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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    A couple of my friends and I are looking to potentially take a break from d20-inspired gaming (heresy, I know) and were wondering what systems you'd recommend. Any setting or theme is possible, as we're quite flexible but generally prefer a fair amount of combat as well as roleplaying.

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    ClericGuy

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    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    I would recommend the White Wolf Old World of Darkness system (I don't know the New World of Darkness System that well, sorry) but if you like combat, it's not really for you. Combat in that game is slow slow slow slow slow. Maybe it's just my groups, but dear god it takes forever.

    I've heard good things about the GURPs system, maybe try that?
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    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    When I'm not playing d20, I'm playing Savage Worlds. There's a Test Drive set of rules on that page to download for free and it's a great introduction to the system. If you like it, then pick up Savage Worlds Explorer's Guide for only $10 ... it's cheap and has updated rules.

    In short, it's a rules light system that still has skills and edges (feats). There are numerous campaign settings that cover a wide variety of genres. The latest is called "The Savage World of Solomon Kane" based on the works of Robert E. Howard the creator of Conan. I'm loving his collected works on Solomon Kane, a Puritan swordsman wandering the world during the 19th century fighting all things bad.

    We just finished the 50 Fathoms campaign ... swashbuckling pirates, weird playable races, and sea hags on a world that is flooding. THE best campaign I've ever been a part of. Very kewls!

    Good luck!

    Dizlag

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    It really depends what you're looking for - do you want rules heavy (Exalted) or light (Over the Edge), free (Risus, Fudge) or in print (WFRP, Unisystem), with a setting (Shadowrun) or without (TriStat), and what type of setting? Those are just a few possibilities.

    Taking a stab in the dark, I'd recommend the following:
    • Shadowrun - moderately rules heavy fantasy / cyberpunk
    • Over the Edge - light rules but out of print, can still get in PDF form
    • Exalted - complex rules, over the top fantasy
    • WFRP - moderate to heavy rules, gritty fantasy
    • Spirit of the Century - light to moderate rules, cinematic pulp
    • Witchcraft - moderate rules, modern horror, available free in PDF or for $ in print
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    Darth Mario's Avatar

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    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    I see that this thread has been declared the active one (try not to create three threads in the future ).

    Never played GURPS (that's Generic Universal RolePlaying System, if I remember correctly), but I also have heard good things. They're not kidding about the Universal part, you an literally run almost any setting using the rules.

    I myself am partial to the Shadowrun RPG, if you're interested in a cyberpunk setting.
    Last edited by Darth Mario; 2007-10-23 at 05:36 PM.

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    Check out John H Kim's bigass list of free RPGs - there's a lot out there that cost nothing more than your time to peruse, and some are pretty good.

    Non-D20 isn't really very specific, what are you looking to get from a different system? What aspects of D20 do you like, and would like to see in some new system, and what aspects do you dislike, and could do without?

    What specifically do you feel is missing from your play experience without non-D20 games?
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    GURPS is good. Some argue that the flavor of the core rulebook is a bit dry, but that's due to it being a "Generic, Universal" system. The worldbooks provide the flavor. It can handle just about anything from stone age to ultra-tech, from mundane to magical and superhero, as well as different genres including horror, mystery, etc.


    Basic outline:

    You have four basic stats, ST (strength), DX (dexterity), IQ (intelligence) and HT (health). An average human has a score of 10 in each. You then buy extra stat points for them using "character points" (or dump them to gain bonus points to spend elsewhere). The usual heroic character starts off with 100 points (an average human is assumed to have 0-25 points or so). Stat modifications cost plus or minus 10-20 character points per point, usually.

    Then, you buy "advantages" and "disadvantages" with the same points, these are sort of like Feats. The disadvantages provide bonus points, with their effects ranging from the merely annoying to the crippling (literally). Also there are limits to how many you can take: usually up to -40 points worth, or a single disadvantage of any points value (if you want to be a masochist there are things like Blind and Cursed -- the latter meaning that the GM can pick on you whenever something bad happens to the party, and you have no complaint coming, because you are Cursed ).

    Advantages and disadvantages usually cost about plus or minus 5, 10 or 15 points. Examples include Strong (or Weak) Will, Charisma, Social Class, Wealth Class, Combat Reflexes, High Pain Threshold, etc, etc.

    You can take up to 5 very minor disadvantages called "Quirks", these are roleplaying flavor things worth -1 point. But you must roleplay them.

    Finally, you take skill points, these are classified into Mental and Physical, and then according to how hard they are (Physics is "Hard", Computer Operation is "Easy"). GURPS skills are very much more numerous than d20 ones, they are the focus of the game, really. Skills are based on your stats, for instance you could have IQ+3 in your Mathematics skill.

    You can take templates of sundry sorts and add them to your character, but these composed using the core build system: for instance taking an Elf, you would gain -1 ST, +1 DX, +1 IQ and a number of advantages and disadvantages; the cost of taking this template is equal to the cost of taking these modifications to a basic human player.

    The skill roll is the core mechanic, it is a 3d6 roll, try and score less than or equal to your skill, modified as per conditions declared by the GM.

    Combat is resolved by skill rolls: each class of weapon is an independent skill, though here (and in some other places as well) you can "default" certain skills to others (for instance you could use a Broadsword using your Shortsword skill-3). You make an attack roll, the opponent makes a defense roll to Parry, Block or Dodge. There are advanced options such as Feint (reducing the opponent's effective Defense by the difference of a skill roll-off) and so on.

    Magic is resolved by skill rolls: each spell is an independent skill. There are complex prerequisite trees for learning them. You take Fatigue damage upon casting spells, this cost is reduced as your skill in a given spell increases.

    Hit points are equal to your ST, though you can buy additional ones. Fatigue points are equal to your HT, again you can buy additional ones. These extra points are treated as advantages.

    Weapon damage is based on ST, going by a table that plots thrusting and swinging weapons against your ST score. Most weapons have bonuses to this (for instance, a weapon could have "Thrust+2" as its listed damage).

    Armour is "Damage Resistance" (Damage Reduction by any other name) and a bonus to your defense roll. The former can be bypassed by a critical hit.

    Damage types gain a multipliers to effective damage once you pierce the armour: impaling x2, edged x1½ and bludgeon x1.
    Last edited by Lord Zentei; 2007-10-23 at 07:19 PM. Reason: Fixed ambiguity
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    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    Well, their's the obvious. I'm starting playing a new system called Witchhunter, it's based off of the WhiteWolf system (so I'm told) but has a different setting. It's made by a combinatoin of the people who did Living Death and who do Arcanis, if your familiar with either. It's based in the late 1600's, and you can basically play anyone you want that would fit into the that setting. The catch is that something has happened to you in your past that has made you aware of the supernatural, and you can now recognize supernatural events for what they are (most people can't). Other people who are similarly awakened (collectively called Witch Hunters) will immediately recognise you for what you are because they will get some sort of indicator of what made you a Witch Hunter when they see you. The game seems to be a bit europe centric far as I can tell, but with some effort could probably be done with characters in a different part of the world.

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    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    I agree. For basic gamin', GURPS is king. Now, for niches:

    Futuristic: For apocalyptic futuristic, take Rifts. For cyberpunk, take Shadowrun. They are the best at what they do.

    Horror: OWoD or NWoD are made of win.

    Modern: hmmmmm.... out of ideas. Can't really recommend here.

    Medieval: Again, out of ideas. But there's a plenty of this one, so it shouldn't be a problem.

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    Kurald Galain's Avatar

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    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    Try Whitewolf. You can dramatically speed up combat with a houserule or two.

    Oooorrrr.... well, it depends on what you want, really. Cyberpunk 2020 is nice. Amber DRP is interesting but possibly unplayable depending on your group. Paranoia is a must, even if only for a single session, and it does do lots 'n lots of combat. TORG is cute. And don't forget about Call of Ctulhu.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kurald Galain View Post
    Try Whitewolf. You can dramatically speed up combat with a houserule or two.

    Oooorrrr.... well, it depends on what you want, really. Cyberpunk 2020 is nice. Amber DRP is interesting but possibly unplayable depending on your group. Paranoia is a must, even if only for a single session, and it does do lots 'n lots of combat. TORG is cute. And don't forget about Call of Ctulhu.
    All good suggestions. Though be warned that if you take some of these (notably Paranoia, Cyberpunk and Call of Ctulhu), get used to dying very very quickly, and in the case of CoCth, horribly.
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    HalfOrcPirate

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    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    Quote Originally Posted by Azerian Kelimon View Post
    I agree. For basic gamin', GURPS is king. Now, for niches:

    Futuristic: For apocalyptic futuristic, take Rifts. For cyberpunk, take Shadowrun. They are the best at what they do.

    Horror: OWoD or NWoD are made of win.

    Modern: hmmmmm.... out of ideas. Can't really recommend here.

    Medieval: Again, out of ideas. But there's a plenty of this one, so it shouldn't be a problem.

    Please define acronyms when attempting to introduce someone to something new. I would def be interested in post apoc systems and zombie horror systems.

  13. - Top - End - #13

    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    GURPS was explained above. O and N before WoD mean Old or New world of darkness, a series of games published by white wolf that exist in one universe.

    Post apoc, Rifts is the best at what it does. It's REALLY fun and interesting, and for one reason or another, seems to degenerate into more RP'ing, which is good.

    As for zombie horror....tough one. D20 modern is probably best, because modern zombies is too much of a niche.

    Oh, and by the way, nice hijack.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    Quote Originally Posted by toddex View Post
    Please define acronyms when attempting to introduce someone to something new. I would def be interested in post apoc systems and zombie horror systems.
    GURPS has both of these. The sheer number of weird world-books they have is staggering.

    One of the more far-out examples: they actually had a "Bunnies and Burrows" variant at one point, which allowed people to play rabbits in the manner of Watership Down.
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    RedSorcererGirl

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    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    fear rpg is pretty slick

    http://www.fearrpg.net/

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    GnomePirate

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    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    That's a...broad question.

    Exalted for Epic Fantasy
    Scion for Epic Fantasy in the modern world
    Angel/Buffy for a really good replica of the tropes/style of those shows
    Savage Worlds for pulp action

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    Matthew's Avatar

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    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    West End Game's D6 Engine
    Ars Magica
    Earth Dawn
    Harn Master
    War Hammer Fantasy Roleplay
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    Quote Originally Posted by darthmario View Post
    I see that this thread has been declared the active one (try not to create three threads in the future ).

    Never played GURPS (that's Generic Universal RolePlaying System, if I remember correctly), but I also have heard good things. They're not kidding about the Universal part, you an literally run almost any setting using the rules.

    I myself am partial to the Shadowrun RPG, if you're interested in a cyberpunk setting.
    Sorry about posting in triplicate - a couple hours ago I was having terrible connectivity and kept failing to post. My failures must've been less so than I'd imagined.
    Last edited by Logic Cannon; 2007-10-23 at 07:09 PM.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    Quote Originally Posted by Logic Cannon View Post
    Sorry about posting in triplicate - a couple hours ago I was having terrible connectivity and kept failing to post. My failures must've been less so than I'd imagined.
    It happens to me also, sometimes. The thing is that the post can be sent to the board, but the browser can fail to load the modified page/index, so attempting to re-submit simply sends another copy to the board.

    To avoid this, try to see if your post has indeed been submitted by checking on the forum in an extra tab or browser window before trying again, just to be on the safe side.
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    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    Um, ok, I have technically only tried the D20 version of Grimm, but I REALLY like this game. Check it out.

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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    Aces & Eights is a good western roleplaying system, and it's new, so the company (Kenzer) has plenty of support on their website. Granted, the system does use d20s, and a range of other dice, but it is different enough from any other d20 system(or The D20 System) to merit its mention here.
    From combat (no initiative, just a steady increasing count, with actions taking a certain number of "counts") to a Shot Clock (shooting a firearm at a specific part of the body, and then after range modifiers, other modifiers, PC skill, and the luck of a die roll, determining where the shot--or shotgun blast--actually hit), to a very elaborate, yet reasonably simple craft/skill system, it's an interesting and highly realistic representation of an alternate Wild West. No monsters or ghostrock or werewolves, though, nor steampunk/technomagery. Just gritty cowboys and townsfolk. The rulebook is gorgeous--leather bound, full of classic wild west etchings, sketches, and paintings, and the alternate history is believable and well-described.
    My favorite part of it, however, is the fact that, just like in real life, increasing skill/level/experience is no more important than increasing your wealth, and in contrast to most rpgs, actually working to increase your character's funds is one of the best ways to make him/her more effective.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PirateGuy

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    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    I second the nomination for Aces & Eights, and would also suggest Hackmaster as an excellent non-d20 system RPG, but be forewarned - the rules on both counts are somewhat on the heavier side.

    I would also recommend Rifts as my post-apocalyptic game of choice. Just make sure characters are created together so you don't overshadow one another.

    Finally, if you just want to be a god and kick some tail, try Exalted. My brother is in a campaign right now and says it's a lot of fun and worth a try.
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    UserClone's Avatar

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    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    Um, ok, I have technically only tried the D20 version of Grimm, but I REALLY like this game. Check it out.

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    Lord Tataraus's Avatar

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    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    Firstoff, d20 is one of many more systems. Never look for a game to be non-d20, look for the style of game you want, then look at the many options and pick one. Every genre has numerous options with a variety of differences be it setting, d20 or no, etc. So this question can't really be answered with out narrowing it down some more. I personally like Risus, Mutants and Masterminds 2e, Cyberpunk 2020 and WARS RPG.

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    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    Um, ok, I have technically only tried the D20 version of Grimm, but I REALLY like this game. Check it out.

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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    Storytelling system (Monster: The Angst) is a good one. Works for more realistic combat, and very RP condusive.

    Only other one I have experience with is Shadowrun, and one quick game of Chaosism's CofC.

    And Violence. But no one plays that.
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    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiero View Post
    Check out John H Kim's bigass list of free RPGs - there's a lot out there that cost nothing more than your time to peruse, and some are pretty good.
    This is good, good advice.

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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Tataraus View Post
    Firstoff, d20 is one of many more systems. Never look for a game to be non-d20, look for the style of game you want, then look at the many options and pick one. Every genre has numerous options with a variety of differences be it setting, d20 or no, etc. So this question can't really be answered with out narrowing it down some more. I personally like Risus, Mutants and Masterminds 2e, Cyberpunk 2020 and WARS RPG.
    Well it's mostly come down to some of us (not necessarily myself) being tired of rolling d20s to determine the fate of the world, and I figure I'd have more success rounding up potential players by doing something new they could get excited about.

    All the same, thanks so far to everyone who's offered helpful hints. I'm sorry for starting three (dear lord) posts on this topic, I was having connectivity issues with the forum earlier and kept attempting to submit the topic and failing. I guess it turns out I didn't fail as badly as I thought I did...

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    Flumph

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    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    GURPS mayhaps. D6 only and I am intrigued by its pointbuy flexibility. However, my group is not yet weary of D20. Perhaps later.

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    Default Re: Good non-d20 roleplaying systems?

    The one that I would recommend most highly is Hero! This system gives you the freedom to create whatever sort of character you want, in whatever setting - while maintaining enough 'crunch' in the rules that it isn't like playing a free form.

    Personally, I think that d20 has the support for users. It has hundreds of very clever writers to make sure that nothing is hugely broken, that there are lots of good adventures that are easy to play and DM and that the system is easy enough for pretty much anyone to understand.

    On the other hand, Hero uses 3d6 instead of a d20 providing a bell curve; all characters are points based to provide balance and there are systems to include almost anything. If you want to change the setting, fine, there are several that are available. If you just want to make something up and go with it, that's pretty easy too. While it certainly isn't as well supported as d20, I can certainly say I've found it just as fun to play.

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