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Other Fantasy RPG's


Gimp
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Since there have been a lot of people complaining about D&D 4th, and not liking the system any more, what other more traditional fantasy RPG's can people suggest for others to try?

 

I play several, including some you'd have a hard time finding anywhere, but a few thoughts:

7th Sea: We use the pre-d20 d10 version, with a little bit of the stuff that came with the combined system books. The game is a magical mirror world of our 17th century. The game encourages fluid, swashbuckling combat, and has rules that allow pure social interaction games for those that prefer them. There's a lot of background material and adventure hooks based on it, but not many published adventures. It's a d10 based game, rolling skill + attribute for target numbers, with players able to go for better effect by increasing their target.

 

Exalted: White Wolf's fantasy world, where players can take part as near demi-gods from an earlier age that have come back to either set things right, or cause serious mayhem. Characters are anime style heroes, able to take on large numbers of mortals at a time from the start, but have to overcome the populations fear that they are monsters. As a White Wolf product, there are supplements upon supplements. Another d10 system using White Wolf's standard engine tweaked for anime.

 

GURPS: Another game running back quite a ways. GURPS is a generic system, with a core engine that can be used for fantasy through sci-fi. The GURPS Light available for free through SJ Games allows players to try out the system, and even play full on games. There is a lot of support available, including numerous world books based on popular fiction. Some find character creation daunting, because it's a point build system with a lot of options, but it's a solid game with a lot of history and good online support for those it works for. It's a 3d6 system.

 

Legend of the Five Rings: We play a hybrid of 1st and 2nd edition for this, thoug there is at least a third edition available. Samurai in a fantasy world. It also had a d20 conversion set put out, but we liked the flavor of the original system more. It's another d10 system, that was altered slightly for the 7th Sea game.

 

Savage Worlds: A simple game designed to let players get into the action fast and furious, it works as both an RPG and a miniatures game. As a generic game engine, it can cover from fantsy through horror and sci-fi. I'm not as fond of its system for close combat, though others like it immensely. For other situations, it runs quickly and simply, with a growing amount of support. It uses all the standard dice available.

 

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: The original game licensed through Hogshead is harder to find, but the new edition has just been transferred to Fantasy Flight Games. The original game was released in the 80's, without more than a few adventures and a little other material since then. The game was revamped to mirror the additional history the Warhammer Fantasy world has accrued, and changed to a percentile and d10 only system. We found the overall system changes really boosted the game, and the support has been much better than the original edition. What Fantasy Flight does with it is open to question, but what has been written is still available and is quite a bit of support already created. For those that like miniatures for their characters, Reaper has plenty of really good ones that fit right in.

 

That's a quick synopsis of some of the games we play that are not hard to find. I left off those that are more modern fantasy, because they're a different genre than D&D. Please add other games, or further comments on these, as you see fit.

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I'm a big fan of WFRP - the game mechanics that is, not the setting, beleive it or not. Although a lot of people feel the setting is too tied to the mechanics and vice versa, I've found that it's no more tied than D&D is to Greyhawk.

 

I've found that about a lot of systems, so don't be afraid to try a game just because you don't like it's setting.

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I'm a big fan of WFRP - the game mechanics that is, not the setting, beleive it or not. Although a lot of people feel the setting is too tied to the mechanics and vice versa, I've found that it's no more tied than D&D is to Greyhawk.

 

I've found that about a lot of systems, so don't be afraid to try a game just because you don't like it's setting.

Or even do what we did, and simply take what you like about the setting, and ignore what you don't.

 

I like the WFRP system, and the Dark Heresy system for fun sci-fi, but the intensely dark and dismal world ideas are rather ludicrous overall.

 

I realized I forgot to mention Earthdawn. The core game and some supplements are still available. There were a lot of sourcebooks printed by FASA, but the current license holder has not reprinted them. The game was an interesting one. You ranked skills and leveled your character to increase capability, using a variety of die types that meant each increase gave a consistent advance in ability. Races had expected norms, but characters could follow those, or be different. Trolls, orcs, dwarves, elves, humans, pixies, lizardmen, and rockmen were playable races. Characters were normally adepts, able to focus on specific powers based on class to be better than normal people were within their field.

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Actually, the release of 4e and my disapointment with it lead me to work on my own RPG system, a sort of mix of various aspects of various systems, including L5R, D20 3.5, Shadowrun and the like. I'd be curious as to if others have done the same.

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Arcanum (the mid-80s release from Bard Games) All you need is in one book (two books if you don't want to make your own monsters). Lots of races and professions to choose from, and a skill system that lets you spend XP to buy skills that you can't get as part of your profession.

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Palladium

 

The combat can get a bit involved (still plays quickly once you get a handle) but the whole Palladium library is fairly well interchangeable from Palladium Fantasy all the way to RIFTS (and everything in between like Ninjas and Superspies and Heroes Unlimited). Most their books cost the same now as they did in 1996 too which is always an added bonus. Most are one book games where everything you need is contained in the core book - although their is a wealth of additional info available as well in supplemental books.

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I think everyone tries it at some point, Ler. The nice thing about published books is (usually) a wider base of players and (hopefully) a lot of playtesting already done.

 

Pure fantasy?

 

Hero allows it.

 

Hackmaster.

 

Palladium

It's been so long since we pulled it out that I forgot about the Hero system. Another 3d6 system we've had a lot of fun with.

 

Hackmaster is basically D&D 2nd, but they definitely gave it their own spin. My son ran a campaign with some friends a couple summers ago, and it was a blast for all involved.

 

I have to admit to never having tried the Palladium rules. Tempted many times, but I always had other things to spend money on instead.

 

Arcanum disappeared locally before I had a chance to check it out. Is it still available, or another gem hiding in the used books?

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White Wolf's Vampire: Dark Ages is very nice.

 

The Vampire system is very good for both combat and non-combat - same mechanics for eevrything. And everything goes off successes / failureas from a d10 pool of dice. Fun, and amazingly versatile.

 

Mike

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I like Iron Crowns HARP. Many peple will see Iron Crown and think "Rolemaster", and pass this one up. I won't kid you, this is not the easiest game out there to get to know, but after reading the rules, and 1 character worth of practice, I can generate a character in about 20-30 minutes. There are charts for hits based on your attack roll, and they have an unusual approach to armor that takes some getting used to, but once you grasp the concepts, it plays very well. It also has the coolest magic system I've seen. It actually makes clerics fun (for me, a dwarf fighter kind of guy). There is plenty of support for it, a few published adventures, and a very helpful forum, which is good, becuase this is not a percentile version of D&D.

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Let's keep it charitible. Every fantasy RPG can be declared a 'different version of D&D,' because D&D draws from the same mythological histories and fantasy stories and came out first. People will think that regardless of the obvious facts to the contrary.

 

If it has elves or dwarves, I've heard people decry the game as a D&D rip-off, even if that was all it had in common with D&D. I've seen the same reaction with any fantasy TTG being declared a rip-off of Warhammer Fantasy. Some people don't understand that D&D and GW did not get together to create fantasy. :rolleyes:

 

Fantasy is fantasy, and those games that have tried to create a completely separate fantasy racial concept have traditionally not done as well.

 

Those with a more interesting take, or nice mechanics, are the ones that stick around the best.

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You misunderstand me, no slur was intended. I'm just saying that HARP is quite a bit different from the basic RPG mold, mechanics-wise, and may take some getting used to. It's also not to everyones tastes, just like every other game out there, so YMMV.

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You misunderstand me, no slur was intended. I'm just saying that HARP is quite a bit different from the basic RPG mold, mechanics-wise, and may take some getting used to. It's also not to everyones tastes, just like every other game out there, so YMMV.

I didn't see it as a slur. I thought it actually detracted more from your description of HARP.

 

Fantasy games either use traditional fantasy elements, or force themselves into a smaller niche market, regardless of quality. D&D and HARP both do that. End of that story.

 

You presented HARP as a solid game once concepts were understood (and that not taking too long), with a very cool magic system. The fact that it has a good online community and support would be a big plus for a lot of people.

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I've gotten a couple of HARP books recently, but have yet to play it. Hopefully the next weekend or 2. I need to read up on combat a bit more. It looks like a very cool game, though. A second for the magic system.

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