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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Default Best non-crunchy system for solo play?

    Hello everyone, I'm new to this site, so please bear with me. I have had some experience with RPing many, many years ago (Star Wars d6), although I have just joined a local DnD (4th Ed) group which will kick off with our first meet this week.

    I've trawled through a number of "review" threads about which systems are best for rules-light RP, best for character creation, combat, magic, etc. It's apparent that there are fans of just about every system, and the sheer quantity of systems out there is quite daunting to someone like me.


    What I am after is a system to play with my girlfriend, who has never RPed (this is reffered to as "solo" play, right?). She has stipulated she wants a modern vampire theme, and I am now a bit conflicted as to which system to use to start off with. Whilst VtM/VtR would be the obvious choices due to setting, I'm not sure they are the best systems to use to get someone interested in RP, due to (what I perceive to be) complex mechanics for a RP newb.

    I'm more than happy to homebrew a system to fit the "modern vampire" theme and have purchased a number of supplements (GURPS "Blood Types" & the "VtR Core", for example) for plot hooks, ideas, etc. I also rather prematurely bought the 4th Ed GURPS Core Set, thinking this could would solve all my problems, but have since been left a bit cold as to its usefulness in getting my gf excited about gaming. It's a bit crunchy!

    So, my question is: what is the best system to buy into that will allow for solid, not-overly-crunchy play and allow me to homebrew some good solo adventures?

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    Ancalagon's Avatar

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    Default Re: Best non-crunchy system for solo play?

    Take any system and ignore as much as you need to to have fun.

    D20 is a good system, but a bit too complex. The World of Darkness (the "new" as well as the old one) and GURPS are both pretty lightweight and fast (GURPS can be as complex as you wish, though).

    Tipp: Whatever you play, ignore "magic" at the beginning. Also... focus on the game, the story, the characters, and on having a good time - do not focus on the rules.

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    Default Re: Best non-crunchy system for solo play?

    Id say you should check out the new 4th Ed. Tabletop Games that have come out. 4th Ed D&D is the simplest D&D to date, and the tabletop games are a simplified version of it. Besides, you could whip it out with other people as well as a lure to get them into other systems. Not sure if it breaks when used for a single player. I think the games that have come out are Wrath of Ashardalon and Castle Ravenloft.

    Edit: Linky

    http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Product.a...dacc/207790000
    Last edited by LansXero; 2011-08-23 at 07:05 PM.

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    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Best non-crunchy system for solo play?

    I would check out Primetime Adventures and World vs Hero (which is specifically designed for 1on1 play).

    Whereas all the various D&Ds, Gurps, and WoDs are at the very highest end of the game heaviness spectrum, these two are the opposite. Very short, extremely light. Can be read/explained in a matter of minutes, and have only the barest mechanics possible.

    I would normally have a ton of other suggestions, but they're either not usable as vampire games, or not fit for use 1on1.

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    Default Re: Best non-crunchy system for solo play?

    It can depend a bit on what you mean by "Vampire". The WOD vampire games are mostly complicated because they include lots of super-powers for their vampires. If you just want "people who drink blood and stay in during the day" then the WOD system probably won't be nearly so intimidating.

    If you want something lighter you could use Savage Worlds. It's "mid-crunch". Just add some vampiric themes to the standard characters and you're pretty good. That said, SW is a fairly combat focused game. So if you're into a more story-driven game it may not be suitable.

    Another "mid-crunch" system that includes rules suitable for vampires right out of the box is the new Dresden Files game using Fate as the key system. Of course you'll want to avoid getting involved in the more convoluted magic rules and stick to standard undead abilities.

    For extra rules-light games I usually recommend PDQ. There's no system specifically for handling vampires but it's not hard to figure out how to add those elements on, especially if you aren't trying to "balance" vampire and non-vampire characters. The core rules are free but if you're looking for a system with something similar to vampiric abilities the Dead Inside game might be what you need.
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    Default Re: Best non-crunchy system for solo play?

    Quote Originally Posted by LansXero View Post
    4th Ed D&D is the simplest D&D to date, and the tabletop games are a simplified version of it.
    There's a couple basic editions of D&D that'd like to have a word with you. Namely, the ones without skills, paragon paths, and loads of magic item powers to remember.
    Besides, you could whip it out with other people as well as a lure to get them into other systems. Not sure if it breaks when used for a single player. I think the games that have come out are Wrath of Ashardalon and Castle Ravenloft.

    Edit: Linky

    http://www.wizards.com/dnd/Product.a...dacc/207790000
    I'm pretty sure that you'd have to drastically rebalance the game for solo play. Not positive, but pretty darn sure. But it is a very enjoyable game.

    I would just say go New World of Darkness, and make up some stuff on the fly. She wants a special power? Make it up using the rules. nWoD is very, very easy to make up stuff for.
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    Default Re: Best non-crunchy system for solo play?

    Quote Originally Posted by CarpeGuitarrem View Post
    There's a couple basic editions of D&D that'd like to have a word with you. Namely, the ones without skills, paragon paths, and loads of magic item powers to remember.
    While I agree with you, do consider that they didnt come with software to help deal with all that either. But oh well, it was mostly hyperbole.

    And a boardgame is easier to spring out on an unsuspecting group of non-RPish people than a proper RP game, so thats an advantage as well (assuming the OP would like to play with more people). Being based off 4E would help share it with his new group while bringing the girl alone :D

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    Default Re: Best non-crunchy system for solo play?

    Dresden Files was mentioned, and it might actually work. That said, I'd stick to Fudge or Fate for a few reasons. Not the least of these is that everything is rated on a word scale instead of a numerical scale, meaning that character sheets can be read and understood without any understanding of the system. Also, Fudge, Fate 2, and several Fate 3 games (if not the core engine) are all free.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Default Re: Best non-crunchy system for solo play?

    Thanks for all the helpful advice, everyone.

    First off, I will definitely be avoiding D&D 4th like the plague for solo play with my GF. Whilst I am enjoying my new group and the system myself, my GF would benefit more from a story-driven RP adventure than a combat-driven one.

    I'm also not personally a very big fan of the d20 systems and their inherent randomness, which is offset by an uber-long list of modifiers.

    I can use the VtR (nWoD) and Blood Types (GURPS) sourcebooks for setting and adventure ideas, but I really like the look of FUDGE/FATE and specifically Strands of Fate as a base system. I really like the lack of crunch and the idea of FUDGE dice as the rolling mechanic.

    In fact, I've just purchased "Strands of Fate" from Lulu. Living in the UK, it's going to take a little while for my Hardback copy to get printed and then sent. At least I get a free, bookmarked PDF of the full book alongside my purchase, so I can start planning things now.

    My plan will be to create the setting and some plot hooks and overarching plot lines to get her character started. Then I'll build a GMPC to adventure with her and a couple of sample (throwaway) PCs to give her an idea of what a finished character sheet looks like and take things from there.

    I'm just hoping it doesn't end up too crunchy and scare my GF off!

    Any comments on my chosen method of attack?

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Default Re: Best non-crunchy system for solo play?

    Quote Originally Posted by CarpeGuitarrem View Post
    I would just say go New World of Darkness, and make up some stuff on the fly. She wants a special power? Make it up using the rules. nWoD is very, very easy to make up stuff for.
    I've had a read through the first few parts of the full VtR demo ("Danse de la Mort") to get an idea of mechanics, and I think it's too crunchy a system for my intended purpose. That's not to say I'm not going to borrow heavily from the content, though!

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    Default Re: Best non-crunchy system for solo play?

    Quote Originally Posted by 9littlebees View Post
    I'm just hoping it doesn't end up too crunchy and scare my GF off!

    Any comments on my chosen method of attack?
    Fudge and Fate are pretty awesome, so your chosen method should work well. That said, I'd have gone with the Fudge 10th Anniversary edition, and done a quick bit of customizing.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

    I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that.
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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Default Re: Best non-crunchy system for solo play?

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    Fudge and Fate are pretty awesome, so your chosen method should work well. That said, I'd have gone with the Fudge 10th Anniversary edition, and done a quick bit of customizing.
    Knaight, what's wrong with Strands of Fate? As far as I could see, FATE takes FUDGE and tweaks it for the better, while SoF is a new, 3rd Ed version of FATE, which is highly recommended in a number of places (RPGNow, RPG.net, this blog, and of course right here).

    Just curious, really. I could easily be convinced to go FUDGE 10th (or FATE 2) over SoF if it seems more appropriate.

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    Default Re: Best non-crunchy system for solo play?

    Quote Originally Posted by 9littlebees View Post
    Knaight, what's wrong with Strands of Fate? As far as I could see, FATE takes FUDGE and tweaks it for the better, while SoF is a new, 3rd Ed version of FATE, which is highly recommended in a number of places.
    Alright, lets talk FATE development. And remember, FATE is just one Fudge tweak, there are others. So, to begin:

    FATE 2: The ladder is now stupid. The symmetry of Fudge is gone, the quantity of terms has gone up from the easily memorized seven, and they didn't even have the decency to stick them all on the end of the ladder, no, there has to be "Average" stuck between Fair and Mediocre. The aspects are nice, but then Aspects predate FATE and work with Fudge anyways.

    FATE 3: The ladder is still stupid. However, they also basically removed modifiers, which means that you now need to come up with Aspects for everything. No, there can't be a penalty to shoot because its dark, there needs to be the Darkness aspect, and someone has to spend fate points to make it matter. The depths of poorly designed narrativism are being discovered anew. Stunts are nice, but they don't interface with the ladder particularly well, and there are earlier proto-Stunts that FATE had nothing to do with that do a far better job anyways. Screw FATE 3.

    Strands of Fate: Remember how Fudge had about 40 pages of rules, and it was easily read, easily memorized, and actually authentically rules light? Because those days are over, and this several hundred page monstrosity is an outright crunchy system. Its not D&D, or even GURPS, but it has left non-crunchy forever, period.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

    I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that.
    -- ChubbyRain

    Current Design Project: Legacy, a game of masters and apprentices for two players and a GM.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Best non-crunchy system for solo play?

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    Strands of Fate: Remember how Fudge had about 40 pages of rules, and it was easily read, easily memorized, and actually authentically rules light? Because those days are over, and this several hundred page monstrosity is an outright crunchy system. Its not D&D, or even GURPS, but it has left non-crunchy forever, period.
    Thanks for the detailed reply, Knaight. You mentioned the 10th Ed Fudge book earlier. I've DL'ed the Table of Contents for the 10th Ed and it looks like it might be the same core system as the free version, just with added content.

    Is this actually the case? Is 10th Ed the same system as in the free PDF, or have they tweaked/improved things?

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    Default Re: Best non-crunchy system for solo play?

    Quote Originally Posted by 9littlebees View Post
    Thanks for the detailed reply, Knaight. You mentioned the 10th Ed Fudge book earlier. I've DL'ed the Table of Contents for the 10th Ed and it looks like it might be the same core system as the free version, just with added content.

    Is this actually the case? Is 10th Ed the same system as in the free PDF, or have they tweaked/improved things?
    Its the same core system, but there are a lot more options as far as add ons. Moreover, it has a complete fantasy system in it which needs no tweaking to get started.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

    I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that.
    -- ChubbyRain

    Current Design Project: Legacy, a game of masters and apprentices for two players and a GM.

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Goblin

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    Default Re: Best non-crunchy system for solo play?

    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    Its the same core system, but there are a lot more options as far as add ons. Moreover, it has a complete fantasy system in it which needs no tweaking to get started.
    In that case, I'll review (free) FUDGE alongside Strands of Fate and see which I prefer. Thanks!

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    Default Re: Best non-crunchy system for solo play?

    You might want to be aware of various web supplements as well. Worth looking into:
    A webzine full of Fudge homebrew, including Aspects.
    The author's unofficial work

    Of particular note are Fudge on the Fly, Five By Four, and Five Point Fudge
    Last edited by Knaight; 2011-08-26 at 02:22 AM.
    I would really like to see a game made by Obryn, Kurald Galain, and Knaight from these forums.

    I'm not joking one bit. I would buy the hell out of that.
    -- ChubbyRain

    Current Design Project: Legacy, a game of masters and apprentices for two players and a GM.

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    Default Re: Best non-crunchy system for solo play?

    This reminds me of a story from when that I was and a lad.

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