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Looking for a Fantasy RPG for a small group

TheSword

Legend
My recommendation would be WFRP 4e.

Combat is important but it is far less important than character interactions.

Adventures written (Ubersreik Adventures and Ubersreik Adventures II) are awesome mysteries. Fun and engaging.
 

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pemerton

Legend
More deadly and not needing retainers is on the DM, not the game.
This doesn't make sense to me at all.

In 4e D&D, at 1st level, the typical PC has 20 to 30 hit points before falling unconscious (depending on CON and class), and the typical hit from a 1st level creature does 9-ish hp. (Maybe 1d8+4 or 1d10+5.)

In Moldvay Basic, the largest 1st level hit die is d8 (for a fighter or dwarf), and a typical hit from a weapon does 1d6 or 1d8 damage.

In Rolemaster, most hits - especially against unarmoured or lightly-armoured opponents - trigger a crit roll, which can generate debilitating debuffs or even death.

In Prince Valiant, the mechanical effect of having one's dice pool reduced to zero is an inability to continue acting in the situation. What that means in the fiction is entirely up to the GM's narration. If the GM narrates any lingering injury, how long that takes to recover is entirely up to the GM. And the GM guidelines expressly state that "Normally death is not an important part of Prince Valiant."

These are all FRPGs that might be played with a small group. They are very different in their deadliness, because of system differences.
 


GMMichael

Guide of Modos
This doesn't make sense to me at all. . .
These are all FRPGs that might be played with a small group. They are very different in their deadliness, because of system differences.
aramis's math notwithstanding, I suspect that in all of the games you mention, the GM is responsible for NPCs attacking PCs. Ergo, each of your examples cease to be deadly when the GM decides that the NPCs are done fighting.
 

aramis's math notwithstanding, I suspect that in all of the games you mention, the GM is responsible for NPCs attacking PCs. Ergo, each of your examples cease to be deadly when the GM decides that the NPCs are done fighting.
Which said math is only about the need for retainers; I should have been more clear.

I'll note, however, that your assertion is problematic, given that a not insignificant minority treat many RPGs as having fixed rules that prescribe a certain setting by mechanics. In the case of D&D (at least, BX, AD&D1E, BECMI, AD&D 2E, Cyclopedia, and optional in 5thZ), there's a rule for...
  • Determining if an encounter happens (Random Encounters rule)
  • Determining what is encountered (Random Encounters rule)
  • Determining whether or not the encountered being is hostile (Reaction Rule)
  • Determining when they should withdraw and/or surrender (morale rule)
For those transitioning from boardgames with fixed rules, that the GM is to moderate this is inobvious, even given the table building aspect of random encounters in AD&D 1E/2E. Every monster has a number encountered entry.

For the rules-stickler, on the fly rejection invalidates the point of rules; adapting the rules for setting usually doesn't. One of the reasons I quit being a player was that most other GMs ignored rules willy-nilly, often with no thought about knock-on consequences. For such GMs and/or players, the decisions about deadliness are made at the table creation stage, not the in-play running-the-encounter stage.

I happen to have tended towards that mindset most of my life... so the lethality is determined in large part by the rules.
 


TwoSix

Unserious gamer
Might take a look at Worlds Without Number, it's an OSR game that has explicit rules for playing stronger characters in cases where you have less players and aren't using hirelings/retainers.
 

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