Please explain Other Gaming Systems


RuleMaster said:
In ....several other gaming systems have been mentioned, whose names I've never heard of - or some, which I know only by name. ...

Name which ones you want explained, other than now Hero and The Window?

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You can check out GURPS for free in the form of "GURPS Lite", which is the basics.

The system I know best is Cinematic Unisystem. Six attributes- Perception, Willpower, Intelligence, Strength, Dexterity, Constitution. You roll attribute+skill+ 1d10 +/- relevant penalties. If you're over 9, you succeed. Less, you fail.

Very fast combat system, drama points for flavor. Runs smoother than silk. I love it so.


First Post
Dannyalcatraz forgot to mention one major diffrence between a Heroic setting and a Super Heroic one. That is how "normal" equiptment is delt with.

In a Heroic setting, you can go out and buy things, even magic items. While in a Super Heroic setting, you have to spend your points on everything your character has. So in a Super Heroic campaign, if you want a horse to ride. You spend points to get a Follower (if you want something like a Paladins holy mount or a Rangers animal companion) or a Vehical (the rules for anything from a mount to star ship, to car, to jet plane etc), then ether build the horse (similar to building your character) or if you have one of the beastaries you can use one of them (assuming you spent enough points to get one). The balacning advantage of having to spend points on everything is that if it is lost or destroyed. You will eventualy (usualy within a sceen or two) get the item back somehow (be it a new animal, resurecting your current one, etc). You are also automaticaly profecient with any weapons, armors, etc you have spent points on.

While in the Heroic setting, you would just have to find someone willing to sell or trade you one of their horses, swords, etc. But unless you have spent the points to be profecient with it, you will suffer penalities to your checks.


Just to throw in a system that is completely different from d20 but uses a d20 only, I'd like to mention Heroquest. Instead of typing a lot, I point to the Game Aids, which contain a short summary of the main rules. The rules synopsis starts on page 6 :). I'd suggest to start there, because you have to know that before you are able to understand the stuff that comes before :D.



ALTERNITY is a flexible, heavily skill-based system originally designed as a generic science fiction game. Classes are very loosely defined; levels mostly just offer a chance to spend experience points improving skills; and core attributes are central to the mechanics.

The rules were written in a modular fashion, allowing you to adopt a fairly simple ruleset or add more detailed rules as you choose.

The core dice mechanic is particularly unique, and seems to confuse new players, but it's very simple once you get hang of it. This is "Low rolls are better" game, which intuitively turns some folks off.

I really like the core mechanics, which I think contribute a lot to the tension of the game's action. It's a great system for modern or futuristic adventure. WAY more exciting and evocative than d20 Modern/Future. The two primary settings published for it are brilliant and have been cannabalized by WotC for d20 Modern/Future

Here's a few of the basic Alternity features that stand out:

Alternity uses a Durability system in which "hit points" are divided in four categories, reflecting different types/degrees of "damage": fatigue, stun, wounds, mortal. Initial points are based on Constitution. As points drop, your ability to perform actions are negatively impacted. Points do NOT rise with experience; instead, increases in skills should contribute to keeping you from harm in the first place.

Skills are based on attributes. Your skill score is sum of the actual score of the relevant attribute plus any ranks in the skill. Roll LESS than your skill score to succeed. There's also a great system for complex skill checks requiring an undisclosed (to the player) number of successes in a series of checks

The difficulty of the skill check is accommodated by the core dice system. For most people, this seems to be the toughest part of understanding Alternity. The core mechanic involves rolling a d20 and usually one other die (either a d4, d6, d8, d12, or another d20) known as the situation die. The difficulty of the situation dictates which second die is rolled and whether it is added or subtracted from the d20. REMEMBER, you're trying to roll less than your skill score so low numbers are good:


The DM can either eyeball each situation and subjectively decide the dice, or use detailed "situation step modifiers" from the rules.

Any skill check can have several degrees of success, depending on how far below the skill score you rolled. The better the success, the better the result -- often adjudicated by the GM. (Ex: A nominal jump success gets you across the chasm, but you're holding onto the edge by your hands and still must crawl up and onto the ledge. An amazing success lands well on the other side and able to take another action for free.)

Rounds are broken up into 4 phases in which everybody acts simultaneously. Your constitution and will dictate the maximum number of phases in which you can act, and your initiative roll, based on your dexterity and intelligence, determines which phase you first act in. New initiative rolls occur each round. It's less cumbersome than it sounds and it creates really dynamic combat.

There is no separate combat mechanic. Attacks are skill checks using a relevant skill, such as "Rifle". The difficulty of the skill check (i.e. which dice you roll) is determined by a variety of "situation step modifiers" such as range, speed of target, target's cover, target's size, and any relevant resistance offered by the target's attributes. Again, there are degrees of success, so an amazing shot may take the guy's head off, while a marginal success just grazes him.

All weapons have three different types and amounts of damage based on your skill check success. For example, a shotgun blast with Ordinary success 1d4 in wound damage, or 1d6 in wound damage with Good success, or 1d4 in Mortal damage with Amazing success.

Armor is variable damage reduction. For example, chainmail will absorb 1d6-1 of low impact damage. Helmets, boots, gloves, etc. add bonuses to the total amount of damage absorbed.


For more info check out -- the official Alternity site, packed with info and resources.



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Mod Squad
Staff member
RuleMaster said:
I'd like to know, what those systems do differently from D&D considering their mechanics.

Er. Each and every gaming system worth discussing could use a whole thread all to itself to do it justice.


First Post
Marvel Universe RPG

Gee, I'll throw in with this, it's my 1st love (and kiss!) with RPGs, and it's a dieless system. :)

Creation is basically a set number of points given, which you assign to basic attributes (strength, constitution etc), skills (can be powers eg Optic Blasts, or 'normal' stuff like Social Skills) and modifiers (or feats in DnD-ese). Points given are up to the GM, if u wanna play in hi/low powered setting etc.

Combat/Resolution is simply 'effort'. A character gets a set amount of energy which regenerates by a certain amount every turn. He can put varying amounts of energy into skills (the max amt character can put in= skill mod, derived from amount invested in skill @ character generation as well as being modified by the relevant attribute) and the final result (modified by modifiers/conditions) is compared against the DC of the task/Defense. So > is definitely better than <. ;)

Upon end of mission, you can gain varying amounts of 'lines of experience'. Each line represents something you did in the mission, and basically, 1 EXP which you can assign to a skill (learned/unlearned) SUBJECT TO AUTHORIZATION OF GM. Upon accumulation of 10 Lines for a particular skill, that skill increases by 1 lvl. Thus, you can put more energy into that skill which would mean you can accomplish things you never could before.


First Post
WayneLigon said:
Name which ones you want explained, other than now Hero and The Window?

I don't have any preference for certain systems. The more, the better. And it is truly interesting, what ideas have been presented. Many thanks so far and keep it up! :)

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