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Author Topic: RPG Roundup  (Read 1244 times)

Castlerook

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RPG Roundup
« on: 11 May 2017, 14:17 »

Wanted to do something a bit special for my 3000th post.

I'm a long time gamer and GM and I'm always looking out for a new system to try or even just check out.

I figure that like me, there are some people on the forum who might want a change of pace and are looking for new games, but don't necessarily want to fork out money for something they might not want to use or they feel a little tired of constant referrals to Dungeons and Dragons (Believe me, I love the system, its just that it is the default rpg system and I want to help people experience different ones).

So feel free to share some games with the rest of us, maybe a game you feel has been overlooked or one that faded into obscurity. It doesn't have to be wacky or crazy or off the wall. Just a game that you enjoy. These aren't necessarily reviews, because if you're already sharing them with us, then you've found something you like and you want to let others know about them!

So all I'll ask is that you use this template:

Game Name
Publisher
Genre
A brief description of the game; how it feels, the style and so on. Maybe give a couple of Pros and Cons.
Available from where?


Ideally, this will be one game per post because (hopefully) as this thread gets more posts, I'll create links in this post to the different genres to help people find something.
« Last Edit: 11 May 2017, 19:15 by TheEvilDog »
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Castlerook

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Re: RPG Roundup
« Reply #1 on: 11 May 2017, 14:18 »

Dread
The Impossible Dream
Horror

Dread is a storytelling game with a twist. Instead of using die, action resolution is done using a stack of Jenga blocks. If the stack falls then your character will die, maybe not immediately, but their fate is sealed. This is a game with an emphasis on storytelling both by the GM and by the players; there's no metagaming, no powergaming, there's only storytelling.

Pros
- Its easy to pick up.
- Its an incredibly simple game, no real rules other than storytelling.
- A quick questionnaire helps players understand their characters.
- Sessions can be as long or as short as you want them to be.
- You can have fun deciding how characters die. Fumbled the stack while you were talking to the bartender? Its okay, you might fall down a randomly opened manhole into the sewer and get devoured by an alligator.

Cons
- Its incredibly fast paced, meaning that as a GM you will be thinking on your feet constantly, even if you do have a story prepared. Not something to try as a beginning GM.

Where did I get it? PDF version on drivethrurpg.
« Last Edit: 11 May 2017, 19:15 by TheEvilDog »
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Castlerook

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Re: RPG Roundup
« Reply #2 on: 11 May 2017, 19:14 »

Shadow of the Demon Lord
Schwalb Entertainment
Dark Fantasy with elements of Horror


Shadow of the Demon Lord is set in a world on the brink of it's apocalypse and it is the Demon Lord seeking to bring about that end by manipulating disasters and engineering catastrophes to destroy the land. Each new horror unleashed is another step of the Demon Lord's approach and it's growing hunger for the destruction of all life. Soon the Demon Lord will cross over the threshold between worlds and begin it's feast of blood.

Or you can rein back the overall dread for a more traditional setting.

Instead of scaling numbers for easier or more difficult tasks, players use 2 die, a D20 and a D6 for action resolution.

This is a game that does not distinguish between good and evil like other games, but rather accepts that you can be a good person and still do despicable things (save a town by burning down a village). But indulging too much can earn you insanity and/or corruption.

Pros
- There's a lot of character creation choices. Want to be a Human Beastmaster? Go ahead. Want to be an Orc Paladin? Go for it! Beetle-like Clockwork Assassin? Rock on!
- Moral ambiguity. You aren't forced to act in a certain manner by class, but instead might have to deal with the consequences later on.
- Relatively simple rules. It might seem complicated at first, but just read through them a couple of times.

Cons
- SotDL doesn't really do splatbooks like other systems. Rather, the additions come in short pieces, maybe several pages in length. I mean, they're cheap, but there's a lot of them.

Where did I get it? Again, a PDF version of DrivethruRPG (unfortunately its only available as such on there)
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Castlerook

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Re: RPG Roundup
« Reply #3 on: 12 May 2017, 17:56 »

Mutants & Masterminds
Green Ronin Publishing
Superhero


While it wasn't the first Superhero rpg, it is quite possibly the most recognised, especially when DC licensed Green Ronin to produce a game based on the DCU using the current (3rd) edition of the M&M rules. The game itself makes use of D20 OGL for the basis of the system and a Points-Buy-System for character creation, meaning that you can set up power levels so that you can have characters from street level heroes (for example Batman or Daredevil) right up to galaxy threatening characters (Galactus or the Celestials). The real strength of the setting is that it encourages GMs and players to really get into creating their own setting and tailor-make it to your own tastes, so if you want to play something in the Golden Age, or the Bronze Age or the Modern Age, than you have those options.

Pros
- Incredibly extensive character creation means that you can create whatever idea crosses your mind.
- Really robust system, different tiered characters can still form a team and not steam roll over everything.
- Very cinematic looking, especially the art inside.
- Lots of support from Green Ronin and an incredibly active community.

Cons
- Kind of clunky rules and character creation
- Min/Maxing is still possible

Where did I get it? Greenroninstore.com, it is available in both printed (Green Ronin) and pdf (DriveThruRPG) form.
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Castlerook

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Re: RPG Roundup
« Reply #4 on: 16 May 2017, 13:15 »

Shadowrun
Catalyst Game Labs
Cyberpunk/Fantasy/Corporate Espionage


Currently in it's fifth edition, Shadowrun is set in the not too distant future in a world where in place of the Meso-American Long Calendar apocalypse of 2012, magic came back to the world instead. Humanity started to develop subspecies (Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, Trolls), the old myths turned out to be true and the world changed. Oh, and a dragon ran for the presidency. At its core, Shadowrun is a game about espionage against world-running corporations, eking a life for yourself in the shadows, all the while the world is still trying to figure out the juxtaposition of man, magic and machine.

Pros
- The huge wealth and depth to the background. There is literally a whole world waiting to be explored. Each place visited will be wholly different to the next and the last.
- Each session will be unique. There's no such thing as a milk run; no matter what you have planned for your players, I guarantee they'll keep you on the edge of your seat with their choices.
- Yes, there are the five choices for your player race in vanilla, but there are so much more available. Want to play a Centaur from the Mediterranean with a penchant for hacking? Cool! Minotaur bouncer for a night club? Awesome! The choice is yours.
- The character archetypes means that no one has to be stuck in the same role through gameplay unless they choose to.

Cons
- The combat system can feel a little clunky at times, enough that if you don't have a handle on the rules, a combat could last the chunk of a session, so not good.
- The sheer number of books. As much as I love the setting, if you want to play anything but vanilla, its going get expensive, fast.
- Combining everything. You've got to manage chatting, guns, magic and hacking - meaning that you're going to be hard-pressed to make sure that everyone can have something to do, not just sit back and twiddle their thumbs for the session.

Due to the number of additional books and a lack of space, I got my copies in PDF form from DrivethruRPG.
« Last Edit: 17 May 2017, 05:14 by TheEvilDog »
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Re: RPG Roundup
« Reply #5 on: 17 May 2017, 12:00 »

The better version of Shadowrun is The Sprawl.

Narrative based, rules light, mission based cyberpunk system. Created by Hamish Cameron and published by Ardens Ludere.

It lacks the fantasy aspects of Shadowrun, but does a better job supporting the premise of a group of specialist deniable assets in the perpetual corporate war of the dystopian capitalist corpofascist nightmare future. The mechanics support the concept better than Shadowrun does. It doesn't come with a default setting, each group makes their own and each player contributes to the world building.

It is mechanically way cleaner, allowing you to focus on the story and the action without getting bogged down in dice and rules.
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Castlerook

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Re: RPG Roundup
« Reply #6 on: 17 May 2017, 13:28 »

Awesome! I'll need to check that out.
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Re: RPG Roundup
« Reply #7 on: 18 May 2017, 09:30 »

Blades In The Dark
One Seven Design
Crime Drama/Dark Fantasy/Victorian Horror

Players take on the roles of a gang of ne'erdowells in a dark urban industrial-quasi-Victorian magi-tech world. Fiction-first, simple but robust rule set that allow you to do pretty much whatever you want. Tests are made based on the characters fictional positioning (controlled, risky, or desperate) and magnitude of the potential effect (limited, standard, great).  The setting is rich and detailed, and darkly cool.

Several hundred years ago the Cataclysm destroyed the gates of death, shattered the continents, and banished the sun. Now the restless dead roam the world feeding on the life force of the living, incomprehensibly large demons known as Leviathans swim the inky black seas, and civilisation holds back the darkness and chaos outside the cities with lightning barriers and electroplasmic lights powered by the blood of the great Leviathans. In the city of Doskvol, you and your crew of daring scoundrels eek out a living and jostle for position amongst the city's numerous gangs, fighting, dealing, and running scores. Will you and your teammates rise to the top, seizing control of the city's underworld, or be crushed along with countless other upstarts?
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Castlerook

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Re: RPG Roundup
« Reply #8 on: 28 May 2017, 12:18 »

Dark Heresy
Fantasy Flight Games/Games Workshop
Dystopia/Dark Science Fantasy/Investigative Horror


You are an acolyte in the Holy Inquisition of the Emperor of Mankind. Which this being the 40K universe means you're the low-man in the pecking order, which also means that chances are you're going to die. Horribly. Then your replacements are going to die horribly. How horribly? Well check out the 16 tables for rolling critical injuries.

In all seriousness, you are the field agents for an Inquisitor, charged with investigating conspiracies against Humanity and ensuring they don't come to fruition. Characters could come from a variety of homeworlds and backgrounds, each giving their own unique bonuses, as well as superficial quirks to make them pop more. In the second edition classes were done away with for Archetypes, opening up more varied characters (for example, an Outsider Archetype could be an outlaw, a scavenger or a bounty hunter, just off the top of my head). Likewise, every archetype could do something useful, encouraging players to try different things and encouraging GMs to run games that aren't gun-n'-run.

This is a game that will ensure that no character will get out of a campaign unscathed, be it injury to the body or the mind. This is a game with a corruption and insanity mechanic, because your character will be staring into the abyss and it will stare back and it will leave its mark on them (that said, an extra hand bursting out of their chest is pretty handy....for about five minutes before their former comrades put them to the torch...)

Pros
- Not your typical RP, there is an emphasis on investigations, uncovering clues and determining where the group should go next.
- You are forced to plan ahead. Use cover, make plans. You can't go charging into every combat, because you will get maimed.
- Choices, you have so much freedom when creating your characters. Career paths can open and veer off, leaving you with a unique group if you want.
- A variety of locations. Because this is the 40K universe, there is literally a million worlds open to you, ranging from sparsely populated desert worlds, to hive worlds with billions of people. And each is unique in its own way.

Cons
- It lethal. Dark Heresy and the other Games Workshop RPs have a well deserved reputation for how dangerous combat is. Starting characters have somewhere between 9 and 14 wounds and the average rifle type weapon does 1d10+3 damage on a hit, meaning if you're unlucky, you could be killed in one round. Added to this, there is one form of resurrection and its not the kind you want to inflict on someone.
- Tiered gameplay. Because Dark Heresy was the first 40K RP, it hasn't done that well in matching up in crossovers with the later games. As such, a high level DH character might have the same power level as a beginner character in the next game, Rogue Trader.

Sadly, due to the ending of the partnership between Games Workshop and Fantasy Flight Games earlier this year, Dark Heresy and the rest of the RPs are now out of print. Meaning the only way to get the books is secondhand.
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Castlerook

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Re: RPG Roundup
« Reply #9 on: 29 Aug 2017, 08:47 »

ZWEIHANDER - The Grim & Perilous RPG
Grim & Perilous Studios
Dark Fantasy


Zweihander stands as the spiritual successor to Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, which was discontinued early this year, and Zweihander does a remarkable job at living up to that legacy. And it is an absolute massive attempt too, as the pdf version stands at just under 700 pages. Zweihander takes places in a European-esque Renaissance type setting that is seeing a gradual corruption seeping through the world, but other than that the overall setting feels rather neutral.

Pros
- A rather in-depth and involved character creation. Put it this way, it starts on page 26 and ends on page 72.
- Plenty of choice for careers, with nearly 120 for you to choose.
- Everything in one book with 692 pages.
- Due the neutral setting, its quite easier to tweak things to run campaigns in other fictional worlds; want to play a campaign during the War of the Five Kings (ASOFI)? What about a campaign of Die Zwerge? Maybe run a campaign in a Mayan style world? Its all open to you.
- It might not be the best entry game for newcomers, but its neutral tone means it can be used without overwhelming new players with information.
- Wonderful artwork and full of well written background text.

Cons
- Its massive. Too massive really. Its the kind of book you're going to have to go back and forth through to pick up information.
- Its beige in its own way. There's nothing that really stands out or makes it "pop".
- It adds nothing new. You can play as a Human, an Elf, Dwarf, Gnome, Halfling or an Ogre. There's a land and its slowly being corrupted. Its the same ground being trod over again.
- That's the lot. It looks like Grim & Perilous Studios won't be releasing any expansions for it later. That could change, but it'll be a long time yet.

Despite what I might say in the cons section, its still a game I would suggest picking up. And its currently just over 10 on DriveThruRPG.
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