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Thread: Game System Question

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    Game System Question

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    I've actually been considering not going with D&D at all right now. 3.5 seems very complicated and I'm not too happy about 4E being right around the corner and having to possibly learn it as well. Just waiting until 4E is released and seeing how the current D&D population feels about it is fine by me. I want to learn a simpler system in the mean time and GURPS looks like it might fit the bill. There is also True20 and Omni Sytem to consider as well. Is D20 the same as 3.5 rule wise or is it a little less complicated than 3.5? Any feedback would be most appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mulsiphix View Post
    I want to learn a simpler system in the mean time and GURPS looks like it might fit the bill. There is also True20 and Omni Sytem to consider as well. Is D20 the same as 3.5 rule wise or is it a little less complicated than 3.5? Any feedback would be most appreciated.
    Depends what you mean by simpler:

    GURPS is simpler in the sense of having consistent mechanics and making miniatures combat (and many other rules) entirely optional. It's emphatically not simpler in terms of character generation; creating a character using all the advantages/disadvantages/skills/etc. from the Basic Set is like drinking from a firehose. I'd start with the free "GURPS Lite" rules, and then introduce parts of the Basic Set as needed ... that would get you used to the system, and if you don't like what's in the free rules, you can save yourself $75 for the full Basic Set (never mind genre books).

    True20 is a simplified version of d20, with only three basic "roles" (classes) and a few other innovations. It's not a bad system, and it might give you a comparison with "orthodox" D&D.

    "d20" is, itself, the Open Gaming License rules of D&D 3.5, plus the Open Gaming License rules of "d20 Modern". The raw System Reference Documents (SRDs) themselves are more for game designers than players; I'd look into published variants like Spycraft (itself notoriously over-detailed), Star Wars Saga Edition, or Etherscope.

    Another possibility is to try 1st and 2nd ed. D&D. You can find some materials cheap at used bookstores, and others available as PDFs on RPGNow. Or, you can try "old-school" revivals like "Castles and Crusades".
    "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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    GURPS is just as complicated as D&D 3.X? I figure if I'm going to learn a game system right now GURPS would probably serve me better as I am more interested in world building than playing modules and even super detailed settings like Ptolus. After reading over half of Ptolus I find such a detailed setting almost limiting. I'm interested in a lot of different genres but don't have enough time right now to learn multiple systems like D&D, Storyteller, GURPS, Exalted, etc... In this way GURPS seems like it would serve my interests better. After what you just said though I admit I am a little hesitant to pick up something that is so rule heavy...

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    It really depends on what you are looking to do with it. Are you going to just create a high fantasy world? Or do you want something that will allow you to create a campaign in any genre with possible cross-overs?

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    The problem with me choosing my first pen and paper RPG is that I want to play so many different settings. I find flaws in all systems and it is usually the universe or setting that really draws me in. Ever since I started researching pen and papers I have fantasized about having a universe full of different types of settings. These could be on one wonky planet or different planets that you travel too. I also really like sci-fi and space travel. I want to play in western, horror, fantasy, cyberpunk, and sci-fi worlds. The problem with D&D is that it is generally a fantasy setting and the majority of what I found appealing was D20 content which had its own set of rules.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fmitchell View Post
    GURPS is simpler in the sense of having consistent mechanics and making miniatures combat (and many other rules) entirely optional. It's emphatically not simpler in terms of character generation; creating a character using all the advantages/disadvantages/skills/etc. from the Basic Set is like drinking from a firehose.
    Don't get me wrong; I have a soft spot for GURPS. Once you know what you're doing, and what to ignore, then it's far more versatile than D&D. It's also far simpler in play: no Attacks of Opportunity or special Grapple rules, just roll 3d6 and get at or under a target number to do what you want. (Sometimes computing that target number gets hairy if you pile in a whole bunch of ranged combat rules, but there's nothing stopping a GM from simply eyeballing a penalty.)

    But yes, GURPS has four primary characteristics, four or more secondary characteristics, and nearly a book full of skills, spells, advantages, and disadvantages all bought with a number of character points. Furthermore, you can enhance or limit advantages, disadvantages, and sometimes characteristics for a certain percentage discount or premium. So, in character generation alone, GURPS often loses people.

    On the plus side, the complexity of character generation lies mainly in the number of options. One way to restrict those options is to start with the "GURPS Lite" rules, which offers the most common advantages, disadvantages, and skills for "merely" human players (plus Jumper, to tie into the default "parallel universe" setting). However, you could also read over the Basic Set with an eye toward a particular genre, and figure out which skills, advantages, and disadvantages fit into that genre. (E.g., in hard science fiction, Magical Aptitude is out, but Zero-G Tolerance is in.) Each (dis)advantage is coded for whether it's physical, mental, or social, and whether it requires the existence of supernatural powers, an unusual physique, or (in the case of disadvantages) villainous or antisocial behavior.

    Also, once you have a character made, actual game play is pretty smooth.
    "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 Mulsiphix View Post
    GURPS is just as complicated as D&D 3.X?
    No, it's more complicated at the front end, less complicated in play.

    GURPS and Hero both are skill based systems. there are no classes. YOu build your character on a point total. Your GM tells you how many points. Each skill bought cost points the better the skill the more points it costs. You can get even more points by buying disadvantages that cost negitive points. However they disadvantage you.

    Hero started as the Champions superhero game and is still best suited to that role. GURPS is geared more to heroic characters. Either system can handle just about anything, but you need a math degree to build a character.

    GURPS genre books are worth every penny. I have a good dozen or more and I don't even play the game. Steve doesn't care, I buy his books.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
    My favorite game console is a table and chairs.
    The Olde Phoenix Inn

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mulsiphix View Post
    The problem with me choosing my first pen and paper RPG is that I want to play so many different settings. I find flaws in all systems and it is usually the universe or setting that really draws me in. Ever since I started researching pen and papers I have fantasized about having a universe full of different types of settings. These could be on one wonky planet or different planets that you travel too. I also really like sci-fi and space travel. I want to play in western, horror, fantasy, cyberpunk, and sci-fi worlds. The problem with D&D is that it is generally a fantasy setting and the majority of what I found appealing was D20 content which had its own set of rules.
    Well, this sheds new light on the subject.

    Since you have no system bias yet, then you do have many choices. The beauty of gaming today is that most companies offer a 'lite' version or free sneak peak at their rules systems.

    Also, it would seem that you have no bias regarding game mechanics approach- either class-and-level systems, skill-based systems, or point-based systems.

    GURPS is an excellent system. I played the 3rd edition for years. It can be crunchy at first, but once you are used to it then it shouldn't be a problem. GURPS has a very detailed character generation system. GURPS is one the best supported games on the market currently.

    You can download the 4e Lite rules for free here:

    http://e23.sjgames.com/item.html?id=SJG31-0004

    d20 Modern is a good class-and-level system. The Systems Reference Document (SRD) is free here:

    http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=d20/article/msrd

    Here is the SRD of 3.5 Dungeons & Dragons:

    http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=d20/article/srd35

    This is basically the rules extracted from the print books, and it is all you really need to play and create worlds.

    FUDGE is a great descriptive game and simple. It really let's you build things the way you want with simple word descriptions.

    You can download a free copy here:

    http://www.fudgerpg.com/files/pdf/fudge_1995.pdf

    HARP is a simpler version of Rolemaster. It is a class-and-level system with a lot more crunch than d20 Modern or 3.5 D&D. Rolemaster was a chart intensive class-and-level system.

    You can find a free copy of HARP Lite here:

    http://www.harphq.com/free_downloads/3000L_HarpLite.pdf

    GORE is one of the retro-clone games. It is basically Chaosium's Basic Role-Playing system that was used for Call of Cthulhu, Elfquest, Ringworld, RuneQuest, etc. that has the serial numbers filed off.

    You can find it free here:

    http://www.goblinoidgames.com/gore.htm

    FATE is similiar to FUDGE and was originally based off FUDGE. It is a free-form descriptive system.

    You can find it free here:

    http://www.faterpg.com/

    The Omni System is a generic version of 4th edition Talislanta. Talislanta is an excellent high fantasy campaign setting and game system. Talislanta is was unique that it doesn't have the standard fantasy races like dwarves, elves, and orcs.

    You can find a free preview of the system here:

    http://www.morriganrpg.com/files/omnipreview.pdf

    a/state is a cool new RPG. It is a percentile based system. It is based in this sort of post-apocolyptic city setting, but you could just boil out the rules.

    you can find the free lite version here:

    http://www.contestedground.co.uk/alldload.html


    World of Darkness is the new system by White Wolf Studios. It is now more universal and can be used to play modern or mundane genres. It is based off the Storyteller System.

    Here is a link to there download page:

    http://www.white-wolf.com/downloads.php?&category_id=6

    Basic RolePlaying is the new from Chaosium. It is the House game system that was used for all the classic Chaosium games (Stormbringer, Call of Cthulhu, Ringworld, Elfquest, RuneQuest, Pendragon, Worlds of Wonder, Nephilim, and Superworld; just to name a few .

    Currently, it is in it's final stages to be released later this month or early Feb. Right now Chaosium is offering an Advanced Readers Copy, which they are calling the Zero Edition. I have purchased this copy and it is freaking awsome; especially if you have had any familiarity with Chaosium games.

    Here is the link to Chaosium's page on it:

    http://catalog.chaosium.com/product_...oducts_id=1165

    Originally, BRP was RQ2 boiled down. It was originally a 16-page booklet that was included in the box set games from Chaosium Inc. The new version is basically a compliation of rules from the various Chaosium games over the years and packaged into a universal percentile game system. It is now 390 pages.

    Here is a link to a boiled down version of the 1980-1981 16-page booklet:

    http://www.basicrps.com/core/index.html

    Keep in mind, this is most basic you can get down with a RPG; but it gives you an idea of the basic rules concepts of most Chaosium games.

    Chaosium reprinted the 16-page booklet in 2002. Here is a link to the minor changes from the 1980-1981 version:

    http://www.basicrps.com/brptcs/index.html

    Lastly, there are hundreds free RPGs out there. Mr. Kim's web page has a comprehensive list of game systems, game companies, and free RPGs.

    http://www.darkshire.net/~jhkim/rpg/index.html

    Now, my recommendations:

    1. GURPS- It is an excellent example of a point-buy system. It is highly supported by Steve Jackson Games. Their material is thoroughly reseached and edited. The source books can be used as reference material for any game system. It can be scaled to be a lite or crunchy as you like. The real crunch comes to into play with vehicles and vehicle combat, but they have refined that since 3rd edition. You can get a free copy of the Lite version. It is one of the top games in the industry, and has been for 20+ years. There is a wealth of web published materials that you could use for help in world and campaign building.

    2. Basic RolePlaying- It is an excellent example of a percentile-based system. It has been the backbone of all of Chaosium Inc. games for the last 20+ years. This was the first true alternative to old-school D&D/AD&D. There is a wealth of web material and campaigns out there that will help you with weapons, equipment, magic, etc. The new edition of this game isn't out yet, and there isn't a free PDF version or sneak peak. However, if you have seen any Chaosium game over the years, then you'll have a good idea of the system and its capacity. This is definitely worth the investment once it is released (hopefully soon!).

    3. d20 Modern- This is a great example of the class-and-level system. The SRD is free, and all you really need. The nature of the d20 OGL license means that there is a plethora of 3rd party materials out there. The Game Mechanics produce some excellent d20 Modern materials. It seems that WotC have put this game on the back-burner while working on D&D 4e. Also, there is wealth of free web materials for d20 system, 3.5 D&D, and d20 Modern.

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    fmitchell, tesral, Drohem thank you so much for your replies. GURPS is the front runner right now but I wasn't aware of a great deal of things Drohem posted about. Thanks to the wonderful links I will research the unknown products with ease tomorrow. Your feedback is VERY appreciated

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    Opinions on the three game systems I know and own:
    d20 -- one of the better ones out there, but not the best. While it have a lot of things that can use improvements, it's also easy to use, if you don't sweat the details and rules lawyer.

    GURPS - Played it ages ago. Actually used it for the characters in a battle tech RPG. It's biggest problem is that Character generation needs a lot of work and can be EASILY exploitable, a lot worse than d20. I know I exploited them seriously.

    Alternity: This is the system I like the best, too bad WotC dropped in to support d20 modern and Star Wars D20. It had it's exploits too, but at least they all had balances in place as well. (a lot of my player's characters had "glass jaws").

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mulsiphix View Post
    fmitchell, tesral, Drohem thank you so much for your replies. GURPS is the front runner right now but I wasn't aware of a great deal of things Drohem posted about. Thanks to the wonderful links I will research the unknown products with ease tomorrow. Your feedback is VERY appreciated
    Cool, glad I could help.

    You really can't go wrong with investing in GURPS. Its products are top-notch and excellent resource material for any RPG game. GURPS is going to be around for a long time. Also, SJG won't spit out a new edition every couple of years like some other companies. It is thoroughly researched and play-tested before it is put out.

    You may want to check out the GURPS forums for some more research:

    http://forums.sjgames.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by InfoStorm View Post

    GURPS - Played it ages ago. Actually used it for the characters in a battle tech RPG. It's biggest problem is that Character generation needs a lot of work and can be EASILY exploitable, a lot worse than d20. I know I exploited them seriously.
    These issues have been addressed in the 4th edition.

    When using 3rd GURPS, we played a heavily combat-orientated grim-and-gritty campaign. Consequently, almost everyone character was a Weapon Master. I exploited the combat mechanics seriously myself.

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    If you're going to do more than just GURPS lite, I also strongly recommend the Character Builder. It'll set you back $20, but it is extremely helpful when making characters, since it does all the math for you. And trust me, when you start getting into advantages and limitations, you'll appreciate that.
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    Palladium books is farly simple and easy to learn if your use to playing D&D. The dice used are the same, but the idea is different.

    Earthdawn is pretty fun and has alot of options. The world is pretty interesting and intense as well.

    Then there is shadowrun, but i suggest you try out the third edition since 4th went and killed everything that people loved about the game.

    The buffy the vampire slayer/angel system from Eden studios is lots of fun and easy to learn and make a character.

    The chronicles of Ramlar is really kool and the rules and character creation is easy to learn, but i have only really looked at the quick start rules; which can be downloaded from the website. Plus they have some well written novels based on the world that are really good. (reading the first one now)

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    Quote Originally Posted by jade von delioch View Post
    Palladium books is farly simple and easy to learn if your use to playing D&D. The dice used are the same, but the idea is different.
    That's joke, right?

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