llamaenterhear
Username: Password:

Author Topic: Starter Roleplaying books. What to get!?  (Read 4287 times)

0 Members and 1 Lonely Barbarian are spying on this topic.

Offline Shadoweagle

  • Strolenati
  • Emperor
  • *
  • Posts: 1826
  • Clear as Glass
  • Awards 2013 Location of the Year Questor NPC Guild Elite NPC Guild Lifeforms Guild Item Guild
    • Awards
Starter Roleplaying books. What to get!?
« on: January 30, 2013, 03:34:46 AM »
So my birthday's coming up in a couple of weeks and my wife has no idea what to get me. So I told her maybe a DnD manual or something so I can read through it and better understand what actually goes on with roleplaying. Also, it will help me out a bunch in Strolen's, i'm sure; especially with a game i'm thinking of starting in the next couple of months, since I want to make it one with rules and dice.

my question is: What book(s) should I get to start up!? I want to start on Dungeons and Dragons, I suppose, but isn't there a whole bunch of books to start on? Should I start on 1st edition or whatever, or should I skip to a better one? Anything else I should look at?
Lazarus Lightward, Elite Diabolist of the Brotherhood - Level 3 Occultist
Deathpriest Noxx, Herald of Eternal Silence – Level 2 Necromancer
STR: 2 | END: 2 | CON: 4 | DEX: 2 | CHA: 12 | INT: 13


Strolenite Relic, resurfaced.

Offline Chaosmark

  • Harbringer of Segfaults
  • Strolenati
  • Emperor
  • *
  • Posts: 1276
  • Awards Master Questor Item Guild Hall of Heroes 10
    • The Sleepless Hacker
    • Awards
Re: Starter Roleplaying books. What to get!?
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2013, 06:18:18 AM »
Finding a 1st edition D&D manual is rather impressive nowadays. From my understanding, those rulebooks are rare as hens teeth. Your main options if you go the D&D route are 3.5e and 4e.

The current system in-use is 4th edition (4e), but playtesting has been happening for 5th edition (D&D Next) for some time now. The edition most people think of when they think of D&D is 3.5. If you're going to go for that edition, though, I'd suggest taking a hard look at GURPS instead.

GURPS was essentially designed to be an upgrade for D&D 3.5 users when Wizards moved on to 4e and left 3.5 by the wayside, and so unlike 3.5, it's got ongoing support from the publisher. Also, it was designed to be compatible with D&D 3.5 material, so you can use modules and other rules that were designed for 3.5 with a minimum of trouble and a maximum of flexibility.

The one caveat with aiming at D&D is that it's extremely focused around combat and fighting. That's where the majority of the rules are centered, and though you can do other things with it, that tends to be the focus of most games, just because that's where the rules are. "When you have a hammer..."

I leave it to the others to offer you advice on other systems. My practical experience doesn't really let me weigh in on that matter.
P(A|B) = P(B|A)*P(A)/P(B)

By the power of Bayes!

Acolyte Lithil Darkheart – Level 1 Necromancer
STR: 1 | END: 2 | CON: 3 | DEX: 3 | CHA: 3 | INT: 3

Current guild quest: --

Offline axlerowes

  • Strolenati
  • Knight
  • *
  • Posts: 243
  • ABWB: Always Be World building
  • Awards NPC Guild Elite NPC Guild Questor Item Guild 2012 Most Comments of the Year Golden Creator
    • Awards
Re: Starter Roleplaying books. What to get!?
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2013, 06:38:25 AM »
The 1st edition, original 1st  edition, play manual is a really interesting read.  It is written almost as a stream conciousness with various interjection by the author.  It has long descriptions of some very specific types of actions (like dealing with sleeping monsters) and  a very folksy description of how to interpret stats. I think starting with a 1st edition book would interesting. 

The 2nd edition AD&D books are the best written of the D&D books (acknowledgement I have not read the 4th edition books).  These books have references to the mytho-historical archetypes that lead to conceptualization of the classes.  They are directed to their audience in a broad sense to GMs seeking create worlds and players that wanted to base their characters on situations from outside the game.  If you do dive into second edition I would strongly suggest finding the Arms and Equipment Guide, The Castles guide and the Catacombs guide.  All fun reads right up a strolenites alley.

In the first and second edition the focus is still on using D&D to recreate situations or explore concepts from outside D&D.  The pacing and the skill sets are very much focused on recreating a literary action such as you might find in older adventure novel.  Combat rounds are a minute, and things happens at a slower in-game rate than third edition.

Third edition and 3.5 are written on a  meta-level, the system and the concepts that shaped the making of that systems are for the most taken from decades of game playing.  Instead of asides about the mytho-historical archetypes or literary sources that contributed to the game concepts you get aside about play testing.  It is also written entirely as if based in a single published game world...I not sure which one (forgotten realms?). 

This said the game mechanics of 3.5 are much more flexible in as much as actions and movements are very precisely defined.  3.5 combat takes place on a grid system and the grid is really necessary for fully utilizing and communicating the character abilities.  The character classes are also much more customizable than 2nd edition (just read the 2nd ed fighter manual to understand how limited that system was), for two 10th level fighters that started with identical stats in supplemented 3.5 might have entirely different skills sets and focuses.  In 3.5 your character abilities can tell the story of where and what they have been, in 2nd (aside from non-weapon skills) only your trophies charted your history.  However, beware the munckins.   

I would start with West End Games original Star Wars d6 players handbook and source book.

Offline valadaar

  • Lord Ascendant of Typos
  • Emperor
  • ****
  • Posts: 3242
  • Awards Golden Creator Master Questor Locations Guild Elite Lifeforms Guild Elite Elite NPC Guild Hall of Heroes 10
    • Awards
Re: Starter Roleplaying books. What to get!?
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2013, 07:31:18 AM »
"I would start with West End Games original Star Wars d6 players handbook and source book."

I concur this is a great system, but it may be hard to get.

As for GURPS, its a good system, but it predates 3.5 edition significantly (1986) and if I remember correctly has a completely different rule system :)  Pathfinder seems to be the best match for 3.5 D&D as it is essentially a 'fork' of the 3.5 stream.

Wulfhere could go into the nitty gritty here as he has done work with both 3.5 and pathfinder.

 
   
         Human Strolenati
         Strolenati Guild
         DwarvenGuild - Dorak Stonehammer
         Weavers Guild
         Level 3
         STR: 4| END: 4| CON: 4| DEX: 4 | CHA: 3 | INT: 7
         Authentic Strolenite™©®
      
   
            
         
                
         

Offline Strolen

  • Ignorance Incarnate
  • Guild Leader
  • Emperor
  • *
  • Posts: 8044
  • All your base are belong to us.
  • Awards Locations Guild Questor Locations Guild Elite Item Guild Plot Guild Hall of Heroes 10
    • Strolen's Citadel
    • Awards
Re: Starter Roleplaying books. What to get!?
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2013, 11:55:51 AM »
I thought I remembered some discussions about Fudge and Fate and stuff but couldn't find them. All I found was this old thread http://strolen.com/guild/index.php/topic,1641.msg22390.html#msg22390 that mentions some of the same as already brought up.

I broke my teeth on 1st edition. Played AD&D and moved to Palladium for the bulk of my gaming. Other randoms just to experiment. My tastes lean, as always, towards Palladium because I just love rolling dice and you only really need 1 books. However, that was the old edition too. To me, D&D just has too much stuff to figure out before I can start playing. I am not a rule person, they bore me, so I need something easy and quick. All the ones I have tried were introduced to me so I would learn on the fly. Not sure I would ever pick up a new one to actually learn it. So I am a bad source of info....and not sure why I am still typing. :)

Flying Squirrel – Strolenati Guild
Grothar Rockfury - Dwarvish Guild
Minor Minion - Cartographer's Guild
Level 3
STR: 5 | END: 2 | CON: 3 | DEX: 2 | CHA: 2 | INT: 6
Authentic Strolenite™©® | Llama is as Llama does.


Offline Chaosmark

  • Harbringer of Segfaults
  • Strolenati
  • Emperor
  • *
  • Posts: 1276
  • Awards Master Questor Item Guild Hall of Heroes 10
    • The Sleepless Hacker
    • Awards
Re: Starter Roleplaying books. What to get!?
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2013, 12:37:03 PM »
As for GURPS, its a good system, but it predates 3.5 edition significantly (1986) and if I remember correctly has a completely different rule system :)  Pathfinder seems to be the best match for 3.5 D&D as it is essentially a 'fork' of the 3.5 stream.

Whoops! I was totally thinking of Pathfinder. Somehow I substituted GURPS instead. Ker-derp.
P(A|B) = P(B|A)*P(A)/P(B)

By the power of Bayes!

Acolyte Lithil Darkheart – Level 1 Necromancer
STR: 1 | END: 2 | CON: 3 | DEX: 3 | CHA: 3 | INT: 3

Current guild quest: --

Offline Shadoweagle

  • Strolenati
  • Emperor
  • *
  • Posts: 1826
  • Clear as Glass
  • Awards 2013 Location of the Year Questor NPC Guild Elite NPC Guild Lifeforms Guild Item Guild
    • Awards
Re: Starter Roleplaying books. What to get!?
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2013, 04:35:50 PM »
A lot of info to consider, and it seems that its largely based on personal choice. I'm thinking maybe 3.5 dnd or something to start on. I just want to browse through a book to get a general guide as to what gming a game will entail. For the forum game itself, I'll probably bodgy up my own system, simplified for ease of play and quicker levelling.
Lazarus Lightward, Elite Diabolist of the Brotherhood - Level 3 Occultist
Deathpriest Noxx, Herald of Eternal Silence – Level 2 Necromancer
STR: 2 | END: 2 | CON: 4 | DEX: 2 | CHA: 12 | INT: 13


Strolenite Relic, resurfaced.

Offline Chaosmark

  • Harbringer of Segfaults
  • Strolenati
  • Emperor
  • *
  • Posts: 1276
  • Awards Master Questor Item Guild Hall of Heroes 10
    • The Sleepless Hacker
    • Awards
Re: Starter Roleplaying books. What to get!?
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2013, 05:28:14 PM »
Truthfully, I think you'll get a more useful idea of what GMing entails by reading MoonHunter's articles on the topic than by reading what Wizards of the Coast publishes for DMs.

3.5 is probably the common-denominator that just about everyone has at least seen and would recognize. It's a common ground for getting into rulesets and, imo, seeing just exactly how ridiculous you can get if you try to make a rule for every little situation while also trying to model reality. You probably can't go wrong at least picking up the Player's Handbook and the GameMaster's Handbook.
P(A|B) = P(B|A)*P(A)/P(B)

By the power of Bayes!

Acolyte Lithil Darkheart – Level 1 Necromancer
STR: 1 | END: 2 | CON: 3 | DEX: 3 | CHA: 3 | INT: 3

Current guild quest: --

Online MysticMoon

  • Mad Prophet
  • Strolenati
  • King
  • *
  • Posts: 802
  • Månlufsen (The Moon Bum)
  • Awards Hall of Heroes 10 Golden Creator Questor 2011 Society of the Year
    • Awards
Re: Starter Roleplaying books. What to get!?
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2013, 03:53:37 PM »
I don't play either of these, but you might take a gander at Savage Worlds and/or Cortex. They are relatively rules-light (compared with the monstrosities that are D&D and Pathfinder) but still manage to hit all the basics. Savage Worlds has become quite popular and there is a lot of supplementary material available for it. The basic rulebook is an easy read and the system itself is nicely coherent.

I would recommend staying away from D&D and PF if you don't have a group who can introduce you to those systems. Digesting all of the rules is much simpler if you have a chance to see it in action.

My personal preference is for the OpenD6 world. The original D6 system(s) were opened up via OGL several years ago so there are a number of variations. The generic OpenD6 provides more of a toolkit, so it seems to draw the type of GMs who like to tweak things. I use a highly stripped down version called MiniSix because I'm more a fan of the story than the rules. I can throw characters or a game together with almost no warning and in very little time. It gives me quite a bit of freedom to do whatever the hell I want as GM. There is a semi-active forum for OpenD6 at http://www.d6online.com/forum/forum.php.

If you want some good ol' fashioned D&D-ish fun without the decades of crustiness, there are systems like Swords & Wizardry and OSRIC which try to bring back the less complicated old school goodness. Also the tongue-in-cheek Mazes & Minotaurs.
Chosen of Aktagarti – Divine Synod Guild – Level 1
Might: 2 | Agility: 3 | Wits: 4 | Charm: 3 | Spirit: 4 | Power: 2

The old man, grey-haired, braid hanging down.
He is clothed in faded brown robes.
His craggy face is turned up, bathed in moonlight;
He looks for his goddess to smile upon him.

Online MysticMoon

  • Mad Prophet
  • Strolenati
  • King
  • *
  • Posts: 802
  • Månlufsen (The Moon Bum)
  • Awards Hall of Heroes 10 Golden Creator Questor 2011 Society of the Year
    • Awards
Re: Starter Roleplaying books. What to get!?
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2013, 03:58:05 PM »
Finding a 1st edition D&D manual is rather impressive nowadays. From my understanding, those rulebooks are rare as hens teeth.

You might be surprised. I've picked up a number of nostalgia-inducing 1st ed AD&D books from Amazon for very reasonable prices. Occasionally you'll see something weird, like $250 for Gamma World, but that's the rarity (pardon the pun) rather than the rule.
Chosen of Aktagarti – Divine Synod Guild – Level 1
Might: 2 | Agility: 3 | Wits: 4 | Charm: 3 | Spirit: 4 | Power: 2

The old man, grey-haired, braid hanging down.
He is clothed in faded brown robes.
His craggy face is turned up, bathed in moonlight;
He looks for his goddess to smile upon him.

Offline Chaosmark

  • Harbringer of Segfaults
  • Strolenati
  • Emperor
  • *
  • Posts: 1276
  • Awards Master Questor Item Guild Hall of Heroes 10
    • The Sleepless Hacker
    • Awards
Re: Starter Roleplaying books. What to get!?
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2013, 04:08:55 PM »
While we're on the topic of stripped-down, customizable systems, might I suggest Risus? I found it to be extremely quick when I was first trying my hand at GMing, and though deceptively simple, the combat actually worked quite well for making things entertaining and dramatic.
P(A|B) = P(B|A)*P(A)/P(B)

By the power of Bayes!

Acolyte Lithil Darkheart – Level 1 Necromancer
STR: 1 | END: 2 | CON: 3 | DEX: 3 | CHA: 3 | INT: 3

Current guild quest: --

Offline Shadoweagle

  • Strolenati
  • Emperor
  • *
  • Posts: 1826
  • Clear as Glass
  • Awards 2013 Location of the Year Questor NPC Guild Elite NPC Guild Lifeforms Guild Item Guild
    • Awards
Re: Starter Roleplaying books. What to get!?
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2013, 05:35:08 PM »
So wizards.com has a 4ed starter kit. Im thinking of just grabbing that and maybe the dm handbook. In spite of suggestions to the contrary i think dnd is where i want to start :p if there's money left over i might try for the players handbook too.
Lazarus Lightward, Elite Diabolist of the Brotherhood - Level 3 Occultist
Deathpriest Noxx, Herald of Eternal Silence – Level 2 Necromancer
STR: 2 | END: 2 | CON: 4 | DEX: 2 | CHA: 12 | INT: 13


Strolenite Relic, resurfaced.

Offline Dossta

  • Anti-Entropy Specialist
  • Squirrel Strolenati
  • Master
  • *
  • Posts: 481
  • Awards 2013 Society of the Year Item Guild 2012 Dungeon of the Year Elite Questor Hall of Heroes 10 Elite Item Guild
    • Awards
Re: Starter Roleplaying books. What to get!?
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2013, 07:56:52 AM »
It really depends on what you want to learn.  D&D 4ed has been widely disparaged as a "video game brought to the tabletop", but it supposedly made things a lot easier for the DM to run (if more boring for the players).  It definitely does not follow the spirit of the original RPGs.

You *can* find older editions of D&D, including the Basic Set Rulebook (http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/110274/D%26D-Basic-Set-Rulebook-%28Basic%29?cPath=9736) from 1981 at RPGdrivethru.com.  They *just* made a deal with WoTC to sell their older stuff on PDFs.

But seriously -- what do you want to learn?  Lots of systems come with significantly less baggage and expense than D&D, and D&D is hardly the last word in RPGs.  Savage Worlds is one book (as opposed to three), but still has a very "classic" feel to it.  If you want a book that focuses entirely on the art of being a Dungeon Master, with heavy emphasis on adventure design, you could go for XDM (http://store.schlockmercenary.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=B-XDM).  Besides being a book-long treaty on the art of game mastering (authored by someone who wrote for D&D in its early years), XDM also includes a rules set in the back.

For the price of buying the three books you would need for a complete D&D set (3.0 onwards forces you to buy the Player's Guide, Monster Manual and Dungeon Master's Guide), you could buy 3+ one-book RPGs and would therefore be more versed in contemporary RPGs than if you simply owned one system.  BUT if you really, truly want to go with D&D (there's nothing wrong with it -- my first books were 3.5 ed) go for it!  Just know that the D&D rules system is not going to offer you any more insight into the hobby than the others.  (And don't forget to look at Pathfinder.  I've often heard it called D&D 3.75, and is possibly a better place to start than D&D 3.5 or D&D 4.0).

Journeyman Strolenati – Strolenati Guild
Tale Spinner - Weavers Guild
Level 3
STR: 4 | END: 4 | CON: 3 | DEX: 6 | CHA: 3 | INT: 5
"The omniscient have no need for beliefs and no room for delusion."

Offline Shadoweagle

  • Strolenati
  • Emperor
  • *
  • Posts: 1826
  • Clear as Glass
  • Awards 2013 Location of the Year Questor NPC Guild Elite NPC Guild Lifeforms Guild Item Guild
    • Awards
Re: Starter Roleplaying books. What to get!?
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2013, 06:45:59 PM »
Now it looks more like im going with pathfinder as opposed to 4th ed. We have a geek shop in town which sells em so I can go and quiz them on it all and actually check out the stuff before I buy it too :p
Lazarus Lightward, Elite Diabolist of the Brotherhood - Level 3 Occultist
Deathpriest Noxx, Herald of Eternal Silence – Level 2 Necromancer
STR: 2 | END: 2 | CON: 4 | DEX: 2 | CHA: 12 | INT: 13


Strolenite Relic, resurfaced.