Please explain Other Gaming Systems

GrumpyOldMan

First Post
Bretbo said:
Savage Worlds

This is a Universal System that traces its' origins to Deadlands: The Railroad Wars miniatures/combat game. It is designed to be a "rules-lite" system; the Fast-Play rules (which are provided for free) are under 20 pages. The corebook contains the rules, but no setting info.

The basic resolution mechanic is to roll a 4 or higher on a single die. The die (you use a d4 to a d12) can also do what they call "explode"; if you roll the highest number on the die (a 4 on d4, a 6 on d6, ect.) then you roll again and add. The more progressions of 4 you roll (4, 8, 12, ect.) can help increase the benefit to what your trying to accomplish.........

..... The big criticism of the system is the exploding die. You’re more likely to roll a 4 on a d4 then a 6 on a d6. Someone crunched the numbers once and while yes, there is a slight advantage of a d4 over a d6; in actual play it does really seem to matter much.

It may seem the case, but actually:

The chances of rolling 4+ are:
25% for a d4, 50% for a d6, 63% for a d8, 70% for a d10 and 75% for a d12

The chances of rolling 8+ are:
6% for a d4, 14% for a d6, 13% for a d8, 30% for a d10 and 42% for a d12

The chances of rolling 12+ are:
2% for a d4, 3% for a d6, 8% for a d8, 9% for a d10 and 8% for a d12

The chances of rolling 16+ are:
0% for a d4, 1% for a d6, 2% for a d8, 5% for a d10 and 6% for a d12


The odd chance at rolling 12+ on a d10 or a d12 is caused bey the fact that with an exploding die you can't roll a 12 on a d12, once you roll the twelve, youre looking at a result of 13+
 

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Dr Simon

Explorer
RuneQuest!

RuneQuest (mostly 3rd ed....)

I'll wade in with one of my old favourites and, according to Jonathon Tweet, an inspiration for a lot of the fundaments of D20. I quote from his website:

"Hall of Fame, Best RPG: RuneQuest—Chaosium, Avalon Hill.
RuneQuest debuted way back in 1978. It had:
• prestige classes (rune lords, rune priests, and initiates),
• unified skill-combat-saving-throw system,
• ability scores for monsters,
• 1 in 20 hits are crits,
• extra damage for lucky hits with spears and arrows,
• ability scores that scaled up linearly without artificial caps,
• a skill system that let anyone try just about anything,
• "nonabilities" for incorporeal or unliving creatures,
• armor penalties for skill checks and spellcasting (but not outright prohibitions),
• templates for creatures,
• affiliation groups (the model for Ars Magica's Houses and Vampire's Clans),
• hardness for objects,
• chance to be hit modified by Dex and size,
• example characters used in examples throughout the rulebook,
• rules for PCs making magic items.
In other words, RuneQuest was the RPG that taught me how to design RPGs. Even so the RuneQuest mechanics weren't perfect."

Basically you have similar abilities to D&D (rolled on 3D6 mostly or some variant of such for non-humans. Dwarves roll 4D6 for Strength, for example).

Pretty much everything is decided by percentile dice - combat skills Attack and Parry (whcih are seperate for each type of weapon - 1H sword covers broadsword, scimitar and 1H bastard sword, for example) are simply yet another type of skill. Skills are listed as a flat percentile chance - Climb 56% etc. Roll over, you fail, roll under, you succeed. Very high and very low rolls are critical failures or successes.

Your starting skill package is determined by what you were when you grew up. Once play begins, skills develop as you use them or pay to be trained in them. There are no levels or classes. Everyone uses a bit of magic, a lot of which are close to D&D feats more than spells.

Dextrous and Intelligent fighters are usually better in the long run than Big, Strong fighters unless the Strong guy manages to land a hit. I set my game in a modified variant of Fritz Leiber's Nehwon for which it was a perfect system.

Magic is cast first with a skill roll to successfully cast the spell, this uses up a set number of magic points and then, if you are trying to influence another person you also need a second roll to overcome their Magic Points with yours.

Armour absorbs damage, there are hit locations, character hit points tend to remain low (average human about 13) but there are defensive skills like Dodge and the aforementioned Parry.

As Tweet says, it is not without problems. I prefer the d20 mechanic for resolving opposed skills, for which there isn't a very satisfactory one in RQ. You can get quite a big difference in hitting power and fragility between a big guy in armour and a little weedy magical type, but then that's not disimilar to D&D. Single BBEGs also suffer, however, and can be prone to a take-down with one hit. Tactics play a much larger part.

The flat chance doesn't give much option for mariginal success or failure (I house-ruled +/-5%). There is, perhaps, a bit *too* much fineness to the skill levels - is there really a need to differentiate between 54% and 55% skill? Old 2nd Edition tended to bump skills by a flat 5% each increase, in other words a +1 on a d20 scaled system....
 

GrumpyOldMan

First Post
Dr Simon said:
RuneQuest (mostly 3rd ed....)

Single BBEGs also suffer, however, and can be prone to a take-down with one hit. Tactics play a much larger part.

I’d second this. One campaign I ran was set up with a big fight against a vampire. In RQ knocking a vampire to below 0HP, which would kill any normal foe, simply causes the vampire to dematerialise and return to his coffin to rest. Unless, of course you decapitate him.

First roll in the combat ‘I’ve got a critical,’

‘roll location.’

‘20’

‘You chop off his head, he’s dead.’

Nevertheless, IMO RuneQuest3 is still a better game than DnD. There is ALWAYS the fear that your next combat could be your last.
 

GrumpyOldMan

First Post
HârnMaster

In many ways similar to RuneQuest. Attributes are in the 3-18 range. Skills are percentage based, any dice roll ending in a 0 or a 5 is a critical. You have 57% skill, 05, 10 etc. to 55 are critical successes, 60 etc are critical failures. Like RuneQuest combat is based on opposed rolls.

But: no hit points.
Injuries are by location right down to forearm, foot, etc., not the arm, leg, head breakdown of RuneQuest. All injuries are described, minor, serious, critical and affect all skill rolls. The more you’re injured, the less chance you have of hitting your opponent.

Some people dismiss the game as complicated, but combat in all of its forms is covered in about a dozen pages and the maths is, IMO, no more complicated than other games. All other skills are even easier to use.
 

Bretbo

First Post
jdrakeh said:
Bzzt. West End Games published the Star Wars RPG. They've never done anything with Star Trek. Also, your list is missing the three different Star Trek games (DS9, Classic, and TNG) published by Last Unicorn Games.

Actually, Starfleet Games is producing thier Prime Directive Game with d20 and d6 rules. For those that don't know, SG (wasn't it once Taksforce Games?) has the rights to produce material for thier table-top war game set in the Original Series of Star Trek (which includes RPGs).
 

jdrakeh

Front Range Warlock
Bretbo said:
Actually, Starfleet Games is producing thier Prime Directive Game with d20 and d6 rules.

Well, a licensed deal isn't the same thing as WEG publishing it, but that's still pretty neat. It's nice to see other companies optioning the D6 System License.
 

Lorgrom

First Post
GrumpyOldMan said:
I’d second this. One campaign I ran was set up with a big fight against a vampire. In RQ knocking a vampire to below 0HP, which would kill any normal foe, simply causes the vampire to dematerialise and return to his coffin to rest. Unless, of course you decapitate him.

First roll in the combat ‘I’ve got a critical,’

‘roll location.’

‘20’

‘You chop off his head, he’s dead.’

Nevertheless, IMO RuneQuest3 is still a better game than DnD. There is ALWAYS the fear that your next combat could be your last.


I also love Ruen Quest as both a setting and for the game mechanics. Nothing says watch-out quite like when your playing a Centaur and some smuck gets a good hit on one of your legs. Hence making your a three legged Centaur. hehehe
 

buzz

Adventurer
Hero

With all due respect to Lorgrom and Dannyalcatraz, the HERO synopses above have some errors. For posterity's and clarity's sake, I wanted to do a comprehensive writeup. Sorry, but I am a HERO fanboy. :)

[h1]HERO System[/h1]
Originally published as the SHRPG Champions in 1981, HERO introduced the concepts of point-buy for character creation and a power-based system for building character abilities and game world effects. HERO is currently owned by Hero Games.

[h2]Chargen[/h2]
PCs in HERO are built using a pool of "character points." These points are spent on Characetristics, Skills, Talents, Perks, and Powers. PCs may take Disadvantages (e.g., a secret identity, a physical handicap, etc.) in exchange for more points to spend. The cost of individual abilities can also be altered by adding Advantages (e.g., "armor-piercing" for an attack) or Limitations (e.g., giving an ability limited uses per day).

The total amount of points that may be spent in chargen is typically limited by the power level of the campiagn. A galactic superhero campaign will allow a larger point total than a gritty survivial horror campiagn.

Also, as Lorgrom mentioned, not every genre requires that PCs pay for everything they can do in character points. In a "Heroic" game (fantasy, SF, pulp, espionage), PCs can use money to acquire equipment and some abilties (e.g., they could buy a magic scroll). In a "Superheroic" game (superheroes, really high-powered fantasy, some flavors of anime), PCs pay for everything with character points.

Characters advance by earning more character points through play, which can then be spent to improve existing abilities or purchase new ones.

[h2]Task Resolution[/h2]
HERO uses d6's exclusively.

Players roll 3d6 and try to get a result equal to less than a target difficulty number. In HERO, you always modify the target number, never the die roll. The target number is typically calculated thusly:

[highlight]9 + (Characteristic/5) + (modifiers purchased during chargen) + (situational modifiers)[/highlight]

Opposed rolls are handled by defining one Skill or Characteristic as the "active" and one as the "passive". E.g., a thief sneaking past a guard would make an active Stealth roll vs. the guard's passive Perception roll. The active roll's degree of success is then applied as a negative modifier to the passive skill. E.g., if the thief made his Stealth roll by 4, the guard would have a -4 penalty to their Perception.

Attack rolls are the one exception to this. In combat, the target number is determined by comparing the Combat Values (CV) of the two opponents:

[highlight]11 + (Attacker's CV) - (Defender's CV) + (situational modifiers)[/highlight]

In either case, a 3 is always a success, and an 18 is always a failure. Target numbers are typically notated with a trailing minus (-), e.g., "11-" means "11 or less".

[h2]Task Results[/h2]
In the case of Skills and Characteristics, the roll usually determines simple success/failure. It is assumed that, given ideal conditions (no penalties to the target number) and no time pressures, a PC will succeed automatically. Otherwise, a roll is required.

In the case of Powers (e.g., weapons, superpowers, spells, etc.), the result is determined by rolling a nubmer of d6's and totalling them. E.g., a punch might do 2d6 damage, or a mind-control power might do 10d6 of effect. The total on the dice is then compared to the relevant abilities on the PCs character sheet. E.g., the damage from the punch would be applied to the PCs defenses to see if he was affected; the total from the mind-control power would likely be compared to the PC's mental Characetristic(s) and any mental defenses.

With damage, it's important to know that HERO has two types: Normal and Killing. Both types of attacks do both STUN and BODY damage; in d20 terms, the former is nonlethal and the latter is lethal.

Normal damage determines STUN by totalling the d6's rolled. BODY damage is determined by counting every 1 rolled as 0 BODY, 2-5 as 1 BODY, and 6 as 2 BODY. Ergo, one roll determines both types of damage, and the BODY is usually equal to the number of dice rolled. As you can see Normal attacks mostly do STUN damage. Being punched with a fist or getting slammed into a wall are examples of Normal damage.

Killing damage determines BODY by totalling the d6's rolled. STUN damage is determined by rolling 1d6-1 (minimum 1) and multiplying the total by its result. Thus, Killing attacks do a lot of BODY, and have the potential of doing a lot of STUN. Being shot with a gun or electrocuted are examples of Killing damage.

Any defenses against damage the PC possesses (e.g., a suit of armor, really thick skin) are subtracted from the damage rolled before it is subtraced from the PC's STUN and BODY reserves (i.e., their "hit points"). PCs become unconscious at 0 STUN or below and dead at 2x BODY (i.e., when they reach a negative amount equal to their starting BODY). PCs have a Recovery stat which determines how much STUN they get back per turn and how much BODY they get back per month. Yes, BODY damage is nasty.

In the case of other effect dice, such as the mind-control mentioned above, it will depend on the Powers used to build the ability. As stated above, the total on the dice is usually compared to a Characteristic or defensive ability. Usually, the greater the margin by which the defenses were beat, the greater the effect of the power.

[h2]Powers[/h2]
The hallmark of HERO is its Power system. "Powers" in HERO are a set of basic building blocks, purchased with character points as mentioned above, that are used to create any conceivable game world effect or character ability. E.g., a PC doesn't purchase a "lightning bolt spell". They purchase a "Ranged Killing Attack" and then add the "Area Effect (line)" advantage and the "Gestures" and "Incantations" limitations. The more points you spend on a Power, the more powerful it is, i.e., the more dice of effect, the greater the range, etc.

Powers can be used to create anything, not just super-human abilties or magical spells. A hyperdrive engine, a truth serum, a rifle scope, a poisoned apple, a towel, or a coffee mug could all be statted out using HERO's mechanics (though it's not required; statting out towels and coffee mugs is simply an extreme example of what's possible).

The advantages to the system are limitless flexibility, that everything in the game world is built using a known set of mechanics (i.e., they all obey the same laws), and that there is always more than one way to build something. The disadvantage is that it can be daunting to learn, though it's not as hard as it may sound.
 

Lonely Tylenol

First Post
My Life With Master (half meme press)

In this game the characters are minions of an evil master who terrorizes a town in an unspecified germanic location. This game is different than most RPGs in that the outcome of the game is determined from the beginning. One of the players will betray the master and kill him. This outcome cannot be changed, but the manner in which it happens is important, and the focus of the game is on the characterization rather than achieving a goal.

In the beginning, the players and gamemaster sit down together and decide on a Master. You could create Doctor Frankenstein or Lucretia or any other anti-social madman that would victimize a town. There are rules for constructing the Master. The Master has one ability: Fear. He uses Fear to control the player characters.

The town also has an ability: Reason. The town is civilization and technology, the Master opposes this by being a force for romanticism, his motivations based on emotion and passion.

Player characters have two traits to start with: Weariness and Self-loathing. Whenever a character must perform some act of violence or attempt to resist the Master, Weariness comes into play. Self-loathing makes it easier to commit violence against townsfolk, but also makes it more difficult to resist the master. It also makes it more difficult to make overtures to the townsfolk.

Overtures are ways of making connections to the people in town in a human way. The minion, being a tool of madness, usually interacts with the townsfolk in an inhuman way. But if they can find some way to make a human connection with a person living in the town, they can generate a third ability: Love. When Love is high enough compared to Weariness and Self-loathing, the character with Love can challenge the Master.

All minions have some trait that makes them more than human and some trait that makes them less than human. In metagame terms, they have a situation in which they always succeed and a situation in which they always fail. This is always phrased in terms of "X, unless Y". So a character's less than human trait might be "Cannot speak at all, unless church bells are ringing," or "Hideously ugly, unless viewed in a mirror." A character's more than human trait could be "Unbelievably swift, except when he is wet," or "Strong as an ox, unless standing on holy ground."

All task resolution is based on a single die roll per scene, and the game is broken up into cinematic scenes. As an example, a minion tasked with stealing a special item from a townsperson might sneak into a house at night, and root around for the item, but be surprised when the townsperson enters angrily. Violence is needed in order to escape, so the minion will roll Fear plus Self-loathing versus the townsperson's roll of Reason plus Weakness, and the winner decides the outcome of the scene. If the minion succeeds, he gains Self-loathing. If he fails, he gains Weariness. There are also conditions under which the minion can be captured, but unless those occur, the minion escapes the scene.

Modifiers to rolls come from playing other people's feelings. You can get bonuses from Intimacy, Desperation, and Sincerity. Intimacy is easiest to arrange. Give a friendly pat on the shoulder, brush someone's hair, pin a flower to his lapel, pour her a drink. Desperation is an attempt to provoke a reaction based on sheer emotional distress. Beg and plead, burst into tears, scream hoarsely. Sincerity comes from showing genuine concern and feelings for another, often at one's own expense. The Master cannot be Sincere. Sincerity trumps Desperation, which trumps Intimacy, so the various characters will have the option to increase the emotional tenor of the scene, if the gamemaster feels that the effort is appropriate.

And, that's pretty much it. Players get scenes in which they must do the master's bidding, while trying to arrange contacts in the village to build Love, and the Master finds new ways to make life hell for everyone involved, eventually attempting to kill off sources of Love and preserve his tenuous control of the situation, which is doomed to break down eventually. Play is designed to emphasize tension and press emotional buttons, making the game fairly intense for all involved. Since the outcome is predetermined, it helps to make play non-adversarial, making how things play out more important than what happens in the end.
 

buzz said:
With all due respect to Lorgrom and Dannyalcatraz, the HERO synopses above have some errors. For posterity's and clarity's sake, I wanted to do a comprehensive writeup. Sorry, but I am a HERO fanboy. :)

The advantages to the system are limitless flexibility, that everything in the game world is built using a known set of mechanics (i.e., they all obey the same laws), and that there is always more than one way to build something. The disadvantage is that it can be daunting to learn, though it's not as hard as it may sound.

Heya Buzz, nice to see you over here too. :D

I was going to post basically what Buzz did, but he beat me to it, and did a great job.

The only thing I would add, and it isn't crucial to the understanding of the basic play of the game, just in learning it ;) : - HERO has a rulebook that has stripped a lot of the complexity out of the system, and written as a "learning guide" rather than the ultimate encyclopedia of the game system. If you want to learn the game, that is a great place to start. You lose some of the flexability of the system with it, but it makes it much easier to learn.

By comparison, building a HERO character is about on par with buildinga 4th or 5th level D&D character (higher level if you are doing supers), but the complexity of upkeep is much simpler. A skill at base costs 3 point. A Lightning Bolt spell might cost 5-10. A point of a characteristic is between 1 and 3. At the end of each adventure you get 3-9 XP (depending on length ect) as an average. So it takes about 3 minutes to update the character.
 

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