Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
nefthy

Pen'n'Paper RPGs worth taking a look at

This topic is 4800 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

I am about to do a list of Pen'n'Paper RPGs I think are worth to be taken a look at, either for playing or as inspiration for CRPGs. Since this is going to be some work I will do it in session. I start with D&D. At the end of the post is a list what is to come. If you have any additions, comments or points to be mention about the games feel free to contribute the.
Dungeons and Dragons (TSR, later Wizard of the Coast) The classic amongs RPGs. There has been so many pablication (settings/adventures/novels/etc.) as with no other RPG. ruleset A very complex ruleset with tons of optional rules for almost everithing. The basic rule, however is if you don't like a rule don't use it. (Note: havent seen the 3rd edition it might have changed) setting There is such variaety that there is something for every one. At a glance * Forgoten Realms: Tolkien like setting * Dark sun: Postapocaliptic (not futuristic) setting. The whole planet is a desert. Magic, metal and water are rare. Very different aproch to the classic races. * Planescape: Walk between dimensions. Conflict between good and evil, law and order. * Reveloft: Gothic horror. Vampires, wherewolfs, zombies rule this land. * Al Quadim: Djinis, necromancers and flying carpets in 1000 and 1 nights. notes It is the one of the classics but roll playing doesen't end here
todo: Call Of Cthulhu (Chaosium) Delta Green (Pagan Publishing) World of Darkness (White Wolf) Paranoia (?) Middle Earth (?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
I will take the obligatory role of "Nay-sayer."

Table-top role-playing games are designed for play on the table-top medium. Their mechanics are usually dice-oriented because dice help resolve contests the variables of-which are too complicated for a human to conveniently do. Because a computerized RPG has the calculatory of a COMPUTER available to it, dice mechanics and randomization in general may concede to a sophisticated model of contest resolution. This often calls for more work but it can actually be quite rewarding.

The greatest strength that a table-top RPG has over its computerized cousin is that an intelligent game master can direct the game in ways that a computer cannot reasonably account for. A GM can invent new NPC's and subplots as the game goes on to keep things interesting, he can add personality and a truly dynamic universe by virtue of his ever-impressive human brain. (Of course this provides for the optimistic assumption that a GM is actually a coherent being).

The strengths of computerized games have little to do with these storyline/worldbuilding ideas if anything at all. The advantage to using a computer is that the combat can be bigger, messier, more strategic, and less time consuming. Numbers crunch faster and visual effects can be more readily impressive than poetic descriptions from a notably talented GM.

Conclusion: The dice mechanics of a table-top RPG are ill-suited to take advantage of the computer. Computers' calculatory power is too linear to provide for as dynamic a game world as a human-driven world.

Proper computerization of the RPG game concept will not necessarily include many (or any) of the conventions that have grown to be accepted in contemporary design trends.

Now that I've said that, I will play along.

---------------------

Legend of the Five Rings (Alderac Entertainment Group)

The absolute best RPG ever printed.

Ruleset
A game-wise interpretation of asian folk-lore and theology. Includes concepts such as "The Five Rings" from Miyamoto Musashi's famous treatise and employs dualistic thinking popular in taoism and buddhism.

Setting
An asian-inspired world called "Rokugan" with Samurai, Shugenja (mages), and Monks.

http://l5r.alderac.com/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Never tried using it, and it's been long enough since I read the core rules that I can't remember what made it distinctive, but GURPS is probably worth an honourable mention.


D&D 3rd edition is massively simplified compared to AD&D 2nd Ed, and the core ruleset is available under an open source style license (rtf format) on the official Wizards website at this location. The d20 System (as it's now known) has been used for a wide range of settings, including a d20 Call of Cthulhu game, though I'm told Chaosium have recently released an updated "true" Call of Cthulhu core rulebook.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I agree with the person above that table top rpg systems don't necessarily translate to crpg's; Diablo 2 players could care less about how damage is determined. The things crpg players care about are experience, skills, items, and leveling (imho of course)

I've always been a big fan of the Rifts setting; there's alot of cool stuff in those sourcebooks.

Another system I liked alot was Space:1889 - Roleplaying in a more civilized time. Again, for the setting mostly. Victorian Science Fiction roleplaying; what could be more cool?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you can find a copy on the net, you should try and check Ambre, the one RolePlaying Game that forces to roleplay, for it doesn't have any dice rules...

and also Empires and Dynasties. Can't remember the name of the publisher. This one is noteworthy because it has, at the core of its rules, permadeath for your main character. And a creation oriented system for having offsprings from your main characters, and a blending of your characteristics and that of the other parent...

Worth a nickel...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by ishpeck
I will take the obligatory role of "Nay-sayer."

Table-top role-playing games are designed for play on the table-top medium. Their mechanics are usually dice-oriented because dice help resolve contests the variables of-which are too complicated for a human to conveniently do. Because a computerized RPG has the calculatory of a COMPUTER available to it, dice mechanics and randomization in general may concede to a sophisticated model of contest resolution. This often calls for more work but it can actually be quite rewarding.
(...)


thats why I said "as inspiration" and not "as tamplate".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Call of Cthulhu (chaosium)

Call of Cthulhu is based on the horror stories by Lovecraft et.al. which make up the Cthulhu mythos. It is very different from most rollplaying games since direct combat is rarerly an option that leads to victory (as the comic in the rulebook puts it: ...the most experienced player has the highest movent rate).

setting
It is set in "the real world" which however is inhabited with godlike monsters that lurk in the shadows. Sanity is the most valuable good and madness is waiting to embrace you.

rule set
It is a simple skillbased system. There are some unique mechanismens like sanity. It can be explayned in less than ten minutes and it works great.

notes
The books and expansions are realy good sources for historic data.
A good example for a not combat based RPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You think DnD has a complex ruleset? Hah!

Ahem...

I also would like to put in a mention for GURPs [generic universal roleplaying system] since it is quite "different". It's main features are a system design to be used in any genre, and is often used in a mix of genres [wizards on spaceships run by bio-engineered vampire hackers]. It also has an interesting point based character generation system.

Also I'd recommend playing a game of HoL [Human Occupied Landfill], if you can somehow find it. The legend goes that two buddies were partying one night, and had a little too many sychotropic substances. When they awoke, they found a little book full of doodles, drawings, and a complete character generation system for an RPG. Despite being absolutely absurd [and hilarious], the character generation system is pretty interesting. It is sort of like a 'choose your own adventure' style character generation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by ishpeck
I will take the obligatory role of "Nay-sayer."

Table-top role-playing games are designed for play on the table-top medium. Their mechanics are usually dice-oriented because dice help resolve contests the variables of-which are too complicated for a human to conveniently do. Because a computerized RPG has the calculatory of a COMPUTER available to it, dice mechanics and randomization in general may concede to a sophisticated model of contest resolution.


Yes difference between Computer based RPG and PnP RPG is simple. In PnP RPG you will move part of the rolls in the optional rules, and try to lower amount of rolls somewhat. In computers you could roll many times per second... or not? Each roll needs reatively highly random number, sometimes so much random so output of VERY highly reliable random generator must be further smoothed. Each roll has some effect on outcome, and it would be bad if there will be similars series of rolls. So all that care of random nubers is costly. It's actually preferable to use small numbers 1-30 as outcome from smoothed part of the random generator, just because regularities from the RNG are further diminished. Also in many systems there is a granularity. It's very nice to preserve such granularity.
You don't like outcome... That bulet was half loaded, thus it did half wound to the enemy. Right?

It'd often, if done correctly, simplify to several xx sided dice rolls. The only advantage computers have over table games, is ability to do all that rolls themselves, and ability to create nice graphic.

Of course for detailed model you need detailed descriptions of items, and other factors. In many computer games there is very little done to use possible advantages of computers. Too high simplification for too powerfull devices.



BTW some PnP RPGs have better system, others have better worlds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
To be honest, I've never had the chance to play a PnP. But I'm a huge fan of the setup and invironment in Shadowrun. The Shadowrun console games still rank in my top 5 favorite RPGs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

We are the game development community.

Whether you are an indie, hobbyist, AAA developer, or just trying to learn, GameDev.net is the place for you to learn, share, and connect with the games industry. Learn more About Us or sign up!

Sign me up!