47
votes
\$\begingroup\$

So far, I've seen questions about minimum-bookkeeping game recommendations, to keep it simple easy, and fast-to-play. That is understandable, since many play their games in-person. However, lots of bookkeeping is not that much of a problem in play-by-post environments and some people (including me) like or even love to have a lot of dice, lots of spells with different effects, lots of mechanically described options, and other such complexities to play with and keep track of.

I'm looking for a game that has lots of detailed bookkeeping, lots of options, and lots of detailed complication to enjoy.

Dungeons & Dragons 3.5, for example, satisfies some of that, and I'm told that AD&D (sessions of which are hard to come by around here) is really much more complicated, but I want a game that's deeper than those. I know that there's a point where such games may become nearly unplayable (like, when they hit irrational numbers and trigonometry), but even such examples would be quite interesting to see.

Here are some criteria:

  • A developed magic system: Spells for every (or at least, many) situations, not only for combat purposes. More magic systems? Even better.

  • Resources and gear bookkeeping: If there's a magic components pouch, let's not just buy one and forget about it, let's keep track of each component and resupply them - if we are even able to do so. If we've got to decide where we place that magic components pouch — on a belt, on a leg (and which one!), or on chest, and it matters — that's even better.

  • Weapons, armors and such: In D&D, we've got a plethora of weapons that really differentiate in just damage die, crits, damage type and some special features like reach or trip bonuses. There's only so many options before we make "another, more expensive dagger which is similar to the basic one, but looks like an axe". I wonder if there is some system that puts more difference in that - or in armor, for same reasons.

  • Supplies and survival: Let's be honest, even the most epic characters should have troubles with these in the wilds (at least, without a handy wizard friend). Again, the more management of them there is, the better.

  • Lots of dice: It's not really required to have lots of dice, but let's say there's no limit to how many the game might need.

Maybe I've forgotten something, but I think this should do.

\$\endgroup\$

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!

closed as off-topic by SevenSidedDie Apr 15 '16 at 16:49

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

locked by SevenSidedDie Apr 15 '16 at 16:49

This question exists because it has historical significance, but it is not considered a good, on-topic question for this site, so please do not use it as evidence that you can ask similar questions here. This question and its answers are frozen and cannot be changed. More info: help center.

Read more about locked posts here.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ How far back are we willing to go? I am thinking of an example that I used to play in college, but that was two decades prior. \$\endgroup\$ – Sandalfoot Dec 15 '14 at 20:26
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Does it needs to be available in English? \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Dec 16 '14 at 13:44
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ You might need to be careful with this - while many types of complexity can be smoothed over by a play-by-post environment, any type of complexity that requires input from multiple participants can slow that kind of game to a crawl. \$\endgroup\$ – Airk Dec 16 '14 at 14:25
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Rather than using comments to kibitz, how about a chat room: The Most Complicated RPGs? \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 17 '14 at 17:11

12 Answers 12

40
votes
\$\begingroup\$

Ars Magica

Ars Magica may not have everything you asked for, but it has bookkeeping requirements for areas you probably never imagined.

It doesn't go into the inventory-control detail of Torchbearer, but the nature of the game adds bookkeeping on:

  • your age
  • your history of anti-aging potion use
  • your inventory not just of spell components, but of raw magic (vis) in over a dozen different varieties
  • the stores, lands, assets, and personnel of your covenant
  • the contents of your libraries, down to individual volumes
  • your time spent studying those books
  • your time spent studying with each individual master
  • the contents of your laboratory

And there is more.

Add to this the fact that you should have a minimum of three characters to deal with (albeit only one wizard), and this game should keep even the most detail-oriented players happy.

These span all the editions of the game I am familiar with, from 2nd to 5th.

\$\endgroup\$
25
votes
\$\begingroup\$

The system that comes into mind for me when reading your criteria is GURPS. One of the good things about GURPS is that it's exactly as complicated as you want it to be. Any bit of bookkeeping that you would want to do is likely supported in some book somewhere. For your specific criteria:

A developed magic system

There are multiple books fleshing out the GURPS magic system. There's one book just for spells (GURPS Magic), one for alternate magic systems (GURPS Thaumaturgy), and another for a way to modify the basic system to work in a fantasy setting (GURPS Fantasy).

Resources and gear bookkeeping

While I'm not aware of any specific systems for the placement of gear on your body, GURPS does have systems for gear bookkeeping that range from the cinematic to the dogmatic. GURPS does have a pretty good hit location chart, so if you wanted to specifically target a piece of equipment like a spell component pouch, you definitely could.

Weapons, armors and such

Again, entire books have been written about gear options for GURPS (GURPS High-Tech and GURPS Low-Tech, to name two). There are dozens of different distinct weapons in the base book alone, and there are five different ways that they differ: damage (including a half-dozen different damage types), Reach, Parry (either a bonus, penalty, or other parry-related trait), minimum Strength, and special traits.

Supplies and survival

There are rules for hunger, thirst, and all the other sundry effects that you might want on your wilderness campaign. Want to know what happens when you march through a sun-baked desert on a planet with twice-Earth gravity and half-Earth atmosphere? There are rules for that.

Lots of dice

Typically, you won't need more than 5d6 to play GURPS. The core resolution mechanic involves a roll of 3d6, and you won't often be rolling more than that for damage, unless you're playing a future tech game, or allowing very high Innate Attack dice. That said, there is no real limit to the number of damage dice you can roll, if you pump your advantages high enough.

Aside from your specific requirements, GURPS has a ton of other systemic complexity. As an example, Electrician, Electronics Repair, and Engineer(Electronics) are all separate skills with their own descriptions. The system is designed to be generic enough for use in any level of technology, any level of cinematic-ness, any level of complexity, and any setting. Your mileage may vary on exactly how well it accomplishes these goals, but I've found that it works very well for the kind of high-complexity fantasy game that you describe.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've tried GURPS before, through it was in pretty "easy-on-the-rules" games with some of DMs who didn't like to even rely on dices, let alone to overcomplicate their games. It's pretty nice to have stuff like "physical condition", "athletics", "acrobatics" and "parkour" to fall into different skill categories, and the basic system is pretty easy to understand, which gives enough grounds to jump to the splatbooks almost from the start. I guess, I'll have to look into the magic systems for some more, but yeah, this system is good - easy enough to understand, and deep enough to dig. Nice 8) \$\endgroup\$ – Baka-Mastermind Dec 18 '14 at 16:30
16
votes
\$\begingroup\$

I'm going to suggest Eoris Essence (website) as, the most complicated system I've ever run across. (Also the most beautifully illustrated.)


Character Sheet

I know you didn't explicitly ask about the character sheet, but since it's how I first noticed the system, I think it's a good place to start.

Eoris Essence character sheet

This is one side of one of the three types of character sheets that a character may need to use (one for each overall "Character Type"). You can see the others here. There's a lot of overlap between the three types (as you may expect), but they each have their distinct sections (and the same backside).

The chargen system's race subsystem is equally complicated, providing ways to build everything from angel-like beings to aquatic humanoid tigers to giant ghostly birdmen (more standard races are options too - it's not just anthropomorphic creatures).


Specific criteria

A developed magic system

There's one set of magic-like racial powers that the first two Types of character can get, a different set that the third Type can learn, plus the actual "magic" system which has a wide range of options. I don't think there's a generic spell-creation system, but most of the "spells" (aka Chants) are very broad in scope so there's a lot of room for creative use (Example: "Catalyst - Alters the rate at which a chemical reaction takes place (per the Chanter's will)").

Resources and gear bookkeeping

There's six different types of items (loosely: combat gear, boosters, generic items, homonculii, vehicles, and artifacts), six types of damage, and items can have both physical Burden and/or spiritual Burden. On the other hand, once you've actually bought the gear, it's not very fiddly.

Weapons, armors and such:

As mentioned above, there's six different types of damage a weapon can do, and they vary in terms of amount of damage, strength required, burden, armor-piercing, etc. There's also a lot of special weapons listed (at least three of each type of weapon, each with custom illustration), and almost every single one has some special power in addition to a variant on the base item's stats. There are fewer custom armors and shields than there are weapons, but there are still some.

Supplies and survival

I don't think there's a great deal of wilderness support, but there are rules for hunger and it is very possible to run out of supplies and/or consumables.

Lots of dice

There's not a huge number of dice, but it's probably the only system where your dice pool caps out at 12d20. There's also a lot of ways to fiddle with rolls. By default, you roll Xd20 (X = stat or stat+skill), trying to get at least one success (15+). But there's ways to adjust the number of dice you roll, the number you need to roll to count as a success, and the number of successes you need. Additionally, natural 1's are -1 success, natural 20s are +1 bonus success, and one of the dice you roll is an "Essence Die" which can trigger extra effects if it rolls well or poorly.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Just gave it a look and if anything, the books look gorgeous. Pretty art style, beautiful design and really nice themes of philosophical conflicts instead of the usual "They're goblins, I murder them and their kin". Judging by the overall information, through, the most bookkeeping is in the "character creation" category, but I'm still willing to try to use it if I'll see an appropriate opportunity for such a campaign \$\endgroup\$ – Baka-Mastermind Dec 18 '14 at 16:19
12
votes
\$\begingroup\$

While it's not a fantasy game in the typical RPG use of the word (though it is in the literary sense), I think Shadowrun 4th edition is an extremely good fit for all of your explicit criteria and you may want to look into that system as a result.

A developed magic system

Shadowrun has very broad and flexible spells. It's also the only system I've seen that has a working RAW spell creation system.

Resources and gear bookkeeping

In Shadowrun, you are what you wear. Well, not really, but there is a LOT of gear and it matters a LOT. My only problem with this section is the lack of detailed prices on individual food items, but I'm sure you could find a homebrew price list of somekind somewhere, or make one of your own. Prices are given for several specific examples in different places, so basing prices for new entries off of similar existing entries should generate a full spectrum of food.

Weapons, armors and such

This area is about the same level as D&D. There is slightly more category diversity and many more specific qualities to vary on, but nothing fundamentally different about the approach.

Firearms (the typical weapon) vary in damage, damage type, weight, concealibility modifier, legality, ammunition capacity, minimum ammunition cost, ammunition rarity (not a stat, but it sure does matter), reload time, range, category of firearm, modification slots, market price, manufacturer brand, recoil, and possible firing modes. Many weapons also have specific special abilities, but most don't.

Armor varies in legality, weight, cost, encumbrance, what environments it is socially appropriate to wear the armor in, and the amount of armor the armor gives to various forms of attack (typically just Ballistic/Impact but many special armors add a bonus versus fire, chemical weapons, radiation, etc).

'Other' is by far the category in which Shadowrun most shines when it comes to gear, but due to the nature of this category you really need to read the books for yourself to understand. I can tell you that in Shadowrun, you can buy a program to have your gun tell witty one-liners in the voice of a famous actor that only you can hear as you shoot your enemies. Or a tattoo that's made of nanobots that change color and shape whenever you want them too. Or a military-class nuclear submarine. Or clothes so cheap they sell them in vending machines. Or paper that's actually a flexible, foldable, wireless-enabled LED screen. Or porn that kills you when you watch it. Etc.

Supplies and survival

Many characters in Shadowrun avoid the wilderness like the plague, but there certainly are rules for supplies and wilderness survival. You would want to get a couple of wilderness themed expansion books if this is going to be a focus, however, as the core rulebook and primary expansion set (Street Magic, Arsenal, Unwired, Augmentation, Runner's Companion) treat wilderness as something that might happen occasionally.

Lots of dice

SR4 doesn't just have lots of dice, it has the most dice. You know those little d6 containers you can get at gaming stores for warhammer and stuff? The ones with 30+ dice in them? We used one of those per player and still had to borrow dice from each other when rolling our primary skills (we're a high-op group though, so you'll probably be ok with just 18d6 each). You only need d6s, but you need a lot of them. The number of dice needed for Shadowrun is a running gag in my local community to this very day. So many dice...

N.B.
SR4 is not SR5 nor SR3. It is a different game. A very different game. I recommend SR4 for your purposes.

\$\endgroup\$
9
votes
\$\begingroup\$

Torchbearer. It is a fantasy adventuring RPG that was explicitly created in the spirit of original D&D, with new, modern and very crunchy rules. The system is based on Burning Wheel, and it adds lots of complexity and detail. From the creator's words:

This is a hard game, not a simple one. There are many moving parts and it’s not possible to experience the whole game in one or even two sessions. But if you’re ready to sink your teeth into a good game that will reward you for mastering the system over 10 or 20 sessions, this is the game for you.

There are systems for magic, resources, combat, equipment, and survival (among other things). Carrying capacity, food, and fatigue are all survival factors being tracked.

Dungeon exploration has a system of rounds, forcing tactical decisions from the players on how to spend their time and energy when exploring.

\$\endgroup\$
8
votes
\$\begingroup\$

Rolemaster 2nd Edition was so chock-full of optional rules and tables for virtually everything that it earned the nickname "Rulemaster" (or "Tablemaster"). I don't know about later editions, but 2nd Ed. consisted of Character & Campaign Law, Arms Law, Spell Law, RM Companion I - VII, Arms User Companion, Spell User Companion, Alchemical Companion and several others I've probably forgotten, plus the losely related "...and a 10-foot pole" equipment book.

It's hard to do the attention to detail justice. Let's just say there's a critical hit table for drowning, a precipitation chart, a temperature chart, a wind speed chart, tables for rolling up a culture including its sustenance, political, and lineage system on the fly, handling of hit / magic / endurance / exhaustion / life essence points, some hundred different skills for each of the dozens of professions, and that's not even more than touching the surface.

Basically it's a toolset for building a rule set. Even my heavily re-edited and abridged German translation, which I dubbed "Director's Cut", is still 550 pages long, 150 of which are spell lists... and that's at 10pt font size.

Criteria:

  • A developed magic system. Three "realms" of spells, Channeling (divine power), Essence ("ley" power), and Mentalism (mind power). There are full and semi spell users (Bards are, for example, semis) as well as "hybrids" combining two realms for added versatility at lower peak power. Spells are divided into "open", "closed" and (professional) "base" lists, with a new spell for each level. A level 10 mage will have literally hundreds of spells to chose from. Most of those don't have direct combat relevance, actually...

  • Resources and gear bookkeeping. "...and a 10-foot pole" is not strictly part of the Rolemaster system, but has equipment for each age (bronze, iron, medieval, ... up to information age). This includes weight, time to manufacture, availability in rural / town / city environs, capacity, ... The base rules don't go into as much detail, the equipment list in there is only four densely-packed packes long (not counting the two or three pages of herbs and poisons) instead of a good dozen pages per age.

  • Weapons, armors and such. 20 armor types in groups of four (no armor, soft leather, hard leather, chain, plate). Individual attack tables for each type of weapon (dagger, short sword, broad sword, 2h sword, mace, club, mattock, pike, spear, ... / fire bolt, ice bolt, shock bolt, lightning bolt, ... / fire ball, lightning ball, ... / bite, ram, horn, pincer, ... / martial arts striking, martial arts sweeps & throws) cross-referencing your attack result with armor type. Seperate handling of braces and helmets by the critical hit tables (of which there are seperate ones for slash / puncture / krush / impact / ..., plus seperate tables for "large" and "super large" creaturs). Rules (and skills) for the donning and doffing of armor, multiple weapons, initiative modifiers for weapon length, ... Even rules for the damage armor takes while protecting you, if you are so inclined. Size of armor sets, and how difficult it is to wear ill-fitting armor.

  • Supplies and survival. The rules include details on food and drink, how long you can go without (in hot / cold climates), what the effects are, and how long it'll take you to recover. Encounter tables include modifiers for having wildlife-type characters (Rangers, Animists) in your group. Rules for browsing for sustenance, or hunting. How long it takes, what your chances are, the whole shebang. Encounter tables for running into people or beast. (And I have completely forgotten about the three "Creatures & Treasures", which list animals, beasts, and monsters with their characteristics, habitat, pack size, combat abilities etc...)

  • Lots of dice. Nope. All is W100 (2 x W10), sorry. ;-) (Although there's an optional combat system that revives the D&D dicing extravaganca, but which I opted against.)

The above is by no means complete or exhaustive. If you're in for complexity, Rolemaster has it all. The problem is you need to pick & chose, because there are multiple options on how to handle certain concepts, and not all of them work well together. Later Companion books need also a hand with the balancing, as power creep is very much in evidence.


There are various later editions of Rolemaster, but from what I see online, most of them have severely cut back on the complexity (which was what kept many people away from the 2nd. Ed. for reasons I already wrote about). Then again, apparently they have introduced many new concepts, and as opposed to the 2nd Ed., they are available in shops, not limited to the eBay hunt the 2nd Ed. requires.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Tables for modifying list prices based on market saturation, regulated or black market, bargaining skill, and luck, potentially resulting in theft, fraud, or authorities taking an interest. Rules for healing naturally, at rest, with herbs, and with magic. Rules for determining the exact price of a magical item with 1..n special abilities. Individual tables for resolving juggling, jumping, acting, public speaking, pole vaulting, ... Movement maneuvers ranked at anything from "trivial" to "virtually impossible", with individual table columns (including fumbles, partial and >100% success)... \$\endgroup\$ – DevSolar Dec 19 '14 at 7:18
7
votes
\$\begingroup\$

If you don't mind the game being available only in Polish (or if you have someone to translate for you on the fly), I think I have something perfect for you.

Kryształy Czasu (eng. Crystals of Time)

A developed magic system

Two casts can use magic. Different casting rules for each. In each cast, few professions with further differences in rules.

Over 600 spells by the original author source. As far as I can tell, About twice as much available on the Internet start here from people who played during play tests.

Resources and gear bookkeeping

Yes. Character sheet makes you track what is on character, in his backpack, on his mount, in sacks on his mount, and what was left at home, inn, guild etc. Spell components are tracked as well.

Weapons, armors and such

Different for each race. Each armour is described by 10 parameters. There are at least four kinds of full plate mail, for example - and that before we apply racial rules!

Supplies and survival

There is even traveller's tincture to help with adventurer's depression. That should say a lot about how many ways of things going bad was predicted. But all right, this is high fantasy world and pretty civilized setting, so survival is usually not hard. There is food to track, but it is pretty available for "best of the best" to get a job for a day or two and get some.

Lots of dice

This system uses d100 as it's base dice. Given that there are 10 primary parameters, 10 resistances, a lot of additional parameters, some calculated based on primary ones, some not, and only then we can start talking about skills, in few groups. It means there is quite a lot of rolling. And a lot of calculation and bookkeeping to get them all straight.

\$\endgroup\$
6
votes
\$\begingroup\$

Here's another non-English one for you: Queeste.

It's a 1970s Dutch RPG not influenced by D&D because they were developed around the same time. The session I DMed is probably the only time it's been played in English — or in this millennium, for that matter.

Some highlights:

A developed magic system: The magic system in this game is based on the Earthsea novels. You get words of power and can combine them into any spell you like. Any spell you like. The example given in the handbook is "I compel my urine to harm my opponent".

There are also herbs and mushrooms for everything. The plant appendix is one of the largest parts of the game by page count.

The priest class is also fun, because the priest has to track which gods he's prayed and sacrificed to each day, and can then call on them in times of need. Whether and how they respond is randomly determined, but depends not just on the priest's relationship with that god, but also each god's opponents...

Resources and gear bookkeeping: Yup. All the bookkeeping! Each item you find in-game comes with its own adorable little card, listing its weight right at the top. Encumbrance is totally a thing, and coins are ridiculously heavy, so finding a box of treasure is often an annoyance rather than a boon.

You also have to keep track of food, drink, sleep, and a stat called "satisfaction". Eating fine food, sleeping in soft beds, social and romantic interactions and even a pretty sunset all add to this. Get too little, and you lose mental health; too much, and your needs rise for the next week. Permissible needs depend on the character class being played: Druids have to be ascetic vegans; Bards love the finer things in life. There's even an in-game mechanism for getting addicted to drugs.

Weapons, armors and such: Oh yes. This game has the most ridiculous and convoluted archery system you can think of, and a lot of other weapons are no better. Armour has to be the right size or it won't fit you, and it's heavy. Oh, and did I mention that you have to defend against mental as well as physical attacks, and the player has to decide which to defend against? Because there isn't just an attack against a set armour level, oh no — both sides roll in every single attack of the entire battle.

Supplies and survival: Yep. It's very possible for players to die of thirst on the long staircase in the very first adventure, unless they come up with licking the walls for moisture. Need I say more? Oh, and food isn't just food — who can eat which food varies with character class.

Lots of dice: Really weird probability curves in this one, because it's based off coin tosses (binary, 1/0) combined with a D6. It gets so annoying that they wrote programs for their graphing calculators in the 70s to roll it for them. Character creation alone takes 140 coin tosses.

And that's not all: This game has a lot of really charming, endearing, and sometimes downright annoying features.

The map is divided into tiles which are doled out one at a time, fog of war–like. You can't even see into the next square. Where they have buildings, you can flip the tile over and see the interior. Pretty cool.

The NPCs have lives, not just hit points. They have names and individual stats. Hey, their goats have names and individual stats. In case someone is playing a thief, the adventures all describe where they hide their money. Also, what they were planning to do with it, be it saving for retirement, sending their sick daughter off to a doctor in the city, or simply expanding the inn.

As a consequence, half the time the cupboards aren't full of loot, they're full of mops and plates and the guards' board game collection. Everyone has a bed. Hey, the dungeons even have public toilets!

Oh, and you can't just pick a character class, you have to do quests for the guildmasters to work your way up.

So if that's not complicated enough, I don't know what is...

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting! For reducing the hassle of using actual coins, Ubiquity dice (which emulate coin-flip probabilities) would come in handy. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 19 '14 at 2:04
5
votes
\$\begingroup\$

Fantasy Hero

The Fantasy Hero role-playing game leverages all of the bookkeeping power of the Hero System for fantasy settings.

The build system is full of math and examples

One of the key features of the system is that you use a point-based, effect-building system for everything: characters, spells, magical artifacts, weapons, armor, equipment, buildings, vehicles, everything. Building things with the Hero System is a game of its own. There are books full of examples, like the Hero System Grimoire (spells and magic), the Hero System Bestiary (animals, monsters, and other creatures), the Hero System Equipment Guide (arms and equipment for any setting), Hero System Martial Arts (a book just for fighting styles, including Western and fantasy martial arts), Hero System Skills (expanding on the skill system, including super-skills), or The Ultimate Base (buildings from castles to starbases). All of these books give you dozens or hundreds of examples of stuff for your game and how to build or customize them yourself.

Once you get good at it, you can build stuff on the fly, for your ultimate utility spell that can do anything. Because building stuff is expensive, you will learn how to employ every possible trick to shave costs, like building spells that require unicorn blood and can only be cast by the light of a blue moon (which also adds more things for you to keep track of in play).

Six or seven things to keep track of every turn

The bookkeeping doesn’t end with character creation, however. Every character tracks not only lethal damage, but also stunning damage and endurance. Almost everything you do costs endurance, which you tick off with every action and then recover a bit at the end of every turn. Most attacks deal both types of damage, with a novel method for reading the two damage values off the same dice. You can use a hit location system to handle both piecemeal armor and complex modifiers to damage taken (with separate modifiers for lethal and stunning damage, of course). On your turn, you will generally make an attack roll, a hit location roll, a damage roll, and track endurance, stun, and body damage for you and everyone you hit. If you use an expendable or rechargeable resource, you need to track that too. There is also a complex action economy that rewards careful planning in offense, defense, facing, and tactical movement.

Lots of six-sided dice

The Hero System only uses one kind of die, but you will need a bucketful of them. Depending on your campaign’s power level, effects may require you to roll up to about 24d6. To save time, you will want to roll those together with your attack and hit location rolls, which require another 3d6 each. One of those boxes of teeny-tiny Chessex dice will do, but I personally prefer using three boxes of full-size dice.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Thanks for the recommendation! I linked to the current version, which is called Hero System Skills for 6th edition, but has the same format and pagination. \$\endgroup\$ – Bradd Szonye Dec 23 '14 at 0:22
3
votes
\$\begingroup\$

Chivalry & Sorcery meets your criteria, except perhaps the "lots of dice" one. In particular, there are a large number of different magic classes, each with differing flavor. Lots of stats, combat detail and bookkeeping involved, especially if you get into running a castle. If you like keeping track of numbers, this is one of the games that caters to you.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ IIRC, magic users must create their own "focus" in game time, have to roll+decide what it is made of (with rarer more-expensive items being easier to enchant), then must make many iterative attempts to convert the base materials into magical ones. It took me a day to create a magic user with their focus and initial list of spells. \$\endgroup\$ – Neil Slater Dec 18 '14 at 10:35
3
votes
\$\begingroup\$

Eon is a Swedish RPG (AFAIK only available in Swedish) which places a great emphasis on detailed simulation within its gritty fantasy world of Mundana. I believe it has everything you want. The system is detailed in the same way as Rolemaster, but with even more advanced systems for wounding characters and magic.

My knowledge of Eon comes mainly from the second edition of the game. A fourth edition was recently released, where some of this might have changed.

  • A developed magic system: Eon's magic system is highly advanced, and very detailed. Casting is a multi step process that simulates how magic works within the game setting: First, a magician generates mana of the correct elements; then they weave that mana into filaments that together form a spell; when the spell has had its effect, the magician has to dissipate residual mana, in order to avoid wild magic effects.

  • Resources and gear bookkeeping: Very detailed system for magical resources. Basically, each type of mana requires a natural source from which it is generated. For example, sky magic requires open sky, fire magic requires an open flame, water magic requires a source of fresh water. Some elements have more advanced reagents, such as necromancy requiring large amounts of freshly drawn blood of the right type of creature.

  • Weapons, armors and such: Weapons are differentiated by damage values, durability, reach, etc. Each weapon has a damage type (blunt, slashing, piercing etc) which has a great effect on a weapon's use in combat, since there are three damage values: pain, trauma and bleeding rate. Blunt weapons cause more trauma, piercing weapons cause more bleeding and so on. Armor is similarly detailed, where placement is especially important, as hits in combat are calculated per body part. This makes for a lot of variation in the various tactics you can use in combat, for example giving your opponent a few stabs in vital points and letting them bleed out, or using weapons specialised in breaking those of your opponent.

  • Supplies and survival: Handled by the game's "fourth" damage value; exhaustion. Most survival type tasks affect exhaustion. Starvation and movement causes exhaustion and eating and resting recovers it. The more exhaustion you have, the harder certain tasks are (penalties to rolls).

  • Lots of dice: Eon uses D6 only, and typically not too many (3-4 in a roll), but rolls are unlimited (reroll sixes and add the results).

\$\endgroup\$
-7
votes
\$\begingroup\$

There is an old issue of Dragon Magazine with a review of a system that meets some of your criteria very well. I can't remember the name, but what's more crunchy than having to track down a hideously complex game before you can play it?

  • A developed magic system: I don't remember

  • Resources and gear bookkeeping: I think you're in luck. I more-or-less remember that the review describes an example of play in which the (bored) P.C.s try repeatedly to purchase basic adventuring gear, but the (sarcastic) GM keeps rolling that everything is out of stock. Eventually they find a chest and bludgeon the store keeper to death with it.

  • Weapons, armors and such: I seem to recall these are pointlessly complex, but I'm not certain. The combat system probably qualifies - character creation is very lengthy and involves calculating tertiary stats like "cling to life ratio" (which Google can't find a single example of, suggesting that this game may not have survived to see the widespread use of the World Wide Web).

  • Supplies and survival: Given the item purchasing rules and the existence of cling to life ratio this seems likely to be acceptable.

  • Lots of dice: I can't remember.

\$\endgroup\$
  • 6
    \$\begingroup\$ Unfortunately, "this system I don't remember the name of" isn't very helpful as a recommendation. Even if you remembered enough to demonstrate all the criteria are met, we wouldn't know what that system is! \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Dec 17 '14 at 22:54

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.