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D&D 3E
Game systems 
19th-Nov-2005 03:13 pm
Sorry to ask yet another question (this might actually be the last one).
Currently there is a discussion going around with in my group over the feelings other gamers have towards the d20, 3.5 and new systems. To clear this up and also help us figure out what we should do I wanted to ask some gamers the following questions.


1: How do you feel about the d20 system and 3.5? (would you rather play 2nd ed? Do you feel there is something lacking or is it a solid system? etc)
2: Would you play another game system that is not d20? Also would you even considering buying a game that is not tied to WOTC or any of the larger well known companies?
3: What would you look for in a game system?
4: What do you feel is the best game system and why? This could be from any RPG from basic D&D to games your sure no one played (time masters, car wars, elf quest)

What we are trying to do is judge if it is worth skipping the OGL/d20 and just use our own system (which is already developed and play tested) rather then creating just another settings book.
Comments 
19th-Nov-2005 09:17 pm (UTC) - I'll answer your question now.
I think that the best RPG system is the one that I use in my homebrew, titled "As Above, So Below". It's a vastly customized version of d20, made possible only because the OGL gave me the wherewithal to spend hundreds of hours tweaking the existing game.

There will always be a significant dislike of the d20 System games, and d20-variant games like mine, from two groups of RPG players. The first are those that simply don't like D&D -- they hate the lack of good roleplaying rules, they get confused by the minutae of the rules, and they've never had the sort of inspirational game that rises D&D above the campy game that was well-reflected in the D&D movie. The second are the opposite--cranky old players who played AD&D, 2nd edition, 3.0, or something else and simply don't like new things.

In my opinion, it's a good idea to listen to the first group and ignore the second. D&D, and d20, have a few amazing shortcomings that no one without a huge marketing budget or a very clever twist to the rules can overcome; the best non-WotC D&D books aren't ones that are intended to be used in a D&D game, but rather those that take the game in a new direction.

I'm in the process right now of streamlining AASB to be a lot more player-friendly, removing the parts that aren't helping out a causal gamer and emphasizing those that do. Rules that are too complex are simply ignored, and a rule that gets ignored is as bad as no rule at all.


If you're interested in following suit with your own project -- that is, taking the SRD and the OGL and going off to relfect the game that you want to play -- I suggest that you treat "usability of existing materials" as a fundamental aspect of player-friendlyness. Don't fundamentally alter the spell-system if you want players to be able to use the thousands of core d20 spells; don't change the basic statistics without an easy way to convert a core-d20 creature to your new hot rule.

Personally, I think that unless your game is so basically and radically different that you've got a patentable core mechanic, it's not worth it to dump the OGL and go for something new. EVERYONE knows how to play D&D, and no one likes learning a new way to ride a bike.

(BTW, if your mechanics aren't patentable, I'd suggest going OGL even if you aren't d20-derived.)
22nd-Nov-2005 07:10 pm (UTC) - Re: I'll answer your question now.
I'd be interested in having a look at your homebrew. What's the setting/genre?
19th-Nov-2005 09:40 pm (UTC)
1) d20 and D&D3.5 is pretty much the only reason I would still be playing RPGS. D&D 3.5 is pretty much the best game system right now, and I feel like it's the only thing worth playing right now. It's actually very deep tactically, and I know it inside and out. I hated AD&D2.

2) I dunno. I doubt it. Playing something else would be taking time away from our really successful game to try someone else's homemade system out--which is not likely to be anywhere near as good, and I don't really have time for that. I would definitely consider and have bought several things not from WOTC-- but in the last 5 years, we've played D&D pretty much weekly- campaigns lasting from 3 months to 2 years.

3) It has to actually work and be fun and rewarding to play. And honestly, it would have to be demonstrably better than D&D3.5 for me to be interested.

4) D&D3.5 for many reasons: I like fantasy campaigns that focus on the adventures of uniquely interesting individual characters. I love monsters. I like magic to be colorful and fun. Systematcally, D&D works really well, it's a lot of fun. I feel knowledgable enough with my group to change, alter old rules or invent new ones. We customize all the time. It rewards mastery of the system. It's fun to GM, and it's fun to play. In between games it's fun to build characters and dungeons and traps and encounters and adventures. If we ever don't feel like following a storyline, we can always toss a few miniatures on the board and play a miniatures battle. If you are in between games you can make up an encounter or a monster fairly easily and share it. Even when I'm not GMing sometimes I just use the magic item crafting rules to design magic items I might like to have for my character one day.



19th-Nov-2005 10:36 pm (UTC)
1) I like the d20 system, especially compared to the 2e rules. It's nice when things are standardize (like high rolls are always good) and how everything has changed into a d20+mod against a certain DC. This kind of simple structure is great, and I wouldn't want to go back to 2e. I also like 3.5, having had no serious problem with the update. I'm not sure why people have a problem with the "roleplaying" mechanic in D&D. Personally having a couple of checks to make to see if someone believes what you tell them works fine for me. Anything more complex would turn interaction into die rolling, so that talking to the local sage is just like attacking the local goblin. And anything less complex would be non-existent :p

2) I might buy another system... if I had people to play it with. I play D&D because it's popular. I've bought a number of games (ccgs and stuff) which no one would play, so ended up just being a waste of money. If someone tells me there is this cool system and there are enough people who will regularly and consistantly play it, I might buy it. But then, I don't buy a lot of D&D stuff either, usually just using the SRD and making up other things myself. Again, when you just have to tell someone to roll a d20 and see if that's higher than a certain number, it's easy to wing situations.

3) Well I'm not looking for a new gaming system. But in any case, I like something that lends itself to well to storytelling. Not necessarily roleplaying, but storytelling. Something like descriptive combat falls under this system. I like D&D does a fine job allowing storytelling, if only because everyone who plays it understands the basic mechanics of the simplified combat and check system. Since that's out of the way, I can tell a good story. When my old group was modifying 2e, we made combat a lot more complex so that battles (which really made up most of the game then, as there were no social abilities whatsoever) were interesting and made for good stories.

4) Well I've only played D&D, so I don't really know.
19th-Nov-2005 11:21 pm (UTC)
As abstract as the combat system is with D&D, I'd hate to see how a witty repartee system could get.
19th-Nov-2005 11:30 pm (UTC)
I like d20 well over AD&D2. I think one of my favorite things was the standardization. You don't have to consult charts to find the effect of a given ability score and monsters all have the same stats, skills, and feats that PCs have, which makes it much easier to level up a hobgoblin or to even play as one. Skills and feats beat weapon and nonweapon proficiencies hands down, and fighters don't have to worry as much about not finding the appropriate brand of polearm in a dungeon. In general, I feel much more like a character could try anything I think up instead of being defined by his class.

As for a roleplaying game from a small company I'd never heard of? Unless I could setup and play within five minutes, I don't think I'd touch it. A game would have to either be familiar or require a large horde of friends endorsing it before I'd drop cash.
19th-Nov-2005 11:46 pm (UTC)
1: How do you feel about the d20 system and 3.5? (would you rather play 2nd ed? Do you feel there is something lacking or is it a solid system? etc)
I love the d20 3.5 and d20 systems. I think they are wll thought out and very playable.

2: Would you play another game system that is not d20? Also would you even considering buying a game that is not tied to WOTC or any of the larger well known companies?
Yes I would and I have.

3: What would you look for in a game system?
As a GM, I like a rules lite system like Atlas Games' Over the Edge RPG. Something that is easy to learn and doesn't get in the way of play. As much as I like d20, it's a bit rules heavy for my personal GM style.

4: What do you feel is the best game system and why? This could be from any RPG from basic D&D to games your sure no one played (time masters, car wars, elf quest)
Savage Worlds is a fast, furious, fun RPG system that is easy to learn, easy to play and very versitile. I'm also a big fan of Everway, Over the Edge, Call of Cthulhu, Stormbringer, Sorcerer, Don't Look Back, Star Frontiers, d6, and Champions. They all have their own good points and bad points. I feel that much comes down to what kind of gaming experience are you looking for. If you are into tactical combat with lots of realism and clearly defined rules then you don't want to play a game like Everway. If you like heavy 'role' playing and aren't really into 'rule' playing, Champions isn't going to be your game. (FYI: I own and I've played Time Masters, Car Wars and Elfquest.)
19th-Nov-2005 11:54 pm (UTC)
1. Personally, I like d20... but dislike 3.5 -- while it's a slight improvement over 3E in some ways, I think the pendulum has swung to far toward increasing PC power. Right now I still run 3E games, and convert 3.5 materials back.

2. Play a non-d20 game? I'm playing two of them currently (oWoD and Palladium).
As for not tied to a large company, it depends on how easy the system is to learn. Most of the gamers I know don't want to spend a lot of time learning a new system, slowly learning the tweaks, etc.

3. How flexible is the system? Can I use my own campaign setting, or are the setting and system intertwined?
Consistency: Do the rules play with each other? Does the system work "as is", or does it need expansions and house rules?
Completeness: Can any character make a seduction check, try to fast talk, or palm something? How well are skill contests between characters (PCs or NPCs handled)?

4. There is no best game system. Keep in mind, I'm a big d20 fan, but it has a number of shortcomings, but I don't think d20 is suited for everything.
20th-Nov-2005 12:11 am (UTC)
I would suggest you look at the market success of non-standard games. I don't have the impression that the market is friendly towards them, but I don't know. The other question I would ask is, why are you making this game? What aspect of the process excites you? If you are in it for the story, emphasise that part. If you are into rules systems, emphasise that. I've seen a lot of games that had interesting story, which was ruined by the attempt to come up with a rules mechanic that was new and exciting. Unless you have a reason to start out on your own, don't. d20 isn't perfect, but it's ok, and it's well accepted.
20th-Nov-2005 12:16 am (UTC)
1)3.5 is a significant improvement over 2nd ed, and contrary to one of the other posters I feel it has decreased PC power cf 3rd (the haste spell particularly was sick in 3rd many of the others have been toned down to a more reasonable level) both due to spells and the lack of the multiclass dipping which 3rd made so easy.

2) Playing non-d20 games, definately; although I like it for D+D style games I'm not sure I could face the concept of a level 15 librarian in CoC:>(although as far as I can tell it's probably ok ish, I can't see why they changed) I like the Shadowrun system a lot, and enjoy WFRP(although not tried the new version yet), CoC is a constant favourite and although I've played only a few sessions the non-d20 Star Wars seemed vastly superior to the d20 version; Fading Suns system was interesting too and I prefer the non-d20 version of that too.
Not sure about buying a system that isn't known about much though, I don't like running games for long and would tend not to buy a game book unless I was sure it was going to see use. Having said that a good system that other people want to run and I might buy it.
3) Difficult to define, I suppose one that seems to fit the genre it's designed for.
4)D20 has advantages of being well supported by many sources both official and unofficial(although that means there's a lot of dross too). I think my favourite systems are CoC and Shadowrun (3rd, not tried 4th yet). Mostly due to the system really meshing well with the feel of the game; CoC for example is supposed to be deadly and is very, but you can be good at some things without the need for crazy stats or being overall powerful.

Release your own system if it seems a good one, and maybe a conversion for D20 guide if there seems to be a market for the setting...might be an idea.
20th-Nov-2005 01:37 am (UTC)
1: How do you feel about the d20 system and 3.5? (would you rather play 2nd ed? Do you feel there is something lacking or is it a solid system? etc)

D20 Makes everything so simple. I have had people who have never played a game in their life who have learned to play in an hour. There are infinate ways to alter it, and there is enough variation that it is everything I need. There is no way I'd rather play 2nd ed.

2: Would you play another game system that is not d20? Also would you even considering buying a game that is not tied to WOTC or any of the larger well known companies?

I haven't seen a game that is this together and organized ever. There are rules for everything, very little guesswork, yet everything fits together.

3: What would you look for in a game system?
Easy to use, easy to understand, yet leaves very little to question (that's how arguments start).

4: What do you feel is the best game system and why? This could be from any RPG from basic D&D to games your sure no one played (time masters, car wars, elf quest)

I have 2. D20 is definately complete and organized. I used to play Marvel superheroes the role playing game. While it wasn't as organized, there were plenty of options. I allowed for every situation because the rules were so broad.
20th-Nov-2005 04:21 am (UTC)
1 i really like the d20 system,,,but,,i personally feel that the higher you get in level the more broken it becomes. depending on your class,or classes it becomes unbalanced, i think the fighting system on the other hand is one of the smoothesty i have ever played,but once again at high levels it becomes who gets of there completely devistating attack off first kiling the party or vice versa
2 ibe played allot of gurps which i like its not as tight as d20 mechanicly and doesent allways flow as nice but it incorporates everything possable, and is designed to custiomize your game completely,,i cant stand palladium,,or the old white wolf where you roll 456734823 ten sided dice do a bunch of crazy math and then the dm just says F%*K it and makes up what happened.not all my gaming money goes to hasbro and wotc.
3easy to use,no crazy math,and it has to flow good,more story less fighting over what to roll to do something
4 i would say d20 it has its flaws but you can get the hang of how it works really quick plus i realy like rolling 20 siders,,because there nifty.i love d&d i prefer fantasy to scifi or horror any day,and d&d at this point source book wise is rediculouse,there is so much stuff its insane
20th-Nov-2005 09:15 am (UTC)
1: How do you feel about the d20 system and 3.5? (would you rather play 2nd ed? Do you feel there is something lacking or is it a solid system? etc)
The d20 system was a masterstroke and it has really defined a new level which RPG systems have to reach in order to be taken seriously. AD&D was a cluttered mess which I doubt I'd return to.

D&D 3.5 was a large improvement in clarity to 3.0 but it still has problems. Alignment would be better off simply abandoned by the roadside and the hp system is a cause of much complaint.

2: Would you play another game system that is not d20? Also would you even considering buying a game that is not tied to WOTC or any of the larger well known companies?
Yes, so long as the system offers something new and isn't just trying to be different for the sake of it.

I've played with a variety of systems and it seems that d20 is just the cream of the crop right now.

3: What would you look for in a game system?
Logical approach to mechanics
A lack of needless complexity
Sufficent complexity to deal with all situations without it seeming an obvious fudge
Dice (I've never seen a diceless system that was worth bothering with)
An action-movie style combat system

4: What do you feel is the best game system and why? This could be from any RPG from basic D&D to games your sure no one played (time masters, car wars, elf quest)
The Iron Heroes D&D variant is the best I've come across although it lacks a suitable wounds/injury/vitality/whatever system and continues to use the unsuitable hp system
20th-Nov-2005 12:39 pm (UTC)
I've seen Iron Heroes in stores, but I haven't flipped through it. I know they seem to have steam-powered golems, but how is the game different?
20th-Nov-2005 03:18 pm (UTC)
i just recently read my neighbors iron kingdoms,,,,man,,,its nice,,,im so itching to play that game!
20th-Nov-2005 06:13 pm (UTC)
Iron Heroes, seperate from Iron Kingdoms, is a book published by Monte Cook and authored by Mike Mearls. It's intended to have mostly fighter-type characters of the same power level as D&D but with the power in themselves, instead of magical items. If you don't mind a whole new ruleset on top of everything else (Each class gets "tokens" to power their special abilities when they do something specific) it's probably worth looking into.

Iron Kingdoms is the one with steam-powered golems, and last time I looked it was
20th-Nov-2005 09:02 pm (UTC)
Had that mixed up, thanks. Token-powered class abilities sounds similar to some of the functions of Action Points for certain feats in EberronCS and in d20 Modern.
21st-Nov-2005 02:17 am (UTC)
1: Like many players of Second Edition, I was in the "if it isn't broken, don't fix it" camp regarding the newer editions of the game. However, once I got over my preconceived notions regarding a new edition and gave it a try, I found 3.5 to be the most elegant and enjoyable role playing games I've ever played.

2: I, like most of you out there, have tried many different systems (World of Darkness, Shadowrun, GURPS, Cthulhu...) and I would (and have) bought games from companies not affiliated with Wizards.

3: What I look for most is a game system with set rules, but allows enough room for creativity on the part of the GM and the players (something I thought Shadowrun lacked).

4: At the risk of sounding like a fanboy, I find that D&D 3.5 is the best. It represents reality well, but does not try to be too realistic which often ends up with systems getting bogged down into number-crunching and needlessly specific rules. Too many rules restricts player and GM creativity in my opinion.
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