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Which Pen and Paper RPGs do (have) you play(ed)?

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I know I''m probably going to get a lot of flack for this saying "this should be in the lounge", but I feel since a large portion of people are making (or thinking of making) RPGs, I think this discussion has a lot more to do with game design, and the decisions that you''re making in your design, than anything else. So, the question is: Which Pen and Paper RPGs have you played and why? Personally, I''ve tried several, most notably D&D, Marvel Superheroes, and Star Wars... however, I stopped playing those once I got into GURPS. I think I liked the concept of making any type of character you want, no "levelling", and no classes (though I understand the need for them, I think the same "classes" can be made through clever use of disadvantages, which I plan to do in my game, making "character templates" for people more accustomed to games like D&D). So, which ones have you guys (and girls) played? -Chris

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well I have started with Warhammer RPG, then Cyberpunk and AD&D. I like AD&D most, but currently play mainly warhammer, which is also a superb system.

With best regards,
Mirek Czerwiñski

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lets see... D&D, Shadowrun, Cyberpunk, Battletech (sorta RPG-ish), Mekton Z, Champians (cool charactor system), GURPS, Werewolf, Vampire, Space:1899 (sorta RPG-ish), Car Wars (sorta RPG-ish), Warhammer 2k, and a bunch of other lesser known ones that I only played once or twice (one was called ''Stoned'' where players controlled "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" type characters in a high school like setting)

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I played AD&D 2nd & 3rd edition, Mutants and Mutant Chronicles, Alternity. Since then I have mostly simply built my own RPG systems per-campaign that I am GM for.

I think that pre-set worlds and design mechanisms are supremely inferior to those that are created with a particular storyline in mind, whiich is why I like the Final Fantasy games so much, because every game has it''s own world which exists purely to satisfy the requirements of the storyline that was written. An excelent Symphony.

I actually plan to publish one of my game worlds on SPForge.com, I have advised people who do RPG design to be inspired by pen-and-paper RPGs but never to directly adopt design ideas.

George D. Filiotis
Are you in support of the ban of Dihydrogen Monoxide? You should be!

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Whitewolf: Mage (botched a spell bigtime- got eaten by a sidewalk)
Rifts (7'' humaniod amphibian mage, got possessed a few times)
I started with a handful of home-brewed rpgs in junior high (late 80''s)

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Hmm. Here goes:
AD&D 1st and 2nd edition
That other Gygax rpg (Legendary Journeys or something like that)
Ars Magica
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness
Vampire, Werewolf and Mage
Call of Cthulhu (sanity woo-hoo)
Warhammer FRP
And probably some others I''m forgetting.

Out of those, I''d say the best design-wise were GURPS (clean extensible system), Paranoia (disposable characters), and Ars Magica (for the flexible magic system).
The ones that I disliked the most were the Palladium Games (Palladium, TMNT and Rifts) for their abominable combat mechanics (a typical simple combat takes at least an hour of playtime) and Warhammer FRP (again overly convoluted combat mechanics, but not quite as bad as the Palladium games).

The other Gygax game lost out in the character creation phase (having to roll to see what birth order you and your parents were???)

Notable magic systems are to be found in Ars Magica and Stormbringer. Ars Magica used a verb-noun system - if you played a mage, you could learn various verbs and nouns to different degrees, and do whatever you wanted within the constraints on the fly. For example, you could learn create fire, to light something on fire, change fire to change an existing fires color or cause it to burn without producing smoke, control fire to make it jump from one thing to another. And you could combine effects for more interesting results. Stormbringer had no "direct" magic. The only thing magical a player could do was summon and bind various elementals/spirits/etc. Creating a flaming sword would be a matter of summoning a fire elemental, then binding it to a sword, but throwing a fireball in combat would involve summoning a fire elemental and then convincing it to hurl itself at your enemies.
Paranoia and Call of Cthulhu were notable for the fact that they encouraged players not to get too attached to their characters. A paranoia character will definitely die in a spectacular and humorous fashion (several times in fact), which is offset by having a number of clones, but only for a limited number of times. Also, you start out knowing that you''re in a very bad position (it''s a society controlled by an all-powerful and somewhat mad computer, that hates mutants and members of secret societies, of course every player is both a mutant and a member of a secret society, both of which must remain hidden, as the computer can order the immediate termination of all clones for a character if it grows suspicious). Call of Cthulhu takes a slightly more serious approach. First you''re going against truly horrific creatures that can eat an entire party of characters within 30 seconds and still have room for jell-o, and even if they do somehow manage to survive, there is the constant problem of dwindling insanity as the characters get closer and closer to the things that "Man Was Not Meant to Know" (TM).
Warhammer FRP had an interesting advancement scheme, based on occupation. As the character grew in their occupation and learned the skills necessary to master that occupation, they would/could change to a new occupation and learn the skills of that trade, based on an intertwining advancement tree. For example, someone could start off as a tomb-robber, master that profession, then become an apprentice to a necromancer, or move on to being a bandit or burglar and steal from the living. Also, a great, low-magic world. A character that starts on the path to being a mage must go through quite a bit of adventuring to even get to the point where they can light a candle through magic.
AD&D and the White Wolf games are a little too bland for my tastes, usually just play them when nothing else is available.
The Palladium games were more about their setting than anything else (especially TMNT), but their mechanics are shamefull.
GURPS is, well... GURPS. Don''t know what else can be said about it. Oh yeah, Steve Jackson rocks

They''re coming for you!

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Hero Wars
Ars Magica
2300 AD
Call of Cthulhu
Lord of the Rings Adventure Game
Twilight 2000
Warhammer FRP
AD&D 2nd edition
Rapier & Elhendi

I''m sure I''m forgetting some games I''ve played only a few
times. Also left out some games I''ve only played once.

Lord of the Rings Adventure Game is a system for beginner roleplayers. One of the best working systems I have played. I love its simplicity. Makes the game fast so one can concentrate on playing instead of the rules.

Hero Wars is a great game if you happen to like storytelling. Rules support improvisational playing a great deal. However they take some time to adjust to, if you are used to "normal" RPG ruleset.

Ars Magica is has great combat & other rules. I''ve played (more accurately GM''d) it a lot lately. I suppose that the magic rules are great too, however for some reason we usually play without magic (perhaps because the magic rules are quite involved, some 60 pages or so total).

I wouldn''t say Call of Cthulhu encourages players not to get too attached to their characters. Ofcourse the players have to be very careful if they want to live another day, but one of the best CoC sessions we had was when the players were playing themselves as the characters

Twilight 2000 is a great game if you happen to like extremely detailed combat (which takes hours to play, especially vehicle combat). IMHO it is a bit too much of a simulation to be enjoyable and if one wants to play a simulation, I''ve been told that a system called Phoenix Command (if I remember the name correctly) does it better. Excluding combat rules TW2000 is a nice game about post nuclear war world.

And when talking about convoluted combat mechanics, one must not forget Rolemaster. How about 7h playtime combat (5 players vs. one single dragon).

Rapier, Elhendi, ANKH & Astra are probably unknown to most of you. They are all finnish RPGs. ANKH was a D&D ripoff (and quite bad at that), Rapier & Elhendi quite nice lightweight fantasy systems (Elhendi could be called Rapier 2.0) and Astra was a modern time horror game which was quite interesting.

Cyberpunk is one of my favorite games. Quite realistic (deadly & fast, that is) combat, very nice universe and one of the rare cyberpunk games. Shadowrun is also good, especially if all the players have read enough SR books to know something about the world.

One of my favorite books is GURPS Martial Arts. It is a great resource. In fact I''ve often searched for info from it even when not gaming

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Ahh...the heady old days of pen-and-paper RPGs.

Just thought I''d throw a few cents in here.

D&D and AD&D
Hawkmoon, Stormbringer, Call of Cthulhu (Chaosium)
Rifts, Robotech (all generations) (Palladium)
Star Wars
MERP (Middle Earth Role Playing)

...but I haven''t played any for years.


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Lets see..
Adnd 1st 2nd and 3rd edition
shadow run
Dagonball Z
and some other games.

Out of them all im partial to adnd 1st edition and shadow run 1st and 2nd edition.

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