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What's the Deadliest System?


Other RPGs

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Andoran

Cyberpunk, IMHO.


Heathansson wrote:
Cyberpunk, IMHO.

Traveller: Where else can you die during character creation?

Call of Cthulhu: elderly librarian vs. eldritch horror = messy death.


Traveler? Afterall, where else can you die in character generation? (laughing)

Cheliax

Shadowrun has always been my meat grinder.


CourtFool wrote:
Traveler? Afterall, where else can you die in character generation? (laughing)

HackMaster. At least two, I believe three, of the class books have this as a possibility there too...

Though Traveler did it FIRST.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Paranoia.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

2 people marked this as a favorite.

PARANOIA, obviously.

Actually, I always liked the death-during-character-creation in TRAVELLER. For those people who aren't familiar with the Traveller 1st Edtion rules,

Spoiler:
you built your character's pool of skill points by walking him --almost always, him-- through his military or merchant career path. You could always push for a further term, building an ever-more-powerful character, but you risked the chnce of misadventure. The one-word result was death, but the books said that the Referee could just as easily muster the character out as disabled.

I thought it did a nice job of "realistically" providing a trade-off to get to super-characters. People could even put that into their D&D games. Start with a base 1st-Level character. If you want to begin with a character with extra skill points, or an extra feat, or even a full level, that's fine, but we'll roll to see whether you survive those experiences.

There's a lot of dangerous stuff in TRAVELLER. I remember one campaign
where the gamers rolled up their characters, bought equipment, and then headed off for adventure. They decided to initiate the FTL jump drive within the gravity well of a planet, which is supposed to be dangerous. The engineer didn't roll well. Neither did the pilot. The ship was supposed to blow up, and the Referee let it stand. "Roll up new characters, guys."

Several years later, two of the plaers were making the rounds, telling about this wacky Referee who let them blow up the party five minutes into the game. "Did your new characters ever jump from inside a gravity well?"

"Hell, no! We were scared to death of what might happen."

"Then I think your Referee did a great job."

(sputter) "What are you talking about?? He killed off the entire party on one die roll.

"He killed off a bunch of characters that you'd just rolled up, before you really got attached to them. And he made his point: this universe s a dangerous place. Don't go taking stupid chances; he would not bail you out of bad die rolls."

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Paranoia is the deadliest I ever played


Yes, encouraging meta-gaming is always a bonus.


I believe That Iron Crown Enterprises Middle-Earth Role-play system, whilst not perhaps offering opportunities for death in character creation, did theoretically allow for taking criticals and dying whilst engaging in everyday activities such as walking.

And no matter what level you were, you had to give a degree of respect to anyone who pointed a bow in your direction, in case they opened fire and critted you. Those Crit. tables....


Paranoia, for sure...but that's probably outside the intent and spirit of the original question.

I've used the "central casting" books (LINKY) and have had a few characters die during creation inadvertently (when rolling for life events to flesh out the background of a character's mother, for example, it is revealed that the mother only had one child, who dies as an infant)..Those books can really come in handy for the player who agonizes over character creation.

I've been reading the rules for "Godlike" (haven't played yet - it's a WW2 era super-powers game) It seems pretty deadly. One stray bullet can really mess you up. Combat really seems like something to try and avoid. Getting wounded is a big deal for characters.


well; you can die during character creation in Legendary Lives; Rolemaster and Spacemaster are very, very deadly; the most in my opinion; no matter what level you are and what gear you have you can instantly be killed. My number two deadliest would be Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay; very deadly at beginning, so much so that you are recommended in the rules to role up three starting characters so you can instantly replace the dead one; at higher levels with a few class advances though; it becomes much less deadly. Well Hero game system isnt usually dangerous, but it can be; if you play hero fantasy; well, the manufactures figured this out in a hurry and changed the rules; killing attacks in Hero game systems are vicious and most gm's control them for game balance; you sure do some very deadly builds if you have a mind to; i have built some very warped, pychotic, insane criminals that can kill most pc's very quickly; they are meant to be encounted by and entire full group otherwise pc's will pretty much just be dead or wish they were, but this sort of thing really has to be controlled for gameplay, but just using the rules; very deadly.

I have enjoyed the responses so far and am looking forward to more.


Evilturnip wrote:
I've used the "central casting" books

I have made quite a bit of use of those as well. I never rolled the only child die at birth though.


I've heard some Aces & Eights campaigns average 4 PCs per player for the first 3-5 sessions, before everyone stops going for "combat monters" and starts going for other builds...

Osirion

WFRP... infections, diseases (both bio and magical), curses, insanity, mutations, ignorance and paranoia of the masses, fanaticism, corruption, and food poisening are very real threats. Lets not even mention the critical hits charts. Basically, "if" your character is even still alive after s/he takes his second critical, s/he is considered retired (maimed beyond ability to play).

Havent played Paranoia so i cant speak on the comparison. Sounds Evil'ly fun.

Of course, dying during character creation as with Traveller is pretty brutal. Love Traveller, btw.

Thoth-Amon


Wicht wrote:
Paranoia is the deadliest I ever played

Hear, hear.

After that, for me, was Rolemaster and Twilight 2000.

I played in a pretty deadly Gurps special Ops campaign, but the game is not lethal by nature, which is the same I would say for Hero System.

EDIT: most character deaths in a campaign--I played with 4-5 guys in a Rolemaster campaign and ALL of my charcters died (4 in two years). Finally, the GM turned my last character into a vampire and my survivability increased tenfold.

Andoran

Twilight 2000's pretty deadly too. HK-CAW, woot!!!!!


Heathansson wrote:
Twilight 2000's pretty deadly too. HK-CAW, woot!!!!!

I believe Aftermath and Phoenix Command had high mortality rates too, but never played either (skimmed through the Aftermath rules once; you track each BULLET on automatic fire, IIRC).


Lethal Ratings:
CyberPunk 2020 * * *
Twilight:2000 * * *
Advanced Recon * * * 1/2
Cyberspace (I.C.E.) * * * *
WHFRP * * * *
Judge Dredd (GW) * * * 1/2
Aliens RPG * * * 1/2
Paranoia (WEG)* * * * *!


CharlieRock wrote:


Advanced Recon * * * 1/2

Forgot about that one; another system I flipped through but never owned or played...

Anyone know how Millennium's End stacks up lethality wise? Never actually got to play a full game myself and every time I went to buy the, either I was a few bucks short or the booth was out of stock...
CharlieRock wrote:
Aliens RPG * * * 1/2

I've heard of this but never seen it - who put it out?


CEBrown wrote:
CharlieRock wrote:
Aliens RPG * * * 1/2

I've heard of this but never seen it - who put it out?

Leading Edge Games. Don't bust out your equity loan trying to buy it. It ain't that great. We played it all of once here, and that was pretty much just a reenactment of the marine slaughter scenes from the second movie. Which the game does pretty well. But anything other then that .... /crickets/ ... it just don't do it.


I never played it, but I have heard that the Aliens RPG (came out in the late 1980s early 1990s) was very deadly. In fact each player was encouraged to roll up a whole squad of colonial marines, as maybe one or two would make it out of the adventure alive. Fits with the movies I guess.


Sol wrote:
I never played it, but I have heard that the Aliens RPG (came out in the late 1980s early 1990s) was very deadly. In fact each player was encouraged to roll up a whole squad of colonial marines, as maybe one or two would make it out of the adventure alive. Fits with the movies I guess.

You pretty much wanted a whole platoon or maybe even a company sized element of marines. How that would break down to per-player I guess would depend on the size. That is mostly because of the comparitive power of marine vs alien in that game. Unless you were pegging one alien at a time with lots of prep time between each it gets pretty deadly. There were very detailed rules to mimic everything you saw in the second movie. But outside of those boundaries you were spinning your tires in mud (not going anywhere). There were no ships beyond the ones in the first two movies (and barely any mention of the civilian ship really). No weapons that weren't in the movies (katana?no!) and computers were used to hack into ship nav systems via satellite.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
CEBrown wrote:
I've heard some Aces & Eights campaigns average 4 PCs per player for the first 3-5 sessions, before everyone stops going for "combat monters" and starts going for other builds...

That reminds me of the second deadliest system I have actually used - Boot Hill. You could burn through two or three characters a night pretty easy. One must consider however the game is named after a cemetery. And character creation was pretty fast.

Cheliax

Ooooo. Boot Hill. I haven't played that in a long time.


robotek has been pretty bloody in the campaign I am playing in; lots of people fragged.


Valegrim wrote:
robotek has been pretty bloody in the campaign I am playing in; lots of people fragged.

The Palladium game?

RPG Superstar 2009, Contributor

As long as you're going old school...the original Gamma World could be pretty deadly, especially if you randomly rolled a particularly debilitating mutation...wandered into radiation zone...crossed paths with a Death Machine...and so on. :-)

--Neil

P.S. It's also been said that Alternity's combat system made guns especially dangerous.

Cheliax

In my experience, Kult has the deadliest system (too bad it's also quite intricated and difficult). Rolemaster is a close second.

Call of Cthulhu d100 is also quite deadly, but it's more a matter of setting rather than mechanics.


I dont own the books; but I think it is; I just have a charactersheet and go to play; watch peeps get flamed.

CharlieRock wrote:
Valegrim wrote:
robotek has been pretty bloody in the campaign I am playing in; lots of people fragged.
The Palladium game?


hands down
Deep 7's "1PG" games
they barely have any advancement rules because it just isnt that likely.
ran an aliens-esque game where I had eveyone make 2 characters so they could all be there longer.


golem101 wrote:

In my experience, Kult has the deadliest system (too bad it's also quite intricate and difficult). Rolemaster is a close second.

Call of Cthulhu d100 is also quite deadly, but it's more a matter of setting rather than mechanics.

Never played Kult. I have read through a few of the books and tried to read a few others that were purposively made virtually illegible. Yet I have never had the chance to play. The folks I play RPGs with draw back at the basic concept as both way to dark and way to fracked up for them. Having studied a lot of gnosticism though, I have always wanted to give it a try.


Blood, the modern horror game. Where else do you have crit tables for vomit! I know its long out of print but it was a really fun game to run.


Toon: any game in which you can whip out an Acme Disintegrating Gun (when it disintegrates, it disintegrates) deserves at least an honourable mention.

Cheliax RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned HoL (Human Occupied Landfill) yet.

It's an old White Wolf (well, Black Dog, actually) game from the early-mid 90s. Grisly. Violent. Awesomely fantastic.


Fatespinner wrote:

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned HoL (Human Occupied Landfill) yet.

It's an old White Wolf (well, Black Dog, actually) game from the early-mid 90s. Grisly. Violent. Awesomely fantastic.

Read it and the first supplement (Buttery Wholesomeness) but never even tried to figure out the mechanics; it was too funny to read (one typeset word in the rules themselves. Great "Claimer" - "This game will **** you up, it will make you worship the devil..." Rorrin Nad, the Zinc Surfer!), but trying to figure out how it played? Couldn't get my head around it. Quite likely the game has a 90% fatality rate, though, given some of the background fluff....


Yeah, my votes, in order are:

#1) Paranoia (I DMed that one, and have the new edition as well)
#2) Twilight: 2000 (DMed this one too, got all my old stuff still)
#3) Boot Hill (Player)

I'd add our homebrewed Transformers: The Roleplaying Game to this list, as well. It took me 15 minutes to make a character, and literally the first die roll I made with it (his name was "Burnout"), he got killed.

Osirion

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Sean Robson wrote:
Toon: any game in which you can whip out an Acme Disintegrating Gun (when it disintegrates, it disintegrates) deserves at least an honourable mention.

I don't know I would in any way consider Toon as deadly. Seeing as how the rules state that death is impossible.

Still, if you were creating a catagory for the most violent game around :D

Guns, disintegrators, anvils, stampeding elephants. You can do just about anything your twisted mind can conjure up to your opponents.

Cheliax RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

CEBrown wrote:
Fatespinner wrote:

I'm surprised that no one has mentioned HoL (Human Occupied Landfill) yet.

It's an old White Wolf (well, Black Dog, actually) game from the early-mid 90s. Grisly. Violent. Awesomely fantastic.

Read it and the first supplement (Buttery Wholesomeness) but never even tried to figure out the mechanics; it was too funny to read (one typeset word in the rules themselves. Great "Claimer" - "This game will **** you up, it will make you worship the devil..." Rorrin Nad, the Zinc Surfer!), but trying to figure out how it played? Couldn't get my head around it. Quite likely the game has a 90% fatality rate, though, given some of the background fluff....

It certainly is quite the mind-f%!+, but it's also hilarious and the writing style of the main manual alone is priceless.

Some of the "Skills" are things like "Putting sharp things through soft things that bleed and scream" and "Making things stop living with your fists."

Now that I think about it, Heathansson should own this game. Seek it out, Heathy. It's the only thing I know of that makes less sense than you do. ;)

Contributor

Throw my lot in for Shadowrun...as it says in the main book: Agricultural Property comes cheap in Shadowrun.

Andoran

HoL--I'll keep an eye out. It's not one of those "LARPy" vampire goth games, is it?

(I'm just talking s$$@)

Andoran

The original version of "The End"...

God has turned his back on you, the game designers are way better at settings than mechanics, and the bad guy has a .357 magnum, have a nice BANG


Battlelords of the 23rd century!!!! (and Twilight 2000)


Barrow Wight wrote:
Battlelords of the 23rd century!!!!

Gawds, I forgot about THAT one... What a BRUTAL combat system... Neat game, actually. Played it once, with a pregen... The first fight, one PC lost a limb (leg, IIRC) and another was mortally wounded, and that was with a simple exchange where the PCs outnumbered and outgunned the enemy almost 2:1...


WFRP (double TPK in one session"

old Cthulhu Campaigns (1.80xTPK in one session) (hey, one survivor...)

Paranoia, when you count all clones (but who counts them all ...)


It might not top the Deadliest list...

But Legend of the Five Rings, 1st or 3rd Edition, is pretty unforgiving to the "dumb brute / combat monster" type characters.

I remember my favorite character pretty much living at -4... And he wasn't a dumb brute combat monster...

Osirion

Traveller.

I got so spoiled with GURPS and Villains & Vigilantes, where you may not have a lot of hit points up front, but it takes a heck of a beating to actually finish you off for good. (With GURPS, it's something like -5x HT before you die, and with V&V you have to lose all your power, which is often 4x your hit points for an average dude, before dying.)

D&D feels super-deadly by comparison. You have 50 hit points? You take a resounding 49 pt blow? Fine, dandy, fight as if it was a flesh wound. You take a piddly 11 pt hit after that? Dead as Dillinger.


Rolemaster gets my vote. My 1st character in a campaign did fine. That was a warrior of some sort. The 2nd, a warrior monk, died gruesomely and quickly due to a crit. I think the warrior survived because he was a werewolf with an interesting backstory and I was questing to deal with my lycanthropy. Ate a few horses as I recall, at least once while I was riding it.

I'm surprised our Rifts campaigns haven't been deadlier, considering how much personal body armor we've lost. Oh, wait, that's because those of us with MDC tend to get shot more and thus lose more armor but can take it. But there are running jokes that the dragon hatchling and my Neo-Human have had to do a LOT of shopping to deal with our escapades.

Grand Lodge

I'm surprised that Harnmaster and GURPS isn't mentioned above. In a comparison between running a Twilight 2000 campaign and a GURPS campaign (within the same setting) a GURPS campaign would probably kill off your party quicker!

Harnmaster is rough on those guys that don't wear enough armor (i.e. all characters that ain't filthyly rich). And I like systems where a dagger is a leathal weapon for everyone...


then Twighlight 2000 is your deadly game; very realistic; you get shot once; your prolly gonna die.

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