Fantasy Game Diversity

Dungeonslayers - Question MarkWell, my past week researching the suggestions you offered me last week has kept me very busy! There were a good number of suggestions and I spent a good deal of time investigating them. I watched some gaming videos of a few games and I also downloaded the freebies of the games that were suggested that came with the premium price tag of free!

There is one thing that I can say for the fantasy RPG market after doing all of this research and that is RPG’s are thriving. There are the big players of Pathfinder and D&D but so many more that are very good. Dungeon World has a great following and it does have some great ideas to explore though it is not really my cup of tea. Dungeon Crawl Classics was mentioned but it really did not have what I was after either.

13th Age was something I had been dying to look at for a while but after watching a few of the videos that are online for the game I have to say it was not the game I was looking for either. Maybe one to follow up at a later stage but definitely not the one that I needed for my friend. I went over a few of the games I still had lurking around my iPad like D6 Fantasy and even Hero Kids but none of them seemed to suit.

I then went and looked at the Dungeonslayers game. I have to say that this was the game that came the closest to our needs but the talent bloat got a little too much in the same way that Feats make Pathfinder a little bloated. Dungeonslayers is a really good option though. It is simple, smart and customizable. Everything that I asked for in fact.

The talent bloat problem was a little too much though so my friend and I have started to build a system up that borrows from quite a few other games. Pathfinder, Dungeonslayer, James Bond, Earthdawn, D&D and a few others to boot! The system that we will come up with will have a basic ideal of describing all of the actions that are possibly available for a player. From that point each basic character will get a standard set of these actions that it is considered everyone can do and then the players will use a point buy system to specialize their characters with other actions to form a character of their own concept.

I was kind of surprised that a system similar to this did not already exist and the system will actually double for the backbone system of the game that I am creating too. I have changed the system three times already but there is a different feel to this system. After discussing it for a bit it is a system I can see myself playing. It has crunch and customizability. It will allow a player to grow their fantasy character with no need for level advancement and no stricture of a class to follow. Their may be restrictions applied by the GM but in reality the game can customize near any character concept that you can think of.

This is down to you, the readers of the Iron Tavern and your free advice for me when I asked about the systems out there. So thank you. The system will be offered free and we have done a lot of the heavy lifting (well thinking) and now just need to do the writing to bring it all together. Hopefully one day it will come to be as well respected as Dungeonslayers! Until next week, keep rolling!

Mark Knights is  39 year old guy living in a small rural town called Elliott in Tasmania, Australia.  I have been role playing since I was 11 years old playing the original versions of Dungeons and Dragons, MERP, Elric, Dragon Warriors and the like amongst other genre games.  I played D&D 2nd Edition through the 90′s but I ran Earthdawn for my fantasy setting and loved it as a GM.  When 3rd Edition came out for D&D I tried it but found it too heavy on rules.  I ignored the 3.5 edition of DnD in favour of Earthdawn (big mistake) as I thought it was just a money spinner.  When 4th Edition DnD came on my players and I gave it a red hot go but hated what it had dumbed the game down to be.  On a trip to Melbourne to buy some 4E stuff from a hobby store an old mate of mine pointed me at Pathfinder and in a Fantasy setting I have never looked back.

2 thoughts on “Fantasy Game Diversity

  1. I have been running a DS campaign for about a year and the characters are breaching 10th level. I’m not sure that talent bloat really exists in DS. Most of my players are choosing to max out ranks of talents rather than have a rank or two in many.

    A tenth level human fighter should have 11 talent ranks. (10 levels + 1 human bonus talent). It is also possible by this time to have a magic item or two with an embedded talent., but we’ll leave this out of the equation. A typical path would be:

    Level 1 Close Combat I and Lightning Reflexes I
    Level 2: Close Combat II
    3: Parry I
    4. Brutal Blow I
    5. Injure I
    6 Brutal Blow II
    7. Injure II
    8. Parry II
    9. Brutal Blow III
    10 Injure III

    In total only 5 talents, simply with increased bonuses for taking multiple ranks.

    Since their are only 3 classes (each having 3 Hero Classes – sort of like Prestige Classes in D&D), there aren’t tons of class options and it’s through talents that DS characters gain distinction from each other.

    We have two scouts in our party. One is going the ranged attack route – basically a human Legolas. The other is going more rogue – focusing on traps and thievery – all through talent selections they’ve made.
    Brutal Blow III, Close Combat III, Injure III, Lightning Reflexes I, Parry II.

    • Hi Kelly. Thanks for the response. This is great as though I have looked over the rules I have never played them which is a completely different kettle of fish all together.

      I am looking at this from a GM perspective where it is advantageous to have a good level of understanding across all abilities and talents. It is true that most characters will only have a small number of these and probably also true that characters of the same ilk tend to pick similar ones but it is good to have the broader perspective across them all.

      And I also have to say that Dungeonslayer is very good in this regard. It really is the closest thing that we have seen to a really great, tight system with little bloat. In fact it is a game I would like to play but it did not fit the exact bill of what we had in mind.

      When we build up the system we are working on I am sure that a lot of it will lean on Dungeonslayer and its style as well!

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