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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Branching Out Past D&D

    I'd like to start a game with a different ruleset in the near future. I've never played any roleplaying system but D&D, and I'm interested in trying a new system that may suit my tastes and those of my players better. Which systems do you guys like? I'm interested in a system that:
    • Allows for relatively painless NPC generation. I'm sick of spending an hour and a half statting out a caster only to watch him die after three rounds of combat. DMGenie and related programs go a long way, but I'm looking for something a bit less time-consuming.
    • Supports a sci-fi or superhero storyline. Fantasy is cool, but after four years of D&D I want a little variety at the table.
    • Can be learned without hours and hours of study. We're all in college, and if there's one thing my players don't want, it's extra reading.


    Your thoughts?

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    Mutants and Masterminds uses the D20 mechanic exclusively, is very easy to learn, and often has villians not die at all! It is mainly for superheroes, but guns and armor are stated out. It also gives several pre-built supervillians and stats for people and animals included in the base handbook.

    D20 Modern is fairly similar to DnD, while supporting a modern setting. Several splatbooks for it give the ability to do sci-fi too.
    "I reject your reality, and subsitute my own" -Adam Savage

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    I've heard good things about Sherpa. It's pretty universal, easy character generation, and doesn't look like it takes that long to learn.
    Last projects, from years back: Lesser Disciplines (Tome of Battle). Also, Never Behind the Curve (multiclassing).

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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    Well, there's the RPG I started out on - the old Star Wars d6 system. Very simple compared to D&D. NPC generation is so easy, you can pretty much make it up on the spot (it's easy to guess what their stats would be). As for learning the system, if you know D&D, you'll be able to pick d6 Star Wars up within a couple of hours. It really only has one mechanic.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    if you're looking to get away from the d20, there's always white wolf. Or, there's the LOTR RPG/Star Trek PRG both made by Decipher which feature a d6 system.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    I've only played the card game (which is a blast), but from friends I hear that Feng Shui is a system that pretty much meets your criteria, if you want to mix it up. Quick to pick up, more episodic than campaign oriented (kind of like an action-movie, characters play archetypes). Might want to check it out.
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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    You might look at True 20, it's based on d20 and has very few sourcebooks so is easily learned. For more of a SciFi game, I liked Shadowrun. SR is still one of my favorite gaming systems. It is a completely separate system though and will take more time to learn. Also, the character generation may not be as fast as you're looking for...I kept a binder full of pregenerated NPCs when I ran it.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    theres always the serenity game, but i have no idea how hard it is to pick up.
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  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    I'll have to make my plug for shadowrun, specifically shadowrun 4e, which has some of the easiest rules to learn I've every seen.

    NPCs are really easy to make, even on the spot, you just need to pick the relevent abilities, skills, and eq and your good to go.

    It takes place in 2070, with wireless computer technology, cybernetic enhancements, and magic all working side by side (well, magic doesn't work well with technology). You could very easily rule that magicians(spell casters and conjurers) and/or adepts(people with superhuman physical abilities) are superheros and even rarer then normal.

    The shadowrun system is really easy to learn, almost everything is based around you rolling ability score+skill d6s, and counting every "hit"(die that lands 5 or 6), if you get more hits then the threshold, you succeed. Works the same with opposes tests, you just need more hits then your opponent.
    "Sometimes, we’re heroes. Sometimes, we shoot other people right in the face for money."

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    I suppose I could suggest GURPS.

    I think of it as being "as complex as you want it to be," and once you get the basics down you can expand it to any setting.
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  11. - Top - End - #11
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    Exalted and Mage are both completely seperate systems with pretty fun outcomes...
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    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    Thanks very much for the advice! I'll try to read the basic framework of a few of these at the good ol' Friendly Local Gaming Shop. I'm particularly intrigued by Mutants and Masterminds and Shadowrun, both of which I've seen but never read.

    Now I just need to decide whether my players will be treated to a supers story or Dune with dice.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    http://atomicsockmonkey.com/ 's PDQ system is a good rules-light system. It's about as easy to learn and as fast as they get. The core rules are free and there's a superhero system, a modern-horror game, and a fairy-tale style fantasy game created there too. Other companies have also used the system for Ninja Burger and a D+D parody game.


    Call of Cthulhu is really easy to learn/use, but it's very niche. Not necessarily the game for everyone.

    BESM tri-stat is a point based system that manages to be moderately deep, but not as intimidating as something like GURPS (that is a system where you will spend hours creating a character very likely, although it's quite cool). The 2nd edition had many problems, but I hear there's a 3rd edition out now that solves many.
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  14. - Top - End - #14
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    Another system I haven't played much of but heard good things about is World of Darkness (Vampire the Masquarade, Werewolf the aplocolypse and such). From what I can understand if you get a group of players who dont turn it into an angst fest it's quite fun.
    "Sometimes, we’re heroes. Sometimes, we shoot other people right in the face for money."

    -Shadowrun 4e, Runner's Companion

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    Wild Talent's is a nice system for superheros -- or, more accurately, superhumans who are humans.

    SciFi is a braod genre. How hard do you want your sci fi?

    Are we talking:
    Large Mecha fighting.
    FTL spaceships exploring space.
    Hypertech socities trying not to break lowtech cultures.
    Time travel police.
    Blade runner distopia.
    Psionic near-future crime.
    Fantasy with Lazers.
    Transdimensional military squads.
    Zombie apocolypse.

    Systems that are generic enough to handle all of that are few and far between. They often tend to be either far more crunchy or far less crunchy than you would like.

  16. - Top - End - #16
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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    Quote Originally Posted by Tellah View Post
    I'd like to start a game with a different ruleset in the near future. I've never played any roleplaying system but D&D, and I'm interested in trying a new system that may suit my tastes and those of my players better. Which systems do you guys like? I'm interested in a system that:
    • Allows for relatively painless NPC generation. I'm sick of spending an hour and a half statting out a caster only to watch him die after three rounds of combat. DMGenie and related programs go a long way, but I'm looking for something a bit less time-consuming.
    • Supports a sci-fi or superhero storyline. Fantasy is cool, but after four years of D&D I want a little variety at the table.
    • Can be learned without hours and hours of study. We're all in college, and if there's one thing my players don't want, it's extra reading.

    Your thoughts?
    How about... fantasy superheroes? HeroQuest (not the GW game, the Issaries Inc. game). Creating NPCs is easy as anything - you just come up with a bunch of abilities and give them numeric values. You'll only need hours (not hours and hours) of study. And Glorantha is the coolest campaign setting ever conceived. The focus is on storytelling and description over dice, so it won't suit everyone, though.

    For SF, Fading Suns (not the d20 version). Relatively simple (there's only one book of rules, for one thing - the rest is pretty much all campaign setting information). It's space opera. Creating NPCs is quite painless, since they all have only a few stats and abilities, and there's no "NPC creation rules" (unlike D&D, where you have to calculate everything from certain values).


    Incidentally, I don't think I've ever "assigned" my players reading. I buy my RPG books, I look at the rules whenever I have time, and I run a game and explain the rules as we go along.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    I'd agree with both Fading Suns and d6 Star Wars.

    I'll also pimp Palladium; characters can take a while to make, but the game is a blast to play, and it supports any type of game you want.
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  18. - Top - End - #18
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    I going to second MrNexx's pimping out of Palladium, it is close to d20 in many of the rules, although things are named differently, and with the wide aray of settings that all use the same ruleset you really can create any kind of character you could want.
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  19. - Top - End - #19
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    Quote Originally Posted by Roethke View Post
    I've only played the card game (which is a blast), but from friends I hear that Feng Shui is a system that pretty much meets your criteria, if you want to mix it up. Quick to pick up, more episodic than campaign oriented (kind of like an action-movie, characters play archetypes). Might want to check it out.
    ~R
    Let me strongly second Feng Shui.

    Chargen takes five minutes or less, even for new players.

    NPC generation is even quicker.

    It easily supports multiple genres straight out of the main rulebook. Sci-fi, fantasy, modern/contemporary, wuxia, action/thriller cops & robbers, martial arts, espionage, etc. Some light supers (mostly Batman style) but you can easily adapt it for more four-color scuffles.

    It plays quickly and easily from just the main rulebook, so you don't have to spend weeks or months memorizing a whole crapload of "Complete Left-Handed Vegetarian Dental Hygienist" splatbooks. There are splatbooks, but they're not necessary for crunch'n'munch power-building.

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    I'll second GURPS: Versatile, Complex as you want it, though character gen can be lengthy (DM's can obviously spend some time writing up a list of stock NPC's and recycle them - "oh no! it's generic wizard 3!")
    I apologise if I come across daft. I'm a bit like that. I also like a good argument, so please don't take offence if I'm somewhat...forthright.

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  21. - Top - End - #21
    Orc in the Playground
     
    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    I recommend Savage Worlds if you wanna try a very easy and very flexible gaming system.

    It is extremely easy to "roll up" a characters and NPCs. It has a Fantasy Setting, Superhero Setting, Wild West Setting, Swashbucker / Age of Sail Setting, and others including a Victorian Age monster hunter setting called Rippers. They've also got books that will help create your own setting. There's also a community that has made Conversions of other systems to Savage Worlds as well. They've got a pretty good Serenity / Firefly universe conversion there that I might run for my group.

    Try out the Test Drive of the system to see just how simple it is. I really like the ruleset because it's a total change from D&D. Their rulebooks are also broken out into Player's Guides in PDF format for on the cheap downloads for the college budget I'm familiar with as well. =)

    Good luck,

    Dizlag

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    Painless NPC generation? Superheroes (or the functional equivalent thereof)? Quick and easy?


    You want Spirit of the Century. http://www.evilhat.com/?spirit

    Spirit of the Century is a complete, stand-alone pulp role-playing game based on the award-winning Fate system (Indie RPG Awards include: Best Free Game of 2003, Best Support, and Andy's Choice). Spirit features a heavily revised, revisited, and reimagined vision of Fate. Character creation can be done as quickly as a few minutes, or expand to take up an evening; adventure design is a snap with three methods for creating relevant, flavorful, player-focused stories at a moment's notice. Spirit's mission is to deliver an evening of fun, a "pick-up" game that requires little preparation, but provides hours of entertainment.

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Orc in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    I really liked the Alternity system by TSR it is outdated and can be found cheap but it was a ton of fun to play.
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  24. - Top - End - #24
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    Here, I'll scare you... Traveller

    I'm talking the old one that was written up in the late 70's. Covers alot of sci-fi and is easily adapted to any setting and reality level. I'd suggest totally ignoring the spaceship rules and making up your own, or let the guy who is majoring in some sort of engineering bring his calculator in for the time/distance/fuel calculations. On the plus side the basic book does provide the equations for you.

    Character creation can be five mnutes easily, or 15 seconds if you look at Traveller Supplement 1, 1001 Characters. Included are stats for James diGriz, Darth Vader, Harry Mudd, and Beowulf Shaeffer.

    Very flexable and old-style (read vague or missing rules for the GM to make up for plot improvement) system.
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  25. - Top - End - #25
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    I'll pimp Everway on this one. No dice, and the characters' sheets are so simple, you can mock one up in ten minutes. Everything's beholden to the story, and conflict is resolved with a tarot deck.

  26. - Top - End - #26
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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    Quote Originally Posted by Telok View Post
    Here, I'll scare you... Traveller

    I'm talking the old one that was written up in the late 70's.

    ...

    Character creation can be five mnutes easily, or 15 seconds if you look at Traveller Supplement 1, 1001 Characters. Included are stats for James diGriz, Darth Vader, Harry Mudd, and Beowulf Shaeffer.
    Oh, I know Traveller. It's the game where you can randomly die during character creation and have to start over with a new character. What. The. Hell.

    Talk about old school RPGs! Gah.

  27. - Top - End - #27
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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    I'd recomment Stormbringer. It's based on Chaosium's d100 system and very easy. NPC creation is fast and the setting is one of the best I know. But you ought to know Michael Moorcock's novels...
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  28. - Top - End - #28
    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    Why jump off the deep end -- try a different fantasy game next.

    I'm enjoying http://www.epicrpg.com/ -- skill based fantasy system that has alot of mechanical parallels with d20, so you won't be too shocked.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Orc in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    Shadowrun is key "chummer" (Shadowrun term for friend).
    It's a D6 system and its about as far from D&D as i've ever been. Its a barrel of laughs and lets you do the increadible in day to day life.
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  30. - Top - End - #30
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    Default Re: Branching Out Past D&D

    Quote Originally Posted by Flawless View Post
    I'd recomment Stormbringer. It's based on Chaosium's d100 system and very easy. NPC creation is fast and the setting is one of the best I know. But you ought to know Michael Moorcock's novels...
    Stormbringer is the older, long out-of-print version. Elric! is the newer version, and much better (with a bunch of cool supplements). That might be out of print by now, too - in fact, since it was a Chaosium game, it almost certainly is.

    RuneQuest - either the old 3rd edition, or Mongoose's new edition - is much better, and is the "original" BRP game (BRP = "Chaosium's d100 system"). Glorantha is, plain and simple, the best game-world ever. HeroQuest is set in Glorantha, too, but the system is completely different, focusing on story and style over mechanics - in fact, HQ only has two resolution systems (simple and extended) for any sort of conflict, whether it's combat, climbing, debate, or magical duel.

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