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Best pen and paper RPGs

PWN_FACEPWN_FACE SeoulPosts: 670Member

What are the best pen and paper RPGs available or of all time? I don't care if they are in or out of print. I don't care about the genre. If you mention D&D or AD&D, please specify which edition.

 

If you suggest a game, please say why with as much detail as possible. Also, you might talk about your experience with the game, for example, whether as a player or a GM.

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Comments

  • ignore_meignore_me Apple Valley, CAPosts: 1,987Member
    I think Pathfinder is pretty hard to beat. The best of the 3.5 D&D rules.

    Survivor of the great MMORPG Famine of 2011

  • whisperwyndwhisperwynd montreal, QCPosts: 1,479Member

    My personal favorite was Ars Magicka, originally by Lion Rampant then bought by White Wolf. I had played AD&D for years before and liked it, but when I saw the system in Ars I fell in love with it.

    It has magic as the emphasis for combat, though I knew alot of friends who loved being a grog or a companion for the RP aspect, and its system was extrememly flexible.

    Magic is divided into techniques and forms. Techniques were like verbs or actions you would use for the forms like Creo (I create), or Intelligo *I perceice). They were in latin as the 'setting' was set in Medieval times. Anyway, the forms were those elements that make up pretty much everything, animal, plant, body, fire, water, etc.

    You could choose specific spells to cast, a la AD&D, but it also had a system to use them 'on the fly' so to speak. If you had points in Creo for example and fire, you could attempt anything you wished and depending on the strength of your two specializtions and the feat you were attempting it would succeed or fail. Like with creo/fire you could attempt to start a fire at a specific location, like someone's hat (for amusement) or even elaborate spells given your rating in other techniques like say body, and create a fire in someone's lungs. It could get really wierd.

    The combat system is very engaging as well, using the obvious die rolls for attack/defense but it added a 'Soak' level (sorta like AC did) but instead of having HP's you have wound lvls and wound lvl recovery each turn. So it got a little complex rolling for each 'level' of an action.

     You had stats like the weapon's speed + your Quickness stat + your skill in that weapon - Enc (how heavily loaded you were) to dictate who would have first strike, then another formula (wep atk bonus+skill+dex) for atk with the defender using his formula (Parry bonus + skill). All of which was to be added to die roll, obviously.

    I could go on, but the freestyle and flexibility of the magic system got me hooked for many years on it. It is still, to this day, the one i remember most fondly of.

  • PWN_FACEPWN_FACE SeoulPosts: 670Member

    I will read up on Pathfinder over on Amazon and wikipedia.

    What makes the D&D 3.5 rules special?

    I don't know much about the different rule sets, so that's one of the things I want to learn more about.

     

    Edit: Ars Magica sounds interesting. I will check it out. I've read good things about White Wolf.

  • garrettgarrett Posts: 260MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon
    1st edition D&D, RIFT, Gamma World.
     :p 
  • baphametbaphamet omaha, NEPosts: 2,836Member Uncommon

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ravenloft

    that was my personal favorite when i was in my PnP playing prime.

  • H0urg1assH0urg1ass Austin, TXPosts: 503Member Uncommon

    GURPS is hands down the best pen and paper RPG for me and all of my friends.  We use it to play everything from Star Wars to High Fantasy Lord of the Rings and Low Fantasy Conan games.  It can quite literally be used to create any character you wish.  The only limits are your imagination and the GM's rules for whichever campaign he's running.

    Make any character, use it in any world.  It's the "sandbox" of pen and paper RPG's.

    Shadowrun is a good second choice.  Although you can play Shadowrun using the GURPS rules too.

  • H0urg1assH0urg1ass Austin, TXPosts: 503Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by garrett
    1st edition D&D, RIFT, Gamma World.

    I would have to politely disagree with RIFT. 

    It has the most broken character creation system I've ever seen in any RPG except for Traveler (Your character could literally die DURING character creation in Traveler. lol).  The difference in power levels between a Vagabond and a Chromeboy (Edit: My bad, I meant Glitter Boy) or Juicer are so far apart, that one is next to useless and the other is ridiculously overpowered.

    I used to play in the RIFTS setting using the GURPS books.  That evened out the ridiculous power curve for starting characters.

  • PWN_FACEPWN_FACE SeoulPosts: 670Member
    Yeah, I played Gamma World back in the day. I had all the TSR games. By 1st Ed. D&D, do you mean Advanced Dungeons and Dragons? I have the old Gary Gygax DM guide published in 1979 with the big red demon with a sword holding a princess in his hand one. Is that the same?
  • cybertruckercybertrucker Pensacola, FLPosts: 1,119Member

    I will list my top 5 favorites

    1. Shadowrun 4th edition. This system just makes so much sense, and the world is awesome you can really do just about anything with it. The last campaign I ran. My group ended up in Atlanta smuggling refurbished illegal cyberware, when they ran into a vigilante/comic book style super hero initiated Mage. That was wearing a reinforced exo-frame, complete with cape that was waging a war on a cyber gang, who they were smuggling the parts to. The game is just so much fun. Skill advancement vs level advancement is my favorite.

    2. Deathwatch. I mean this game did Space Marines right. Just recently started Running a campaign, and to watch our assault marine jump from a 200ft cliff with his jump pack  down into a canyon where 40 hormagaunt tyranids were bearing down on an imperial guard platoon of about 12 guys crawling out from their overturned transport was just epic. He cut down more of the horde than the platoon shot down. No other game does horde combat nearly as good. This game really allows for some epic battles and really does justice to Space Marines overall.

    3. The new Iron kingdoms. Privateer Press finally made an RPG based off of the warmachine table top rules. I play warmachine and love the rules. So this is just awesome all around. The world is one of my favorites. Steam powered Mangled metal fantasy is awesome. Notice I did not say steampunk.

    4. Mekton 2 (not zeta) fast system does anime mecha combat better than robotech ever did. The system makes sense. Complete with construction rules. Didnt ever really use their world. Played in a friends campaign for years was great fun, and created my own world that I ran for awhile as well. Haven't played though since the 90s sadly.

    5. DnD 4th edition. I have played since 1st and 4th was my favorite. People will bash it and say it took the RP out of the  RPG. Which is just BS. Love 4th. If I had one complaint about it. It was the healing  over time rules. Which is fine because I just made a few house rules for my game which made it a bit more gritty.  Had a lot of fun with 4th.

     

  • OrtwigOrtwig Cambridge, MAPosts: 1,159Member Uncommon
    • Call of Cthulhu (single best RPG ever made)
    • RuneQuest/Glorantha (close second)
    • Stormbringer
    • Traveller
    • The Morrow Project
    • Middle Earth Roleplaying

     

  • BarbarbarBarbarbar Posts: 263Member Uncommon

    Played a few different ones long ago. I think I always preferred Rolemaster mostly. the 2 D10 system were great for that lucky dice part of it. Good customisation too, same idea as the Titan Quest game I think. I always loved to make a warrior in leather armor who could cast firebolts and use a longsword. Basicaaly a battlemage type thats often popular in games today.

    It was a slow game though, and you could spend an evening too find out if you would survive a troll chasing you. If it hit you it might kill you. Any crit had a hundred different outcomes all described in a chart. So you could lose a head or an arm that way.

    But better than AD&D I found, were you would just behead the troll and then spend the evening beheading a hundred more. That was always the problem, with Dungeons and Dragons I found, and it has carried over into videogames. The D20 system doesn't scale well. Like at some point forget about improving your armorclass, as you can clearly tell that Dragon is going to hit every single time nomatter if you have -4  or -10 AC.

    AD&D or D&D now only really works between level 1-10. And I find the whole system tedious and non transparant these days. D&D online is the endless reroll because a warrior is the best dualwielder at level 11, but then you find out a ranger is actually better at level 12. Then someone realises a level 10 warrior with 1 level monk and 1 level thief is best. And it's like chosing the skills, they are boring and hardly do anything, yet you have to spend so much time sorting them out. The feats are abit better, but are a parrallel system and a replica, just better skills.

  • swedagoswedago GrevePosts: 72Member Uncommon

    Here are my personal favorites:

    D&D / AD&D (2nd edition was my favorite)

    Runequest (like D&D but more in depth.  Was my favorite for a long while until new editions ruined it)

    Bushido

    Vampire the Masquerade

    Rift (is okay but got silly after Ninjas & Superspies came out)

     

    I played many of them since I was in the military at the time and internet was not invented lol.  The ones I listed were my personal recommendation =)

     

    image
  • pharmenzapharmenza hønefossPosts: 19Member

    As a GM:

    1. Warhammer (Death on the reik, is the best Campaign i ever played)

    2. Call of Chtuhlu

    3. TORG (i modded it and used Earthdawn dice systems)

    AS a player:

    1. AD&D Greyhawk setting. Mostly because of an exelent GM i guess but he made real and cool world.

    2. Rolemaster

    3. Warhammer.

  • BladestromBladestrom edinburghPosts: 4,941Member Uncommon
    Descent 2nd edition.

    rpg/mmorg history: Dun Darach>Bloodwych>Bards Tale 1-3>Eye of the beholder > Might and Magic 2,3,5 > FFVII> Baldur's Gate 1, 2 > Planescape Torment >Morrowind > WOW > oblivion > LOTR > Guild Wars (1900hrs elementalist) Vanguard. > GW2(1000 elementalist), Wildstar

    Now playing GW2, AOW 3, ESO, LOTR, Elite D

  • DamonVileDamonVile Vancouver, BCPosts: 4,818Member
    I never really liked the non fantasy pnp rpg I tried like top secret and gama world. So of the ones I played 2nd edition AD&D was my favorite and the one I played the longest. I never liked the changes they made after that.
  • PhryPhry HampshirePosts: 6,288Member Uncommon

    1. Traveller - i still even have all the first edition minibooks..  it wasnt my first PnP RPG though it ended up being my favourite, probably all those worlds had to do with a lot of it, though mostly my adventuring career was based in the spinward marches, with a few odd 'forays' into the zhodani consulate image

    2. Runequest, never truly mastered it but had a lot of fun with it

    3. AD&D, started with basic level D&D and 'evolved' though i never progressed beyond 2nd edition, still have dm's, players guide, monster manuals etc stored away in the loft somewhere .

    Its a shame but no longer play these games, they used to be very social events, usually with a fair amount of beer and crisps involved image

  • SilmapelikoneSilmapelikone Posts: 147Member Uncommon
    Great memories playing Cyberpunk 2020 with Hardwired rulebook. I liked Hardwired more than the original rules. More realistic approach to cybernetics/cyberpsychosis etc etc.
  • BenediktBenedikt PraguePosts: 1,406Member Uncommon

    from official ones i would say i like most Mage from WoD

    otherwise the best system is CpH (Time for Heroes), which is quite simple, but in-depth tested out and many times changed system for storytelling rpg.

    (it has rules online, but only in czech, so if you want to look at them, try some translator, but i am not sure how well it will be translated :) http://cph.d20.cz/clanky/4618.html)

    edit: but maybe at least partially why i like CpH is that all times i did played it and witnessed the play it was directly with the game creator as GM, who is great GM with huge imagination and huge knowledge of details about WW2 Europe where he did situated his campaign

  • ThaneThane berlinPosts: 2,230Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by PWN_FACE

    What are the best pen and paper RPGs available or of all time? I don't care if they are in or out of print. I don't care about the genre. If you mention D&D or AD&D, please specify which edition.

     

    If you suggest a game, please say why with as much detail as possible. Also, you might talk about your experience with the game, for example, whether as a player or a GM.

    if you are looking for rulesets, try rolemaster.

    if you are lookingfor background story and so on, try MERP :)

     

    the best PnP RPGs are always those you specify for your needs.

     

     

    also traveler is quite fun, if you are looking for a decent space RPG

    "I'll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up! Not me!"

  • neve1272neve1272 danville, ILPosts: 43Member Uncommon

    +1 GURPS with the right GM ....could do anything build any charature

     

    my cyberpunk 2013 had this great backstory system was really cool to role up a toon

     

  • tom_goretom_gore TamperePosts: 1,796Member Uncommon

    For realistic playing, GURPS or BRP (the system behind Cthulhu and Runequest).

    For cinematic playing, FATE.

    For your basic fantasy adventuring campaign, Pathfinder.

     

  • GrayGhost79GrayGhost79 Webster, MAPosts: 4,813Member
    Originally posted by ignore_me
    I think Pathfinder is pretty hard to beat. The best of the 3.5 D&D rules.

    I agree, the direction D&D went turned a lot of pen and paper fans away. Pathfinder kind of took over from there. Another I really like is White Wolfs World of Darkness and more specifically Vampire the Masquerade 3rd edition, I even loved the book series :P. 

  • PerramasPerramas TanelornPosts: 83Member Uncommon

    Champions by Hero games as a big comic book fan growing up I really liked making my own super hero and putting the hurt on super villians. The system allowed you to take disadvantages that really helped flesh out your character as well as helping the game master to tailor game sessions for your group. Also there were no preplaned classes only archtypes which really allowed you to make a more personalized character.

     

    Iron Corwn Enterprises with their Rolemaster system and later MERPS. They had a critical hit system that was really in depth and could lead to some really disfigured and mangaled characters or blown to little pieces. I also liked that the system had power points instead of memorized spells allowing you to cast any spell as long as you had the points and ability to do so.

     

    FUncom putting the FU in fun since 1993.

  • ReizlaReizla AlkmaarPosts: 3,293Member Uncommon
    PLayed AD&D 2e for years (decades) and thought it to be good. D&D 3 and up just sucks (Excel RPG game). But my favorite RPG system is Alternity. Comes from TSR as well and has sadly been dicthed in favor of Star Wars d20 setting :-(

    AsRock 990FX Extreme3
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  • PWN_FACEPWN_FACE SeoulPosts: 670Member
    Originally posted by Thane
    Originally posted by PWN_FACE

    What are the best pen and paper RPGs available or of all time? I don't care if they are in or out of print. I don't care about the genre. If you mention D&D or AD&D, please specify which edition.

     

    If you suggest a game, please say why with as much detail as possible. Also, you might talk about your experience with the game, for example, whether as a player or a GM.

    if you are looking for rulesets, try rolemaster.

    if you are lookingfor background story and so on, try MERP :)

     

    the best PnP RPGs are always those you specify for your needs.

     

     

    also traveler is quite fun, if you are looking for a decent space RPG

    Good point, Thane. 

     

    What I'm most interested in is world and cosmos creation, shifting realities, extra-dimensional/transdimensional possibilities. I am interested in Shadowrun ( I got the 20th anniversary pdf  for $15 because the book is out of print and like $200+ on amazon, ebay, etc.). I'm also looking into Alternity (for SF). How about older editions of Rifts? So much great stuff.

     

    Any genre is fine, though. I'm just learning a  lot now and I find gaming and game extremely interesting these days. I was kind of at the point a lot of people get to when we start criticizing games and saying they're boring or whatever; and I started asking myself, what is fun? What is game? What makes games fun for me? Even if I don't have the financial resources to make my own mmorpg, I can make my own pnp game with the amazing resources that are available to us. Even if it's just for me and a couple of friends. 

     

    By the way, I just ordered Traveller today. I will be studying all these games and looking at rulesets like OSRIC (free pdf) and GURPS and whatever else people are mentioning (Rolemaster). And Pathfinder, because I want to be up to date on how fantasy rpg has changed since I first started with it in the late 70s.

     

    Thanks everyone for your input. I've got some great ideas from your answers and I'm still finding out new stuff to look into. 

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