. Ive had suggestions for pathfinder, numenera, savage worlds, call of cathulu, and even 3.5. So where do I go for what experience?

Nifft
2021-02-22, 12:37 AM
5e in specific, and D&D in general, is easier to learn because these games leverage cliches which have become part of popular culture.

Classes are concept-containers which shield a player from needing to learn the whole game system at once (... except Druid); if done well, they allow a player to correctly choose a character-long method and destination before learning the details of the system.


That said, you could choose a simpler system which isn't full of so many moving parts, and then learning the whole game system at once is less daunting. Then your players might not need the silos provided by a class system.

I'll pitch one such system: Dresden Files RPG, a FATE system game.


1. What does each bring that 5e doesn't? What does it lose? And how easy is it to learn as the dm, and for potential players.
Things it Brings:
- Session Zero (city building session, a thing which you can learn and import into every future game in every system)
- Freeform Magic (yet still with limits and not totally bonkers)
- Fate Points (meta-game currency which makes muggle players able to participate and shape the world even though their characters lack magic)
- Stress & Consequences (an interesting damage system which is more suitable to how many people play than HP)

What it Costs:
- Not much of a monster manual, but that's mostly fine because you don't need to murder-hobo for XP.
- The templates can help players get their footing, but there's a lot more blank space on the map which you (plural) will need to fill in.
- Your group needs to be on the same page, or get on the same page, regarding how difficult various things are.
- Aspects are framed sloppily, and their examples of "best" aspects are vague at best and divisive at worst. Your group REALLY needs to be on the same page regarding what every Aspect means, so simple language is significantly more useful than evocative phrases or meaningless words -- at least until you've gotten some experience with them, stick to simpler phrasing which communicates better.
- The dice are weird. This isn't necessarily a big problem but it's there. There are online rollers which support FATE dice, too.

How Hard Is It:
- Wasn't hard for me to learn, wasn't hard for my group to play.

Batcathat
2021-02-22, 02:36 AM
I've been getting into Mutants & Masterminds (3rd edition) lately and although it feels like I'm recommending it in every other thread I'm gonna go ahead and do it again.

Stuff it brings:

Lots of freedom in character creation. If you can think of a super power or ability, there's almost certainly a way to accomplish it.
Unlike D&D, pretty much any character concept has the potential to be as powerful as any other. (That doesn't mean that all characters are balanced against each other, just that the difference is between individuals or individual powers rather than classes).
Although intended for playing superheroes, it can be used for a lot of different genres. Right now I'm a player in a urban fantasy game and the GM of a cyberpunk murder mystery game, both using M&M.
While it comes with some "canon" settings, it can work with a lot of different ones, established or homebrewed (though I suppose this could also be a negative, since it's not really "integrated" into any one setting).


Stuff it loses:

The flip side of the freedom in character and power creation is that it allows for some very broken and unbalanced characters. It's not that big of a problem if you trust your players not to go out of their way to break something but if you don't, you'll probably have to ban some stuff.
Although characters typically start out a lot more powerful than a D&D character, they don't really grow in power as much. If your players are used to going from zero to superhero, they might be disappointed.


Learning difficulty: I'd say it's fairly easy to learn, at least if people are used to rules-heavy games like D&D.

Also, now I really want to play the Dresden Files RPG. I love the books and I skimmed through the rules years ago (I love the concept of it being written and commented on by in-universe characters) but I've never gotten around to buying or playing it.

Anonymouswizard
2021-02-22, 05:32 AM
I have two recommendations.

Unknown Armies
Specifically 3e here.

What it brings:

An evocative setting with a fun magic system/
Simple d% mechanics that bring most concepts to relative power parity,
An integrated session 0 which uses character creation to drive setting creation.
Did I mention the incredibly fun and flavourful magick system?
Sanity mechanics baaked into the core of the game and characters. Go mad, or grow detached.


What it loses:

Raw power fantasy, both in ability to absorb damage and the versatility of individual mages.
It's a modern setting, which comes with additional complications.
It basically lives and dies on the setting and magick, either they hook you in or they don't.


Personal preference:

Combat is fast and dead;y, the core rulebook has always opened the combat rules with 'six ways to avoid a fight'. Separated into it's own section because it really is a matter of taste.


If you're good at coming up with simple stats off the top of your head ('Builder, roll 65% for construction, 30% otherwise) it's incredibly easy to run. The key issues will be the setting-related ones, either it'll click or it won't.

Advanced Fighting Fantasy/Stellar adventures

What it brings:

Similar archetyping to D&D but in a simpler rules system.
Only uses d6.
Open point-based character creation.
Science fiction variant that works and is cross compatible.
Random armour ratings! That is, you roll a die every time you take damage to see how effective your armour was at stopping it.



What it loses:

Raw power fantasy, both in ability to absorb damage and the versatility of individual mages.
Stats are reduced to SKILL (do mundane stuff), STAMINA (your hit points), LUCK (your saving throw), and MAGIC (your ability to do magical stuff). Most meaningful differentiation is with Special Skills and Talents.


On ease of DMing, I'd say as easy as D&D. The main issue is the need to cross reference Out of the Pit and the main rulebook for premade monsters.

LibraryOgre
2021-02-22, 12:29 PM
With a play history only in dnd5e and a shaky desire to run a more homebrew campaign its been suggested on other posts that some of my thoughts might be better suited to other systems.
Now there are plenty out there so what im after is really three things. 1. What does each bring that 5e doesn't? What does it lose? And how easy is it to learn as the dm, and for potential players. Ive had suggestions for pathfinder, numenera, savage worlds, call of cathulu, and even 3.5. So where do I go for what experience?

I'll tackle Savage Worlds (https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/261539/Savage-Worlds-Adventure-Edition?affiliate_id=315505).

Gains
1) Savage Worlds has a more freeform character generation. Without classes, you can make more or less what you want, within the parameters of the system. Want to be a "gish"? Make sure you have an Arcane Background and a decent Fighting skill. Pick a couple powers that support Gishiness (Boost Ability, Smite, and Protection make you a magically armored, magically skilled, magically hard-hitting fighter type), and make sure some of your advances go to fighting Edges, and you're a pretty good gish without much issue.

2) The system is pretty easy to hack without going too far overboard. I've made conversions of The Elder Scrolls (http://rpgcrank.blogspot.com/p/the-savage-scrolls-savage-worlds-hack.html), Mass Effect (http://rpgcrank.blogspot.com/p/savage-worlds-mass-effect.html), Shadowrun (http://rpgcrank.blogspot.com/2020/06/the-savage-shadows-savage.html), Star Wars (http://rpgcrank.blogspot.com/2019/12/savage-star-wars.html), Dragonlance (http://rpgcrank.blogspot.com/2014/09/savage-lance.html)... all of which are pretty true to the source material, while staying in the Savage Worlds ruleset. Mass Effect and Shadowrun, especially, make use of the powers system in two or more different ways... Mass Effect has both Biotics and tech-based powers, while Shadowrun has Physical Adepts who acquire permanent powers, Cyberware and Bioware which function similarly to PhysAds, but from a different viewpoint, Mages, Sorcerers, and Conjurers who use pretty much the standard system (though Conjurers and Mages can use powers-by-proxy through summoned allies), and Deckers whose powers are programs that are limited to the Matrix. They've even created an official, and pretty solid, Rifts (https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/186210/Savage-Rifts-The-Tomorrow-Legion-Players-Guide-SWADE-Edition?affiliate_id=315505) conversion, and are working on a Pathfinder version, which should tell you a lot about the flexibility of the system.

3) Shallower power curve. A D&D character goes from zero to hero (really, from about 5 to hero, but it doesn't rhyme). A high level D&D character has pretty much nothing to fear from a standard goblin or a regular lion. A Savage Worlds character? Those remain somewhat dangerous foes even as you level. Furthermore, the Wild Die that "Wildcards" (i.e. important characters, including NPCs) get means that, while Wildcards are a cut above mooks, it doesn't prevent mooks from being dangerous.

4) I find the system very easy to summarize, and a lot of the rules can be condensed down to a single page.

Losses
1) Character power is a lot lower, which can be a disadvantage to some.

2) The game can require a lot of hacking, especially in the absence of some of the Companions that were out for previous editions. The Fantasy Companion helped flesh out fantasy games, but hasn't been updated to the newest edition, yet.

3) Different games can feel kind of samey. If I'm playing Savage Star Wars and switch over to Savage Elder Scrolls, there's going to be less unique mechanics and flavor than when you completely switch games... even if you went from, say, 3.x to Star Wars Revised or Saga (which are all based on the D20 engine)


Since it's a favorite of mine, let's also talk Hackmaster (https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/104757/HackMaster-Basic-free?affiliate_id=315505)

Gains
1) Realism/Verisimiltude. Hackmaster tries very hard to make a lot of things relatively realistic. Obviously, the inclusion of magic means that the game worlds are not exactly like ours, but things like trade, climate, and such are mostly included.

2) No advancing metaplot or RSEs. The Kingdoms of Kalamar (https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/58027/Kingdoms-of-Kalamar-4th-edition-campaign-setting?affiliate_id=315505) setting has remained largely unchanged since it was first published. While the book listed is for 4th edition, 90% of it is systemless; it has much the same world information included in the original boxed set, which was statted for 2nd edition AD&D. This means older material, even for other editions, remains useful.

3) Crunchy combat. Second-by-second combat/the "count up". (http://rpgcrank.blogspot.com/2018/06/hackmaster-surprise-example.html) If I play Hackmaster for a while, I miss this SO MUCH when I go back to another system. There are no rounds. Surprise is entirely down to your initiative roll. Faster weapons have some advantage, but so do longer weapons. Shields are useful and viable choices, especially against missiles. Armor is damage reduction, but heavier armors can have drawbacks. Battle Axes have a couple clear advantages over swords, but swords are often better weapons. Different combat styles (weapon and shield, one weapon, two weapon offensive, two weapon defensive, two-handed weapon) all have their advantages. Penetrating dice, Threshold of Pain, and Trauma saves can WILDLY swing combat, which helps to make lower-power enemies viable combatants without having to have "Well, this whole troop of goblins are inexplicably equal to level 10 fighters" problem of D&D.


Losses
1) Character power. Again, while characters can grow in power, they're generally about half as powerful as an AD&D character of the same level. A level 2 character does not get a new HD, but rather gets to reroll the old one.

2) Learning Curve. It can take a while to get used to some of the systems. I, personally, miss them when I'm playing other games, but they can take a while to learn.

3) Some more regressive attitudes. Orcs are evil. In-game racism is baked into a lot of things. Most of the sexism got weeded out after the early drafts (I recall that an early version had women taking more penalties to Looks as they got older than men did, for example), but they've held pretty firmly to the "evil humanoids are evil" thing, to my chagrin. OTOH, I've also found these relatively easy to edit out.

Nifft
2021-02-22, 01:16 PM
Also, now I really want to play the Dresden Files RPG. I love the books and I skimmed through the rules years ago (I love the concept of it being written and commented on by in-universe characters) but I've never gotten around to buying or playing it.

In addition to being a solid set of game mechanics, the books are very well written, both as in-universe character commentary and as a technical documents (which have the requisite written accuracy but don't read like technical documents).

Even if you never play, it's a good read. (But do play it. Especially the City Creation session.)


I'll tackle Savage Worlds (https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/261539/Savage-Worlds-Adventure-Edition).

My experience playing that was that it's a solid transitional game if you have some minis-painting wargame-players whom you want to convert into RPG players.

The movement and cover rules are very tightly integrated to the battle-mat, and the non-map portions of the game felt too much like generic d20 tropes: Edges = Feats, right down to Alertness = +2 Perception Notice; Bennies = Action Points / Force Points / Fate Points; Attributes are quite close to D&D Ability Scores; Skills are Skills; and so on.

Regarding addon rulesets, we found a problem with scale -- as an example, we saw significant disagreement in scale between the same ability in the core book and an addon, the one I remember best is Rocket Jetpack either being able to move you across the map seven times in one action, or not being able to move you even 1/4 of the map. This was important because we were chasing a Nazis zeppelin, and Rocket Jetpack Guy (not his real name) wanted to punch it.

The card system was innovative and I really liked how that part of the game worked.

Maybe we were the wrong target audience -- Savage Worlds felt like a gateway drug for wargammers, and we were already deep enough into RPGs to be chasing the dragon.

KyleG
2021-02-22, 02:44 PM
Lots of useful info so thanks. With the exception of 3 of the 6 of us are 5e exclusive players and only for the last 2yrs having come into the hobby late in life and as we have toss around ideas one of the key draw cards for them all is the simplicity. But I think that what I find breaks things for me is
1. a very rapid ingame timeline moving you from zero to hero.
2. And leveling in leaps instead of smoothly.

As to the world iv been looking to create, it feels more western/steampunk (for those familiar think mistborn both eras) but im not sure guns have a place as you lose so much as melee becomes a secondary choice. I think fantasy races remain an important part of the escapism.

Yora
2021-02-22, 05:35 PM
I would say you're looking for something that isn't class and level based. Climbing this power ladder where you become bigger and badder at regular intervals really is a D&D thing, that you find mostly in games that started more or less as D&D reskins.
Other games tend more towards systems where you add new abilities to your character instead of regularly increasing all the numbers on your stat block.

Not really an expert on the other generic fantasy games that are out there, though. So nothing specific comes to mind immediately.

Anonymouswizard
2021-02-22, 05:51 PM
Lots of useful info so thanks. With the exception of 3 of the 6 of us are 5e exclusive players and only for the last 2yrs having come into the hobby late in life and as we have toss around ideas one of the key draw cards for them all is the simplicity. But I think that what I find breaks things for me is
1. a very rapid ingame timeline moving you from zero to hero.
2. And leveling in leaps instead of smoothly.

So a flatter power curve, and more gradual advancement? You probably want something point buy, although there are a few classed and/or levelled systems I've seen that'll do it, generally by only giving one or two benefits per level up.


As to the world iv been looking to create, it feels more western/steampunk (for those familiar think mistborn both eras) but im not sure guns have a place as you lose so much as melee becomes a secondary choice. I think fantasy races remain an important part of the escapism.

Have you considered Mistborn: the Adventure Game? It's a narrativist system basked on the books with relatively smooth advancement, although highly skilled Allomancers and Feruchemists could probably pull off some insane stunts.

Alternatively I think you might like Deadlands, especially the simpler Savage Worlds version. Which, in my experience, is a pain to find these days (although I wanted Hell on Earth). but is basically a Fantastical Wild West game. No nonhuman races, but it makes up for that with eight different flavours of magic user (who, in Classic, have very different rules).

Pex
2021-02-22, 06:01 PM
GURPS

Pro: Players can create any character they want. The only limit is the point value the DM wants the game set at and genre used. For example, a fantasy game won't have superhero powers. 100 points is for typical characters, but the DM is free to allow more.

Con: Players need system mastery, not to find loopholes of Kewl Combos but just to know what to do. You need to spend points for everything.

Personal opinion Major Con: Characters do not advance. As you play the game characters get points to improve a skill or two, but your character is basically the same in Session 20 as it was in Session 10 as it was in Session 1. You cannot gain roleplaying benefits. For example, at character creation you can pay to get a Patron, a powerful NPC individual or organization who can aid you from time to time. However, if during game play the party befriends/helps a power NPC individual or organization, you may never call upon that person or organization for help in the future. You have to pay for it with points, and you won't get enough points to pay for it, maybe after a real world year of playing and you never, ever improve your character in any other way. Conversely, at character creation you may earn extra points for character creation by having an Enemy, a powerful NPC individual or organization who hates you and will make your character's life difficult from time to time. However, if during game play a Villain develops, such as the BBEG, you do not gain extra points to improve your character. Another example, you need to pay points for your character to be wealthy. However, if during game play the party gets a treasure trove after defeating the dragon or followed a pirate treasure map, you may not use the gold until and unless you pay for being wealthy in character points, which you'll never get enough of unless you spend a real world year playing and never improve your character in any other way.

LibraryOgre
2021-02-22, 06:17 PM
As to the world iv been looking to create, it feels more western/steampunk (for those familiar think mistborn both eras) but im not sure guns have a place as you lose so much as melee becomes a secondary choice. I think fantasy races remain an important part of the escapism.


Alternatively I think you might like Deadlands, especially the simpler Savage Worlds version. Which, in my experience, is a pain to find these days (although I wanted Hell on Earth). but is basically a Fantastical Wild West game. No nonhuman races, but it makes up for that with eight different flavours of magic user (who, in Classic, have very different rules).

Deadlands is definitely something to look into, yes. You could pretty easily slip in fantasy races, as there's lots available in Savage Worlds core.

kyoryu
2021-02-22, 06:29 PM
5e in specific, and D&D in general, is easier to learn because these games leverage cliches which have become part of popular culture.

Classes are concept-containers which shield a player from needing to learn the whole game system at once (... except Druid); if done well, they allow a player to correctly choose a character-long method and destination before learning the details of the system.


That said, you could choose a simpler system which isn't full of so many moving parts, and then learning the whole game system at once is less daunting. Then your players might not need the silos provided by a class system.

I'll pitch one such system: Dresden Files RPG, a FATE system game.

I mean, I'd argue for Fate in general. And it so happens that someone that wrote one of the most commonly-cited "how-to" guides for Fate is a regular here.

Grod_The_Giant
2021-02-22, 08:14 PM
- Not much of a monster manual, but that's mostly fine because you don't need to murder-hobo for XP.
There is, actually-- Volume Two: Our World is two hundred plus pages of NPC stats, including basically every character ever named in the books.


Also, now I really want to play the Dresden Files RPG. I love the books and I skimmed through the rules years ago (I love the concept of it being written and commented on by in-universe characters) but I've never gotten around to buying or playing it.
The books are gorgeous, and the game as a whole does a better job of adapting the feel and themes of the books than almost anything I've seen. (Including "wizards > supernatural creatures > mortals" unfortunately-- the less magic you take the more Fate points you get to start with, but it doesn't really balance out that well in my experience.) The actual mechanics are a bit clunky in places because it's 2e Fate and there are a lot of unnecessary bits bolted onto the basic engine.

Nifft
2021-02-22, 11:17 PM
I mean, I'd argue for Fate in general. And it so happens that someone that wrote one of the most commonly-cited "how-to" guides for Fate is a regular here.

We had tried another FATE product, and it was so disappointing we almost blacklisted the system.

FATE is an uneven space.

DFRPG was great enough to redeem FATE for us.


There is, actually-- Volume Two: Our World is two hundred plus pages of NPC stats, including basically every character ever named in the books.

That book is both the DMG and the MM, with advice about organizations and running the game and 20 pages of sample city write-up. Furthermore, a large portion of the MM pages are dedicated to character recaps, not monster stats -- and that's because more than half of the "monsters" statted out are NPCs, and some of those were allies.

What I remember is looking through it with the intent of finding a beast to throw at the PCs, and the MM portion seemed more inspirational than informative.

I guess if you wanted the exact monsters from the books, then it'd be a solid resource, except even then some monsters are sketched rather than statted -- e.g. dragons -- but what I wanted was monsters similar to the books but not necessarily identical, like ... I dunno, a smaller shrubbery chlorofiend, or a potted petunia preditor.

I ended up using humans with flower crowns, which were actually mind-controlling wild-fae parasites, because I could fudge that quickly from what I had been given.

As an entertaining read, it's a great book; as a source of inspiration and examples, it's fine; but as a reference tool for finding monsters to throw at my group, it was insufficient.

Batcathat
2021-02-23, 03:48 AM
Personal opinion Major Con: Characters do not advance. As you play the game characters get points to improve a skill or two, but your character is basically the same in Session 20 as it was in Session 10 as it was in Session 1. You cannot gain roleplaying benefits. For example, at character creation you can pay to get a Patron, a powerful NPC individual or organization who can aid you from time to time. However, if during game play the party befriends/helps a power NPC individual or organization, you may never call upon that person or organization for help in the future. You have to pay for it with points, and you won't get enough points to pay for it, maybe after a real world year of playing and you never, ever improve your character in any other way. Conversely, at character creation you may earn extra points for character creation by having an Enemy, a powerful NPC individual or organization who hates you and will make your character's life difficult from time to time. However, if during game play a Villain develops, such as the BBEG, you do not gain extra points to improve your character. Another example, you need to pay points for your character to be wealthy. However, if during game play the party gets a treasure trove after defeating the dragon or followed a pirate treasure map, you may not use the gold until and unless you pay for being wealthy in character points, which you'll never get enough of unless you spend a real world year playing and never improve your character in any other way.

I'm not very familiar with GURPS so maybe this is a dumb question, but couldn't you solve this issue by giving characters more points and/or lowering the prices for various improvements?

clash
2021-02-23, 09:18 AM
So I created a tabletop rpg called Vanguards and villains. It was born out of a desire to give a smoother leveling curve to 5e. The basic gameplay mechanics are the same so it would probably be easy to adopt. It does away with classes and instead has linear feature sets that are easy to track.

Skills and combat have separate progression and at its core of you complete a combat encounter you gain a combat point to become marginally better at combat abs if you compete a skill based encounter you gain a skill point to become marginally better at skills. If you spend most of the game in combat you become very good at it. If you instead are in a political intrigue campaign you become very good at skills.

Its been in some level of playtest for over 4 years now and 3 entire campaigns have been run start to finish including an epic level one. Let me know if it's something you're interested in.

Democratus
2021-02-23, 09:39 AM
For a simple system with fairly slow advancement, an OSR game like Old School Essentials is pretty fun.

It has a very easy-to-follow system for just about everything: dungeon/wilderness exploration, combat, NPC interaction, etc.

I would also second the vote for DeadLands. Though I suggest using the original system. It has amazingly flavorful mechanics based on playing poker with cards.

If you don't want classes, GURPS or Fantasy HERO are just fine. Being point-buy systems, though, Pex is right about needing system mastery to get the most from it.

Willie the Duck
2021-02-23, 10:09 AM
I'm not very familiar with GURPS so maybe this is a dumb question, but couldn't you solve this issue by giving characters more points and/or lowering the prices for various improvements?

You could. And, to be clear, when Pex says "you may not use the gold until and unless you pay for being wealthy in character points," that's omitting the 'well of course you can, because your GM isn't insane and will let you spend the money you just earned.' However, in both instances, you are in effect doing an end-run around one of the basic premises/systems around which the game is based (so why are you using it in the first place?). Either wealth should cost points in which case you shouldn't be able to spend acquired gold, or your should be able to spend acquired gold and that person who spent their points to start off rich looks foolish now. This specific example isn't the best, because IIRC there actually are rules (at least in 3e, I never got into 4e) about benefits acquired through gameplay. However, it highlights how the game treats the point system as a really big deal and really important... right until it doesn't.

Edit: I have it in my head to do a pro/con for Runequest, but it looks like I won't have time today. I do not mind if someone else wants to grab it.

kyoryu
2021-02-23, 10:58 AM
We had tried another FATE product, and it was so disappointing we almost blacklisted the system.

FATE is an uneven space.

DFRPG was great enough to redeem FATE for us.

DFRPG is great. I think DFA is even better.

The EH stuff in general is great. The biggest issue with Fate seems to be in showing people how the system actually runs. Check out my link in the kickstarter thread for my opinion. Or just read http://fate-srd.com/odds-ends/book-hanz (or grab the pdf from the EH site)

Some of the non-EH stuff (I'm looking at you, Strands of Fate) doesn't seem to really get the Fate system very well at all.

kyoryu
2021-02-23, 11:01 AM
I'm not very familiar with GURPS so maybe this is a dumb question, but couldn't you solve this issue by giving characters more points and/or lowering the prices for various improvements?

Yes.

There's still a bit of an issue in that higher skill levels cost a lot more than earlier skill levels - 1/2 or 1 point to start, but 4 or 8 points eventually. But at those higher levels a single skill point starts to have bigger advantages due to the bell curve so it all works out.

It's also totally valid to let people have the advantage they get and just require players to spend all of their CP into buying it off before they can improve in other ways.

But advancement changes a lot if you're giving 8-10 CP/session or 2. It's still not D&D-esque zero-to-godling, but very few games are outside of D&D and its direct descendents.

Anonymouswizard
2021-02-23, 11:10 AM
But advancement changes a lot if you're giving 8-10 CP/session or 2. It's still not D&D-esque zero-to-godling, but very few games are outside of D&D and its direct descendents.

The only ones I can think of are Exalted and Scion, and they both suffer from massive cost inflation by the upper tiers. Oh, and Anima and possibly other Rolemaster games, bit I believe they start you a bit further up beyond 'zero' relatively speaking.

Although I suppose in Scion you literally begin as godlings, even if in practice you're mortals with a few nice tricks.

Pex
2021-02-23, 02:09 PM
I'm not very familiar with GURPS so maybe this is a dumb question, but couldn't you solve this issue by giving characters more points and/or lowering the prices for various improvements?

The game recommends you give 1 to 3 points per session. Patrons cost 10 or more points depending on how "powerful" and the frequency you can use them. Wealth can also be 10, 20, 30 points. It's been a while; I don't know the exact numbers. The point is it takes a long time to save up to buy an Advantage. Doable if you're patient, but it takes a real world long time to do and you're not improvong your skills. Sure, a DM can always give 10 points if he wants. I'm going by what the game recommends.

GURPS characters are stagnant. Play a character for a real world year you'll hardly notice a difference from when you first started. That may not be a bother for some people. They might be more interested in Solving The Plots, Progressing The Story, and/or enjoy the Glorified Chess of winning combat. I like that stuff too, but I want my character to improve significantly as the game progresses. Class levels is a method but not a requirement. Character point based systems can do it if they give enough points at a reasonable ratio of game sessions played. GURPS is not one of them. Fantasy Flight Star Wars is a point based system that does provide a reasonable improvement rate, though I'm not a fan of that game for other reasons.

Anonymouswizard
2021-02-23, 02:48 PM
I would also second the vote for DeadLands. Though I suggest using the original system. It has amazingly flavorful mechanics based on playing poker with cards.

It's also, IIRC, quite complex, which is why Reloaded might be better than Classic. Although honestly Reloaded from what I've seen could have done with keeping more of the poker mechanics in, partiocularly for Huckster casting (although now you need a separate deck to the one for initiative).


The game recommends you give 1 to 3 points per session. Patrons cost 10 or more points depending on how "powerful" and the frequency you can use them. Wealth can also be 10, 20, 30 points. It's been a while; I don't know the exact numbers. The point is it takes a long time to save up to buy an Advantage. Doable if you're patient, but it takes a real world long time to do and you're not improvong your skills. Sure, a DM can always give 10 points if he wants. I'm going by what the game recomments.

GURPS characters are stagnant. Play a character for a real world year you'll hardly notice a difference from when you first started. That may not be a bother for some people. They might be more interested in Solving The Plots, Progressing The Story, and/or enjoy the Glorified Chess of winning combat.. I like that stuff too, but I want my character to improve significantly as the game progresses. Class levels is a method but not a requirement. Character point based systems can do it if they give enough points at a reasonable ratio of game sessions played. GURPS is not one of them. Fantasy Flight Star Wars is a point based system that does provide a reasonable improvement rate, though I'm not fan of that game for other reasons.

My experience with GURPS was closer to 3-6 points a session, but I get what you're saying. Although I do believe that monetary rewards were meant to be separate to CP awards, and at the very least I remember being able to drop a CP on raw cash if you desparately needed it now instead of waiting for a Wealth Level increase.That said, I'm starting to think HERO might be the better system.

Also,I really like games with relatively flat power curves, but then again I'm an Unknown Armies fan where the transition from 'street' to 'cosmic' starting stats in 2e took years going by the book, be prepared to spend several more if you want to match any of the significant NPCs like The Freak. That said I do like a good D&D style Zero to Hero, I just don't enjoy how D&D does it (partially because anybody but casters desn't seem to meaningfully grow in versatility).

Duff
2021-02-23, 06:00 PM
Call of Cthulu

Simple system - Pick an archetype (kinda like a class) tweak it and you're ready to go
When you want to do a thing, roll percentile and generally that's your result (not a lot of modifiers - But that means your GM will need to make decisions about what success looks like and any difficulty modifiers.

The "default" settings are better for short campaigns or single adventures because the game is rough on a character. If you want an ongoing game, expect high turnover and make peace with that or dial it back a bit for sanity loss and injury

Democratus
2021-02-24, 09:34 AM
GURPS characters are stagnant. Play a character for a real world year you'll hardly notice a difference from when you first started. That may not be a bother for some people. They might be more interested in Solving The Plots, Progressing The Story, and/or enjoy the Glorified Chess of winning combat. I like that stuff too, but I want my character to improve significantly as the game progresses. Class levels is a method but not a requirement. Character point based systems can do it if they give enough points at a reasonable ratio of game sessions played. GURPS is not one of them. Fantasy Flight Star Wars is a point based system that does provide a reasonable improvement rate, though I'm not a fan of that game for other reasons.

Highly dependent on the kind of character you are playing.

Last time I played Fantasy GURPS I played a wizard. And by the end of the first campaign I had twice as many spells as when I started. GURPS Magic allows relatively cheap purchasing of new spells and powers.

If, instead, you are trying to make your axe-wielding barbarian significantly stronger or better at axe wielding it can be a long road. Gaining new skills is much cheaper than improving skills that are already good.

Anonymouswizard
2021-02-24, 09:43 AM
Highly dependent on the kind of character you are playing.

Last time I played Fantasy GURPS I played a wizard. And by the end of the first campaign I had twice as many spells as when I started. GURPS Magic allows relatively cheap purchasing of new spells and powers.

If, instead, you are trying to make your axe-wielding barbarian significantly stronger or better at axe wielding it can be a long road. Gaining new skills is much cheaper than improving skills that are already good.

At a certain point you just start bumping IQ and/or DX instead of your actual skills due to the flat 20CP/point cost. Generally after character creation, even with only 100CP it can be very easy to end up with it costing over 20CP to increase all your important skills by one.

Oh, and Talents. I believe they cost 1CP/level for every skill they apply to and raide all their related skills by one per level. Everybody should have a Talent.

kyoryu
2021-02-24, 11:52 AM
Highly dependent on the kind of character you are playing.

Last time I played Fantasy GURPS I played a wizard. And by the end of the first campaign I had twice as many spells as when I started. GURPS Magic allows relatively cheap purchasing of new spells and powers.

If, instead, you are trying to make your axe-wielding barbarian significantly stronger or better at axe wielding it can be a long road. Gaining new skills is much cheaper than improving skills that are already good.

Yeah, if you build a dedicated mage right, (Magery 3, sufficient IQ), it is ridiculously cheap to add new spells at a highly competent level.

Eldan
2021-02-24, 01:17 PM
In addition to being a solid set of game mechanics, the books are very well written, both as in-universe character commentary and as a technical documents (which have the requisite written accuracy but don't read like technical documents).

Even if you never play, it's a good read. (But do play it. Especially the City Creation session.)

I really wasn't a fan of (the book for) Dresden Files Accelerated, though. I thought the book was horribly organized, even if the system is great. For example, I think it's a horrible idea to start with a long chapter of NPC statblocks, before you explain what those statblocks mean. They should be at the end. I also felt like I had to repeatedly switch back and forth between several chapters until I understood who had to roll when what.

(I'm also strongly considering homebrewing some things from other FATE versions into it, like separate stress tracks for social-mental-physical stress. I like those. And I've already allowed pretty much everyone to take stunts from other mantles if they fit the character.)

Nifft
2021-02-24, 01:25 PM
I really wasn't a fan of (the book for) Dresden Files Accelerated, though. I thought the book was horribly organized, even if the system is great. For example, I think it's a horrible idea to start with a long chapter of NPC statblocks, before you explain what those statblocks mean. They should be at the end. I also felt like I had to repeatedly switch back and forth between several chapters until I understood who had to roll when what.

(I'm also strongly considering homebrewing some things from other FATE versions into it, like separate stress tracks for social-mental-physical stress. I like those. And I've already allowed pretty much everyone to take stunts from other mantles if they fit the character.)

I've never read the Accelerated version.

The only version I can recommend from experience is the Your Story (book 1) / Our World (book 2) from Evil Hat.

That version does also discuss separate Stress tracks, and recommends a Mental Stress track if you're planning to go into dark places like the Dresden Files books do regarding mental manipulation.

Gnoman
2021-02-24, 01:45 PM
GURPS

Pro: Players can create any character they want. The only limit is the point value the DM wants the game set at and genre used. For example, a fantasy game won't have superhero powers. 100 points is for typical characters, but the DM is free to allow more.

Con: Players need system mastery, not to find loopholes of Kewl Combos but just to know what to do. You need to spend points for everything.

Personal opinion Major Con: Characters do not advance. As you play the game characters get points to improve a skill or two, but your character is basically the same in Session 20 as it was in Session 10 as it was in Session 1. You cannot gain roleplaying benefits. For example, at character creation you can pay to get a Patron, a powerful NPC individual or organization who can aid you from time to time. However, if during game play the party befriends/helps a power NPC individual or organization, you may never call upon that person or organization for help in the future. You have to pay for it with points, and you won't get enough points to pay for it, maybe after a real world year of playing and you never, ever improve your character in any other way. Conversely, at character creation you may earn extra points for character creation by having an Enemy, a powerful NPC individual or organization who hates you and will make your character's life difficult from time to time. However, if during game play a Villain develops, such as the BBEG, you do not gain extra points to improve your character. Another example, you need to pay points for your character to be wealthy. However, if during game play the party gets a treasure trove after defeating the dragon or followed a pirate treasure map, you may not use the gold until and unless you pay for being wealthy in character points, which you'll never get enough of unless you spend a real world year playing and never improve your character in any other way.

The first example about alliance groups is fair, though most GMs will simply give you the necessary Advantage and arrange some way to pay it off.

The second is dead wrong. You do not need to spend CP to use monetary or item rewards. Th wealth level advantage is for determining starting money only, trading away some CP at character creation to get a financial leg up (or reducing your cash flow to gain more CP). If you find a dragon hoade or other treasure you spend it no matter what you have spent points on.

Pex
2021-02-24, 01:49 PM
Highly dependent on the kind of character you are playing.

Last time I played Fantasy GURPS I played a wizard. And by the end of the first campaign I had twice as many spells as when I started. GURPS Magic allows relatively cheap purchasing of new spells and powers.

If, instead, you are trying to make your axe-wielding barbarian significantly stronger or better at axe wielding it can be a long road. Gaining new skills is much cheaper than improving skills that are already good.

Spells are skills in GURPS, so it makes sense. I already said you can improve skills, but that's it. What is difficult it's not worth the bother to improve is getting new Advantages, and it is Advantages where your character differs from what it was before. Wealth is an Advantage in GURPS. If you do not purchase it at character creation you may not use the 5,000 gp treasure hoard you got. You have to purchase Wealth Advantage first, and you do not get enough points at the end of the session to do so. You have to wait several game sessions meanwhile your 5,000 gp does nothing. If I recall correctly there is even comment that if you don't buy Wealthy the DM should come up with a reason why your sudden wealth goes away.

Edit: The wealth comment might be related to if you took the Poor Disadvantage for more build points. Acquiring 5,000 gp means you're no longer Poor, giving you free build points. Therefore, if you do not buy off Poor you lose your treasure find by DM fiat.

ezekielraiden
2021-02-24, 02:17 PM
With a play history only in dnd5e and a shaky desire to run a more homebrew campaign its been suggested on other posts that some of my thoughts might be better suited to other systems.
Now there are plenty out there so what im after is really three things. 1. What does each bring that 5e doesn't? What does it lose? And how easy is it to learn as the dm, and for potential players. Ive had suggestions for pathfinder, numenera, savage worlds, call of cathulu, and even 3.5. So where do I go for what experience?

If you generally don't care for homebrew and want a system that (a) Just Works, (b) makes an effort to be easy to DM, and (c) has an enthusiastic and above all helpful fanbase, I can highly recommend 4th edition D&D or 13th Age, both of which meet those qualifications in slightly different ways.

4e D&D
Pros:

If you already know D&D 5e, there's not much to unlearn. Saving throws work a bit differently, and there are static Fortitude/Reflex/Will defenses rather than rolling Con/Dex/Wis saving throws, but a lot of stuff will be close to familiar
Balance. You can generally trust that 4e works as advertised. A monster listed as level 4 is an appropriate threat for level 4 parties (though you usually need more than one if it's an ordinary monster, not an elite or solo)
Character balance. The worst excesses you get in "unbalanced" 4e content are weak (or strong) damage output or getting to apply a single skill in lots of situations.
Fully supported by Roll20...but see below for wrinkles.
Rules (as of Rules Compendium) pretty much always work as intended and have clarity and specificity as a driving design goal.
Superb tactical action. The game is designed to make every fight interesting and challenging, assuming both players and DMs will exploit their options intelligently. You're empowered to not pull punches, because you have a good idea how strong the things you throw at the party will be.
Non-combat support. Despite claims to the contrary, 4e is also quite good for the RP and non-combat stuff. Skill Challenges enable interesting, dynamic scenes without using the combat rules but still invoking real choices and ranges of success. Quests give a formalized means of defining how a character's personal journey has furthered their advancement. Rituals and utility powers cover most non-combat effects the party might find interesting.
Enthusiastic fanbase. It's hard to oversell how important it is to play with people who WANT to play. 4e fans genuinely love the game and will work hard to make a good experience.
Teamwork actually MATTERS! Unlike 3e (and to an extent 5e), you REALLY DO need to work as a team to win. Knowing how to support and play off of your allies is important, and a group will really feel like comrades in arms, rather than 4-6 solo adventurers who happen to adventure in the same place at the same time.
[Debatable] Survivability. Making a serious blunder can still get your character killed, but surviving early mistakes so you can learn from them is almost always possible. This makes for a much easier early-game experience, especially for newbies; you don't need to fear going splat before you reach level 3 because an orc got a lucky crit.
Everything is core! Never worry about official content (whether magazines or books) being broken. It may be strong or weak, but never so bad as to harm the game experience overall.

Cons:

Material can be hard to find if you're only able to use books.
The official Character Builder is no longer supported, and the digital tools are now gone. Workarounds using the old offline CB are of dubious legality. Character building with pen and paper is totally doable, but obviously a lot slower.
Roll20's character sheet is theoretically able to automate nearly all combat powers...but in practice it requires you to learn the "language" it's coded in. Not all that hard, but a hurdle. Likewise, the battlemap works, but is clunky in some ways.
Slow play. As said, battles are meant to be exciting tactical affairs, but can take a lot of time. There are tricks to speed it up, but newbies on both sides of the screen may just need time before they're comfortable.
Large-scale homebrew is hard. Inventing a whole new class or Paragon Path is a Big Deal, requiring many new powers. Smaller things like builds/subclasses, feats, skills, and races are all easy, but even with 25 classes and several dozen builds/subclasses, some wish for more options.
There's a LOT of feats and powers, and many are mediocre. I, personally, just look up a charop guide and pick the good options, but some find the "bloat" of powers and feats offensive.
Presentation. 4e expects you to bring the flavor and style; it's got the rules to back you up, but some find it overly dry and technical. Again, not always a problem, but for some it ruins the experience.
Emphasis on refluffing/reskinning rather than homebrew, and representing monsters differently at different levels. Some find it problematic that the game encourages reinterpretation of the same rules to new concepts, and some find it offensive that an ogre can be a "solo" at first level and a "minion" at 11th level. (Different statblocks representing that an ogre is a huge threat to a 1st level character and a mere speedbump to an 11th level character.)

Elevator pitch: Have you wanted a role-playing game where choices matter, teamwork is essential, and dynamic action is never far away? 4th edition D&D offers that experience, and provides excellent support to the DM to make it happen. Whether you stick with classic fantasy, fly in spaceships, or go for low-magic sword-and-sandal, 4e has you covered. Critically acclaimed takes on Dark Sun and Eberron, along with a fascinating implied setting in the world of Nentir Vale and the award-winning Zeitgeist adventure path from ENWorld, give you plenty of diverse starting points if you're looking for a prewritten setting.

13th Age
Pros:

Most of the balance of 4e, with the presentation and feel of 3.x, which should surprise no one because it's literally designed by Heinsoo and Tweet, the lead designers of 4e and 3e respectively.
Very fiction-focused. With One Unique Things, Backgrounds as skills (more below), Icon relationships, item quirks, and more, it's got roleplay hooks friggin errywhere.
[Debatable] Fistfuls of dice. If you like rolling, this will have your back--you usually roll damage dice scaled by your level.
Midway between "tatical" and "TotM" combat: by using range bands, positioning matters, but isn't an exacting affair. You can lean things in either direction if you so choose.
Anti-bloat. While there's still quite a few choices, 13A avoids bloat by keeping feats focused, and making it so you only choose a small number of talents.
Spread of class complexity. Especially with the very excellent 13 True Ways supplement, there's options for every taste as far as intricate vs straightforward classes go.
Easy to homebrew. Unlike 4e, making new classes isn't much work, and there's a pretty sizable homebrew community for such a relatively small game.
Workable for almost any setting. I really like the default setting, but you can make this engine work in nearly any setting with just minor tweaks (and, IMO, designing custom Icons is fun.)
As with 4e, survivability is pretty good. You aren't likely to die due to bad luck, but bad choices can still really hurt.
Escalation Die. One of the best mechanics in this system, and one that many many many people liked so much they've stolen it for use in other systems.
Monster design is sort of midway between 4e and 5e. Baseline monster features are as balanced as 4e, but the Nastier Specials stuff (e.g. a banshee's death wail) are specifically NOT balanced around, with the expectation that you, as DM, need to think about how they'll affect your party.
Excellent, excellent rules discussion. Unlike any other game I've seen, the designers talk directly to the reader about their thought processes on various rules--and even explicitly say when the two of them disagree about how something should work. The 13t Age books are GREAT for green DMs still learning the ropes, because they talk about the WHY behind the rules in ways I've never seen elsewhere.



Cons:

Only 10 levels. The "incremental advance" rules let you spool things out longer, but if you want a real long-runner, you may be disappointed by reaching "the end" of levels a long time before the campaign wraps.
Saves work like 4e, but have variable target number (easy, normal, hard). This may be confusing for people very used to 3e or 5e.
Small list of classes (compared to 4e and especially 3.x/PF). As noted, homebrew covers a lot of the gaps, but you aren't keen on that so this could be a sticking point. It's more than 5e though, if you include the 13TW classes, so...
Feats are mostly talent-specific. The bloat may be down, but feats can feel fiddly and the whole tier progression thing can be confusing.
Backgrounds can really take time to learn how to handle well. They're great for eliminating the "my character SHOULD be skilled at this" problem, but you have to learn how to say "no" at the right times without discouraging creative approaches to challenges.
A lot of people really don't like the Icon mechanics. I think they're rad, but many threads pop up asking how to remove them. This may or may not apply to you too.
Strong links between specific classes and specific complexity levels. This one bothers me a lot. You really can't play a "complex" Paladin. You really can't play a "simple" Wizard. Fighters are somewhat in the eye of the beholder, as some may find them restrictively simple while others may feel like the "flexible attacks" are too complicated. There are (as usual) homebrew solutions to these issues, but if you want to play 100% by the book, they'll be present.
Minimal non-book support. There IS a very helpful discord and a small but devoted fanbase. But outside of that, there's really no integration with anything as far as I know. No digital tools, no VTT stuff, minimal character sheet things...the game is MOSTLY simple enough that you may not need them, but it is a notable lack compared to most versions of D&D/PF.

Elevator Pitch: Do you want a game that balances out balance and story, that has high-flying action without all the technical minutia? Do you love games where every PC is a hero standing out from the crowd, where big forces and organizations play a role in shaping the story? Then check out 13th Age. Brilliant rules design, diverse but not excessive options, and clear yet flavorful text make for a great experience whether as DM or player. Develop your character's story with their One Unique Thing and Backgrounds that turn your history into the skills you use to save the day, while your connections to the great Icons provide drama and resources to push the game forward. Enjoy the rich history of the Dragon Empire setting, or develop your own with custom Icons and lore!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have tried, as much as possible, to give a fair and unbiased reporting. I love both of these systems, but I recognize that neither is perfect. I truly hope you give at least one of them a look, as they are both excellent games that rarely get the love they deserve.

Anonymouswizard
2021-02-24, 05:45 PM
Spells are skills in GURPS, so it makes sense. I already said you can improve skills, but that's it. What is difficult it's not worth the bother to improve is getting new Advantages, and it is Advantages where your character differs from what it was before. Wealth is an Advantage in GURPS. If you do not purchase it at character creation you may not use the 5,000 gp treasure hoard you got. You have to purchase Wealth Advantage first, and you do not get enough points at the end of the session to do so. You have to wait several game sessions meanwhile your 5,000 gp does nothing. If I recall correctly there is even comment that if you don't buy Wealthy the DM should come up with a reason why your sudden wealth goes away.

Edit: The wealth comment might be related to if you took the Poor Disadvantage for more build points. Acquiring 5,000 gp means you're no longer Poor, giving you free build points. Therefore, if you do not buy off Poor you lose your treasure find by DM fiat.

It's not as strict. The books tell the Gm that a character who earns enough wealth to move up a wealth category should have to pay the points for this, which is as much about NPC reactions as raw money. That's actually quite difficult at the higher Wealth levels, considering that most characters are assumed to have at least 80% of their wealth in their lifestyle, which is not simple to set up especially if you didn't begin as poor.

I think the same applies to HERO, other games have either less tracking of wealth level or completely disassociate it from 'experience'. Probably ideal in the longer time is wealth level systems where something like a dragon's hoard rewards you with '4500gp (+1 Wealth per PC)'.

Now I do know games which work exactly like you describe, but they tend to be lighter narrative games.

And that 80% in lifestyle (and holdings) is important, because it means that moving up a wealth level is not about getting a one time dump, but rather getting a source of income that'll allow you to maintain your lifestyle.


13th Age

I love 13th Age, but I think the way levelling works means it isn't suitable. Even with the gradual levelling mechanics the curve is still actually at least as fast as 5e.


New recommendation, Modern AGE.

Modern Age
Pros:


Level based, so you still get that feeling of getting a bunch of things at once, but the benefits of levels are relatively minimal. Especially on Gritty mode (where levels don't even give Health!).
Classless, characters advance entirely as the player wishes.
Mostly follows the 5e stance on rulings over rules, but features basic systems for things like investigation and social interaction.
The Companion features several fantasy races as an alternative to using social backgrounds in character creation.
In addition to a magic/psionics system it includes a basic superpowers system that can be used for anything from cybernetics to godly abilities.
3d6 based, so the bell curve produces more reliable results.
Stunts: if you roll doubles you get 1-6 points (decided by one of the dice you roll, which is a different colour to differentiate it) to make our action do cool new things. In early versions of AGE this was a mainly combat thing, but Modern AGE features more robust exploration, investigation, and conversation Stunts.



Cons:

It's level based, with everything that comes with that.
The three 'nodes of play' make enemy statblocks more confusing.
Abstract Wealth is a love it or hate it mechanic.
Weapon damage doesn't noticeably scale, which can lead to problems on Pulpy and especially Cinematic mode.


It's pretty much my new go to for Lovecraftian Horror to Cyberpunk,but it isn't perfect. Earlier AGE games have problems, including being shackled to a Warrior/Rogue/Mage system because they began with the Dragon Age RPG. Modern AGE is also where I first saw noncombat playstyles getting support beyond Talents, although the Contacts Talent is still not something I like (the first level lets you turn NPCs into contacts, which is not something I've been denied outside systems where contacts cost XP).

Gnoman
2021-02-24, 08:28 PM
Spells are skills in GURPS, so it makes sense. I already said you can improve skills, but that's it. What is difficult it's not worth the bother to improve is getting new Advantages, and it is Advantages where your character differs from what it was before. Wealth is an Advantage in GURPS. If you do not purchase it at character creation you may not use the 5,000 gp treasure hoard you got. You have to purchase Wealth Advantage first, and you do not get enough points at the end of the session to do so. You have to wait several game sessions meanwhile your 5,000 gp does nothing. If I recall correctly there is even comment that if you don't buy Wealthy the DM should come up with a reason why your sudden wealth goes away.

Edit: The wealth comment might be related to if you took the Poor Disadvantage for more build points. Acquiring 5,000 gp means you're no longer Poor, giving you free build points. Therefore, if you do not buy off Poor you lose your treasure find by DM fiat.

This. Is. Not. True.

If you gain 5000 GP, you can spend 5000 GP. You do not have to buy any wealth category to do so. No such rule exists in GURPS. There is an explicit advice to require characters that start off with the Poor Disadvantage that gain wealth to buy it off, but that is not the same thing.


If you start a Dead Broke (essentially has nothing) GURPS character who immediately finds a trillion dollars 5 minutes into the adventure, that character can spend a trillion dollars.

RegalKain
2021-02-24, 11:05 PM
Since I didn't see it brought up. My group and I recently went from 3.PF to Godbound. (https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/185959/Godbound-A-Game-of-Divine-Heroes-Free-Edition ) You can peak at the book for free as well, it's only missing a couple of chapters (That largely deal with mortal/transition characters.)

I personally found it very, very easy to setup and get into. It has a perfect blend of structure and freeform. Our group personally was trying to find a middle ground between 3.5 (And it's mechanical strictness) and BESM (Big Eyes Small Mouth, and it's entirely freeform approach.) it's easy enough to learn the rules, the combat is pretty fast paced once everyone gets the hang of it.

I ran for a group of 6 players, with 3 enemy godbounds, and some 20-30 mooks, the battle itself only took maybe 30-40 minutes. Trying to run an equivalent combat in 3.5 was like an hour+. I don't really know an easy way to sell you on the system itself, as in my opinion, it sells itself far better, with a brief read of the book, mechanics and how characters are built. I'd recommend poking the link and checking it out.

Pex
2021-02-25, 01:43 PM
This. Is. Not. True.

If you gain 5000 GP, you can spend 5000 GP. You do not have to buy any wealth category to do so. No such rule exists in GURPS. There is an explicit advice to require characters that start off with the Poor Disadvantage that gain wealth to buy it off, but that is not the same thing.


If you start a Dead Broke (essentially has nothing) GURPS character who immediately finds a trillion dollars 5 minutes into the adventure, that character can spend a trillion dollars.

Then it's a rule change since last I've read on GURPS, because it was that way and among the reasons I stopped playing it.

Gnoman
2021-02-25, 02:43 PM
Nope. Wasn't in 1st Edition. Wasn't in 2nd Edition. Wasn't in 3rd Edition. Isn't in 4th Edition. No such rule has ever existed.

kyoryu
2021-02-25, 03:04 PM
Nope. Wasn't in 1st Edition. Wasn't in 2nd Edition. Wasn't in 3rd Edition. Isn't in 4th Edition. No such rule has ever existed.


Right. Transitioning to a "wealthy lifestyle" would be a different question.

Which is admittedly a touch wonky.

Anonymouswizard
2021-02-25, 05:26 PM
Then it's a rule change since last I've read on GURPS, because it was that way and among the reasons I stopped playing it.

I think you or the GM were seeing a piece of GMing advice in a sidebar and assuming it was a rule. The wording is a little bit vague as well, basically just saying 'if the player would get the benefit of a higher Wealth Level make them buy it off. It's just an extrapolation of the general 'if a player has taken a Disad and it doesn't come up make it come up or force them to buy it off'.

Wealth does give additional gear as a benefit, but it's not the primary component of the (dis)advantage and as such a character only needs to buy levels if they get the 80% in holdings, property, andc wardrobe, not just the 20% in gear.

But again, this is one reason why counting coins in a game with CP-based Wealth is problematic.

Nifft
2021-02-25, 05:35 PM
My only experience with the system was playing in someone else's game, and after he had done all the number-crunching to build the system it was very easy to play. But I could not recreate that experience without some time-consuming deep-diving.

(It's been a while and I don't remember much beyond the surprise at how easy it was to play given my expectations of complexity, and then seeing the absolute confirmation of those complexity expectations when I got a peek under the hood.)

Seen from the outside, GURPS appears to be quite a large time investment -- with an equally large payout, but you need to dive deep before you can get to it.

Grod_The_Giant
2021-02-25, 06:40 PM
As an entertaining read, it's a great book; as a source of inspiration and examples, it's fine; but as a reference tool for finding monsters to throw at my group, it was insufficient.
Hey, it's more monster manual than 90% of non-D&D systems offer.

Nifft
2021-02-26, 12:28 AM
Hey, it's more monster manual than 90% of non-D&D systems offer.

Sure, but OP is coming from 5e D&D, which has a significantly different (and better) meaning for monster manual.

If we tell him that DFRPG has a good monster manual, then it would be reasonable for him to expect something like a D&D monster manual, rather than page after page of character bios. He would be set up for disappointment.

Personally I enjoy the 2nd book ("Our World"), and I would recommend it, but if you can only buy one book then buy the first book ("Your Story"). It's enough to play the game without the 2nd book, and the first book has some absurdly good meta-game advice and mechanics -- e.g. their procedure for session zero / city creation is something I carry into other game systems. The first book forever changed how I game (for the better); the second book was a fun read.

Anonymouswizard
2021-02-26, 07:15 AM
Oh! Sometimes I forget I have this one, but Burning Wheel could work!

Burning Wheel
Pros

Dice pool based system, meaning that results are relatively predictable.
Skills increase via use, but only if the roll would meaningfully advance the plot. Advancement is relatively slow, but encourages engagement.
The book contains some of the best advice for running I've seen, including saying 'yes, but..', failing forward, and the idea of 'let it ride' (you roll once, and let that roll stand).
Different stocks feel different, and most have unique magic systems (although dwarves don't use their, the humans and roden share one(/2), and trolls aren't smart enough).
Character creation is it's own minigame, which is relatively run, involving working out your characters rough backstory by going through a number of lifepaths..
The system designer rejected the idea of character balance in exchange for emulating what people would have realistically and narratively.
The entire system is in two really nice books.
Lifepaths are based on actual data for medieval france. Well, for humans at least.
Duel of Wits is the best social combat system I've ever seen (mainly because it focuses on convincing third parties).


Cons
It is quite complex.
The system designer rejected the idea of character balance.
Character creation takes a lot of time.
The system designer rejected the idea of character balance. No really, an elf or noble will just be better than a commoner.
It is very tied to medieval fantasy.
Duel of Wits, Range and Cover, and Fight! are relatively complex for theatre of the mind combat systems, involving planning your actions in sets of three before resolving the set.
Advancement requires a lot of tracking. Failed rolls, easy successful rolls, difficult successful rolls, as well as Fate, Persona, and Destiny points spent on rolls with that skill.

Easiness to GM
It varies, it's worth getting the book to just read the GMing advice.It's going to hard coming from 5e just because of the very different system assumptions.

kyoryu
2021-02-26, 10:55 AM
Sure, but OP is coming from 5e D&D, which has a significantly different (and better) meaning for monster manual.

"Monsters" also have a different purpose in 5e D&D than they do in DFRPG.

If you're just throwing waves of enemies at the PCs in DFRPG, I think you're kinda missing the point.

Democratus
2021-02-26, 11:23 AM
"Monsters" also have a different purpose in 5e D&D than they do in DFRPG.

If you're just throwing waves of enemies at the PCs in DFRPG, I think you're kinda missing the point.

But you would be simulating the DF universe pretty well.

There are numerous books where he and his companions are fighting off waves of zombies, cultists, monsters, etc.

kyoryu
2021-02-26, 01:04 PM
But you would be simulating the DF universe pretty well.

There are numerous books where he and his companions are fighting off waves of zombies, cultists, monsters, etc.

There are fights, and some big ones.

But there's usually only a couple per book (with a few obvious exceptions), and they're never really "just to have a fight". They're there to answer some story question.

This is different, I think, than a lot of RPGs where fighting is kinda the point. In those situations, a GM would reasonably look through a monster manual for interesting fights to make sure the players have fun encounters. In DFRPG, that should start with "what's the story? What's the conflict? Is a fight appropriate?" and only then go to what the fight is, where the context should inform what baddies are there.

Nifft
2021-02-26, 09:53 PM
But there's usually only a couple per book (with a few obvious exceptions), and they're never really "just to have a fight". They're there to answer some story question.

Yeah so the thing is

The actual thing which happened is

I wanted a fight which was there for a legit story reason, and I spent more time on the story than decoding and reverse-engineering NPC stats, so what I wanted was the book to give me some NPC stats which fit into the story I had written.

Let me repeat that: I wanted ONE type of combat-readyNPC (some sort of baby chlorofiend), for a legit story reason.

The book failed to help me.



This strawman about "waves of enemies" is entirely in your head.

Eldan
2021-02-27, 07:35 PM
So, I just read the third edition of Unknown Armies and I'm a huge fan of what they did with the system.

Basically, you have five scales in the game, each of which represents a kind of trauma. These are your character stats: Helplessness, Isolation, Self, Unnaturalness and Violence. In each of these categories, you can be hardened, damaged or both. Hardened characters become immune to trauma on that scale, but it also comes with disadvantages. Hardening also changes your skills: more hardened characters automatically are lower in some skills, but higher in others. For example, as you become more hardened to unnatural events, your Notice skill goes down, but your Lying skill goes up.

They also give you a general guide on how your character might behave, of course. For example, a character who is hardened to Isolation doesn't care about other people. A character who is damaged in any of the categories is probably fearful.

kyoryu
2021-02-28, 12:59 PM
Yeah so the thing is

The actual thing which happened is

I wanted a fight which was there for a legit story reason, and I spent more time on the story than decoding and reverse-engineering NPC stats, so what I wanted was the book to give me some NPC stats which fit into the story I had written.

Let me repeat that: I wanted ONE type of combat-readyNPC (some sort of baby chlorofiend), for a legit story reason.

The book failed to help me.



This strawman about "waves of enemies" is entirely in your head.

Nah, I was responding to someone else comparing to 5e. Which is a game where you send waves of enemies at players, effectively.
EDIT: Nope, it was you. Sorry! I stand by the claim that monsters in D&D have a different role than they do in DFRPG.

Sorry the book didn't help you in that case :/ It probably could have better advice on how to build up monsters apart from the ones in the books.

Nifft
2021-02-28, 02:01 PM
With a play history only in dnd5e


Nah, I was responding to someone else comparing to 5e. Which is a game where you send waves of enemies at players, effectively.
EDIT: Nope, it was you. Sorry! I stand by the claim that monsters in D&D have a different role than they do in DFRPG.

Sorry the book didn't help you in that case :/ It probably could have better advice on how to build up monsters apart from the ones in the books.

The OP has only run 5e games.

That is why you see people discussing other systems in comparison to 5e.

We are trying to be helpful to the OP.

KineticDiplomat
2021-03-01, 12:28 AM
Well, someone looking for less scaling and more sword & sorcery...my personal favorite fantasy RPG is:

Blade of The Iron Throne

Essentially Sword & Sorcery, The Game.

What It Brings

1) A system where to quote one of my players, ďit lets you feel powerful, and be powerful - like it feels good to chop down a mook in one blow - but you can still die from a spear to the faceĒ. Essentially characters start at Hollywood Human and donít grow much past there...but ďleveling upĒ really isnít the point. Itís the sort of power where if there is a monster or demon, it plays more like Alien than Aliens. Grendel is not a push over.

2) Direct player involvement in the story. Players set their own motivations, which are then mechanically rewarded as both XP and power while doing that. Example: I had one player decide he wanted to get revenge on a man who has driven him out of the kingís guard. That became an NPC, part of the plot I could weave in, a couple cool fights, and actually rewarded the player for following what he said his story was.

3) A beautiful melee combat system. One where you have a boatload of discrete options, and they all have their place - and where player skill can often compensate for character builds. Itís the type of system where a rapier through the throat will kill a man, while the classic arming sword is going to ping ineffectually off of chain mail in most cases (the preferred method is to reverse it for a Murder Stroke, using the pommel to bash someone into a daze before stabbing him in an unarmored or only gambesoned weak point - and fights in plate with anything less than big mass weapons are likely to end with someone grappling the other guy and trying to break an arm or render him immobile to stab him in the eye slit). A beautiful system for both mook chopping and big dramatic duels.

4) A low magic magic system. Magic is mysterious, ritualistic, and powerful, but is more on the lines of curses, prophecies, ancient secrets, and hypnosis than it is ďflying invisible lightning blaster man who heals!Ē. In other words, properly terrifying but not your default answer for everything.

What Itís Not

Itís not high fantasy. This is not a system for a sorcerer, a warlock, and a vampire kin to save the world in daily feats of demigod ness. Itís a system for humans (or humanoids with a hack) to pursue goals that are far more personal in scale.

Itís not one die and done. The dice run smooth once you know what youíre doing, there is crunch comparable to D&D.

Itís not a big commercial project. Not going to lie, the rule book could use some editing and layout changes. Certainly not a disaster, but it isnít as polished as some.

Ratter
2021-03-09, 11:58 AM
1. What does each bring that 5e doesn't? What does it lose? And how easy is it to learn as the dm, and for potential players. Ive had suggestions for pathfinder, numenera, savage worlds, call of cathulu, and even 3.5. So where do I go for what experience?

Savage Worlds

1. It brings less complicated rules. It's easier to manage. Character creation and advancement is a uniquely personal experience and there is a high variance of playstyle.
2. It forfeits a lot of the high fantasy of 5e and basically all of the consistency of everything. It's best run as a high fatality realistic game in my experience.
3. It's easy to learn and DM for.

Legend

1. It's better for high fantasy than 5e. It offers far more character creation options and freedoms. The combat is, imo, just more fun. Free
2. It has an extremely small playerbase. It's fairly difficult to learn, in my opinion, its about on par with 5e, but that's just me.
3. It requires an active DM who likes using the rules to custom design monsters.

Open Legend

1. It's incredibly easy to learn. Character creation is very free.
2. It's incredibly swingy, combat is super unfun and it feels like a game. I personally dislike this system.
3. It's, imo, the least fun system to DM for that I will mention.

Weaverdice

1. Super game. Super simple rules that make for a fun experience. No battle map required.
2. It's a super game. Players don't have full control over their character creation. It relies on backroom dealing and out of session action, which can be a pro or a con. Requires a lot of creative input from the full party.
3. Super easy to learn and play.


Mutants and Masterminds

1. Super game. Complicated rules. Very detailed character creation.
2. Unbalanced AF. Easy to break. Pretty complicated.
3. It'll take a while for everyone.