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Good D20 alternative


papabees
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Yes, I want to play a fantasy game in a D&D, LOTR type setting. I want to use the D20 system because of the wealth of support material, but I don't want the D&D game itself.

Well, I guess that leaves out Hackmaster (old AD&D rewritten and released by K&C under license from WotC) :poke:

[i mention it because it is the most like old AD&D ... go figure why ^_^ ]

 

IMHO what system you use is usually less important than what you do with it. ::D:

 

For d20 and the like here are a few of my observations:

 

Wheel of Time uses an alternate magic system from old D&D/AD&D.

 

Star Wars RPG uses the same base (d20) but diverges in other points (no magic as such, difference between regular damage and that done by crits IIRC, etc).

 

Arcana Unearthed is good (although it is more divergent from AD&D/D&D, if you are familiar with those, although it looks to play very similar).

 

I believe there is a game due to be released eventually called "Castles and Crusaders" (or something like that). Of the ones I have mentioned, this one I do not have (only know the hype).

 

 

Oh, and I highly recommend "A Magical Medieval Society: Western Europe" by Expeditious Retreat Press (though you may want to disguise the spine if things are too bad around you, or store it for reference only (aka, not carried) as the word "Magical" is in the title/on the spine). ::D:

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So to make a long explanation eternal... Yes, I want to play a fantasy game in a D&D, LOTR type setting. I want to use the D20 system because of the wealth of support material, but I don't want the D&D game itself. Of the list you gave I think I'll look into everquest. From what I've heard it has a fairly traditional setting. Keep the suggestions coming though.

Everquest will give you a bazillion character races, but it isn't entirely compatible with D&D or d20 products. It has 30 level classes instead of 20 for D&D and it has different advancement feats that are also different from D&D.

 

The best choice of D&D without being D&D is the Mongoose Pocket Player's Handbook. It's basically the SRD (the open content section of the D&D PHB) with the gaps filled in. D&D with all the D&D intellectual property removed. It's also $10 cheaper than the D&D PHB. 99 44/100 % compatible with D&D.

 

Green Ronin has a "Romatic Fantasy" game coming out soonish. Curbs combat a bit and focuses more on social aspects, animal familiars and special magics only character get. In retrospect it sounds like I just described the set up for the Salem Witch Trials ...

 

Iain.

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I looked at the pocket players handbook and it sounds like exactly what I'm after. Does anyone have any experience with it?

I've had the book for about a month now. It didn't want to buy all my D&D stuff over and at $26 CDN it was cheaper than printing out the SRD and having it bound. It is the SRD with character creation and level advancement put back in. Basically the D&D PHB plus epic level stuff. It's well formatted, but has no illustrations. Good index.

 

Mongoose is going to make a Modern Pocket Players Handbook as well.

 

Iain.

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Mongoose also publishes a d20 game called "Slaine." It's sort of an Iron Age/Conan/Celtic Swords & Sorcery game based upon a comic book.

 

Although you specifically mentioned d20, I have to put in a plug for the system I use (which made me give up d20 for good). SAVAGE WORLDS, by Pinnacle (the "Deadlands" people). It is the best system I have ever played or run in 25 years of RPG-ing. Period. It's better than any edition of D&D, better than GURPS, better than FUDGE, Runequest, Traveller, Rolemaster, Tunnels & Trolls, etc. etc.

 

It's non-genre specific, so you can play fantasy or modern or sci-fi or horror or whatever. It's fast, easy, detailed and everything you need is in one book. It's looks "rules light" on the surface, but it actually handles details better than more "wordy" games.

 

I've seen die-hard d20-ers switch after one session of SW. It's all that and a bag of chips! ::D:

 

You can check it out here:

 

http://www.peginc.com/OurGames/SavageWorlds.htm

 

</rant>

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I think that like another poster before said, most D20 games have the feel of D+D no matter what the setting. I think that it might be more beneficial to maybe learn a new system that just isn't far off from D20. Take Alterity(a science-fiction RPG) for instance. It doesn't use the D20 system...however it uses all the same dice with the one major difference being lower is better than higher. Other than that it's not too dissimilar but unique enough to feel like you aren't just playing "D+D in space'

 

also good are the World of Darkness games published by White-Wolf..they use a very simple die system where all you need are a bunch of D10's..this makes it easier to focus on the roleplaying and the world without worrying too much about complex die rolls to hit, then different dice to damage, etc..very streamlined, very fun.

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I personally don't think the ruleset should dictiate how much RPing is going on. I run a Fading Suns D20 campaign, and 90% of the action is pure RPing. Whether or not you have a roll-playing game or a role-playing game is dependent on the personality of the group, not the ruleset.

 

Besides, IIRC the guy mentioned he's doing this in an area with conservative Christians. Even if WoD doesn't have the stigma of D&D, playing werewolves or vampires is hardly more PC...

 

Damon.

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