Pencil-and-Paper RPGs - Anyone here play them?


Prometheus

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Just idle curiousity, here... :p


I ran my first ever pencil-and-paper RPG get-together today, and we had a real laugh with it (there were also some hilarious moments that took shape all on their own, some of which I really didn't expect when I was planning out the story).


I'm not overly fond of statistics and too many tables of stuff, nor do I have the space for miniatures and maps, so I went with the USR (Unbelievably Simple Roleplaying) System for this, and it worked out really well. It's got the right mix of dice-gaming and imagination to be amusing and not too heavily skewed in either of these directions, and all you really need are some pens, some paper, a couple of sets of dice and a dice-cup for rolling them in. You can add more to it all if you want to, too.


It's very very flexible, especially for GMs (Games Masters), who are free to add and remove optional rules (or even add their own) as it suits the adventure, and it basically revolves around only three dice - d6, d8, and d10. That is, six, eight, and ten-sided dice. The dice are ascribed in the manner of your choosing from strongest to weakest, to the attributes Action (used for fighting, running, and whatever else involves doing stuff of some sort), Wits (intelligence, how quick the characters are to think their way out of situations, and so on), and Ego (which governs how charming they are, and how others will react to them). For example, for an especially strong but dim-witted character who's somewhat endearing to others, you would assign the d10 to Action, the d6 to Wits, and the d8 to Ego. You can also add a couple of "Specialisms" to any given attribute (for example, your dim-witted but endearing brute would probably have fighting or using a particular weapon as a Specialism for his Action attribute), which will add +2 to any dice-roll that directly relates to using that particular skill.


I was just wondering if anyone else here plays these rather more traditional games, as well as computer games and video games, and if so, what are you favoured rules? And, as a bonus question, do you have any favourite oddball or just plain cool dice? :p
 
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BAFelton

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Cool, a RPG topic :)


Been playing RPGs for about 20 years, since my school days.


Began with "Livres dont vous être le héros" : books where the story is divided and you choose your path with dice. Then played some famous ones like Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, L'Oeil Noir (Das Schwarze Auge), Star Wars, RuneQuest, Warhammer, Vampire the Masquerade, Stormbringer, Kult, All Flesh Must Be Eaten, Call of Cthulhu... I GM and play too.


My favourite universe is Kult, but rules are a nightmare. I think the rules of Call of Cthulhu are easy to understand and very flexible.


If you like RPGs and Comics, try the Knights of the Dinner Table I reaaally love it : http://www.kenzerco....php?cPath=22_23
 

Halcyon

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I have never played one but I really want to. If I knew some folks who would play in English with me out here in Austria I would join up in a second.
 

TrashyMG

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I've every Played every iteration of Dungeons and Dragons from Redbox to 4th Edition. Also love Call of Chthulhu (D20 version), Star Wars, Shadow Run, Marvel Super Heroes, Werewolf..


I actually play on my Pandora between turns a bit.. I admit I have a short attention span..
 
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mindlord

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I've played a fair share of PnP RPG in my day. Although it's been a few years since a sat around a table. This game looks a bit too simple for me, but it's intriguing.


I've actually been working on a game of my own on and off for quite some time now. It's got a good mechanic, but it really needs to be fleshed out before I bring it to the public. ;]
 

elwing

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cool master don't even need dice... and yes, PnP RPG > anything else... now the get together thing is not easy to plan...
 

Fzero

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This is things like the Warhammer 4000 games, only instead of using model figures and landscape you draw it all down on paper, right?


I've never played them myself, i have seen people playing these with the models in a shop called GamesWorkshop, which isnt there anymore, though it did seem to always have a little crowd of people in there, i suspect they have since hopped over to http://www.enfieldgamers.co.uk/ or somewhere to continue the battles.


I like the hand painted models, but never bothered to understand how these games work though, dont they take days to finish a single game?


No idea how a 'paper' version would work though, unless you are drawing out the entire playing map and making little paper squares for the characters or something.


I need to check YT for some PnP RPG in action i think
 

TrashyMG

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Warhammer is different, that is a strategy game using miniatures, while I never played Warhammer exactly, but I know a bit about it via friends.. Those miniature games are based solely on combat and strategy while pen and paper RPGs generally have a story where players interact with each other and also has combat situations.. Until recently with DnD 4th ed.. my gaming group never even used miniatures with combat it was all imagined or drawn on paper..
 

elwing

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and pen and paper is badly named, generally only the GM use paper... through player frequently have a "character sheet" but that's not required at all... as are the dice...
 

TrashyMG

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I've never played a PnP RPG that didn't have character sheets for each player manage.. no dice? rolling is half the fun..
 

elwing

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I've never played a PnP RPG that didn't have character sheets for each player manage.. no dice? rolling is half the fun..

all really run down to the master... master able to juge your actions is better than a dice in my opinion...
 

TrashyMG

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I've never played a PnP RPG that didn't have character sheets for each player manage.. no dice? rolling is half the fun..

all really run down to the master... master able to juge your actions is better than a dice in my opinion...
LoL different worlds I suppose... I never trusted any of the the game masters I play with, their goal is to kill your party.. I'd rather roll to see the fate of my character..
 
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elwing

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it sure that it's harder to find good GM than player that are not "grosbill"...
 

skeezix

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I was biiig on tabletop wargames and pencil RPGs back in the day in the 80s (sorry, I'm 409 in a week :( :) .. but I really got into the systems, the design, the charts and tables; for me, just like today, I lose interest in games pretty quick.. once I 'grok' what its really about, the internal workings of the system, I tend to lose interest. But with multiplayer and especially face to face, you dont' tend to lose interest, since its more about the interaction and group dynamics, so total win.


We used to play all the old classics, from D&D through Paranoia (look it up, most brilliant and evil game design ever), Traveller, Middle Earth .. for me, Role Master was the pinnacle, if your'e loving charts. (Firing an arrow, get a really good critical roll.. "shot between both ears, brain destroyed, hearing impaired" :)


I was probably even more into tabletop wargames, like Battletech, Starfleet Battles (most hardcore game ever), original Civilization boardgame, Risk/Supremeacy/Diplomacy that sort, Squad Leader, and dozens of others. Still got a closet full of all these RPGs and wargames, though I gace away _dozens_ a year or two ago when cleaing out the house (and making room for twins... sigh :)


We're all retro nutbars here for video gaming, but I kepe wanting to dig out these games, or even mroe recent stuff like Magic the Gathering. But its impossible to get a grop together at least in my spot (not amny around, and certainly no free time in any organized fashion), so I've just recently been wondering if there are options ..


It woudl be way cool to play Talisman online (classic tabletop actiomn boardgame with RPG elements, Games Designers Workshop or whatever, classic), or hardcore stuff like StarFleet Battles.


I did find out about Vassal, a portable game engine with hundreds of modules people have built, so you can play clones of many hundreds of games with other people .. I'm tempted to try it on Pandora ;) Open source java, IIRC.


Theres also BoardGameGeek's list of games that are playable onllnie, which is pretty extensive.


Someone pointed me to MegaMek, for Battletech: http://megamek.info/screenshots


Vassal engine: http://www.vassalengine.org/


Boardgame Geek Online list: http://boardgamegeek.com/wiki/page/On-line_Games&redirectedfrom=Online_Play


And of course, MtG is playable online on most consoles already..


For RPGs, there are tools to make online play work better as well.


So much to do, so little time :)


jeff
 

mcobit

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We used to play DSA Das Schwarze Auge (a german pen and paper rpg) and D&D.


Today I don't have time for that sadly :(
 

Fzero

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To someone who hasnt ever played, it seems quite complex ... how do you win for example ... how do you know the GM isnt just bending the game in -x-players- favour?


No real rules per say, or even a story to adhere to ........ its all down to the GM to make up, maybe even as he/she/heshe goes along?


Not like Monopoly then where you have the inside cover of the box including rules to back you up
 

TrashyMG

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To someone who hasnt ever played, it seems quite complex ... how do you win for example ... how do you know the GM isnt just bending the game in -x-players- favour?


No real rules per say, or even a story to adhere to ........ its all down to the GM to make up, maybe even as he/she/heshe goes along?


Not like Monopoly then where you have the inside cover of the box including rules to back you up

Well generally you don't.. Most GMs follow the "Their word is law" policy, sure it can breed favoritism. If the GM is good things can be fun, if he's unfair or a rule nazi then things can be less fun.
 
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skeezix

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Depends on the game; some games the game master is _out to get you_ (Paranoia), where most the fun is in the adventuring; the outcome is nice to win of course. Usually the GM is part of the team .. they're sharing the authorship with the players. The GM knows the plot structure and is making up room descriptions on the fly (with some source material), but the players dictate what goes on. Are they sneaking, or rampaging? The GM can throw unbeatable monsters sure, but that gets old quick -- what players will play with a GM who kills you in the first 10 minutes, or makes it unpleasant?


It generally works out well, assuming you have a competent GM (which you find out fast :) The GM is tailoring things as you go, if players are weak or overpowered, and most of the time is winging it; the rules can;'t account for human creativity, and since its not a computer game, peopel can literalyl come up with anything and the GM has to 'go with it'. Its like telling stories, where you're rotating through the story teller every minute.


The rules are actually irrelevent, and it becomes quickly annoying when you have 'rule lawyers' -- when the GM is paralyzed because players argue everything with him, or vice versa; in general, the rules are guidelines and you shoudl have fun, and use rules as a crutch; if you end up 'playing the rules', then you shoudl be playing EVE Online instead ;)


jeff
 

TrashyMG

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^ essentially what I wanted to say, just after several hours of coding stringing words together seems difficult..
 

mindlord

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The rules are not nearly as important as the GM and the people you're playing with. Some of the best RPG sessions I've ever played were with no paper or book, just imagination, a 20 sided die, and a great GM.
 
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