You might like to look at either Cold City or Hot War, both from Contested Ground (www.contestedground.co.uk). I haven't played either directly (although I am playing in an "En Garde" style pbem that uses the Hot War background). The games may work well for groups that are imaginative and like to guide the story with the GM but are less into the "acting" aspect of roleplaying as they give the player whose character has greatest success in a conflict (which may be social, intellectual or physical) the right to narrate the outcome and assign consequences (within limits set out in the rules).
Incidentally, I love the setting for these games; even if you don't use the system, the setting is fantastic for the simple reason that the players have to work as a team to protect the world from monsters, yet also have their own agendas, which means that they can't always trust each other. I've not read the rules in some time, so I can't recall how they work or how good they are, but the idea of people on opposite sides of the Cold War having to work together while at the same time trying to further their own nation's goals at the expense of the other team members is rather cool.
The Chaosium system is very easy to use; roll a d100 and get it under your skill. Successful skill use improves the skill (depending on a d100 roll going over your skill, meaning that the higher your skill, the harder it is to improve it). I'm pretty certain that you can also improve your attributes, which in turn allows for HP increases, but hp starts and remains pretty low. It's not too good for high-combat dungeon crawl games, simply because of how easy it is to die from one or two hits, but it is good at just about everything else.
Nah; there's a Rapid Grapple feat that's either Monk level 9 or BAB +9 with Greater Grapple as a requisite. It's in Ultimate Combat, and allows you to make a grapple check as a swift action (allowing for the three grapple checks in one turn versus Nisk).
No one has mentioned The Riddle of Steel yet? Brutal, realistic combat, powerful and flexible magic that comes with the price of ageing your character (potentially to death) and that actually requires you to make pretty heavy sacrifices in other areas, and an experience system based on pursuing your character's goals as opposed to rewarding pointless fights. It's out of print, but you can still buy the PDFs for not very much at the community forums, and there is a free rules light version for download somewhere on there.
DM - Voice of the Voiceless wrote:
Any skill with more than 2 or 3 has a full four ranks (makes managing skill increases much easier).
As to HP, I mixed up this sheet with one I was applying to a different game with, and accidentally gave it max hp for each level. That'll be fixed asap.
As for points 1, 2 and 5, I'll get back to you once I've sorted them out.
Hmm. Sounds like fun. If we've got a mage, a bruiser and an archer, I could build a Cleric if no one else wants to, or else (and more to my taste, in all honesty) a switch hitting Fighter (since the attack and damage bonuses later on more than make up for slightly lower ability scores).
Just thought I'd add a Roof Running Rogue to the mix. He's more about attacking first; preferably while the enemy doesn't know he's there yet, or better yet during the surprise round with a charge, or else grappling. Later on, stunning fist will be added to the bag of tricks, as will the advanced talent that allows you to add sneak attack to a full attack once per day.
Jarquin CR 3
Jarquin never did like keeping his feet on the ground; even as a child he climbed as high as he could up anything he could. His family lived in a human city, and this gave young Jarquin a veritable playground. He quickly noticed that almost all of the locks in a building tend to be on the ground floor; getting in through a second or third floor window was much easier - and much more fun. He never took anything too expensive, unless it was from someone he thought didn't deserve it, and if he was seen, he'd be out of the window, onto the roof and jumping between the buildings as if he were more at home there than on the street.
He never carried a weapon; he wasn't there to kill anyone, and he always believed that carrying a weapon makes you far too tempted to use it. Having said that, he was more than willing to beat someone up, or put someone into a choke hold until it knocked them out - or, if someone was really persistent once on the rooftops, he'd make sure that they fell before he did. Recently, however, he stole something from someone quite prominent in town, and he needs an excuse to get away for a while. He's been hearing rumours about some guy teaching martial arts; perhaps that's the ideal excuse to give his parents...
Jarquin grumbles as he looks at the man in front of him; the man who's about to draw a shortsword and raise the alarm. He runs up to the man, punching to wind him before he can cry out. The shortsword is drawn, and after a slash at his torso, Jarquin grabs the guard's arm and begins to twist and contort it. Not long after, there's a sharp snap as the arm breaks. dropping the shortsword, and Jarquin runs for the window, deftly avoiding the clutter that was knocked to the floor during the scuffle. He climbs out and onto the rooftop and runs as fast as he can for home, leaping between the rooftops as he goes. Good job it's night time; fewer people to see him, and he can move fairly quietly even at speed.
OOC note: This is pretty much how he sees himself; if his companions bite off more than they can chew, he's more likely to help than run, though he'll probably be berating his own foolishness while he does it...
Umgabwe is a fairly unlikely hero, all things considered. He's certainly brave enough - you have to be to guide people through the jungles of his home - but he's more than sensible enough to know that when the going gets too tough, the tough get eaten while he's making tracks the other way. This is how he's survived this long, and it's why it's strange that he'd be going on an adventure like this; adventures are dangerous. Perhaps it's the potential to make more money than he's ever seen in his life? That's possible. He always did like gold a little too much; probably the reason he tends to avoid staying in any one settlement for too long; when some gold goes missing, they always look to the stranger first...
He doesn't just know the local area, how to move around it and how to track the wild beasts that live there; he knows how to find and disable non-magical traps, since some of the tribes in the jungles like to use them for catching food and/or intruders. He also knows how to use his kukri to good effect, both as a tool for survival in the jungle and as a weapon when need be.
Also, I'd like to amend the stats, since my character has Improved Feint, but no ranks in Bluff. I know you don't like optimisation, but there's a difference between that and sensible skill placement...
Male Chaotic Good Human
Rogue (Survivalist) 6
Strength: 16 (+3)
Dexterity: 16 (+3)
Constitution: 10 (0)
Intelligence: 14 (+2)
Wisdom: 10 (0)
Charisma: 12 (+1)
Hit Points: 48 HP
Feats & Traits:
+1 Keen Kukri (+9, 1d4+4 damage, crit 15-20/x2)
+1 Keen Kukri
Other Gear: Sextant
Hmm... here's the sheet for a Survivalist Rogue, I'll get a background and suchlike together when I have some idea of the setting, though he'd probably be a local hired for his knowledge of the area.
Male Chaotic Good Human
Rogue (Survivalist) 6
Strength: 16 (+3)
Hit Points: 48 HP
Feats & Traits:
+1 Keen Kukri (+9, 1d4+4 damage, crit 15-20/x2)
+1 Keen Kukri
Other Gear: Sextant
I'd prefer they didn't, to be honest; while I have no problem with the system itself, I don't like the distribution method. The main box costs around $100-$120 here in the UK, compared with around $60 for a rule book. Also, in my FLGS, the shop keeper allows us to have a look through books to decide what we like the look of before we buy; the box set model doesn't allow for this, meaning that in order to have a look at a new system, someone who doesn't know anyone who already owns the game must purchase blind.
Having said that, if they released a core book a little later, same as the core WFRP book that got released a few months after the box, I'd probably consider giving it a look; otherwise it'd be a massive waste of money for me, much as WFRP 3e was. The system they use for the 40k games could work quite well, actually, as all they'd really need to do is add the force, redo the classes and tweak combat so that it's more survivable.
I'd generally recommend 2020; it's very loosely class based (in that there are archetypes with a couple of bonuses to certain things and a specific ability) that uses point buy for attributes and skills, and the rolling system is fairly similar to Unisystem. Knife fights are dangerous, gunfights are deadly and good teamwork is almost mandatory for survival.
Personally, I'd start from scratch, ignore the entirety of current DCU canon and create a new canon. Then, every ten to fifteen years or so, I'd reboot again. Why? Because the biggest thing stopping new customers from buying and reading comic books is that there's around fifty billion interconnected stories that they feel they need to understand in order to know what the hell is going on, and if you just keep one canon for forty or more years you're eventually going to reach a point where your only real audience is dead from old age...
The Black Magician Trilogy would probably be another good one; a fantastic set of books (no pun intended) set in a fantasy world in which a poor teenage girl finds herself learning to use magic - something which had always been reserved for the nobility. The part where she finally stands up to her bullies was probably my favourite part of a trilogy with many Crowning Moments of Awesome, to use That Site's phrase for it...
The Riddle of Steel: The attention to detail on how medieval weapons do mayhem to meat-sacks is impressive. The throwaway idea that you accumulate bonus dice based on your motivations - and that winning fights is as much about getting your motivations involved - is like a skipped pebble in a pond, with rippling interactions.
Easily one of my favourite systems ever. Pity the publisher is all but dead. Other things I really liked were that those bonus dice were also spent on the fly as XP, and that even a duel between two characters required some level of tactical thought. The damage works like crits in RM, only they are determined by how well you hit and where you were aiming at instead of a d% roll. I also loved how magic was powerful and flexible but also very rare (it was a racial pick in a game with priority based character generation, meaning that unlike playing a regular human, you had to nerf yourself quite badly somewhere in order to use magic) and the price paid in months or even years of your life.
Having said that, it was all but impossible to create pre-written adventures for that system, because in order to advance, characters need motivations to follow. The only pre-written adventure I found for it was The Caravan Adventure, which has five pre-made characters made especially for it. Also, the combat system is easily the most complex one I've ever seen anywhere, but then that's one of the things I like about it.
GURPS has a very simple mechanic with lots of optional rules, making it exactly as rules heavy as you want it to be. There's a massive list of advantages, disadvantages and skills, but each entry on that list is completely optional and up to the GM as to whether it shows up in a given game (in many games, half of the skills are completely inappropriate, as are many of the advantages and disadvantages). The basic combat system takes up about five pages in the first book, though there's a more advanced one in the second book, and since the average person only has 10hp even when extremely experienced, the focus is more on smart decisions during gameplay than simply building a combat monster...
Edit - Ninja'd
I also rather like GURPS for fantasy, though I should point out that the basic rules come in two separate books, and there are several other books that may be useful for such a campaign (Martial Arts is my favourite just because of the variety of fighting styles included - most of which are from the West - as well as the number of combat options it introduces). It's pretty easy to remove a character from a fight in GURPS, but considerably harder to kill them.
Practically everything is either a skill or an Advantage/Disadvantage, including some personality traits common to the various alignments (these are mostly disadvantages, since they generally restrict a character's options). Finally, it has the advantage of being pretty easy to play once all the prep has been sorted out; all a player needs is a character sheet, 3d6, and perhaps a cheat sheet reminding them of some basic bonuses they can get in combat.
As as probably been pointed out, however, this game is incredibly modular, and some GMs may find this much freedom daunting. That's not a criticism; I'd certainly find it daunting, but I'd argue that it's worth it just for the amount of character customisation that's available. And if you really want the archetypes, you can always enforce the use of templates for starting characters...
Personally, I'd be tempted to suggest just rogue for Batman; give him Improved Unarmed and some of the related feats for his martial arts (since the monk class implies having trained since the age of 5/6 years old), and Combat Expertise/Improved Feint. Surprise attack should be one of his rogue talents, for all that juicy sneak attack damage in the surprise round (which there should generally be when playing as Batman). Combat Trick, Finesse Rogue and Weapon Training are all potentially useful, though in the case of Finesse Rogue, it depends on whether you're focusing more on STR or DEX. Canny Observer is definitely a useful one, and Hunter's Surprise at level 10.
What's wrong with an awesome, flawless 3D engine and turn based combat that can afterwards be reviewed as a real time cinematic?
You mean, other than the fact that it couldn't possibly work on the kind of budget that this kind of game would be working on?
I'd personally prefer to see this done with the Temple of Elemental Evil engine to the NWN engine; much of the d20 system has to be changed in order to work in an real time setting (which NWN is), especially given then number of interrupts one can use in combat...
Personally, I'd prefer to see the Wheel of Time done with something classless - the RQ2 system from Mongoose would be a very good system for it, I think, given that the magic systems can all be stripped out and replaced by something else without affecting anything else.
Having said that, if I were designing something like this for Pathfinder, I'd treat Channelling the same as the Force was treated in Star Wars d20 - it has feats and skills that anyone can pick up, but a couple of classes that focus on those things. I'd strip out all of the magic using classes from the system apart from one created from scratch (Ranger would remain, but would use the non-magical archetype), which would work in a similar way to the Jedi from Star Wars d20 Revised. Beyond that, I'm not sure exactly how I'd retune the magic system, other than that it would probably be based around feats and skills, and would gradually cause exhaustion, as is the case in the books.
Edit: Also, being born with the ability to channel would probably cost a second feat, only available at first level, in exchange for bonuses to all of the skills.
+1. This, and the previous suggestion of using Oracle and Sorcerer rather than Cleric and Wizard, makes sense. Also, explanations of how certain rules work as they appear in the adventure would be useful. There's no good reason to include an entire game in here; the core rules only cost $10 as a PDF if you can't afford the dead tree edition, so it's not as though they're hard to get hold of.
Don't worry; I don't plan on making a habit of Dark Side worthy actions. On the other hand, I won't shy away from them when I feel that they're the most appropriate action for my character to take. I suspect my character will have a fair few nightmares from that last one, but he didn't see much choice in the matter. He won't execute prisoners, but he doesn't count an unconscious foe as a prisoner unless the foe is incapable of harming them once he wakes up. I don't plan on letting my character fall to the dark side, but then again, maybe that's his destiny ;).
If the guy who was considering a Wizard/Sorcerer decides not to bother, I may do so instead; probably an Elf Wizard bonded to a staff, seeking out books and knowledge in other lands - the job is simply free transport to somewhere he was planning to go anyway.
If this is acceptable, then the rolls are as follows:
4d6 ⇒ (5, 3, 3, 5) = 16 -> 13
Wow; I didn't expect them to be that good...
I had a long post full of bile about the kind of people who make videos like this necessary, but I thought screw it; let's not start a flame war. I'll just say this instead: I'd rather a victim of bullying call in a big bruiser and have a laugh watching his tormentors get beaten to a pulp than pick up a gun and shoot up a school.
My bad; probably Jujutsu then. He did mention using a Japanese style of grappling against Moriarty, and with his build it wouldn't have been Sumo...
Back on topic, one should remember that d20 combat isn't intended to be run blow by blow; it doesn't take a whole six seconds to swing a sword after all. With that in mind, I could potentially see a feat similar to Weapon Finesse which allows the use of INT instead of STR to hit in melee; representing better use of tactics. For damage, however, it should remain STR IMHO.
Watch Robert Downey Jr's Sherlock Holmes movie you see a very good argument for allowing Int mod as both AC and to hit. I love the Idea of an intelligent fighter type. Intelligence as a combat modifier is something that I don't think 3.0 3.5 or even Pathfinder has...
Just thought I'd point out, Holmes isn't just smart and agile, he's also far stronger than he looks (having once casually straightened an iron poker that someone had bent to try and intimidate him) and is a highly skilled martial artist (at least Aikido, Singlestick and Bartitsu; maybe more styles I can't recall).
Also, I disagree with the notion that a MAD class is fundamentally flawed; while it's true that it means they need multiple abilities at high levels to work correctly, so long as they have sufficiently useful abilities to make up for this it isn't a problem. Besides, a low ability somewhere you might not ordinarily take one might make for an interesting character flaw ;).
Hi there. My gaming group disbanded a couple months ago, due to scheduling issues and mild burnout. Having recently acquired the APG, however, I've asked them if they'd like to start gaming again. TheGM needed for established group. (Pathfinder PbP)
In all honesty, I'd say that since 90% of the rules in GURPS are optional and since all a player really needs to know about the rules are "roll 3d6; if it's less than your skill it works", it's not that bad for new players as only the GM needs more than a fundamental knowledge of said rules. Having said that, I'd recommend using templates for new characters early on, so they can get a feel for which skills are useful.
Having said that, I'd probably agree with those who've said Pathfinder; it's probably the most newbie friendly system in your collection - particularly as regards combat - and the class based nature provides enough structure to make it fairly difficult to create bad characters.
Rolemaster is, IMO, far too complex for new role players, and the insane amount of arithmetic involved in character creation is liable to scare them away while, again IMO, the WOD setting is more suitable to older players (13-14 at minimum though naturally, if the setting is toned down, there's no reason they couldn't play using that system). After all, in WOD vampires aren't superheroes; they're monsters.
I'm contemplating running a Sunday campaign at a shop in Manchester called Fanboy 3, since the campaign that was happening there has changed from weekly to monthly. Ruleset would be either Mongoose Runequest 2 or Pathfinder (probably the former, as my Pathfinder books are all PDFs and printing them would take forever).
Not as in depth as some of the others, but the advantage is that it leaves room to add extra details during IC conversation.
Background and Description:
Storian Belaric is a traveller of sorts, mostly because he's never really had a place where he's felt at home. He has been an orphan for as long as he can remember, and was kept as a ward of a temple to Cayden Cailean. Storian was a big lad, even from a young age, and had a fair amount of trouble controlling his aggression; particularly when people deliberately tried to goad him.
A visiting priest named Ulfric pulled Storian to one side after he'd gotten into something of a scrap and broken another lad's jaw, and asked him if he'd like to learn how to fight properly. When Storian said he already knew how to, the priest chuckled, and said, "Oh really? Show me." What happened next was something of a humiliation; Storian throwing punches that never seemed to get near his opponent, until suddenly the priest floored him with a punch to the jaw.
Storian agreed to be taught, and not very long after he began traveling with Ulfric, he began to hate him. Still, he had to admit that the priest was a good teacher; he certainly learned quickly under the harsh tutelege. His preferred weapon was a two handed blade; something which made good use of his prodigious strength, and he focused his defensive training on getting out of the way, so as to make up for his lack of a shield.
Storian finished his training under the priest during his twentieth year; a combination of Ulfric's failing health and the fact that Storian was now capable of holding his own against him. He gave Storian some gold and supplies, and said that while he was going to return to the temple, Storian should do some more travelling; see more of the world and cause - or remedy - a little mischief while he's at it.
Storian discovered that one way to fund his travels was to tag along with merchant caravans as a guard, or in this case as a member of the ship's crew. He hasn't had to use his training particularly often, but he suspects that could change.
Storian is around six foot six with long, dark hair and blue eyes. His build is fairly brawny, which belies a sharp mind, and his skin is tanned from years of travel. Aboard the ship, he doesn't tend to carry his blade or armour around with him as they'd get in the way of his duties; they are instead stowed in his quarters. Instead he dresses much as the rest of the crew does, keeping all of his clothing and equipment in as good a condition as he can manage.