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Big List of RPGs

The idea of this page is to gather our thoughts on RPGs we have played. It will probably consist of comments on both setting and system. It's compiled by the more vocal members of this community, but hey, what isn't on this site :-)


7th Sea

Publisher:Alderac Entertainment Group
Core book(s):Players' Guide, Gamemaster's Guide
Related RPG(s) / supplement(s):The Swashbuckler's Handbook for Mage: The Sorcerors Crusade, GURPS Swashbucklers

Comment by Jake

Okay, I've only played 7th Sea once, but it was a blast. The system is pretty easy (although the summation of buckets of d10's can be cumbersome), but what's more: it actively promotes swashbuckling stunts. Like one man mopping up 10 bad guys in a few daring moves.
The game comes with a pseudo-historical setting: it's Europe in the Age of Sail and all the familiar elements are there: musketeers, explorers, pirates, fencers, the Sun King, etc. etc. But it's heavily romanticized, and a lot of things are just there to make for better adventures. Don't try to pass your history test on reading this baby.
(My comments relate to the original system, the so-called 'roll-and-keep' system also used in Legend Of The Five Rings. I haven't played (nor read) the d20 system-adaptation.

Oh, and some good advice regarding swashbuckling adventures:

A well-rounded political story should contain a handful of parties striving for power (usually at one another's throuts)' some backstabbing (literal and otherwise); a bit of fancy socializing (at feasts, masques, and so forth); a few brawls, betrayals and close escapes (to the blood flowing); and a terrible price for failure. Your players should always be aware that their actions determine the fate of the realm, but their characters ought to be given a few chandeliers to swing from just to keep things interesting.
I've taken this pearl of wisdom not from the 7th Sea books, but from The Swashbuckler's Handbook by Phil Masters and Phil Brucato.

This entry was written at September 8, 2003.

Adventure!

Publisher:White Wolf Game Studio
Core book(s):Adventure! Core Book
Related RPG(s) / supplement(s):Indiana Jones

Comment by Jake

Recommended supplement(s):Adventure! has no supplements
Supplement(s) to avoid:Adventure! still has no supplements.

Adventure! (and yes, the exclamation mark is included) is all about pulp. Pulp like The Shadow, Indiana Jones and The Mummy. You could probably use it just as well for Tomb Raider, I guess... Adventure! uses a streamlined version of the Storyteller system and plays much easier. It is not set in the World of Darkness, but in the 1920's as the pulp serials portrayed it. It emulates the genre wonderfully, and the book has it all: rules, setting material, solid GM advice, and plot hooks by zeppelin-loads. Two-fisted action at it's finest!

This entry was written at May 19, 2003.

Baron Münchausen

Publisher:Hogshead
Core book(s):Baron Münchausen
Related RPG(s) / supplement(s): o.a. Pantheon

Comment by Hugo

Recommended supplement(s):Baron Münchausen has no supplements
Supplement(s) to avoid:Ditto.

Baron Münchausen (with only one 'h') is a fast and easy to learn game, close to roleplaying. You challenge your neighbour to a story, whose subject you decide. Your fast-talking neighbour then tells this story. In return, he challenges his neighbour, etc.

This makes for some surprising fun, even if not everyone is a smooth fast-talker. There are several rules to increase the fun (challenge the credibility of a story, use of super-attendants), which are completely optional. All in all, it takes less than five minutes to understand the game, although playing it can last for several hours.

One final note: nowhere is a time period set in which the stories ought to take place. While it is great fun to play in the almost-Victorian style in which the original stories of the Baron take place, this is by no means mandatory. Knowing the absurdic style of the tales of the Baron is an enormous help, so if you like the game be sure to watch the movie or read the book!

This entry was written at August 9, 2004.

Dungeons & Dragons Third Edition

Publisher:Wizards Of The Coast
Core book(s):Players Handbook, Dungeon Master Guide, Monster Manual
Related RPG(s) / supplement(s):

Comment by Jake

Recommended supplement(s):
Supplement(s) to avoid:Hero Builder's Guidebook

The core idea of D&D 3rd Ed. is very elegant. Roll ability modifier + skill ranks + d20 and try to beat a target number. Unfortunately, there are several hiccups in the core books (which will be revised in Summer 2003) and way too many options and rules.
On the other hand, 'vanilla fantasy' is a very popular and comfortable setting, and with a little effort you can use most 2nd Edition stuff.

This entry was written at May 15, 2003.

In Nomine

Publisher:Steve Jackson Games
Core book(s):In Nomine Core Rulebook
Related RPG(s) / supplement(s):Demon: The Fallen, Infernalism: The Path Of Screams for Mage

Comment by Jake

In Nomine is an 'angels and devils' RPG and relates the eternal war between God and Satan. The characters are either angels or demons, the servants of respectively God and The Dark Prince. (But you knew that already, didn't you?) It's refreshingly different in that it gives equal attention to playing 'good guys' and 'bad guys.' Another plus is that it is intelligently written and gives rise to a whole lot of interesting questions: what would you do with the powers of an angel? How would you wield the dark gifts of a demon? Could you be evil?
However, not all is well. The first-edition rulebook we used was a real mess. It has a long list of errata — which are pretty much required. Even then, the disorganisation of the rules makes it hard to find the rules you need.
The rulebook is in full colour and received an Origins Award for Best Graphic Presentation of an RPG. And rightly so — it's a beauty. Not just the art but all the other graphic elements. The text is also good: however disorganised, it also drips dark humor. We sincerely believe that Kevin Smith, the director of Dogma, was inspired by In Nomine.

We played a one-shot of this game, which in turn inspired us to play a mini-campaign. This was run by Stijn and me. We had tremendous fun, but we noticed several things:

  • The combat system is a mess. Whether this is because of the organisation or whether it's really 'broken', I don't know.
  • The task resolution system is a bit strange: only if you're very competent, your competence matters. Yeah, it's strange alright.
  • You'd better write down all of your special abilities, or 'songs' as they are called, for you'll use them quite frequently.

This entry was written at July 13, 2003

Mage

Publisher:White Wolf
Core book(s):?
Related RPG(s) / supplement(s):?

Comment by Stijn

Some thoughts on this system.

This entry was written at September 29, 2005.

Star Wars (d6)

Publisher:West End Games
Core book(s):Star Wars 2nd Edition, Revised & Expanded
Related RPG(s) / supplement(s):Star Wars d20

Comment by Jake

Recommended supplement(s):Gamemaster Handbook, Death Star Technical Companion
Supplement(s) to avoid:-

Replay the movies! Live in the universe! You've seen the movies, maybe read some books or played the CCG. Point is, everybody knows Star Wars.
The core book is a beautiful full colour hardcover. In it, you can find all the rules you'll need, character templates and an adventure. All this is presented in a fun, casual style, excellent for newcomers to the hobby.
The system is fast and easy... can you say 'cinematic'? I know you can. It simulates the movies quite well. Especially by the mechanic of Force Points: spend Force Points to accomplish heroic things. Of course, this kind of system can also be found in Buffy, Adventure! and 7th Sea, and with a reason!

The Gamemaster Handbook offers additional advice (and an adventure, if I remember correctly) beyond the excellent GM advice in the core rulebook. The Death Star Technical Companion discusses the Death Star at great length, but in doing so offers a modular design for just about every Imperial base you'll ever need.

Sadly, West End Games is pretty much dead and the Star Wars d6 line with it. The license is now held by Wizards of the Coast, who in turn publish Star Wars d20.

This entry was written at May 31, 2003.

Toon

Publisher:Steve Jackson Games
Core book(s):Toon Rulebook
Related RPG(s) / supplement(s):

Comment by Stijn

Recommended supplement(s):
Supplement(s) to avoid:

Toon is the cartoon roleplaying game, in which you play anything you want - as long as its fun! It's an excellent diversional RPG, and will get anyone playing instantly in a fun mood, as long as people act before they think. The action is fast, with every player making at most one die roll before the next one is up, and everything about it just oozes cartoonisms. A truly great game, and certainly worth playing at least once in your gaming career.

This entry was written at May 20, 2003.

Wraith: The Oblivion

Publisher:White Wolf Game Studio
Core book(s):Wraith: The Oblivion Second Edition
Related RPG(s) / supplement(s):The rest of the World of Darkness series, Call of Cthulhu

Comment by Jake

Recommended supplement(s): Doomslayers: Into The Labyrinth, Wraith: The Great War, Charnel Houses Of Europe: The Shoah
Supplement(s) to avoid:The Quick And The Dead

Built upon the solid Storyteller System, Wraith is a really enchanting game. Your character is a ghost, living in the afterlife. But you also play the Shadow of another player's character — basically, his dark side. Combine this with a nightmarish setting with glimmers of hope, and the possibility to play a 2000-year old Roman Legionaire amidst Gen-X defuncts and you've got a killer product. Production values are great, with excellent mood-enhancing art and solid layout. Unfortunately, I just can't seem to get around to running it...

Doomslayers offers a very different perspective to the fight against Oblivion. It focuses on spectres, Malfeans and the Labyrinth — and the brave souls who willingly go there to kick protoplasmic butt.
The Great War expands the line with a historical setting: in this case, the First World War. It is a hardcover (!) with 240 pages (!) filled mostly with setting information, although it also features 'historical' versions of all the Arcanoi.
And Charnel Houses... well. A horrific supplement covering the concentration camps during the Second World War. Brutal, in-your-face-honest, and sickening. And yet I recommended it.
That said, I've found that the supplements of Wraith are generally of high quality. No filler books here.

This entry was written at May 15, 2003.


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