Dream Sequence
 member, 23 posts
Fri 2 Nov 2018
at 15:04
Recommend a system?
I've got a game I'm contemplating running here on RPoL for which I have in mind the basic structure of a plot and setting, but I don't know what system I want to use.  I therefore seek the Wisdom of the Gamers - anyone have a recommendation?

I'm envisioning something close to a fairly typical D&D-style fantasy world, though with far less of a magical presence than most D&D settings.  While warrior characters would be welcome and encouraged, and while there would certainly be opportunities for fighters to have their moments of awesomeness, the main emphasis of the plot would be on social and political conflict rather than military or individual combat.  Think of court intrigue, along the lines of the subtler moments of Game of Thrones.

Something simple with not a lot of crunch is what I'm looking for here, something rules-lite enough that it plays efficiently in a play-by-post format.  So stuff like D&D in whatever edition, or your various White Wolf games, don't feel like what I'm looking for.

Though I'm mostly unfamiliar with them, I had considered trying to use one of the various Powered by the Apocalypse games, based on what little I do know of them, since a lot of the social machination stuff seems to be well integrated into the bones of the system.  But judging solely by the PbtA wikipedia article, none of them seem really appropriate (Dungeon World seems to hack-n-slashy, Urban Shadows too modern and too magical, etc).

Who's got a solution for me?
engine
 member, 674 posts
Fri 2 Nov 2018
at 15:07
Recommend a system?
Fate Core.
hegemon
 member, 161 posts
Fri 2 Nov 2018
at 15:15
Recommend a system?
The Sword, the Crown and the unspeakable power is a PbtA game which is very focused on the dark grim world like setting for Game of Thrones like games.

Of course, you can go with Green Ronin's Game of Thrones system, and remove what you do not like and keep the rest.

Another system you could tweak would be World of Darkness System, and use the skill list from its vampire: dark ages. Just do mortals than.

Gurps also due to its Generic setting function could work well.

The last option though I am not a big fan of is free form or semi freeform.

Good Luck
Alyse
 member, 657 posts
 Pretty, witty, and gay
 [married since 2011!]
Fri 2 Nov 2018
at 15:20
Recommend a system?
Two PBTA games that come to mind are Ironwsworn (which is free) and The Sword, The Crown, And The Unspeakable Power (which is not). There's also A Song Of Ice And Fire Roleplay, and FATE titles such as House Of Bards (another freebie), War Of Ashes,  or Wrath Of The Autarch.
steelsmiter
 member, 1935 posts
 BESM, Fate, Indies, PBTA
 NO FREEFORM! NO d20!
Fri 2 Nov 2018
at 15:20
Re: Recommend a system?
hegemon:
Gurps also due to its Generic setting function could work well.

I'd strongly recommend this, and I don't even play GURPS any more. But the full Basic Set, along with any Social Engineering books you can find (4th ed all around) aren't really rules lite at all. They do play particularly well on forums, or so I've found. Some of my biggest games were in GURPS many years ago.
sbodmann
 member, 101 posts
Fri 2 Nov 2018
at 15:23
Recommend a system?
Smallville, at least the core mechanics, immediately comes to mind. The core stats put mechanical weight onto personal values and strength of existing relationships between characters.

It's based on Cortex. Cortex Hackers Guide might have a hack in it for specifically social drama games.

There's probably a Fate hack that does it too. I'd probably go Accelerated rather than Core - it seems like the Accelerated stats adapt better to social interactions than Core's stats and skills pyramid.

There's probably a game out there designed specifically to emulate social drama.
Dream Sequence
 member, 24 posts
Fri 2 Nov 2018
at 16:05
Recommend a system?
Hmm.  Some interesting suggestions here.  I've got some research to do, apparently.  :)
GreyGriffin
 member, 241 posts
 Portal Expat
 Game System Polyglot
Fri 2 Nov 2018
at 16:11
Recommend a system?
I hate to keep beating the drum, but... Burning Wheel?  If you exclude the advanced systems, it has simple task resolution, and interesting systems that interlock with character motivations (Beliefs/Instinct), resources (uh... Resources), and interconnections (Circles), which are important to a court/intrigue game.
Uringizel
 member, 16 posts
Fri 2 Nov 2018
at 16:39
Recommend a system?
The Window system. Very PbP friendly.
Bornite
 member, 46 posts
Fri 2 Nov 2018
at 22:40
Recommend a system?
Gurps (4th ed.), no question.  While people complain about it being very complicated, it is not more complicated than 3.5/PF and such.  It's major complication is on the character creation and that's all at the beginning.  In addition, if you ask, there are plenty of Gurps players here who can help you with that.  But, yes, for what you are talking about with social and political conflict being front and center, the basic Gurps with various of the Social Engineering supplements is perfect.
Yaztromo
 member, 214 posts
Sat 3 Nov 2018
at 00:22
Recommend a system?
In similar situations I experienced with very good success Advanced Fighting Fantasy, a quickstart ruleset based on d6: simple but complete and, if required, it is also very easy to customize for particular campaigns.
There is also a Quickstart guide that can be freely downloaded and it could be all that your players need to join: http://www.drivethrurpg.com/pr...src=hottest_filtered I warmly suggest you have a look at it. There are a few AFF games ongoing on RPoL, maybe you want to have a look at them or have a chat with the associated GMs.
thattripletguy
 member, 46 posts
Sat 3 Nov 2018
at 00:23
Recommend a system?
I have to agree with The Sword, The Crown, and the Unspeakable Power.
Tortuga
 member, 1830 posts
Sat 3 Nov 2018
at 00:57
Recommend a system?
Gurps. Maybe Dramasystem.
evileeyore
 member, 135 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Sat 3 Nov 2018
at 05:14
Recommend a system?
GURPS or Fate.  Both are strong in social mechanics.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1424 posts
Sat 3 Nov 2018
at 07:10
Recommend a system?
Okay, in order to truly choose a good system for you, answer this question, why do you want a system instead of playing freeform? What benefit are you looking to gain from using rules, or what difficulty of freeform are you looking to avoid/diminish?
horus
 member, 592 posts
 Wayfarer of the
 Western Wastes
Sat 3 Nov 2018
at 09:22
Recommend a system?
(Updated due to realizing my poor grasp of the original post...)

For old-style D&D, The Black Hack and Labyrinth Lord are both good choices for rules light systems.  Both are free.

Update:  Neither are big on social interactions like you want, but those can be handled pretty much without rules other than those rules of etiquette and social conduct inherent in the setting.  (I really should read more carefully the first time through - sorry.)

The Black Hack, especially, lends itself to being "hacked" (home-brewed) to suit new settings (giving rise to such neat stuff as The Petal Hack for adventures set in Tekumel).

(Note:  Tekumel is a high-magick setting, but also has a tremendous amount of cultural setting and politics.  It's definitely a chore for a GM to do correctly.)

Then there's Astounding Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea.  Old-School D&D without all the nasty hobbitses.  It does have rules for magick, but they can be easily dispensed with or whittled down.  Not free, but not tremendously expensive, either.

Hope you find what you're looking for, and that your game is a success!

This message was last edited by the user at 06:42, Sun 04 Nov.

Isida KepTukari
 member, 237 posts
 Elegant! Arrogant! Smart!
Sun 4 Nov 2018
at 05:04
Recommend a system?
Cypher System is versatile readily adaptable for any genre.  Because the players do 99% of the rolls, you can keep the pace up because you don't have to have as much technical back and forth.  If they want to attack, they roll the attack.  If a bad guy attacks them, they roll to dodge/resist.  The core rulebook has suggestions for everything from fantasy to sci-fi to modern-day.  I've played in several fantasy-type games with the Cypher System and found it a lot of fun.
12th Doctor
 member, 32 posts
 Don't be lasagna.
Sun 4 Nov 2018
at 19:59
Recommend a system?
7th Sea 2nd Edition. The whole system is based around risks, flair, and drama, and politics is easily as important as combat skills.

A Song of Ice & Fire is even more RP-based. The rules have a complete system for Intrigue. You could easily port the whole ruleset over to your own world, included character-created Great Houses, and take out all references to the books/TV shows without a hitch.
darknash
 member, 142 posts
Tue 6 Nov 2018
at 19:00
Re: Recommend a system?
12th Doctor:
7th Sea 2nd Edition. The whole system is based around risks, flair, and drama, and politics is easily as important as combat skills.


Thank you, was thinking of things to suggest and forgot about this.

I havn't played it that much but Savage World's.

For AD&D 2nd and 3rd Editions how about the Birthright Setting and just don't use what you don't like.