Let's Talk About Fantasy heartbreaks and other FRPGs

Voadam

Legend
two rolls isn't that big a deal, and parries in Palladium run out.
My then group played a bunch of both AD&D and Palladium and found the difference noticeable.

Particularly the facts that two different people have to make rolls and they are not fixed target rolls but opposed rolls to resolve each attack.
 

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Staffan

Legend
My then group played a bunch of both AD&D and Palladium and found the difference noticeable.

Particularly the facts that two different people have to make rolls and they are not fixed target rolls but opposed rolls to resolve each attack.
One of the clever things Pathfinder 2 did was to almost entirely remove opposed rolls, and replace them with a DC = 10+appropriate bonus.

You want to hide from someone? Roll Stealth vs 10+opponent's Perception.
You think someone's around and want to look for them? Roll Perception vs 10+opponent's Stealth.
You want to grab someone? Roll Athletics vs 10+opponent's Fortitude save.

I think it might still use opposed rolls for things where you don't clash directly, but rather compete (e.g. a race), but even those things are rare.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen
I think Runequest was the first actual "heartbreaker," starting life as OD&D houserules.
Or Tunnels & Trolls, which started out as a simplified alternative?

I don't think either fits the classic definition of a Fantasy Heartbreaker, though, because I always understood that a FH has to be a "let's do D&D, but better!" game which not only fails to innovate substantially over D&D, but represents both a notable labor of love/major investment on the part of the creator, and a commercial flop.

RuneQuest did spring at least in part from the Perrin Conventions house rules for OD&D (first debuted at DunDraCon I in '76, I believe), but it's done reasonably well as a game system (and, I think, does a lot of stuff differently from D&D). :)
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Or Tunnels & Trolls, which started out as a simplified alternative?

I don't think either fits the classic definition of a Fantasy Heartbreaker, though, because I always understood that a FH has to be a "let's do D&D, but better!" game which not only fails to innovate substantially over D&D, but represents both a notable labor of love/major investment on the part of the creator, and a commercial flop.

RuneQuest did spring at least in part from the Perrin Conventions house rules for OD&D (first debuted at DunDraCon I in '76, I believe), but it's done reasonably well as a game system (and, I think, does a lot of stuff differently from D&D). :)
Well, while rubeQuest has continued for decades on a low level, it never put a dint in D&D. I don't think a "Heartbreaker" needs to be an abject failure, just so long as it goes head to head with D&D as an improvement and doesn't displace it (basically all fantasy RPGs thst exist commercially are "Hearbreakers" by that definition, but I'mOK with thst..
 

Crusadius

Adventurer
Well, while rubeQuest has continued for decades on a low level, it never put a dint in D&D. I don't think a "Heartbreaker" needs to be an abject failure, just so long as it goes head to head with D&D as an improvement and doesn't displace it (basically all fantasy RPGs thst exist commercially are "Hearbreakers" by that definition, but I'mOK with thst..

Calling every other fantasy rpg a "heartbreaker" pretty much makes the term meaningless since all it then means is "a fantasy game that is not D&D".
 


Jer

Legend
Supporter
That's pretty much what I mean by it, yup: none has really competed with D&D, hence the heartbreak.
I dunno - there's a pretty wide gulf between something like Palladium Fantasy - which is an obvious attend to do a better D&D - and Ars Magica - which was also an attempt to do a better D&D but was more subtle about it and ended up creating something completely different. I'd call Palladium Fantasy a heartbreaker despite its own success but I wouldn't apply that label to Ars Magica.

(Amusingly D&D now looks a lot more like Ars Magica than it did when Ars Magica was created. I can see the mechanics that Jon Tweet drew consciously or unconsciously into 3e that end up making D&D more like Ars in mechanics.)
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I dunno - there's a pretty wide gulf between something like Palladium Fantasy - which is an obvious attend to do a better D&D - and Ars Magica - which was also an attempt to do a better D&D but was more subtle about it and ended up creating something completely different. I'd call Palladium Fantasy a heartbreaker despite its own success but I wouldn't apply that label to Ars Magica.

(Amusingly D&D now looks a lot more like Ars Magica than it did when Ars Magica was created. I can see the mechanics that Jon Tweet drew consciously or unconsciously into 3e that end up making D&D more like Ars in mechanics.)
No, that's fair. But I'd put RuneQuest in thst first category as a Heartbreaker, along with Rile Master or 13th Age.
 

Maletherin

Explorer
As an offshoot of my thread about replacing D&D specifically for dungeon crawls, I want to talk about other fantay RPGs more broadly and not necessarily focused on trying to get the same experience.

What was your first non-D&D fantasy RPG? What is your favorite? If it is a different answer, what is your favorite "fantasy heartbreaker" (usually defined as a game designed specifically to be a better game than D&D and usually failing)? Are you able to run that favorite game, or do you end up going back to D&D to get players (or whatever other reason)?
Tunnels & Trolls was my first non-D&D game. I played it with some friends for a couple months before the GM moved away. Later on RQ3 became my go to game, which in many ways it still is. I can only handle an occasional foray into D&D of any sort. Ablative and escalating HP destroy my suspension of disbelief in no time flat.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
My first non D&D RPG was before playing D&D: Advanced Fighting Fantasy, a system based on the old "choose your own adventure" fighting fantasy book. It worked reasonably well but had some balancing issues.

Troika! , interestingly, is built on this system and has fixed most (but not all) of said issues. Troika! has a strong, zany flavor that some people love and others... not so much. But it would not be difficult to make it into a "generic fantasy" system. I think it would work great in warhammer.
 

Maletherin

Explorer
My first non D&D RPG was before playing D&D: Advanced Fighting Fantasy, a system based on the old "choose your own adventure" fighting fantasy book. It worked reasonably well but had some balancing issues.

Troika! , interestingly, is built on this system and has fixed most (but not all) of said issues. Troika! has a strong, zany flavor that some people love and others... not so much. But it would not be difficult to make it into a "generic fantasy" system. I think it would work great in warhammer.
How does Troika! compare to AFF2?
 

Mezuka

Adventurer
Troika! , interestingly, is built on this system and has fixed most (but not all) of said issues. Troika! has a strong, zany flavor that some people love and others... not so much. But it would not be difficult to make it into a "generic fantasy" system. I think it would work great in warhammer.
Sold! I'm a fan of Dying Earth. Reading the SRD.
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Arduin we liked to read, but never actually thought to play it.

Gamma World is "fantasy" just post-apocalytpic.

GURPS was the first game I actually played for real in a fantasy setting that was not D&D.

Could you run Traveller as a fantasy game, just strip out all the spaceship stuff?
 


Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Arduin we liked to read, but never actually thought to play it.

Gamma World is "fantasy" just post-apocalytpic.

GURPS was the first game I actually played for real in a fantasy setting that was not D&D.

Could you run Traveller as a fantasy game, just strip out all the spaceship stuff?
Make them into ships. Or skyships.
 

I love everything about Shadowrun except the system. It needs a complete revamp.

SR Anarchy seems to be the best SR system at the moment even though it’s pulled way to far into the “streamlined” side.

There is a happy middle, it just needs to be written.
 


aramis erak

Legend
There is Sword of Cepheus. Cepheus is a 3rd party Traveller system and Sword of Cepheus applies the rules system to the Sword and Sorcery/Sword and Planet/Sword and Sandals genres.
That's one of at least 3 published Traveller fantasy adaptations.
Sword of Cepheus, Mercator (Zozer Games/Paul Elliot), and Worlds Apart

Plus, there are several web variants - mostly built upon CT - of which Alegis Downport has one of the best "how to do it" blogs.

http://www.ace-dog.com/Traveller/AldrethA4.pdf has a MegaTraveller adaptation.
 


aramis erak

Legend
There's a fantasy version of Cepheus Engine (which is a retroclone of MegaTraveller) called "Sword of Cepheus".
WRONG. Sword of Cepheus is derived from Cepheus Engine, which is itself derived from Mongoose Traveller 1E SRD, which is itself derived from CT1E with major changes. The chap behind Cepheus is a CT fan, and has specifically stated on COTI that the changes were to make it more like CT.
 

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