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amethal

Adventurer
Couldn't a GM just curate such a list, remove the options to streamline the experience?
That's something of an aspiration of mine now that Pathfinder 1 has officially finished. (There's still plenty of 3rd party stuff coming out, of course.) Basically treat it like GURPS and tailor the options to the particular setting I'm running.

However, while GURPS players don't expect to be playing with the whole of GURPS (that would be insane, and anyway lots of it is mutually exclusive), Pathfinder seems to attract people who really, really like having as many options as possible. So I'm not sure all my players would accept it.
 

Retreater

Legend
That's something of an aspiration of mine now that Pathfinder 1 has officially finished. (There's still plenty of 3rd party stuff coming out, of course.) Basically treat it like GURPS and tailor the options to the particular setting I'm running.

However, while GURPS players don't expect to be playing with the whole of GURPS (that would be insane, and anyway lots of it is mutually exclusive), Pathfinder seems to attract people who really, really like having as many options as possible. So I'm not sure all my players would accept it.
I've run several PF campaigns with the stipulation "core rules only." I don't think every player would balk at the restriction.
And certainly as PF1 becomes more niche as the years go by, players looking for a game should become more accepting of house rules.
 

First one that comes to mind is Exalted, in each of its editions. The core problem is that each character is mechanically defined to a large degree by their Charms, special magical abilities linked to a skill or an attribute that let you do Cool Stuff. And then you look at a powerful NPC in a supplement and see that the writeup takes up a full page, 3/4 of which is a wall-of-text-style list of Charms, most of which have flowery but not particularly descriptive names like Reed in the Wind or Sagacious Reading of Intent or Countenance of Vast Wrath.

Ex 3 has, I think, fixed some of the bugs of earlier editions, and also fixed the discrepancy between skills like Melee having like 30 charms in the 2e core book and Bureaucracy having like 5. Unfortunately, this was done by coming up with systems for many other activities that are almost as involved as combat, which then gives non-combat skills lots of "hooks" for potential Charms. This, of course, made the system even more complex, and the Charms and Martial Arts + Sorcery chapters take up almost 250 pages. And that's just for Solars, which is one Exalt type out of about 10.

I am having some hope that Exalted: Essence will be more my speed, but we'll see.

Another one that overwhelmed me was Shadowrun, but that was mostly the gear (at least as a player, though I recall bouncing off it as a GM at an earlier point because I couldn't hack (hah!) keeping track of semi-separate rules for decking, magic, rigging, and fighting at the same time). My problem with the gear is that it's hyper-detailed, which leaves me with a strong feeling that I'm going to miss something completely necessary to my role—particularly since I was planning on playing an infiltrator, which seems rather gear-dependent.
 
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Any game that has a thick, heavy lore to it usually overwhelms me. So Glorantha or Harn (for example). Forgotten Realms. Golarion. Etc. Etc. It's just too much for me to process and keep ready in my mind.
It's worth noting that RuneQuest provides a large part of the feel in the character gen, and the lore isn't essential to the game playing well, provided one gives in to the character gen tropesets, with most everyone having a spell or three.. My plays of RQ were not on Glorantha, but a lot of the feel was subtly provided in the mechanics of Character Gen and Magic.

If you pick up almost any D&D 5 module, they may be set in the [Best-Left-]Forgotten Realms, but few are really tied to them. I never cared for FR-lore, but my FR-lore fanatic players had no complaints, and I was working solely off the core and the hardcover adventure/campaign books. Plus, in 5E, FR is the default set of tropes, unlike 3E, where Greyhawk was, thus justifying charging people an arm and a leg for the 3e FR Setting Hardcover...
 

Doc_Klueless

Doors and Corners
These are all things that I know. I've been playing since... ugh... feels like forever. Yes, if I ignore the Campaign Settings, I don't get overwhelmed. But that holds up to just about anything. Back in 81 when I started 1e, we ignored most of the rules which made it super simple to run. Doesn't mean there weren't a lot of rules.

Doesn't change a thing.

The OP mentioned Campaign Settings ("In general, I have yet to encounter a campaign setting that doesn't completely overwhelm me"). I was just continuing with that thought. Lore heavy games tend to overwhelm me if I try to play that lore heavy game without just ignoring the lore. I have fellow friend gamers who thrive on that stuff. It just turns my mind to mush.
 

Ghost2020

Adventurer
GURPS 4th edition. I kept feeling like I needed to know it better and read the core books, as one can, but I never could make it through them. Also I was at a VERY busy time in my life and there were really no adventures I could just run and the prospect of creating GURPS content or printing other content was also competing for that dwindling free time. Eventually I just gave up.
I gave up on GURPS 4th ed too. Overwhelming trying to take in all the nuances. A lot to digest when reading. 3rd ed has a nice casual tone, great setup, and was easier to get into.
4th is a boring read, but a great reference though. I liked 3rd ed, A LOT! I have a bunch of monster books, settings, more than a few adventures per genre - fantasy, supers, horror, etc.
4th Just felt like it was aimed at the very experienced GURPS player. 3rd Ed Revised was perfect. Even the lite version of 3rd ed had magic in it, and was itself a nearly complete game.
I sold my 4th stuff and just kept my 40+ 3rd ed books and we're all happy now.
 

Yeah the 1e beginner box covered 1-5. So very close to the E6 d20 variant. And more than the 1-3 Moldvay, and Mentzer Basic D&D sets. Moldvay did have the follow up Cook Expert set and Mentzer had the whole BECMI follow up sets though.
Actually, Moldvay covered to 5th, except for experience points needed for 4th and 5th
Mentzer also covered to 5th, again excepting the XP.
Denning Basic (black cover, usually obtained in the Big Black Box) actually covers up to 5th.
I only ever had 1 Palladium book and it was their superhero game. I loved to use the random tables to just generate a random superhero with a grab bag of powers and then try to come up with a name and origin and stuff... Playing it on the other? I don't even remember any of it, but I think trying to hit someone was a weird arbitrary thing like you want to roll and then add those modifiers and then beat 12 or something? I have no idea. It's somewhere in storage. I tried to run the game once but it mostly resulted in fun comedic moment than any concrete memory of the system itself. One of my player had rolled a RIDICULOUSLY OP mix of power... I think he called 'Golden Beast'. He was basically a golden Hulk that got dumber as he got stronger but also would turn into diamond at half HP or something... like a crazy mix of Hulk and Emma Frost.

Those random tables man.
You managed to pick the singlemost confusing Palladium game ever... All the others are more straightforward. Heroes Unlimited was just not well written, even by palladium standards.
 

Voadam

Legend
Actually, Moldvay covered to 5th, except for experience points needed for 4th and 5th
Actually Moldvay covered 1-3 and a smattering of rules you can apply to various higher levels. 🙂

Attacks went up +2 for characters levels 4+.

There was an optional rule for DMs to apply to higher level NPCs to have saves go up +2 for characters level 4+. This was explicitly not to be used in conjunction with the expert rules.

HD and Spell numbers went up for clerics, magic-users, and elves as detailed out for levels 4-6.

Thief skills were detailed for level 1-3 only.

Cleric turning was detailed for only levels 1-3.

XP requirements were detailed only for levels 1-3.

The intro self description "This rule booklet deals mostly with adventure in a dungeon and explains the different player character classes (professions) from the 1st to the 3rd level of experience."
 


Voadam

Legend
Just my luck then! Did I dream that combat system though?
Not at all.

You attack like in D&D using a d20. You get bonuses from things like physical prowess stat and class/level things like hand to hand martial artist. You need to get a 5 or higher to hit someone. If your result is lower than the opponent's armor rating (AR) the damage goes to the armor and not the opponent. An opponent can also dodge or parry depending on combat skill in which case they make an opposed roll to match or beat your attack. Dodge and parry negate an attack. If the attack hits and is a blunt weapon attack like a punch the defender can attempt to roll with the blow which is another opposed roll to the strike with success reducing damage by half. Certain things cannot be parried. Certain things can not be rolled with.

That is similar for a lot of Palladium games across the spectrum.
 

Undrave

Hero
Not at all.

You attack like in D&D using a d20. You get bonuses from things like physical prowess stat and class/level things like hand to hand martial artist. You need to get a 5 or higher to hit someone. If your result is lower than the opponent's armor rating (AR) the damage goes to the armor and not the opponent. An opponent can also dodge or parry depending on combat skill in which case they make an opposed roll to match or beat your attack. Dodge and parry negate an attack. If the attack hits and is a blunt weapon attack like a punch the defender can attempt to roll with the blow which is another opposed roll to the strike with success reducing damage by half. Certain things cannot be parried. Certain things can not be rolled with.

That is similar for a lot of Palladium games across the spectrum.
It is as crazy as I remember... Why that arbitrary 5 number?!
 

Voadam

Legend
It is as crazy as I remember... Why that arbitrary 5 number?!
Never stated, but it means someone with no bonuses only misses a non dodging target 20% of the time.

I'm guessing the design was that missing entirely is not fun and should happen rarely but be possible.

From when I played the real determinator was the opposed rolls and how many options you got from your combat skills versus how many your opponent had. Some skill sets were just better than others, for example in fantasy the mercenary's versus the knight's, versus the paladin's hand to hand skills was pretty much an AD&D type overlapping scale with paladins at the top.

For superheroes the vast power scale differences in the system were also significant, you could be Iron man in super armor able to take and dish out massive damage from the get go, or be a masked street level vigilante hitting people with a nightstick.
 

Ace

Adventurer
GURPS 4th edition. I kept feeling like I needed to know it better and read the core books, as one can, but I never could make it through them. Also I was at a VERY busy time in my life and there were really no adventures I could just run and the prospect of creating GURPS content or printing other content was also competing for that dwindling free time. Eventually I just gave up.
I can't blame you. I've played every edition of the GURPS and 4e was a bit woah! for me.

IMO no one unless they are experienced with GURPS already should start with the core books. I'd suggest if you ever have the time and inclination to try again start with GURPS lite and work up. Its free to download and easy to manage. If I may confess, I often use mostly lite anyway. Its enough for a lot of games.

FWIW when GURPS 1e was released way back in 1986, it was a different world. Even adult gamers had less competition for time and rule heavy was very popular. Even so the best practice was to get Man to Man (just the GURPS combat system basically) and Orc Slayers (the adventure for Man to Man) and start there.
 

It is as crazy as I remember... Why that arbitrary 5 number?!
The answer derived from the rules: Because 5 represents no armor. Also note: with AR16 being the best available, that's equal chance for bypass and miss (unless parried/dodged).

For comparison, The Arcanum uses 10+ to hit, and similar weapon skill tables. Likewise, the dodge/parry works the same way. (Both games likely pilfered that from RuneQuest) Unlike Palladium, Arcanum opted for (stolen from T&T via RQ) armor reducing damage taken.

Normal flow of all non-Megadamage combats in my experience...
Guy with best initiative attacks best enemy initiative; usually hits.(at levels 6+, almost always hits), Target burns an action to dodge/parry/roll-with-PFI... Best remaining does the same ...
Note that, once it gets to Megadamage, Megadamage always takes the hit. Only Megadamage weapons damage megadamage armor...
and one point through is 100 SDC/HP...
 


Voadam

Legend
Sorry, you lost me when you mentioned Megadamage, my brain just shut right off. What are we talking about again?
In Palladium's Rifts setting there are super tech and magic weapons and armor that inflict and absorb damage on a ridiculous scale, measured in megadamage which equals 100 hp for each point of mega damage.

So a normal dagger does 1d4 hp damage. A megadamage dagger does 1d4 megadamage but if it hits a normal person it does 1d4x 100 damage. Non-megadamage weapons cannot scratch megadamage armor, and non megadamage weapons cannot parry megadamage ones. Lots of magical creatures, enhanced people, robots, power armor, supertech weapons, magic armor, magic weapons, and magic spells are on the megadamage scale. Normal humanoids and animals and normal tech weapons are on a hp scale.
 


Ghost2020

Adventurer
It's a bit of a ridiculous system, and I'm one who LOVES Rifts! It's easy enough to house rule, which I've done. Not going to go over it here though.
The basic non-RIFTS system is pretty decent though. Lots of back and forth, but can make for very exciting combats.
 

DrunkonDuty

Adventurer
I liked Palladium Fantasy, but it lost me as the different expansions came out. Did not hold together well once it tried to expand into different genres. It is not a universal system.
 

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