Weekend Nonsense: Favorite Bad RPG

Reynard

Legend
What is you favorite RPG that is admittedly bad? Maybe it plays terribly, or it is just ugly. Maybe the game itself is good, but it is so poorly written and/or edited that it is incomprehensible.

RULE: No using this thread as an excuse to start an edition war or otherwise throw shade at peoples' preferences.

For my part, I have a soft spot for Heroes Unlimited Revised. It was my first non-D&D RPG. Despite having a couple really innovative segments -- mutant animals, for example -- it is by and large a convoluted mess of a system and totally unbalanced. I soon discovered DC Heroes and eventually Champions for superhero RPG play, but you'll always remember your first.
 

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Ondath

Adventurer
I really, really wish I could play Continuum: Roleplaying in the Yet even though I know the game is too convoluted to ever work. I even found a playtest copy of Narcissist: Crash Free to get the other side's view and it's a really thought provoking game - just too complicated to be playable.
 


aramis erak

Legend
I have a nostalgic love for TMNT and Other Strangeness - it was my first RPG and the art is still very evocative. But - like most Palladium games - it's not the easiest to decipher.
dozens of teens I've known have no issue with learning RIFTS.

When I was subbing in the high schools in 2006-2014, there were three games at every HS in my district that I saw being played at lunch... D&D, Pathfinder, and Palladium Rifts.
D&D was 2 editions - 3rd and 4th... with 4th only after 5th came out. My kids' friends up to 2016 confirmed that 6 of the 7 HS in that district indeed still have those 3 editions, but also those 6 all also have D&D 5E. Every one of them also has other games, but not consistent which.

While long-term in grades 5 & 6, about 1/6 of my students were playing some Palladium game. 5 in a class of 28. Representing two different groups. Both groups were shocked to find out the others played.

Which leads me to my recent rereads Mechanoids (Bothe the original trilogy and the standalone, but not the Rifts version) and Palladium Fantasy RPG (1RE). While I find the mechanics overall clunky, the only real inclarity I see is the lack of instruction on dice vs skill. And the explicit and implied elements of the settings are pretty good. I've not run Palladium Fantasy in over a decade now, closing on two. Never got mechanoids to table.

Kind of a guilty pleasure.
 

Orius

Hero
Only played D&D so I can't really comment.

I'm waiting for the Synnibar fans to comment. Come on guys, don't be shy. Share your love for the flying bears shooting lasers out of their eyes.

I'm wondering if anyone is shameless enough to admit to FATAL or even worse RaHoWa.
 

Ulfgeir

Hero
For me, it is Shadowrun. The setting is wonderful, and I loved the metaplot and the 4rth wall breaking with the books being sprinkled by chats between people in the game, but the rules... Let's just say they have always left a lot to be desired.

edit: and if I were to run it again, well it would most likely be 2e.
 
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Despite (or perhaps because of) having run a multi-year campaign in it - Shadowrun 1e is pretty clunky. I don't know if I'd bother today.

Legend of the 5 Rings, 3rd ed. Some nice ideas. Even some good implementation of them. But over all poorly thought out and very poorly presented.
 

payn

Legend
Aces and Eights. I think it was done by the rolemaster guys? The core rulebook is very meaty with all the expected stuff like classes, feats, items and clothing etc... It had this interesting initiative system that would resolve based on the actions you were taking in the round. In theory, it should work out like an action scene, but it was so convoluted we never really got it working. There was also this shot wheel that determined, if, where, and how much damage your shots scored.

Neat odeas but just too crunchy for a good pulpy western adventure. I did like how the rulebook had everything in it. Characters, GMing, and setting. If I recall, it was slightly based on actual history, but might have had some alternate universe shenanigans going on. A neat idea just too heavy to really grok for my buds and I.
 





James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Marauder 2107, Witchcraft, Nephilim, Legacy: War of Ages, Hong Kong Action Theatre...if you were an indie RPG studio in the late 90's, early oughts...I'm one of the three guys who bought your book and tried to get people to play it.

EDIT: Add to the list: Albedo and Justifiers. And this isn't even getting into the games with cult status like Amber: Diceless Roleplaying, Torg, or more "mainstream" products like just about anything made by Steve Jackson Games, ICE, Chaosium, FASA, or White Wolf, lol.

Heck, I can pile a lot of TSR games on the list like Star Frontiers, Top Secret, Boot Hill, Dragonlance SAGA, and the Amazing Engine games...not to mention this cobbled together fantasy game with ten thousand supplements...there were two versions published simultaneously in the 90's and competing against each other...man, what was the name of it...
 
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Reynard

Legend
For me, it is Shadowrun. The setting is wonderful, and I loved the metaplot and the 4rth wall breaking with the books being sprinkled by chats between people in the game, but the rules... Let's just say they have always left a lot to be desired.

edit: and if I were to run it again, well it would most likely be 2e.
Characterizing one of the most popular RPGs ever published as "bad" is definitely a take.
 

jdrakeh

Front Range Warlock
Senzar. Mechanically, it doesn't deserve the bad rap it gets. It is very 90s from a design standpoint, but not bad. From a content standpoint, though? Whoooooooah! It's over the top power creep madness (i.e. the only supplement ever published for the game stats out gods that PCs are meant to kill in single combat). Mork Bork is a mere pretender to the throne of most metal RPG ever. Senzar reigns supreme!
 


niklinna

Legend
Marauder 2107, Witchcraft, Nephilim, Legacy: War of Ages, Hong Kong Action Theatre...if you were an indie RPG studio in the late 90's, early oughts...I'm one of the three guys who bought your book and tried to get people to play it.
Oh Nephilim, how I would have loved to play thee....with a system that had a hope of fulfilling the fantasy. Really cool mythos and backstory too.

Oh hey that reminds me! Immortal: The Invisible War. Amazingly bad art. Intriguing-as-heck dice pool system. Really weird mythos and backstory. Would have liked to kick the tires on that one for the system.
 


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