pen and paper RPG discussion

What are your favorite systems? If you play D&D, what do you think of 3rd edition vs. earlier editions?

I like White Wolf games the best. The rules are simple and flexible and allow for a wide variety of characters, although having a high skill level doesn’t seem to get you a good result as often as it should because of the way the dice work. I mostly play Mage, Werewolf, and Changeling.

I started out with AD&D 2nd in high school. I haven’t played 3rd yet, but I have the main books. A friend of mine was supposed to run a game but apparently he didn’t really want to and it kind of got dropped. I’ve also played a few games of Shadowrun, Deadlands: Hell on Earth, Cyberpunk, Rifts, and a couple other things.

Paranoia, second edition. The only game system guaranteed to generate lots of laughs while simultaneously punishing players for excessive munchkinism.

Runner up to Toon, but only if you play it with the rules and settings from Doc Cross’s excellent Tooniversal Tour Guide suppliment.

I still have a soft spot in my heart for Hero. Yes, it’s labyrinthine. Yes, it takes an absurd level of math to create characters. Yes, a typical combat will generally last several days. I still love it.

Besides that, I’m fairly fond of first edition AD&D. It has a certain eccentric charm to it that’s been bred out of later incarnations.

I also wish my friend would return my HOL books he borrowed–easily one of the most amusing RPGs I’ve ever played. (Whoo! My slug totem son of God character just beat up your elvis impersonator interstellar clown assassin!)

I like the D&D third edition. I’m currently working on a d20 (the “generic” 3rd Edition D&D rules) version of the computer RPG ‘Fallout’. We’ll see if the d20 rules are as generic as WOTC/TSR thinks they are.

I’ve looked at GURPS and need to play it, but it seemed…okay. I like skill based systems. I’ve played Champions and found it to be extremely versatile while extremely opaque as well - not at all for novice gamers.

Systems I’ve played that I hate are Rifts and WEG’s Star Wars game.

I agree with Legomancer about Rifts, but I love the WEG SW game. I’ve had a game going for that for about 5 or 6 years.

As for D&D, we started on that in high school (who didn’t?) and still go with it, though we have upgraded to 3rd ed. Personally, I absolutely love it. I’m a big fan of skill use and they have made it very important to use skills, whereas it was inconsiquential in the older eds.

Everything is much cooler and more thought out. Prestige Classes and Templates add a lot to different stuff you can do and run in to.

White Wolf games are good as well. I’ve played Vampire and Mage quite a bit. The biggest problem I have with that system is character generation. You really can’t make a character how you want them no matter what.

My gaming group is sticking with the 2nd edition of D&D, mainly because we haven’t finished all the materials we bought for the game.

I’m running a Planescape camapaign set in Sigil, centered around a Harmonium PC who is in charge of a small precinct at the edge of the Clerk’s ward. I’m looking for players to participate online with us. I have a webcam turned on during sessions, and will use IM for anyone who wishes to play along with the group.

I just can’t get into 3rd ed. because of all the money necessary to get books for everyone- all the current participants have the books they need (except me- I need some information from the Planewalker’s handbook, if anyone can help.) The rule changes would confuse my players as well- not permanently, mind you, but we’re into a long-running game, and it would not be fair to change rules in the middle of the game.

I started in 1st edition in college- in 1980- and have been playing since, with little time away from the game.

If anyone would like to join up, go to my site, and email me.

Doug’s Gaming Page

My favorite setting is for Torg, although the system is clunky. Recently I picked up a couple of books from old D&D – the basic, expert, companion boxed sets, etc. That was a cool game, although limited.

Anyone who reads this topic might be interested to know that Wizards of the Coast (who now own TSR) sells pdf versions of many of their older projects for about $5. Pretty good if you want the content but don’t care about being a collector, since they often go pretty high on eBay.


I’m not a big D&D fan mostly because of the rules (though I haven’t checked out d20 yet). I do like Dark Sun and Ravenloft as settings and think that some of the best supplements for any game were the Van Richten Guides. IMO the Van Richten Guide to Vampires is better than Vampire the Masquerade. But I hate that game with an unending passion. WW’s mechanics are hideous, variable dice pool + sliding difficulty scale + degree of success system = mess. Even in Trinity/Aberrant/Adventure! when one of them was removed it shifted it to merely bizarre abstraction instead of good rules. Still the setting stuff (Wraith and Changeling especially) is pretty interesting and the books are good reads.

As for what I don’t hate I used to be a big GURPS fan, and still am, except the mechanics kind of drag. I’ve recently taken to Unknown Armies. I think it is the best setting ever, and I like % systems because of the simplicity involved. In-Nomine is my second favorite game, the system is amusing but it is really the setting and community on the mailing list that I enjoy (we recently had an amusing bout of cross over considerations).

Finally I have yet to play Little Fears though I’ve bought it. It looks interesting but no one is willing to play it. I can understand why. The concept is interesting and the mechanics look to be functional. I was thinking of meshing it with the Puppetland (can be found here) mechanics which I liked very much when I ran a sort of Puppetland game.

Legomancer, your link gives a 404 error. I couldn’t find the Fallout link on your main site either.

Anyone seen the d20 version of Wheel of Time? That same friend of mine has it, and the magic system is not very faithful to the books, but the classes and skills seem to fit well.

As for bad mechanics, Deadland’s are pretty bizarre. You get dealt cards for character generation, which determine what die type you use for various skills. Sometimes a small die is good, other times a large one is good. You also get to use cards as some kind of fate or luck thing to affect your actions. It’s really strange. WW mechanics make a lot of sense to me. Dice pool = how good you are at an action, difficulty = well, difficulty of an action, successes rolled = how well you perform the action. Compare to D&D (these are the only systems I know really well) where both the player and DM may have to add in a bunch of modifiers depending on the situation. Like I said, I haven’t played 3rd edition yet, but combat in 2nd was a pain in the THAC0. I will admit though that WW soak dice and fumbles are not so great either.

The Window is an interesting system, very spartan. I know a guy who swears by it, but I haven’t done anything with it.

The problem with WW mechanics is the difficulty of translating chances into it. % systems and the simple bell curve of GURPS (complete with a chart of the conversions for those who don’t want to do math) makes it easy to model chances in it. Basically the fact that three things are sliding around make it a problem. My impression of the WW mechanics is more so that they are entirely arbitrary. The system is just there. As opposed to GURPS or UA where they have some sort of inherent sense to them.

Certainly however WW’s are not the worse and they can run the game well enough. I haven’t played Deadlands (though I want to pick up the GURPS conversion as I’ve heard lots of good things about the setting) but that system sounds absolutely insane. The only time I’ve used something that strange is for a magic system that used a tarot deck.

Been gaming since about 1978-79, with a couple of long hiatuses.

Among my favorites are Paranoia, Hero system (Champions and Fantasy Hero), WEG’s Star Wars, and of course D&D of all flavors. I have respect for Rolemaster, though the system is too cumbersome. There are other games in my past, but I don’t think anybody here really cares that much.

I’ve never played Ars Magica, but it’s still very well done. I’ve never played Feng Shui, but I’d like to. Deadlands intrigues me also, as does All flesh Must Be Eaten. I’m looking forward to D20 Call of Cthulhu, though I never actually played the original.

In my opinion, 3rd Edition is the best D&D yet. It’s balanced, the rules are clear – some things are broken as all hell, but it’s much easier to fix problems – and it’s a fairly customizable system. Some of the things being done by WotC and other D20 companies are crap, but a lot of it is very good. The people at Sword and Sorcery Studios have stuff with great flavor, for example.

Sorry for the bad url. Here’s a working one:

There’s more in my head than I’ve got on the site so far, and some of what’s there is about to change. If they didn’t keep me so busy at work, I’d have more done.

Cap’n, Some friends of mine play Feng Shui and say it’s pretty friggin cool. From what I hear, they have damage rolls for everything from getting hit by a bus to falling out of buildings. Sounds great!

sturmhauke, that always drove us nuts too with the Thaco, But 3rd ed. is all the same: The higher you roll, the better. AC, Thaco (no longer called such) skills, everything is rolles as lower is bad, higher is best.

I started out back in middle school with Paladium Books’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles RPG. Played the hell out of that, especially the Road Hogs post-apocalyptic setting. Graduated to Rifts when that came out, which is one of the coolest game worlds ever. But yeah, the rules suck big time. I’ve tried repeatedly to get into World of Darkness, Werewolf, specifically, but we’ve nver been able to make it click. I’ve also putzed around with Cyberpunk and was into TSR’s Alternity system before they pulled the plug on it.

I started AD&D with the second edition, but by the time 3rd ed. came out, my game group had pretty much abandoned it. Now, with the new rule set, it’s about the only thing we play. We all love the rules so much we’re adapting pretty much everything else to it. I’m working on a Rifts conversion, one of my friends is trying to do Cyberpunk, and another friend is working on a World of Darkness conversion. It’s like the Windows of RPGs, except that it actually works.

I always prefer Call of Cthulhu (check my username). Quite a unique system with rules that are very natural once you get used to them. More so than AD&D. I also love the “sanity” concept. Great stuff.

Can’t wait for the pc game, either. Looks excellent thus far.

The d20 system is a vast improvement over the earlier D&D systems. I’m running a game this weekend actually.

Other favorites include Vampire, Warhammer Role Play, Star Wars, and ShadowRun.

I started out on original D&D when I was about 7 years old. (NOT AD&D 1[sup]st[/sup] edition, actual D&D, where elf, dwarf, and halfling were classes!) After a few years, we went to AD&D2[sup]nd[/sup] edtion. During this time we also picked up Robotech: The ROleplaying Game after watching anmd locing the anime series. I played those with my brother as the DM and our two friends for years. After my brother left for college we stopped playing…but then I started DMing AD&D 2[sup]nd[/sup] edition with a group of friends. We played that until 3[sup]rd[/sup] came out. We looked third over and switched. But they switched while I was away, so I had to learn from them as they learned from me. I like third edition. The ressurection of the monk class makes me happy :slight_smile:

My brother also bought a lot of Rifts sourcebooks, but we never played. Too bad…cause it looks sooooo cool. I don’t find the rules all that bad…just me, I guess.

1st edition AD&D for me or Gamma world. I agree with slortar that it lost it’s eccentric charm in later editions. Wish I had kept my Dragon magazine #1 and my original D&DG. No time to play now.

Call me a traditionalist, but I’ve always rather preferred D&D. I like the medeival fantasy setting, and there’s a lot more detail than in most RPGs.

Third Edition has its ups and its downs. In any RPG, you’ve got to balance between realism and simplicity, and D&D3E has moved rather towards the simplicity side. Yes, it’s easy to use the same table for all ability scores, but does it make sense? On the other hand, there are some things they did which are unambiguously good: It’s nice to have high rolls consistently good, for instance, and the multiclassing system makes a heck of a lot of sense (far better than multiclassing or dual-classing in 2E). There are some things that are broken, too, but for the most part, those are easy for a half-decent DM to fix, so on the whole, I’d have to say that I like third edition better.

I’ve been playing RPGs since about 1987. I started with AD&D 1st edition but around that time AD&D 2nd edition came out and that was the first RPG system that I bought nearly all the products for. Here’s what I currently enjoy.

Legend of the Five Rings: I love this game. I love the setting and I love the mechanics of the game. I was really surprised by how much I liked it because it was based on a collectable card game and it has a pseudo Japanese setting.

Deadlands: Yet another game I love. Initially I thought the setting was rather silly. 1876 and the American Civil War is still going on? Undead gunslingers, sorceror gamblers, mad scientist, and indian shamans populate the “weird” west. This is a great game even if you don’t like westerns.

D&D 3E: I was really enthusiastic about this when it came out. It has made some much needed improvements over the previous editions. But I still have some of the same complaints. I dislike the class system, I dislike hit points, and I’m not to keen on the magic system. And yet I play this game more then any other.

I admit that I have some fear that the D20 system will push other systems out of existence. I think the D20 system is decent but I happen to believe that the mechanics of a game make a difference in mood. For example the D20 version of L5R is not as good as the original rules for L5R.