Still Searching for "That" System

TwoSix

Uncomfortably diegetic
Bringing this up again, because there's now more restrictions...
We've been playing Savage Worlds for a couple months. My wife doesn't like that it doesn't have "hit point attrition." Like, she wants to hit a monster and do 20 points of damage off its 80 point total.
So it has to be tactical, fast, big numbers, accommodate a large group, lots of options, etc.
This seems impossible.
Sounds liked you need to do a LAN party of either League of Legends or WoW, honestly.
 

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Rolemaster ;) .

I think it is impossible, I would not have had the patience you have shown. I would have long ago gone, "I am running X because I like it" if you want something else, then step on up and run it. I would be happy to play in your game.
Agreed.

Is everyone in your player pool bringing up objections to the different games you’ve ran or is is a handful of players continually picking apart what you’re running? If it’s everyone, you have a problem I don’t know that you can solve beyond saying “I’m running this game, who wants to play?” and just running with what you get. If it’s one or two people continuously nitpicking the games you run, you may need to have a conversation with them to figure out how much of a dealbreaker not running the ideal system is for them.

Idk… the game is supposed to be fun for everyone and it doesn’t sound like you’re having fun from your posts. You sound pretty stressed out. Maybe I’m getting the wrong vibe from your posts.
 

Celebrim

Legend
As I posted in another thread (https://www.enworld.org/threads/what-game-systems-do-you-have.699515/), I have close to 60 different game systems. I'm still looking for a system that will fit the unique needs of my group.
Can you help find my Goldilocks system?

  • Survivable – you’re not going to die to a single hit from a kobold at 1st level [this cuts out most OSR systems]
  • Interesting Options – you can do more than swing a sword or cast one spell (if you want to interact with the game that way) [this also cuts out most OSR systems]
  • Easy to learn – you don’t need to perfect your tactics, count on your fingers to hit elevated numbers in the mid-20s (with always altering numbers) [Pathfinder, 4e, etc., are cut here]
  • Good GM tools – encounter building that works, possibly good adventures/settings [cutting out 5e]

You are basically describing why regardless of what system I am playing I always end up homebrewing my own system.

My particular wants in a system are a bit different than yours, but I have the same basic problem that no system really covers it. So, regardless of which system I use, I always end up with enough house rules to write a sourcebook. I have over 600 pages of house rules for 3e D&D, and if I had the need and the time I'd probably be able to expand that out to at least 6000 pages - essentially an entire D&D system or edition lifecycle worth of material as a stand alone - nine or ten hardcovers and a dozen of the old 2e style softcovers that they no longer make. I'll never get there. I won't live long enough and I have other things to do that are more pressing and important to my life, but that is the scale of what would make me happy with a system. IMO, it would be the best edition of D&D ever - it's already the best RPG I've ever ran - and of course it would make tons of people unhappy for lots of reasons.

Similar things apply to BRP or D6 or Traveller (which is a system that has had multiple people like me try to do the very thing that I want to do with 3e and then publish it). Every system I ultimately want to rewrite because no matter how good the system is it doesn't perfectly fit what I want to do at the table.

The closest I've found to a system I don't want to rewrite is Pendragon, but that's only because neither I nor anyone else I know has the time to invest in playing it the way it's intended.

To me rules light systems are designed only for one shots or occasional casual gaming. They lack sufficient internal consistency and sufficient modelling of the universe to tell a longer story. They are like short stories told in worlds where you can ignore the protagonists lack of agency or the plot holes in the setting because you aren't staying there long. But even amongst rules light games I haven't really found many that are compelling. My favorite is the obscure Goblonia system that uses decks of cards as fortune mechanics, but even it I want to rewrite the guidelines on the skill system because I don't believe the designer really thought through the implications of his guidelines.

As for rules medium systems, which is I think where you want to be, my experience with all rules medium systems is that they are simply rules heavy systems that not enough supplements have been written for yet. In fact, I have this tongue in cheek saying that there is no such thing as a rules light system; there are only unsuccessful systems that there is insufficient demand in the market for new supplements. If you look into my writings about RPGs, you'll find that I believe that it is inherent to an RPG that it is a collection of minigames designed to resolve different tasks. In the real world, the expectations about task resolution are varied enough between tasks that no one minigame well simulates the expected results of the task even abstractly. Rules light systems tend to deal with this by ignoring the problem. You won't be playing them long enough or seriously enough for the problem to come up. Rules medium systems tend to deal with the problem by limiting expectations of the sorts of things you are expected to do in play. When those expectations get violated and you start to have game play loops that are outside of the conventional expectations of the system for what an adventure is then the rules medium system ends up morphing to a rules heavy system by gluing more minigames on to it. And if it doesn't do that, it's because no one is playing it very much and so no demand for variety of play ever develops or the problems in the system never stick out because no one table ever plays enough to get annoyed by the warts in the system (or they do and just quit the system in frustration).

The short of this too long to read post is that my guess is that you'll have to write your own system.
 

Retreater

Legend
Agreed.

Is everyone in your player pool bringing up objections to the different games you’ve ran or is is a handful of players continually picking apart what you’re running? If it’s everyone, you have a problem I don’t know that you can solve beyond saying “I’m running this game, who wants to play?” and just running with what you get. If it’s one or two people continuously nitpicking the games you run, you may need to have a conversation with them to figure out how much of a dealbreaker not running the ideal system is for them.

Idk… the game is supposed to be fun for everyone and it doesn’t sound like you’re having fun from your posts. You sound pretty stressed out. Maybe I’m getting the wrong vibe from your posts.
So the player with the strongest opinion is ... my wife. I don't exactly want to tell her to get lost. But her preferences in games tend toward crunchy, tactical systems such as 4E D&D and PF2. The other players are more casual and have difficulty with stacking modifiers, creating tactics. Some of the younger ones are counting on their fingers.
For me, sure it gets frustrating. But I also love doing it. I put a lot of effort into the games. I'm bringing together my sister and my nephew (who is also neurodivergent), along with other teens from my neighborhood.

At the same time, I'm finding myself wanting something that is ...
1) simple to run. it's a big group & some of them are inexperienced on top of it.
2) has decent tools to balance the game - or maybe it doesn't require much balancing. I don't want to kill off the characters or have anti-climactic fights. (that's the span I regularly got in 5e.)
3) tactical or interesting enough to appeal to the parents of the teens (and my wife)
 

TwoSix

Uncomfortably diegetic
So the player with the strongest opinion is ... my wife. I don't exactly want to tell her to get lost. But her preferences in games tend toward crunchy, tactical systems such as 4E D&D and PF2. The other players are more casual and have difficulty with stacking modifiers, creating tactics. Some of the younger ones are counting on their fingers.
For me, sure it gets frustrating. But I also love doing it. I put a lot of effort into the games. I'm bringing together my sister and my nephew (who is also neurodivergent), along with other teens from my neighborhood.

At the same time, I'm finding myself wanting something that is ...
1) simple to run. it's a big group & some of them are inexperienced on top of it.
2) has decent tools to balance the game - or maybe it doesn't require much balancing. I don't want to kill off the characters or have anti-climactic fights. (that's the span I regularly got in 5e.)
3) tactical or interesting enough to appeal to the parents of the teens (and my wife)
I, too, would like a simple, tactical, and balanced game, and also a pony. :)
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
So the player with the strongest opinion is ... my wife. I don't exactly want to tell her to get lost. But her preferences in games tend toward crunchy, tactical systems such as 4E D&D and PF2. The other players are more casual and have difficulty with stacking modifiers, creating tactics. Some of the younger ones are counting on their fingers.
For me, sure it gets frustrating. But I also love doing it. I put a lot of effort into the games. I'm bringing together my sister and my nephew (who is also neurodivergent), along with other teens from my neighborhood.

At the same time, I'm finding myself wanting something that is ...
1) simple to run. it's a big group & some of them are inexperienced on top of it.
2) has decent tools to balance the game - or maybe it doesn't require much balancing. I don't want to kill off the characters or have anti-climactic fights. (that's the span I regularly got in 5e.)
3) tactical or interesting enough to appeal to the parents of the teens (and my wife)
I'd try PF2 again, but stick to moderate at most fights. Experienced PF2 players might see that as too easy, but I'm guessing 5E players would see it as just right for tactics. Avoid monsters that do lots of conditions and whizbangs except for set piece battles. Basically, take it down a step in complexity, which I have found to be mostly on the GM side. You dont need to be real tactical until you get into severe/extreme encounter territory in my experience, so just avoid it.
 

UngainlyTitan

Legend
Supporter
So the player with the strongest opinion is ... my wife. I don't exactly want to tell her to get lost. But her preferences in games tend toward crunchy, tactical systems such as 4E D&D and PF2. The other players are more casual and have difficulty with stacking modifiers, creating tactics. Some of the younger ones are counting on their fingers.
For me, sure it gets frustrating. But I also love doing it. I put a lot of effort into the games. I'm bringing together my sister and my nephew (who is also neurodivergent), along with other teens from my neighborhood.

At the same time, I'm finding myself wanting something that is ...
1) simple to run. it's a big group & some of them are inexperienced on top of it.
2) has decent tools to balance the game - or maybe it doesn't require much balancing. I don't want to kill off the characters or have anti-climactic fights. (that's the span I regularly got in 5e.)
3) tactical or interesting enough to appeal to the parents of the teens (and my wife)
Pathfinder it is then :D.
What you have if the RPG equivalent of the Iron Triangle Problem. You can have 2 out of the 3 things, I am not sure any RPG can satisfy all your requirements.
 

I'd try PF2 again, but stick to moderate at most fights. Experienced PF2 players might see that as too easy, but I'm guessing 5E players would see it as just right for tactics. Avoid monsters that do lots of conditions and whizbangs except for set piece battles. Basically, take it down a step in complexity, which I have found to be mostly on the GM side. You dont need to be real tactical until you get into severe/extreme encounter territory in my experience, so just avoid it.
I’d agree from my experiences running PF2e. It’s not hard to dial things back a notch to give players the challenge they want and the system allows players who like crunch to dig in if they want. Win-win.
 

If it came down to 4e vs PF2 I’d lean 4e. I think it does the things it sets out to do better, is easier ton run, just as balanced.

It needs some corrections. You have to deal with the Feat taxes and MM3 math but after that it’s all gravy. You can Essentials if you want a simpler 4e experience.

I think it has more ‘wow that’s cool’ moments than PF2, that might apply to the teenager set. The tactical intricacies of both games should work for adults.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
If it came down to 4e vs PF2 I’d lean 4e. I think it does the things it sets out to do better, is easier ton run, just as balanced.

It needs some corrections. You have to deal with the Feat taxes and MM3 math but after that it’s all gravy. You can Essentials if you want a simpler 4e experience.

I think it has more ‘wow that’s cool’ moments than PF2, that might apply to the teenager set. The tactical intricacies of both games should work for adults.
Main reason I disagree with this is availability. Archives of Nethys is free, you'd have to source 4E material. I dont agree either with the "just as balanced" I think PF2 is a much tighter game whose tactics can be dialed down to 5E levels; which 4E really cant. 4E is fine, but its not the right tool for this job, IMO.
 

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