World's most interesting Pan wrote:
I'm back. Forbidden Lands using the Free League system has become my favorite new OSR style RPG. There are just enough rules to make the game easy to understand and play. It leaves plenty of room for free form RP and the rules stay out of the way.
The game runs on a pool of dice concept. You take your attribute + skill and make a pool of D6. For example, Gothar the barbarian has a 5 Strength score and a might skill of 3. He makes up a pool of 8 D6 and rolls them during applicable checks and aims for die results of 6 (success), while hoping for no 1s (injury).
Play is smooth and easy the way I like OSR games to feel. Also, nuanced enough to be interesting mechanically at the table. Not everything is foisted on freeform play.
This was my first Free League game. I hear very good things about Alien and the upcoming Bladerunner settings. I heard Tales from the Loop is actually more like a stranger things rip off than like the Amazon Prime series.
Anyone else have experience with Free League games?
Thats great. Hasbro is going to release HeroQuest and thats what stepped me into DD.
So, my online group is going to venture into Forbidden Lands that uses the Free League system. Forbidden Lands has an old school flavor to it in both setting material and artwork.
The key conceits is that there was a strange phenomenon brought on by wars and evil that made long distance travel impossible for a century or longer. The red mist has lifted and a new age of mystery and adventure has sprung forward. Sandbox gaming to discover hidden secrets about the setting, gain fortune and fame, and establish your own keep and home to build and defend.
The system uses a character sheet with typical attributes, skills, classes, and kin (race/ancestry). While adventuring you face moments of danger and excitement that require your skills and abilities to be put to use. Build a dice pool of D6 and try and get 6's to succeed. 1's bring complications to the endeavor.
Thats what I got so far, I'll report back on session 0 and gameplay soon.
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
I wish. It was at the bar my sister in law manages.
Received a bottle of Lagavulin 8 as a 'divorce gift' a little while back. Cracked it to share with some new friends and found it very enjoyable, might join the rotation alongside my favorite Laphroaigs.
Sorry to hear about your divorce. I recently divorced myself and was sure to swipe a bottle of Eagle Rare 12yr on my way out the door.
Interesting Character wrote:
So, why would a hero not put in 4 success tokens every time, what's the balancing aspect there?
Im no expert and working off a skim of 62 page quickstart, but from what I gathered you need to make sense of the scene and connect it back your character sheet. You can only use traits and abilities that make sense to what you are doing. I mean, sure you can bend over backwards to put 4 tokens in every bag, but there are risks involved invoking complications.
Moving forward, you may collect adrenaline from excessive complications, which forces you to draw maximum 4 from your next test, which also increases the complications. Or you may become confused, in which you draw a single token, which is basically do or die of a single token draw for next the test.
Keep in mind, this is a narrative driven game. There are no hit points, no magic items to collect, nothing to gain by succeeding better. Thats not to say the stakes of a test cant be life and death, its just not a focus of the game. There are ways in which you can evolve you character (level up), but succeeding a lot doesn't help you do that.
When I said "encounters" I guess I should expand on that. This system pretty much goes scene to scene. You dont have exploration (unless it creates an interesting scene for the narrative) and you dont have downtime (unless, again, there is something important to character development or story to tell). There is no book of items or equipment. Each character does have a special item that they can use during sessions. I.E. Spike's racing ship in CB or King Arthur with Excalibur. Hexsys appears closer to PBtA than D&D and other crunchier systems.
The token drawing during tests to determine the difficulty and/or danger of the action. For instance, decoding a secret message might be difficult, but not dangerous. Defusing a homemade bomb might not be difficult, but be very dangerous. Difficulty is a number between 1 and 6, and danger is between 1 and 4. The hero decides on success tokens between 1 and 4. Once the levels are decided, the token bag is ready for draw.
When you draw, you only need 1 success and player chooses how badly they want a success. Any complications are handed to the narrator who can use them. If you dont draw any success, you may take further risk by drawing again, but you could be handing even more complications to the narrator. Any additional success beyond 1, can be used to add further positive outcomes to the scene. For example, you maybe chasing down a thief in a crowded city. With 2 successes you catch the thief, but he also has the stolen item on them when you do. The narrator then gets to complicate things based on the amount of tokens they possess.
There is language that determines failures like, "leaving a scene" and "exiting a scene." It's all very purposeful to make it feel episodic and cinematic. I think this is appropriate for something like Cowboy Bebop.
Looks like there is a Cowboy Bebop RPG on the way to KS next year. From Mana Project Studios that are launching a generic fantasy RPG called Not the End.
The system is called Hexsys and uses a hex map for a character sheet. From what I read so far, you use a blind draw bag and tokens to determine success and complications. Checkers are recommended for the coloring and same texture feel.
The GM is called a narrator, and encounters are called scenes. Sounds like a series of co-narrative elements are discussed between narrator and hero(es) and then a test will determine the outcome of the scene. Tests difficulty is determined by character traits and difficulty of actions. A chip pool is created and tossed into a bag and then randomly drawn for results.
Sounds fun and exactly the kind of thing to run a Cowboy Bebop game with. I'll be keeping an eye on it.
Interesting Character wrote:
That may be true, but there are hundreds of these cases in D&D/PF. Sounds like in Alien RPG things like rolling for initiative, attack, damage, saves, and on and on are skipped for fewer higher stakes rolls.
What is the difference between cinematic mode and whatever else? What about cinematic mode promotes PvP?
Bladerunner TTRPG in the works. Anybody got experience with "Year Zero Engine" system?
The rules of the game are based on the acclaimed Year Zero Engine, used in award-winning games such as the ALIEN RPG, Tales From the Loop and Forbidden Lands, but further developed and uniquely tailored for Blade Runner.
Sometimes yeah. In GoT the changed the mountain what 3 times? Not too noticeable. The rogue character that gets with Kalessi? Super noticeable.
Too bad Haladir is gone, i'll miss ya bud.
Had my first Monster of the Week game last night. Went pretty well. I think the GM was really appreciative of me getting into the spirit. The other players kept looking at their character sheet for ideas on what their character could do. I also tried to break them of the habit of assuming the person with a skill and/or high attribute does the rolling for all of something like investigating, fighting, or even talking to NPCs.
So far, PbtA is working like a rules lite version of Call of Cthulhu for us. Players try things based on the GM description, when you fail you get experience to trade later for skill upgrades. The rest is essentially a back and fourth narrative between GM and players. I got one player to really dive into the hook between our characters, the others will take some work. They kind of seem lost in the theme of their playbooks and are not gelling with the group just yet. I think part of that was we were missing myself in the first session, and then another player in session 2. The hooks work best when everyone is there to experience them.
I'll check back with more comments as the sessions roll on.
Interesting Character wrote:
Not only is the popular style not to my taste, I also like variety in general, thus removing variety and focusing on the currently popular style are things I consider undesirable, one because it's bad for the rpg community's growth and both because I want to find players that enjoy my style as well.
So most of this is just preferential to style and not really a mechanical discussion. That is fine, however, im curious what you mean by community growth? Do you mean in size? You'd be sorely mistaken if so. If you are referring to the community being stunted, because they don't play like you do, then thats poppycock.
Could you explain exactly how 5E doesnt deliver a similar experience to 3E? I mean, I know that 5E is more down to earth with bounded accuracy, but I dont see how it cant, "encourage bending and breaking rules and making new classes or class modifications unique to a particular character to better fit the character, thus having zero expectation that the rules alone would be mechanically balanced without a gm to ride herd on optimizers and rules lawyers."
PF2 is another animal and I can see why it doesn't work like you want it to.
FWIW, I do all my online gaming without a VTT. I find them fiddly and distracting. We just use Discord and Google Slides. It works awesomely well and takes up little mental energy.
For my Traveller game that works just fine. All rolls are 2D6 and almost all fights are theater of the mind.
I dont think id try and run PF1 or PF2 without a VTT though. Frees up so much mental space and allows the game to run smoother.
Me too, reskinned 5E hasnt really gotten it done for me. However, Stargate TTRPG sounds different enough to be interesting.
I've been running a Traveller campaign with co-workers and using maps and illustrations has aided theater of the mind play a lot. Our corp also just got rid of one if its office buildings so we are not sure we will be able to meet in person still anyways.
My long time rotating game (probably PF 50% of the time) tried online and everybody but me hated it. These guys got kids and wives and I think they like getting away. Having a beer online isnt the same as in person either. This could work because I recently got a ton of Battle tech stuff that I can finally use. (Never been able to find good VTT stuff for BattleTech.)
I tried homebrewing a fantasy setting. My players didnt seem to care. I thought maybe my ideas are not interesting and I had to try harder. The players just seem to care even less after more attempts. What they did care about was the immediate setting. If it was a dessert, they didn't care about tropics or tundras on the other side of the world. The occasional short hand answer "yeah that exists somewhere else" was good enough.
Turns out Golarion ended up being the best setting so far for my players. There are so many interesting places you can just campaign in while the rest of the world just does its own thing. The APs really lean into this too. So, yeah its Golarion for us. Which is fine, now I spend my energies where they are appreciated which is fine tuning campaign adventures.
I'll comment strictly on the D&D family of crunchy systems and my opinions on optimization. I think the biggest issue is designing for the TTRPG player pool in general. This has been mitigated somewhat by the internets, but its still an issue. Designers are also bad at pointing out what type of game they are making and how it should be played.
What does that mean? Well, lets think about sports. Many adults like to play softball. Some of them its to get outside and do a little bonding with friends and co-workers. Others, they play fast pitch for competitive stakes like trophies and prize money pools. The two dont mix, and its pretty easy to tell which is which.
D&D and TTRPGs are nowhere near as popular as softball. So you got causal players mixing with hardcore competitors and the rulebook isnt very clear about how the game is to be played. Causes many disruptions and arguments.
3E ivory tower design left a gap that could just about fill the grand canyon. It is very hard to balance for a party of differently experienced players. 4E tried to close that gap, and decided to use a tactical mini game to make up for the charop mini game. Oddly, im my experience it seemed to grab a few causals and a few hard cores, but was off putting to most folks in general. 5E is the goldilocks that dropped the tactical mini game, but also closed the power charop gap. 5E forces the causal player up, but the competitor down. Its not my favorite edition, but I can see why its such a winner.
This is likely for the best. That leaves all other not D&D games open to define themselves. I dont think you need to bother with any trigger warning or heavy handed guidance comments as long as you are up front about what your game is designed to do. D&D has the masses locked up, take advantage of being specific.
Kind of a retread of familiar ground, but the Traveller chargen system is really interesting. Since the game doesn't have leveling, its easier to have a random generator for making a character. Each dice roll is an interesting story all its own. I have a lot of fun making custom life and mishap tables to fit my Traveller campaigns.
3E multiclassing and PF Archetyping. It expands the class system to its limit to allow for flexible chargen while also still maintaining the boundaries of a class system. I can spend hours dreaming up characters for any type of campaign.
I do like both approaches. Even though Traveller is typically Anti-Canon, its also covers a lot of space (see what I did there). So you have a lot of sandbox to explore and many threads to pull. On the flip side, I love the Inner Sea guide for Golarion. It's so detailed and informative it allows you to make just about any type of fantasy game in the setting.
Some others that sort of fall down for me are either too narrow in specifics (you get one detailed city), or they are so vague you have no starting point.
Steve Geddes wrote:
I know what you mean. Whenever I run Traveller I find myself just winging it on lore.
My biggest wish was that Mongoose artwork was better. Not a system thing, but I find good artwork to supplement the imagination.
Does anyone have a stand out edition change that particularly improved play and entry? Anyone have on that didn’t handle it particularly well?
I think Mongoose did a great job of reviving Traveller for a new generation of gamers. They took the best parts of classic Traveller and cut some of the fat and stuck to the essentials. Mongoose then went further with their own 2nd edition by adding in some modern game design to round off some of the edges, while keeping the classic feel of Traveller as a hard Sci-Fi system.
Interesting Character wrote:
No one called you an idiot, we said you were off topic. You didn't say the same thing either.
Some good stuff, but god I hate twitter format.
"The premise here is: good games can lead to bad experiences and bad games can still lead to good experiences. So are they really good or bad? A good or bad gm can lead to a different experience. You can see hundreds of reddit threads on what to do with problem players."
I think this is a highlight. Plenty of reviewers drop a duce in the punch bowl at the slightest disagreement. Could be caused by a lackluster group, poor read of the rules, or just general taste. Which is why I try and make sure when critiquing mechanics I explain if, its because the math is bad, or because the feel is bad. A world of difference there.
"I want to take a game on its own terms. A lot of times games dont tell you who theyre for, so you have to figure it out in reverse. Who is the game talking to and how are they talking and what are they spending time talking about. Taste DOES matter in evaluating quality. "
I think this is the cardinal sin of system presentation by designers. Whoever is writing the rulebook really ought to answer questions on who specifically the game is for, and what specifically the game is supposed to do. If its a generic system, then explain how to flavor it for your chosen genre. Its crazy how little attention this gets but how much good will it can earn from the RPG community.
Im not an expert but, from what I heard its more character options and rule systems to make 5E a little less casual.
Soooo, lets talk about role play aids in systems like the classic alignment. A very divisive mechanic that brings many a gamer to tears just thinking about it. Others, have come to love alignment as an excellent morality shorthand for fleshing out NPCs and understanding their motives. For players, it can help guide their story as it unfolds at the table. It's also been abused by poor GMs and bad players. Unlike success mechanics, role play aids are subjective by their very nature.
What do y'all think about these types of sub-systems in TTRPGs? Do you like them? Do you hate them? Are they nice in the Fall but hell in the winter? Also, what other types of aids have you experienced?
I did try out Masks once. I recall a few items that seemed to me to be personality quirks, ideals, and flaws. Also, I recall having some descriptors indicating how my character should feel about other characters at the table. The RP was open ended for the player, but it was like having big arrows saying, "go this way, do these things" which some might find helpful, and others completely unnecessary.
IC, nobody brought up new GM vs experienced GM. Nobody brought up GM competency and if system matters at all. This entire thread is about systems mattering. You took this conversation away from that into a derail. If you want people to argue with you about GM competency and self playing guitar systems, please start your own thread.
Question: How often do you play mix-and-match with RPG systems and settings: Both in terms of rules/mechanics and setting material?
Not too often. Since I prefer non-generic systems it's important to maintain consistent feel with gaming systems I use. I might be more likely to houserule in a system that mimics another sub-system though. I have wanted to get degrees of success into Pathfinder for some time. I'm playing in a PF2 AP right now to try out how Paizo does it. So far, im not liking how they implemented it, although it does fit universally across the system.