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Mandalore of the Rings

Why did I lose interest in RPGs for 20 years?!

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Posted (edited)

Just sort of got interested in RPGs again after a long hiatus (pretty much since college days... late 90s).  It started with the lack of Imperial Assault stuff coming out (still sad and disappointed about that) which got me into FFG's various SW RPGs...  so much fun!  Since then I have kinda been browsing and finding so many other interesting RPGs!  Wow.  What a wealth.  My newest "find" (which is only new for me) is Tales From the Loop!  Looks like such a fun setting.  Sort of Stranger Things -esque. 

So here are the ones I think look exceptional:

1. FFG's SW ones, obviously. 

2. The new Alien game!  Wow, looks so cinematic and kinda scary.  Simple but effective mechanics.  Can't wait to play it.

3. Mouse Guard.  The art got me hooked but the setting is really unique and the game play looks fun too.

4. The One Ring/ Adventures in Middle Earth.  I guess I am tending towards the former but both versions look like fun for a big Tolkien fan like me.  I used to dabble with MERP back in the day.  Never really clicked though.

5. Tales From the Loop (already said that one).  Another reason is that I could have been one of those kids!  haha.

Honorable mention: Degenesis looks pretty amazing but perhaps a bit too dark for my liking (and definitely not appropriate for my kids...  so that's probably a deal breaker... I guess the same would be said for Alien, but I'd probably play that with some friends) and Conan or John Carter of Mars (both which use the same system as Tales From the Loop I think...

Anyone else got lists along these lines?  Or are you strictly SW only folk.  Not really interested in D&D either.

Edited by Mandalore of the Rings

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Actually, I haven't lost interest in RPGs for a period of years (I did have an 8-month hiatus due to personal troubles), so I had the past 35 years to collect and play. There have been hits (like Dungeons and Dragons in every iteration except 4th edition) and misses (D&D 4th, amongst a few others).

If I were to make some sort of top 5, it would look like this:

5. Star Trek Adventures. I haven't actually played the Modiphious version yet, but I like the way the books are presented so much I collected them all to date. Loved seeing play throughs and YouTube explanations from The Complex Games Appologist among others. Loved reading the books. My only concern up till now, is that fact that there is little "actual" progress. Your character starts out fairly competent and might change due to the story, replacing something that is already there. It's not like in many systems where you have a beginning character, they gain experience, and then go up a level, or use that experience to buy new skills and abilities. However, this might actualy be a refreshing take, having character development evolving from narrative play, once I start to actually play the game in a few weeks or so. ("No, I haven't played the flute since that Klingon attack that wrecked my quarters a few months back. I picked up a new hobby; fencing!")

4. Shadowrun. I simply loved the cyberpunk Science-Fantasy setting, what more can I say? Due to the game system it didn't feel like D&D with guns and cybernetics bolted on either, which really made this stand out for me. Of course, the complexity of certain subsytems (or so we thought at the time) like magic and all manner of additional dice pools probably caused us to miss out on part of the system's fun (we hardly used magic, except in the background, often just narratively by NPC's). I did get into a couple of books from later editions (4 or 5 I believe, where the Matrix virtual reality was superceded by augmented reality, according to some people due to the Matrix movies and computer games). But nothing compared to the memories we made in those early, second edition years.

3. Dark Dungeon. Not much to tell here. This was a custom, local roleplaying game that I rolled into. It was based on a D10, and had quite a realistic combat system (as far as we could tell in our late teens and early twenties with few other games under our belts). Or I should probably say its wounds system was gritty and realistic. Met new friends interested in something completely different, and had many laughs during three long and strong going campaigns over a couple of years, where I took it upon myself to add a few extra rules and clarifications, to the point of playing a Dark Space campaign, having made a rule subset for science fiction, space vehicles, aliens, psionics and what now, in a custom setting that put our own Earth in a neutral zone between two warring factions.

2. Dungeons and Dragons / Pathfinder. I have had a copy of the 1st edition player's handbook and game master guide, but actually really rolled into this when second edition started to appear. It was my first proper introduction into fantasy roleplay (but see below) with fully fleshed out worlds, polyhedral dice, a difficult system (one D20 roll had to be a high result to succeed, the other had to be a low result, lifting gates was a percentile roll though no one knew why, and what was up with that THAC0 anyways, getting better as it lowered, so you could hit opponents on progressively lower D20 results despite still having to roll high, unles the opponent also had a lower armor class to push up that minimum target number again). But we ploughed through and loved it. Changed with the game system to 3rd, where all rolls now had to be high rolls (except for a very few D100 rolls that were still unclear at that time). At this time D&D was going into 4th, and Paizo gave us Pathfinder to expand upon  that 3.5 edition feel. Only recently did I cancel my Adventure Path subscription, as those went into Pathfinder 2nd edition, while I didn't. I have a collection of the 4th edition books, though we rarely played it. For some reason it felt like playing World of Warcraft at the kitchen table, with timer-related resetting special abilities (even your basic sword strike was an "at-will power or maneuver" useable every round). And Magic Missile could miss... I mean... Really? How? Why? Enjoying and loving 5th edition currently. With almost every edition, we went back to wonderful worlds and settings such as the Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Planescape, back into that wonderful flight of fantasy. Also funny to see in the original post, is Adventures in Middle Earth. D&D 5th in Tolkien's world setting, with a lot of adaptation going on in there

1. Star Wars / Genesys Narrative. Speaking of Fantasy Flight... I was into Star Wars before I was into gaming. From the time of being a small child all the way into my own fatherhood now I lived, breathed, ate, watched, listend to... shall we say enjoyed Star Wars (except for most of the Disney stuff, it's an opinion). This included the West End D6 version of the roleplaying game, several D20 iterations, and now this... FFG Narrative Dice system. We love its sort of complexity, its flexibility, its presentation, its dice. Currently running an Edge group over in Discord and freaking loving it. Along came Genesys, very recognizable, yet in certain parts extremely different (Talent Pyramid Tree instead of Careers and Specializations, for example). Loving it too. If you were to ask me some ten or twenty years ago, I probably wouldn't want to stray from the numerical precission that was provided by regular dice. Now, symbol cancellation dice have worked their way up into my number 1 slot.

 

Honorable mention goes to Het Oog Des Meesters (The Dark Eye, as it is currently printed in an English translation, it was originally a German system called Das Schwarze Auge literally being The Black Eye). When I was a wee lad turning 11, my mother bought me the starter box for this roleplay game. I didn't know what it was, but I had to have it, because there was this guy on the front throwing a metal ball with spikes towards a dragon-like creature, while a scantily dressed woman lay at that man's feet (early eighties fantasy art at its finest), and it had dice on the back. Including a very strange one. A die with not 6 sides like every other die I had ever seen, but something called a "twenty-sided die". The game system in that Dutch translation at the time was as thin as a trashcompactor pressed napkin, but I enjoyed playing. Even if the only other players I had were my parents (who didn't enjoy the game, guess I have that imagination from the Milk Man or something) and one school friend  who was so young at that time, he didn't really understand anything I mentioned about "aanvalswaarde" and "trefpunten" and "Astrale energie" (and... and... and...). He simply seemed to enjoy a bit of storytelling I did, and occasionally also rolled a funny die or two. For nostalgic reasons, this would probably be my number 6 even if there were other game rule systems I played more often, for longer, and with more people that also seemed to understand game rules, imagination, and that sort of thing.

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Based on your list of narratively-driven, but not entirely-without-crunch RPGs that embrace the current trends in TTRPG game design, the only really obvious absence from your list is BLADES IN THE DARK.

 

And if you want a fantasy-skinned version of EotE, there's always its "parent", WARHAMMER FANTASY ROLEPLAY 3rd Ed

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I have been playing rpg’s on and off for about 33 years now and I have been over the moon with the output from the last couple of years. 
My personal top 5 would probably look a little bit like this:

5. First edition Warhammer Fantasy Role Play. Basically I have no recollection of the system, the details of the adventure or wven my character but it was the system I started with and fell in love with these types of gaming. 
4. Legend of the Five Rings FFG. Only played a few games so far but we are loving it. Great setting. Great system. 
3. DnD 5e. Loving everything about it. Easy to get into, lovely books and great sessions. Have been a player in a campaign for a few years and it is so much fun. 
2. Fiasco. Unique, hilarious and just the best pick up game ever made. Even the setting of the scene is just brilliant. 
1. Genesys/Star Wars. Just the best system I have ever played. 

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After ending a long-running stint of GURPS in 2013, I have run the following...

- Old World of Darkness:  great setting; messy mechanics.

- New World of Darkness:  much improved mechanically, though some of the fluff I found lacking. 

- 2nd Edition Warhammer Fantasy RP:  Fun big world; ok mechanics. 

- Dark Heresy / Black Crusade:  straightforward but somewhat bland mechanics; my players didn't enjoy the setting as much as I did. 

- WEG Star Wars:  only briefly. 

- FFG Star Wars:  core mechanics give me a headache, but the talents are flavorful and I prefer it over other options (and I love Star Wars).

- Iron Kingdoms:  just like Star Wars, I love the setting but the core mechanics leave something to be desired in my opinion. 

- Malifaux - Through the Breach:  love it; but dependency on cards, maps, and minis has it on hold until the lockdown (yes, I know that there are online alternatives, but it's not the same). 

- Planning on trying Cold & Dark to replace Dark Heresy:  mechanics are a little bland but I really love the setting. 

- Gearing up now for a D&D 5E campaign in late summer:  big improvement over 2nd Edition AD&D, which was the last incarnation of D&D that I ever touched.  

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I've been gaming for around 30 years and here's my top games list (no particular order):

Saga Edition Star Wars:  With Skill Challenges it has a lot of narrative/cinematic options.  It has a lot to offer and is a complete system.  You can play it as tactical (or not - I usually haven't) as you want and add narrative/cinematic flair all you want.  Some characters can be unbalanced (but this grip also easily applies FFG Star Wars).

FFG Star Wars: Fun game with a lot to offer (no need for detail here).  Recently finished running a ~3 year campaign which was a lot of fun.  Parts of the game took some work to get to work but I'm pleased with it.

Legend of the Five Rings - 4th Edition.  Amazing setting for role-playing.  4E is complete with a ton of options.  Balanced and fun.

The One Ring - A great character system that plays well to the themes and tropes of Lord Of The Rings.

D&D 5E - Fun and simple, well balanced.  Each class given distinct and fun options.  Current game I'm playing in (3rd campaign).

 

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11 hours ago, BrickSteelhead said:

TTRPG game design, the only really obvious absence from your list is BLADES IN THE DARK.

I do like Blades in the Dark (although I haven't played it yet).  I think I mentioned it in another post about courtroom drama. 

What is TTRPG?

11 hours ago, DanteRotterdam said:

Legend of the Five Rings FFG.

This one sounds interesting but I haven't read up much on it.  Is there magic?  Or is it a more grounded RPG in a fantasy "Asia" setting.  Are the mechanics like Genesys or EotE?

 

11 hours ago, DanteRotterdam said:

Fiasco.

Never hear of this one!  I'll look into it.

 

14 hours ago, Xcapobl said:

If I were to make some sort of top 5, it would look like this

I liked your little write-up.  Good explanations and I can see you really love those games.  It's definitely a good time to be into board games and/or RPGs.  So many options, and great people to meet who play them.

 

14 hours ago, Xcapobl said:

I was into Star Wars before I was into gaming.

Absolutely.  I think Empire was the second movie I ever saw.  I was 4 and it was life changing.  Got a Snow Trooper and  Han Solo (the superior, long sleeved figure) for Xmas that year. 

I've always loved Star Trek shows and movies but never felt interested in games set in that universe.  Weird.  I guess I'd try it.  I suppose you can choose between a number of well known species like Vulcans and Klingons etc? 

I remember browsing some Shadowrun books a long time ago.   Sounds cool.

I guess when it comes to D&D (although I did dabble in a bit of AD&D in Jr. High) or Pathfinder, I'm just not interested in the magic systems.  That's why AiME/TOR sound pretty good to me.  All the goodness of the fantasy setting without (too much) of the magic.  Too each his own.  I know a lot of people enjoy that.  I just think it's a less is more type thing and if it is used or encountered sparingly it is more mysterious and special.  For me the magic in D&D quickly loses its magic, if that makes sense.  But like I said, everyone is different, and I don't hate it, just would rather play with less of it.  Makes the games feel more corny or something (and weirdly I don't feel like that with SW, which is also admittedly, pretty corny and pulpy.  Maybe because I love LotR so much, it makes D&D feel really pulpy and derivative and b-grade.  But whatever.  I'm sure it would be tons of fun if I actually played it more).

 

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40 years here! I started around this time in 1980. I was a wee lad of almost 12 and a school buddy introduced me to AD&D.

Some of my favorite oldies from long ago...

Traveller. 1st edition. Mostly for the character creation and the way your stats and a planet's stats were in code. Well, code-ish...

Boot Hill. 1st edition. The first non-D&D game I ever purchased. Fun, fast system. I love westerns.

Twilight:2000. 1st edition. My first experience with a truly crunchy system. Loved the character creation. Loved trying to figure out vehicle armor. Oh, and rules for dysentery! Good luck. You're on your own.

Rolemaster. 1st and 2nd editions. I met Rolemaster in 1992. Never played D&D again. Of course, I haven't played Rolemaster since... 2005? Love crunchy systems. The crits were a hit. I really enjoyed the feel of fantasy as presented by RM and their canned setting Shadow World. I miss Rolemaster.

Champions. 4th edition and beyond. Another fine crunchy system. Character creation is extremely fiddly. I loved throwing handfuls of d6s on every attack. Super game! I miss Champions.

Deadlands. 1st edition. Back to westerns but with a horror twist. Loved the system. Had a very unique feel to it. The setting was simply fantastic. I miss Deadlands.

7th Sea. 1st edition.  Pirates. Swashbuckling. Sorcery. Light horror elements. A wonderful setting with a fun system. This is the first system I played where players had some real narration rights. Sometimes I miss 7th Sea.

I still have all the Deadlands and 7th Sea books. The rest are long gone. I've decluttered my gaming library over the years. I kinda wish I still had the Rolemaster books, but I don't cry myself to sleep about it. I recently picked up Champions Complete, which is the latest version of the 6th edition rules.

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Been playing for over 40 years now, not as much as I'd like because people have obligations.  But we started with D&D (the original pamphlets)...it was the only game that existed, blew my mind.  Skipped 1.0, played "Advanced" endlessly.  My parents were concerned...

If I had to rank them in terms of gameplay, that is, where you don't have to think about the rules you just get on with the story it would have to be Star Wars FFG/Genesys:  the whole narrative thing blew my mind again after years of being dissatisfied with what I learned was "antagonistic" role-play.  It's been a tough but rewarding road weaning all my players off that.

Everything else has just been tedious by comparison, mostly because nobody in my group wants to learn new rules.  I've had plenty of fun times with everything from the original D&D through D&D5 (they are ultimately simple to get going), Chivalry and Sorcery 2nd and 3rd edition (lots of flavour especially the magic system), Harnmaster (those incredible maps), and ICE's Rolemaster (those hilarious combat tables), and even Basic Roleplay (Call of Cthulhu).  But in retrospect the rules were still a chore, and often deflated the story while you tried to figure how to do something that should have been easy.

 

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8 hours ago, Vorzakk said:

Gearing up now for a D&D 5E campaign

 

2 hours ago, Jedi Ronin said:

D&D 5E - Fun and simple, well balanced. 

Hmm, yeah, a lot of you guys really do seem to like D&D.  Maybe I should give it another look.  Or maybe there is a setting with less magic... Or I suppose just play without it?! 

 

8 hours ago, Vorzakk said:

Old World of Darkness:  great setting; messy mechanics.

- New World of Darkness: 

Both of these sound cool.

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1 minute ago, Mandalore of the Rings said:

Hmm, yeah, a lot of you guys really do seem to like D&D.  Maybe I should give it another look.  Or maybe there is a setting with less magic... Or I suppose just play without it?! 

5e has been really fun.  Somebody on these boards pointed to a supplement called 5 Torches Deep that basically caps at level 6 or something and allows you to spend your XP on new Feats instead of ramping up to godhood.  I'm looking forward to trying that out soon, as I prefer grittier down-to-earth games, and really despise the game when it starts to assume everybody needs a magic flame suit and a unicorn to keep going.

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10 minutes ago, RLogue177 said:

Boot Hill.

This one and Deadlands sound interesting.  The Western setting piques my interest.  Have you looked at Dogs in the Vineyard?  That one has a western setting with really interesting pseudo religious motivations for the characters.  I watched a One Shot about it recently.

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1 minute ago, Mandalore of the Rings said:

This one and Deadlands sound interesting.  The Western setting piques my interest.  Have you looked at Dogs in the Vineyard?  That one has a western setting with really interesting pseudo religious motivations for the characters.  I watched a One Shot about it recently.

Westerns are a lot of fun. Dealands in its current form is a setting book for the Savage Worlds rules (which are actually the evolution of 1st edition Deadlands rules), but I prefer the mahclunkiness of the classic system.

Dogs in the Vineyard is interesting, but I never caught into it.

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7 hours ago, Mandalore of the Rings said:

This one sounds interesting but I haven't read up much on it.  Is there magic?  Or is it a more grounded RPG in a fantasy "Asia" setting.  Are the mechanics like Genesys or EotE?

Quite a lot of magic, though much less than D&D.  The setting is awesome, the new game is pretty great, but it's got some wonkiness. I would have trouble recommending it to people who don't study game rules.

7 hours ago, Mandalore of the Rings said:

This one and Deadlands sound interesting. 

Deadlands is fantastic, and Savage Worlds is a great system. I'm not sure if I would say it's better than Genesys, but it is so easy to pick up and run with. Deadlands is basically cowboys and zombies and sorcerers and demons and steampunk all rolled into one.

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Two more shout-outs to games with settings and mechanics that really gel with each other:

 

MUTANT: YEAR ZERO (and its derivatives, including the low-magic fantasy FORBIDDEN LANDS)

and

GAMMA WORLD 7th Ed (the one based on DnD 4e rules)

 

Both post-apocalyptic, each wildly different in tone from one another, but both full of the chaos and danger one associates with that setting.

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Posted (edited)

@Mandalore of the Rings similar situation, I played RPG's all the way through high-school but didn't play them from 1988 through to 2017/2018, mostly because I just drifted away from people that are gamers and had any interest. My wife got me XWing in 2015 and that got me back into gaming where I then met people who were interested in trying the FFG RPG out and away we went. I prefer meeting in person but the group has adjusted nicely to Discord/Roll20/WebEx, etc, and our sessions are actually tighter and more engaged(and more enjoyable). And you're spot on about the new Alien game, it's super fun - I tricked my group into thinking they were trying out Mongoose's Traveller when we were actually playing Alien, things unfolded even better than I had hoped 😛

19 hours ago, RLogue177 said:

40 years here! I started around this time in 1980. I was a wee lad of almost 12 and a school buddy introduced me to AD&D.

Some of my favorite oldies from long ago...

Traveller. 1st edition. Mostly for the character creation and the way your stats and a planet's stats were in code. Well, code-ish...

Boot Hill. 1st edition. The first non-D&D game I ever purchased. Fun, fast system. I love westerns.

Twilight:2000. 1st edition. My first experience with a truly crunchy system. Loved the character creation. Loved trying to figure out vehicle armor. Oh, and rules for dysentery! Good luck. You're on your own.

Champions. 4th edition and beyond. Another fine crunchy system. Character creation is extremely fiddly. I loved throwing handfuls of d6s on every attack. Super game! I miss Champions.

Love these four. Have played a ton of iterations of Traveller since picking up the starter set in 1984 (my first non-D&D game) and although I don't play the current Mongoose version, that's a time constraint and I have bought pretty much everything from the new line in the hope that my kids will play it with me in ten years or so. Also, Free League (who made the recent Alien game) are re-releasing Twilight 2000 (Kickstarter coming in August) and I'm just insanely excited for that. T2K was one of my favorite games/settings in the 80's and can't wait to see what they do with it. I would love to play more games but, time, real life, kids, job, it just isn't possible, so I have to content myself by just reading the books 🙂

Edited by DangerShine Designs

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20 hours ago, Mandalore of the Rings said:

I liked your little write-up.  Good explanations and I can see you really love those games.  It's definitely a good time to be into board games and/or RPGs.  So many options, and great people to meet who play them.

You're welcome. The only thing I would (half-heartedly) disagree with you about here is the meeting of people. The world-wide illness crisis and all. Of course, we play VOIP on discord, with a Genesys / SWRPG dice bot. Wonderful times, if a little distant. But that all happens between friends. I hardly find any open games (not to mention any in the same time zone).

20 hours ago, Mandalore of the Rings said:

Absolutely.  I think Empire was the second movie I ever saw.  I was 4 and it was life changing.  Got a Snow Trooper and  Han Solo (the superior, long sleeved figure) for Xmas that year. 

I was too young for Star Wars in 1977, but when Empire arrived, my parent made one little mistake. Not being native English speakers, they thought that the Star Wars New Hope and Empire "double Feature" was simply the first movie, with an extra long trailer for the second... Little young me screaming like a TIE Fighter when I ran out of the movie theater waaaaay after midnight and bedtime. Good times. It kickstarted me into Star Wars Hood.

20 hours ago, Mandalore of the Rings said:

I've always loved Star Trek shows and movies but never felt interested in games set in that universe.  Weird.  I guess I'd try it.  I suppose you can choose between a number of well known species like Vulcans and Klingons etc?

Of course. And Humans, Denobulans, Deltans, liberated Borg. Like with Star Wars, there are currently a couple of source books. New source book, new species. Including, interestingly, four books each detailing one of the galactic quadrants. Hence liberated Borg in the Delta Quadrant sourcebook, for example.

As for gaming in that universe, one of the things I find interesting is the simulationist nature of the current iteration of the Star Trek roleplay game. You start out capable, and exchange rather than grow skills and other features of your character. I haven't seen how that works out for real, but I consider it a feature, not a bug, of the system. The game can be played episodically (like The Next Generation started), or as a long campaign of linked (or not so linked) adventures (like Voyager intended). It can be stationary (like DS9 in its first seasons). The game currently is rather Federation Starfleet oriented but has info on the Enterprise era, the TOS era, and the TNG+ era.So no Klingons in TOS or before that (Federation!), certain ships and tech unavailable or altered.

But why, exactlydid you never feel interested in playing games set in the Star Trek universe, if I may ask? (besides, if applicable, simple disinterest in playing the setting.)

20 hours ago, Mandalore of the Rings said:

I remember browsing some Shadowrun books a long time ago.   Sounds cool.

As I said, I really liked the setting, and the disconnect in the game systems from D&D. It actually felt like a completely different game system (as it actually was, with dice pools), but also with different stakes due to that system (a bum with a knife could kill, try that in D&D with a lvl 1 commoner against a fully armed and armored mid or high level character). Even if it was the earlier attempt to migle fantasy with more modern tech and setting (like Fantasy creatures in Space! as Dragonstar did). Also, the disconnect from D&D became greater due to the fact that it was our own Earth, sometime in the future, and the awakening brought back all manner of creatures from legends.

Take note, on the Genesys part of these forums is a Shadowrun conversion. I like the setting, I like the Genesys system. I am used to Shadowrun being a dice pool system... See where I am going here...? Huh...? 😉

20 hours ago, Mandalore of the Rings said:

I guess when it comes to D&D (although I did dabble in a bit of AD&D in Jr. High) or Pathfinder, I'm just not interested in the magic systems.  That's why AiME/TOR sound pretty good to me.  All the goodness of the fantasy setting without (too much) of the magic.  Too each his own.  I know a lot of people enjoy that.  I just think it's a less is more type thing and if it is used or encountered sparingly it is more mysterious and special.  For me the magic in D&D quickly loses its magic, if that makes sense.  But like I said, everyone is different, and I don't hate it, just would rather play with less of it.  Makes the games feel more corny or something (and weirdly I don't feel like that with SW, which is also admittedly, pretty corny and pulpy.  Maybe because I love LotR so much, it makes D&D feel really pulpy and derivative and b-grade.  But whatever.  I'm sure it would be tons of fun if I actually played it more).

The early versions of D&D had the Vancian Magic system, where your character could only cast the spells he specifically prepared beforehand. Prepared two Magic Missiles and no Identify? Bummer if there's no combat, but a bunch of unknown magic items.

5th is a little different (adapted Vancian system), in that you still prepare a bunch of spells (as a wizard, or a few other classes), but then you have spell slots like energy reserves, so you can choose whatever you want to cast from amongst those spells prepared. Five spell slots? Cast the same prepared spell five times if needed. Same five spell slots, but you prepared five different spells and you need them all once? No problem, just cast each prepared spell once. A combination? Again, no problem, cast one spell thrice, and two different spells once each to burn through your five spell slots.

But this is why I fully (think I) understand you. Flashy spellcasting, with fireballs and lightning bolts zooming over the battlefield, aren't what LOTR is about. I too, would rather play The One Ring rather than D&D (including Adventures In Middle Earth) if I choose to play in Middle Earth. The tone, feeling, and attention to little details make the TOR game more suitable for LOTR as we interpret it. But I would not choose TOR over D&D when we want to play a Forgotten Realms game - and expect it to be corny, over the top, pulpy action. Not just to each their own (free to have the opinion of course), but a freedom to choose an appropriate system to the setting and type of game you want to play.

Star Wars RPG from FFG, for example, feels rather natural to us once we became accustomed to the "weird" dice and their "funny" symbols. It allowed us to elaborate on the narrative part of Star Wars due to its non-binary way of handling dice results. Trying to pry open the "back door" of the bunker and rolled a despair? An extra blast door closes and a bunch of Stormtroopers walk up to you, demanding surrender after they shot your girl. One of the Sith player characters makes a successful Lightsaber combat check with two threat turned into Strain, but still taking out three minion guard mooks? I describe it as the character wildly hacking left and right, felling one opponent, lowering his guard and getting punched in the face by the second guard, only to be kicked against the leg by the third, who suffers the wrath of the character too and the lightsaber is swung in a wide overhead arc. If you can handle the improvisation there, and in your description you use the Rule of Cool loosely based on the dice roll interpretations (so no "but he can't punch me in the face because he didn't make a combat check and I have a Soak of 23..."), you will never have to feel corny or pulpy, but you can imagine the cinematic Star Wars action you grew to love. At least, that is my opinion, and I have friends to play this game with who are also very content with this use of the narrative system.

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Hmm.  Where to begin...  Love all the comments, descriptions and advice but gotta make it quick this morning.

19 hours ago, Daeglan said:

L5R Legend of the 5 Rings is a Samurai drama RPG with Magic, Oni, Tengu etc. Very fun. A little Hard to get into as the game world has a LOT of depth. 

I think that would be right up my alley.  I used to be really fascinated with Japan and lived there for a year.  I also like depth, and read rules of games for fun, even ones I'm sure I'll never play... alas.

 

16 hours ago, The Grand Falloon said:

I would have trouble recommending it to people who don't study game rules.

Yup, I do do that.

 

16 hours ago, The Grand Falloon said:

so easy to pick up and run with. Deadlands is basically cowboys and zombies and sorcerers and demons and steampunk all rolled into one.

Wow.  Great recommendation.  Easy to pick up is good (not just for me but the players) and the way you described the setting is hilarious!  I'll look it up.

 

12 hours ago, BrickSteelhead said:

MUTANT: YEAR ZERO (and its derivatives, including the low-magic fantasy FORBIDDEN LANDS)

Yeah, I saw this one when I was looking at other Free League games (Alien and Tales from the Loop).  I think the mechanics are all pretty interchangeable which is a huge plus.  I good rule set with multiple settings is pretty appealing.

 

4 hours ago, DangerShine Designs said:

similar situation, I played RPG's all the way through high-school but didn't play them from 1988 through to 2017/2018, mostly because I just drifted away from people that are gamers and had any interest. My wife got me XWing in 2015

Very similar.  I quit board games in general about '98 but then was introduced to the gateway game of gateway games, while teaching in Asia...  Settlers of Catan!  (Gotta say, I hardly ever play it anymore, it's cashed, but look back on it fondly because it led me to better and better games!)  My wife has liked all the games we've had during this time but in 2016/17 she got me Imperial Assault, knowing it was just for me (she just isn't interested in that level of, dunno, nerd?  (Not saying that in a bad way, but a lot of people are happy playing Euchre and Puerto Rico, who wouldn't play IA or even more so, any RPGs..., my wife being one of them.  Although she did sort of make a character for Mouse Guard recently...  maybe?)

 

4 hours ago, DangerShine Designs said:

but, time, real life, kids, job, it just isn't possible, so I have to content myself by just reading the books 🙂

Yup.

 

3 hours ago, Xcapobl said:

The only thing I would (half-heartedly) disagree with you about here is the meeting of people. The world-wide illness crisis and all.

Oh, I agree with you there.  I meant "ideally" you can meet and play with people.  Of course not in a once a century pandemic.  We were on a holiday (we work in Asia) in the States and got stuck there because of the pandemic.  Now in Australia on government paid hotel quarantine!  Few more days to go.  Australia has taken the pandemic pretty seriously and done very well.  Unlike some other countries we've been in.  I'm praying someone comes up with a vaccine soon!  If it gives us all mutant super powers as a side effect... so be it.  Hahaha.

 

3 hours ago, Xcapobl said:

It kickstarted me into Star Wars Hood.

Hilarious.  Both A New Hope AND Empire?!  I honestly think ANH drags a bit by itself, but both together for a kid is pretty long (although as a teenager I did watch 4, 5 and 6 consecutively a few times...)

 

3 hours ago, Xcapobl said:

Denobulans, Deltans, liberated Borg.

Don't know these.  I think I quit (not because I didn't like it) sometime in the middle of DS9 (and since I haven't watched it all I won't comment on if it is good or bad!  hahaha).  Liberated Borg?!  I missed that development!  Sounds cool.

 

3 hours ago, Xcapobl said:

But why, exactlydid you never feel interested in playing games set in the Star Trek universe, if I may ask?

I guess a number of reasons.  Felt like it lacked the grit, the swashbuckle, the fantasy of Star Wars.  Really loved watching it but didn't feel interested in entering it.  I never "pretended" to be in that universe as a kid.  It seems pretty limited to space battles (although I'm sure I'm wrong, that was just my impression).  I can't imagine Cantina bar fights or ancient Sith Ruins, or even hand to hand battles near as easily.  I can imagine diplomatic counsels and treaties and technological advances in warp speed though, and it doesn't sound that interesting...  but I'd try it.  Just wouldn't be my first choice.  But sure, I've watched all of Next Gen and all of the classic Star Trek episodes, and the movies of course.  Good stuff. 

 

3 hours ago, Xcapobl said:

Take note, on the Genesys part of these forums is a Shadowrun conversion. I like the setting, I like the Genesys system

Very cool.  Will check it out.

 

3 hours ago, Xcapobl said:

But this is why I fully (think I) understand you. Flashy spellcasting, with fireballs and lightning bolts zooming over the battlefield, aren't what LOTR is about. I too, would rather play The One Ring rather than D&D (including Adventures In Middle Earth) if I choose to play in Middle Earth. The tone, feeling, and attention to little details make the TOR game more suitable for LOTR as we interpret it. But I would not choose TOR over D&D when we want to play a Forgotten Realms game - and expect it to be corny, over the top, pulpy action. Not just to each their own (free to have the opinion of course), but a freedom to choose an appropriate system to the setting and type of game you want to play.

Absolutely.  I agree with all this.  I've even read Dragonlance books and Forgotten Realms books (but admittedly it was because I had run out of Tolkien...  I'll eat a Hershey's chocolate if we're all out of Cadbury's, or maybe even drink a Bud if we're all out of Guinness?  Nah, wouldn't go that far.). 🙂

Anyhoo, fun conversations!  Thanks for all the comments.

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