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  Click here to go to the first special guest post in this thread.   Thread: Old school gamer seeking new school advice!

  1. #1
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    Old school gamer seeking new school advice!

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    Im in my mid 30's and have been gaming since i could talk. Played DnD for the first time in 1979 with my older cousins and have been playing rpgs off and on since.

    For the past 15 years ive been a player in a rotating WoD game with an awesome GM and lots of different players. I realized a couple of weeks ago I had a bunch of stories I wanted to tell. So now Im looking at putting together a game for my group and allowing my longtime gm friend a break to play a little.

    So now im looking for a system to use and tweak for myself. Ive noticed a lot of debate on here about systems so I thought I would list what im looking for and maybe some of you more experienced gamers could offer suggestions?

    Well here we go:

    The story I want to tell is coming of age story set in a space western setting.

    The inhabitants will be mostly human with the chance of some alien

    It will be a heavily RP game but needs an effective but not overly complicated combat system.

    Im looking for a skill based system.

    The power level will be "agent" level with the powerbase tied mostly to robust technology options. I want technology to be the reward and the "leveling up" experience

    I would like some basis for vehicle combat.

    Well this is what I have right now... would love any input!

    Thanks
    B

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    Diaspora may be right up your alley, there. It's FATE-based, which is skill-based and has all sorts of conflicts resolved using the same mechanical system. It has varying tech levels and rules for tiered gear, and a side section for alien species. There's also the SRD online, so you can peruse how the rules flow.

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    I can recommend Hero System and GURPS since they are multiple genre toolkits. They do not have a setting attached to the core rules, but they do sell setting books. There's a lot of hard work when using both systems because you have to create all the equipment, vehicles, etc... by hand (literally) or using their respective character creation software. The difficulty is pre-loaded upfront in the actual creation of the world to the creation of characters.

    Character creation is as open as you want it to be. You can let players choose what they want their characters to be and let them select freely from the skill list. If you want a more structured approach both systems use package deals for jobs, races, culture, etc... The package deals contain only the basics the character needs for the core of the package and can flesh out their character with additional skills etc...

    The actual game mechanics are quite easy to grasp that follow the same procedure for skills to combat, except for handling damage. Depending upon the realism you want you pick the rules that suit your game style best. The best part of all both systems is all you need is the core rules to run anything from superheroes to horror to pulp or any combination you want.

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    Thank you both for the responses!

    I took a look at the diaspora links provided and its very intriguing. I a was wondering if there there was either a transcription of play or some sort of video so I can watch gameplay. My biggest concern is that it appears to be a bit more abstraqct than my group may be comfortable with. As much as I would like them to be more freeform I'm not sure we are there yet.

    I have a lot of experience with hero system playing supers but I should investigate it for scifi. Gurps intrigues me but I don't know much about it. The stigma I've seen associated with it is that is overly complicated... what's your feedback on that?

    Thanks again
    B

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    Quote Originally Posted by reichugo View Post
    Thank you both for the responses!

    I took a look at the diaspora links provided and its very intriguing. I a was wondering if there there was either a transcription of play or some sort of video so I can watch gameplay. My biggest concern is that it appears to be a bit more abstraqct than my group may be comfortable with. As much as I would like them to be more freeform I'm not sure we are there yet.

    I have a lot of experience with hero system playing supers but I should investigate it for scifi. Gurps intrigues me but I don't know much about it. The stigma I've seen associated with it is that is overly complicated... what's your feedback on that?

    Thanks again
    B
    It's only as complicated as you make it to be. Is it difficult? Yes, but only on the front end which is world design and character creation. On the actual running it's pretty simple, much more simple than other so-called easy systems. If you have questions about Hero System feel free to ask me and I'll try to answer them as best I can.

    In my personal experience of being in rpgs, out of all the systems I've played since 1984; the only one that I keep coming back to is Hero System. It does everything I need it to and it's a logically written system. I love Hero System so much that I'm writing a setting book for it.

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    Richard,

    So this is a pretty basic question but I thought I would ask you as you seem very well versed in HERO.

    How would you run a game in that system where everyone is basically innately human but the technology carries the abilities?

    Like I said above I have all my experience in Champions and cant really wrap my head around how that game works in a non super setting.

    Thanks again for all your input!

    B

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    Quote Originally Posted by reichugo View Post
    I took a look at the diaspora links provided and its very intriguing. I a was wondering if there there was either a transcription of play or some sort of video so I can watch gameplay. My biggest concern is that it appears to be a bit more abstraqct than my group may be comfortable with. As much as I would like them to be more freeform I'm not sure we are there yet.
    It's not so much that it's freeform, but that it places importance on different things. With the Fate point economy, it gives players the ability to dictate when something will be mechanically important, instead of being the consistent modifiers other games might make 'em. It also assumes the players *want* to be more involved in the narration side of things, which not all actually do :P

    Dug up a few first-session actual play threads over on rpg.net, though nothing that seems to show the meat of the mechanics ...
    [Diaspora] War and Pieces
    [Diaspora] The Rynox Cluster
    [Diaspora] AP with kids

    ... and one that isn't so much an actual play, but might be mined for better understanding of FATE (specifically, Diaspora's flavor).
    Selling you on Diaspora

    I'll see if I can find something crunchier, by way of rules illustrations.

    Whatever way ya end up going, hope you and your group have fun ^_^ (And post the results~)

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    Thanks so much sascha!

    Ill check those links after work I appreciate your legwork!


    B

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    Quote Originally Posted by reichugo View Post
    Richard,

    So this is a pretty basic question but I thought I would ask you as you seem very well versed in HERO.

    How would you run a game in that system where everyone is basically innately human but the technology carries the abilities?

    Like I said above I have all my experience in Champions and cant really wrap my head around how that game works in a non super setting.

    Thanks again for all your input!

    B
    I would build all the powers as a Focus and depending upon what you think is fair for that equipment. Under the Focus section in the Power Advantages Steve Long wrote up a series of questions to help a person define what exactly that they want. Just remember that Hero System is built from the ground up on Reasoning From Effect. I would recommend you buy the Hero System Equipment Guide since it goes into detail on how to build weapons, equipment, and other items. Since this is a science fiction setting Star Hero would also be a good purchase.

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    I would strongly recommend Cortex as it was initially created to support the penultimate space western - Firefly. The rules are much simpler that GURPS or HERO and are extremely flexible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skygalleons View Post
    I would strongly recommend Cortex as it was initially created to support the penultimate space western - Firefly. The rules are much simpler that GURPS or HERO and are extremely flexible.
    I was going to suggest Cortex as well.
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    I would say Cortex (Firefly) or Savage Worlds with the Deadlands book. The original Deadlands had such a great cowboy feel and I think the Savage Worlds version has 80% of that. Being Savage Worlds you could easily add in the space bits. Explorer edition is just $10 but any savings you got over Firefly will be then lost and then some on getting the Deadlands book for it.
    Playing: Pathfinder
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    So i guess my question now is:

    What are the pros and cons of the 5 systems listed?

    hero
    gurps
    diaspora
    cortex
    savage world

    also I think im looking mostly for the system and not the setting issues as im comfortable with creating most of it.

    thanks again for all your input!

    b

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    I can offer my two bits on the topic.

    Hero
    Pros: great system, flexible, well established, and detailed.
    Cons: LONG Chargen process, crunchy, min/maxers paradise

    gurps
    Pros: You want to find a rule for ANYTHING, and I mean anything, GURPS can provide it, very detailed, extremely well supported
    Cons: The poster child for crunchy, grossly complex, math intensive

    diaspora: I know nothing about this game, so I must defer comment.

    cortex
    Pros: Rules lite, extremely flexible, easy to learn
    Cons: The system is so flexible that it can confuse a new GM, as written the ship/vehicle rules are weak, combat isn't initially intuitive. (The website http://www.cortexsystemrpg.org has extensive fan material to fix these last two).

    savage world: I don't know much about SW beyond it being the foundation of Cortex.

    I hope that helps.

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    My personal pet peeve is when people bash a system and not tell the complete truth in order to sell their favorite system. The other pet peeve is people passing their opinion off as fact and using out dated rules to prove their opinion. Any system can be min-maxed from my experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Skygalleons View Post
    I can offer my two bits on the topic.

    Hero
    Pros: great system, flexible, well established, and detailed.
    Cons: LONG Chargen process, crunchy, min/maxers paradise
    I believe you are speaking about 4E and 5E, but in 6E the min/maxing paradise was basically removed with the decoupling of figured characteristics. Character generation is about the same as any other system when you're not used to it. Character generation takes about an hour tops with Hero Designer. The only real con to Hero System is that it's difficulty is in the front end of character creation and world design, which is due to the sheer amount of options available. It's a unified rule set with no exceptions put into it. Running games is pretty simple and use the same mechanics for everything, except for damage.

    There is a plethora of fan material that is available especially on Killer Shrike's webpage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Skygalleons View Post
    gurps
    Pros: You want to find a rule for ANYTHING, and I mean anything, GURPS can provide it, very detailed, extremely well supported
    Cons: The poster child for crunchy, grossly complex, math intensive
    GURPS is pretty much similar to Hero except that it's not a reason from effect system. GURPS is a combination of what Hero System can do, but uses some exception based rules. The only time I've seen the math get grossly complex is when you're designing vehicles, but from what I've heard is that those rules have been redone in 4E.

    Quote Originally Posted by Skygalleons View Post
    cortex
    Pros: Rules lite, extremely flexible, easy to learn
    Cons: The system is so flexible that it can confuse a new GM, as written the ship/vehicle rules are weak, combat isn't initially intuitive. (The website http://www.cortexsystemrpg.org has extensive fan material to fix these last two).
    You left out that in Cortex it is unable to handle a character like River or any character that is overly complex or powerful. The rules for vehicle combat are non-existent or do not work as intended. This is something the game designer, Cam Banks, publicly admits to Cortex having those severe failures in the rules. The more experienced a character gets the greater chance of failure they have because of the way you start with a 1d4 and go up from there. The rules aren't unified and in order to get all the rules you have to buy all of the various renditions of the Cortex System like Buffy, BSG, Firefly, etc...
    Last edited by Richard Littles; 01-22-2010 at 12:00 PM.

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