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

pogre

Adventurer
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.)
I am a huge fan of Ars Magica, but while it certainly creates very capable mages from the beginning - I think the OP would be disappointed with the role of warriors in the game. There are not a ton of combat options for non-mages. I would play or run Ars in a New York second with the right group - but it is not a game with a ton of tactical combat options.

Using the criteria of the OP I think 13th Age is a better fit.
 

Retreater

Adventurer
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.
While I'm a fan of Savage Worlds, it does use cards for initiative (and also tokens for bennies), which the OP could find a little gimmicky. I think it's a good method, but others (esp those coming from D&D) could be turned off by it.
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
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?
Shadow of the Demon Lord was the first game I thought of when you laid out your criteria.

It has a decent amount of grimdark baked into the core, which to my mind is the only real turn-off. But magic doesn't get out of hand, it's easy to run, and fighters and rogues get a lot of interesting abilities. And the expert and master paths let the players decide exactly how much or little magic they want in their character, even if they start off as warriors or rogues.
 

Greg K

Adventurer
My thoughts have been pretty much been mentioned: GURPS Fantasy, Fantasy Hero for Hero System, and Savage Worlds. I have not, yet, looked at BASH Fantasy, but it might work from what I have heard.
 
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Maestrino

Explorer
Heck, listen to the first few podcasts of Acquisitons Incorporated. They start off running 4e and Chris Perkins does a pretty good job explaining the system to the players as they go.
 

Aldarc

Adventurer
I don't want to repeat some of the suggestions that people have already put forth, so I will mention another.

The Cypher System could work for your criteria. Adepts (i.e., mages) can do godlike things but so can other Types/Classes through their choice of focus or even their cyphers (e.g., like single-use magic items). I believe that there will be a revised Cypher System Rulebook out soon. The reactions to the system tend to be somewhat divisive, IME, so take that in mind when approaching the system. It may not be to your liking but still worth looking into.
 

aramis erak

Explorer
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?
There's a 4th criterion which shapes my answers: the need to be a rich decision making environment in combat for all characters.

Several come to mind...
Top of the list, but hardest to implement: Fantasy Hero. The different power frameworks also allow customizing the feel of magic quite nicely. Add the edition correct martial arts and the fighters gain a lot of attack choices which can be tailored.

Any of several FATE flavors can work fine, provided that you remember that you can create a trait with a free-tag without a fate point by making a suitable roll combined with a suitable narration. Dresden Files is the most obvious, but Legends of Anglierre could do nicely.

Burning Wheel. Lots of setup, but excellent in play.
 
Oh yes, I forgot one other possibility. A number of years ago, Monte Cook put out what was essentially an alternate 3rd Ed players handbook called Arcana Evolved, which presented new races and classes. Many of the classes are hybrid with different abilities than just the standard Fighter/Mage, etc, and it also has racial levels, with characters being able to develop their racial abilities by taking up to 3 levels in them.
 

Fanaelialae

Adventurer
If 4e would suit your needs, but some of your players don't care for it, you could take a look at one of the alternate systems that take some inspiration from 4e but are their own thing. 13th Age (which has been mentioned), Unity, or 'Strike!' come to mind.

If your players are interested in really going off the beaten path and trying something new, The Dawnline seems like a really great game with tactical depth and balance. It is not classic fantasy whatsoever though.
 

B1okHead

Villager
My personal favorite F20 game is Hackmaster 5e. It may or may not be what you're looking for as it's pretty dense, but in my opinion it's one of the best higher crunch game systems out there.
 

Neurotic

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?
GURPS
 
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dbm

Explorer
Lots of recommendations for GURPS / GURPS Dungeon Fantasy and I came to recommend the same.

GURPS gives lots of option to ’regular’ characters in combat. We are about 60 hours into a Dungeon Fantasy campaign and have a party with a swashbuckler, martial artist, knight, wizards and cleric. The swashbuckler probably has the most options in combat due to her high levels of combat skill. Rapid strikes, deceptive strikes, called shots. And that’s after the high level decisions around combining moving and attacking to get into an advantageous position. GURPS generally doesn’t put ’realistic’ options behind a ‘feat lock’ so anyone can try disarms, trips and so on. It just makes skill count so that, to do these things reliably, you need to be highly capable.

The common wisdom in GURPS is that a ‘fighter’ has more strategic options in combat that a ‘wizard’ as GURPS magic spells (using the default magic system - others are available) are smaller and more specific than DnD spells, but wizards typically know more of them and casting is based on fatigue rather than spell slots and there is no memorisation so you have your full repertoire available to you when you need to pick a spell to cast. In GURPS, magic isn’t really about dishing lots of damage, at least it isn’t about dishing out more than a skilled warrior can. Our Wizard can build up to a 4d6 fire blast which is pretty impressive but costs a couple of fatigue points every second it is use, so they can only sustain this for a few attacks. By contrast our knight does 2d6+8 Cutting damage when using his bastard sword two-handed (and that type of damage is multiplied by 1.5 once it gets through armour in most instances). He can keep that up every round, can attempt a wider range of combat manoeuvres due to his higher skill, and is just simply more likely to hit in combat. But: the mage can fly, turn invisible, glue enemies to the spot, lift donkeys up a cliff face (this was important in the last session!) so it all balances out to a greater or lesser extent.

GURPS in general and GURPS DF specifically are a different type of fantasy game than DnD, with different strengths and a different flavour. It could be what you are looking for and whilst there is, of course, a learning curve our experience is that this isn’t huge and the DF box set in particular is well written to take a group new to GURPS through all the details open to you.
 

Neurotic

Adventurer
By contrast our knight does 2d6+8 Cutting damage when using his bastard sword two-handed (and that type of damage is multiplied by 1.5 once it gets through armour in most instances). He can keep that up every round, can attempt a wider range of combat manoeuvres due to his higher skill, and is just simply more likely to hit in combat.
BUT. Knights attacks can be dodged, blocked and parried and each needs to bypass DR (although average of 17 will cut down even another knight in full plate).

Spells are generally resisted by an attribute (equivalent to saving throw) which are contested by a spell skill of the wizard. Imagine if you need to save you need to beat wizards intelligence check...with your intelligence/will/whatever is called for
 

dbm

Explorer
For sure, that was what I was meaning when I said it isn’t really about dishing damage. It’s more about buffs, de-buffs and creative stuff.
 

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