Plea for help: Searching for "Gamist" games, help a 'Weird Pete' out


Other RPGs

Scarab Sages

(Yes, I know I just asked about crunchy Sci-Fi games, but I wanted to expand the discussion to other genres and further define what I meant by crunchy)

My group recently had a big blowout and we're shelving some of the more RP/story based games like FATE in favor of games that are more tightly defined. One of the things I and my group finds fun is comparing character builds, overcoming tactical challenges, and otherwise treating RP as a tactical game that has a story behind it. We're looking for more games that fit that bill.

Simulationist games like GURPS, where accuracy is the key, are less desirable than games where character power and player victory is actually based on understanding the game mechanics and the lists of feats, spells, special attacks, and other abilities that a character gets (or clever use of equipment, in some sci-fi games).

Our #1 choice is d20/Pathfinder, but other genres aren't so well-covered, especially since 'rules-light' is all the rage these days. Shadowrun 4E fits the bill for us too, as does White Wolf's Exalted. What other games place emphasis on tactical challenge or careful character building?

Also, before anybody says anything, no, I'm not interested in 4E, I love me some Pathfinder and that's how it's gonna stay. I'm looking for tactical games outside of fantasy - modern and space opera games in particular.

Thanks, all!


HERO system.

Liberty's Edge

The Warhammer 40k RPGs may be a good fit - particularly Deathwatch (play as Space Marines and blow stuff up!), all of which require a fairly tactical mindset to play through (particularly Dark Heresy, in which such thinking is required to even be considered competent).

I also wouldn't count GURPS out of the running completely. If you make sure everyone's built their characters with the same ideology, and throw in all of the advanced combat options, then it can make for a very tactical system.

You may want to look at Spycraft/Fantasycraft, which adds in a bunch of subsystems to handle pretty much any situation you may come across.

Mutants and Masterminds, while being superhero based, is also a good choice, and can handle a lot of different genres. Even a few ranks in movement powers makes tactical maps mostly redundant, so keep that in mind if you want to try out the system.

Those are the systems I've run that would fit the bill. Good luck in your search!
Magius out.


I'm quite a fan of Star Wars d20-revised; remove the Force and you have a pretty solid Sci-Fi system that can also be quite easily adapted to run a modern campaign.


Turin the Mad wrote:
HERO system.

+1 I think the character design aspect definitely fills your criteria. Also, the varied methods used to create real world effects...make for interesting math problems.

"Design a micro-wave convection oven table top appliance for me using the least amount of points and, I will give you 5 extra points to use in limitations."

Always nice for a laugh.

Greg

Scarab Sages

Chris Parker wrote:
I'm quite a fan of Star Wars d20-revised; remove the Force and you have a pretty solid Sci-Fi system that can also be quite easily adapted to run a modern campaign.

I once saw an (unofficial, of course) conversion of SW d20 to the Mass Effect setting from the game series of the same name.

I've been giving HERO, GURPS, Alternity, D20 Modern/Future, Spycraft, and True20 some serious consideration for being declared my "go-to" system for Modern/Sci-fi.

My major arguments against the latter four being their out-of-print status. I know GR still stocks and sells True20, a game I'm actually rather enamored with (it hits the perfect balance between gamism and narrativism for me), but it seems like support with new product is basically nonexistent.

I know next to nothing about HERO. I've heard it compares closely to GURPS in level of detail and complexity of character-building system. Is that true? Does it support more superhuman/gamist styles of play than GURPS does...?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder PF Special Edition, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Very few systems get more "gamist" than anything D20 based save for something like Heroes or Champions which are strictly point based. Warhammer is actually a good deal less since it's not nearly as builder-focused.


Face_P0lluti0n wrote:
Chris Parker wrote:
I'm quite a fan of Star Wars d20-revised; remove the Force and you have a pretty solid Sci-Fi system that can also be quite easily adapted to run a modern campaign.

I once saw an (unofficial, of course) conversion of SW d20 to the Mass Effect setting from the game series of the same name.

I've been giving HERO, GURPS, Alternity, D20 Modern/Future, Spycraft, and True20 some serious consideration for being declared my "go-to" system for Modern/Sci-fi.

My major arguments against the latter four being their out-of-print status. I know GR still stocks and sells True20, a game I'm actually rather enamored with (it hits the perfect balance between gamism and narrativism for me), but it seems like support with new product is basically nonexistent.

I know next to nothing about HERO. I've heard it compares closely to GURPS in level of detail and complexity of character-building system. Is that true? Does it support more superhuman/gamist styles of play than GURPS does...?

I recommend HERO over GURPS for what you're looking for from a game system. GURPS actually derives from HERO.

HERO is more gamist-friendly than GURPS. It is also VERY well supported in its 5th edition and I understand that the 6th edition is off to a good start. Steven S. Long is no slouch in supporting his system, and he's had a lot of practice making solid supplements that ties into the system.

Take a look at the system and all of its myriad supplements. The only thing you can't "game" is the XP system. Have fun!

Scarab Sages

Turin the Mad wrote:
Face_P0lluti0n wrote:
Chris Parker wrote:
I'm quite a fan of Star Wars d20-revised; remove the Force and you have a pretty solid Sci-Fi system that can also be quite easily adapted to run a modern campaign.

I once saw an (unofficial, of course) conversion of SW d20 to the Mass Effect setting from the game series of the same name.

I've been giving HERO, GURPS, Alternity, D20 Modern/Future, Spycraft, and True20 some serious consideration for being declared my "go-to" system for Modern/Sci-fi.

My major arguments against the latter four being their out-of-print status. I know GR still stocks and sells True20, a game I'm actually rather enamored with (it hits the perfect balance between gamism and narrativism for me), but it seems like support with new product is basically nonexistent.

I know next to nothing about HERO. I've heard it compares closely to GURPS in level of detail and complexity of character-building system. Is that true? Does it support more superhuman/gamist styles of play than GURPS does...?

I recommend HERO over GURPS for what you're looking for from a game system. GURPS actually derives from HERO.

HERO is more gamist-friendly than GURPS. It is also VERY well supported in its 5th edition and I understand that the 6th edition is off to a good start. Steven S. Long is no slouch in supporting his system, and he's had a lot of practice making solid supplements that ties into the system.

Take a look at the system and all of its myriad supplements. The only thing you can't "game" is the XP system. Have fun!

I'll be glad to have a game that is well-supported. A lot of games I like have gone tragically OOP.


HERO is so much more than GURPS. I like both systems for different reasons. But as to "gamist" nothing will beat out HERO. It is "THE" point based system. If you can envision it, it can be designed. Powers are based on what it does...HP damage...stunning damage...ability damage...fatiguing damage (not using HERO terms) and then you apply the special effect..electrical..big stick...magic force...solid shadow..bone chilling astral cold from otherwhere...whatever.

It is a solid rules HEAVY system. The two hardest parts are character design and character design. After that it is easy :P Measurements are based on real world values. So no weird questions about range or perception...and facing exists. You will need hex paper. and a calculator will help.

And there is no "problems" when doing FantasyHERO vs Champions vs SpaceHERO vs yourownHERO. The rules are the same...only the limitations you use are adjusted. So my fantasy character could step into a warp and end up in New York and fight alongside the supersquad against Aliens from planet X in mecha suits taunting a raging Godzilla.

Greg

PS. I don't find it easy to use HERO system for "lite" style play like TOON or Paranoia.


Greg is spot on regarding HERO. I *could* (and have) run it purely improvised, but it's a little harder for me to do that than it is for GURPS. (Mainly because it's so much fun to build stuff!)

From my point of view, GURPS and HERO are the best ones to really flesh out a character. Having stuff on your sheet like "eats non-hobbits", "quirk: carries How to Serve Man proudly", "overconfident" and "Enemy: ASPCA" helps me to remember the little details. Some times you can get a ton of detail from a pile of 1 or small-point disadvantages that I just can't easily attach outside of those systems as a player.

YMMV

Liberty's Edge

Face_P0lluti0n wrote:


I've been giving HERO, GURPS, Alternity, D20 Modern/Future, Spycraft, and True20 some serious consideration for being declared my "go-to" system for Modern/Sci-fi.

My major arguments against the latter four being their out-of-print status. I know GR still stocks and sells True20, a game I'm actually rather enamored with (it hits the perfect balance between gamism and narrativism for me), but it seems like support with new product is basically nonexistent.

Just a quick correction on this - both Spycraft and True20 are still in print (though it appears that Spycraft 2.0 has switched to a print on demand service). And if you feel that True20 isn't supported well enough, and like a lot of the ideas from it, you could give Mutants and Masterminds a go - it's currently in its 3rd edition, and building up steam for that (and started out with a licensing deal with DC Comics, so you'll have a ton of extra characters to pull from to add to your game), or you can pick up the second edition and the splatbooks to cover the genre(s) you want to emulate, as most of them are covered in one spot or another. It's not as gamist as 3e/PF (and I haven't seen anything more gamist than 4e), and does have a lot of narrativist aspects to it (Complications, some uses of Hero Points, and a lot of the examples for GM Fiat), but could be turned into a rather tactical game with the right constrictions.

The character creation for it also follows a similar ideology to Hero, as both systems are effects-based where you build your power then apply appropriate descriptors to flesh out the rest of the power.
...
Yeah, if you can't tell, I'm a bit of a MnM fan. I definitely recommend checking it out.
Magius out.

Scarab Sages

Magius - I stand corrected, though I don't see many, if any, releases in the future for either Spycraft or True20. I just don't want to convert to a game with a shrinking "user community" if I can avoid it. The lure of True20 might be too great, though.

I actually bought some stuff for M&M 2E - specifically, Warriors and Warlocks and Mecha & Manga. Color me impressed, but the lack of sci-fi rules (no sci-fi genre book or far future equipment lists anywhere) and the release of 3E making the genre books that I bought somewhat difficult to use without more work on my part gave me second thoughts. I do think M&M is pretty well thought out, though.

Greg and Turin - You're really starting to sell me on HERO. I now regret not speaking to Mr. Long and buying some of his books when I saw him at Origins.

I'm assuming that HERO supports the creation of race/profession templates and sample power/magic spell packages in the same way the GURPS and M&M do? My group is actually somewhat split between the people that would find HERO a godsend and people who would find HERO to be a nightmare, I want to be able to help ease the rules-light fans into enjoying the system without just dropping a GURPS-style book on them and walking away. If I can make a "skills and powers list" (or even better, if the game has a sourcebook full of pre-built powers) that resembles rules-light or rules-meduim RPG, I think I can convert my whole group in one go.

EDIT: Well, if we're playing Paranoia, nobody's allowed to know the rules but me anyway. Player knowledge of the rules is treason, citizen! : P


Yes, HERO supports the creation of "packages". Say there is a common theme to a really cooky oddball race creation (lets call it flumphf) that is gonna be in your game. The GM can create a discount cost package that almost everyone that is flumphf (or everyone if you GM mandate it) has. For being forced to purchase a certain batch of skills, abilities and flaws, you get a bulk discount. Depending with what you have left over pointwise that is how you will make your character an individual.

A reminder, since the game is a point based game, (and I still contend the most detailed point based game) You can build the character exactly how you envision it. Psyionic dragonman weilding a magic phaser shotgun? sure no worries...if the GM allows it. Human master of many martial art styles...if okay with GM...absatoolootly. Dying child in a semi sentient chair that can create an infininte number of remote controlled probes to interact with the environment...oh yah..if GM okays it.

Key in character creation, GM gotta look over the builds. And builds should be (not have to be because of time restraints) an interactive GM/player thing. But getting a copy and reading thru it I would consider essential. Oft times, what the player considers a disability, and what the GM considers a disability..well, they do not often match. Cardinal rule of limitations and disabilities is "if it doesn't restrict the player...it really isn't a disability or limitation".

Anyway, I like GURPS alot. I cannot immagine playing GURPS:Black Ops with any other system. But, GURPS has four attributes. Only four, to represent every ability someone has. Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence and Health. Lots of overlap and some attributes have to do double duty. And HERO's has...well, lets say they break it down alot more than D&D's six, with primary and derived secondary attributes. (secondary being alot like Ref Fort Will in D&D).

HERO is not for everyone. Combat DOES take time to learn. There IS a learning curve. I feel it is the best at representing supers game in the market, and unless you go the opposite route towards extremely rules light systems, nothing comes close.

Most of my scifi games were thematic with game systems ready to play out of the box. I personally never used HERO for scifi. (other than futuristic Super from a galaxy far far away). I have used it for fantasy, modern spy game, and supers. Worked admirably well. :P

Greg

OMG OMG I HAVE used it for scifi! I hated the system for Living Steel but loved the campaign info. So I did up a HERO game of Living Steel. teraformed world, in eminent danger of alien invasion, with CRAZIES style virus dropped by aliens few months prior to game begining, and players are battlesuit wearing soldiers that died from injuries in different times from hundreds year long war that took place other side of galaxy waking up and givin orders to rebuild and no explanation of why alive, why there, what da heck is goin on. leaving out alot :P


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Just a bit of a +1 for Magius Alpha's comments on the 40k RPG series. Successful Dark Heresy games I've played in have required players to coordinate their character builds, character progressions and combat can be played as a highly tactical table top event. The game system actually reinforces the cooperative development of pary make up through strict character advancement trees.
Deathwatch is even more so.
Adds a nice level of meta-game complexity to the RPG that I find quite enjoyable.

Reggie


Reggie wrote:

Just a bit of a +1 for Magius Alpha's comments on the 40k RPG series. Successful Dark Heresy games I've played in have required players to coordinate their character builds, character progressions and combat can be played as a highly tactical table top event. The game system actually reinforces the cooperative development of pary make up through strict character advancement trees.

Deathwatch is even more so.
Adds a nice level of meta-game complexity to the RPG that I find quite enjoyable.

Reggie

Of the WH40k series, I would say Deathwatch is the most hardwired for teamwork out of the players. Personally, I would love me some Deathwatch. Only one of my regular group likes wh40k at all and he is all about Rogue Trader. Probably for the best he and I don't play together though. He has been active minature guy since before SpaceHulk came out. And would definitely be a "That's not RIGHT!" to any GM trying to run the game.

Greg

Scarab Sages

I *was* considering starting up a game of Dark Heresy or Black Crusade...


What about something like Eclipse Phase, Shadowrun, Cyberpunk or Cthulhu Tech?


As a die hard HERO fan (it's tied with D&D in all its incarnations as my most played game) i'll throw in my +1 to saying that it CAN do what you want.

Some of the other suggestions are also solid however. Eclipse Phase, Shadowrun, Cthulhu Tech, War40K, all are both popular and in my opinion viable.

Scarab Sages

P.H. Dungeon wrote:
What about something like Eclipse Phase, Shadowrun, Cyberpunk or Cthulhu Tech?

I already own a goodly amount of Shadowrun 4E. Haven't had time for a campaign yet, but the one-shots and con games are a blast.

I've played some CT. It's just a little on the rules-light side for me, but I do love the setting something fierce, and had the fortune to play in a con game GMed by the head writer/designer Matt Grau a few years back. Got my books autographed. It was neat. I like CT.

I hear good things about Eclipse Phase, but most of the praise is for the setting and the whole game concept. Don't know much about the system. I hear it's not exactly rules-light, but I didn't know how 'gamist' it got.

Didn't check out Cyberpunk yet, mostly 'cause Shadowrun scratched the cyberpunk genre itch for me.

Just having some trouble getting my friends in on WH40k, but I think Black Crusade might do the trick. My group just doesn't like playing the Lawful Neutral/Lawful Evil region of behavior, but rebelling against the tyranny of the Imperium, even if it's by serving the ruinous powers, might be a better deal.

HERO is getting tempting, especially with Star Hero 6E about to come out.

Personally, 3.5/PF is my most played game by far (I bought the 3.0 PHB on release day and never looked back), followed closely by oWoD, and while d20 is my go-to system for Fantasy, I never found a system that really worked for Modern or Sci-Fi (with the exception of Shadowrun doing wonderfully for cyberpunk). I'm getting a really good list going here though. Thanks.


+1 for the W40K games, may I also suggest Heavy Gear or Jovian Chronicles for your gamist needs? The Silhouette system is designed to scale easily and is point-based allowing for detailed, focused builds. If you really want to get old-school then Spacemaster (the old ICE version, not the one by Defendi) is they way to go.


I know I'm coming to the party really late here, but I wanna give an enthusiastic +1 for Deathwatch, or really any of the WH 40K games. I just recently started running a DW campaign, and my players are really enjoying it. I've heard comments from them about it being one of the best systems/games they've ever played.

I think any of the 40k games would work for you, it just depends on the power level you want to run. Deathwatch is high-powered, while Dark Heresy seems to be very low-powered. Rogue Trader is right in the middle and probably a good compromise choice.

Black Crusade is coming out soon as well, not really my cup of tea, but if you want to run an evil campaign, that would really work. I personally am gonna pick it up to use for creating bad guys for my PCs to fight.

Anyway, whatever you ended up choosing, hope you're having fun!


HERO is probably one of the crunchiest systems I've seen. If that's what's up your alley, then go for it, I suppose.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder PF Special Edition, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

IF D20 based games aren't tactical enough for you, try Fourth Edition.

For my taste however, D20/Pathfinder pretty much pushes my limit for tolerance of tactical focus.


Eclipse Phase is a percentile based system, but I think it's a little slicker than other percentile based systems (like the warhammer games or BRP). It is pretty setting specific, but has a lot of cool gear. It would take some time investment (ie. reading source material) for a gm and players to really grasp the setting, as it is quite detailed, which is its only real drawback.

One of the coolest parts about it is that a character's persona is basically stored in a digitized cyber brain type thing, and can be loaded into other bodies (called morphs). This means that in the game you can have a morph killed without losing your character, and there are different types of morphs that you can choose from, so you can do some things in game to customize your character for different situations (you start the game with one morph, but you can acquire more through play). The different morphs are genetically engineering for different purposes, so there are ones that are designed for combat and athleticism and others designed for social settings etc. There is also plenty of cool biotech, nanotech, weapons etc. Combat in the game is comparably gritty to shadowrun, but I think it would play a little faster since it is percentiles instead of huge dice pools.

The system was designed by a couple of the guys that worked on Shadowrun, so even though it is a percentile game there are some real influences from that game.

Even if you never end up playing it, it is still a really cool game to check out. I think it's the most interesting sci-fi game that I've ever seen, though it is definitely more hard sci-fi than say space opera (which it is not). I haven't played it yet though, I'm in a middle of a shadowrun game right now and it is plenty crunchy. If you already have shadowrun I'd consider just running that. I've been running the latest missions season as my campaign, and it's been a lot of fun.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder PF Special Edition, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
P.H. Dungeon wrote:

Eclipse Phase is a percentile based system, but I think it's a little slicker than other percentile based systems (like the warhammer games or BRP). It is pretty setting specific, but has a lot of cool gear. It would take some time investment (ie. reading source material) for a gm and players to really grasp the setting, as it is quite detailed, which is its only real drawback.

One of the coolest parts about it is that a character's persona is basically stored in a digitized cyber brain type thing, and can be loaded into other bodies (called morphs).

Sounds like a paper and dice version of EVE Online.

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