What Aspects of Older Games Have Aged Well? (+)

MGibster

Legend
We've had plenty of threads where we discuss things in games that have aged poorly and aren't seen in a positive light these days. (White Wolf's World of Darkness: Racial Epitaph I'm looking at you.) And while it's worthwhile to discuss those traits we no longer find so acceptable today, we don't always talk about the good parts. When it comes to aging well we could be talking about game mechanics, representation, art, or whatever it is in the game you think has aged well. Just give us the name of the game, what you think has aged well, and as much information about it as you can. Since I'm starting the thread I'll go first.

Cyberpunk 2020 Rockerboy published in 1989. This was a splatbook giving players extra options and ideas for their Rockerboy and Media characters they could play. It's got an interesting format in that it's presented as an in universe magazine about the media and rockerboys. One of the articles is "On the Street with Maz Despair" which is an interview with stand up comedienne Maz Despair. During the interview, they mention that Maz is a lesbian. By 2022 standards, that doesn't seem like a big deal but 32 years ago such things were not common in RPGs. The article even mentions the gay community Maz has a lot of fans who tend to spread the news that she's in town putting on a show. Despite being a Cyberpunk fan, I didn't read this sourcebook until 2021 and I was a bit surprised by how modern that article seemed. If you had told me it was written in 2018 I would have believed you.

So what older game has parts in it that you think has aged well?
 

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TerraDave

5ever, or until 2024
Hit Points: as a simple way of building tension in combat without triggering death spirals and that can accommodate variable weapon impact.

Character levels: a straight forward reward play and way to measure power.


Both have been declared dead at various points and both are more ubiquitous than ever (including I think in a British government program for one of them).
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Earthdawn, without a doubt. Game was way ahead of it's time. It had healing surge/hit dice spending type effects to let characters heal without needing magic spells to do so throughout the day. Non-spellcasters had abilities that let them far exceed normal mortals, and there was no caster that got everything- each one, from Elementalists to Illusionists, to Nethermancers, to even Wizards, had unique and thematic spell lists.

A wide variety of races, a fleshed out fantasy world that could be as gritty or epic as you want it to be, great artwork with full color splash pages- I really miss that game.
 

MGibster

Legend
Earthdawn, without a doubt. Game was way ahead of it's time. It had healing surge/hit dice spending type effects to let characters heal without needing magic spells to do so throughout the day. Non-spellcasters had abilities that let them far exceed normal mortals, and there was no caster that got everything- each one, from Elementalists to Illusionists, to Nethermancers, to even Wizards, had unique and thematic spell lists.
Earthdawn is one of those games I frequently saw at my local gaming store but for some reason never really looked too closely at. Probably because D&D was scratching that fantasy RPG itch at the time.
 

War Hammer setting has aged extremely well.

The CoC games, despite being in a 7th edition, have stayed true and faithful to the core setting, and the changes to the rules systems have been solid. While they have retained the hit point system, which is terrible in general, they have capped it so that it actually is viable.
 

Hussar

Legend
I'm in the same boat. But, I do remember that the books looked absolutely gorgeous. I always wanted to try it out, but, never got the opportunity.
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
I'd love to run a game of Earthdawn again, but alas, it's hard to find people willing to play any game in my area right now, let alone one from the 90's that asks you to roll a lot of different dice.
 


harunmushod

Villager
War Hammer setting has aged extremely well.

The CoC games, despite being in a 7th edition, have stayed true and faithful to the core setting, and the changes to the rules systems have been solid. While they have retained the hit point system, which is terrible in general, they have capped it so that it actually is viable.
I’d add to the CoC point you made, that as well as the rule changes being solid, they are also backwards compatible so it’s easy to run a 1st edition scenario using 7th edition rules. In general, the BRP system has held up well - Runequest too.
 

Yora

Legend
I think the 1981 Basic/Expert edition of D&D is still the best RPG ever made. Even with the silly attack roll and armor class calculation and the weird spell slot mechanic.

The best thing about the game is the entire exploration system. Random Encounters, Encumbrance, and XP for treasure used together as a unified system instead of disconnected nuisances. It's the whole foundation of dungeon crawling as a game of exploration instead of just a series of fights to progress The Story™.
And unlike AD&D with its three big tomes in tiny print, this 128 page game is actually comprehensible. If you covert the attack roll and armor class mechanic to a sensible way of making a roll, you can teach this game to people in 5 minutes.
 

jdrakeh

Front Range Warlock
Scene-based conflict resolution (as opposed to individual action resolution) as it first appeared in Maelstrom Storytelling by Hubris Games has enjoyed a particularly long life in story games and indie RPGs since then (with permutations, of course).
 

Though the game has a reputation as being overly complicated, I think Aftermath! actually had one of the best generic ongoing-task systems that's ever been done. Its general survival mechanics were not bad, either.
 

Jahydin

Explorer
Earthdawn, without a doubt. Game was way ahead of it's time. It had healing surge/hit dice spending type effects to let characters heal without needing magic spells to do so throughout the day. Non-spellcasters had abilities that let them far exceed normal mortals, and there was no caster that got everything- each one, from Elementalists to Illusionists, to Nethermancers, to even Wizards, had unique and thematic spell lists.

A wide variety of races, a fleshed out fantasy world that could be as gritty or epic as you want it to be, great artwork with full color splash pages- I really miss that game.
Oh boy, I had the original FASA book and read it so much as a kid it fell apart on me.

I've wanted to get back into so bad, but saw there are a ton of editions under different companies. Any idea which one is the best?
 

Jahydin

Explorer
I think the 1981 Basic/Expert edition of D&D is still the best RPG ever made. Even with the silly attack roll and armor class calculation and the weird spell slot mechanic.
AC was silly cause it was off by 1 right? Were the spell slots weird cause of the odd slot progression?
 

James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Oh boy, I had the original FASA book and read it so much as a kid it fell apart on me.

I've wanted to get back into so bad, but saw there are a ton of editions under different companies. Any idea which one is the best?
I prefer the original. The later books added more complex concepts like "half-magic" that I'm not sure are needed.

OG Earthdawn does have a few things that need a little patching up, but I never saw anything egregious enough to be super problematic. My only issue with it was that, since Adepts are intended to use their Talents to overcome problems, they don't get many Skills, and Skills are expensive to buy with Legend Points compared to the benefit they grant.

Plus they don't help you advance in Circle which means people might not think they are worth the effort. I haven't figured out how I would solve this problem (since I can't get people to try the game).

Another minor issue is the fact that Legend Points are used to advance your character and buy Karma (or raise ability scores, which you have limited opportunities to do, and are also quite expensive). This might make players with expensive Karma dice (like Trolls) loath to use their Karma.

The solution a friend suggested was to offer "Legend Rewards" for completing goals and achieving milestones in the adventure, that are Legend Points that cannot be used on Talents.
 


James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
Ah ok, thanks, I don't own that one then, when I first looked at a later edition of Earthdawn and there was this huge section on "half-magic" my reaction was "what is this? why is this?".

But I had the same reaction to Physical Adepts in Shadowrun...
 


James Gasik

Legend
Supporter
And yet, I know so many old school players who will scoff at d20+bonus to hit target number and say "there was nothing wrong with it before, people just need to learn to do math!"
 


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