Recommend Me an RPG

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13 Jul 2018 14:42 #277473 by BaronDonut
My regular role playing group has been playing (and really digging) Blades in the Dark, but we’re taking a hiatus for the summer and we’ve been playing some GMless / story-based / one-shot games. So far we’ve played Noirlandia (which my regular-named alter ego reviewed here) and Carolina Death Crawl, which have both been a blast. On our to do list: Winterhorn, the King is Dead, and Dread.

I’d love to add to this list. What kind of games have you been playing / loving? They don’t have to be low prep or single session, but extra points if they are. Also, lemme know if there are games you’re interested in but haven’t played yet—maybe I’ll seek them out to play and review.
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13 Jul 2018 15:27 #277477 by charlest
Replied by charlest on topic Recommend Me an RPG
I haven't roleplayed in about 8 or 9 years, although I'm gearing up for a Fall of Delta Green one shot.

I'm a huge fan of story games and the large wave of designs that came out of The Forge forums/site pioneered by Ron Edwards. I came across this site in its early days and kept up with these games as they were coming out. I playtested Apocalypse World when it was a few scattered PDFs on a hidden site, and later Dungeon World which was more organized and a little less crazy/mysterious.

These are some of my favorites:

Burning Wheel
I started with revised and play a bit of Gold. I love this game as a bridge between crunchy traditional RPGs like D&D, and the newfangled story-games. The beliefs/instincts/traits really drive the game and my group really dove into player authorship in our many campaigns.

This game also hooked me on using Bangs, a GM technique of minimal prep that originally arose in Ron Edwards Sorcerer. Basically you prep a couple of scenes for each character that are moments of intense conflict/choice. You don't script long-winded plots or longterm story arcs. The players utilize Beliefs to tell the GM what they're interested in and where their conflict lies, and then the GM challenges those notions by presenting the characters with tough choices. Play consists mostly of playing out the consequences and seeing where it goes. Fucking fantastic.

This is probably my favorite RPG of all time and it's perfect for Tolkien fantasy. It's human-centric, with Orcs/Dwarves/Elves feeling alien. Magic is rare and the use of the divine is open ended and awe inspiring.

Dogs in the Vineyard
Blew my mind at the time. It's Vincent Baker's first significant work. You play Mormon judge/jury/executioners wandering Nevada during the wild west. Each session you hit a new town and investigate what's going on.

The GM is required to create a relationship web for the town that's ripe with conflict and ready to explode. These are all moral quandries such as adultry, abuse, murder. The players then wade into the conflict and sort it out, levying their judgment.

Like all of these story-games, they're conflict driven narrative affairs intended to challenge players emotionally. You watch their characters evolve over time and it's something special.

In A Wicked Age
Vincent Baker's sword and sorcery work that's ridiculously good. This is a story-game where each session is a one shot, think a Robert E. Howard short story. You play sword and sandal Conan-type stories and players control a wide range of characters.

For instance, in one play we had a wandering rogue discover a temple that had an old serpent god sealed away. Both of those were controlled by a player. The game lets you control a huge serpent god.

Certain actions in the game mean your character gets added to "the list". You can cross your name off the list for momentary bonuses, or the next time we meetup to play we look at the list and the top character listed is included automatically.

Subsequent sessions can be at any point in that central character's life. So think Conan how he becomes a pirate or king. The structure is so goddamn satisfying and Vincent Baker is a genius.

Primetime Adventures
This is a story-game about a TV show. Your group runs a TV show and it can be anything or style. You can pick out theme music and outro music. We did an HBO style show that was set in the Necromunda universe and was heavily influenced by The Wire.

Players were a Van Saar gang trying to compete over turf with Goliaths, both gangs trying to sling spook to a settlement. One player with the Van Saar was a bounty hunter ex-Cawdor. His old gang showed up in the first season's climax.

Our intro song was a Janis Joplin song - maybe ball and chain? Outro song was Whipping Post.

So much fun.

The Mountain Witch
A one shot story-game about a group of ronin (the PCs) heading to a nearby mountain to slay a witch. It's very open ended but each character receives a hidden flaw or issue on a card. The GM then builds up Bangs to address each of these.

We had stuff like the "Fear" card which I worked with the player to come up with a ridiculously huge giant. I remember them coming across the footprint first and thinking "what the fuck?"

It kind of plays out like a samurai version of Apocalypse Now, although there's lots of leeway on what you encounter and how the GM twists those issues. Plus, one of the players maybe a traitor.


Lots more I could recommend. Dust Devils, Poison'd, Apocalypse World of course. Torchbearer looks cool as a stripped down Burning Wheel. Burning Empires was fun too.

Just talking about this stuff gets me excited. I need to play RPGs again.
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13 Jul 2018 18:34 #277509 by BaronDonut
Replied by BaronDonut on topic Recommend Me an RPG
Dang dude, this is a helluva list. Thanks for sharing it!

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13 Jul 2018 21:23 #277519 by GorillaGrody
Replied by GorillaGrody on topic Recommend Me an RPG
Baron, have you seen Scum and Villainy yet? www.evilhat.com/home/scum-and-villainy/
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13 Jul 2018 21:41 #277520 by Da Bid Dabid
Replied by Da Bid Dabid on topic Recommend Me an RPG
Tales from the Loop has been great for my players. I think it would work very well as a one shot.
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14 Jul 2018 10:27 #277538 by Jexik
Replied by Jexik on topic Recommend Me an RPG
Have you tried Roll Player? That game is really fun!

In all seriousness, I'm gonna insert myself into this thread so that if I search for "my threads," I can find posts like Charlie's. My advice is usually gonna be "for real though, 5e is quite good." But that 's mostly me comparing it to 3.5 and 2...
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14 Jul 2018 11:04 #277541 by allismom3
Replied by allismom3 on topic Recommend Me an RPG
Dread- this is the game with a Jenja tower as the resolution mechanic. It looks super cool, but I think would be a bitch to GM.
I'm also interested in those supposed pick up play FFG End of the World RPG's- zombie, aliens, or machine flavored apoc.
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14 Jul 2018 11:14 #277543 by BaronDonut
Replied by BaronDonut on topic Recommend Me an RPG

GorillaGrody wrote: Baron, have you seen Scum and Villainy yet? www.evilhat.com/home/scum-and-villainy/


I’m definitely gonna pick that up once the physical book comes out.

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14 Jul 2018 21:55 - 14 Jul 2018 21:56 #277564 by charlest
Replied by charlest on topic Recommend Me an RPG

allismom3 wrote: Dread- this is the game with a Jenja tower as the resolution mechanic. It looks super cool, but I think would be a bitch to GM.
I'm also interested in those supposed pick up play FFG End of the World RPG's- zombie, aliens, or machine flavored apoc.


Oh man, I ran the old Call of Cthulhu module centered on Innsmouth using Dread as the system and it was great. I didn't find it particularly hard fo GM but that may just be me.

One of my favorite parts was making up the questionnaire sheets for the players and having one of them answer - "Why are you afraid of the water?"

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14 Jul 2018 23:57 #277571 by Deleted
Replied by Deleted on topic Recommend Me an RPG
I have always been a Shadowrun guy. Haven’t played in ages but if I ever got into RPGs I’d start there.

I also used to really like Twilight 2000. It was fiddly and wonky but the setting made it for me.

If you like “miniatures heavy” RPG’s, then there is no substitute for Strange Aeons.

If you like legit RPG’s and want to have miniatures involved then Wreck Age is fucking bad ass. Granted, I wrote the rule book from the designer’s outline, so I might be biased, but it’s a fantastic RPG experience which relies on “pen and paper meta” that kind of zooms in to a miniatures skirmish for “encounters”. I just love the system, and the story is fleshed out really well to provide the seed for imagination.
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15 Jul 2018 10:35 #277582 by Jexik
Replied by Jexik on topic Recommend Me an RPG

SuperflyTNT wrote: I have always been a Shadowrun guy. Haven’t played in ages but if I ever got into RPGs I’d start there.


I've never played it... seems like Bright is basically what it is?

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15 Jul 2018 13:01 #277596 by allismom3
Replied by allismom3 on topic Recommend Me an RPG

charlest wrote:

allismom3 wrote: Dread- this is the game with a Jenja tower as the resolution mechanic. It looks super cool, but I think would be a bitch to GM.
I'm also interested in those supposed pick up play FFG End of the World RPG's- zombie, aliens, or machine flavored apoc.


Oh man, I ran the old Call of Cthulhu module centered on Innsmouth using Dread as the system and it was great. I didn't find it particularly hard fo GM but that may just be me.

One of my favorite parts was making up the questionnaire sheets for the players and having one of them answer - "Why are you afraid of the water?"


I've only read thru Dread and not played, so I am be missing something. If you set up a jenja tower in the middle of a table, players are going to want to pull from it. But pulling from the tower is a all or none proposition- knock it over, your character is dead. Having played alot of CoC, many adventures are of the puzzly/ investigative type- how often/ when you do have players pull? Finding clues does not seem like a life or death type problem to overcome.

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15 Jul 2018 14:08 #277598 by BaronDonut
Replied by BaronDonut on topic Recommend Me an RPG

SuperflyTNT wrote: I have always been a Shadowrun guy. Haven’t played in ages but if I ever got into RPGs I’d start there.


Yeah, I grew up playing Shadowrun, and I will always have a special place for it in my heart. But if I never spend ten minutes trying to calculate a dice pool for a single roll again that would be just fine with me.
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16 Jul 2018 07:51 #277637 by Matt Thrower
Replied by Matt Thrower on topic Recommend Me an RPG
An obscure and very silly one-shot game I've enjoyed is Goblin Quest. I backed the Kickstarter based entirely on this playtest quote ...

Our quest was to make a pizza. Twenty goblins died.


... and I haven't been disappointed. It's a comedic group storytelling effort about playing a bunch of pathetic, stupid goblins trying to undertake simple tasks in the midst of an orc war camp. In my favourite session so far we had to cook a meal for a wizard's dinner party, and the game ended with an angry, naked orc warlord, whose clothes we'd stolen as a disguise, gatecrashing the party and killing all the guests.

I enjoyed it enough to buy the author's rather more serious effort Spire, a game about fomenting rebellion in an oppressive elvish society. I haven't played this yet, and it's certainly not one-shot, but the imagination in the setting is incredible. It's worth buying for the fluff alone.

Another game that might suit is the new edition of sci-fi dystopia game Paranoia. It's easy to learn with some smart mechanics based (unusually for an RPG) on decks of cards. The new edition is open to being played either as a black comedy or as a relatively serious satire on authoritarianism and it works both one-shot and for extended play.
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16 Jul 2018 08:54 #277641 by charlest
Replied by charlest on topic Recommend Me an RPG

allismom3 wrote:

charlest wrote:

allismom3 wrote: Dread- this is the game with a Jenja tower as the resolution mechanic. It looks super cool, but I think would be a bitch to GM.
I'm also interested in those supposed pick up play FFG End of the World RPG's- zombie, aliens, or machine flavored apoc.


Oh man, I ran the old Call of Cthulhu module centered on Innsmouth using Dread as the system and it was great. I didn't find it particularly hard fo GM but that may just be me.

One of my favorite parts was making up the questionnaire sheets for the players and having one of them answer - "Why are you afraid of the water?"


I've only read thru Dread and not played, so I am be missing something. If you set up a jenja tower in the middle of a table, players are going to want to pull from it. But pulling from the tower is a all or none proposition- knock it over, your character is dead. Having played alot of CoC, many adventures are of the puzzly/ investigative type- how often/ when you do have players pull? Finding clues does not seem like a life or death type problem to overcome.


Our scenario was mostly escaping Innsmouth and the follow-up raid, so it was many life or death situations (car chase, struggle out on the water, etc.).

For clues/investigative stuff, I'd just have them find the clue without pulling. This is how the GUMSHOE system works for Call of Cthulhu - you automatically find clues.

As a GM in Dread, you really need to know how to control the tempo of play. And my players did not want to pull from that tower at all, it scared them. They were very careful around the table not to bump anything.
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