Join 3,514 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)

Tags:


Help me pick an RPG
January 5, 2012 9:36 AM   Subscribe

What RPG should I run? In the past I have used homebrew-rules (simple) adapted to a specific homebrew setting and ran fairly open-ended, longview-type campaigns. But now I would like the opposite!

I prefer Lite-Rules and would like a game or system that I can pick half a dozen or more shorter (1-2 session-ish) adventures to run, in a fairly well-developed "Fantasy"-type setting (as opposed to "Science-Fiction," "Horror," "Modern," etc... although the setting preference is not set in stone). Really, the most important thing is a nice selection of pre-made adventures; I don't want to have to do a lot of work, too busy.
posted by J0 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
D&D 4.0 was made for you. It's easier than ever to put things together. Character sheets are more user-friendly now because your individual powers/abilities are put on an easy-to-read sheet that can be cut up into cards. They also put out a lot of individual-session adventures. Give it a look.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:48 AM on January 5, 2012


B B B But I have not played D&D for 15 Years!...

I will give it a look, thanks
posted by J0 at 9:50 AM on January 5, 2012


You could try Micro D20. My group and I tried it recently. It works better at lower levels. IMO. It's simple enough you can make changes on the fly. The game is fast paced and it has a more old school style of gaming.
The mechanics are a lite version of D20 (D&D 4e is D20 too)
Here's the page to download the rules. [pdf]

You can also find adventures at the One Page Dungeon Contest.

You might find 4e to be a lot of work. Especially if you are the DM. I think 4e is more fun to play than it is to DM. But I would DM a micro D20 game anytime.
posted by hot_monster at 10:10 AM on January 5, 2012


I suggest Dungeon World. Very rules-light and easy to pick up, much more so than D&D 4.0. It's based on the rules of a game called Apocalypse World; be sure to get the full Dungeon World rules and not "Dungeon World Hack", which is a mod for Apocalypse World mod and assumes that you already know the basic rules.
posted by baf at 10:18 AM on January 5, 2012


The One-Page Dungeon is your friend. If your players are anything like mine, anything with more than a half-dozen rooms will taker longer than you think to get through...

As for system, it is not a secret that I think GURPS is the ginchiest. You can pick up the 32-page pdf of GURPS Lite for $0.00. In the past few years the line has gone for several series of pdf releases on different genres; the Dungeon Fantasy ones would cover the D&D type-games pretty well. The first two would be all you would really need, but DF3 has non-human races and DF8 (Treasure Tables) is one of my favourite fantasy game supplements ever.

If you tire of Dungeon Fantasy, there is also the Action line, the Monster Hunters
line and more in the offing. Whichever direction you choose, with the Lite rules and two or three pdfs, you would have the basis for a game for about the price of having a pizza delivered.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:51 AM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Although D&D v4.0 is a lot better than previous versions, I wouldn't call it (or GURPS) "lite". (Although D&D has a lot of nice hand-holding, "this is how it works" material now.)

At add to your woe, I'll suggest Savage Worlds. Lots of stuff for it, in multiple genres.

In any even, RPGNow.com is your friend. You can buy a huge range of modules and adventures there, including out of print stuff.
posted by outlier at 11:13 AM on January 5, 2012


Pathfinder (aka dnd 3.75) just put out a beginner box, which may satisfy your "rules lite" requirement... though the full game probably doesnt.

I suggest it though, because their campaign setting of Golarion is fantastic and has a lot of varied regions full of tons of possibility for different settings all within a contigious world.

They also have a lot of adventure paths and modules out there so you could run games for years without having to homebrew any content.
posted by utsutsu at 12:16 PM on January 5, 2012


Like baf, I think Dungeon World is the super best for fantasy dungeon crawling and would recommend it without hesitation.... except that there aren't that many adventures out there for it just yet, and there are no published settings for it, much less well-developed ones as the OP desired.

Like outlier, I don't think D&D4.0 or GURPS qualify as rules-lite. I think GURPS is going to require that you do some assembly. You'll have to pull things together out of GURPS Basic + those extra PDFs that ricochet biscuit mentions, and also none of those one-page dungeons will contain GURPS stats.

I think Savage Worlds is a solid suggestion, and I've heard good things about their 50 Fathoms campaign. My only reservation about Savage Worlds is that I wouldn't play it without tabletop figures and a battle map, because the rules assume use of one and you'll wind up having to handwave a lot of stuff without it (but you might not mind doing that; it would drive me crazy).

There's a ton of old-school D&Dish retrogames out. Dungeon Crawl Classics has one that is well-supported with modules, and I think Castles and Crusades would also qualify.
posted by Sauce Trough at 12:53 PM on January 5, 2012


I think GURPS is going to require that you do some assembly. You'll have to pull things together out of GURPS Basic + those extra PDFs that ricochet biscuit mentions,

You are incorrect. That is precisely the point of the focused lines of pdfs: it pulls all this stuff out of the 500+ pages of the main books.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:56 PM on January 5, 2012


And the free GURPS Lite linked above is a 32-page distillation of the rules. You can also download GURPS Ultra-Lite free; this is the rules reduced to a single page.

It is a strangely common criticism of GURPS that it is complex; this is usually from people who are unfamiliar with it (or alternately, those who find the mechanism of "roll 3 dice and if it is below your skill level, you succeed" to be bewilderingly difficult).
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:16 PM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


You've got several rule-light options:

Barbarians of Lemuria. Super-light with lots of flexibility for the players to interpret stuff. A very simple ruleset that still gives players a mechanic connected to what they're doing. It's built around a more classical sword & sorcery genre à la Conan rather than the generally-implied D&D setting (magic is relatively rare, not tons of monsters everywhere). But if you want down and gritty action and don't want to sweat the details, this may be the game for you. Fun, and easy to pick up.

Savage Worlds Explorer's Edition with the Wizards & Warriors free supplement. if you have grand designs and want maximum flexibility, SW may be the game for you. I have not found it necessary to use miniatures when I play SW.

The PDQ core rules with the Jaws of Six Serpents supplement make for some damn fine sword and sorcery gaming.

I have a lot of love for QAGS from Hex Games. So simple, so intuitive, and so much emphasis on having fun with your gaming (whether it's dramatic fun or silly fun). And you get plenty of fantasy gaming options, from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Dungeon Slayers may fit the bill. It is a total of 20 pages, which includes covers, credits, dedications, monsters, and sample adventure. It is also a free PDF. I've read it but haven't played it. It strike me as a little more complex than Barbarians of Lemuria. It's magnitudes lighter than Savage Worlds, or Swords and Wizardry.
posted by magstheaxe at 2:24 PM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thanks everyone for the suggestions; keep them coming, if so you desire. Great stuff; thank you so much!

I don't mind adventures longer than "One-Room Dungeon" - though that is a great resource. Other adventure recommendations are appreciated as well.

I've been RPGing on and off for 20ish years and for the majority have DM/GMed, and for the majority have never bought/ran pre-made/commercial adventures. Off time was spent building worlds - people, places, plots - then turning the players loose in very open-ended missions. So, now that my time to world/adventure-build is reduced (to little/none), I am looking for good "pre-made," commercial or free adventures.

I guess system is not SO important - I can reduce/transpose heavy rules to a lighter stock system (I just don't want to pick up a GDW book and be searching for what % fragment damage will degrade over such and such angle through sea water etc to determine how damaged the rudder will be and then calculate wind velocity and you get the point).

Hope that helps you help me. Thanks again.
posted by J0 at 2:57 PM on January 5, 2012


It is a strangely common criticism of GURPS that it is complex; this is usually from people who are unfamiliar with it (or alternately, those who find the mechanism of "roll 3 dice and if it is below your skill level, you succeed" to be bewilderingly difficult).

You can trust that I'm familiar with GURPS. I ran it for years and I wrote for Pyramid back when it was a print mag.

Playing a character in GURPS may be a simple matter of rolling three dice at the correct moments, but running a GURPS game means dealing with the fact that GURPS is a toolkit aimed at folks who like to invent their own stuff. Which is cool and all, but it's not what the OP asked for.

Look at the Dungeon Fantasy monsters set -- there's like thirty monsters in there. That's not an overwhelming selection. You want to go beyond those, you're building your own. More importantly, there are zero pre-made adventures in the Dungeon Fantasy line. And as the OP said:

Really, the most important thing is a nice selection of pre-made adventures; I don't want to have to do a lot of work, too busy.

Any pre-made adventures, even those simple one-page dungeons, will have to be ported to be used with GURPS, which is work.

So yeah, I think that GURPS is a bad choice for the OP.
posted by Sauce Trough at 4:24 PM on January 5, 2012


Look at the Dungeon Fantasy monsters set -- there's like thirty monsters in there. That's not an overwhelming selection.

I will say no more except to point out that your guess is off by more than a hundred.

Best of luck to the OP!
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:43 PM on January 5, 2012


Further to my previous pathfinder suggestion, you might specifically want to check out the Pathfinder Societies stuff. It's like Living Grekhawk for Dnd, and other similar things.

It's basically a standardized way of running single session games, where the player's characters are portable and can be brought to any PFS games and maintain their progression (So, you can bring the same PC from home game, to game store, to convention, etc). The adventures are a bunch of 4 - 6 hour contained episodes, featuring 4 or 5 "encounters" per sessions. Each character belongs to one of a number of factions, and they get two objectives for their faction, in addition to the overall goal of the mod.
posted by utsutsu at 7:10 AM on January 6, 2012


« Older Are GBs given for SSD capaciti...   |  A blender for smoothies, nut b... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.