Tabletop RPGs/story-building games - beyond D&D

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I was sure there was a thread for stuff like this but search came up bare. There are a couple of board game threads I could have used but they seemed for slightly more traditional board-based games?

Anyway, me and a friend are trying to get a small group for gaming off the ground. As someone who has never actually participated in D&D but loves interactive fiction, I'm interested in getting some recommendations for new stuff that has strong story-building emphasis, less interested in magic mechanics and fighting (though not put off by it, in fact my friend loves magic mechanics, it's just me who doesn't care about it). A couple of games that we're both excited about:

Ten Candles - a game where you *will* die, you just have to map out the last hours of your band of survivors. Has the added cool factor of having to be played in a room with only ten candles lit, and you get to burn stuff.
http://cavalrygames.com/ten-candles

Misspent Youth - dystopian teen drama with what looks to be very strong world-building elements.
http://misspentyouth.robertbohl.com/

Any other suggestions? Or just discussing/reminiscing about this sort of game is also cool by me, tbh.

emil.y, Saturday, 20 August 2016 23:22 (three years ago) link

the only one of these ive ever managed to play a successful campaign with (as opposed to like one off things) was 'dogs in the vineyard' which id recommend whole-heartedly

( ^_^) (Lamp), Saturday, 20 August 2016 23:29 (three years ago) link

Track down a used copy (or a pdf) of Castle Falkenstein from t. Setting is Victorian steampunk with faeries. Game system is card based not dice based and about storytelling not math.

EZ Snappin, Saturday, 20 August 2016 23:59 (three years ago) link

Sorry, I was editing and fat finger posted on my phone. First sentence should end "from the early 90s"

EZ Snappin, Sunday, 21 August 2016 00:00 (three years ago) link

I was also looking for threads like that and found several recommendations for "unknown armies" which sounds pretty good, haven't read or played it though

an expired coupon for 50¢ off a moon pie (los blue jeans), Sunday, 21 August 2016 00:04 (three years ago) link

ten candles especially looks interesting & appealingly approachable. did quite a bit of this as a teenager, played a mix of games and especially enjoyed coming up with our own settings and games, often with no real rules just story telling, which I generally preferred, and which let us play in school, which we were v hungry to escape from at lunchtimes when we were 11/12

of the proper stuff we played a lot of my favourite was warhammer fantasy role-play, which I have recently revisited with far flung friends via webcam (on roll20.net). it's pretty straightforward rules-wise and you play normal, frail people with everyday jobs who are frequently nursing injuries in a sort of decaying version of 15th century germany (the two adjectives used to describe it so frequently that they're often run together being 'grim-dark') with constant whiffs of corruption and a looming sense of dread. the main thing it has to commend it is a v well written and enormous campaign ('the enemy within') which is often cited as the best. idk how long we will continue playing it but it's a good way of hanging out & crying with laughter with friends who are living round the world

ogmor, Sunday, 21 August 2016 00:26 (three years ago) link

the quiet year is one of these, i would love to play it if i had any friends who were into tabletop games!

qualx, Sunday, 21 August 2016 01:02 (three years ago) link

Thanks for all the recommendations. Dogs in the Vineyard seems like quite an unusual version of this sort of thing (based on Mormonism??) but that's in its favour, though maybe as a later endeavour. The Quiet Year also looks great to me, I think I like things like that and Ten Candles where you carve out a period of time as unique even though you're marching toward an inevitable end. Works with my fatalistic tendency, I suppose.

emil.y, Sunday, 21 August 2016 14:07 (three years ago) link

WFRP looks pretty entertaining. Ogmor are you playing 3rd edition?

El Tomboto, Sunday, 21 August 2016 22:10 (three years ago) link

playing the original version, which is the only version I've ever played, and given my general lack of interest in rules beyond introducing a random element and some limitations, seems the best-suited to me. have a look on scribd. the way it shamelessly rips off real history and places is part of its appeal, and the sourcebook on the equivalent of amsterdam ('marienburg') was great too

ogmor, Sunday, 21 August 2016 22:32 (three years ago) link

my group is doing "dogs in the vineyard" right now, Vincent Baker is really reliably great. more to say on this thread when I get a minute

The bald Phil Collins impersonator cash grab (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Monday, 22 August 2016 00:11 (three years ago) link

I was a beta-tester on this game and I recommend it highly

http://bullypulpitgames.com/games/night-witches/

The bald Phil Collins impersonator cash grab (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Monday, 22 August 2016 00:12 (three years ago) link

Fiasco could be a good bet.

Horizontal Superman is invulnerable (aldo), Monday, 22 August 2016 08:32 (three years ago) link

the interactive fiction element in Primetime Adventures is really high - really super fun game with this great feature where, at the end of a session, you preview what's going to happen in the next session. It's episodic by design, which I really liked - one thing that can frustrate in tabletop play is how a session can sort of peter out as the evening moves on instead of building to a climax

The bald Phil Collins impersonator cash grab (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Monday, 22 August 2016 12:44 (three years ago) link

Vincent Baker is really reliably great. more to say on this thread when I get a minute

haha i was recently having an argument abt how awful a lot of pen&paper rpgs in the kickstater era are using baker's 'urban shadows' as an example. often these games are just much worse versions of more comprehensive/restrictive rule sets - id rather play world of darkness than urban shadows, for e.g. and i think a well-run d&d/pathfinder campaign is just better than any of these loose 'story-telling' systems

emily if you want something fatalistic and inevitable you cld try 'downfall' by carloine hobbs - i didnt love it but i really prefer more open-ended and rules-heavy systems

( ^_^) (Lamp), Monday, 22 August 2016 14:56 (three years ago) link

Thanks JCLC! Those look brilliant. Most of my gamer friends are women/NB so female-heavy scenarios like Night Witches could appeal. Though as I say, the others are more into classic style stuff than I am (though I am going to insist on playing some traditional fantasy RPGs if we manage to make this regular).

Will look up Downfall in a bit.

emil.y, Monday, 22 August 2016 16:51 (three years ago) link

Woah, Fiasco looks cool

an expired coupon for 50¢ off a moon pie (los blue jeans), Monday, 22 August 2016 23:50 (three years ago) link

I wouldn't ordinarily self-promote anything on ILX (I don't do much) but this game I wrote about being a teenager is my favorite thing I've ever written. And is totally playable, people have even played it without me in the room.

Sean, let me be clear (silby), Monday, 22 August 2016 23:58 (three years ago) link

Fiasco is a blast and kind of the go-to crowdpleaser of one-shot storytelling RPGs

Sean, let me be clear (silby), Tuesday, 23 August 2016 00:00 (three years ago) link

The best thing about Fiasco is that the creators have totally stayed on top of it and have released new free modules (or story packs, if you didn't grow up on 1st Edn TSR products) every month since release. There's a huge variety of settings there to use with a wide variety of broad types - Kennedy talks at a trade show in Dallas in 1963; Queen Elizabeth believes there is a traitor in court; a band of adventurers have lied about killing a dragon because there is no such thing; Hong Kong gangsters work out how to split up HK after the British leave; two local news channels vie for popularity.

Dread is also a pretty fun horror rpg you can convert to any appropriate setting but the looseness makes it more of a storytelling game. Diceless, attempts to do something important (or more appropriately out of character, like when a schoolgirl is suddenly able to tie a tourniquet) are resolved by pulling from a Jenga tower. It stays up, you do the thing. This also builds suspense into the game because you WILL fail at some point. It comes with an 80s VHS horror plot which is pretty great, and has a really solid character generation system where you answer a dozen questions (some of which are totally innocuous) and what you've written down should describe your character.

There are more than a handful of Japanese games that are at least superficially interesting and could work with the right group: Clover, which is kind of an unstructured game about being a 5 year old; Tokyo Brain Pop!, features psychic schoolgirls and demons; Maid RPG takes the core setting of being a maid at a house to set up anime adventures in the house; Motobushido is samurai bikers, like the Flower Travellin' Band cover gone violent; Golden Sky Stories has you playing magical foxes and raccoons and is twee as fuck.

There's a game of Monkey: Journey To The West that I haven't tried but I could see being fun.

Grace looks really good silby.

Horizontal Superman is invulnerable (aldo), Tuesday, 23 August 2016 08:12 (three years ago) link

haha i was recently having an argument abt how awful a lot of pen&paper rpgs in the kickstater era are using baker's 'urban shadows' as an example. often these games are just much worse versions of more comprehensive/restrictive rule sets - id rather play world of darkness than urban shadows, for e.g. and i think a well-run d&d/pathfinder campaign is just better than any of these loose 'story-telling' systems

lol I mean this in a friendly way but this totally sounds like an argument you'd pick

The bald Phil Collins impersonator cash grab (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Tuesday, 23 August 2016 12:19 (three years ago) link

http://www.marryingmrdarcy.com is good if you enjoy the novels/poking fun at the tropes of Jane Austen

I hear from this arsehole again, he's going in the river (James Morrison), Wednesday, 24 August 2016 03:55 (three years ago) link

Hm, not for me. I wouldn't mind a satirical society backstabbing game (like Sting of the Wasp in tabletop form) but romance is not my bag.

emil.y, Wednesday, 24 August 2016 12:30 (three years ago) link

Oh help. We've managed to organise a group to play Ten Candles but even though everyone else has more experience than me (because despite knowing a reasonable amount about this sort of game I've never actually played one) I have been nominated to GM. Any tips?

I've decided I'm going to concentrate prep on getting the room into a good horror atmosphere and do the introduction as a recorded message, but as the point of the game is to build the story together, do pretty much no preparation in terms of 'things I will make happen'. Is this a terrible idea?

emil.y, Monday, 29 August 2016 16:50 (three years ago) link

Using sound and/or mixtapes is a great thing. I remember doing a Cthulhu game in Pastoral England where I played the Mark Hollis album and Cycle of Days and Seasons for the opening sections and The Place Where Black Stars Hang when it started going wrong.

Horizontal Superman is invulnerable (aldo), Monday, 29 August 2016 20:19 (three years ago) link

You could listen to some actual play podcasts to check that your assumptions mesh with the reality of the thing. I don't know if starting with ~~collaborative storytelling~~ for your first game to DM is more or less in the deep end than starting with the-party-is-in-a-tavern, though, I'm also in the 'I know too much about this stuff for someone with no actual experience' camp.

the ghost of tom, choad (thomp), Tuesday, 30 August 2016 00:18 (three years ago) link

I am thinking about looking for a group myself.

the ghost of tom, choad (thomp), Tuesday, 30 August 2016 00:20 (three years ago) link

So this went pretty well, I think. I probably could have forced more decision rolls as people still had most of their cards left to play by the time the candles started going out on their own, but the players were all getting into their characters so it seemed better to not interrupt. The darkness and the pre-recordings worked great for mood-building. I was completely and utterly drunk off my face by the end of the game, but so was everyone else and I think I managed to keep it together and running smoothly.

emil.y, Tuesday, 6 September 2016 16:51 (three years ago) link

Also for some reason I kind of figured people would just choose 'standard' characters, but loved that we ended up with a very strange group trying to fight the darkness together.

emil.y, Tuesday, 6 September 2016 16:54 (three years ago) link

is Delta Green to trad for this thread? I've been reading up on it/listening to some live plays

los blue jeans, Saturday, 10 September 2016 02:37 (three years ago) link

eight months pass...

This sounds amazing, I realize it's a bit of a puff piece in support of a kickstarter thing that isn't finished yet, but wow:

https://www.polygon.com/2017/5/9/15589492/divinity-original-sin-2-game-master-mode-gameplay-video-dungeons-and-dragons

The lizard — confusingly, he went by the name Walrus — looked at the wares on offer in this shop and was not satisfied. He demanded that the shopkeeper procure his finest magic wand, something he kept hidden away from the regular rabble that come to the shop.

To determine how the shopkeeper would respond, Walrus had to complete a dice roll. With a click of a button, the game master created a pop-up on Walrus’ screen that had him roll a 20-sided die. The GM also noted that since that character had an intelligence higher than 12, he got a bonus of plus one to the roll. The roll was successful; the dwarven shopkeep begrudgingly trudged to the back of the store and returned with a powerful fire wand that was not originally part of his stock.
Larian Studios

It’s important to note that none of this was scripted. There was no dialogue option in the game to confront the shopkeep, and the wand that Walrus purchased was not actually hidden in back in the initial version of the map as it existed when we loaded in. Rather, as in classic pen-and-paper role-playing games, the GM went along with the flow of the storytelling as it happened, adapting the world of the game, taking control of NPCs and spawning in items to meet the needs of the party.

key quote of course

“The game master mode was a Kickstarter stretch goal,” Wincke explained. “It’s grown a little bit out of hand. It’s become its own thing. But we’re really happy with it.”

your cognitive privilege (El Tomboto), Wednesday, 10 May 2017 19:11 (two years ago) link

five months pass...

anyone play starfinder yet? gearing up to gm a campaign and it's a lot to get my head around having only played 5e but i'm pretty excited about parts of it, the ship combat rules in particular have me itching to build some cool encounters. not sure about the heavy magic presence and why it couldn't be handwaved away as telepathy/alien powers instead of explicitly integrating the fantasy and sci-fi settings but that's quite a minor nitpick.

oiocha, Thursday, 12 October 2017 03:50 (two years ago) link

welp, to each their own

when was the last rpg to successfully inhabit the space opera, uh, space

the ghost of tom, choad (thomp), Thursday, 12 October 2017 10:21 (two years ago) link

Has there been one that isn't Traveller?

Thomas Gabriel Fischer does not endorse (aldo), Thursday, 12 October 2017 13:56 (two years ago) link

Star Frontiers was the bomb.

EZ Snappin, Thursday, 12 October 2017 14:18 (two years ago) link

Big co-sign on WFRP and The Enemy Within. Sadly we never got to finish the campaign.

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Saturday, 14 October 2017 09:47 (two years ago) link

Star Frontiers was the bomb.


cosign

El Tomboto, Saturday, 14 October 2017 13:14 (two years ago) link

four weeks pass...

i played my first game of Burning Wheel on saturday & have signed up for a campaign with the same DM, so we'll see how that goes

the ghost of tom, choad (thomp), Monday, 13 November 2017 13:10 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

i'm looking to run a RP intensive game (or games) around themes of counterinsurgency, civilian urban survival during war, occupation, and small unit combat and i'm looking for a fairly light system that would be easy to run such a thing in -- any suggestions please? (it actually turns out there was a This War of Mine style RPG made but it seems basically impossible to find.)

Mordy, Tuesday, 22 January 2019 17:31 (nine months ago) link

Haven't played it but: would you dig Night Witches? http://bullypulpitgames.com/games/night-witches/

I have measured out my life in coffee shop loyalty cards (silby), Tuesday, 22 January 2019 17:33 (nine months ago) link

And from the same designer, Grey Ranks http://bullypulpitgames.com/games/grey-ranks/

I have measured out my life in coffee shop loyalty cards (silby), Tuesday, 22 January 2019 17:34 (nine months ago) link

it looks extremely interesting and i'd love to play it but i don't think it'll let me simulate what i have in mind from the description... altho maybe. i do like the idea of having separate cycles for interpersonal drama and then mission/conflict.

Mordy, Tuesday, 22 January 2019 17:35 (nine months ago) link

oh that looks good too. i'll have to watch the gameplay vids after work to see if there's enough of a framework there that i can alter it to take place today.

Mordy, Tuesday, 22 January 2019 17:36 (nine months ago) link

any ilxors interested in maybe trying a rotating RPG club online through maybe roll20 or fb chat or something? there are a bunch of systems and settings i'm interested in trying and my weekly group is pretty much committed to the current dnd campaign.

Mordy, Tuesday, 29 January 2019 16:34 (eight months ago) link

already doing one. we use roll20 for the map and character sheets and dice and we use google chat for talking to each other, works pretty good.

the late great, Tuesday, 29 January 2019 18:46 (eight months ago) link

plz can i get in?

Mordy, Tuesday, 29 January 2019 18:47 (eight months ago) link

sure. i'm the GM, we're playing the 1982 edition of TSR's star frontiers, about halfway through the volturnus campaign.

the late great, Tuesday, 29 January 2019 18:50 (eight months ago) link

how do u want to connect? i'm on facebook at facebook.com/mordy if u want to talk through there or you can just email me @ mms531 *A*T* nyu *D*O*T* e;d;u;

Mordy, Tuesday, 29 January 2019 18:59 (eight months ago) link


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