my players told me what they want in a rpg for the next campaign

Doctor Atomic

Villager
I am bringing my Fantasy AGE campaign to a close and my players told me the features they were looking for in the next game.

1) Mages are fun and do not follow the Clod to God D&D model where they start out useless and weak and along the way suddenly become the most powerful class on the board.

2) Fighters and Rogues have more to do in combat than just roll for hit and damage. My players are looking for a game where the non casters have combat abilities that make for interesting game play.

3) The game uses regular dice, no gimmicks like cards or whatever.

Does anyone know of a game like this?
 
I'm not familiar with a lot of newer systems, but I have a couple sugestions.

You could try Hero System's Fantasy Hero. The point-based system in the basic rules can be used to allow players to build and buy special moves and abilities for their characters, if you want, rather than just Stats, Skills, and Combat Levels. Mages buy their spells the same way, so there's a balance between casters and non-casters. My experience, at least with 4th Edition, though, is that damage across the board gets a little same-same. ie Warriors sword does 2d6. Mage's fire-bolt does 2d6. I have heard that later editions up the point totals for builds, however, so you can get more customization.

Also, there is Earthdawn. I don't know about later Editions, but I play-tested 1st Edition and can't imagine that the basic core elements have changed. All the classes have special abilities that they get each level, so even classes traditionally non-caster have thing they can do besides slash and stab. The game is tied to the in-game world, though, so using it with your own home-brew world might take a little work.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
I am bringing my Fantasy AGE campaign to a close and my players told me the features they were looking for in the next game.

1) Mages are fun and do not follow the Clod to God D&D model where they start out useless and weak and along the way suddenly become the most powerful class on the board.

2) Fighters and Rogues have more to do in combat than just roll for hit and damage. My players are looking for a game where the non casters have combat abilities that make for interesting game play.

3) The game uses regular dice, no gimmicks like cards or whatever.

Does anyone know of a game like this?
Have you tried D&D 4e?
 

Nagol

Unimportant
I like the Hero system, but it can be an awful lot of work for the GM to set up (or not depending on how much of a personal touch/vision you have for the campaign). Character design is the hardest part for players, running the game is pretty straightforward on both sides of the screen.

Other games that fit:

Dungeon world.
13th age
 

Doctor Atomic

Villager
Thanks for the replies.

I ran an Earthdawn 1 campaign a long time ago, it was an interesting system. I'll offer that and Fantasy Hero as suggestions. Is there a preferred version?

I played 4e many years ago and liked it as a player. I was looking at it the other day and it seemed like it would be a lot of work to DM (from my cursory inspection).

I don't know anything about Dungeon World or 13th Age, I will do a bit of research.
 
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I'd also rec Fantasy Hero if you've handled Hero System before. Not exactly quick to pick up.
I played 4e many years ago and liked it as a player. I was looking at it the other day and it seemed like it would be a lot of work to DM (from my cursory inspection).
Easiest version of D&D to run, least-distorted class balance & advancement, so mages & fighters/Rogue's perform the way you want.
I've run a lot if D&D over the decades, and largely stopped doing prep in the 2e era, too much trouble for the payoff, just as lib.
3e I tried prepping, huge amount if work for a return you couldn't even count on. Ultimately played rather than ran as much as possible.

4e I played a bit, didn't try to run, then did an impromptu pick-up game: 5 min prep, just picking same-level monsters - radically re-skinned one - 4 encounyers, good for several hours of fun. It was quite the eye-opener. Ran it for years after that. By the time 5e came out, and I started running that I realized "hey, I've gotten a little /lazy/ as a DM..."

But, if even one of your players is a closet "h4ter," it's not even worth bringing it up.

I don't know anything about Dungeon World or 13th Age, I will do a bit of research.
13th Age is a pretty neat, D&D-style frpg, like a very talented cover band that also does their own stuff.
It's tone is conversational, so it's easy to get through. It's not exactly carefree to run at the table but there's a remarkable adventure for it: Eyes of the Stone Thief
Downside is that, while the Rogue is remarkably engaging, you don't even really need to be at the table to play a fighter - you get 'maneuvers,' and the dice tell you which one you do.
 
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Zardnaar

Hero
I'd also rec Fantasy Hero if you've handled Hero System before. Not exactly quick to pick up.
Easiest version of D&D to run, least-distorted class balance & advancement, so mages & fighters/Rogue's perform the way you want.
I've run a lot if D&D over the decades, and largely stopped doing prep in the 2e era, too much trouble for the payoff, just as lib.
3e I tried prepping, huge amount if work for a return you couldn't even count on. Ultimately played rather than ran as much as possible.

4e I played a bit, didn't try to run, then did an impromptu pick-up game 5 min prep, just picking same-level monsters - radically re-skinned one - 4 encounyers, good for several hours of fun. It was quite the eye-opener.

But, if even one of your players is a closet "h4ter" not even worth bringing it up.

13th Age is a pretty neat, D&D-style frpg, like a very talented cover band that also does their own stuff.
It's done his conversational, so it's easy to get through. It's not exactly carefree to run at the table but there's a remarkable adventure for it: Eyes of the Stone Thief
4Es not the easiest but might fit the criteria laid out in the OP.

13th age might also fit if the OP thinks it's to much work.
 

S'mon

Legend
4e D&D is an exact fit, but if you don't want 4e then 5e D&D is close enough as makes no difference, and more flexible in what it can handle. Start at 3rd level if you don't want any whiff of zero-ness. Level 1 5e characters have relatively few abilities & are very squishy.

My copy of 13th Age arriving tomorrow!
 

shawnhcorey

Villager
There's always GURPS. You can get a taste of it by downloading the free GURPS Lite.

GURPS is a point-buy system. Characters can mix and match advantages, disadvantages, and skills to their heart's content. In GURPS, spells are skills. A beginning character can have more than one spell. And GURPS uses only 6-sided dice.
 

Blue

Orcus on a bad hair day
Are you still looking for typical D&D fantasy genre, or is your group open for something different?

Dresden Accelerated is modern urban fantasy using the Fate Accelerated system (FAE) based off the Dresden Files books which is really a D&D-like kitchen sink of every supernatural thing you can think of.

If you REALLY don't want wimpy wizards play Ars Magica - they are all gods. And everyone is one. Plus a powerful henchman. Plus a bunch of minions. But that's a different style of play. Again, might be a good fit, might not.

Blades in the Dark is fantastical magic and ghosts in a gaspunk victoria age centered around criminal gangs and heists. It doesn't have direct equivalents to wizards, but what ti does have doesn't start as a clod nor become a god.

If you do want to stay D&D-like in genre, 13th Age is my favorite of them, but it has a stronger narrative element. That might be a boon for your table or a bane. It has a lot flatter curve for casters than D&D 5e. On the other hand, some of the martial classes are interesting with lots of options, and some are simple, low complexity for the players that want that. So ther are a few classes martial classes that are mostly just "I hit it, hard". (Barbarian, I'm looking at you.). Others are more nuanced.

Oh, the companion book 13 True Ways has several more classes, but I need to shout out the two bestiaries. They are hands down the most evocative and interesting monster manuals I have read for any system. And foe design in 13th Age makes monsters easy to run.

One last bit about it - it's a d20 OGL product made by a lead designer of D&D 3.0 (who also co-wrote Ars Magica) and the lead designer of D&D 4e, for what they'd want to play in their weekly campaign. It's a lot like 5e in being streamlined and not bogging down with unneeded mechanical details and putting that in the hands of the DM.

I'm lukewarm on 4e personally - I feel the combats really bog down once you get to mid paragon and that it is light on support for other pillars of play besides combat, but it really does fit your requirements. And you do have to love how easy it is to run mechanically.

There are a lot of great Powered by the Apocalypse games, but Dungeon World misses the mark for me, not sure I'd recommend it. Actually, if you want to switch genre then just about any of the PbtA games could work well with your requirements.

EDIT: I love Champions, but I wouldn't use Hero System for fantasy. It's just not making enough use of the system's strengths, and you're paying a heavy toll in slow combats and huge amounts of DM prep.
 
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Thanks for the replies.

I ran an Earthdawn 1 campaign a long time ago, it was an interesting system. I'll offer that and Fantasy Hero as suggestions. Is there a preferred version?
Unfortunately, I don't have experience with any other Fantasy Hero editions except 3rd. A friend who was in the same game, but later moved across the country, did have a 5th edition campaign with the increased character points and he said that it was a much improved experience, with a lot more variety of abilities and damage spreads, while still staying balanced.
 

JeffB

Adventurer
I think you should stick with Fantasy Age

Or, my fave D20 game- 13th Age

Or

Dungeon World. Rules are free and there are hacks out there for free that are less player facing-centric if you would prefer to run a slightly more traditional game and DM campaign setting-One Shot World, World of Dungeons, Dungeons.
 

Ratskinner

Adventurer
I am bringing my Fantasy AGE campaign to a close and my players told me the features they were looking for in the next game.

1) Mages are fun and do not follow the Clod to God D&D model where they start out useless and weak and along the way suddenly become the most powerful class on the board.

2) Fighters and Rogues have more to do in combat than just roll for hit and damage. My players are looking for a game where the non casters have combat abilities that make for interesting game play.

3) The game uses regular dice, no gimmicks like cards or whatever.

Does anyone know of a game like this?
Games to consider:

Fate (just use d6-d6, instead of funky dice) or Savage Worlds. The big difference would be how much "open-endedness" or "freeform" your players like. Savage Worlds is defined by big lists of traits and powers and skills, etc. much like D&D. Fate has mechanics that you define by group agreement and with narrative descriptors. This even applies to things you might do in combat. This lets your fighters do all sorts of nifty maneuvers. In fact, the "default" way a combat works is that the players take a few turns to cooperatively create enough advantage to KO the big bad guy. I personally like Fate, and it can run pretty well with very little prep. Look at Fate Accelerated, if you want a very simple version.

Dungeon World, while this is a big jump from traditional rpg play (if done right), it is also a bit of a blast and very easy to run with little to no prep.
 

Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
If you're up for a front loaded game, Mutants & Masterminds 3E works. Point buy, you set the level of power so no Zero to Hero business. It defaults to superheroes, but the rules work well of just about anything in an action oriented vein.

As a plus, most the functions are similar enough to 3E and new version of D&D that there shouldn't be a huge learning curve.
 

Doctor Atomic

Villager
Thank you, all, I am reading up on the games you have mentioned.

Someone I know mentioned a game called Shadow of the Demon Lord. does anyone know anything about it?
 

Hussar

Legend
All very excellent suggestions. And, yeah, I'm biased, but, 4e does sound like what you want. And, no it's not terribly hard to prep. When you can fit the monster creation rules on a business card, it's not terribly hard to prep. :D

It is a pretty fiddly game though - lots of stuff to track during play. If you have players that aren't particularly interested in fairly intricate combat systems, it's going to be a slog.

Savage Worlds is always an option. And it ticks the boxes that you listed at the outset.

I've never played it, but, I've heard nothing but good things about Blades in the Dark. Might be worth the look.
 

RSIxidor

Explorer
If you consider 4E, try looking up "Monster Manual 3 on a business card." It's perhaps not perfect but makes it much easier to spin up an impromptu combat encounter if things go unexpectedly. I found it made running even easier, and 4E is already pretty easy to run.

Other than that, I rather like Dungeon World and 13th Age is also excellent.
 

DrunkonDuty

Explorer
I'll also recommend HERO system. But I always do in these threads. :p

Ars Magica is another awesome game. Haven't played it in years unfortunately, hard to find people who are keen to try and master the magic system, which is admittedly complex. But consistent! The game play is actually really simple (even magic once you get the hang of it.)
 

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