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I'm looking for games in which the PCs are expected to travel between many different parallel earths – call them what you will: alternate dimensions, alternate histories, whatever. If there was a Sliders RPG, it would fall right into this category.

I am not looking for:

  • tips on running such a campaign with some other game
  • worlds-collide games like Rifts, Torg, or Gamma World 7E
  • single-history time-travel games

It seems like such games must exist, but the only one I've found is Multiverser.

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As this is a game-recommendation question, please adhere to the FAQ, the rules for subjective questions as outlined in Good Subjective, Bad Subjective and our rules for game recommendations. All responses must cite actual experience or reference others' experiences!

    
Are recommendation questions allowed on this site? Because they are disallowed on literally every other stackexchange site. –  BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Feb 6 '12 at 20:34
    
Yes, subject to certain restrictions. –  Ezra Feb 6 '12 at 23:46
    
That list of restrictions includes "there should be a best answer." Other moderators, I welcome your opinion on whether I should delete this question. (It'd save me typing up my findings on RPGGeek, I guess!) –  rjbs Feb 7 '12 at 1:54
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I think that question is fine provided that you say why you chose the best answer. I think it adds value to the site, is relevant to others, and should remain topical if new games are added as they are published. –  Sardathrion Feb 7 '12 at 11:01
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This question only says what you are not looking for. I think it will require more fleshing out, perhaps with an example of the type of things you wan to be doing with your players... The closest it comes is mentioning a decade old tv show (95-2000) that ranged from total plot of the week one offs to be forgotten all the way too plot of the week loosely tied into a vague long term plot involving one of the main characters, a group of baddies, and/or an individual baddie. The episodes range from heavy social interaction to action to drama and/or wilderness/urban survival –  Tetra Feb 8 '12 at 17:52

9 Answers 9

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Besides Multiverser, GURPS Alternate Earths is the only large press RPG I know of dedicated to the topic. Although RPGGeek has a big ol' list of "time/dimensional travel" games and a list of "multiverse" games you can sort through to see if there's something that floats your boat specifically. I have heard of Fringeworthy as being an old game in this arena but don't know anything about it.

There is also a free game called "Jumpers," which is an indie game Sliders knockoff. If you're OK with a more minimalist storygame instead of a big-content trad game it might do the trick.

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Thanks for the link to RPGGeek. I searched there, but must have done it wrong. I now have a HUGE list of potential games filtered from that list, and I will attempt to add an answer summarizing what I've learned there, soon. That was very helpful to me! –  rjbs Feb 6 '12 at 18:11
    
You're welcome! –  mxyzplk Feb 7 '12 at 1:51
    
I'm not sure if I buy calling Jumpers a minimalist storygame. :) The manual is 222 pages, with lots of crunch. Every page has +10% this or -2 LVL that. – Also, having reviewing that WHOLE HUGE list, I only came away with three prospects mentioned in this question already: Fringeworthy, Odyssey Prime, and Jumpers. –  rjbs Feb 7 '12 at 5:07
    
Also, even if you don't want/like the Alternate Earths theme, GURPS is well suited for a homegrown alternate universe campaign, since you can plug... well pretty much anything into it. –  Allen Gould Feb 7 '12 at 16:51

GURPS Infinite Worlds should fit perfectly. The basic setup is that there are a series of Quantum Levels with a variety of parallel earths. The Infinity Patrol is charged with exploring and exploiting these worlds. The main competitor is the Centrum the only other "Earth" that is known to have parachronic technology.

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Two I can recommend from personal experience are Fringeworthy by Tri Tac Systems, EABA Timelords by BTRC. Both are in their own ways eccentric (especially in regards to system as they come from an era of complicated systems, though EABA is an updated/simplified version of the BTRC system) and extraordinary in their ability to handle the subject in an out-of-the-box fashion. Don't let the name 'Timelords' throw you off, as the game is about dimensional and time travel.

I haven't played Odyssey Prime by Eden Studios/Misfit Studios, but it might be of interest. It's a recent release, so I haven't heard too much about it, but in general I like Eden Studios, so figured I'd recommend it.

I will second the use of Amber in such a role, though I will say that if you're looking for out of the box standard Alternate Earth type stuff, it won't fit the bill. It's an awesome system and game and I've played it quite a bit. But, as the title infers, it's all about Amber, and the multiversal stuff tends to be more of an effect than a central theme.

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There is a french rpg called "Mega", where the players are member of a galatic order whose goal is (amongs other things) to prevent inter-dimensionnal damages. The player can be send in others worlds, or other dimensions to do so ("MeGa" = MEssager GAlactique, or Galactic Messenger in english).

a few thing I remember from it :

  • player used big tetraedre as a kind of (dimensionnal) teleportation, allowing a faster than light transport (there must be a receiving tetraedre)
  • player were bound by a kind of "first directive", so then can not go into a alternate version of a world and perform magic using their advanced technology (their order is also against unnecessary violence).
  • Some of them also posses the hability to project into another beeing, which is great for intrusion. except that the higher the willpower of the target, the harder the transfert.
  • there was a rule about "density" of univer, and someone would naturaly "stand" in a lower density univer, as the personn would seem to have a presence (ie to be more real).
  • in the same order, Psy and Magic depended on the universe, and a lower-psy could become quite effective in some universe (where a high level psy would be at a disadvantage for having to release power very often)
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+1 That is a blast from the past... –  Sardathrion Feb 6 '12 at 14:16

You may like Amber RPG based on the books of the same name by R. Zelazney.

Edit after comment by Brian Ballsun-Stanton.

I have played it many a time. I like the diceless approach and the rules are simple enough to be entertaining and complex enough to add nuances. Although I find "strength" to be very weak when compared to "warfare" as states go. Same thing goes for having to buy "Pattern walk" for 50 points. It's either too expensive or should be free. That said, most of the game will revolve around politics, over the top actions, and the nature of reality. The rules work within that. If not, it is trivial to change all powers to skill with different level.

As far as the world goes, if you have read the first five books (don't bother with the rest), then you should have a good idea of what kind of games can be played. I have seen many many different versions of Amber which still had as a core what Corwyn tells us -- which are all lies or are they? After all, Brand may have been framed by Crowyn who wanted to create his own Pattern. Or maybe it's all a plot by Chaos to put a weak and feeble king to destroy Amber from within. Or maybe there are other forces (Pattern, Logrus, what else?) at work. I have seen some heavily inspired by "Richard III" (as in the modern day version with Ian McKellen), "Shengoku" (Japan, 16th century), and even "13 warrior" (Vikings, with Grendel and all that jazz).

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Interestingly enough, I'd looked for RPGs based on his Roadmarks, and found nothing. –  rjbs Feb 6 '12 at 13:44
    
I was going to recommend this, but... I really really don't like amber as system. Have you played it? –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Feb 6 '12 at 14:46
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@BrianBallsun-Stanton - Amber as a system is magnificent for representing Zelazny's Amber background. The character auctions pits player against player at the very start of character generation, creating the sort of internecine family rivalry that's essential for a good throne-wars campaign. For someone who prefers a more structured system though it might not be so good & I can see that it might not be everyone's cup of tea. –  Mark Booth Feb 26 '12 at 1:20

You can try Planescape. It's the setting where the computer game Planescape: Torment takes place.

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Thanks, I got that answer from some friends, too. Only two problems. :) (1) Planescape is really more a game about traveling to different, totally separate (not "parallel") worlds. (2) Planescape makes me crazy. – I can totally see why it seems like it could fit here, though. –  rjbs Feb 6 '12 at 13:47

Well rifts is the only one I can think of that dies by RAW, but since you mentioned it in your question I'm going to assume you are familiar with the horrific clusterfsk sprawl of rules, insane powercreep, & terrible balance issues included with rifts.

I think a FATE based system like Dresden Files RPG or AtomicRobo in a year or so when it gets released would be phenomenal due to how easy it is to go off the rails & convincingly wing it without makingking it look like your still trying to decide what's coming currently/next while offloading some of the work in doing so off onto your players Since atomicrobo is based on a comic book that spans extradimensionsl encounters, "a vampire dimension", & does quite a bit of time jumping between eras(ww2, present, 1920's, 70' etc) there is no reason it won't involve the same sort of thing when it gets released considering rumors suggest it's supposed to use the jumping & extradimensional stuff as part of the core rules/setting, likewise dresden files rf has the nevernever covering everything from lush jungles & snowy tundra to cavernous dungeons before getting into the really weird stuff like areas with explosive/toxic atmosphere's or columns of light capable of melting etal shining down around crystal pyramids or themed "dimenses" in the nevernever based on the owner of the dimense.

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"I am not looking for: tips on running such a campaign with some other game" –  mxyzplk Feb 6 '12 at 4:39

The Tangents setting for Alternity was based on this idea, with a very cool idea of regions of similarly themed dimensions. While it isn't a popular RPG today it was pretty solid, and 3rd edition D&D borrowed a lot of ideas from it. It still has a lot of fans at AlternityRPG.net

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The first thing i can think of is Everway. All the characters are spherewalkers, humans (or humanoid creatures) that can in some way activate gates and travel to parallel dimensions. Citing wikipedia:

The game has a fantasy setting of the multiverse type, with many different worlds, some of which differed from generic fantasy. It appears to have been heavily influenced by divinatory tarot, the four classical elements of ancient Greece, and mythologies from around the world.

The game is completely diceless, using strong storytelling and roleplaying, as well as a tarot-like card deck. Also it is open to any modifications you could possibly imagine, since the lore is little, and much of the world's features other than short descriptions are up to the GM. It is a fantasy rpg, but could be made into virtually anything with little trouble and some time.

Note: being able to play freakin anything you can think of is pretty awsome. just saying.

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