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12

The Riddle of Steel The Riddle of Steel is an early 2000s indie RPG designed by a practitioner of Renaissance Martial Arts, Jake Norwood. The game has a unique combat system that models what you're looking for, I believe. I have written some more on TRoS on this site here You can check it out for yourself with the quickstart rules. The rest of the game, ...


10

Try Fate Core. Fate (Core and Accelerated) is available for free download here and are online here. It's a setting-agnostic engine (invent your own setting in collaboration with the group), which uses a small set of skill-based options to resolve nearly every action. Swingy: No. Fate uses Fudge dice which provide a strong bell curve between -4 and +4, with ...


6

RuneQuest, at least the old editions from the 1980s that I'm most familiar with, had the concept of Strike Ranks. An attacker's SR was based mostly, maybe entirely, on his weapon's SR (longer/faster = better) and Dexterity modifier. The game designers were said to have drawn on their experience in the SCA when designing the combat rules. In that edition, ...


4

Adventurer Conqueror King address many of the same topics as Paizo's Kingmaker. Also the treasure generation system has been aligned with economic assumptions of the domain system. The rules address mercantile ventures, and building not only of castles but other types of holdings. The different elements are defined in natural terms of gold pieces, days of ...


3

Here are two systems I have used. I'm not sure either solves all your problems but they might offer some interesting food for thought. Das Schwarze Auge DSA (The Dark Eye) is a German system that tends towards the simulationist end of the spectrum. Every character has eight basic stats and 30+ talents (different styles of weapons, knowledge, crafting, ...


3

While it had a whole host of other problems, I found QED's Marvel Universe RPG to have an excellent skill resolution mechanic that didn't use dice at all. Characters had an energy pool, and all tasks had a Difficulty and a Resistance. If your relevant Action numbers were high enough to overcome the Difficulty, you could attempt the task. You'd attempt the ...


3

Some Common Home-Brew Solutions These are just solutions I've seen people implement before. Almost all of them require some statistics and some common sense. They're not foolproof, either. Rolling Different Combinations of Dice Instead of 1d20 This is among the most common homebrew fixes to this problem. It is good, because you're on a curve, and bonuses ...


3

Everquest RPG D&D 3.x OGL product based on the MMO world. It has a modification to weapons that incorporates things like weapon speed in order to create an interestingly complex change to the standard 3.x combat system as a whole. Basically the speed of a weapon influences the iterative attacks you get from it. e.g. a speed 5 weapon with a 10th level ...


3

The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen One of the most enduring party RPGs (persisting through more than a decade of being out of print and having no official PDFs), Baron Munchausen is a game where players take on outrageous personas and tell tales (inspired and influenced by other partygoers) of almost impossible deeds. There's a wagering ...


2

Space Opera by FGU has power armor, personal missile launchers and nukes, the bugs, and as long as you get the Ground and Air Equipment supplement pretty much everything from the novel. It is complicated but just don't use what you don't like. I have for 20 years used it for that setting. The combat rules are actually simple.


2

DO NOT PLAY D&D WITH BEGINNERS!!! It may be the first RPG but none of its editions or spin-off games (Pathfinder, the D20 variant games) are suitable as first RPGs. A game for new players should include the following factors: Fun: They have to enjoy themselves throughout the game. If the new guys remember that they spent a lot of the evening sitting ...


2

I have played/mastered D&D, Gurps, Das schwarze Auge, Savage Worlds and BRP/Cthulhu and I think that for beginners, Savage Worlds is a very good system. Beginners can be overwhelmed by too many mechanics. Savage Worlds finds a good middleground between having too many and too few rules. Character creation is quick and easy, and many effects rely on a ...


2

1) There are a lot of Adventures from the Drangonlance Setting. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Dragonlance_modules_and_sourcebooks 2) There is a very well made Adventure called "Red Hand of Doom" from 3rd Edition. see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Hand_of_Doom


2

The truth is, most RPGs are suitable for playing on a forum. I've been playing D&D 5e over at Myth-weavers and rpol.net for a few months now. If you visit that site, you will find many RPGs being played, with free rules, few or no pictures etc. However, I've only really been playing dnd 4th and 5th edition on forums. 4th edition requires lots of maps ...


2

The problem you're pointing out is that randomization (the die roll) overshadows the difference in ability (stats, skills, etc.). A lot of this is carryover from very old expectations ("well, a 10% difference will show when we have 100 units vs. 100 units") which doesn't apply so well when you have single characters in action. The Shadow of Yesterday TSOY ...


2

DISCLAIMER: In a way, mine is not a direct answer to your question, because it's not a game recommendation. However commenting policy in this SE is strict, so I have no option but to put forward my opinion like this. Let's get to it then. What I meant to suggest is: how about changing GMing style? First RPG I played was DnD, and I hated it because the GM ...


1

I wonder if "Dynamic," "Engaging," and "Realistic" are all possible on one system. Here is one I have used a lot, which I think definitely hits on the first two and more important aspects. "Dogs in the Vineyard" is an indie game with a thematic conflict resolution system using a series of Raises and Sees. Players have Attributes, Traits (which are skills ...


1

Dice Pool Systems like Shadowrun and The Void One thing I'd suggest is considering a system like Shadowrun or The Void (which is free and practically identical to Shadowrun mechanically), because they both have a system based on giving a number of dice based on skills and attributes, and then using each of those individual dice's results to count toward a ...


1

Run 5e 5e has the fastest character creation of the last 3 editions, and the smallest core rules as well. D&D Basic is available for free download, and the Starter Kit is selling around 20 dollars and is an excellent introduction to both the edition and the hobby. The adventure module inside is well written and well organized and specifically breaks ...


1

3.5e or Pathfinder 5e is new, 4e requires knowledge of game concepts from other dnd games and combat takes ages, and ADND/2e/clones are very rough on new players. My greatest strike rate with introducing DnD to new players/roleplayers who haven't played it is 3.5e. I include Pathfinder as the two games are very similar, with some people calling Pathfinder ...


1

The Shifting Forest games seem like a good fit, although they're really 6-8 person games, not counting the GM. The were released as PDFs for free a few years back. Based on personal experience, Garden Station 4 is quite accessible, it has a good mix of player conflict and some world to explore. My recollection of The Queen of Spades is a bit muzzy, but I ...


1

Shadowrun Melee weapons have a 'Reach' attribute (and some creatures have extra reach) that adds extra dice in melee combat. Polearms are usually a 2, whereas a katana is a 1, and a dagger is a 0. Speedy characters (i.e. ones enhanced with cyberware or magic) can attack first (and depending on the eddition, more often), but there are no weapon-specific ...



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