log in or register to remove this ad

 

I need to play D&D. What's my system, what's my campaign setting?

Ravellion

serves Gnome Master
Hello everyone,

Having played 4e till mid Epic levels (which burned me out spectacularly, so I am not touching it again), we switched to Star Wars Saga. Me and two out of four players liked it, but one of the "likes star wars" players wants to mostly stop playing, and the other players were basically going along with Star Wars to keep him in the group. They want fantasy.

So now here I am, continuing with 3 players, looking for a D&D like system and a campaign setting. I liked how the world felt in 4e, with players not using magic to solve every problem. (I also liked dragonborn, the feywild, and the eladrin/elf split, but none of these are sacred to me or my players). But 4e, despite being easy to dm, annoyed me too much in what it allowed players to do during combat and how/when it allowed to do them. 4e is simply right out.

We originally stopped playing 3e because I though it was too much homework after about 8th level. I also often started to play opponents suboptimally because of the many options available to them. Before that, 3e did everything it needed to do. I am therefore contemplating E6 or E8. Are there any other systems that capture that general power level of magic, and have a high degree of PC customization?

Also, what campaign setting would you suggest for such a level of power? I am contemplating Kalamar because the power level seems to fit the lore, but reading it never made me want to DM it. I am a big Greyhawk fan, but I don't think it would fit the lower level of magic I am looking fot.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Diamond Cross

First Post
Well, there are some things I can suggest:

Hero Systems Fantasy Hero
Warhammer FRPG
Palladium FRPG (NOT RIFTS)

That is, if you like learning new systems.

Otherwise, I'd suggest sticking with 3.5e.
 


S'mon

Legend
None of the pre-3e versions of D&D are 'magic solves everything' versions. Magic tends to be pretty rare, both items and spells. For the rarest magic in the D&D family I'd suggest either Moldvay/Cook-Marsh Basic/Expert D&D, or failing that Labyrinth Lord. Basic Fantasy RPG is also good as it caps spells at 6th level.

Another approach is to use AD&D/OSRIC retro-clone, but reduce magic item preponderance by not using the rules for assigning magic items to NPCs - those rules IME are the main source of magic items in a standard 1e/OSRIC game.

Standard 1e NPC demographics mostly work well, where 9th level characters are dominion rulers. There's a few things to keep an eye on like some very high NPC levels in the Men entry in 1e Monster Manual (because it was OD&D-based), but nothing an experienced DM can't handle.

Edit: For high degree of PC customisation I guess you want 2e AD&D, or for even more stick with E6 or E8 3.5e like you say.

Actually I suspect that the ideal for you might be to use E10 3.5 D&D, set NPC demographics so they're all in the 1st-10th range also (so halve levels from standard 3e), and keep monster CRs in the 1-14 range, eg reskin young dragons as old dragons; maybe use 3.0 demon & devil stats. Allow Forge Ring and Greater Weapon Specialisation as 9th level feats.

3e is a great game for the first 10 levels, but IME breaks down after 12th. You'll probably want to make magic item creation harder/more expensive for low end items like 1st level scrolls and wands, though.
 
Last edited:

Connorsrpg

Adventurer
Tried Savage Worlds?

Core Explorers Rulebook is only $10. There are fantasy expansions.

Have played some non-fantasy sessions and we really liked its ease of use....and players got into their pregenerated characters very quickly - there is quite a bit of customisation for an easy system.
C
 

A

amerigoV

Guest
I second Savage Worlds. Fast, Furious, and Fun! Easy prep for the GM, customizable characters for the players. It "feels" like the older versions of D&D to me (note I am not talking mechanics, but the feel of the game).

I have eyed Dragon Age as well. You do not have to worry about it being overpowered at this point - levels 1-5 are released and 6-10 are in Beta - built in cap :)
 

Ravellion

serves Gnome Master
I second Savage Worlds. Fast, Furious, and Fun! Easy prep for the GM, customizable characters for the players. It "feels" like the older versions of D&D to me (note I am not talking mechanics, but the feel of the game).
I have never seen it in the Netherlands, but I will try and track it down. I think I will be able to special order it (either online or through the FLGS). I have heard good things.

S'mon, I don't know why I blindsided myself thinking it had to be E6 or E8. E10 might indeed be just what I am looking for. If only the rarest and greatest heroes and villains can teleport/raise dead, I still have a "D&D flavour world" but only two levels of over-the-topness (I do think levels 9 and 10 are a bit too much - hit point inflation is the primary cause for this, IMO). And I would be able to run Red hand of Doom, which I haven't done so far. I think I could also tone down Greyhawk to E10 without hurting the lore too much, and play in my favourite campaign setting.

Alright, E10 it is, Greyhawk, and I already have adventure material for half the campaign. After that, I will give savage worlds a spin. Thanks guys!
 

ValhallaGH

First Post
Congratulations on solving your quandary! I hope you enjoy it.

Savage Worlds is great. A very flexible system with a lot of hidden depth to it (it feels rules light but it is actually very crunchy if you dig into it). Most settings are easy to "savage", converting the feel rather than the mechanics (I savaged a version of the Halo video games in about 8 hours, as a non-magical example). Lots of great options for low-fantasy, high-fantasy, pulp, modern, and sci-fi gaming. A small ton of third-party support, too.

Dragon Age is also worth looking into if you get the chance. No rush, but it's a simple, fast-playing, flexible system with very little homework, easy DMing, no magical "I win" buttons, and some active publisher support. I was surprised just how much I enjoyed playing it, and the expanded general mechanics (social and role-play stunts) in the 6-10 Beta really flesh out the weak points of the system.


Best of luck. And that is an excellent signature.
 

Steel_Wind

Adventurer
Bah! Go for Pathfinder!

Pick up Lone Wolf's Herolab Character Creation software. Your problems with tracking things in terms of character development go away. The core presumptions of the game system are already known to you and your group.

Your players can pick up the pdf of the PFRPG Core Rules for $10. For a 600 page book, that's pretty decent. You can grab your own dead-tree version and a copy of the Bestiary off of Amazon for about $57, all-in, for nearly 1,000 pages of hardbound gaming goodness.

Then, run the Kingmaker Adventure Path. That's the one benefit you get from Pathfinder that no other RPG (not even 4E) can touch: it has the best published adventures for the game in the industry and no other RPG comes close to touching that aspect of the game's strength.

With Kingmaker, you and your players will quickly be having FAR more fun than you have had in a very long time at the game table. Kingmaker: Stolen Land won the Gold ENnie for a reason.

You can pick up the Golarion campaign setting book in the spring if you want to -- but it's not necessary for Kingmaker. The AP volumes provide all you really need for that campaign which should last you a year or so of weekly gaming.
 
Last edited:

pawsplay

First Post
My first suggestion would be to run Pathfinder, using the slow advancement rate and low magic options.

My second would be Fantasy Craft, which can be dialed easily enough to fit the kind of campaign you are talking about. By default, magic items are fairly rare but attainable. Magic definitely does not solve all problems.

Apart from that Dragon Warriors or Dragon Age are well-reputed, though I have tried neither. Mutants & Masterminds 2e published a swords-and-sorcery sourcebook which is quite good. Then of course there are every other universal game you can think of. GURPS is tremendous for fantasy, Hero System is also quite good, there's Savage Worlds, etc.
 


Ravellion

serves Gnome Master
Bah! Go for Pathfinder!

(...)

Then, run the Kingmaker Adventure Path. That's the one benefit you get from Pathfinder that no other RPG (not even 4E) can touch: it has the best published adventures for the game in the industry and no other RPG comes close to touching that aspect of the game's strength.
Pathfinder is for me just 3.5 with house rules. Which means it is very good and suits my purposes, but it isn't necessarily the bees knees. I am most likely going to use Trailblazer as opposed to "core 3.5". Perhaps with some UA options thrown in, maybe even adapt 4e races slightly and use those instead of the core races. Will add some power to the players, but not too much. Probably less than the magic I intend to withhold from them :).

I have heard good things about the Paizo adventure paths, but I am going to be playing with 3 players (probably add one DMPC which is going to be played by a player who will only be there 50% of the time). is that going to be a problem? I heard Paizo balances their paths for 5 players. Also, I really, really, don't want to DM above 11th level. If I have to scale down everything to keep following the path, that would probably be too much work for me to enjoy it as a DM.
 

S'mon

Legend
S'mon, I don't know why I blindsided myself thinking it had to be E6 or E8. E10 might indeed be just what I am looking for. If only the rarest and greatest heroes and villains can teleport/raise dead, I still have a "D&D flavour world" but only two levels of over-the-topness (I do think levels 9 and 10 are a bit too much - hit point inflation is the primary cause for this, IMO). And I would be able to run Red hand of Doom, which I haven't done so far. I think I could also tone down Greyhawk to E10 without hurting the lore too much, and play in my favourite campaign setting.

Alright, E10 it is, Greyhawk, and I already have adventure material for half the campaign. After that, I will give savage worlds a spin. Thanks guys!

Glad to help Rav. :D

I've been using an effective 10th level cap for two campaigns now, one ran ca 2005-2006 for ca 35 sessions and we played Lost City of Barakus (which I highly recommend as an example of an E10 sandbox) and follow-ons up to 9th level. My current 3.5 game has run 21 sessions and is more like E6 for most NPCs, so the 6th-7th level PCs are top of the heap, epic heroes. I find that it works great if you just use suitable NPC demographics and monster stats. It feels much more like "D&D" to me than does the 17th level scry-buff-teleport stuff. If you play weekly and don't want the PCs to cap out quickly you may want to use half XP, but in my current campaign I've used full XP without a problem.

I think Greyhawk as a setting was designed very much around the 1e 1-10 level range, where 10th level PCs can go kill Lolth. The only proviso is that very high-level NPC wizards are a part of Greyhawk lore, but they can be dealt with through eg access to powerful ritual magic only useable by 10th level casters at certain nodes of power when the Stars are Right.
 


the Jester

Legend
Well, I'd probably go with 1e, but I have all the resources already. :)

That said, it sounds like you've found a good solution to your dilemma.
 

Steel_Wind

Adventurer
Pathfinder is for me just 3.5 with house rules. Which means it is very good and suits my purposes, but it isn't necessarily the bees knees. I am most likely going to use Trailblazer as opposed to "core 3.5". Perhaps with some UA options thrown in, maybe even adapt 4e races slightly and use those instead of the core races. Will add some power to the players, but not too much. Probably less than the magic I intend to withhold from them :).

I have heard good things about the Paizo adventure paths, but I am going to be playing with 3 players (probably add one DMPC which is going to be played by a player who will only be there 50% of the time). is that going to be a problem? I heard Paizo balances their paths for 5 players. Also, I really, really, don't want to DM above 11th level. If I have to scale down everything to keep following the path, that would probably be too much work for me to enjoy it as a DM.

I think once you throw in the APG, you find quickly the dimissive "just house rules" approach is no longer close to being justified.

If you don't want to DM above 11th level - run Council of Thieves AP. The players should ding 12th level on the final fight in the 6th book.

The APs are balanced for four player characters, not five. If you are running for three PCs, run an NPC cleric as one of the heroes. You are good to go.
 

gamerprinter

First Post
Pathfinder is for me just 3.5 with house rules. Which means it is very good and suits my purposes, but it isn't necessarily the bees knees. I am most likely going to use Trailblazer as opposed to "core 3.5". Perhaps with some UA options thrown in, maybe even adapt 4e races slightly and use those instead of the core races. Will add some power to the players, but not too much. Probably less than the magic I intend to withhold from them :).

I have heard good things about the Paizo adventure paths, but I am going to be playing with 3 players (probably add one DMPC which is going to be played by a player who will only be there 50% of the time). is that going to be a problem? I heard Paizo balances their paths for 5 players. Also, I really, really, don't want to DM above 11th level. If I have to scale down everything to keep following the path, that would probably be too much work for me to enjoy it as a DM.

Honestly, if you only compare the PF Core with the 3.5 PH and DMG, but reading between them only, you'll only come up with the conclusion that PF is just 'house rules." However, if you actually play the game, there's a huge difference between the two - huge but subtle, as it still plays like "D&D".

We've been playing PF for over a year, but when we started we ran four sessions to complete our first adventure, afterwhich I asked if the party would like to go back to 3x, and they responded, "No way!"

The difference between a 1st level 3x character and a 1st level PF character is huge. In fact all the base classes are significantly powered up, while the casters are less so than the martial members, there are still improvements. Then look at Prestige Classes, these are now flavor differences, and few mechanical options, but nolonger are you looking to definitely move into a prestige class as part of your build.

I have only one player who has taken a prestige class, everyone else is sticking to single class, and throughout 3.5 all these players, always played multi-class as their preference. Now the single classes have so much more features and capabilty - at each level, few are compelled to leave their base class.

Add to this the great variety in the Advanced Players Guide and the options are even greater.

In the beginning, we took the 'backwards compatible' premise and continued to use the various 3x books to enhance our game. With the release of the APG, all of the 3x books in our game has been banned. APG and Core provide everything we need for an excellent gaming experience. 3.5 is just a memory now.

We had our own house rules for 3x, so why switch to somebody else's house rules... because its not just house rules, its a completely better game, yet still feels just like 3x... YMMV.

GP
 

Ravellion

serves Gnome Master
We had our own house rules for 3x, so why switch to somebody else's house rules... because its not just house rules, its a completely better game, yet still feels just like 3x... YMMV.

GP
I fully believe it still feels like 3e. We played with the UA basic classes for a while and it felt like 3e though :D.

Pathfinder is a bit too option rich for my tastes. Maybe I will use it to try it out if I ever do one of the Adventure paths. I know at least one of my players would love it.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top