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Offline manfred

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RPG for the beginner
« on: January 09, 2007, 02:33:24 PM »
I have been referred through a friend to a wannabee GM, and he asked me THE QUESTION:

"What is a good game for a beginning GM/roleplayer, ie: simple to learn, and to play?"


Struggling with the question as I could, I think you will do much better than me. (Also have a feeling this has been asked several times around here, so why don't we make this a reference thread for the future?)

But let's ask the question more generally - published or homebrew, does not matter, nor does genre or setting. Give your best tips, and go for the simpleness and ease-of-use.

Do not correct me, I know I am wrong.

Offline MoonHunter

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Re: RPG for the beginner
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2007, 02:41:28 PM »
Hate to admit it.  D20, especially the fantasy version, is a good game to break into the hobby with. 

Jags is good, and free (mostly)  http://www.jagsrpg.org/

« Last Edit: January 09, 2007, 03:36:30 PM by MoonHunter »
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Offline Ancient Gamer

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Re: RPG for the beginner
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2007, 03:42:58 PM »
Personally I'd advise him to begin studying the Forge roleplaying theory threads... Oh, wait, that was what I would NOT recommend! :p

Your newbie friend needs Forgotten Realms, D20, pizza and mineral water.
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Offline Pariah

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Re: RPG for the beginner
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2007, 03:47:23 PM »
BLECH!  I hates me that mineral water.

But yeah, d20 is a good way to start, there's ample resources for it for someone just starting out.  That and it's famous for its demonic rituals, always a good way to start.  :up:
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Offline MoonHunter

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Re: RPG for the beginner
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2007, 03:52:16 PM »
Can't it be... simpler?  A game system, I mean.
Really it does not get much simplier than Jags

but okay... Risus
http://www222.pair.com/sjohn/risus.htm
If that is too complicated with you.. I want you to turn in your dice and go hide in a
corner in shame. If it is too complicated for him... then tell him to go play some videogames.
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Offline Ria Hawk

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Re: RPG for the beginner
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2007, 06:19:40 PM »
Like they said, D20 is pretty good.  I found it pretty intuitive and I picked it up in very short order.
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Offline dark_dragon

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Re: RPG for the beginner
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2007, 08:05:49 PM »
FATE is cool, and in my opinion, simpler and more intuitive than the risus dicepool. www.faterpg.com, but then again, I didnt really want to play anything else after I first read it, so maybe not perfect... :wink:
« Last Edit: February 07, 2007, 10:32:47 AM by dark_dragon »
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Offline MoonHunter

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Re: RPG for the beginner
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2007, 02:58:48 PM »
Game Engine Manual is another good game   http://www.pixelsagas.com/library/
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Offline Kinslayer

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Re: RPG for the beginner
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2008, 07:26:29 PM »
I would not recommend any flavour of d20 for a beginner, especially if they are going to be getting advice from someone who's been doing this for some time.  Popularity does not equal ease of learning.  I would no sooner recommend Windows Vista to a new computer user.  If you want easy without dumb, use a Mac. 

I would also not recommend my own system.  While I do make an attempt to keep the learning curve to a minimum--and the game has been repeatedly proven simple enough for first-time players--Midian was designed originally with experienced players and GM's in mind. 

I would like to second Jags & Risus.  I haven't seen Jags since I reviewed it many moons ago (it's been updated considerably since then), but I remember it as a robust enough system for experienced gamers, but was explained simply enough for new gamers without talking down to them.  That's no simple trick.  It's like Chess:  quick to learn, lifetime to master.

Risus, Fate, and Imagination's Toybox are all very simple to grasp conceptually.  If someone can't understand at least one of these three, then they are likely beyond any help we can offer.
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Offline Chaosmark

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Re: RPG for the beginner
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2008, 01:05:43 AM »
Having just GMed my first session, with newbie players, I've decided that Risus is REALLY good for starting out. I actually complicated things slightly by modifying the rules, but the players picked it up almost instantly. Most of their questions had to do with the changes I made, not with the core system. Unmodified Risus is EXTREMELY easy to use.

The one thing I dislike about the system (and what I changed) is the way that magic works. And truthfully, if you don't like anything about it, you can change it in short order to be more in tune with your desires. That, my friends, is simplicity.
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Offline Kinslayer

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Re: RPG for the beginner
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2008, 07:29:18 PM »
It's nice sometimes to play a system that basically gives you root access to the game.
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Offline Chaosmark

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Re: RPG for the beginner
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2008, 07:23:23 PM »
My thought is, why would you NOT want to play a system that gives you root access?
P(A|B) = P(B|A)*P(A)/P(B)

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Offline Kinslayer

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Re: RPG for the beginner
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2008, 08:05:38 PM »
For the same reason Linux (at least the flavour I use) makes you put in your password every time you do something that could potentially screw things up.  If you don't know what you are doing, you can ruin the good time of all the players.  I have seen campaigns by novice GM's that were glutted with copious & arcane house rules for things that didn't need it, and far more house rules to cope with the problems those alterations brought about.  To paraphrase MoonHunter, only when you fully understand what a rule is for, and why you should NOT change or disregard it, should you change anything.  Once you have that understanding of why a ruleset works as-is, & why alterations are often bad things, then you can freely screw with it however you want. 
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Offline Silveressa

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Re: RPG for the beginner
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2008, 01:39:00 AM »
Personally I'd recommend Palladium Fantasy 2nd edition over any other. (especially d20)

The rules are waaay simpler than D20's (the rules take up about 5 pages in total compared to the 50+ of D20's) and all you need is one book to start playing which costs $24.95; much easier on the purse than 3 d20 books retailing at $30+ each.

The book palladium fantasy 2nd edition also provides a ready made fleshed out world with enough info for plenty of adventures, which makes it tons easier for a brand new GM to pick up and play without spending weeks to months trying to make up their own world or paying out even more money for a separate campaign setting. (and  with about a dozen source books detailing the setting it's easy to expand upon it if it's your thing)

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Offline MoonHunter

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Re: RPG for the beginner
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2008, 12:14:07 AM »
That is so not a beginers game. You can not pick that up cold and play it. You need to know how to game before you can really use it.

Now, if you have some experience players to act as guides along the way....

But the same can be said for any game.
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Offline Silveressa

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Re: RPG for the beginner
« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2008, 02:08:44 AM »
It's what I learned on so I confess to being Bias.  :wink:

Really though given my recent discovery of the Cortex system the Serenity rpg uses I would have to say that is among the simplest I've seen yet. (and doubly easy to learn if one is a fan of the show given the numerous examples the reference the tv show and movie)
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Offline Kinslayer

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Re: RPG for the beginner
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2008, 06:40:00 PM »
I have often wondered about how my gaming career would be different if I had started on Palladium Fantasy instead of D&D.  Many of the features of that system are common to others of its type:  overgrown attempts to fix problems perceived with D&D.  Palladium has a wider range of classes (magical and non-magical are both expanded), a wider range of races, percentile-based skills, target-number-based armour class, more (and higher) attributes, et cetera.  I mean that with much love; that's the prevailing attitude that has fuelled much of the gaming industry.  My own Midian has all of the above (with the exception of percentile-based skills, which Palladium made me loathe), and I hadn't encountered the PFRPG until I already had a few systems I had already designed.  This is what makes me wonder how my gaming would be different now, because if I had started on PFRPG I wouldn't have had to spend all of that time drawing the same conclusions.

It's ironic, but even though the new version is better organised & cleaned-up from the original, I still think the original was arguably a simpler system to learn for a first-time player, every O.C.C. with its own combat skill, gnomes as hard to kill as the trolls that ate them,  & all.
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Offline Silveressa

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Re: RPG for the beginner
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2008, 06:57:25 PM »
I know what you mean about the % based skill rolls, they're pretty bad. The dif # system works much, much better in that aspect (I wound up converting the % rolls in palladium fantasy 2nd edition into shadow run 3rd edition d6 vs. dif # rolls instead, which works much better.)
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Offline MoonHunter

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Re: RPG for the beginner
« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2008, 03:46:26 PM »
If you want a percentage gaming, you need Basic Roleplaying. This system is used for RuneQuest, Call of Cthuluh, Elric, and others. It is a game system that has stood the test of time.

http://basicroleplaying.com/   

This is a simple system that a beginer could easily understand. 

Now, let us Un-Hijackthis thread. Lets move the discussion of Palladium to elsewhere and stick to the topic of this thread.

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Offline Kinslayer

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Re: RPG for the beginner
« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2008, 03:27:03 PM »
I still think the original was arguably a simpler system to learn for a first-time player...
Well, it wasn't a complete threadjacking. 

Combat Monster is the simplest game I have ever encountered.  You don't have any roleplaying concepts to explain.  It doesn't really even have rules.  In fact, you can just flip a coin to decide the outcome of a round, or even the whole battle.
Quote
Combat Monster (aka "The Adolescent Power-Fantasy Roleplaying Game")
will appeal mostly to new gamers, but many veteran gamers may find it rewarding
as well, especially with the unique Combat Monster Full Experience System
(if you win, you double in power; if you lose, you get called a sissy).

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Offline manfred

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Re: RPG for the beginner
« Reply #20 on: May 27, 2008, 04:39:41 PM »
Speaking of strange systems that looked easy enough, I've seen one called Donjon Crawl, an insane system where the players could get exactly what they wanted, define their own magic, and the GM never had to draw a map.

Seems that it is dead or something now. :|
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