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Old 07-20-2020, 01:56 PM   #1
Raekai
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Default Alternatives to GURPS? Other tabletop RPGs to try?

Wait! Don't shoot. Please, hear me out.

I know that some of you play or have played or just occasionally play tabletop RPGs other than GURPS. I'd like to know what you liked and what you didn't like, especially in comparison to GURPS. If you tried a different tabletop RPG, weren't feeling it, and returned to GURPS, I'd love to know about that too! As someone who hasn't branched out too much, it'd be nice to know if anything else feels close enough or different enough to feel refreshing or anywhere in between.

I could go ask this question to a more general audience, but I am particularly interesting the experience of other GURPS players. I think we're stereotyped as an eclectic bunch who won't play anything else, but I think that's not totally true. I've heard good things from fellow GURPS players about Fate and Savage Worlds.

Thanks to those who do take the time to answer any of my questions!
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Old 07-20-2020, 01:57 PM   #2
Raekai
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Default Re: Alternatives to GURPS? Other tabletop RPGs to try?

Here's my experience:
Spoiler:  
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Old 07-20-2020, 01:58 PM   #3
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Default Re: Alternatives to GURPS? Other tabletop RPGs to try?

Here're my tabletop RPG interests:
Spoiler:  
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Old 07-20-2020, 02:05 PM   #4
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Default Re: Alternatives to GURPS? Other tabletop RPGs to try?

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Originally Posted by Raekai View Post
Here're my tabletop RPG interests:
Spoiler:  
I've tried all the games you've listed, and for various reasons I prefer GURPS - it lets you do everything, and the rules are grounded in realism, which is a feature for me. But a system that isn't on your list that works for well for cinematic gaming is Mutants and Masterminds, 2nd or 3rd edition. It is a superhero system, but works well as a generic cinematic system too, and it doesn't have character classes and is point-based.
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Old 07-20-2020, 02:32 PM   #5
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Default Re: Alternatives to GURPS? Other tabletop RPGs to try?

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Originally Posted by Raekai View Post
Here're my tabletop RPG interests:
Spoiler:  
It may take some digging to find a copy, but there's the old Fuzion system that was partially based on Mekton Zeta and... BTRC? I think? It's interesting to take a look at.

Big Eyes, Small Mouth, aka Tri-Stat, is another solid lighter-weight generic system. It should be able to handle Avatar quite well. If you want the lowest level of crunch, track down the first edition; it is a very short book.

Savage Worlds is what I'm playing right now. I don't like the dice mechanic, but it's still a good system that works well for what I'm doing with it (classic D&D style fantasy)
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Old 07-20-2020, 05:41 PM   #6
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Default Re: Alternatives to GURPS? Other tabletop RPGs to try?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raekai View Post
I know that some of you play or have played or just occasionally play tabletop RPGs other than GURPS. I'd like to know what you liked and what you didn't like, especially in comparison to GURPS.

(...)

I think we're stereotyped as an eclectic bunch who won't play anything else, but I think that's not totally true.
I have never heard that... but I do hear it a lot about D&D players who only ever want to play D&D.

Anyway, maybe I'm not the stereotypical GURPS player but I play a whole lot of other games.

I play a lot of Call of Cthulhu and Delta Green... I love the games, not so much the system (for a while I was running them with GURPS!), but the latest edition of CoC (7ed) is now good enough for me to run it "as is", so I dropped GURPS for that. I'll probably still use GURPS for some Delta Green games (not all... like, not for one-shots, I think).

I play a bunch of the new edition of RuneQuest, which is awesome, even though it's a bit too fiddly and I have to use some house rules to smooth it out. But it gives out a very different and visceral vibe that you wouldn't quite get with GURPS IMHO. HeroQuest (a rules light, narrative oriented system) is also an absolute blast to run games in Glorantha... I suppose it's comparable to FATE in some ways. It's a lot different from RQ and GURPS of course, and that's the whole point!

I did play a few Savage Worlds games, especially to introduce newbies to the hobby, but I don't really go back to it, as I don't find that it fills a particular need IMHO. I do like it for cinematic, light-hearted games -- there's a reason IPs like Sixth Gun or The Goon work decently well with it.

I ran a campaign of 7th Sea (2nd ed) and I loved it -- once you "get" the system, it's super fun to run cinematic, fast paced action scenes. In particular, it does action better IMHO than HeroQuest or Savage Worlds or FATE.

I ran some Gumshoe games like Trail of Cthulhu and Timewatch. Just like BRP (the system behind RuneQuest and Call of Cthulhu), I don't care too much about Gumshoe either way, but I love the games themselves. The mechanics of time-travel in TimeWatch are in particular super fun. I see no need to try and port those games to another system, and the games are too good to pass on. Timewatch takes a bit of getting used to, because time-travel is tricky to handle, but it does it in a very clever and fun way.

....I could go on but really I'm not sure what to say. You're going to get a series of posts that recommend this and that, and the only information you'll get out of the thread is a slightly biased list of which games are the most popular after D&D and Pathfinder. It's not going to tell you much that you couldn't have figured out yourself otherwise. Now if you have specific questions about a specific system, we can help, of course. But I recommend really just going out and trying new things. There's more than 3 systems out there, and there's a lot of really good games. It's not a big deal to try out a new board game... it shouldn't be a much bigger deal to try out a new RPG either!
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Old 07-20-2020, 09:23 PM   #7
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Default Re: Alternatives to GURPS? Other tabletop RPGs to try?

Like many folks, I started off on DnD, and then wanted to try something more customizable, and found that GURPS scratched the itch very well.

Aside from GURPS, I tried TriStat dX by Guardians of Order. The game system was offered for free, and the company charged for supplements. This model maybe didn't work out so well and the company is out of business now. But TriStat dX is even more abstract of a generic system than GURPS. GURPS takes (mostly) reality-based effects and then calculates based on that, with a clear humanocentric, Earth-centric bias (for logistical reasons that should be pretty obvious).

TriStat dX makes far fewer assumptions about PC size and even things like local gravity. I have heard that the system was first used with the Big Eyes Small Mouth campaign setting. The PDF is available for free on DriveThruRPG.

In other generic systems, I've bought the rulebooks for Genesys, more just to support the RPG writers at FFG (with doomed outcome, they've dissolved their RPG wing and mostly rely on freelancers now). I also bought Amazing Engine from TSR in the 90s, Basic Role Play system, and HERO System, though none of them impressed me as much as GURPS' realworld checking and supplements, and TriStat dX's mathematical abstract purity.

I have also tried Street Fighter: The Storytelling System wherein somebody actually licensed the fast-paced beat-em-up Street Fighter game and then for reasons unknown tried to make it run as a character-driven brooding "ember of defeat in your eye" narrative game. Also, the combat implementation was leaden and dull.
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Old 07-20-2020, 11:21 PM   #8
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Default Re: Alternatives to GURPS? Other tabletop RPGs to try?

I am the oddity, I started with GURPS back in '88, added the old TSR Marvel Super Heroes in '90, added Werewolf in '93, and then Mage and Shadowrun in '95. I have only played D&D a handful of times and never liked it, I did like the Moongoose Conan RPG and loved Pathfinder 1e (and you can find indexed, legally, in the Archives of Nethys), so there is that. Other than that, Exalted, L5R, and a little bit of everything under the sun.

In general, I would suggest Pathfinder 1e as an alternative system to GURPS for fantasy games. The character customization is nearly as flexible as GURPS in its own way with the 40 official PC classes and around 600 official PC archetypes (variations of the classes). For example, the Magical Girl archetype is a spellcasting variation of the Vigilante class.
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Old 07-21-2020, 05:28 AM   #9
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Default Re: Alternatives to GURPS? Other tabletop RPGs to try?

It depends on what I want to do.

If the GM is good, I'll play almost anything. Right now I'm in a game of Vampire 5e; I don't care for the World of Darkness as generally presented, but this GM does it in a way I find appealing. I'm not really interested in dungeon-bashing, but one of the groups I'm in is currently playing The Keep on the Borderlands under Holmes Basic D&D rules and I'm enjoying it.

When it comes to running a game, the Thing I Always Say is that I need a reason not to use GURPS – but I'm quite happy to run something else if such a reason exists. Among those reasons are:
  • another game has specialised rules which do a better job for its particular setting (e.g. Pendragon)
  • the players don't want the faff of generating GURPS characters, there aren't any templates available, and for whatever reason I don't want to hand out pre-gens
  • the players are more familiar with another system (Call of Cthulhu)
  • we don't need the level of consistency and fidelity that GURPS provides as long as things come out more or less right (Forgotten Futures)
  • nostalgia (Cyberpunk 2020, which I want to run at least once this year)

Recently I've been casting about for a generic system that can handle investigative and action games from about the 1890s to the mid future reasonably cleanly, and one I'm trying out at the moment is Genesys (the genericised version of the FFG Star Wars games). I don't usually get on with systems that ask me to step back from in-character stance and think "what would be an appropriate negative consequence of that failure", but for some reason Genesys clicks with me: yeah, you failed at that task but other good stuff happened, or you passed but with complications, now what are you going to do? At least with the low complexity levels of starting characters, it's a fast-moving and not too fiddly system that still lets you distinguish characters from each other. https://tekeli.li/firefly-genesys/
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Old 07-21-2020, 05:47 AM   #10
Michael Cule
 
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Default Re: Alternatives to GURPS? Other tabletop RPGs to try?

'Eclectic' doesn't mean what you think it does.

It pretty much means the opposite.

'adjective
1.
deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.

2.
PHILOSOPHY
denoting or belonging to a class of ancient philosophers who did not belong to or found any recognized school of thought but selected doctrines from various schools of thought.
noun
a person who derives ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources'


That said: I'd recommend you try RUNEQUEST GLORANTHA. I'd recommend you have a look at REIGN (buy the Enchriodon version: it strips out the setting in the original book and shows you how to use it generically).
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