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Sunday, January 20, 2013

If You Could Only Play One RPG and it Had to be "By the Book" - Which Would it Be?

This is a damn tough question for me.

I'm running an AD&D 1e / OSRIC Campaign, but I've houseruled the crap out of it. Without houserules, I don't think I could stomach AD&D, as much as I identify with it.

By the book I think I'd have to default to Labyrinth Lord with Advanced Edition Characters, although if I were restricted to one book I'd go Swords & Wizardry Complete - the single save does have it's advantages, and it gives me most of the AD&D characters in a single book.

I default to the clones over the originals as they are generally less confusing rules wise. I'm sure others will default to the unadulterated originals, but my problems would be we never played AD&D as it was written.

So, what would you chose as you BTB system?

30 comments:

  1. I love AD&D, but I usually house rule it. So it would probably be Moldvay/Cook B/X which seems to be clear,concise, and playable

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  2. I pretty much run DCC RPG 99% RAW. I could easily run Swords & Wizardry or LotFP.

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  3. Adventures Dark and Deep, of course. :-)

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  4. I think I would have to go with Savage Worlds, which gives a pretty incredible range of options "by the book." If it had to be an old school system, I would lean towards Advanced Fighting Fantasy (2nd edition). I love S&W White Box, but without house rules it's only half a game.

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  5. Dont like the single save. Saves lose their charm

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  6. I am running ACKS as it is, and it works well enough for me.

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  7. ACKS. Though I would miss the _heck_ out of the Players Companion.

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  8. Probably Dark Dungeons. A complete book, simple rules to cover almost every circumstance, and all the feeling of BECMI D&D without ambiguity.

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  9. Considering the scope of support books and licensed products for the system, I could spend the rest of my days running nothing but GURPS and neither one of us would ever get bored. I basically run GURPS Lite when I run con events, and it stays out of the way. Then again, I have more experience with GURPS than any other system, having written parts of it.

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  10. I guess I would go with you and say Labyrinth Lord with Advanced Edition Companion. Mainly because it is the closest to what I played during the eighties and nineties. I do not like to consult rules during play I will just rule (as a DM) from memory and the Red Book D&D I house rules with bits from AD&D is what I remember the best.

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  11. 6th ed Call of Cthulhu. I houserule parts of every edition of D&D I play.

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  12. Rules Cyclopedia D&D. It's probably the best written official version of (A)D&D

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  13. And I would love S&W except for that single save business. Drives me batty, makes me want to yell at clouds.

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  14. BareBones RPG - The GM is large and in charge, of the rules and fun! lol

    Easy to remember rules, easy to ad-hoc, plenty of tools to create a quick adventure.

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  15. Fantasy - AD&D 2nd ed...not quite old school, but I can do anything I need and still use only the 3 basic books.

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  16. LotFP, but that could change to DCC after I finally get around to reading it.

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  17. Lots of good stuff out there, but I'd go with Castles & Crusades.

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  18. If I had to run it RAW, it would probably be GURPS. I've had to do the least house-ruling to that system to make it work like I want it to. In part, that may be because it is a modular system from the beginning, with suggested "house rules" for different effects built in.

    On the other hand, Pendragon also requires no (or very little) house ruling to work as I'd like it to. Tough choice, actually.

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  19. Given the criteria, ACKS and S&W: Complete are the games that I lean towards. Of the two, I think I'd go with S&W: Complete.

    ACKS has a very slick system and its integrated economy is very well designed. That said, having run ACKS BTB for 2 months now, I've found that it's core assumptions (how a NPCs' level dictates their political power, the buying and selling of magic, etc.) chaff a bit with my tastes.

    S&W: Complete is messier with more fiddly bits, but I think it's closer in tone to the kind of fantasy that I enjoy.

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  20. Difficult... I think Pathfinder Beginner Box is the game I run closest to BTB, but I use a starting array not best 3 of 4d6, which works poorly with 3e style stat bonuses. Too easy to be very strong or very weak.

    If I had to run one game totally BTB I think it might be 4e D&D. In reality I change the skill DC table, halve monster hp, give minions a damage threshold, but there are ways to work around those issues while still being technically BTB. Eg for monsters I could use mostly low level standard monsters and avoid the hit point-Pinata of Elites & Solos. Minions can have DR (All) BTB if I want.

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  21. CoC, to a lesser extent T&T, i.e., game systems that are simple and that haven't undergone major overhauls every 3-4 yrs.

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  22. Ghosts of Albion or WitchCraft.

    I can emulate 90% of the games I would want to play with either of those.

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