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TOPIC: Your Favorite Tabletop Role-Playing Games

Your Favorite Tabletop Role-Playing Games 26 Apr 2017 14:44 #247276

One of the current Trashdomes has brought out a lot of discussion of specific role-playing games. Why not talk about our favorites here?

Although I love playing in one-shot role-playing games at conventions, 95% of my gaming experience has been as the gamemaster, often in lengthy campaigns. To be honest, even when I was in my early 20s, I tended to get sleepy during role-playing sessions, especially during long discussions about The Plan or the petty haggling over loot distribution.

My favorites, in order:

1. Call of Cthulhu: Some gamers, especially power-gamers, regard Call of Cthulhu as a mean joke. The punch line always seems to be, "we all died." Those folks are simply unable to make the mental adjustment from regular adventuring to proper investigating. Call of Cthulhu is an rpg that puts more emphasis on thinking and role-playing, while still offering a fair amount of dice-chucking. The rules are easy and intuitive, and get the hell out of the way of the story. The sanity point mechanic offers an alternative threat to a character aside from death, and also offers a great opportunity for role-playing. The same rule system (except for sanity) is used in various other Chaosium games that I have enjoyed, especially Stormbringer, but it seems to work best with Call of Cthulhu.

2. Legend of the Five Rings: Although certain core mechanics have shifted back and forth through several editions, Legend of the Five Rings remains an easy game to learn and run. The Rokugan setting is excellent, as a fantasy combination of Tokugawa Era Japan and ancient China. The samurai code of Bushido is more interesting than alignment systems found other games, offering some interesting role-playing opportunities. There is also a nice sub-system for running mass combat scenes. The setting works well for a variety of play styles, though my campaign focused on law enforcement and political intrigue.

3. Dungeons & Dragons: Every edition of this game has something to offer. I loved first edition for the entertaining adventure modules. And I enjoyed 3.5 for the crunchy mechanics that emphasized combat tactics. Players seem to get a particular kick out the standard dungeon crawl scenario, knocking down doors, beating traps, killing a wide range of fantasy creatures, and taking their stuff.

4. GURPS: Outside of diceless role-playing, I have never seen people love their characters more than in GURPS. The point-buy system lets people really customize their characters, and the quirks somehow bring them to life. The combat rules emphasize tactics, though the combats can run long if characters have good armor or high skills. The wide range of topics sharing the same core rule set allowed for the creation of some very distinctive adventures.

5. Villains & Vigilantes: None of the V&V editions were great, but they all offered a reasonable core set of mechanics with flexibility for game masters to add more. There were quite a few published adventures for the game, but the only great ones were There's a Crisis at Crusader Citadel, and a two-part adventure written and drawn by Bill Willingham, Death-Duel with the Destroyers/The Island of Dr. Apocalypse. My main campaign was set in the Marvel Universe, and I used the Marvel Handbook series to help draft detailed character sheets for maybe 150 Marvel characters. I also ran several of the pre-made modules, adapting them somewhat to fit into the Marvel Universe.
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Your Favorite Tabletop Role-Playing Games 26 Apr 2017 14:53 #247277

I'm excited to watch this thread, because so far most of my roleplaying experience is just D&D 5e.

A local gamer friend has said he's interested in starting a Call of Cthulu game. I want to try that.
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Your Favorite Tabletop Role-Playing Games 26 Apr 2017 15:07 #247279

Note - I wish I could add Savage Worlds to the below 5. I have probably bought, sold, bought, sold, bought, sold that system more than any other. I like the concept, but just too many bits in play.

5) Dungeon Crawl Classics - What I would want to play in today
4) Street Fighter the Storyteller game - the game I ran my longest, most successful homebuilt campaign with if you can believe it
3) D&D Basic - The Erol Otus magenta box. Can't beat a classic...
2) Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd Ed - ...apparently you can. Contains my favorite fantasy combat and career system
1) Feng Shui - forever changed how I ran games
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Your Favorite Tabletop Role-Playing Games 26 Apr 2017 15:16 #247281

Feng Shui looks like it might appeal to my son's hyper-violent rpg group, which is sq...
[I literally fell asleep in my chair when I was typing this and forgot what I was going to say]
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Your Favorite Tabletop Role-Playing Games 26 Apr 2017 15:25 #247282

Mr. White wrote:
1) Feng Shui - forever changed how I ran games

The Mook Rule is awesome. The incentive to improvise in combat is good. However, I found the rondel approach to initiative to be work.
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Your Favorite Tabletop Role-Playing Games 26 Apr 2017 15:39 #247285

I'm going to have to go with Strange Aeons and WreckAge. While SA is kind of an RPG in the vein of Diablo (PC game) WreckAge is a legit RPG with a great backstory and rich world.
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Your Favorite Tabletop Role-Playing Games 26 Apr 2017 15:48 #247287

In no particular order:

CHILL
D&D
Call of Cthulhu
GURPS
Dungeon Crawl Classics
Fiasco if you want to count short-form
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Your Favorite Tabletop Role-Playing Games 26 Apr 2017 16:12 #247290

I hadn't played an rpg in about 7 or 8 years. I got the itch again about a year ago and got a few guys together to play 2-3 times a month. We went thru a few systems(D&D5, a Fantasy Trip retro clone, T&T) but finally settled on Labyrinth Lord( a Moldvay D&D retro clone). We really like it- combat plays fast, just enough rules for the other stuff, and it's easy to DM. We are now playing their "Gamma World" version- Mutant Future.
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Your Favorite Tabletop Role-Playing Games 26 Apr 2017 16:35 #247293

1. Burning Wheel
2. Lacuna Part 1: The Creation of the Mystery and the Girl From Blue City
3. The Mountain Witch
4. Apocalypse World
5. Dogs in the Vineyard
6. In A Wicked Age
7. Primetime Adventures
8. Poison'd
9. Agon
10. Gumshoe (Trail of Cthulhu really)

Love RPGs. Wish I still had time and the lifestyle to regularly play them.
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Your Favorite Tabletop Role-Playing Games 26 Apr 2017 17:09 #247299

Gamma World 2e/3e
B/X D&D
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Your Favorite Tabletop Role-Playing Games 26 Apr 2017 17:15 #247302

I've read Burning Wheel rules, and my impression was that is is fascinating and unplayable - unless you and your group are on a desert island somewhere, and not one of these islands where you have to work hard to survive, but rather one of these all-inclusive resort islands. I wish I was wrong.
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Your Favorite Tabletop Role-Playing Games 26 Apr 2017 17:44 #247309

1. Savage Worlds - I love the pulp feel and malleable rules.
2. Warhammer 2nd ed - very close to my favorite, but just edged out by Savage Worlds.
3. Mouse Guard - I love the setting and the agency it gives the players.
4. Fiasco - only with the right group.
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Your Favorite Tabletop Role-Playing Games 26 Apr 2017 18:26 #247313

Vlad wrote:
I've read Burning Wheel rules, and my impression was that is is fascinating and unplayable - unless you and your group are on a desert island somewhere, and not one of these islands where you have to work hard to survive, but rather one of these all-inclusive resort islands. I wish I was wrong.

We played revised and Gold edition for years. For us, it's the perfect synthesis of new wave story RPGs with more traditional, crunchy mechanisms.

My best campaign I've ever run was in BW Revised.
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Your Favorite Tabletop Role-Playing Games 26 Apr 2017 21:05 #247322

Good to hear that, it was the most intriguing system I read and never played. Maybe one day. Did you use the optional mini-gamey stuff for combat and negotiations?
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Your Favorite Tabletop Role-Playing Games 27 Apr 2017 09:31 #247337

Vlad wrote:
Good to hear that, it was the most intriguing system I read and never played. Maybe one day. Did you use the optional mini-gamey stuff for combat and negotiations?

Definitely. We had some amazing Duel of Wits with pivotal discussions shaping the campaign. One such encounter resulted in a member of the group convincing an insane sorcerer king to stand down and lift the terrorized vision he had been clinging to that shaped the ruins of the surrounding area. The nightmare realm was lifted, but the concession I forced in the Duel of Wits caused the player to take the burden of the madness, driving himself insane. That was a pretty big moment in our world and directly set up the followup campaign with new characters.

The idea is to use those crunchy mechanisms sparingly. So we'd have maybe one really pivotal combat or Duel of Wits every session (usually not both). That would be the climactic moment of say a TV show. Most of the play is using Circles, making Skill checks, collaborating on the narrative and pushing the characters Beliefs/Instincts/Traits.
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