Tuesday, September 22, 2020

2020 RPG Contemplation - The Fantasy Options

 When I can I like to have two games going so beyond yesterday's Sci-Fi choices there would likely be some kind of fantasy option. There is always a D&D type game going with our group ... it's just part of the Way Things Are. 

Given that. I spent a ridiculous amount of time gong back through my options ... thinking out loud continues below ...

  • 5th Edition D&D - Well sure, I have to think about this one. I was getting a little bored with it last year but simplicity has an upside too. Theros does give some nice options for that Mythic Greece game I've wanted to run for along time but I don't know... I'm just not that excited about running this system right now. Next year!

  • D&D 0-4th/basic/Expert/Advanced/etc.- Lots of material sure but I kind of want to do something different, something I don't have a multi-year run in yet. I do have some old school dungeons and adventures I would like to run and it would most likely happen with Labyrinth Lord but I'm not sure this is the right moment.

  • Pathfinder 2nd Edition - This is what I was planning on before the Great Shutdown. I had run several sessions and the party made it to 3rd level and liked the game so we were going to revamp the location, keep the characters, and get going for the long haul. Not getting to do that when i was all fired up about it ... well I still want to do that but as I said above I'd like to play something else first.

  • Age of Sigmar RPG - This one is new and I do like the setting but I don't actually own it yet. A bit hesitant to pick it up when I have a bunch of other options I am interested in and might be shoring up with a new book or two. 

  • Barebones Fantasy - I ran across this one on DTRPG, decided to look it over and really liked it. Its very similar to classic D&D at the core but it uses a percentile system for stats and a very interesting skill system - basically a D&D class is effectively a skill like "Cleric" or "Thief". There is a set of specific things each one lets you do and then some guidelines on letting players use it for other things in play as well. It hits a sweet spot for specific (as in "here's what this thing does") while still retaining tremendous flexibility so that we're not trying to look up some obscure rule about a specific ability in a specific situation that we all remember seeing but somehow cannot find in a 400 page rulebook as happens in some other games. It's been around for a few years and looks to be pretty well supported. This is a contender once I decide what I would want to do with it.

  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay - If I'm going to consider Sigmar I might as well consider the original - well 2nd Edition original anyway. I have almost all the books and have only tried to run it twice so they are very low-mileage despite my extreme like of the system. I know what I would like to run with this as well so it's a contender. 

  • Forbidden Lands - it's an interesting mix of old school (hexcrawl! PC strongholds!) and new design (dice pools! narrative stuff!) that caught my attention a while back and given the opportunity to run a new campaign I went ahead and picked it up. I need to read the whole thing but it's a contender at the moment.

  • Savage Worlds - This would probably be Beasts & Barbarians and it looks pretty awesome as it is very much Conan with the serial numbers very lightly filed off ... very lightly. It would be totally appropriate for a series of short adventures to kick things off again and we've been playing other Savage Worlds games for years so there is some system familiarity. I'm not sure it's the best option, but it's on the list.

  • Dungeon Crawl Classics - This is the most likely solution for a kickoff. It's surprisingly fun because it always starts with a zero-level "funnel" that winnows out the weak peasants everyone starts as but turns the survivors into accomplished heroes by the end of  the adventure. So you don't need to know much mechanically to begin with because there are not a lot of mechanics for starting PCs! I've had it for years, run it once, but we didn't get to finish the whole adventure ... this time we will. Even funnier is that I absolutely loathed zero-level characters when they first showed up in AD&D. Your 1st level characters are already limited, unskilled, and die to any halfway decent hit and now you want to spend more time at this level ... and even weaker? it was a dumb idea and seemed like a tremendous waste of time. With DCC it works very differently and it works wonderfully. 

Honorable Mentions: Runequest, Middle Earth Adventures, GURPS, Fantasy Hero

So, after spending a lot of time reading through games old and new the contender list for right now is:

  • DCC
  • Forbidden Lands
  • WFRP
More to come .. hopefully including some session reports.

1 comment:

WQRobb said...

I also saw Barebones Fantasy during the d100 sale at DrivethruRPG and thought it looked like a solid option that wasn't a straight D&D clone.