Good games specifically to showcase non-D&D TTRPGs

MGibster

Legend
Once I got past the process of running Champions! (as HERO was originally called) for a few gamers, I almost never ran into experienced players who didn’t grok the primary attributes in minutes.
Meanwhile, some of my players, who have been playing Savage Worlds with me for years, still ask me if they need to roll the Wild Die when making skill or attribute roll. I'm like, "We've been doing this for ten years, Brad, WTF do you think?!"

Speaking of which, I'll volunteer Deadlands using the Savage Worlds rules. The game is set in a slightly alternative version of the American wild west circa 1885. You've got gun fighters, card sharps, mad scientist, wizards, holy men, and all manner of people in this weird west setting. Cowboys are familiar enough to most people, and it just fun enough to where I think a lot of people might enjoy this one.
 

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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
Of course that's why (mostly outside of supers, where, frankly, some of that is close to inevitable because there's not enough common elements to supers as a group for it to easily go well--best you can manage is the kind of templates M&M does) you tend to see more templates in the genre books over time in Hero. Its an attempt to have their cake and eat it too.
While players could certainly benefit from cribbing from NPCs, I think it has more to do with lightening the load for the GM. Since PC design is the big time (& thought) sink, the more published NPCs you have access to, the easier worldbuilding & campaign running becomes.

Filing the serial numbers off of NPCs and/or doing simple power swaps is a key skill for HERO GMs. Need a City Watch officer? Crib from the Beat Cop. Designing your first powerful wizard BBEG? Start with Doctor Destroyer, change the power armor into a bunch of magical devices (staves, rings, crowns, etc.) and you’re good.
 

PJ Coffey

PJ Coffey (they/them)
Here is the situation -- I have multiple gaming groups, most of which have explored TTRPGs well outside D&D. One group, however, has always been current or 1-2-editions-previous-to-current* D&D. There has been some recent talk about looking at other systems and what they might do better for the group. This all started when a character hit a trap in the dungeon which was "perma-"death** for a character -- one that the player was emotionally invested in. This got us into a big discussion about whether we needed to be playing a game with surprise character death, would it be better if a trap was a horrid curse or transformation (one you can work to stop, or at least roleplay the attempt and experience), and of course if we're not playing the game to do the things D&D does well***, why aren't we playing something else. Since I'm the group member with the most experience with non-D&Ds, they are looking to me for ideas of what to try out. A one-off or short campaign would be a good bet. One major issue is that I am incredibly busy at work and do not have a huge amount of time to devote to GMing and managing a game.
*sometimes a lag in adoption
**it actually wasn't, just total-body-destruction -- which true resurrection can resolve, but that's beside the point now.
***side discussion about the old 'why are we searching a dungeon for treasure in 5e in the first place?''


I am looking for some suggestions on games which will:
  1. highlight the benefits of playing non-D&Ds towards certain types of play (be they high-RP, better social/exploration mechanics, differing balance, or anything else), and
  2. Not be a huge amount of work.
I know plenty of games that fulfill one or the other, but fewer that do both. Does anyone have any suggestions or preferences? Good explanations for how and why they do each of these well is of course appreciated (as is any insights into the situation, really). Thanks in advance!
Hmm. Well, it seems that they will want a measure of high fantasy (a world different from our own full of magic) because they love playing D&D. And they will probably want to roll D20s.

But having a world where character death is meaningful and present but not random is a key pre-requisite. I suspect you'll be able to run Cairn or one of it's many Hacks without too much work on your part. It has an OSR simplicity which I like but (IMO) a cleaner, more sophisticated design.

Key features which may intrigue:

Variable initiative
Hits are automatic(!) But are weapon dice - armour
Lots of random table generation to get things going. You could make reaction rolls a thing again. 😀

 

Hmm. Well, it seems that they will want a measure of high fantasy (a world different from our own full of magic) because they love playing D&D. And they will probably want to roll D20s.
I can say for sure that the type of dice used will not be a major impact in what they want to play. They may want to play high fantasy, or want to expand their horizons. We shall see. For the one shots and short campaigns and the like, they have said that they are willing to try whatever premise is needed to get a showcase of different systems and mechanisms out there.
But having a world where character death is meaningful and present but not random is a key pre-requisite. I suspect you'll be able to run Cairn or one of it's many Hacks without too much work on your part. It has an OSR simplicity which I like but (IMO) a cleaner, more sophisticated design.

Key features which may intrigue:
Variable initiative
Hits are automatic(!) But are weapon dice - armour
Lots of random table generation to get things going. You could make reaction rolls a thing again. 😀
I'm not sure I understand. This seems to be a relatively normal OSR variant. I think this falls under the same 'they've already seen these pieces' category that WEG Star Wars and Champions/Hero System are in.
Thanks for the idea, though. It does look like a nice little game.
 


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