When it comes to RPGs, how complex... is too complex?


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There's no straight answer to this, as it depends too much on the individual.

For me, high-level Pathfinder and 4e are too complex, but running high-level 4e is not as bad as running high-level Pathfinder.

I would not want to "go back" to an older system, because while their rules are simpler, they are missing a lot of player options and also a lot of DM support.


The support is there and easy to find. The amount of AD&D material is staggering, and if you want messageboards and rules answers, they have been up for years too.

Shadow Lodge

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Laurefindel wrote:
Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:
Kthulhu wrote:

Needed?

Er, this is a HOBBY. Exactly ZERO editions of Shadowrun (or any other RPG) were ever NEEDED.

Yes, thank you Kthulu. I'm sure everyone was very confused and had no idea what was meant.

But think of all those designers and publishers! They need their salary. Think of their kids, their families! You want them all to starve Kthulu? That's what you want, for the children to starve!?!

;)

I don't really like kids.


Pathfinder need s a LOT of familiarity with the rules and/or the books so I would say it is too complex. Rolemaster required a lot of familiarity with the charts but was in essence quite simple if your players were organised. And for me that is the flip side of the argument here - how organised are people as players/dm's?

We have players who just want to turn up roll dice and do very little preparation/thinking about the game. That is fine but it means that it sometimes slows the game down when say, they decide to cast a summoning spell and don't have the stat block ready or they decide to do something anarchic and unusual on a whim and the rules have to be found. It adds spontaneity to the game yes, but Pathfinder is not the easiest system to navigate in such circumstances. I remember 3.5 had a book which brought together commonly consulted rules. Pathfinder could do with one.

On a personal note I would say systems like Pendragon and Runequest were probably about the right level for me.


The only game that I had a problem with was RoleMaster. I could never get it off the ground. I remember the times when I played it as a character and I think the GM used a combination of versions and the game ran smoothly. I liked the fact that even a fumble gave you xp (you learned from your mistakes)

For those who like Champions and don't mind doing a little searching, there is Champions: New Millennium. It isn't as math heavy. It was a fun game to play.

I still liked Champions and still have many old characters.

I have played Gurps gets you a ton of skills. About the only Genre I didn't like was Gurps Supers. DC Heroes was a different system to play.
BESM (Big Eyes Small Mouth) might be considered complex. There were Mecha creation rules and the game got fun AFTER you got your character created.

I'm really trying to think of all the games I have played over the years and I can't think of another that was complex. The only thing I could say about Pathfinder is that it can be a bit vague at times.


strayshift wrote:

I remember 3.5 had a book which brought together commonly consulted rules. Pathfinder could do with one.

3.5 had the Rules Compendium, which was not a collection of commonly consulted rules, but was actually ALL the rules in one book. It was as thick as you would think a rulebook would be, and not that much easier to consult than any other book, though it was sans fluff and details.

GM screens, though you have to get used to their formatting sometimes (I have yet to find one that is formatted the way I would like it to be), are better for consulting "commonly consulted" rules, I think.


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Pathfinder is about as comfortable as I get. And in fairness, that's mostly because my knowledge of the system has grown at the same rate as it's expansions. I started with the core book and simply acquired each successive extra I wanted, so it was never too over whelming.

I suspect diving in to Pathfinder now, with all the addons, third party extras and fan made stuff would probably blow my slightly obsessive mind.


You can always use just the Pathfinder Core rulebook for your game, and call it at that. Add in the official errata and you are good to go. Nowhere is it stated you must take on any of the the additional rules. The Pathfinder Core is very navigable and player-friendly. A GM might want to pick up the Gamemaster's Guide, but doesn't need it to run a game.
In fact, if you are new to Pathfinder, limit it to that. Once you and your players are comfortable, check out the APG.

Pathfinder has grown exponentially, so why not start simple? Play Core rules, pick up a mod or two, play it out, see what happens.

Or go Beginner's Box. It's a great throwback to the walk-through style TSR developed back in the day. It's a short jump to the full rules set after that.

Shadow Lodge

Bruunwald wrote:
strayshift wrote:

I remember 3.5 had a book which brought together commonly consulted rules. Pathfinder could do with one.

3.5 had the Rules Compendium, which was not a collection of commonly consulted rules, but was actually ALL the rules in one book. It was as thick as you would think a rulebook would be, and not that much easier to consult than any other book, though it was sans fluff and details.

GM screens, though you have to get used to their formatting sometimes (I have yet to find one that is formatted the way I would like it to be), are better for consulting "commonly consulted" rules, I think.

It wasn't really all the rules, and it wasn't any thicker than their average hardcovers. It contained almost all the rules you might need to reference in-game, with the exception of feats and spells and the like. It was basically a big book of mechanics. I remember it got absolutely blasted on Amazon because people were wanting it to be a complete 3.5 reference book, with literally the entire contents of every book in the system soved into one hardcover, which missed the point.

Personally, in terms of a similar product for Pathfinder, you can't go wrong with the SORD PF. It's extremely small (so easily printable) and covers the basics in a much more concise manner.


Pathfinder has grown somewhat too complex for my taste. I still play it, mind, but I would not be disgruntled if some of the more needlessly arcane aspects of the rules were redone to be more straightforward.


Especially when I play a non-Golarian 3pp setting for Pathfinder that come with it's own setting and supplemental books - I have no need for every other publisher's product to make a given setting work. I only use Core, APG, other applicable Paizo books, and whatever 3PP setting and supplement books best fit. For my own Kaidan setting for example, when played in my home games, I use the Core, APG, UC, UM and no other actual Paizo material. I use Rite Publishing Kaidan supplements, Legendary Games and a few others, but most other Pathfinder RPG 3PP material is not included nor considered. I use those books which best fit my vision for playing a setting, I have no needs for any other publishers work.

Why would I ever need to buy everything from every publisher in order to play the most complete form of Pathfinder?


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"When it comes to RPGs, how complex is too complex?"

In my experience, somewhere around 11th-13th level.


The 8th Dwarf wrote:

Combats were very fast in RM - we photo copied all our weapon and spell charts.

Iron Crown just had an open play test for the new edition. ICE openly supports the fan made excel sheet for character creation... That speeds things up a lot.

I hope they talk to Lone Wolf and use their character creator.

If I had my way my group would be playing RM.

This is fantastic news! Though I'm guessin they no longer have the rights for MERP? I found MERP to be very simple both in character generation and gameplay - very deadly!!!

I like Pathfinder's complexity level just fine.

I sometimes like to play simple and elegant systems, though having been there back in the day with 1e, retroclones seem to be a retrograde step. Why would you want to? I completely and vociferously disagree with proponents of edition-informed playstyle (GM fiat vs player agency) differences, so I don't personally see the need for retroclones. If you want old school flavor, consult the Frog Gods...

I merely want a simple rules system to game with my nieces and nephew (aged 6-12) so I got on board with Numenera hoping to strip its flavor for the ruleset (still too confusing, though simpler than PF) and the recent narrative-style, but still uses dice Mazaki no Fantaji Kickstarter (unsuccessful, but you can download the core rules free) - it's Anime-heavy, but one niece in particilar is a Studio Ghibli nut. Princess Monokone or Nausicaa campaigns would be awesome to run...


Kthulhu wrote:
Bruunwald wrote:
strayshift wrote:

I remember 3.5 had a book which brought together commonly consulted rules. Pathfinder could do with one.

3.5 had the Rules Compendium, which was not a collection of commonly consulted rules, but was actually ALL the rules in one book. It was as thick as you would think a rulebook would be, and not that much easier to consult than any other book, though it was sans fluff and details.

GM screens, though you have to get used to their formatting sometimes (I have yet to find one that is formatted the way I would like it to be), are better for consulting "commonly consulted" rules, I think.

It wasn't really all the rules, and it wasn't any thicker than their average hardcovers. It contained almost all the rules you might need to reference in-game, with the exception of feats and spells and the like. It was basically a big book of mechanics. I remember it got absolutely blasted on Amazon because people were wanting it to be a complete 3.5 reference book, with literally the entire contents of every book in the system soved into one hardcover, which missed the point.

I didn't say it was thicker. But it is 160 pages, the size of many rulebooks. (It sits on the shelf right next to me when I am online, so I am actually looking at it while I type.)

It does contain rules from more than just the core books. For instance, I opened it up and flipped right to some stuff that came from Stormwrack (a book I also own.) It also contains all the action types, including those listed in the Complete books, etc.

My point was, it's not as quick a reference as some might think. You still had to do work to find anything.


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Right now network effects and PFS keep me playing Pathfinder, but I think the rules are too complex. It's just a question of time. Between a career, a spouse, and children, I just don't have hours to burn when other games do the same job in less time. Right now my choice for home games is Savage Worlds, but I'd like to give Fate a go...


Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
The 8th Dwarf wrote:

Combats were very fast in RM - we photo copied all our weapon and spell charts.

Iron Crown just had an open play test for the new edition. ICE openly supports the fan made excel sheet for character creation... That speeds things up a lot.

I hope they talk to Lone Wolf and use their character creator.

If I had my way my group would be playing RM.

This is fantastic news! Though I'm guessin they no longer have the rights for MERP? I found MERP to be very simple both in character generation and gameplay - very deadly!!!

I like Pathfinder's complexity level just fine.

I sometimes like to play simple and elegant systems, though having been there back in the day with 1e, retroclones seem to be a retrograde step. Why would you want to? I completely and vociferously disagree with proponents of edition-informed playstyle (GM fiat vs player agency) differences, so I don't personally see the need for retroclones. If you want old school flavor, consult the Frog Gods...

I merely want a simple rules system to game with my nieces and nephew (aged 6-12) so I got on board with Numenera hoping to strip its flavor for the ruleset (still too confusing, though simpler than PF) and the recent narrative-style, but still uses dice Mazaki no Fantaji Kickstarter (unsuccessful, but you can download the core rules free) - it's Anime-heavy, but one niece in particilar is a Studio Ghibli nut. Princess Monokone or Nausicaa campaigns would be awesome to run...

No rights to Middle Earth sadly... ICE is still recovering from years of neglect, they have new owners and are very much small fry, but enthusiastic (much like Paizo in the early days).

The play test is on going and free to participate in. They are working to balance streamlining the system and maintaining what made it cool. I am in my phone but I will link the URL for the sign up for the play test when I get home.


@Thanks 8th. Nice day today on the Cumberland Plain, if a bit windy.


Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
@Thanks 8th. Nice day today on the Cumberland Plain, if a bit windy.

The Cumberland Plain is a big place... Campbelltown to Hornsby and into Canada Bay...

I haven't been outside since I got to work but it was nice this morning...

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Companion, Lost Omens Subscriber
The 8th Dwarf wrote:
Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
@Thanks 8th. Nice day today on the Cumberland Plain, if a bit windy.

The Cumberland Plain is a big place... Campbelltown to Hornsby and into Canada Bay...

I haven't been outside since I got to work but it was nice this morning...

Well, I'm in Parramatta at the moment and it's not that windy here :)

I've decided that any game that requires me to break out a spreadsheet or a calculator just to generate a character is probably too complex for my tastes.

I love Golarion as one of the finest RPG worlds ever devised and I respect the work of certain third-party publishers, but I'm increasingly alienated from the Pathfinder RPG system itself. I look forward to reading each new Paizo release, but I'm not sure that I ever look forward to running them as a GM. With young children and a shrinking amount of free time, the amount of prep time required to run a Pathfinder session well is a burden. Although I'd love to use a different rule system, finding gaming groups prepared to play anything else is becoming harder and harder as the size of the RPG community shrinks.

With the benefit of hindsight, I think that the decision to maintain backward compatibility with 3.5 was a mistake. I understand why Paizo made that decision from a business perspective, but it meant that their efforts to streamline the rules went didn't go far enough. The areas where Paizo did make changes are definite improvements over 3.5, but too many of the underlying issues weren't addressed because of concerns about breaking backwards compatibility.

On the bright side, these days I'm increasingly getting into the various d100 systems descended from Chaosium's Basic Roleplaying - Call of Cthulhu, Runequest 6, Legend, OpenQuest, Renaissance, and the current edition of BRP itself. All of these games seem to hit the right balance between detail and ease of play for my tastes. Plus they work great for classic pulp fantasy action. It's just hard to find people who want to play them...


The beauty of RM is the complexity is front loaded... Once you get past character creation (I admit I enjoy anyway) it's fast and smooth.

I also like Rifts, GURPS, and Shadowrun.


Well, it was windy in Kingswood....

Anyway - yep, RM/MERP feel the most streamlined to me - there is basically one mechanic for everything, an open ended d100 roll. Loved open-ended rolls.

Character creation is simple, and after that roll until someone hacks your hand off or shoots you in the eye.

So bummed about the loss of MERP - excellent adventures, maps, art, NPCs etc..... Glad to hear ICE are making their way back and doing a new playtest for RM...


As long as a system is fairly modular allowing me to ignore the parts I don't want to bother with, nothing is too complex.

If I'm in the mood to, I can run d20 as "This is how you roll to hit, this is how you roll for damage, this is how you do a skill check." and throw the rest out of the window.


Gosh. Two excitements merge.

Rolemaster, love you, love you, love you.
D&D - the way we learned to play.

I suppose add Glorantha and I could die happy...

However the thing I like least is that if we had an incredible amount of system mastery, a different party balance, the encounter SHOULD have been easy.

Perhaps the complexity of RPGs makes it almost impossible to design campaigns/adventures equitably?


I have found the best way to design an adventure is to make it up as I go along.


Matt Thomason wrote:
If I'm in the mood to, I can run d20 as "This is how you roll to hit, this is how you roll for damage, this is how you do a skill check." and throw the rest out of the window.

There's a lot to be said for that approach.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

True 20 took that approach (even for damage with Toughness Saves), and I have to say it's a smooth system capable of doing practically anything from high fantasy to crazy space adventures to hardboiled noir.


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I have been toying with a mechanic.... The amount you exceed the AC by on your to hit roll is the amount of damage you do + the average damage of your weapon +3 per rank of sneer attack if appropriate.

So Bobs AC is 15 - Sam stabs Bob in the back with a dagger, Sam has an attack if +1 BAB, +4 weapon finesse, +2 flanking.

Sam rolls a 13 (20 total) and exceeds Bobs AC by 5. So he does 5, +2 for the Dagger + 3 for the sneak attack 10 Pts all up.

No need for a second roll and the melee guy is rewarded for his skill at arms...


The 8th Dwarf wrote:

I have been toying with a mechanic.... The amount you exceed the AC by on your to hit roll is the amount of damage you do + the average damage of your weapon +3 per rank of sneer attack if appropriate.

So Bobs AC is 15 - Sam stabs Bob in the back with a dagger, Sam has an attack if +1 BAB, +4 weapon finesse, +2 flanking.

Sam rolls a 13 (20 total) and exceeds Bobs AC by 5. So he does 5, +2 for the Dagger + 3 for the sneak attack 10 Pts all up.

No need for a second roll and the melee guy is rewarded for his skill at arms...

Feng Shui used something like that. Single attack roll. 2d6, one subtracted from the other, added to your attack skill - his defense skill. If positive, you. Add your damage, subtract his toughness/armor and that's how much he takes.

It's fast and elegant. Probably my single favorite combat mechanic. There's the immediate rush of rolling high and no crushing feeling when you don't confirm the crit or roll a 1 for damage on a "good hit".

Whether it would work with PF numbers is a separate question. For the moment it looks like it's essentially a straight bonus? Average damage be higher by the amount you roll over their AC? Along with the side effect that finesse fighters and archers get to use dex for damage for free.


thejeff wrote:
The 8th Dwarf wrote:

I have been toying with a mechanic.... The amount you exceed the AC by on your to hit roll is the amount of damage you do + the average damage of your weapon +3 per rank of sneer attack if appropriate.

So Bobs AC is 15 - Sam stabs Bob in the back with a dagger, Sam has an attack if +1 BAB, +4 weapon finesse, +2 flanking.

Sam rolls a 13 (20 total) and exceeds Bobs AC by 5. So he does 5, +2 for the Dagger + 3 for the sneak attack 10 Pts all up.

No need for a second roll and the melee guy is rewarded for his skill at arms...

Feng Shui used something like that. Single attack roll. 2d6, one subtracted from the other, added to your attack skill - his defense skill. If positive, you. Add your damage, subtract his toughness/armor and that's how much he takes.

It's fast and elegant. Probably my single favorite combat mechanic. There's the immediate rush of rolling high and no crushing feeling when you don't confirm the crit or roll a 1 for damage on a "good hit".

Whether it would work with PF numbers is a separate question. For the moment it looks like it's essentially a straight bonus? Average damage be higher by the amount you roll over their AC? Along with the side effect that finesse fighters and archers get to use dex for damage for free.

The damage output is higher it leads to quick deaths at low levels. I would max hit-points for the first 2 or 3 hitdice.


The Dark Eye. Now, granted i havent played the most recent edition but what i played was awful. You throw three d20s at every skill check or to-hit roll, have to compare roughly ten different factors before you can tell what result will be a success and everything is just clunky and slow. I heard from other players who play the game today still that this didn't improve much over the editions.


The 8th Dwarf wrote:
I have been toying with a mechanic.... The amount you exceed the AC by on your to hit roll is the amount of damage you do + the average damage of your weapon +3 per rank of sneer attack if appropriate.

awesome typo


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Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:
The 8th Dwarf wrote:
I have been toying with a mechanic.... The amount you exceed the AC by on your to hit roll is the amount of damage you do + the average damage of your weapon +3 per rank of sneer attack if appropriate.
awesome typo

You get to add insult to injury when you do a sneer attack.


way better to manage than those Leer Attacks


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The 8th Dwarf wrote:
Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:
The 8th Dwarf wrote:
I have been toying with a mechanic.... The amount you exceed the AC by on your to hit roll is the amount of damage you do + the average damage of your weapon +3 per rank of sneer attack if appropriate.
awesome typo
You get to add insult to injury when you do a sneer attack.

Ha!,

I got such an attack from my girl the other day, when I said she was too young for make-up.

I guess she took a level in Rouge already...


Laurefindel wrote:
The 8th Dwarf wrote:
Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:
The 8th Dwarf wrote:
I have been toying with a mechanic.... The amount you exceed the AC by on your to hit roll is the amount of damage you do + the average damage of your weapon +3 per rank of sneer attack if appropriate.
awesome typo
You get to add insult to injury when you do a sneer attack.

Ha!,

I got such an attack from my girl the other day, when I said she was too young for make-up.

I guess she took a level in Rouge already...

I see what you did there...

On-topic, Pathfinder is on the complex side for my taste. Even with people playing the game for years so much has to be looked up in our games we're just not sure of that I feel playing it is very slow.

When I GM, I want to be so well-versed in what I have to do that I look like a Blackjack dealer throwing stuff everywhere with precision. Using this game, I can't do that.

Okay, maybe I'll settle for Magic the Gathering levels of swiftness. The earlier the better.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Laurefindel wrote:
Haladir wrote:
I thought the RoleMaster combat system was too cumbersome to be enjoyable. Attacker makes a hit roll. Defender makes a defense roll. You do math-- a hit! Roll damage. Then roll on the standard damage table. Then roll for a critical hit. It's a critical hit! Roll on critical hit table 1. One round of combat for four combatants took, like, an hour. (I only ended up playing four sessions of the one RoleMaster campaign I ever joined, back in the early '90s.)

Interesting, I must been a plying different "rolemaster". Did you play HARP or MERP?

When I played Rolemaster (1st, 2nd and standard edition) it was:
1) roll for attack,
2) add offensive bonus, and misc bonus (charging, flanking etc)
3) subtract defender's defensive bonus, and misc penalties (cover etc)
4) compare result to chart under defender's armour class to figure damage and critical (if any).
5) If you had a critical, roll for critical on the appropriate chart.

That part isn't complicated, but the constant reference to charts was tiresome (don't forget that every weapon has its own chart!), and tests are required frequently by RaW (Movement Manoeuvre everyone!).

It was MERP. I played a Ranger.

And, like I said, I only played four or five individual sessions, and it 20 years ago. All I really remember was that I found the the "roll dice... find the right table...look up result... roll again... look up another table" mechanic to be extremely tediious and, frankly, not fun.

We ended up ditching that campaing after four sessions and playing GURPS instead.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I've seen several. Any game where the crunch gets in the way of good storytelling is problematic to me. Combat it any game is usually one of the most mechanically dense systems, so the more detailed the designer has made the game, the slower the combats tend to go, and the more the GM has to work to keep everyone involved.

One of the worst offenders is probably the Imagine system, which was briefly big at the FLGS I frequented back in the early 2000s. It was a dense game that had all sorts of stats, a confusing combat system, armor that was potentially different for every hit location, and a skill system that required at least two stats to derive your base chance for success. It died off quickly, as nobody wanted to run it for long.

Sczarni

Pathfinder is really not overly complex. If you break it down into its component parts:

* 1d20 + modifiers vs Target Number for determining resolution.
* Resource Management (Hit Points, Spells per day, consumables, actions/round)

The complexity comes in digging into the system to create the most efficient utilization of whichever aspect you are focused on during character generation (action economy, damage per round, armor class, spell saves, etc.) and remembering how they interact.

The best measure of a game's complexity is if you gave a new player a pregenerated character could they learn most of the game's systems?

Likewise, people often point out Champions/Hero System as incredibly complex when it's a simple roll under on 3d6 mechanic. Character Generation offers you a large host of options but making a vanilla generic character is simple (strong guy, smart guy, skill monkey). Carving out the perfect custom character can be like sculpting their image from marble (same as Pathfinder these days really).

Liberty's Edge

Interesting enough I have yet to find any rpg too complex. I like both Gurps and Hero system so that might help as well. I do find the rules light rpgs more a myth than anything else. Why? because those rpgs are just as rules heavy sometimes. Unlike say Gurps or Hero which are complete from the start the rules are spread out Take Savage Worlds. The core is rules light. Yet imo it can't handle every genre. So you go out and by the fantasy book just in case one needs it. Then another book for superheros and so on. What was rules light from the start ends up being as rules heavy as Hero. Except the designers of those rpgs wisely spread the rules crunch out over many sorucebooks as opposed to games like Gurps which are complete yet have a lot of rules.


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It depends. Can we compare this to a Kinsey scale? :)

Rolemaster <--------------- Moderates ---------------> Nobilis

We'll call something like Rolemaster a 0, and Nobilis a 6. The absolute middle then, would be a 3. But, most would find themselves slanted slightly one direction or the other.

Short answer: It depends on your market and current trends (A Brief History of Fashion in RPG Design).

Fun answer: If you find yourself somewhere in the middle, you can call yourself a bi-gamer. That is, "I prefer both stylistic and crunch-heavy systems!"

I hereby dub the Crunch versus Style spectrum the Gamer Style Spectrum, or GSS. I am a 4.

So what's your number, baby?


Ruggs wrote:

It depends. Can we compare this to a Kinsey scale? :)

Rolemaster <--------------- Moderates ---------------> Nobilis

We'll call something like Rolemaster a 0, and Nobilis a 6. The absolute middle then, would be a 3. But, most would find themselves slanted slightly one direction or the other.

Short answer: It depends on your market and current trends (A Brief History of Fashion in RPG Design).

Fun answer: If you find yourself somewhere in the middle, you can call yourself a bi-gamer. That is, "I prefer both stylistic and crunch-heavy systems!"

I hereby dub the Crunch versus Style spectrum the Gamer Style Spectrum, or GSS. I am a 4.

So what's your number, baby?

Nice link btw


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Personally I didn't find Rolemaster that complex.

Much like the HERO system once chargen is done, actually playing the game was simple (as was mentioned upthread).

I like as much complexity in chargen in possible. The more options the greater the chance you can create the character you visualize in your head. Once you move to combat it should get simpler - Hero, Rolemaster, Pathfinder - combat is much simpler than chargen to me. That is the way I like it.


Lord Mhoram wrote:

Personally I didn't find Rolemaster that complex.

Much like the HERO system once chargen is done, actually playing the game was simple (as was mentioned upthread).

I like as much complexity in chargen in possible. The more options the greater the chance you can create the character you visualize in your head. Once you move to combat it should get simpler - Hero, Rolemaster, Pathfinder - combat is much simpler than chargen to me. That is the way I like it.

Whereas I don't mind a fairly high level of complexity in execution, but dislike too much in character design.

Huge numbers of intersecting choices lead me to option paralysis. They also tend to allow broken builds - either trap options that looks good but really suck or overpowered combinations.


Lord Mhoram wrote:

Personally I didn't find Rolemaster that complex.

Much like the HERO system once chargen is done, actually playing the game was simple (as was mentioned upthread).

I like as much complexity in chargen in possible. The more options the greater the chance you can create the character you visualize in your head. Once you move to combat it should get simpler - Hero, Rolemaster, Pathfinder - combat is much simpler than chargen to me. That is the way I like it.

So you are not a bi-gamer. :(


Lord Mhoram wrote:

I don't think I've run into one for my tastes.

The game systems I've enjoyed in the last 20 years:
HERO
GURPS
Dangerous Journeys/Mythus
Rolemaster
D&D 3rd
Pathfinder.

I even spent time and played a merged Rolemaster/Mythus game.

But I have never played Aftermath - but hearing about it, I think that would be too much.

same, but I do see huge problems with implementing those systems namely that the complexity turns off new gamers or even expirenced gamers who dont want to take the time to learn a really complex system.

Take for example Hero Game System, if you go with the basic rules its a pretty minimalist system that grows in complexity as you choose to implement more and more rules, but when the players see those three 800 page core books, its like looking at a medusa, they freeze in their tracks and ask "what are we getting into here?"

theres also a problem with the art. I dont know why art is so important to most people, maybe because the art sets the feel for the game, and maybe scratchy black cheap art just sets the mood all wrong.

another problem is mass appeal, its a LOT harder to get a good fantasy hero game going than it is to get a good pathfinder game going, mostly because pathfinder is whats hot, its got cool releases, a strong following etc. Its like trying to convince somebody to watch some weird BBC TV show that only comes on at 2:00 AM... it may have a great plot, production, actors, etc, but it has little or no buzz, so people wont watch it, the same way people wont play a little known TTRPG game that isnt trending.

Grand Lodge

No system so far has been too complex, but quite a few have been too simple, at least for my personal tastes. Pathfinder and Hero are my current go to systems and I would love to run the Dark Eye, even Phoenix Command sounds interesting to me (unlike most people). I just love the little nuances that come with heavy rules systems.


Chivalry and Sorcery had the most difficult character creation I can remember (especially mages) and Aftermath was ran well for me by a guy who loved the game but knew it backwards (he even knew the hit location chart stuff from memory) so I don't feel qualified to comment on that.

I suspect part of the answer of this is also related to WHY people play. If it s a Monday night's escapism then something you can just turn up to and get involved is the ideal. If you aspire to a more in depth role-playing experience more character freedom may be the answer, if you love the war-gamey element then pathfinder can give you that. The answer usually varies, person to person, night to night.

Liberty's Edge

baalbamoth wrote:


same, but I do see huge problems with implementing those systems namely that the complexity turns off new gamers or even expirenced gamers who dont want to take the time to learn a really complex system.

Take for example Hero Game System, if you go with the basic rules its a pretty minimalist system that grows in complexity as you choose to implement more and more rules, but when the players see those three 800 page core books, its like looking at a medusa, they freeze in their tracks and ask "what are we getting into here?"

theres also a problem with the art. I dont know why art is so important to most people, maybe because the art sets the feel for the game, and maybe scratchy black cheap art just sets the mood all wrong.

another problem is mass appeal, its a LOT harder to get a good fantasy hero game going than it is to get a good pathfinder game going, mostly because pathfinder is whats hot, its got cool releases, a strong following etc. Its like trying to convince somebody to watch some weird BBC TV show that only comes on at 2:00 AM... it may have a great plot, production, actors, etc, but it has little or no buzz, so people wont watch it, the same way people wont play a little known TTRPG game that isnt trending.

One of the selling points is that for all it's large size everything they need is in the book. Tell them that unless they are running the game they don't need to learn everything. As well I think you can still get 5E Hero System Sidekick. It should work with 6E as there are not many changes between 5E and 6E. A link:https://www.herogames.com/browse.htm?keywords=sidekick&categoryID= -1&releaseDate=-1&available=N&book=Y&pdf=Y&characterPac k=Y&multiBook=Y&other=Y&damaged=Y . It's only about 75% of the hero system rules yet also a fraction of the size. Some of the art in at least the 5E products was not that great for Hero. They could get by in other generes like Fantasy and Sci-Fi. With Champions competing against M&M that has better art it does not help matters. Granted PF is more popular. Try to generate more interest. If not try to find a new group that maybe interested.

Shadow Lodge

For those saying they've never encountered a system that is too complex, I challenge you to even get through the character creation in FATAL. Ignore the fact that it is filled with misogyny, racism, and other hateful bile, and just concentrate on the mechanics. It's an unplayable mess of incoherent madness.


Just make sure you get your Enunciation and Urination scores up high enough for you to survive. And then, pray that nobody hacks your Cowper's glands.

Seriously, it is such magnificently bad design, I have a vague sense that if you were to inverse all the stuff they did, you'd make a sublime RPG.

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