Surprisingly tough challenge:

Surprisingly tough challenge:

* A fantasy rpg
* That isn’t a D&D clone because fuck that
* Playable and masterable by a new 14yo player
* That will also be fun for adults

It’s a short list. So far I’ve got…The One Ring and Epyllion.

What do we think? What am I forgetting?

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0 thoughts on “Surprisingly tough challenge:”

  1. I don’t remember if there’s anything about In a Wicked Age that is inherently adult-oriented, so maybe that?

    Also, Donjon, if you swing that way.

  2. 14 year olds can master just about anything if they’re interested. I played Palladium systems when I was 14. Dungeon World is obviously the right answer, but I like RuneQuest 6, despite it crunchy percentile-ness.

  3. Misha B​​ in what way is DW not very explicitly a D&D clone? I mean isn’t the whole point of it to emulate the D&D experience?

    (It’s on my list but with deep reservations.)

  4. The Shadow of Yesterday / Solar System + World of Near.


    Burning Wheel (I was into hardcore Traveller High Guard ship design at 14, so BW would be a doddle).

    Swashbucklers of the Seven Skies

    Renegade Jennys and Boilerplate Jacks

    HeroQuest Glorantha


    Jaws of the Six Serpents

    RuneQuest (though I’m not sure thesedays what setting it comes with by default)

    Mythic Russia

    Ars Magica (again, High Guard)

  5. Tons less crunchy (IME at least) combat is less about how far you can move in a round and more about what cool thing do you want to do. Granted I haven’t played a game of D&D in years so I might be remembering it differently.

  6. Damn, I was going to say Dungeon World just because I remember you have an allergy for it (plus, it is a D&D clone in the same vein as Torchbearer, “you got your indie in my old school!)

    That’s a pretty tough order, being that the shadow of D&D is so vast.

    The only sensible suggestion I can make, as you have the skills to do so: make that game.

    Good luck. I hope to hear an interesting play report.

  7. All for One: Regime Diabolique (Ubiquity edition, of course), if Musketeer action with supernatural elements is in your wheelhouse.

  8. Wicked Fate.

    Legends of Anglerre.

    Blue Rose.

    Castle Falkenstein.

    Dragon Age.


    Mouse Guard.

    7th Sea/L5R.

    Dogs in the Vineyard.

  9. Chuubo’s Marvellous Wish-Granting Engine, full stop, although it’s not easy to get into the right headspace necessarily. (And I’m trying to remember what you thought of Marvel Heroic’s milestones system, because there’s a lot of parallels there.)

  10. Gemini? Might be a tad too dark for 14 y/o. Nice combat paper rock scissors resolution (reminiscent of BW scripting). Character creation is a bit of a hot mess, but I really liked it. Also Swedish, and I heard you like swedish designs recently.

  11. Ara Kooser​​ I’m avoiding the engine and I’m avoiding the arc of play (tactical problem solving, murder as advancement etc.)

    EDIT also the aforementioned BS.

  12. Wait, that reminds me: Golden Sky Stories? Because that game, that game. (Might need a little bit of cultural grounding for it?)

  13. No way is DW a D&D clone – asymmetric rules, no mechanical quantification of non-PC difficulty or power levels, and very flat advancement, different core mechanic..

  14. Swords Without Master could ken to this–you only get murderhobo play if you present the players with constant enemies to fight. There’s a lot of the game that’s geared towards performing epic feats and overcoming dangerous obstacles.

  15. Jason Morningstar​ let us assume that the player in question needs a shorter, shallower on ramp than (say) Cortex Plus. That one bounced right off her.

  16. Dungeon World is explicitly about duplicating the stuff that “makes D&D D&D” with the PbtA play structures.  Seriously, I can’t even imagine why anyone would argue this.

  17. 13th Age is built on a d20 core, but it’s very different in play and doesn’t feel (to me) like a D&D clone.

    Yggdrasil and Keltia are worth looking at, as is Qin.

  18. I second Andy Hauge’s vote for Swords without Masters, but I am a fan boy of, so…

    Not the intent of your thread Paul Beakley, and it is a well whipped horse, or so I thought, maybe not from some of the responses, but I’m interested in the not a clone/is too! ideas people have.

    Is the confusion a lexicon deal? Perhaps generated by the OSR clones? In other words, are we saying if it mechanically does not emulate D&D, it ain’t so? Take WFRP for instance. I dig Chris Groff, and I have mucked around in the Old World just as much as he, and probably will do so again; but to say WFRP is not D&D is like saying Pepsi isn’t Coke. True statement, but they are both brown, fizzy, caffeinated water.

  19. I think you’re right, Clint Shulenski, Jamey Crook and I just interpreted the word ‘clone’ differently.  DW produces a very similar experience to certain editions of D&D using identical genre trappings. Torchbearer does too.

    But there’s a group games that are basically house-ruled versions of specific editions of D&D, forming a cluster of “clone games” that are almost genetically identical.  DW isn’t remotely in this category.

  20. Michael Prescott, Misha B (and any others I might have missed): I wasn’t trying to be a dick, so I’m sorry if I came off that way!  I blame the OP (that asshole) for being imprecise.  Legit interpretations all around.  We cool.

  21. Also – now that you bring it up, Michael Prescott, I find it rather fascinating that DW came up as a suggestion but Torchbearer didn’t.

  22. Michael Prescott, he did, but not as a suggestion to the OP.  In other words, nobody has yet proposed that Torchbearer doesn’t count as a D&D clone.

  23. Perhaps a bit of clarity, Paul Beakley:

    Mechanically not D&D? Meaning overcome tactical situations as character advancement, but elves, dwarves and what not are okay?; also, if overcoming tactical obstacles are not a means of advancement, but those elements are there as an ingredient of the game, is that still the droids you’re looking for?

  24. Have you considered Fantasy AGE.

    It’s straight forward rules light(ish). I like to refer to it as “The D&D game smart enough to dump the d20 in favor of dice that don’t suck.”

  25. Mechanically and thematically.

    If you (not you you, uh “one”) don’t think there are thematic underpinnings to D&D, we’re not on the same page and this is the wrong thread for you.

  26. Did anyone say Reign yet? Riddle of Steel?

    I’d vote for Burning Wheel. Bonus: you know it so well that you can easily distill it as much as needed for a given participant.

  27. BW is freighted with its own specific issues! Specifically, the 14yo’s father has major bad feelings about it.

    In fact he’s approaching my entire project with some skepticism, but he enjoyed Firefly well enough.

    Now to boil the frog verrrry slowly until he finds himself playing Fiasco/Archipelago and not freaking out that there’s no GM.

  28. Is it the rules you are tying to get away from or the sett g or both. I think they can be two different things. No reason you couldn’t use 5e or Fantasy Age but in a non-DnD fantasy setting. What that would look like could be anything. Maybe run it in an Alice in Wonderland or a Peter Pan like setting. The rules get the job done but it will be the setting that really sets the stage for the game.

  29. Reign is an interesting choice.

    I remember messing with it and it was missing…something. Can’t remember what now. Social conflict? Maybe? The uhh magic system is weird and scattered across a dozen books as well. Was it ever edited and rereleased?

  30. Chris Groff​ both the mechanisms and the thematic underpinnings.

    It’s a long fast thread,I get it, but I’ve mentioned this a few times.

  31. Reign is pretty cool. I love the one-roll character creation and the swiftness of the combat resolution (roll a bunch of dice. Right, your arm’s off). The magic system is (in my opinion, worth very little) hot garbage, though, and I would just make up one of my own that better-suited the ORE aesthetic.

    We also didn’t play it in the default setting because that’s not the game we wanted to play just then.

  32. Paul Beakley There was an edition called Reign: Enchiridion that was a trade-paperback-sized book with all the setting stuff removed. I have it, but of course have not yet read it.

  33. Paul Beakley yes it is that game but it is not tied to that setting nor is it as horribly bad as the first two episodes of “watch Wil and friends try to be funny” made it appear (I couldn’t stomach it past 2 episodes. Maybe it got better).

    I am so seriously disappointed that THAT fucking wankery is the closest thing to RPG outreach we have. Please nobody point prospective gamers at that as an example of what roleplaying is like.

    So yes, but don’t be turned off by that. The game is pretty slick.

  34. Tunnels and Trolls is about to launch a new edition. The Fantasy Trip is long out of print, but Heroes and other Worlds combines the best of TFT’s mechanisms in a D&D setting without classes or levels.

  35. I was going to mention T&T and TFT, but don’t they essentially count as “D&D” in terms of murderhoboing and such?

    RuneQuest 6 is pretty cool, you have the usual trad things going like having to track your ammo and push minis around and such. If the 14-year-old was balking at Cortex, then I assume that sort of stuff is out.

  36. Kind of wish I’d kept my WHFRP3. :-/

    Looks like Dungeon World is a pretty good contender. 

    I confess I know almost nothing about TSOY. I think I have the file around here somewhere.

  37. TSOY is very cool.  But if Cortex+ was too fiddly, most of the games in this thread, TSOY included are going to be too fiddly.  Unless it was something C+ specific that didn’t gel.

  38. I learned about RPGs by running GURPS out of the book, at twelve.

    I learned about game design by hacking the shit out of GURPS, the day after my first session.

    So…   That’s a dangerous road, is what I’m saying.

  39. Ralph Mazza​​ yeah the fiddly is, I think, a problem. Which sure makes pbta games appealing. Just wish there were more fantasy takes available than D&D.

    Come on Epyllion hurry up

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