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Unisystem for Fantasy
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Thread: Unisystem for Fantasy

  1. #1
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    Unisystem for Fantasy

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    Well title says it all. I'm working on a fantasy world and trying to figure the best system for it. Right now I'm between GURPS and Unisystem (ie. Buffy, Angel, AFMBE, CJ Carellas Witchcraft) Both systems have things I like. Gurps has plenty of source information and a rule system for every little aspect I may want to introduce, a more detailed character build, and a magic system that I find very interesting. Unisystem is fur flying fast paced and easy. A little light on rules, a magic system that works well but maybe not for a all out fantasy world, and most importantly it's a system I know well and have run before. So any thoughts on this I would love to hear them.

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    Well, forgive the brevity of my post. I may return with deeper insight at a later time, but my off-the-cuff recommendation is Unisystem. It is easy to manipulate, streamlined, no-nonsense. If you go Cinematic Unisystem (Buffy/Angel/AoD) you can get really epic and...well...cinematic, thanks to Drama Points. Even players not familiar with the game system should have an easy time learning and character creation will probably take a fraction of the time it would require in GURPS.

    That's just my bias poking in though. I think it depends on what you want from you game.
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    Having played GURPS and only having read Unisystem, I would say that GURPS materials will prove useful no matter what system you go with; they're fairly well researched, and even the stats and bonuses would be fairly linear.

    Unisystem has simpler math, but that means you'll have to extrapolate from existing skills, qualities, and drawbacks if you need something new. Also, there are two flavors of Unisystem (Cinematic and Original), and I'm not sure that even among the "original" games (like AFMBE, Witchcraft, and Armageddon) that supernatural elements translate freely.

    On the other hand, making a GURPS character from the full set of advantages, disadvantages, and skills *is* like drinking from a firehose. I'd suggest starting with GURPS Lite, and then adding enough additional stuff to reflect your game world. I personally don't like its magic system, but your mileage may vary.

    In play GURPS is about as simple as Unisystem if you want it to be, and I like the bell-curve of 3d6 over a flat 1d10, but a roll-under system like GURPS makes situational modifiers just a hair more complex (adjusting a target number up and down vs. comparing a die roll plus bonuses to a target number).

    So it's ultimately up to what you and your group are comfortable with, and how much crunchy source material applies to your world.
    "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."
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    I had a lot of fun playing Iron Kingdoms with the unisystem.
    Playing: Pathfinder
    Running: infrequent VtM game


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    I haven't looked at it, but Dungeons and Zombies might include s different magic system for AFMBE/Unisystem. I like the GURPS supplements, but the game itself is muy intimidating and not for the casual user.
    GM of a Gaslight JL Mutants & Masterminds game, by PbP.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kipling View Post
    I haven't looked at it, but Dungeons and Zombies might include s different magic system for AFMBE/Unisystem. I like the GURPS supplements, but the game itself is muy intimidating and not for the casual user.
    To quote a review of Dungeons and Zombies on RPGNet:

    What you get is a simplified magic system lifted from Armageddon/Witchcraft. You get both Lesser Invocations (typical mage-type spells) and Necromancy. Priest-type magic is already included in the AFMBE core book. The magic system is a skilled based mana point (Essence) system and includes 30 invocations under 14 skills and 4 necromantic powers of 5 levels each. I was very glad to see that Necromancy was expanded to include both the creation and control of zombies. How can you call yourself a Necromancer without undead legions? Now a big weakness here is it is suggested you can come up with your own invocations but there is no guidance on how do this. Even a short set of guidelines to aid in giving spells Essence costs would have been very useful. However, all your fantasy standards from fireballs to illusions are covered by the pre-existing invocations.
    The core GURPS books (esp. 4th edition) aren't newbie-friendly, but I'd still contend GURPS is intimidating mainly because of the huge amount of advantages, disadvantages, skills, and various other options to emulate any potential genre or play style; the core system is fairly simple. (See GURPS Lite for a presentation of the core system.)

    P.S. In fairness, I should also mention the review of GURPS Lite for 4th Edition.
    Last edited by fmitchell; 10-01-2008 at 05:55 PM.
    "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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    On magic systems: Ghosts of Albion might have a magic system more suitable for FRP-ing in the Unisystem. I haven't bought the PDF (and the hardcover is delayed, again), but judging from the available freebies it has an extensive spell-creation table analogous to the spell-creation rules in Buffy, and casting spells seems to be a combat action.

    (I don't know if I'll buy it: I prefer magic as lengthy rituals, and I already own Witchcraft and the Buffy RPG, so I'll have to see if Ghosts adds any value.)
    "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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    Yeah I've always like the magic system in Buffy. It worked really well for the system. It allowed you to do cool things but gave you honest limitations and dangers to using magic. Which is a concern I would have bringing it over to fantasy when someone wants to play a spell caster.

    I will admit that Gurps is daunting. But that's where I would have to go in and let people know what can be used and what can't. Let them know what I want for templates on races and the like. Once the PC's know that they can only play these races and this is the point cost for them. And then say well in my world this is the kind of supernatural mojo I'm haveing . I think that will cut down on the firehose analogy. I'm just glad I have those options in that system.

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