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Old 07-20-2020, 02:56 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, 02:57 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, 02:58 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, 03:05 PM   #4
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Default Re: Alternatives to GURPS? Other tabletop RPGs to try?

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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, 03:32 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 07-22-2020, 09:14 AM   #6
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Default Re: Alternatives to GURPS? Other tabletop RPGs to try?

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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.
Fuzion was Hero System and CP2020; there are significant differences between Interlock games' damage systems, and it's closer overall to that in CP2020 than in Mekton (any). And it was RTalsorian Games, not BTRC.

Speaking of BTRC, however...
CORPS - d10's only, reduced rolling, gridded combat. Still available, but no longer devloped.
EABA - d6's only, standard amounts of rolling, roll stat+skill dice, keep 3. Lots of "build your setting" (I was a playtester for EABA 1E - porting Traveller to EABA was a cinch... Dice codes run the same ranges as in D6 star wars, too...)

Things I've run recently I'd recommend:
Alien (Fria Ligan)- captures the setting beautifully.
Star Trek Adventures (with the caveat: Limit threat generation by players, especially munchkins)
FFG Star Wars
FFG's L5R 5E
MWP's (oop) Marvel Heroic RP, Firefly RPG
Sentinel Comics

2d20 system (Star Trek Adventures, Conan: Adventures in an Age undreamed of, John Carter of Mars, Mutant Chronicles 3e, Dune) appeals due to the constant ebb and flow of bad juju. It has a big flaw - threat/doom generation is in fact unlimited, while stored momentum is limited... so players can spend themselves into short term success and long term failure. the smaller flaw is no incentive to fess up to 20's on the dice (generating complications) so the ethically challenged create a problem with the intended playstyle. Other than those, it's a good game engine, adapted well.

FFG's Star Wars does nifty things with the custom dice. FFG's generic version, Genesys, makes few changes outside character gen. It fits the tone well. I've some major issues with the scale rules, but not big enough ones to prevent a recommend.

I love L5R overall, and L5R 5 really makes the dice matter... in ways similar to, but not the same as, Star Wars. It's a tight design, but with lots of variation even in starting characters. No campaigns of it I've been involved with made it past rank 4, tho'...

Alien: The Year Zero Engine is an award winner, and Alien shows why. In Cinematic mode, the tension is there. S*** is happeneing, NOW!!!
In campaign mode, there are aliens out there... and sooner or later you're going to run across them... assuming the rigors of spacers' lives don't drive you off the deep end first! The stress rules are a really powerful bit of feel for this one. Am about to start a Vaessen game.

Sentinel Comics - The is one of the best narrativist games out there. Technically, it's an outgrowth from the Apocalyse world approach (no difficulties, universal breakpoints in successes). But it's also just a touch gamist, and it plays well. Need 3 standard poly sets, tho'.

Cortex Plus - Firefly, Marvel Heroic... bad rolls get you metacurrency and plot complications together, so players prone to misreads tend to do so less.. Build a pool, roll it, keep 2 for success, and the number of sides on a third die is the damage. (In Firefly, you have to spend a "plot point" to not be taken out by a successful attack... )

There is a trend here. I long ago realized that GURPS' simulationism wasn't workign for me, especially not melee. As I aged, I've moved more and more towards games that mechanically direct the story more than resolve character actions, but I also know few can handle that full bore narrativist stuff.

If you want to try it, I recommend Blood & Honor, which is a samurai game, over Houses of the Blooded. Both are build pool, set some aside, roll remainder - highest roll picks success or failure, and gets to make a "Yes, and" or "Yes, but"; everyone else, in descending roll order, makes a "Yes, and" or "yes, but", spending two of the dice set aside unrolled. Once everyone who rolled high enough has done one, repeat for those with dice remaining in their set asides, until it's all spent.
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Old 07-22-2020, 10:18 AM   #7
Raekai
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Default Re: Alternatives to GURPS? Other tabletop RPGs to try?

I wish I had started replying much sooner, but I got very side-tracked. Thank you to all of those who responded. I got a lot of great suggestions, a lot of great insight, and I learned what 'eclectic' actually means!

More and more, I think what's actually important for me (right now) is a system/setting that has lots of pre-written adventures (or, at the very least, a good amount of solid plot-hooks). I mentioned that before, but I'm feeling more and more like I would still be put off from a 'simple' system if I had to think really hard about the world and adventures. GURPS feels very front-loaded (especially with players who are averse to reading more than one book). Right now, I'm tired of trying to point to these advantages here, those guns there, that magic system yonder, etc. I'm honestly probably doing myself a disservice by not playing the Dungeon Fantasy RPG as-is because it's almost exactly what I'm asking for. Again, when I'm close to GURPS, I just want to tinker, which is my own... quirk.

I'm still not sure of what I want to do, but I feel much better about not feeling like I have to stick with the system(s) I already know and love. I've been the only one telling myself that I can't just run a four-session-long adventure with another system to try it out. I'm even more sure now that my players would very likely enjoy messing around like that too. It's funny because I don't have these hang-ups with video games—we switch between a handful of very different games when playing online together. I was overthinking things, which isn't a surprise for me.

I think I'll stick with GURPS for a little while longer as I just taught a new player how to play, and I would hate to flip their world upside-down right away. In addition to really considering the Dungeon Fantasy RPG, I saw a recommendation elsewhere for GURPS Discworld as a nice self-contained rule-set. Which is true! I bought my copy for fun, but I could use it to either run a Discworld-based game or remove the Discworld-isms for something else. The flexible magic is nice!

I hope others might find this thread interesting and full of great suggestions too!
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Old 07-20-2020, 06:41 PM   #8
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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, 10:23 PM   #9
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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 07-21-2020, 12:21 AM   #10
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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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