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What to run when you are done with D&D?

Reynard

Legend
Assuming you have experience with it, what would you say is the "best" version of Earthdawn, rules-wise?
I just bought 4e and read through. The rulesy sections last night. It very much looks like a cleaned up 1e without any paradigm shifting changes. I'm not a huge fan of the design and presentation (walls of prose and limited art) but otherwise I like what see.
 

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Staffan

Legend
Assuming you have experience with it, what would you say is the "best" version of Earthdawn, rules-wise?
Unfortunately, Earthdawn has always been one of those games that I would have liked to run but could never build a proper campaign in (as I said elsewhere, one of the major strengths of D&D and Pathfinder is the adventure support). That means I'm not enough of an expert on the rules to say for sure. I will say that it at least looks like they went through the rules and cleaned them up for 4e, while dealing with problematic things as well. They had some design diaries online that explained changes and the reasoning behind them.

But as far as I can tell, the differences between any two editions of Earthdawn (not counting those using entirely other engines) are on par with D&D 3.0 to 3.5. Sure, things are a bit different, but not excessively so.

Lore-wise, Earthdawn 4 has moved the timeline a bit forward. The main effect of this is that the Theran Empire no longer serves as the setting's Big Bad, and that there's a new ork nation around. I'm not sure to what extent these metaplot developments are included in versions 2a, 2b, or 3.

There's substantially less art in ED4 compared to ED1, or at least it feels that way. Most of the art that's there is concentrated to a handful of full-color pages which do look great, but they're not as mood-enhancing as the ED1 art. There's nothing as great as Lorm the Unhappy Troll, for example:
1642168102625.png
 

Reynard

Legend
There's substantially less art in ED4 compared to ED1, or at least it feels that way. Most of the art that's there is concentrated to a handful of full-color pages which do look great, but they're not as mood-enhancing as the ED1 art. There's nothing as great as Lorm the Unhappy Troll, for example:
View attachment 149901
I would legit pay a premium for a big Earthdawn coffee table art book.
 

Voadam

Legend
I’m not a fan of 5Ed, but I have to admit this was a good idea. In fact, I would have appreciated it they did that to ALL the direct damage spells.*

* I have no idea if they did or didn’t, not having bought any 5Ed.

They did. So for more than baseline amount of magic missiles you need to up the spell slot level. Usually it is one extra die of damage per additional spell level. So about equal to the old magic missile every other caster level increase if you use your highest level slot, or half of the old fireball lightning bolt d6 every caster level one. The baselines are a bit higher though with magic missile doing three bolts at 1st level and lightning bolt doing 8d6.
 

beancounter

Explorer
That's kind of like being tired of spaghetti and switching over to linguini, isn't it?

You specifically requested an alternative D&D style game...

Reynard said:
"More specifically, what do you run when you are done with D&D specifically, but still want something "D&D like" -- dungeons, monsters, traps, treasure, etc...?"
 

Voadam

Legend
That's kind of like being tired of spaghetti and switching over to linguini, isn't it?
1e Pathfinder is very much a very close cousin of 3.5.

2e Pathfinder is a fairly significant d20 departure. I would not be comfortable mechanically swapping around PF 2e modules or monsters with D&D the way I would 3.0/3.5/PF 1e/D20 Modern.
 

Aldarc

Legend
You specifically requested an alternative D&D style game...

Reynard said:
"More specifically, what do you run when you are done with D&D specifically, but still want something "D&D like" -- dungeons, monsters, traps, treasure, etc...?"
I'm not sure if it's really an "alternative" to D&D when PF1 at least was billed from the start as "keep playing 3.5 D&D."
 

dragoner

Dying in Chargen
I have run Mythras instead, in the Jennell Jaquays thread I posted a picture of Caverns of Thracia with my Mythras core; I also used Mythic Constantinople with it, pretty fun. It can also do sci-fi with M-Space.
 

thullgrim

Explorer
Earthdawn is another great choice. 4e rules, it’s the active edition, 1e timeline. It’s another crunchy game though. There’s a lot of meat in it. The mechanics are intrinsically bound to the setting. The old 1e material works with 4e with minimal issues.
 





Parmandur

Book-Friend
* I have no idea if they did or didn’t, not having bought any 5Ed.
They fid, it's quite regular and predictable. They Ground level designed the math around Spell Slots and HP, which are convertible and underlay every game component. It's secretly point buy, and they even slipped the basic formula into the DMG.
 


Piratecat

Feline buccaneer
Because I am apparently shameless, I'll mention the game I co-wrote for Pelgrane Press. Swords of the Serpentine is classic sword and sorcery using the GUMSHOE system, tuned for cinematic action and competent heroes. It's a little more about ruling kingdoms than it is dungeon crawling, but I think it may qualify. PDF out now, books should be out in March.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Because I am apparently shameless, I'll mention the game I co-wrote for Pelgrane Press. Swords of the Serpentine is classic sword and sorcery using the GUMSHOE system, tuned for cinematic action and competent heroes. It's a little more about ruling kingdoms than it is dungeon crawling, but I think it may qualify. PDF out now, books should be out in March.
March! Lovely, just in time for my birthday. SotS is one of the few recent games I bought the dead tree edition of and I'm quite looking forward to it. I think it would do dungeon crawls under Eversink quite well too. (y)
 

GURPS was my go-to RPG when my group tired of D&D back in the early nineties and it's been a gift that keeps on giving. I ran a fairly epic fantasy campaign from 1996 to 2006 and have run and played in numerous smaller games.

Recently I've become enamored with the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game (DFRPG) which some others have mentioned in this thread. It's a version of GURPS 4e that is focused on the dungeon fantasy genre. This means that you don't need to sift through all the material for other genres. The boxed set alone is enough for years of play. I've run two full campaigns and played in another one since purchasing it in 2017. (A friend is about to launch another one, too.) The role-playing club at my middle school uses it, as does the RPG summer camp that I run with a colleague.

It's got the detail of a good skill-based system, with some nods toward the niche protection of traditional class archetypes. Plenty of grit in the combat system, too. My favorite element of GURPS (and DFRPG) is the ability to build characters with a combination of advantages, disadvantages, skills, and quirks. It's easy to describe a wide variety of characters, and the system provides the mechanical crunch to support your role-playing choices. The mechanics of managing and fine-tuning character disadvantages is smooth and plays well at the table.

A final advantage, to my mind, is that you can pillage the enormous GURPS corpus for additional material if desired. Despite being a small fish in the modern RPG pond, SJGames still manages to publish a dozen or more GURPS supplements each year, plus some additional Kickstarter projects. While many of these are PDF-only, the DFRPG boxed set is a physical product. Gaming Ballistic also offers a great line of support material for DFRPG, focusing on the Viking-flavored Nordlond setting. A new hardcover bestiary will be published next month.
 

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