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Thread: Where to start

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    Where to start

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    I just painted my very first mini and she would be perfect for a horror rpg but I don't know any of the horror rpgs. Was is a good one for someone who is still fairly new?
    Chi-Halfling

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    Whenever possible, i love to inject a little horror in most my games... you know, to add that little bit of flavor. As far as listing some horror rpgs, i could, but i will leave it to some of the hard-core experienced gamers on this site to do so. Their word carries more weight than mine in this genre.
    Thoth-Amon, Lord of the Underworld and the Undead
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    Well, there are certainly a wide range of horror RPGs out there. But in terms of one that I have played and found fun and that would be reasonably easy to get into for new players, I would recommend taking a closer look at the following:

    1. All Flesh Must Be Eaten (Eden Studios) - Zombie horror game that uses Unisystem which works in a way similar to D&D. Roll 1d10, add attribute bonus and skill bonus, compare to a DC.

    2. Deadlands Reloaded (Pinnacle Entertainment Group) - A game of horror in the Wild West. Uses the Savage Worlds system which is quick and easy to use. Note: the Deadlands book does not contain all the rules needed to play. The rule book can be purchased for $10. A free preview of the game system is available at Pinnacle's website: http://www.peginc.com

    3. Call of Cthulhu d20 (Wizards of the Coast) - No longer in print, but it is a horror game of evil cosmic entities that bring the threat of doom and insanity to mankind. Uses the d20 system, familiar to anyone who has played D&D or Star Wars d20/Saga.

    4. Vampire: The Masquerade (White Wolf) - A horror game where the players are vampires who stalk the night and must cope with the tragedy of their inhumanity. Uses the Storyteller system which might look confusing at first, but is actually quite easy to use once you see it in action.
    Last edited by Webhead; 11-18-2008 at 06:18 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Webhead View Post
    Well, there are certainly a wide range of horror RPGs out there. But in terms of one that I have played and found fun and that would be reasonably easy to get into for new players, I would recommend taking a closer look at the following:

    1. All Flesh Must Be Eaten (Eden Studios) - Zombie horror game that uses Unisystem which works in a way similar to D&D. Roll 1d10, add attribute bonus and skill bonus, compare to a DC.

    2. Deadlands Reloaded (Pinnacle Entertainment Group) - A game of horror in the Wild West. Uses the Savage Worlds system which is quick and easy to use. Note: the Deadlands book does not contain all the rules needed to play. The rule book can be purchased for $10. A free preview of the game system is available at Pinnacle's website: http://www.peginc.com

    3. Call of Cthulhu d20 (Wizards of the Coast) - No longer in print, but it is a horror game of evil cosmic entities that bring the threat of doom and insanity to mankind. Uses the d20 system, familiar to anyone who has played D&D or Star Wars d20/Saga.

    4. Vampire: The Masquerade (White Wolf) - A horror game where the players are vampires who stalk the night and must cope with the tragedy of their inhumanity. Uses the Storyteller system which might look confusing at first, but is actually quite easy to use once you see it in action.
    Vampire the Masquerade looks like a lot of fun what else can you tell me about it?
    Chi-Halfling

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    That it's an old game and it might be more difficult to find than Vampire the Requiem (the latest version of almost the same game)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chi View Post
    Vampire the Masquerade looks like a lot of fun what else can you tell me about it?
    It can be fun with the right people.

    Vampire bills itself as a game of "personal horror" in which the characters struggle with concepts of "humanity" and "morality" in a world where everything is running against those natures.

    In the game, all the players are former mortals who have been turned into vampires. There are different "kinds" of vampires called "Clans". Each Clan is inspired by a particular aspect of the vampire/Dracula legend and each has different powers tied to those themes.

    For example, there are the Nosferatu, who are hideously disfigured, but they can have incredible strength and the ability to move through the shadows without being seen. Then there are the Gangrel, who are vampires that can take on animalistc features and also transform into animals. And there are the Tremere who can inspire awe and fear in those around them and dominate minds.

    The background idea is that Cain (the biblical Cain, son of Adam and Eve) was cursed with vampirism as punishment for killing his brother Abel. As such, Cain is the progenitor of all vampires and each generation of vampires is slightly weaker than the one that came before it. But also, each vampire struggles with an inner beast, a part of their being that constantly drives them to be more carnal, selfish and predatory in nature. Forced to kill and consume blood to survive, the vampire's humanity is slowly eaten away over the years. Thus, the oldest vampires are often the most powerful, but are also usually the most "crazed" and "beastly" in their behavior. Most of the oldest vampires have hidden themselves away to be protected while they rest in centuries-long slumber awaiting a day when they can emerge and rule the world.

    The game uses a die pool system where a player rolls a number of d10s equal to their score in a particular ability or skill. Each die is counted seperately from the others and are used to accumulate "successes" on a roll which tell you how well or how poorly your character did.

    For example, if your character wanted to climb a fence, the GM might ask you to roll your Dexterity. If your character has a Dexterity of 3, you would roll 3d10 and compare each die to the difficulty number set by the GM. If at least 1 of the dice equals or beats the difficulty, you succeed. If more than one die beats it, you accumulate "successes" which means you did exceptionally well and might give you certain advantages depending on what the GM decides.

    All actions are handled that way, from combat to social situations, to using your special vampire powers. It's pretty easy to use.

    Special Note: There is a new "edition" of Vampire that is different in some significant ways from the "old" Vampire game. The one I am referring to is called "Vampire: The Masquerade" and is a green-colored book with a rose on the cover. The newer game is called "Vampire: The Requiem" which is a blood-red colored book and it uses a similar system, but is otherwise different in a lot of ways including the backstory.

    Yes, Masquerade is no longer in print and may be a little more difficult to find, but is commonly found at used bookstores, especially Half Price Books if you have one near your area (the Half Price Books in my area always have tons of the books for really cheap). One of the nice things about Masquerade is that all the necessary rules are in one book. If you want to play Requiem, you need the Requiem book as well as the core "World of Darkness" rule book.

    Let me know if you have further questions on the subject.
    Last edited by Webhead; 11-19-2008 at 05:09 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by boulet View Post
    That it's an old game and it might be more difficult to find than Vampire the Requiem (the latest version of almost the same game)
    I think I have heard of that one
    Chi-Halfling

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    VtM Character Creation is really simple, you just fill in the appropriate dots
    Mr Gone has the best character sheets http://mrgone.rocksolidshells.com/

    VtM is part of oWOD, VtR is part of nWOD. nWOD is a simpler system on the surface but can get far more complicated. nWOD tries to stay out of the metaplot where as oWOD has tons of it.

    Personally I would pick up Dark Ages Vampire as it is the most complete and best of the editions IMHO. The binding is terrible though. And the setting is not as interesting as the long night IMHO.
    heres the limited edition with a better binding, i cant find the unlimited. Dont confuse it with vampire the dark ages which is the earlier edition.
    http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Ages-Vamp...7200901&sr=8-1
    Last edited by MortonStromgal; 11-20-2008 at 12:09 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Webhead View Post
    Call of Cthulhu d20 (Wizards of the Coast) - No longer in print, but it is a horror game of evil cosmic entities that bring the threat of doom and insanity to mankind. Uses the d20 system, familiar to anyone who has played D&D or Star Wars d20/Saga.
    No love for the original from Chaosium? The BRP system, being far more deadly and generally lighter-weight than most d20 I've seen, emulates Lovecraftian horror far better. And it's still in print.
    "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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    Chaosium's Call of Cthulhu was my first horror game. It's a good game. It's still alive after all these years and it's not a coincidence. One's got to be ok with the idea that there's no real happy ending. Characters might be able to delay cataclysms but it's just that : delay.
    One thing that frustrated me a bit with the system is that PCs didn't seem very proficient, even in their professional domain. But otherwise the system is getting out of the way and creating a character is really fast. I don't know anything about d20 versions of existing games. I really wonder what difference it makes for the gameplay, especially in term of mental sanity. Unless there was a tremendous improvement in playability I think that d20 CoC is pointless.

    Another game on the very very gloomy side, one that makes Call of Cthulhu look cheerful, is Wraith (World of Darkness again). In this game players play ghosts who are dealing with the people and things that bind them to the world of the living. Their unlife is a bitter fight against Oblivion. I didn't managed to find players willing to play this game so I can't say if it's fun to play in its own desperate way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by boulet View Post
    Another game on the very very gloomy side, one that makes Call of Cthulhu look cheerful, is Wraith (World of Darkness again). In this game players play ghosts who are dealing with the people and things that bind them to the world of the living. Their unlife is a bitter fight against Oblivion. I didn't managed to find players willing to play this game so I can't say if it's fun to play in its own desperate way.
    Don't forget KULT the game where god and the universe hate you...

    And Chi you said mini? For minis horror gaming I would start out with All Flesh Must Be Eaten... A good old zombie crawl, you can even go buy a bag o zombies from your FLGS
    Playing: Pathfinder
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    Quote Originally Posted by fmitchell View Post
    No love for the original from Chaosium? The BRP system, being far more deadly and generally lighter-weight than most d20 I've seen, emulates Lovecraftian horror far better. And it's still in print.
    I made the recommendation of CoC d20 because Chi mentioned that she was looking for games that would be easy to understand for a new-comer to RPGs and I knew that she has at least some experience with D&D and Star Wars Saga which both run off the d20 system. Thus, I knew that, from a rules standpoint, she could quickly grasp the workings of the game in its d20 form.

    This is not a knock to the original BRP system. I own both. I think both are virtually equally good for running a CoC game, even if they have some subtle differences. In fact, there are a few elements to the d20 CoC that I think are quite excellent. The spell casting system for instance. I love the idea that casting spells in CoC d20 not only hits Sanity but often also causes temporary (or even permanent!) ability damage...especially Int and Wis. Since CoC d20 doesn't use a "magic point" system, ability damage becomes the cost of using spells. Really neat idea.

    Interestingly, the Sanity rules were lifted virtually straight out of BRP and work pretty much identically. Chaosium said that this was an intentional design decision because they wanted the mechanic to feel "alien" to people used to d20 games.

    While I agree that CoC d20 might seem slightly less deadly than BRP, that notion is quickly dispelled when you realize that most CoC characters won't go beyond 3rd or 4th level and thus won't have more than 3 or 4d6 worth of hit points. Combine that with generally low AC and Saving Throw values and you realize that CoC d20 characters are not geared for combat, contrary to what the d20 logo might suggest. Don't let the fact that it says "d20" or "WotC" fool you, this is not D&D with SAN points.

    I've run CoC d20 games before and they play virtually identically to BRP. The only difference is that the players reach for a d20 when I tell them that they hear a scratching sound coming from the basement instead of percentile dice.
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    Quote Originally Posted by boulet View Post
    ...Unless there was a tremendous improvement in playability I think that d20 CoC is pointless...
    The only intent of publishing the CoC d20 book (and the reason it was in print for such a short time and no supplements were made) was because Chaosium wanted to attract players to their game who wouldn't normally be exposed to it, namely players who were fans of D&D and the d20 system. That was its entire purpose, to get Call of Cthulhu in front of players that it normally wouldn't give it a second glance and thus expand their player base and hopefully turn them on to the library of CoC books that Chaosium has published over the years. They wanted to expand awareness of their game to the heavily d20-oriented crowd.

    I think the game met that goal admirably and actually spawned something worthwhile. Sure, it's out of print now, but the quality of the work shines through. I bought it years ago when it was still in print and was instantly impressed. Now I own both d20 and BRP and I honestly have a hard time...a hard time...choosing which version I would rather run, and this is coming from someone who generally doesn't like the d20 system.

    Ultimately, if your players are more familiar with BRP or percentile systems, that is the version you should probably run. If your players are more familiar or comfortable with d20 system games, I would recommend the d20 version. Both will give you (assuming an enthusiastic GM and players of course) an excellent Cthulhu Mythos experience.

    Sorry if I seem to be rambling. I just have seen a lot of people snub their noses at the game simply because it says "d20" on it, when in fact it is a game of superior quality. One of the few d20 based games that are. I was as surprised as anyone that it turned out to be a good as it is.
    Last edited by Webhead; 11-20-2008 at 04:09 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Webhead View Post
    While I agree that CoC d20 might seem slightly less deadly than BRP, that notion is quickly dispelled when you realize that most CoC characters won't go beyond 3rd or 4th level and thus won't have more than 3 or 4d6 worth of hit points. Combine that with generally low AC and Saving Throw values and you realize that CoC d20 characters are not geared for combat, contrary to what the d20 logo might suggest. Don't let the fact that it says "d20" or "WotC" fool you, this is not D&D with SAN points.
    ...and IIRC the massive damage threshold was moved down from 50 to 20
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    Another Game to throw out there Unknown Armies... Great game that focuses on what motivates your character with a combat system that makes you dive for cover and a neat sanity system where you can become harden or undone with different stimuli. I wouldn't say its great for noobs but its very well done, a light system, in print, and complete with just the main book
    Playing: Pathfinder
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