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I've been playing tabletop RPGs on and off for the better part of my life. Got started with the classic Swedish RPG Mutant the year I turned 10, and been hooked ever since. Over the years I've had the chance to play quite a few different games, from Vampire to Paranoia (where my avatar is from) to Dungeons & Dragons to Tales from the Loop. Had loads of fun and made lots of friends along the way.
Last year I moved away from my old regular group, who I had been playing with since the turn of the millennium (though obviously there's been quite a few people who have joined or left over time, and the group had gone through several splits & mergers over those years), but now I've found a new group! First game we'll be playing is Tales from the Loop, a game about kids solving mysteries in the late 80's, in a world not unlike our own, but with big robots, huge flying machines and weird science.
So that got me thinking, what are your favourite tabletop RPGs, and why? If I had to chose, I think mine would be Symbaroum and Vaesen, though Mutant: Year Zero is another one I've really enjoyed.
Symbaroum is a dark fantasy RPG that just hits a good balance. The rules are fast, and player facing, so as a GM I can unload the hard work on the players. Setting is really cool, and it's just a joy to run. Probably the smoothest experience I've ever had as a GM. Also, the art in the game is among the very best I've ever seen in any RPG. It's so evocative and beautiful. Martin Grip, the artist, is probably my favourite RPG artist.
Vaesen is a game set in the late 19th century, where you solve mysteries surrounding creatures from folklore. It runs really well, and the setting is both relatable and a bit alien, making for an incredible playing experience. Because the beings you deal with are not necessarily evil, that I think adds an interesting twist to things, compared to games like Call of Cthulhu (which is another great game). This is another game with great art, this time by Joan Egerkrans, who clearly drew a lot of inspiration from artists such as John Bauer.
So now I'm interested, what are your favourites? Or if you've not played tabletop RPGs, what's stopping you from trying?
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There was not much tabletop roleplay gaming for me in the last couple of years. Symbaroum still on my shelf, waiting to be played. My favorite is probably Runequest, although it can be a little dice heavy. I am waiting to get my (German) copy of The Troubleshooters, liking the idea of a roleplay game that (hopefully) feels like a 60s franco-belgian comic.
Troubleshooters is on my "to get" list, it seems really fun. Helmgast, the company behind it, looks like one worth keeping an eye on, they've done some great work in recent years. Their reimagining of the classic horror RPG Kult was great (though that is a game I would not play with people I don't already know really well), and I've heard nothing but good things about Kopparhavets Hjältar (though that one is only in Swedish)
Now thinking about it, there were a couple of interesting RPGs in my univerity days, that I just play for an evening or two. The two that are most memorable are:
You keep mentioning games I want to play! Dread is another one of those that seems really interesting, but the core rules are so expensive these days. Could probably just get the PDF, but I like reading physical rulebooks! (Also don't own a jenga set)
when it comes to dnd i ilove pathfinder. the combat maneuver is great, it simplify combat skills.
i also played call of cthulhu a lot. you struggle with sanity more then combat.
Combat in Call of Cthulhu tends to just end up with dead characters, so you want to avoid it anyway :P harder to avoid sanity loss though.
Personally I found the sanity counterpart in the Alien RPG to be more fun than Call of Cthulhu though. It's more immediate, and more often the players are the ones who ultimately cause themselves to gain more "stress". We've had some absolutely glorious moments when playing the Alien RPG due to the Stress mechanic.
Or if you've not played tabletop RPGs, what's stopping you from trying?
Or if you've not played tabletop RPGs, what's stopping you from trying?
The price. Any kind of physical board game here in Brazil is unbelievably expensive. I've only ever played board games a few times in my life, and always at someone's place who had one. As for tabletop rpgs, well, I've never even seen one irl. I understand you can make these yourself with like pen and paper, but then there's the challenge of finding people to play with, which is also something that is... challenging.
From my understanding from talking to people in Brazil who are into the hobby, you actually have a pretty vibrant RPG scene over there. There might be forums & facebook-groups dedicated to finding RPG groups in your region. There usually are for any major cities at least.
There are by the way loads of free RPGs out there. And while a printed RPG book might be pretty expensive, you can usually get by with a single core book and some dice for a very long time. Just playing through the core campaign in Mutant: Year Zero would, if you play a 4h session each week, take you at least a couple of months, and potentially over a year.
That's interesting. I'm pretty ignorant about tabletop rpgs, so everything you said is news to me. Good to know. Thanks!
If your group already have the material, you don't have to pay a dime [And if you want to try D&D, maybe I can help you]
Recently started playing Delta Green and it's very enjoyable if you're into spooky slower-paced detective work and the Cthulhu mythos. Also a big fan of most of Free League's stuff (as are you by the looks of it). Alien and The One Ring are my top 2 from them. My "main" tabletop group all started with D&D 5e and I've been slowly introducing them to other games. If anyone's group is adamant on sticking with 5e, Kobold Press have loads of really fantastic supplements for it.
Edit: Also need a bigger bookcase
We all need a bigger book case :P They just keep filling up!
Delta Green is cool! I've only played it a little bit, but what I played was really fun. A nice change of pace from the usual Call of Cthulhu stuff, as now you're playing people who are kind of in the know.
And yeah, Free League has released some really good stuff over the years. I don't think I've seen an RPG publisher have such a consistently good output ever, with every single game they release being a potential GOTY candidate.
+1 for Delta Green. Ran a few games and it's been a big hit. Am a huge fan of the Lovecraft Mythos and setting it in modern day just works for me.
Narrative games without system if we're talking about verbal RPGs.
Arkham horror (2nd edition) if we're talking about paper tabletop.
For The king 1 - if we're talking about digital ones
So you play completely systemless when you play RPGs?
Yes. I've used to be freestyle DM long time ago.
Atm I'm helping my wife to create her modules
Earthdawn, with Shadowrun being a close second.
On the surface, Earthdawn seems like a typical fantasy settings akin to D&D and Pathfinder, but a medieval-fantasy post-apocalyptic world and deep lore has kept me hooked. While big in the 90s, the current playerbase is very small and niche, and yet the Fourth Edition is, in my opinion, the best it's been so far.
I have Earthdawn 1st edition in my game shelf (you can see it in the original post). Liked the setting, but the game itself always felt a bit clunky. But I should check out 4th edition, if it's a bit smoother. It's like reversed Shadowrun then, where older editions were smoother than newer ones :P (Well, from 3 and onwards, 2nd edition was not as smooth as 3rd)
It has changed a lot, with incremental changes made as the IP changed hands from FASA to Living Room Games to RedBrick and back to FASA (although now a much smaller company run as a passion project by its members). Disciplines are now much more customizable, many mechanics have been streamlined, while much deeper mechanics have been introduced for Questors and Paths.
The timeline has also gone forward to shake things up: The established powers were Throal and their allies, Therans and their followers, and Iopos and its coalition. Well, the Therans have lost the war for Barsaive, Throal has shut its doors closed after a civil war, and Ulh Denairastas of Iopos has finally died. With alliances, communication and trade completely broken down, much of Barsaive is left in the dark.
I think the only thing that I miss of the first edition were the more present Cthulhu-esque horrors, which seem to have been sidelined by the wars ever since the late 1st edition books like Prelude to War and Barsaive at War. If I started a new campaign, I would probably set it back to much earlier in the timeline.
The horrors were one of the more interesting aspect of the setting, I thought. not as something I would send the players up against to fight, but more as an ever-looming threat. So it's a shame to hear that they did not lean more heavily into those.
But you've convinced me to check out the latest edition, it sounds like it ultimately has done a lot to fix the playability issues of the 1st edition, something that I often thought old FASA had issues with with their earlier stuff (I would argue that the 1st edition of Shadowrun was a bit of a hot mess as well).
Not that I have a choice as I played only a Warhammer Fantasy RPG 4 edition and just started Traveller :). Ok, also short introduction adventure sessions in Cyberpunk too.
But I think the most important for such types of games are people like good Game Master and cool pack of players. Of course general setting of the world is also important (like if you f.e. dont like SF and only fantasy etc ;) ).
Anyway cool topic reminding PC players that other games still exists ;)...
I think the game master often gets a bit more credit (and blame) than they deserve. While a good game master is important, I feel like players who are invested in the game and play well tends to be what really makes a game great.
I've been meaning to play the Enemy Within campaign for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Got all the books in my shelf, just needs to actually play it. People keep praising it as one of the all time greatest RPG campaigns. I've read the first two books thus far, and they seemed really good, if a bit railroady at times, and I would imagine that it's not the easiest campaign to run.
I partially agree or agree with some remarks. I mean even best GM will not make great sessions without solid and involved players :). This is true. Also if you are playing pre-made campaign like Enemy Within the role of GM is lower then in "sandbox mode" where all adventures comes from GM itself. It also means GM need to have some preparations to make adventures and consider some possibilities and GM need have more skill to improvise if something goes differently.
I'm not really playing anymore these days since my group scattered all over the world years ago, but I used to play a lot in the 90s. I started with The Dark Eye when I was around 10, then played a few random popular things before quickly moving to using custom systems for pretty much everything. I never really understood why people spent so much in rulebooks when it's so easy to make your own systems, you'd only need some reference for the setting and that's it :x
Darn, The Dark Eye, that can't have been easy to wrap your head around when you were 10 :P Then again, the first RPG I bought was EON, and well... if you hit someone you rolled on this table. It had rules for tracking how much you were freezing depending on a combination of wind and temperature, and casting spells was a multi-part process where you needed to gather energy of the right type and then successfully cast the spell... let's just say that we never actually played the game as written.
Generally I enjoy learning new systems. I always tweak the ones I have to suit me, and I've written a few from scratch, but I tend to find that many off the shelf ones do end up better in the long run than what I've made.
Honestly the base rules for the Dark Eye weren't particularly complicated (I had prior experience with gamebooks and I didn't have any of the optional or advanced stuff at that point, just the base rulebooks and a couple of adventures). The real challenge at that age was dealing with whatever nonsense the players wanted to do, like attacking a forest hermit just because they didn't trust the guy while he was actually an important character in the quest :D
I can't read swedish (that's swedish right?) so I suppose that table is used to track which body parts you hit or such? I remember some games from the 90s had similar ones, like Warhammer or Rolemaster. Some systems from that time were very clunky (even popular stuff, like D&D 2E was complete jank compared to 3.5), so "lightening" the rules was pretty common I think :x
Just wanted to show the size of the table as an example of just how over the top it is. It's Swedish, and it's indeed hit locations. Actually it's the final table for hit locations, you had to go through 1 or 2 smaller tables before even getting there, depending on how you made an attack roll. Eon was really excessive with its rules.
Players doing unexpected or downright dumb things is always an issue :P Even when playing with people in their upper 30's they can still do things that just baffles me at times. Like thinking that setting fire to cattle will somehow help them...
Vampire the Masquerade followed by Shadowrun. There's also Kult which I only played a few times, but I really love the karma system in that one.
Vampire was a game I played so much in my teens. Every weekend we would get together to play Vampire, or one of the other World of Darkness games, though mostly it was Vampire that we played. When we did not play Shadowrun (because that was the game I was GMing).
Kult is, well fun might not be the right word to describe that game, but good. The most recent edition might be one of the most unsettling horror games I've ever played. Older editions could be quite 90's "cool" in some ways, but they were still solid games (though the tacked on martial arts rules really did not fit the game, nor did having rules for stuff like spear fighting).
Nothing like buying most expensive tiles like Innsbruck, and then roleplay heartless millionaire that forces everyone to lose all their money if they put foot on my property 🧐
The original creators of Monopoly wanted the game to be a lesson in how capitalism is inherently cruel and unjust.
I feel a bit weird about it IRL, also it's been since forever that I've played a TTRPG in Hungarian. Or any way - it's fun but I'm not 100% sure I have the energy and attention for a session after work
Never tried, seems daunting and the few people who play it in India are close friends usually.
Try Cairn, it's free. Those rules aren't daunting.
Haven't played many just DnD, Mutants and Masterminds, Exalted and Warhammer Fantasy (my favourite)
There's a whole world of amazing stuff out there! Sounds like you've mostly dipped your toes in the more crunchy end of RPGs, but there's a lot of other stuff that's well worth experiencing
I haven't played too many and it's also mostly been quite long....I did however play a DnD session yesterday, the last time was probably ~13 years ago and I played a bit of GURPS, Pathfinder and The Dark Eye but can't really say whether of not the system itself was good or fun...I did however have a really fun character in one of them (I think it was GURPS).
GURPS, being a generalist system, really is what you make out of it. You can make some great stuff with it (but don't try to use everything at once!)
AD&D 2E is my bread and butter, I've played it for over 30 years and done a lot of DMing. It's just so easy to work with and the rules are very homebrew friendly. Pretty much everything comes down to the DM having the final say, so the "rules lawyers" don't tend to stick around very long.
I also enjoy Traveler, though it's really hard to actually find anyone interested.
GM having the final say seems to be something that's generally accepted in most RPG circles, except for some reason in modern D&D and Pathfinder, where it feels like people very regularly revere the rulebook. Had some pretty miserable encounters with 5e because of it.
You'd think so at least, but I've had many people trying to argue saying "the DMG says this" or "the PHB says this" or "that's not what it says in the MM entry". I found I had the most fun when I was DMing for a group of new players, they might have a lot of questions and have to stop to ask what something is a lot, but at least they don't get pissy when things don't go how they planned and spend 1/2 hour trying to twist rules to get their way.
And....yeah. I would not touch 5E with someone else's 10' pole. I don't even know what it's supposed to be, it's like they tried to turn tabletop D&D into a MMO.
That issue seems to mostly be confined to the D&D "family", or people who almost exclusively played modern D&D, 3.X and forward, unless you do something that a player perceives as unfair, at least in my experience. But yeah, playing with new players can be a joy. You don't have the issues of clashing playstyles either. Everyone comes in with different expectations based on past gaming experiences and that can cause some issues, particularly if someone is from a group that was towards an extreme, like they really want to optimize their character, or their GMs had an anything goes attitude.
I think D&D 5e is more inspired by tactical boardgames like HeroQuest than MMOs. If anything 5e kind of dialed those things back from 3rd (and more so 4th) edition.
Unfortunately i never played tabletop RPGs
What's stopping you?
I like the high fantasy medieval settings, like D&D and Dungeon World, but I would be lying if I said I played anything other than D&D for real. Tried 7th Sea, Vampire the Masquerade, Hidden Invasion, and many others, but never got far with it, except for D&D. If that's good or bad I don't know, but so far D&D scratched my itch.
Vampire used to be my jam when I was a teenager! Been ages since I played vampire though, but that was one of the games I have the most fond memories of.
During my childhood i played some Drakar och demoner with my friends and about 2years ago played some DnD5e on roll20 with a group Americans but that fell apart due to DM having to high workload at his job and time difference put some hurdles in it aswell . I might try looking into finding a local group to play with and my nephew is trying to get me to play Warcry so im considering that also.
You could always introduce your nephew to the new version of Drakar & Demoner! Physical version of the game is getting released in August this year, and having skimmed through the PDF (backed the kickstarter) the game seems great!
I will look into that , thanks for the info
Never played any tabletop RPG, the closest thing for me was seeing a tiny store for them and trading cards games opening in my city like a decade ago, but it only lasted a few years before disappearing. From what I know the community for those games in here is pretty small. I remember that a relative of mine once told me that I should give them a try, that I'd probably like them, but he's like 15 years younger than me and at the time it felt pretty awkward to accept an invitation to play with a bunch of young teens as I was almost 30 at that moment.
I've had pretty good experiences playing with groups that have a big age span in the past. Sure, you need to adapt to the group, but as long as everyone is having fun, there's no harm in it!
I guess I didn't want to feel like the clueless "dad" of the group back then :P
Haven't played anything of the sort physically myself but since somebody mentioned Monopoly(lol). I've been hooked on Gremlins.
Very much into Disco Elysium. Which captured my imagination and is the singular time the general public's opinion didn't betray me.
+Blood Bowl if that count's, your team evolves and is persistent between matches/leagues. Underworlds similarly addicting but there are a few personal issues with it.
Citizen, what is a tabletop RPG? That is information that your security clearance does not allow you to view. Tell us what you know about tabletop RPGs. bump
Tabletop RPGs are, eh... books detailing the glory of friend computer and how friend computer is doing a great job making sure that all the citizens of alphacomplex can remain safe from the threats of commie mutant traitor scum. Nothing bad about friend computer in any of those books, none at all.
Citizen, that information is incomplete. We were told that in a typical session, one book is shared and used by all. Is there a custom in your area to circulate the COMPENDIUM OF LAWS? I have not heard about it.
This is clearly a commie rally! zap zap zap Fnord
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