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Classless RPG?


Other RPGs

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Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Most of my friends are huge fans of Skyrim. I was wondering if there are any good RPGs out there that do not use classes and encourage character development akin to Skyrim?

I think I would prefer games that use more than 1 type of dice. (i.e. all d6 or d10)

Andoran

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Basic Roleplaying Game from Chaosium would suit this type of game. You advance in skills by using them as in Skyrim.

S.


+1 for Basic Roleplaying meeting all the OP requests. The most commonly used dice are d10's but all the others make an appearance. Spot on recommendation Mr. Hill.

Other classless systems you might consider:
* Fate (variant of Fudge) is a cool system. However, you are stuck using the +/- Fudge dice. You can get the rules for free at faterpg.com

* Burning Wheel You advance by meeting personal character goals. Rules take a back seat to story, but it's a really solid system. My good friend uses it to run Song of Ice and Fire setting games. However, it lumps you with a gym sock full of d6's.

GURPS is also free of character classes, but it's not a game I currently have a lot of experience playing.


The drawback of systems without character classes is this:

Characters will have a tendency to advance "towards" each other in most of them. The primary advantage of classes is that, with the exception of the Rogue in D&D, nearly everybody ends up becoming More Iconic.

Fighters get More Fightery
Wizards get More Wizardy
Clerics get More Clericy.

In a skill driven system, unless there's a lot of work done to make it otherwise, eventually characters end up maximizing the skills everyone uses. This kind of parallels the Rogue Problem in Pathfinder, where Rogues get a high damage situational special attack that never gets triggered past about 5th level, and their other cool schtick boils down to three or four skills...which everyone else can sorta kinda cover in one way or another.


My favourite classless game systems are probably Hero and Mutants & Masterminds, although I haven't played Hero for a long time.

Personally, I don't think BRP would make for a good Skyrim-type game; the characters are too fragile, in my experience (NOTE: my experience doesn't include BRP per se, but I've played Call of Cthulhu, Stormbringer, and Ringworld). The only particularly Skyrim-esque feature is the "practice skills to advance" system.

Shadow Lodge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

A conversion of PF to a classless system can be found here.


HERO System.

FUZION System.

I'd be hesitant, but GURPS is also a popular non-classed system.

Mutants & Mastermind if you want to stay in D20 land.

The D20 BESM book had an "Adventurer" Class, which is basically a "build your own Class" Class.

And, although it deals in Classes, I would even go so far as to say try D20 Modern, where you can mix and match to your heart's content based on what you feel like your character "should" be when you're done.

Osirion

I would throw Savage worlds into the ring as well. Great system.


I cannot believe that Storyteller didn't get mentioned before now ;)

Osirion

Zombieneighbours wrote:
I cannot believe that Storyteller didn't get mentioned before now ;)

well he said he would rather the game not use all of one kind of dice ( d6's or d10's)

Andoran

Pathfinder Maps Subscriber
Herbo wrote:
* Fate (variant of Fudge) is a cool system. However, you are stuck using the +/- Fudge dice.

Some systems of FATE use d6s instead +d6-d6 producing a zero centred spread from -5 to +5, but that still means once set of dice (unless you're playing Kerboros Club FATE edition that uses Fudge dice and d6s!)

If the single type of dice isn't a killer you can also get a condensed free version of FATE here:
http://www.ukroleplayers.com/downloads/free-fate/

Along with a very simple magic system here:

http://www.ukroleplayers.com/downloads/free-fate-magic/

Cheliax

Fuzion works mighty fine.

Osirion

Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

Unisystem (Free Witchcraft rules here)
Shadowrun (o.k. only in theory and it uses more or less only d6)
Savage Worlds
Basic Roleplaying
GURPS
Heroes
Cortex System
Alternity (uses Classes but the character is made through skills, not through the class abilities, great but dead systems, books can often be found at a discount, though)


golem101 wrote:
Fuzion works mighty fine.

I love you so much right now, and I don't even know you.


seekerofshadowlight wrote:
Zombieneighbours wrote:
I cannot believe that Storyteller didn't get mentioned before now ;)
well he said he would rather the game not use all of one kind of dice ( d6's or d10's)

Meh, t'is a silly request ;)

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Thomas LeBlanc wrote:

Most of my friends are huge fans of Skyrim. I was wondering if there are any good RPGs out there that do not use classes and encourage character development akin to Skyrim?

I think I would prefer games that use more than 1 type of dice. (i.e. all d6 or d10)

Just about anything that's not produced by TSR/WOTC/PAIZO is classless. i.e. Storyteller, Hero, GURPS, Dr. Who and your various licensed games, etc. almost all of them tend to be monodice though. Then again there's Amber which uses no dice. There are a few niche RPG's in my collection that use varying kinds of dice but they're all out of print as far as I know.

Skyrim may be considered great character developmental material for a video game, but for a paper and dice RPG, it's not that high a bar to set.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Thanks for the feedback folks! I have used BRP and Storyteller before and like both systems. But I think I will explore a few of the others mentioned and meld something together. I really like the Storyteller character creation and I like the BRP %.

Going to check out in more detail:
Fuzion
Cortex
Unisystem
Burning Wheel

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

LazarX wrote:
Skyrim may be considered great character developmental material for a video game, but for a paper and dice RPG, it's not that high a bar to set.

True, but throw in various RPG concepts (alignments, fame, competition, factions, etc) and alot more depth is added.


To add to the mention of Green Ronin's Mutants and Masterminds, they did put out a supplement specifically for fantasy settings, called Warriors and Warlocks. If it is classless like M&M, then it may do the job. Here is the blurb from their site:

Quote:
Not all comic books are about costumed heroes fighting crime; many classic comics have featured the fantastical adventures of sword-wielding and spell-casting heroes. Now Warriors & Warlocks takes the Mutants & Masterminds RPG to the realm of fantasy. This beautifully illustrated sourcebook includes information on character design, magic, equipment, villains, monsters, and more. It also includes a Mutants & Masterminds rules companion to Green Ronin's popular Pirate's Guide to Freeport, along with an introduction and overview of Freeport as a setting for fantasy adventures. Warriors & Warlocks is your go-to guide for comic book sword & sorcery action.

The print version is even on sale for $5.00 right now.


Thomas LeBlanc wrote:

Thanks for the feedback folks! I have used BRP and Storyteller before and like both systems. But I think I will explore a few of the others mentioned and meld something together. I really like the Storyteller character creation and I like the BRP %.

Going to check out in more detail:
Fuzion
Cortex
Unisystem
Burning Wheel

You may want to take a look at ORE (One roll engine). It's being used, notably, in Reign. You may find a generic version (without the setting) of the rules in Reign Enchiridion. Nice, rich, easy to learn and flexible ruleset.

Cheliax

jemstone wrote:
golem101 wrote:
Fuzion works mighty fine.
I love you so much right now, and I don't even know you.

I have the VOTOMs RPG and the Artesia RPG books, both based on the Fuzion system (the latter heavily customized), and I love them dearly.


golem101 wrote:
jemstone wrote:
golem101 wrote:
Fuzion works mighty fine.
I love you so much right now, and I don't even know you.
I have the VOTOMs RPG and the Artesia RPG books, both based on the Fuzion system (the latter heavily customized), and I love them dearly.

As someone who playtested Fuzion, and got to watch the RTG guys pulling all nighters on VOTOMS, I have to thank you. So, thank you.

Sadly I was never able to grab a copy of Artesia, which is a damned shame, considering how much I love that story.

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Thomas LeBlanc wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Skyrim may be considered great character developmental material for a video game, but for a paper and dice RPG, it's not that high a bar to set.
True, but throw in various RPG concepts (alignments, fame, competition, factions, etc) and alot more depth is added.

But I don't see the need for mechanics to do this. I did this with every campaign I ever ran. I didn't use mechanics for this... since the characters didn't live in a vacuum, I went by the simple principle of actions have consequences, good, bad, and indifferent. You save the Duke's daughter, I don't need a faction mechanic to decide that because the Duke is the kind of guy he is... he'll honor the favor if you call it in the future.... Or that the kidnapper's guild might mark you as a threat if you thwart one of their schemes.

In short.... I don't think of these mechanics as adding depth, more than a straitjacketing crutch for an unimaginative GM. They're fine and dandy in video games, because expectations of a cybernetic moderator are properly low.

Let's put in another example... when I ran a campaign using the World of Warcraft D20 rules.... I certainly use faction levels and points, the player characters simply made impressions, good or bad, depending on the interests of those impacted by their actions.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
jemstone wrote:
golem101 wrote:
jemstone wrote:
golem101 wrote:
Fuzion works mighty fine.
I love you so much right now, and I don't even know you.
I have the VOTOMs RPG and the Artesia RPG books, both based on the Fuzion system (the latter heavily customized), and I love them dearly.

As someone who playtested Fuzion, and got to watch the RTG guys pulling all nighters on VOTOMS, I have to thank you. So, thank you.

Sadly I was never able to grab a copy of Artesia, which is a damned shame, considering how much I love that story.

Find a copy, it is such an amazing book you will never regret it.


Thomas LeBlanc wrote:

Thanks for the feedback folks! I have used BRP and Storyteller before and like both systems. But I think I will explore a few of the others mentioned and meld something together. I really like the Storyteller character creation and I like the BRP %.

Going to check out in more detail:
Fuzion
Cortex
Unisystem
Burning Wheel

One thing that Burning Wheel has that is really cool is Circles.

During character creation you pick Lifepaths for your character, these account for the periods of your life before the game took place. For instance a knightly character could have:

Born Noble
Page
Squire
Knight

After creation, you'll have a Circles stat. You can then roll Circles to determine if you know someone specific who you could have met during one of those lifepaths. For example:

Born Noble - family members (including extended), servants, fellow noble children
Page - local soldiers, servants, horse breeders
Squire - soldiers, knights, minor nobles, craftsmen who made stuff for the knight you served
Knight - nobles, fellow knights, soldiers whom you've commanded, enemy knights

There could certainly be a ton more possibilities, as appropriate for the game you're playing. Anyways, you roll your Circles, success means you found them. Failure means either you couldn't find them or... at the GM's option, they don't like you for some reason.

To add to this, you also have Reputations, Affiliations and Relationships.

Reputations are things you are known for (pretty obvious).
Affiliations are memberships with organisations.
Relationships are NPC's whom you already know well.

You can even "buy" an organisation at character creation by purchasing an Affiliation with it, then a Relationship designating that person as the second in command. The amount of resources you spend on the Affiliation and Relationship determine the power level of the group.


AdAstraGames wrote:
Characters will have a tendency to advance "towards" each other in most of them.

This could happen. I used to suggest to new players that everyone should invest in Stealth. There is always some point when the party is going to want to sneak into some place. However, in 20+ years of running non Class-based systems, I have never had a problem with characters all being too similar.

Once players shift paradigms away from Class, I have found they become quite creative in finding and owning a particular niche within the party.

To the OP, I am not familiar with the advancement used in Skyrim. However, Savage Worlds does not use Classes and uses different dice.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I can think of tons of games that lack class, Macho Women with Guns, Furry Sexcapades, ...

OH! That is not what you meant! Sorry!

;-)

Shadow Lodge Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 8

I personally prefer Mouse Guard over straight Burning Wheel. Basically the same system, but a lot easier to pick up and a lot more streamlined.

It's also a good match for Skyrim, since the skills advance the same way. The more you use a skill, the better you become at it.

Andoran

I would just second Savage Worlds and its progenitor, Deadlands. Despite having no set class system, it was possible to make very distinct characters by means of the various edges and hindrances.


GURPS is definitely classless and extremely flexible. It does use only one die (d6) but at least it doesn't use dice pools (Almost everything is roll 3d6 and be under your skill number, except damage, which is dice + adds).

It's nice because with the point system, instead of leveling up and getting a whole bunch of stuff along a set progression, you can make small, incremental improvements on a regular basis.


I'm really enjoying warhammer fantasy 3e. It has a careers system, which is a little bit like a class system, but much more flexible. The custom dice mechanics take a little getting used to, but are pretty neat once you get the hang of them.

The game uses a lot of cards and tokens, which I'm not a huge fan of, but I still really enjoy the system.

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Thanks for the input folks!

I plan on starting up my first Savage Worlds game next week. Thinking Wild Wild West with a history similar to Trigun. So weird science with a sci-fi background.

Intrigued by Mouse Guard...


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Classless systems -
WEG Star Wars, could basically build what ever character you wanted, and then advance whatever you wanted. D6 resolution.
Villians and Vigilantes - Superhero roleplaying, no classes just super powers. No real skills, just levels. Task resolution dice are all over the place.
Cyberpunk 2020 - Uses archtypes to set up your special ability and initial skills, but after that, advancement is all skills whatever you want. D10 resolution, but varied dice for weapons and such.
WFRP 2nd edition - uses careers not classes, so its like classes but with no levels. Skill based system, D10 and D100 resolution.
GURPS is truly classless, but I've had limited exposure to playing it. mostly d6 resolution.


You would probably find some good stuff in their DeadLands supplements. My main issue with Savage Worlds is that I don't like the health mechanic. You hit a guy and make him shaken and then the next round he makes his save and is back to normal status, so you have to do it all over again, and basically hope that you get a raise on your damage or your ally hits the target and takes it out. At least with an hp system you feel like your attack is doing something when you hit, even when you don't drop the enemy. The penalties heroes take really start to add if they take wounds, and in a game with any significant amount of combat, you pretty much end up saving all your bennies for soak rolls, and if you don't you can be really screwed if you take a nasty hit.

Thomas LeBlanc wrote:

Thanks for the input folks!

I plan on starting up my first Savage Worlds game next week. Thinking Wild Wild West with a history similar to Trigun. So weird science with a sci-fi background.

Intrigued by Mouse Guard...


Chernobyl wrote:
WEG Star Wars, could basically build what ever character you wanted, and then advance whatever you wanted. D6 resolution.

You can even get the D6 system for free. Take a look at D6 fantasy, it's a good system : D6 Core set

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I will third Savage Worlds, but also, take a look at Wayfarers.

http://www.yeoldegamingcompanye.com/

The guys who designed this thing did so as a labor of love, and it really shows. The book is amazing (newer mechanics but with an old-school look using the same font, "Futura", that Gygax used in 1stEd). It basically takes the d20 OGL concept and turns it into a heavily skill-driven system in which your character gets to pick and choose his combat and/or magic capabilities. Essentially, what these guys have done is picked apart all the nifty class features and feats and skills and put them on a buffet for the player so that he/she can pick and choose them like building blocks in a point-buy system... BUT, their take on magic and spells is really unique, intriguing, and just plain fun!


sigilwraith wrote:

I will third Savage Worlds, but also, take a look at Wayfarers.

http://www.yeoldegamingcompanye.com/

The guys who designed this thing did so as a labor of love, and it really shows. The book is amazing (newer mechanics but with an old-school look using the same font, "Futura", that Gygax used in 1stEd). It basically takes the d20 OGL concept and turns it into a heavily skill-driven system in which your character gets to pick and choose his combat and/or magic capabilities. Essentially, what these guys have done is picked apart all the nifty class features and feats and skills and put them on a buffet for the player so that he/she can pick and choose them like building blocks in a point-buy system... BUT, their take on magic and spells is really unique, intriguing, and just plain fun!

Very interresting. I'll probably buy the PDF of the revised edition when it comes out. Seems it's exactly the system I was looking for in order to play a Birthright game. It's close enough to AD&D to make the conversion almost effortless, but, even if the feel is old school, the engine seems modern and well made.


Yeah it does look pretty cool. I just ran a session of Mutants and Masterminds today. I love that game, so fun. Had the characters battling a massive oriental dragon across London, good times. Definitely no classes, can pretty much do whatever you need it to, but it doesn't sound exactly what the OP was looking for.

CunningMongoose wrote:
sigilwraith wrote:

I will third Savage Worlds, but also, take a look at Wayfarers.

http://www.yeoldegamingcompanye.com/

The guys who designed this thing did so as a labor of love, and it really shows. The book is amazing (newer mechanics but with an old-school look using the same font, "Futura", that Gygax used in 1stEd). It basically takes the d20 OGL concept and turns it into a heavily skill-driven system in which your character gets to pick and choose his combat and/or magic capabilities. Essentially, what these guys have done is picked apart all the nifty class features and feats and skills and put them on a buffet for the player so that he/she can pick and choose them like building blocks in a point-buy system... BUT, their take on magic and spells is really unique, intriguing, and just plain fun!

Very interresting. I'll probably buy the PDF of the revised edition when it comes out. Seems it's exactly the system I was looking for in order to play a Birthright game. It's close enough to AD&D to make the conversion almost effortless, but, even if the feel is old school, the engine seems modern and well made.


AdAstraGames wrote:

The drawback of systems without character classes is this:

Characters will have a tendency to advance "towards" each other in most of them. The primary advantage of classes is that, with the exception of the Rogue in D&D, nearly everybody ends up becoming More Iconic.

Fighters get More Fightery
Wizards get More Wizardy
Clerics get More Clericy.

In a skill driven system, unless there's a lot of work done to make it otherwise, eventually characters end up maximizing the skills everyone uses. This kind of parallels the Rogue Problem in Pathfinder, where Rogues get a high damage situational special attack that never gets triggered past about 5th level, and their other cool schtick boils down to three or four skills...which everyone else can sorta kinda cover in one way or another.

Hmm, I never hat that problem playing GURPS 3ED. not sure if that was because of the players or the system though -

GRU


AdAstraGames wrote:
Characters will have a tendency to advance "towards" each other in most of them. The primary advantage of classes is that, with the exception of the Rogue in D&D, nearly everybody ends up becoming More Iconic.

Maybe, but it's not all bad. Think of it like this: everyone starts off being able to do one or two things pretty well: you have a few spells, or you're really good with one weapon, or you're sneaky. As you go on, you notice other things that would be really nice to have, and you put a few points in there, and yeah, you'll probably be more of a generalist; it's more about finding your niche over the course of the campaign rather than knowing at the start that you have a fighter, a cleric and a wizard and being able at level 1 to chart out level 20.


Eclipse Phase

http://www.eclipsephase.com/


I'm also one of those people who design skill-based RPGs, and put a fair bit of work into making sure that characters have unique ways to grow that reinforce their niches in an adventuring party/special ops team/cheerleading squad of junior high school ninja trainees/shadow cabinet to the Prince of Lower Arkansas. :)


The new One Ring RPG is semi-classless. You choose a culture and a "calling", but there is enough customization both initially and through experience. It is low magic, so that may be an issue. The "cultures" can be modified or home-brewed to taste. It's a good system.


TAFOS!!!

Also n WOD system is good.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Has anyone mentioned F.A.T.A.L. yet?

Oh, wait... now I see... you wanted a system without classes, not a system with no class...

Never mind, then... as you were!


I've done a big redo on the Dragon AGE system in my home campaign, and turned it into a classless and leveless system. It's been working well for my group so far. I haven't converted any of it to pdf format yet, but I have word documents for the different chapters and a new character sheet that I specifically designed for the game in pdf form.


OH, to play in a classless system. There's a homebrew classless version of Pathfinder floating around somewhere. I downloaded a copy some time back. It was created by Kirth Gersen of these message boards fame, and I'd sell my brother's kidney for a chance to play it.

Andoran

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Fifth reply in the thread Cal. :)

Cheliax

P.H. Dungeon wrote:
I've done a big redo on the Dragon AGE system in my home campaign, and turned it into a classless and leveless system. It's been working well for my group so far. I haven't converted any of it to pdf format yet, but I have word documents for the different chapters and a new character sheet that I specifically designed for the game in pdf form.

Very interested. Please drop me a mail at "screenname at gmail dot com".

I was thinking of doing the same with the core rules of A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplay - A Game of Thrones edition, I love the quasi-dice pool mechanic for combat and intrigue. However the dragon die concept is quite appealing too...


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Fifth reply in the thread Cal. :)

See, that's what I get for just skipping to the last and not reading a whole thread. LOL

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