P&P RP discussion!

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P&P RP discussion!

Postby Zilla » Sun Mar 14, 2010 3:32 pm

Discuss tabletop roleplaying games!

First off, what are your favorite systems?

I think the system I like the best is GURPS. It does have flaws, but a good DM can compensate for them pretty easily. The main flaw with it is that it's too easy to min/max, and it's difficult to balance (They tried, oh they tried... but innate attack is just way too powerful!)

I really like GURPS for its fluid combat system. There are TONS of optional rules for combat that make it really personal, compared to the standard, mechanical type of combat you find in D&D, for instance. Your entire fighting style isn't necessarily determined by your character, and combat is REALLY dynamic depending on the situation. Even if you don't use the optional rules, I find that the overall balance of combat is really well done.
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Re: P&P RP discussion!

Postby Coda » Sun Mar 14, 2010 4:11 pm

I've not actually played GURPS, myself.

Most of my experience is with d20 (of course), Earthdawn, and West End Games's system (i.e. Star Wars, before they switched to d20). I can't say I have any particular attachment to d20 but I've played it enough that I am of course comfortable with it.

WEG's system is... well, if you're familiar with White Wolf's system (Vampire, Werewolf, etc.) it's similar to that except it uses d6's instead of d10's. As game mechanics go, it's one of those where its simplicity is its key advantage -- there's really not much to it, so it's never hard to figure out how to arbitrate some action if you can't find specific rules for it. If you bring in the D6 Fantasy rulebook, there's a concise set of rules for developing any sort of power or ability you could ever want, with marvelous flexibility and reasonably good balance. (Of course, it's possible to BREAK the system with some clever thinking, but you can do that with any system.)

Earthdawn has to be my favorite, though. The actual game mechanics are all very straightforward -- everything boils down to looking up which dice to roll, enumerated as "steps," and rolling that against either a fixed target number or against an opposing roll, granting extra effect for higher success levels. The lookup for the steps, while initially a bit tedious, makes handling penalties and bonuses very straightforward, because everything operates on the same scale.

But what I REALLY like about Earthdawn is the sheer depth and significance to how the game mechanics relate to the world. While you COULD adapt the system to other settings, it's designed so that the way your characters deal with abilities and magic is tied to the very way the world works, which makes it very immersive and very believable. For example, a recurring theme in the world is the Pattern, and everything has one, and they're woven out of the fabric of the universe with threads of magic; for a spellcaster to cast a spell, he prepares the spell's Pattern in advance and then powers it by weaving a thread to it before actually invoking it. This allows more powerful, more special, or more purpose-oriented spells to require more threads, or to be more difficult to weave the threads into, which is a very compelling and realistic-feeling way of representing WHY the wizard has to spend so much time making things happen. It makes it feel much less like you're simply guiding a pawn on the battlefield and much more like you're actually the character in the world, seeking to understand why and how the world operates from a first-person perspective.

As an extension of the concept of the Pattern, even the way Earthdawn models experience and levels ties into it -- your power comes not from mindlessly bashing on meaningless monsters, but from building your legend: as your story becomes more well-known, your Pattern becomes stronger and more vast and more detailed. From the perspective of mechanics, this encourages the players to interact socially with the world instead of simply looking for the next fight, and it allows diplomats and troubadours and problem-solvers to advance and increase in skill and ability without having to brandish a weapon. It also tends to mean that killing enemies isn't the only solution -- repelling the invaders instead of slaying them still gives you credit for the victory, and turning the invaders into allies even better.

As for other systems, I also really appreciate the richness of BESM's character creation, but I've not had much chance to actually PLAY the game -- the two characters I've created have only had the opportunity to be played once each.

Edit: Wow, wall of text. o.o Did not realize I wrote that much.
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Re: P&P RP discussion!

Postby Zilla » Sun Mar 14, 2010 8:55 pm

It's okay, I had to really check myself before I launched into a tirade of my own, and I like reading about this stuff!

I really like that that Earthdawn system rewards the story and not the combat! I really think that's a much better way than having it be killing to harvest XP from creatures.

I've wanted to try BESM, but haven't found anybody who knows it enough to help me learn it... (as is custom with tabletop RPs ^^;)
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Re: P&P RP discussion!

Postby Coda » Mon Mar 15, 2010 5:31 am

Zilla wrote:I really like that that Earthdawn system rewards the story and not the combat! I really think that's a much better way than having it be killing to harvest XP from creatures.

Yeah, I've seen it happen in any system where a player will occasionally find themselves just a few experience points short of being able to level up.

In a d20-like system, they'll go out and find a low-level monster and squish it.

In Earthdawn, they gather their buddies around the campfire and tell stories.

Of course ED rewards combat as well, but it rewards it based on the effect your conquest has on the world and on your reputation, not on the actual act of slaying. This DOES make life a little difficult for stealthy types, who want to stay secret and unknown, but there are ways around this. In fact, a skilled roleplayer can turn this difficulty into an advantage by playing it up and gaining notoriety as BEING unknown.

By the way, your reputation doesn't have to be heroic. Tyrants and villains have a reputation, too, and they too derive power from it.
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Re: P&P RP discussion!

Postby Zilla » Mon Mar 15, 2010 11:18 am

The focus being on story and roleplay over combat reminds me o a game called houses of the blooded. It seems that a large driving force behind these games is the break with the system of rewards in D&D.

I'll look into this Earthdawn, because its reward system seems pretty good. I do like playing the rogue type, but the rogue type can impact the world just as much as a barbarian type.
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Re: P&P RP discussion!

Postby Coda » Mon Mar 15, 2010 11:37 am

I've played several Earthdawn characters, each with very different personalities. One of them was a dwarven thief, who I played up as an Indiana Jones type.
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Re: P&P RP discussion!

Postby Ashes » Tue Mar 16, 2010 2:08 am

In no particular order:

My favorite games
  • D&D 4
  • W.E.G. Ghostbusters

Games I have played
  • D&D 4
  • D&D 3.5
  • WEG Ghostbusters
  • Star Wars d20

Games I would like to try some day
  • Savage Worlds
  • Mekton Zeta
  • Geist: The Sin Eaters
  • Bliss Stage
  • BASH: Basic Action Super Heroes
  • Maid
  • Tenra Banshou Zero
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