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Thread: Finding New Pen & Paper Games

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    Question Finding New Pen & Paper Games

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    I was introduced to BattleTech ten years ago. I played for a few months, my friend who owned all the materials moved away, and I stopped playing. My wife and I have purchased much for BattleTech and enjoy playing as often during the week as possible (3 to 6 times per week on avg). We're very interested in learning about other Pen & Paper games though but such information is pretty hard to find. Is there any kind of listing somewhere that chronicles all of the known pen and paper games that were actually published? We're not interested in any internet only releases.

    We know many of the major games like Warhammer/40K, D&D, the entire FASA line, Star Wars, and World of Darkness. What lesser known gems are out there that are worth looking up? Any information would be most appreciated.
    Last edited by Mulsiphix; 11-19-2007 at 01:48 AM.

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    I've run into D&D, D20 Modern (same system, but in a modern setting), the Star Wars D20 game, some Ravenloft (I have the material, but never got into it for lack of a group who played it), a game called Dead Lands: Weird West, and a new friend of mine is introducing me into a game called WitchCraft.

    Oh, and I'm wanting to look into spy games like SpyCraft or something similar. Ever since I snagged the episodes from the original 1960's Mission Impossible television show, I've been dying to see how such tales of intrigue and elaborate deceptions would fit into a role-playing game.

    At any rate, welcome to PnP.

    Catch me if you can.

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    This is a perennial thread; maybe it should be a faq.

    There's a huge listing at http://index.rpg.net/, and another at http://www.pen-paper.net/rpgdb.php .

    If you want personal recommendations, I'd suggest the following:

    Spirit of the Century: a small press game set in the Pulp era, with some of the fastest and lightest game mechanics out there. I'm in a campaign now, and literally only one die roll stands between an intended action and its resolution.

    RuneQuest: A fantasy RPG only a few years younger than D&D which stands the test of time much better; its percentile dice mechanics are much more straightforward than D&D. Its current publishers, Mongoose Games, seem intent on nickel-and-diming you to death with slim hardback books, particularly on its default setting Glorantha, but if you've already got a setting in mind, translating to the RuneQuest system should be fairly simple. Mongoose also publishes alternate settings based on Moorcock's "Elric" and "Hawkmoon" series, and Fritz Leiber's "Nehwon" series.

    Call of Cthulhu: A horror game based on the works of H. P. Lovecraft and his friends/imitators, CoC uses a lighter version of the RuneQuest percentile skill system. (Chaosium plans to come out with a "generic" version of their system called Basic Roleplaying, but as Chaosium is now only four guys keeping the company alive out of sheer willpower, the promised book may be slow in coming.)

    GURPS: one of the first, if not the first, "generic" role-playing systems, it can mimic just about every genre, although in my opinion it does best with capable humans or low-powered superhumans. Currently in its fourth edition, it offers "genre" splatbooks for Fantasy, Space, and Infinite Worlds (parallel universes, alternate histories, and time travel), as well as full game worlds like Traveller's Imperium or the "Banestorm" fantasy world. Third Edition books are still available, and even if you don't play GURPS at all they're valuable introductions for settings in, for example, ancient Egypt, the planet Mars in fact and fiction, or 1950's style sci-fi horror movies.

    Having said the above, there's also some good free and PDF-only games out there. Some of them you can even get as hard copies from Lulu.com or Indie Press Revolution. Examples include The Zorceror of Zo, Truth and Justice, and the "Wushu" system, all available from http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

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    Actually, the deja vu is really kicking in, so let me ask the original poster (or anyone else)

    1. What did you like about BattleTech (or whatever)?
    2. What did you dislike about BattleTech (or whatever)?
    3. What do you enjoy about RPGs in general?
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

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    Smile

    fmitchell I greatly appreciate you taking the time to respond in detail. As for the questions in your last post:

    1. What did you like about BattleTech (or whatever)?
    I enjoy many things about BattleTech. I enjoy the fact that you can play with a GM or just as a stand alone strategy game. Its awesome that so many quality scenario packs were released and the 63 novels really help bring the universe alive.

    In the end I truly appreciate that it is something that takes a while to play. Far to many games are heavy on strategy but are far to short, like your average Magic The Gathering card game. Even worse are the games that take a very long time to play but lose the factors that made them fun about halfway through the game. The rest of the time is usually one player waiting for the other to completely crush them with little chance of them being able to make a comeback (monopoly is a perfect example in my opinion). BattleTech is very much like Magic The Gathering. Even when things look the most grim and you figure your down and out... BAM!!! you have a great turn that totally puts you back in the game. Games that truly give all players involved the sense of "It's Never Over Until It's Over" are my favorite cup of tea.

    BattleTech does all of this and with such grace. Rarely do I play a game of BattleTech and feel cheated out of my time. The fact it was going for 16 years doesn't hurt it either. There were so many products released for it the universe is really fleshed out. Once you run out of material, something that would take years in and of itself, the universe is open enough that you could create infinite scenarios and campaigns until the day you die.

    The hardest thing I've found with getting into other PnP's is that a GM/DM is required to be able to truly enjoy the game. Games that don't require a GM but allow for skirmishes without a story are usually too basic for my tastes. Good examples of this would be Warhammer, Warhammer 40K, and Vor The Maelstrom.

    2. What did you dislike about BattleTech (or whatever)?
    Not much. Only complaint I have is that I don't have any friends, beyond my wife of course, that play the game. When I was introduced to it I played with 3 to 4 other people which made the battles even more strategic. I guess the fact that its not made by FASA kind of sucks because I enjoy their work so much but it has been picked up again by a new company. Since Catalyst has updated the FASA rules I haven't paid their BattleTech product lineup much attention. No plan to anytime soon since FASA produced 130+ games and suppliments for BattleTech alone.

    3. What do you enjoy about RPGs in general?
    Being sucked into a universe that is different from my own. I don't feel the need to escape the universe I am in but visits to other places are very nice indeed. I love being moved by a story, but I enjoy being able to affect that story even more. Growing up I was a huge console gamer and RPG's were my favorite genre. The problem with videogames is you can only choose the paths that the creators have set aside for you to follow. You can only be spontaneous in ways that the programmers have anticipated you might want to be.

    In PnP nothing is for certain and the story changes completely based on the decisions and choices you make. In the end I always end up playing videogame RPG's alone as they are long and most people don't enjoy watching me level endlessly with multiple hour or even entire day long gaps in between storyline progression. I was a loner growing up, still very much am, but I really enjoy the social aspect of PnP gaming.
    Last edited by Mulsiphix; 11-19-2007 at 01:48 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fmitchell View Post
    RuneQuest: A fantasy RPG only a few years younger than D&D which stands the test of time much better; its percentile dice mechanics are much more straightforward than D&D. Its current publishers, Mongoose Games, seem intent on nickel-and-diming you to death with slim hardback books, particularly on its default setting Glorantha, but if you've already got a setting in mind, translating to the RuneQuest system should be fairly simple. Mongoose also publishes alternate settings based on Moorcock's "Elric" and "Hawkmoon" series, and Fritz Leiber's "Nehwon" series.
    I do like RuneQuest and I think they've done a good job with their recent, update of the rules, but I have to agree with you there fmitchell, it does appear that they are looking to nickel-and-dime you with all the books they're coming out with. Course, I only needed the Deluxe book, because I have my own setting, I don't really like most of the magic systems they use, I really like the DnD monsters better and the only other book I'm really looking at getting from them is the equipment book.

    Most everything else I'll be using will need to be converted by me to the RQ system. Good thing I'm not running a campaign using RQ for another year or more!
    Skunk
    a.k.a. Johnprime



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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz View Post
    Oh, and I'm wanting to look into spy games like SpyCraft or something similar. Ever since I snagged the episodes from the original 1960's Mission Impossible television show, I've been dying to see how such tales of intrigue and elaborate deceptions would fit into a role-playing game.
    For additional source material, check a book called "Danger International" put out for the Hero System. It's just a lot of good information in regards to spy and espionage type games.

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    i would check out gaming companies and see if they have free quick start rules.
    Check out The chronicles of Ramlar, the company has quick start rules and the game is fairly simple and easy to learn.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skunkape View Post
    I do like RuneQuest and I think they've done a good job with their recent, update of the rules, but I have to agree with you there fmitchell, it does appear that they are looking to nickel-and-dime you with all the books they're coming out with. Course, I only needed the Deluxe book, because I have my own setting, I don't really like most of the magic systems they use, I really like the DnD monsters better and the only other book I'm really looking at getting from them is the equipment book.
    Even the Deluxe book is a bit of overkill: the core book should be sufficient EXCEPT they released some updates to the rules which the Deluxe book contains (although I haven't verified), but the old core book doesn't.

    Arms and Equipment is OK, especially since it gives stats for everything from stone-age weapons to gunpowder, and katanas to clockwork. However, since I own a bunch of GURPS books, I still wonder if I wouldn't have been better off converting bits I needed from GURPS. Then again, I tend to be long on cash and short on time.

    If you want to go the ultra-cheap route, you can download the RuneQuest SRD off Mongoose's site. The SRD lacks some details -- e.g. what a Rune Priest or Rune Lord is, and many examples -- but at least it's free, and up to date. In my copious free time I'm thinking of putting together my own RuneQuest player's pack with just the parts of the SRD I'm using, plus bits I glom on for the game I'm always planning to run someday.
    "On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
    - Charles Babbage (1791 - 1871)

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    Quote Originally Posted by fmitchell View Post
    If you want to go the ultra-cheap route, you can download the RuneQuest SRD off Mongoose's site. The SRD lacks some details -- e.g. what a Rune Priest or Rune Lord is, and many examples -- but at least it's free, and up to date. In my copious free time I'm thinking of putting together my own RuneQuest player's pack with just the parts of the SRD I'm using, plus bits I glom on for the game I'm always planning to run someday.
    Yeah, I grabbed those before deciding if I wanted to buy the Deluxe book. Since I don't own the original core, I can't tell you for sure if there is much difference between the two. As far as a player's pack, I'm working on something similar.

    My only worry is that whatever house rules I'm adding will be balanced with the rest of the game! Course, I'm sure my players will let me know and we'll just have to playtest during the campaign till I get them right!
    Skunk
    a.k.a. Johnprime



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    i found some interesting new games out there at have quick start rules. check it out, they have three different games.
    http://www.indarkalleys.com/

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    http://www.gunmage-rpg.com/downloads.htm

    check it out its in beta.

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    I bookmarked the other link you gave me but completely forgot about it . I'll check both of these out right now. Thanks so much for the linkage ^_^

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    heres another one i found will looking for some kind of xmas present.

    http://www.newdarkage.net/synopsis.html

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    theres another one i found for you Scifi people, looks pretty good and is free: called ICAR. http://www.icar.co.uk/

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