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Your favourite pnp/tabletop RPG

Discussion in 'Dungeons & Dragons + Other RPGs' started by Caradhras, May 5, 2008.

  1. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    For many years I have collected many different RPGs first in French when I was a kid and then in English (it was certainly an incentive at the time to learn the language).
    I have fond memories of games and campaigns with my friends as we were growing up.

    I haven't played much tabletop RPGs Lately, it's getting way more difficult to gather a bunch of friends who are no longer living in the same areas (and even countries) and who have become adults and enjoy(!) things such as a job (or lack of a proper one) or (even worse) a family and whose responsibilities no longer allow for rolling the dice during countless hours while fending off starvation and thirst on crips and fizzy drinks (and later on beer).

    Still it certainly had an impact on my life and I guess I wouldn't be the same person if it hadn't been for these countless hours spent on quests and mysteries throughout time and fantasy realms.

    I realize many of the posters here have an experience with regular RPGs before CRPGs were so common.

    I made this thread so we could discuss which games influenced us the most and what are/were the games that we really like(d).

    Here is a pretty exhaustive list.

    _______________________________________________________________

    I'll start with one of the games that was really important to me when I was a kid (and when you think about the setting and the universe you easily realize that it makes sense without alluding to Freudian psychoanalysis). That game was Stormbringer. Based on Moorcock's early novels about Elric the Necromancer. It featured the Young Kingdoms, a world facing its impending doom at the hands of the Lords of Chaos.

    The game was published in France more than 20 years ago. We were lucky because it was the first project of the publisher and they really wanted to make a high quality product. Not only was the translation from the original English text flawless, they improved on the illustrations by enlisting many French artists who did a great work bringing the specificity of the game to the light and insuring its success in France and later on a "mythic" status as one of the few games to stand comparison with Dungeons and Dragons in matter of popularity among gamers in France.

    Stormbringer was very similar to Call of Cthulhu and bore some similarities to Runequest (without being as complicated as its forebearer). It established itself as a very different breed of RPGs.

    Moorcock created Elric of Melniboné as the anti-Conan, a Necromancer who summoned the most powerful Dukes of Hell, a prince who chose not to become an emperor (whereas Conan wanted to be a king) and a man whose blood was so weak that he couldn't survive without his vampiric dark sword, Stormbringer.

    The game was an anti DnD. No puny elves and no sturdy dwarves. It was bloody and violent. Heroes could seldom be told apart from villains and contrary to DnD you didn't have to play for months to get a powerful character. There was no levelling system (but an effective skill system inherited from Runequest) and at character creation your luck decided whether you were a mighty non human sorcerer from Melniboné or a miserable beggar from Nadsokor afflicted with many disabilities...

    It was also one of the first games in which you would expect your characters to face a violent death and in which a character who survived a few games would be a real veteran with the scars (both physical and psychological) to show for it.

    All in all, this game had an attitude. It was loud, it was violent and it was fun. It was a gateway to a realm of Chaos without limitations, a world without alignments in which you could be truly heroic if you tried hard enough but a world in which being heroic meant accepting to pay a hefty price for it.

    I played many RPGs over the years, and although I enjoyed many different settings and games, none marked me as much as this one did. It was dark and unsettling and although I was (and still am) a big fan of Tolkien's work I harbour a certain fondness for the raw unpolished world of Elric the Necromancer (and the other Eternal Champions in Moorcock's multiverse).

    Links:

    The original Stormbringer box.

    The original French game master screen.

    The French cover for the best Stormbringer campaign ever.
     
  2. Gnarfflinger

    Gnarfflinger Wiseguy in Training

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    Naturally most of my playing time has been taken by the variants of D&D, but I still like Car Wars. The idea of having a car with various weapons blowing things up. Sure the rules were mora about Combat, and there was little RP, but I really wish I could keep players together to play that one once in a while.

    In the mid 1990's, there was a WWF based RPG (it was still WWF then), I did have to modify a few things to make it playable, but those I played it with enjoyed it. Another company has the liscence and put out at least one book using the d20 rules in a WWE setting. I at least want to see it in action. I may need to modify that too, but at least I'll be able to play an RPG in the WWE setting...
     
  3. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    DnD is a good game, the original (not advanced) was the first RPG I've ever read. Some concepts were a little bit complicated to master for a 10 year old. I must confess that I got more mileage from other games, my interest for ADnD was renewed in the late 90s because of my best friend's interest for the game. IMO Player's Options: Skills and Powers for 2E was a great improvement without losing the soul of the game. I never liked 3E since I felt it had strayed too far and was basically meant to be another way to make a quick buck (more than a $ actually) by rewriting and republishing all that stuff.

    I also believe that the D20 system was a big mistake. It suppressed creativity and as a consequence there were no longer original game systems. In that respect the D20 version of Call of Cthulhu was an abomination, the original CoC was elegant, simple and effective. There was only one reason for transforming it: to harvest money and to appeal to the masses (since the D20 system is based on the assumption that RPers/gamers are too lazy or too dumb to master different rulesets). But then I'm starting to rant.

    Car Wars wasn't an RPG but it was a lot of fun. Over here we got lucky enough since the rules were translated and compilated in the French version by the best and most prolific French RPG designer (Croc, the author In Nomine Satanis/Magna Veritas).
    I remember drawing my own circuits and arenas... I spent long hours creating hundreds of vehicles and developing rules to add RPG elements to the game. Back then I used to sleep with my calculator, a pencil and my Car Wars books ;).
     
  4. Aikanaro Gems: 31/31
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    I'm quite a fan of The Pool and Shadows

    Had I anyone to game with, there are a multitude of systems I would buy and they would probably quickly make this list. As is, online and free is all I do.
     
  5. Erod Gems: 14/31
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    Interesting question and a difficult one to answer. I would have to say that the favourites vary, as someone always comes up with a new game/system to try out. But there are three which always stand out from the rest, Shadowrun, Weapons of the Gods and World of Darkness (2.0). Others worth mentioning are Heavy Gear and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying.

    Shadowrun for your standard cyberpunk setting. It has evolved quite nicely for the latest (4th) edition and is fun to play (who does not like cyberpunk?). Although the rule system can fight back sometimes, especially if you have to use all of it. Also there is a lot of work for the GM if you run a massive game.

    Weapons of the Gods is a wuxia RPG. The setting is an ancient fantasy history version of China. Basically the same as where the various wuxia movies are set. The game uses its own rule system, which is good and has some unique features. Naturally, it works great for all the kung fu action, but can get a bit confusing in larger battles. So if you like wuxia, check this one!

    The World of Darkness does probably not need any introductions. I especially like the vampires, but everything goes. Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying is great for not so serious playing. Whereas Heavy Gear is quite hardcore when you combine the RPG with the tactical tabletop wargame.

    Finally, there is no D&D/d20 listed here. That is because I (and the groups I am usually playing with) do not like it. We have had a few runs with D&D and some games using the d20 system. But all have ended almost as soon as they began. IMHO, d20 only works for computer games :-).
     
  6. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    I played many games with Warhammer Fantasy RPG, that game has an attitude as well. I loved the Renaissance feel it has. The Old World with all the chaos and the corruption is a great setting.

    Never actually played Shadowrun although I read the rules and found it interesting. IMHO Cyberpunk 2020 was more iconic (especially considering Gibson's novels).

    The World of Darkness is such a huge patchwork. Its world is so convoluted it's almost funny. The system can be abused in many ways, I've seen players who tried to bring RPing to the level of an art form (in my book anyone who starts comparing RPing with art has serious problems and should seek help) and other players who well how to phrase this, redefined munchkin abuse, powergaming to the limit and turning the game (whether Vampire or Werewolf or Mage or whatever) into a superhero game...

    It's the first time I hear about Weapons of the Gods, I checked the official site, you can download some Pdf files that introduce the setting and the ruleset (from what I've seen) it's quite interesting, I'm going to have a look at these. From what I've seen so far it reminds me of Exalted.
     
  7. Gnarfflinger

    Gnarfflinger Wiseguy in Training

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    D20 system focuses more on rules because it acknowledges that players will, for the most part, do as they bloody well please, rather than play boxed modules. Sure these are for sale, but the focus is more on the rules. The creativity is to be supplied by the players themselves, not the company. With the exception of my RPGA days, that's mostly what I did anywayfor as long as I've been DM ing--half the time I don't even have notes!
     
  8. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    When you know what you're doing as a game master you can improvise a lot.
    I remember starting a game with my friends without having a clue as to what the story would be like. I had a certain number of NPCs and locations but no established plan. Talk about non linearity. The players decided to go to an inn, when nobody showed up to ask them for a job (what a typical start that would have been) they began to look for places to visit (and rob) and soon they got involved in a plot that was of their making (resulting from their decisions rather than my ideas for a scenario).
    Definitely a great way to enjoy a game, although you need players who are actually capable of taking action without being spoon fed a mission or a quest.
     
  9. Gnarfflinger

    Gnarfflinger Wiseguy in Training

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    I had a few overall story ideas to spring on my players, just general jobs that various nobles, temples or merchants, even criminal organizations wanted them to do. And I sprung them on the players when they wanted something to do. Some such factions would also become enemies at the drop of the hat too. The most interesting one happened whent he guy playing his first game with me as a GM took his money from the first adventure and went to the brothel. He got a dirty companion and had to do a "favour" to get the potion to cure the trouble...
     
  10. Sir Fink Gems: 13/31
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    My favorite was Champions, a super hero RPG. The rules were really air-tight and you could create essentially any kind of character you could dream up. It only used six-sided dice which kept things simple. I really liked that it forced you to create a balanced character so you not only had awesome powers but weaknesses, just like any good comic book character. It also didn't have leveling or experience points though your characters did gain in power over time, it was very gradual and that was never the focus of the game.

    My friends and I back then were all into super hero comic books and so the game meshed really well with our interests. We had a whole world dreamed up with dozens of heroes and villains. There's an MMORPG based on Champions currently in development and I'm hoping it will let me re-live those fun times of my youth.
     
  11. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    I remember reading about Champions but I never got a chance to play it, I checked wikipedia for information about Champions Online and its release date is scheduled for 2009... Sir Fink you'll have to be really patient!
     
  12. martaug Gems: 23/31
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    i always found rifts enjoyable. you could play as high powered or low as you wanted.
    also nightbane was pretty cool, changing into a decomposing bear with nails sticking out of your skin was kinda strange.
     
  13. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    Never played either, Rifts didn't seem so popular this side of the Atlantic but the concept is attractive (I played Torg which bear some similarities unless I'm mistaken). Nightbane's cover reminds me of the art of Dark Sun, is it by Brom? It looks vaguely familiar.
     
  14. Gnarfflinger

    Gnarfflinger Wiseguy in Training

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    Played Rifts a few times, but when you look at something that looks cool, but is way under powered, you really get marginalized fast. We just about got a game of Champions going once, but I had to move before the game really got going. I tried to go for a psychic. I have some books for Torg, and it sounds really interesting, but never had a chance to play it.

    Another game I enjoyed as a diversion was Paranoia. It was a laugh riot with the right group...
     
  15. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    The Computer is Your Friend. :D
     
  16. Gnarfflinger

    Gnarfflinger Wiseguy in Training

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    And the advice of Stay alert! Trust Noone! and keep your laser handy! also works for playing Civ IV on a crowded map...
     
  17. Register Gems: 29/31
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    Huge fan of Coriolis, Mutant 2e, Noir, Drakar och Demoner(Dragons and Demons): Trudvang, and Neo-Tech 2.
     
  18. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    Only heard about Noir (but never played it). Register could you tell us a little more about these games?
     
  19. Register Gems: 29/31
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    Coriolis: A new game, only a few months old. It's a Sci-Fi RPG with the twist that it isn't Anglian-based or Asian-based; the culture it's developed from is the Moorish one. Very realistic combat and mechanics.

    Mutant: Undergångens Arvtagare: A post-apocalyptic RPG made by the same people that made Coriolis.

    Noir: Dark Noir-themed game set in an original world; lost of dystopican corporations and damsels in distress. Good mechanics, too.

    Drakar och Demoner - Trudvang: Fantasy RPG with main sources from Viking Scandinavia, Medieval England, and Tolkien Gondor.

    Neo-Tech 2: Cyberpunk game set mostly in Europe and Scandinavia; no magic though which is great.

    All of the games are in Swedish only though.
     
  20. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    Thanks Register. Now I understand why I haven't heard of these games. ;)
     
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