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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default Help Khan Buy a New RPG!

    So it's that time of the year, when I suddenly get money to spend on things that aren't school, and decide to buy a new RPG with it. As such, I have come to you for help. But first, a few conditions.

    1) The operative word is "buy". Free RPGs are fine and dandy, but since the goal is not wasting my money on something bad, I can always take a chance on free ones.

    2) Nothing more generic than All Flesh Must Be Eaten and nothing based on d20 System. I have nothing against generic games or games based on d20 System, but I already have True20 and Mutants & Masterminds.

    3) The books need to be available to buy as PDFs. Hard copies are generally more expensive, easier to lose or damage, and I've had bad experiences with shipping.

    _/_/_/_/

    That said, onto what I want from RPGs.

    1) A game that can emulate some of the flashier examples of wuxia or wuxia-inspired works, such as Avatar: the Last Airbender (and The Legend of Korra), Jade Empire and Dragon Ball. Preferably with focus on action, but with some attention paid to less physical parts.

    2) A game that can emulate less over-the-top post-apocalyptic works, such as The Last of Us or I Am Alive. I would prefer a game that encourages careful resource management and acquirement, as well as detail when it comes to those resources and encouraging non-violent solutions.

    3) A game that can emulate school drama, supernatural elements optional. I've been eyeing Monsterhearts about this, but I welcome other suggestions, as well as input on what Monsterhearts is like.

    A non-exhaustive list of games I have is as follows:

    Active Exploits, All Flesh Must Be Eaten, Anima Prime, A Wanderer's Romance, Armageddon, Atomic Highway, Badass, BESM 3rd Edition, CthulhuTech, d6 Adventure, Don't Rest Your Head, Dread, Eclipse Phase, Exalted, Faery's Tale Deluxe, FATE, GURPS, Legend of the Five Rings, Maid, Mecha RPG, Mutants & Masterminds, Nine Worlds, Qin, Remnants, Risus, Rogue Trader, Scion, Spirit of the Century, Spycraft, Summerland, Supernatural, True20, Weapons of the Gods, Wild Talents, World of Darkness (including Changeling: the Lost, Werewolf: the Forsaken, Vampire: the Requiem and Promethean: the Created), Witchcraft, Wu Xing.

    Thanks for your help in advance.
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  2. - Top - End - #2
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    Default Re: Help Khan Buy a New RPG!

    Well.

    Seems like you already checked out Anima Prime for #1...the only other game in that genre I can pull up is Tenra Bansho Zero. Japanese RPG from 2001 that's on par with the cool narrative stuff that's just starting to happen in American RPGs now. You play to your character's Fates (touchstones for them, such as goals, strong emotions, or tragic parts of their past) to earn resources that you can spend to power up your rolls (or advance your stats). The more frequently you spend those resources, the more karma you gain, and the game uses karma to represent a character's attachment to and obsession with physical things.

    You reduce your karma by letting go of Fates. So it's a really interesting cycle of character growth and development, all overlaid onto a "hyper-Asian action fantasy" game. It would be my absolute go-to for shounen anime, because of the focus it places on the meaning and character dynamics that underlie their flashy feats. I highly recommend it.

    I've played a bit of Monsterhearts (skipping ahead to your #3, because I got nothin' at the moment for #2--it doesn't sound like it's up Apocalypse World's alley). It definitely does a great job of tapping into the teen high school drama dynamic. The skins are pretty heavily wired with supernatural elements, though. I could see it being hacked to get rid of them (and I guess you could just play with the Mortal and Queen skins), but they're infused into the game.

    It's actually very interesting. The core premise is to take various types of teen archetypes/growing pains and meld them with a supernatural creature. The werewolf hearkens to the adolescent who's struggling to cope with a body that's changing on them and awakening weird, scary urges inside of them. The ghost is the teen who yearns to be noticed and loved, but never speaks up and doesn't know how to reach out to people. The chosen one is the teen who has heavy expectations placed on them, generally by family.

    It then frames the core actions of the game around a dynamic of social manipulation: Turn Someone On (which gives you some control over them), Shut Someone Down (which lets you deal with someone), Lash Out Physically (deal actual physical harm), Hold Steady (don't freak out or lose your cool). There's also a move called Gaze Into the Abyss, which is the more overtly supernatural one--your character gets in touch with the darkest parts of themself, to get answers about what they have to do.

    As a way of tracking interactions, it uses a mechanic called "Strings". They represent the influence you have over other people (or vice versa); you can spend Strings that you have on someone to give them a big incentive to do something for you, or maybe to force them to Hold Steady in the middle of something ("Wait! Don't go! I love you!"), or to hurt them harder. Lots of moves give strings, make people lose strings, gain strings.

    The action of the game moves pretty seamlessly from drama to physical conflict to drastic consequences; it's a joy to watch in action. (If you have about three hours, I was in this session for an online convention; might help you to get an idea of how the game flows.)

    Do be warned--there is sexual content in the game. It mentions that you can handle this with as much "fade to black" as you feel like, but there is that. It's a big part of the theme of messy adolescence.
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    Default Re: Help Khan Buy a New RPG!

    Are you looking for a game that does all three things or three games, one for each point?
    Mannerism RPG An RPG in which your descriptions resolve your actions and sculpts your growth.

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    Default Re: Help Khan Buy a New RPG!

    I see that you don't have Legend of the Wulin yet.
    You got Magic Mech in My Police Procedural!
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  5. - Top - End - #5
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    Default Re: Help Khan Buy a New RPG!

    Quote Originally Posted by The Rose Dragon View Post
    So it's that time of the year, when I suddenly get money to spend on things that aren't school, and decide to buy a new RPG with it. As such, I have come to you for help. But first, a few conditions.

    1) The operative word is "buy". Free RPGs are fine and dandy, but since the goal is not wasting my money on something bad, I can always take a chance on free ones.

    2) Nothing more generic than All Flesh Must Be Eaten and nothing based on d20 System. I have nothing against generic games or games based on d20 System, but I already have True20 and Mutants & Masterminds.
    Pity. Because I really would recommend adding Fate Core and Fate Accelarated to your collection. If you like Spirit of the Century think of Fate Core as a streamlined version - if you don't like it because it's too heavy, Fate Core removes most of the crap.

    3) The books need to be available to buy as PDFs. Hard copies are generally more expensive, easier to lose or damage, and I've had bad experiences with shipping.

    _/_/_/_/

    That said, onto what I want from RPGs.

    1) A game that can emulate some of the flashier examples of wuxia or wuxia-inspired works, such as Avatar: the Last Airbender (and The Legend of Korra), Jade Empire and Dragon Ball. Preferably with focus on action, but with some attention paid to less physical parts.
    I'd say Tenra Bansho Zero is the game you are looking for - very Japanese themed and focussed on the action to the point you actually get stronger as you choose to cross your damage thresholds. Very strong action focus, and on the classic action "It's what I do on the outside that counts" and how much of yourself you risk.

    Runner up: Marvel Heroic Roleplaying (absolutely awesome game but currently OOP due to the license so getting the PDF might not be easy). Large, evocative, can handle just about anything with a focus on high action.

    2) A game that can emulate less over-the-top post-apocalyptic works, such as The Last of Us or I Am Alive. I would prefer a game that encourages careful resource management and acquirement, as well as detail when it comes to those resources and encouraging non-violent solutions.
    Apocalypse World might be what you are after. But as I don't think so, I'm not sure what to suggest. (The resource system is too abstract for one thing).

    3) A game that can emulate school drama, supernatural elements optional. I've been eyeing Monsterhearts about this, but I welcome other suggestions, as well as input on what Monsterhearts is like.
    The only serious competitor here I can think of to Monsterhearts are Smallville (+ High School Yearbook) (OOP so legal PDFs might be hard to come by) which is a hell of a lot better than it sounds - with entirely non-supernatural games being completely possible and the important stats being your values and relationships.

    Monsterhearts rocks. One of the most intense and immersive games I'm aware of ("bleed" is a definite problem) and really captures the teen high school drama narrative. The basic premise is that the supernatural element is a manifestation and underlining of real teenage problems, with each of the characters having a fundamental longing or desire that's reflected by their supernatural side. (Although certain skins like the Mortal and most versions of the Queen aren't technically supernatural, and I think you could play a mundane Hollow or even Fae).

    At a procedural level, it runs under the Apocalypse World engine, meaning that it runs with the speed and flexibility of improv with the character sheets being designed to add inspiration and resolve conflict - the basic mechanics have been explained above.

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    Default Re: Help Khan Buy a New RPG!

    Quote Originally Posted by neonchameleon View Post
    Pity. Because I really would recommend adding Fate Core and Fate Accelarated to your collection. If you like Spirit of the Century think of Fate Core as a streamlined version - if you don't like it because it's too heavy, Fate Core removes most of the crap.
    I was going to suggest it too, but The Rose Dragon already lists FATE in that big list o' RPGS so it seemed superfluous. And also is a bit too generic as is. Considering I used it to run an Avatar: The Last Airbender campaign and recently recommended it for a post-apocalyptic game, though...

    Anyway, it's interesting to see people praising Monsterhearts. I can't help but laugh because my only contact with it before reading this thread was somebody who was recommending it on /tg/... except they went about it the wrong way. They kept stressing how you can Turn On characters no matter what, and "You can't just say 'my character is straight, that doesn't work'" and stuff like that. Needless to say, the conversation went in... weird directions thanks to that logic. But it's nice to see it's not as fetishy as that guy made it sound.
    Last edited by The Dark Fiddler; 2013-07-04 at 07:14 AM.
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  7. - Top - End - #7
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    Default Re: Help Khan Buy a New RPG!

    Quote Originally Posted by CarpeGuitarrem View Post
    It would be my absolute go-to for shounen anime, because of the focus it places on the meaning and character dynamics that underlie their flashy feats. I highly recommend it.
    I quoted this part, because while I understood what you wanted to say, I can't help but mention that things like Death Note, Love Hina and Lucky Star are also shōnen series (though if it can handle Love Hina, I'm sold).

    Quote Originally Posted by Totally Guy View Post
    Are you looking for a game that does all three things or three games, one for each point?
    Preferably separate games, since the types of mechanics I want from 1 and 2, at least, would be vastly different. But if there is this wonderful game that can handle the varying levels of detail I expect from different genres that isn't generic to the level of GURPS, I might give it a try.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fri View Post
    I see that you don't have Legend of the Wulin yet.
    I don't, no. I did give it a read, though, and I didn't like it much - at least not as much as Weapons of the Gods. I am told that makes me crazy.
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  8. - Top - End - #8
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    Default Re: Help Khan Buy a New RPG!

    Quote Originally Posted by The Dark Fiddler View Post
    Anyway, it's interesting to see people praising Monsterhearts. I can't help but laugh because my only contact with it before reading this thread was somebody who was recommending it on /tg/... except they went about it the wrong way. They kept stressing how you can Turn On characters no matter what, and "You can't just say 'my character is straight, that doesn't work'" and stuff like that. Needless to say, the conversation went in... weird directions thanks to that logic. But it's nice to see it's not as fetishy as that guy made it sound.
    If you take the tagline for it as "The sexiest, bloodiest, messiest HBO teen series ever" you won't go far wrong. It's not especially fetishy, but both sex and uncertainty about who you are are normally pretty big things in the genre it's trying to emulate.

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    Default Re: Help Khan Buy a New RPG!

    Lucky Star isn't shounen. It ran as the comic strip of the membership magazine for a manga publisher's association and both the content and general style of it leans more heavily towards seinen.


    Anyway, Fri is right. For request number one Legends of the Wulin is perfect as it specifically set out to do just that. It also does narratively interesting battles very well, while keeping the tactical stuff too and has quite solid non-combat mechanics on top of that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terraoblivion View Post
    Lucky Star isn't shounen. It ran as the comic strip of the membership magazine for a manga publisher's association and both the content and general style of it leans more heavily towards seinen.
    Personally, I haven't read Lucky Star, but you are literally the first person I know that hasn't classified it as shōnen, including both Wikipedia and TV Tropes. So that suddenly makes me feel like everything I knew was a lie.
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    Default Re: Help Khan Buy a New RPG!

    Looking more closely, the publishing history gets weirder after it got more widespread publishing. It was published in Comptiq, which is one of the few magazines without a clearly defined demographic, and Shounen Ace which is one of those magazines that the publisher just slaps shounen on and forgets about, despite having content that isn't actually aimed at teenage boys. So it's technically shounen, but the shounen magazine it got published in is mostly read by adult men and has content indistinguishable from the seinen mainstream. In short, Lucky Star is a textbook study in how arbitrary Japanese demographic labels are. I read an article about how shounen in particular is entirely arbitrary a few weeks ago, but I can't remember how I found it.

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    Default Re: Help Khan Buy a New RPG!

    Quote Originally Posted by The Rose Dragon View Post
    3) A game that can emulate school drama, supernatural elements optional. I've been eyeing Monsterhearts about this, but I welcome other suggestions, as well as input on what Monsterhearts is like.

    *takes a deep breath*

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    Default Re: Help Khan Buy a New RPG!

    While I haven't actually played Chuubo's yet, I'd like to second that for the third. It reads as quite an excellent system and it is as Friv says, made for that. Other stuff as well, it was also made for Utena-stye surreality and emotionally brutal stuff like Madoka, but it started with being made for exactly that kind of thing.

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    Default Re: Help Khan Buy a New RPG!

    Reading a review of Tenra Bansho Zero, it sounds like the bee's knees, and the kind of game I greatly enjoy, but also a horrible fit for the kind of wuxia game I want. I might still get it, since it gives about 50 pages per dollar, but I probably won't rush to do so.

    As for Monsterhearts, I am wondering if there is a play example of it somewhere. I think I would enjoy it, but the way you describe it, it might be a bit too heavy for my usual players.
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    Default Re: Help Khan Buy a New RPG!

    I'll third Chuubo. I haven't actually been able to read most of it, but I've loved the previews. More importantly, if you pledge at the $35 level, you can also experience the wonders of Nobilis, which I'd say would fulfill #1.

    For #2, check out Frankenstein Atomic Frontier. It's not exactly expensive, and the core book is on sale right now. If you don't like it, you'll only be out one U.S. dollar, but if you do, there's a few supplements you can buy.

    Edit: Tenra Bansho Zero also sounds pretty cool, so definitely check that one out too.

    Edit 2: Also, I think you might want to look into Monsters and Other Childish Things for #3.
    Last edited by Grinner; 2013-07-04 at 01:05 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Rose Dragon View Post
    As for Monsterhearts, I am wondering if there is a play example of it somewhere. I think I would enjoy it, but the way you describe it, it might be a bit too heavy for my usual players.
    Quite a few on The Story-Games AP board. And I won't play it with my normal group (I'd happily play it with a couple of them, but not all).

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    Default Re: Help Khan Buy a New RPG!

    Quote Originally Posted by The Rose Dragon View Post
    That said, onto what I want from RPGs.

    1) A game that can emulate some of the flashier examples of wuxia or wuxia-inspired works, such as Avatar: the Last Airbender (and The Legend of Korra), Jade Empire and Dragon Ball. Preferably with focus on action, but with some attention paid to less physical parts.
    Ninja's and Superspies, Bushido, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles....

    Quote Originally Posted by The Rose Dragon View Post
    2) A game that can emulate less over-the-top post-apocalyptic works, such as The Last of Us or I Am Alive. I would prefer a game that encourages careful resource management and acquirement, as well as detail when it comes to those resources and encouraging non-violent solutions.
    Twilight 2000 and Gamma World. (More so Twilight 2000)

    Quote Originally Posted by The Rose Dragon View Post
    3) A game that can emulate school drama, supernatural elements optional. I've been eyeing Monsterhearts about this, but I welcome other suggestions, as well as input on what Monsterhearts is like.
    Teenagers from Outer Space. There is also a new game up in the Homebrew thead dedicated to the High school Harem style anime....

    *Note: While TFOS certainly has the element of the horny high school kids trying to get some...one of the big points in the game is that SOMETHING always happens before you get any...*

    Except for the Homebrew, all of these games are available on PDF. If you like I can send you a link to where you can pick them up pretty cheap.
    Last edited by Mutazoia; 2013-07-04 at 07:27 PM.
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  18. - Top - End - #18
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    Default Re: Help Khan Buy a New RPG!

    Gamma World was the exact game I was trying to avoid by saying "less over-the-top". Because it seems to come up every time when post-apocalyptic games are mentioned, despite being far closer to fantasy than post-apocalyptic.
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    Default Re: Help Khan Buy a New RPG!

    Quote Originally Posted by The Rose Dragon View Post
    Gamma World was the exact game I was trying to avoid by saying "less over-the-top". Because it seems to come up every time when post-apocalyptic games are mentioned, despite being far closer to fantasy than post-apocalyptic.
    Yeah but I mentioned it just for the heck of it. For what you described though Twilight 2k would be close to perfect.
    "Sleeping late might not be a virtue, but it sure aint no vice. The old saw about the early bird and the worm just goes to show that the worm should have stayed in bed."

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    Default Re: Help Khan Buy a New RPG!

    I will record my recommendation of Dark Heresy for your post-apocalyptics. It's Sci-Fi, but you can ignore most of the setting really easily and just run a gritty survival game.
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