Best universal rpg system?

I think I understand how dice pools and damage work. At least how it works in Tales of Xadia. But what I am a bit unsure about is how a fight looks. I understand how it works if two characters are fighting each other, but how does it work if you gang up on one target?

By standard usage, or using the toggles to get a Cortex Classic type effect? They're fairly different.
 

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AK81

Villager
By standard usage, or using the toggles to get a Cortex Classic type effect? They're fairly different.
I don't know how toggles work as I have not played Classic. But from what I understand from Tales of Xadia and what I have read of Cortex Prime, it seems to me that combat works as a contest between two characters. Whom will deal damage to each other until one is taken out or give up. I don't understand how the rules work when two or more characters attack the same target.
 

bulletmeat

Adventurer
Do you want to tell a bit more about Opend6? How does it run? What kind of gameplay does it support?
It's based off the old WEG Star Wars system, skill based D6 dice pool:
OpenD6
They did fantasy, adventure, & sci-fi books. MythicD6 & Prowlers & Paragons are super hero versions but each use them in a different way (number of successes vs adding totals). I've also seen homebrewed versions of skills w/only 2d6 or 3d6 vs the larger dice pools.
 

I don't know how toggles work as I have not played Classic. But from what I understand from Tales of Xadia and what I have read of Cortex Prime, it seems to me that combat works as a contest between two characters. Whom will deal damage to each other until one is taken out or give up. I don't understand how the rules work when two or more characters attack the same target.

That's actually only one of the ways it can work, and even in that, all you need to do is roll the dice pool and have the two on one side compare to the others.

I didn't, in the end, find it super-compelling on a game level (it started to feel a bit too much like "roll a bunch of dice and pick the three best") but some of that is the fault of shortcuts I took putting together the version I used in the campaign I tried it out in.
 

It's based off the old WEG Star Wars system, skill based D6 dice pool:
OpenD6
They did fantasy, adventure, & sci-fi books. MythicD6 & Prowlers & Paragons are super hero versions but each use them in a different way (number of successes vs adding totals). I've also seen homebrewed versions of skills w/only 2d6 or 3d6 vs the larger dice pools.
P&P looks to me like if there was a direct D6 System influence, it was more based on D6 Legends than the Open D6 version. And it could just be parallel development. Guess I could ask Len.
 



Rogerd1

Explorer
Runequest and by default Mythras are really gritty, which I used to love. But it is too much like real life and I want to rpg to escape from that.

I prefer Savage Worlds, Modern Age, Omni, Lords of Gossamer, M&M, Mythic d6, Prowlers and Paragons.

Edit thinking trying Tri-Stat again as there are new rules and a Supers fame, and may help Age of Sigmar be a bit more epic.

Thinking about doing LoG with M&M to see how that turns out.
 
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MGibster

Legend
So, I'd like to use this to make a point - Each so-called "generic" system still has its own style, and lends a different flavor to the play experience. Both GURPS and Fate can be used to do "fantasy", but they will not be the same in play, by a long shot.
This might be the best summation of generic systems I've ever seen. Fate is going to give you a much different experience than Savage Worlds.
 

AK81

Villager
This might be the best summation of generic systems I've ever seen. Fate is going to give you a much different experience than Savage Worlds.
Yes, I definitely believe this too. That's why I try to get a good grasp on what different systems have to offer.
So far I think Savage Worlds is probably the system that I will enjoy the most.
 


Runequest and by default Mythras are really gritty, which I used to love. But it is too much like real life and I want to rpg to escape from that.

I prefer Savage Worlds, Modern Age, Omni, Lords of Gossamer, M&M, Mythic d6, Prowlers and Paragons.

Edit thinking trying Tri-Stat again as there are new rules and a Supers fame, and may help Age of Sigmar be a bit more epic.

Thinking about doing LoG with M&M to see how that turns out.

Well, while the core of RQ (BRP) could be used somewhat universally, it was never really set up as a universal system--not even the Big Yellow Book. The others you list to one degree or another were (though LoGaS is a weird case where it kind of is and isn't at the same time).
 

This might be the best summation of generic systems I've ever seen. Fate is going to give you a much different experience than Savage Worlds.

Its kind of inherent in actually having a system. You can try to put on modules to change those experiences somewhat, but some of it comes with such core mechanics its hard to avoid. I'm not sold even Cortex Prime manages to avoid this, and it tries probably the hardest of any universal system I know of to avoid this.
 

aramis erak

Legend
Of the ones I've used.... tone and notes on fan player culture

GURPS: the tone is almost always somewhat gritty. There are issues with the fanbase's culture; GURPS fans have a tendency to warp settings to fit GURPS, rather than the other way round, and tend to be GURPS über alles in mentality. SJG has definitiely warped settings to fit GURPS, most notably, GURPS Ogre, GURPS Vampire, GURPS Mage, and GURPS Autoduel 2E. Players tend to favor attribute for point saving reasons, as raising a point of IQ or Dex often costs less than raising the 5-15 skills that will get a +1 would.

Palladium: the tone is always somewhat heroic, and the rules flat out explicitly do not have social skills. The player culture often is about who does the most damage, and/or who pulled the biggest social score, as that latter is always PvGM. The world building is really good. The system plays well enough, but combat is a lot of opposed rolls, and until recent printings, not always easily understood as to flow. Player culture tends towards the younger and poorer side, as the books are relatively inexpensive, durable, and often flow through used bookstores. All characters can be crossed to just about all other settings without issue.

CORPS: The tone is flatten your molars level gritty. Fights hurt. High skill matters. Given the constraints of the character gen, competent PCs are scarily effective in their fields. Optimized characters can do called shots without rolls once per second... I stop short of saying it's "realistic" - as it allows the .25ACP to be a real threat of a firearm. Note that attributes and skills are from different pools, so characters are literally forced to spend points in certain areas. Fan Culture tends towards tinkerers. Published settings are skill-heavy, and somewhat grim.

EABA: Tone is much like D6 system; can do light to heavy, but skill matters, and attributes provide a minimal competence in everything. I can't judge the player culture much, since it's so little known. I'll note that during the playtest, I used it for the Traveller OTU; I was able to do everything I needed with the core rules. The TN's are directly comparable to those in Traveller or 2300. Mechanics are attributes generate dice codes in the 0d+1 to 4d range; skills add 0 to 5 d, all dice d6's, roll the pool and keep best 3. Ironically, most of the official setting books are extremely grim.

BRP: tone is heroic, generally, but certain settings tweaks can make it grim heroic or even grim victims-on-adventure. Damage hurts; combat is unrealistically permanently disabling in some editions. Fan culture is more varied than the rest, IMO. Generally, BRP fans seem to play multiple settings using it, often bespoke standalone cores with minor adaptations. Best noted for Call of Cthulhu and RuneQuest, which have very different tones, but very similar rules.

Hero: lots of math in CGen; tone from mundane to super epic, by options and campaign limits, defaulting to lower end of 4-color supers; 75pt Fantasy Hero is definitely heroic in tone. Player culture is varied, but universally math tolerant. Rules are very flexible, with lots of options. Corporate culture twists game rules via setting rules to fit genre. I've yet to see a character concept than cannot be accurately portrayed using HSR 4/5/6, but many are well outside the realms of normal point totals. (Greek Gods in the low thousands of base points, for example. And that's official!) I'd not recommend it for film noir, tho' an adapted core did just that...
 

Stormonu

Legend
Hands down, Savage World is my favorite generic RPG. It's one of those systems that, to me, is so intuitive I feel like I can adapt just about anything to it on the fly and it'll work fairly well.
 

kronovan

Explorer
I don't have one, but 4 universal systems I use.
Savage Worlds is the universal ttrp that I've homebrewed and adapted other settings with the most. I'm not so big on using it for high fantasy (probably the same as what someone else called Classic Fantasy) or Cosmic/Lovecraftian Horror, but I've found it to be terrific for every other genre.
FATE Core and FAE I've used a number of times for adaptations and one homebrew. It's been good each time, but I definitely need to have the right audience of players.
Mythras I've just started to use and while I've found it crunchier than my other universal ttrpgs, it's been very good for certain genres. Historical Fantasy and Sword & Sorcery is where I've used it so far, but I also own the M-Space supplement which adds features and tools for SciFi. So I'm looking to brew some things with it.
I've just started using Cepheus Engine, mostly because I'm a big fan of Traveller and CE is based upon Mongoose Traveller 1e. I like how the handful of publishers who produce things for it, have released settings or supplements across a number of genre. It's probably best for SciFi, but I've seen some quality Modern and Fantasy settings for it.
 
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GreyLord

Legend
Of the modern systems mentioned here, and thinking about what has been suggested, I think I'm in favor that the Gensys system by FFG (no edge) is one of the better universal fits for various ideas. It's been used for Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and I could see it being used for many others.

A big strength of it is that it leans more narrative than many other systems which I think gives it a strength of adaptability that others lack. I think that systems that lean more towards a narrative experience could be stronger at being universal systems for various genre's than those that are not.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
I'd not recommend it for film noir, tho' an adapted core did just that...
If I were running film noir in HERO, I might start off by using the Dark HERO supplement and tone it down from there. Then it’s a case of emphasizing skills and being sure everyone’s on the same page with how weapons are handled. It would probably be worth the money to get the gear supplements to ensure nobody’s cooking up anything too exotic or take the time to write up a few things yourself, like a couple cars, a few revolvers, and a Tommy gun.
 

aramis erak

Legend
If I were running film noir in HERO, I might start off by using the Dark HERO supplement and tone it down from there. Then it’s a case of emphasizing skills and being sure everyone’s on the same page with how weapons are handled. It would probably be worth the money to get the gear supplements to ensure nobody’s cooking up anything too exotic or take the time to write up a few things yourself, like a couple cars, a few revolvers, and a Tommy gun.
Justice Inc was a HSR 2E adapted core...
 

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