Grading the SAGA System

How do you feel about the SAGA System?

  • I love it.

    Votes: 5 9.3%
  • It's pretty good.

    Votes: 4 7.4%
  • It's alright I guess.

    Votes: 7 13.0%
  • It's pretty bad.

    Votes: 2 3.7%
  • I hate it.

    Votes: 2 3.7%
  • I've never played it.

    Votes: 28 51.9%
  • I've never even heard of it.

    Votes: 6 11.1%


Limit Break Dancing (He/They)
Have you used the SAGA System for any tabletop games? From what I can tell, this system was really only ever used for two games: Dragonlance: Fifth Age and the Marvel Super Heroes Adventure Game, both published by TSR, Inc. Wikipedia says the following about it:

The SAGA System is a role-playing game system that uses "fate cards" to determine the effects of actions. The cards have numbers, suits, positive and negative states, and role-playing cues that guide the gamemaster in telling the story and administering the game. The system has been used in TSR, Inc.'s Dragonlance: Fifth Age game and the Marvel Super Heroes Adventure Game, later published by TSR. Sue Cook was the brand manager for both of those game systems, and helped design the SAGA game rules.
In SAGA, a player holds a hand of fate cards that represent his health and the range of actions he can take. The maximum number of cards he can hold is determined by the number of quests he has completed. This replaces the experience points system of many other role-playing games. The cards replace dice-rolling, as well. When a player attempts an action, he plays a card from his hand. If the suit on the card matches the action type (swords for strength-related actions, for example) it is considered "Trump." Playing a trump card means that the player can draw another card from the top of the Fate Deck and add the number on it to his total for attempting the action. When a character takes damage, the player must discard the number of points of damage to be taken from his hand. When a player has no more cards in his hand, the character is unconscious.

As I've said before in the other threads, the D20 System is the undeniable favorite for tabletop RPGs today, but there are plenty of options out there for those who don't like D20 or might be looking for something different. My goal in these little surveys is to highlight the different systems and options available to tabletop fans...I certainly don't want to bash anyone's favorites. So! If you've used the SAGA System, I'd really like to hear about your experience. What did you like/dislike about it? What games did you play? And if you've never played it or one of the many successful games that use it, what's stopping you? I'll collect everyone's votes and give the system a "grade" from A+ to F, just for fun.

Grade: C+
Of those who voted, 88% have heard of it and 39% have played it.
Of those who have played it: 26% love it, 16% like it, 37% are lukewarm, 11% dislike it, and 11% hate it.

The "grade" is calculated as follows:
  • Votes from people who have not played it will not affect the grade.
  • "I love it" votes are worth 4 points. The highest score, comparable to an "A" vote.
  • "It's pretty good" votes are worth 3 points. The equivalent of a "B" vote.
  • "It's alright I guess" votes are worth 2 points. This is your basic "C" vote.
  • "It's pretty bad" votes are worth 1 point. This is considered a "D" vote.
  • "I hate it" votes are worth 0 points. The lowest score, considered an "F" vote.

The grading formula:
GPA = Σ(PiVi)

GPA = "grade-point average," the grading score used in the Key below.​
Vi = percentage of votes in each category (Love, Like, Meh, Dislike, or Hate)​
Pi = corresponding score for that category (4, 3, 2, 1, or 0)​

Over 3.75 = A+
3.51 to 3.75 = A
3.26 to 3.50 = A-
3.01 to 3.25 = B+
2.76 to 3.00 = B
2.51 to 2.75 = B-
2.26 to 2.50 = C+
1.76 to 2.25 = C
1.51 to 1.75 = C-
1.26 to 1.50 = D+
1.01 to 1.25 = D
0.75 to 1.00 = D-
Under 0.75 = F
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Best system to mimic the Dragonlance novels. Wish it had content released for previous ages. I did pick up the SAGA/2e Chronicles remake, and it was really good.

I love this system, but I am an oddity.

M.L. Martin

I love it and ran several games of it ... but never in Dragonlance. I ran some playtest sessions for the Ravenloft variant that I wrote for DRAGON Magazine, as well as short-lived campaigns based off the Dragon Quest (fka Dragon Warrior) and Final Fantasy 1 video game settings.


Front Range Warlock
My answer is complicated. SAGA as it appeared in Fifth Age was kind of a mess. The good news is that, after WotC acquired TSR in 1997, they published a book (in 1998) A Saga Companion that addressed pretty much all of the issues that I had with TSR's initial Dragonlance Fifth Age release. After that book came out, I have to say that I found the game a fun diversion from regular D&D. So, while it started off rough, it eventually got turned into a decent fantasy game. So, it's alright, I guess.

[Edited to correct my error on year of publication.]
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