Favorite non-DnD rpg and why

I was curious about what folks favortie non-DnD  systems were and why they would pick those.  What sorts of ideas can/should the developers steal from outside the bounds of what we've seen over the last 5 or so editions.

For me I've played a lot of different systems but I'd have to go with these as my favorites

All time favorite 
Torg/Masterbook- man I loved this game.  I wish it had more support but the card deck encouraging things other than just "I hit it with my sword or zap it with my spell" made combats much more engaging, made nontraditional characers USEFUL even in combat, and allowed for a lot of teamwork.

Current game systems 

Savage Worlds- Fast fun furious - pretty much says it all.  Not as fiddly as dnd 
Fate- I haven't gotten to play this much but it seems really awesome with intriguing character creation and very cinematic.

Least favorite one would have to be things that are too crunchy and wannabe simulations- never been a high priority for me.


 
Warrior, Rogue, & Mage.  A very rules-lite experience.

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

Assuming that by "Non-D&D", we mean "Not D&D or fairly tightly D&D-like", I like Iron Kingdoms.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
By not DnD I mean not any version of dnd or a retroclone of dnd, or pathfinder, or 13th Age.  Not something using the ogl or the 4e equivalent.

Dunno if Iron Kingdoms counts - wasn't that a thing that came out based on the ogl?

If not why did you like it so much?
 
HERO System (aka 'Champions').

Endless flexibility, the ability to make your character precisely how you want.
+1 for Hero Games System


first classless RPG, came out in like 1980, first modular rules, gurps always seemed a dumbed down knock off to me, does absolutely everything but at the cost of the core books being around 2400 pages and weighing 8lbs each without much fluff, or much campaign or setting support. think the real reason it's so respected is that when it dissappeared for a while it was eventually bought by the guys at a gaming group over at cal-tech, they didnt really want to make money on it, just improve it and keep it around, so rather than creating new editions that completely scrapped old editions they just improved and improved and improved on what they already had. To me it's the pinnacle of game design thats taken what... like 35 years of constant improvement, and a lot of that is specifically because it earns next to nothing and just wants to be the best system of all time.


Torg was interesting but too easy to loose all those tiny flimsy cards, but did a great job of being origional.

I really liked the first edition of Deadlands and the poker game resolution system they put in, liked just about everything about it, never really played the other editions.

Savage worlds is pretty good, and again very derivitive of HSG just dont like their wound level system much (never have been a fan of those).


       
"The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." Gygax
By not DnD I mean not any version of dnd or a retroclone of dnd, or pathfinder, or 13th Age.  Not something using the ogl or the 4e equivalent.

Dunno if Iron Kingdoms counts - wasn't that a thing that came out based on the ogl?

If not why did you like it so much?

I'm talking about the 2012 release, which uses its own mechanics. I especially like the setting and how evocative the careers (classes) are, despite not using a jillion different mechanics.

Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
Played HERO System for a decade. Prefer rules light now. Check out BASH! Great fun! 

Disclaimer: Wizards of the Coast is not responsible for the consequences of any failed saving throw, including but not limited to petrification, poison, death magic, dragon breath, spells, or vorpal sword-related decapitations.

might be great fun, but terrible art, you'd think superhero fans would have done a better job of that, read the description of combat, guess I dont understand the appeal. pretty much seems like gurps supers with less powers less points... fair description?


oh and that brings up another one... Mutants and Masterminds- damn good system, really want to try out the 2e splat book "Warriors and Warlocks" their sword and sorcery version... only thing I didnt like is it seems that the characters are still pretty much just mini-superheros... arg... kind hard to describe the feeling, maybe like they didnt get away from supers enough everything is still too overdrawn both in rules and art...   
"The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." Gygax
I like Vampire the Masquerade a lot.
(The original system, the "new" one not so much.)

Also, when I say Vampire I mean Vampire, not "world of darkness" in general. Not a fan of those "mixed" WoD games. Usually I use only Werewolf together with Vampire but only to create a few eventual NPCs.

Vampire does require a very good DM, though, not unlike Ravenloft and Masque of the Red Death.
I've seen my share of Vampire games that seem more like "Blade" where vampires = super-heroes with fantastic powers. Dislike those.

But with a good DM who knows how run a real dark, terror, cthulhu-esque campaign, it can be tons of fun!


That said, I don't know if there's much from Vampire we can take as ideas to compare with D&D. Vampire's system is very good for its proposed game, I'm not sure it's be very good for running other types of games. 
I like Vampire the Masquerade a lot.
(The original system, the "new" one not so much.)

Also, when I say Vampire I mean Vampire, not "world of darkness" in general. Not a fan of those "mixed" WoD games. Usually I use only Werewolf together with Vampire but only to create a few eventual NPCs.

Vampire does require a very good DM, though, not unlike Ravenloft and Masque of the Red Death.
I've seen my share of Vampire games that seem more like "Blade" where vampires = super-heroes with fantastic powers. Dislike those.

But with a good DM who knows how run a real dark, terror, cthulhu-esque campaign, it can be tons of fun!


That said, I don't know if there's much from Vampire we can take as ideas to compare with D&D. Vampire's system is very good for its proposed game, I'm not sure it's be very good for running other types of games. 



What about the Vampire system did you find attractive?  Or was it the setting more than the system?
 
btw has anyone seen... DUNGEONS THE DRAGONING 7th edition? pretty hilarious...

1d4chan.org/wiki/Dungeons:_the_Dragoning...



about vampire- ehh feel pretty torn on this one, on one side great rp mechanics, really liked the "true nature vs image" mechanic along with humanity score, but it fails for anything other than vamps because humans and other more fantasy races dont really have that problem of turning into a bloodsucking fiend. also was a bit too emo for my taste, sorta like the witch class from 4e where every power or spell was like "dark eldrich blasts of teen angst and self loathing"   
"The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." Gygax
Flavour/fluff-wise : Cyberpunk 2020. Pure attitude, lots of awesome stuff.. and frankly, mirrorshades!!

Systemwise : Alternity (more specifically Dark Matter-setting within Alternity). The system was awesome, lots of varied options and the setting (Think Xfiles+Supernatural+everything else!) almost rivals CP2020 as my favourite.
Shadowrun, probably 2nd edition. I dont mind 4th edition but there's something off for me about the always target number 5-6 rule. I love the world/background they've created.
I was always hoping for a d20 shadowrun, I just hate dicepools and the multi-success type systems.


and oooh speaking of other revolutionary games...


paranoia, both the d20 and the origional were awesome, a game where dieing many times a game is not only expected, not doing so is treason and a death sentence offense. 

         
"The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." Gygax
Non-D&D favorites;

1) Vampire/WoD.
Mostly the old version.  Some lines within it more-so than others - ex; like the Vampire stuff, dislike Werewolf, not into Changling at all, Love the Hunter stuff.
I like the rules, character creation/stat system & basic combat system.
And if not in the mood for dark stuff?  The rules work fairly well re-flavored for superheroes.

2) Paranoia - old or new.

3) The old editions of Warhammer Fantasy RP.  Mostly because of the setting. 
Haven't gotten to try the new version from FF.

4) A tie from way back: Gamma World (TSR versions), & Star Frontiers (TSR).
Ok, probably not the best games ever from a mechanical PoV.  But I've yet to not enjoy playing them.
 
For systems, my favorite non-D&D game right now is a basic, stripped down to the core version of Fate.  Even adding in zones is too mechanical for my taste.

The things that keep me tied to D&D are nebulous and in the realm of how the game feels (and the ways in which other games have not managed to capture those feels).  Mechanically, I think several games have far outpaced TSR and WotC's offerings.
My new favorite is the Warhammer 40k Fantasy Flight games.

The setting is as big as a galaxy.  There are large fantasy elements within the ultra-future.  Humanity is falling appart.  Super human Space marines travel the Void blowing up aliens and daemons.  Rogue Traders own city sized space ships and plunder planets.  Grunt Imperial Guards throw their lives away by the millions every day.  Sadistic Inquisitors root out corruption whether it is there or not.

The Grim Dark future is where its at.

Also, I love the d100 system. 
The FATE system, love it a lot for how well it fits the group storytelling.
I think this card is very interesting. It could work wonders in my Karador deck. Lots of graveyard recursion in there and constantly bringing her back to get her whole circus full of beatdown is tempting.

Especially with Doubling Season out rofl.

SWDS: 4.5/5 
Khyber is a dark and dangerous place, full of flame and smoke, where ever stranger things lie dormant.
Star Wars D6 and faint memories of Paranoia.
The new Fantasy Flight Edge of the Empire System is absolutely fantastic.  It's fast, exciting, and nuanced in a way that most games simply can't be.  I'd definitely recommend checking it out when the book is released.  

Other than that, I'm partial to the various 40k rpgs, more for the setting than the rules, Fate, and some others. 
The new version of Hackmaster (or Aces and Eights, which is a very similar system).


After that, I'd have to say Cyberpunk 2020 2E.
The difference between madness and genius is determined only by degrees of success.
I like Call of Cthulhu in concept as a second to D&D -- it's quite different in tone and style from most D&D campaigns.

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Call of Cthulhu (of course), followed closely by World of Darkness (Hunter: the Vigil and Geist: the Sin-Eaters).

When I want a great retro-night, I go with:

Star Wars d6 (West End Games)
Star Fleet Battles
"The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind." - H.P. Lovecraft
Has anyone played Burning Wheel?
My faves are Teenagers from Outer Space, Deadlands (classic) and SLA Industries.

The common theme here is that even if the system and mechanics had many flaws (SLA Industries has serious issues), the mood conveyed and the fun had trumped any mechanical issues the games had.
HeroQuest.

ElfQuest. Heh.
The new Fantasy Flight Edge of the Empire System is absolutely fantastic.  It's fast, exciting, and nuanced in a way that most games simply can't be.  I'd definitely recommend checking it out when the book is released.  

Other than that, I'm partial to the various 40k rpgs, more for the setting than the rules, Fate, and some others. 



 How does it compare to D6 and SWSE the other good SWRPG (I'll ignore the 1st 2 d20 SWs that were awful)?
OSRIC

Challenging like 1e. Easy to die. Free & PDF.

 

I just said something and you just read it. Sorry about that.

Tehpra is my favorite RPG from a mechanical standpoint: best crafting system, best daily user vs. at-will user balance, armor weight is a meaningful decision and not a trap option.

From a concept stand point I like Cthulhutech: Mortals vs. Immortals, giant mecha, technology and magic, it's got everything. I just wish the crafting system was more flexible.
I read a review of the burning wheel game, when one guy used his orgami skill to defeat an ogre (or whatever it was) that was when I said not interested... but heard some good things about the character genration in that if I remember right... honestly I cant think of any storytelling game I have enjoyed too much, seems kinda like gaming for hippies or drama geeks, which was why when I heard a next designer say they planned on including a "story telling" rules module where character death was only possible with the consent of the player I seriously started questioning the design goals.

heard a lot of people really liked legend of the five rings (I think that was its name) for the combat and resolution system it used.
"The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules." Gygax
Shadowrun 2E/3E, but mostly for the flavor (which they killed with 4E - that's the problem with tech settings, though, is that things change quickly with time).

I kind of liked Palladium Fantasy, as far as D&D alternatives go, but really I haven't found anything better than core 3E with a good set of house rules (armor as DR, class-based defense bonus). 

The metagame is not the game.

Mine is Rolemaster (and it's sci-fi equivalent, Spacemaster). The crit system allows pretty much anyone to have a chance to instantly kill anyone else if they roll high enough. Even a first level kobold with a dagger can kill the mightiest warrior in a single shot, if he gets extremely lucky. It's like bounded accuracy on steroids, and it forces the characters to never take a battle lightly.

 

"What is the sort of thing that I do care about is a failure to seriously evaluate what does and doesn't work in favor of a sort of cargo cult posturing. And yes, it's painful to read design notes columns that are all just "So D&D 3.5 sort of had these problems. We know people have some issues with them. What a puzzler! But we think we have a solution in the form of X", where X is sort of a half-baked version of an idea that 4e executed perfectly well and which worked fine." - Lesp

I think this card is very interesting. It could work wonders in my Karador deck. Lots of graveyard recursion in there and constantly bringing her back to get her whole circus full of beatdown is tempting.

Especially with Doubling Season out rofl.

SWDS: 4.5/5 

Wait, I also want to change my answer to Trostani's Summoner.

Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
Mage: the Sorcerer Crusade and Mage: the Ascesion of the (old) World of Darkness RPG, by White Wolf Publishing. I liked the system of magic and the different factions. About vampire: the Mascarade only I was interesed if my PC is a vampire-hunter.

I liked the different system of powers, vampire disciplines, Garou´s gifts, mage´s spheres, challenging ´s catrips, wraith´s arcanoi...

 

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Merp because one of the fumbles is tripping over a imaginary turtle.

These new forums are terrible.

I misspell words on purpose too draw out grammer nazis.

I was curious about what folks favortie non-DnD  systems were and why they would pick those.

Champions! (ie Hero System), Mage: the Ascension, and Gamma World.

What sorts of ideas can/should the developers steal from outside the bounds of what we've seen over the last 5 or so editions.

From Hero:  the flexibility of point-build systems.  Yes, D&D is committedly a class-based game, but that flexibility can still be injected:  examples include feats, modular multiclassing, and power-swaps.

From Mage:  engaging players in the narrative.  The players in Mage didn't just select and cast spells that always worked the same way, they had to mask their magic with (often elaborate) conicidences, which caused events and perceptions to flow around what they did, or face the personal consequences of paradox, which the player was also charged with creating.  

From Gamma World:  Well, Gamma World has nothing much to offer as a system (for one thing, it's system has changed radically from edition to edition, often to push whatever other game TSR or WotC was releasing (like MSH and Alternity)).  What it does have going for it is a sense of wonder and whimsy, the idea that all bets are off.  Even though it's technically sci-fi, it's much more fantastic, in the sense of fantasy, than D&D has generally been.  


 

 

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+1 for Hero Games System


first classless RPG, came out in like 1980,

RuneQuest (1978) and, arguably, Traveller (1975) were classless.  AFAIK, RQ was the first skill-based RPG.


 

 

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Great Topic

I think without question my favorite RPG system which coincidently came with my favorite setting of all time was Alternity.  While a game designed specifically for science fiction it was capable of handling things like Mutations, Psionics, Cybertech as well as a variety of magic like abilities.  There is so much to love about this system but above all else was how it broke down abstract concepts and attached a sense of realism to it while still mainting classic D&D like tropes like class.

I really thought when Alternity came out and 3rd edition was in the works that Alternity would be used as a basis for its design.  I was sad to see that they missed the oppertunity.

For those that aren't familiar with it, Alternity was a class system with a skill based driven mechanic.  You effectively have 4 core classes and a very specific skill system for handling any kind of action.  The best part about it is how it broke down those classes into broad and specilized skills, but also how these skills work as they where very dynamic.  Their werent a ton of rules associated with their use, but rather a well defined purpose for each skill.  More to the point however was that the system broke down success... so you would have a meassurement not just of wether you where successful or not, but a closer examination of how successful you where. This openned up role-playing oppertunities for players that I have not seen in a role-playing game since because it gave you pointers and ques about how any given action would resolve narratively.  It went beyond just letting you know whether or not you succeeded.

I still play the system and have since adapted countless game worlds to it which include fantasy worlds.  It is of course made for science fiction and works best with it, but I had always hoped a fantasy version of the mechanic was released.

Its worth noting that much of RPG design is going back to this style of role-playing system indirectly.  For example the new Warhammer RPG system and the new Star Wars RPG by fantasy flight both use systems which examine closer the way you succeed, what goes into success ... aka more information for players and GM's to base their narratives on.  This I think is one thing that seperates D&D NEXT from other modern designs as it still see's mechanics and role-playing as very seperate things.  The merger of a die roll that connects directly to story elements is really where design is going and in a way NEXT is kind of falling behind that new standard.

"Edition wars like all debates exist because people like debates"

Few of non D&D rpgs i like are in no particular order:

1. WoD - old and new. Played both,love both,maybe new one a little more. First of it doesn't have classes so you can mix and match your character any way you like. And mechanics for combat are great. Plus the fluff is excellent.  

2. 7th sea by AEG. The game where the main rule is the rule of cool. The more wilder,cooler and out of the box ideas you have the better. It plays like old swashbuckling movie. You want to swing on chandilier and jump on villian? Here are some bonus dices for acting cool. And magic is different, interesting and sometimes downright insane.

3. The Window- basicly fluff free,rules light,universal free form RPG. And it's free. With the right people this one is a blast. 

And I must mention gurps for all the great fluff ideas I riped off for other games I played. 

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