Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Help this Newfag™ get started with PnP

Discussion in 'The Gazebo' started by Black Angel, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. Black Angel Savant

    Black Angel
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    To make long story short, I'm a newfag to the whole cRPG genre. My only encounter with RPGs in my childhood was mostly JRPGs, like Radiata Stories, Sword of Mana, Final Fantasy (specifically FFXII), etc etc. I remembered playing a Wizardry game on PS2, so it's probably my first and only encounter with a blobber back then. It was only in 2015 that I was aware of 'cRPG' genre, and also aware of this whole PnP stuff. I vaguely remember making some kind of a map in middle school for a PnP setting of my own, except I wasn't even aware it was called 'PnP' back then.

    Since I'm an Indonesian, it's next to impossible to find out if there's any PnP RPG/DnD enthusiast out here. Just to be sure, bros HoboForEternity Indranys did any of you ever had a PnP session? Or is there any enthusiast gathering in some Indonesian place/forum, like Kaskus for example?

    Anyway, rules and system; what would you suggest for a noob like me? Or do I have to make my own? I was thinking of making my own character sheet. And is there any particular setting I have to start with, before trying my hands on other? Also, could anybody explain what GM and DM specifically do? I'm not even sure if the description of this subforum ("You see a well groomed garden. In the middle, on a small hill, you see a gazebo. A gazebo? What color is it?") is something that would be recited by a GM or a DM.

    Also, since a PnP session requires at least 2 person (I assume a minimum of 2 for a single-player session, if it's even possible for a single-player session), I guess I'll be GMing and DMing a session, and drag a friend of mine or more (for a party session) even though they were mostly MOBA/MMORPG/Shooter players.
     
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  2. felipepepe Prestigious Gentleman Codex's Heretic Patron

    felipepepe
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    Well, since you're a total beginner you could start slowly with a Choose Your Own Adventure book (which is basically PnP RPG for 1) or with a CRPG that draws heavily from PnP rules, like Baldur's Gate.

    Seventh Sense allows you to play the Lone Wolf CYOA books in your PC with some utilities, I think it's the closest you can get to a PnP single-player session: https://www.projectaon.org/staff/david/

    Moving to the PnP games themselves, D&D is obviously the big name. It can be a bit complex & expensive, but there's a set of basic rules that's freely available for download and can be a good start: http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/basicrules

    IMHO however, a better alternative might be Dungeon World, which is D&D-derived, but has simpler rules AND it's freely available online: http://book.dwgazetteer.com/introduction.html

    It's also a useful resource, since it explains most PnP concepts.

    GM (Game Master) and DM (Dungeon Master) are the same thing, just different names. In a PnP RPG the player does basically the same thing a CRPG player does, but the GM/DM does what the Computer/GAme Desginers did - it prepares the adventure, tells the story and reacts to players. He decides what the adventure will be, describes what's going on to players and handles all the NPCs, enemies, traps, etc... It's a difficult role to play and not everyone enjoys it, but can be very satisfying.

    It's a bit cringey, but here's a well-produced video showing a PnP game session, which might help you understand what the GM does and how a session looks overall:



    It's also a good warning, since depending on your luck, your friends will either play calmly or like this Chris guy. :shittydog:
     
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  3. HoboForEternity Magister

    HoboForEternity
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    Sadly no i habe never got in PnP.

    I woudl like to, and i am sure there are communities out there specially in big cities, but either i am too lazy to search or too busy nowadays.

    None of my friends play crpg let alone pnp campaign.
     
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  4. clemens Arbiter Patron

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    Codex 2014 Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2
    Start with a big game with a lot of published material/adventures readily available : Shadowrun, Pathfinder, Warhammer or Cthulhu come to mind. Those are very easy to find in pdf format anywhere. Skim through a couple of rulebooks/adventures and see what you like. All of those games have chapters explaining how pnp rpgs work. Narrative systems like Apocalypse (Dungeon) World or Fate are actually more abstract and I'm not sure I would recommend them to beginners. They also rarely provide ready-to-play modules an adventures.

    Once you've got a feeling for the kind of systems and universes you like, you'll be able to move towards more obscure titles and make up your own stuff.

    Shadowrun Missions are great for beginners (4th "season" is a pretty good set of linked scenarios). I'm sure some people can recommend decent Rogue Trader or Pathfinder modules.
     
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  5. Indranys Learned

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    *ATTENTION! SHITTY LIFE STORY AHEAD!*

    I did quite fortunate to have an upper middle class Tionghoa guy and a high caste Balinese lad (no kidding, he was/is a Brahmana and lived like minor feudal lord back then) among my circle of childhood friends. I'm from the early 90s generation, at that time those buddies privileged socio-economic status opened some opportunities to access foreign goodies, such as console games which were luxury items back in the days, some gamebooks (Fighting Fantasy, Lone Wolf etc) and also imported boardgames. I forget the title, it might be Heroquest or something similar to it. But still my experience in PnP is indeed very basic and limited, as kids we made the rules as we like and added some stuffs etc. So I'm not good enough to give you any advice mate. The Tionghoa guy taught us the basic rules of DnD but we never had any serious gaming session, one of the more proper session we had was a mini campaign set in a bandit's den and its surrounding area. After the experience, I know that I'm not fond of the DnD mechanics.

    During junior high, the Tionghoa guy was obsessed with Warhammer Fantasy, he showed me how to play the wargame but I argued that we need to make our own shit than following some official rules and derpy fictional world, so I made my own fantasy world for the setting of our made up PnP+wargame stuff. He loved muskets and landsknechts plus I want a somewhat realistic setting, so in the end I just copied historical stuff in the 16th century, yeah we got a pike and shot era as setting for our custom made game. The setting and scenarios were basically done but we had some difficulties on deciding the rules and shit. After that we scrapped the idea and moved on with our lives. Better to play kites and trekking the forest than dealing with nerdy stuff amirite? (Hey we didn't have cheap internet those days)...

    On my early twenties, the three of us were reunited, the meeting inspired me to cook some PnP + wargame concept once again (it was our idea that every PnP game should have skirmish battle on the field with its own engagement rules). I fleshed up my old setting, and we even made a new one, it was a historical fiction awesomeness based on our own glorious repressed, colonized history! I was (and still is) impressed by Pak Peter Carey's take on Prince Diponegoro in his masterful Takdir: Riwayat Pangeran Diponegoro, so I designed some scenarios based on the Java War, but soon I was overwhelmed by the complexities of the skirmish level gameplay. We were just too ambitious and no shit was being done. Around that time I read some The Riddle of Steel combat/dueling mechanics and just fell in love. I tried to make my own homebrew version of it by adding some new features like halfswording and mordhau etc. The basic mechanics for damage calculations and hit-or-miss conditions were done, I even developed this combat system around a momentum management concept as the main factor which determined the combat outcomes. We hanged around for a week, before harsh reality came and we must return to our respective cities (the Balinese lived in Jakarta, the Tionghoa was in Surabaya and I was moving my ass from Bali to Jogjakarta for personal reasons).

    TLDR; life sucks, we failed to even play a proper PnP session, and I finally understand why Indonesians have certain difficulties to goddamn play this shit, it is because most of us lack basic discipline to follow rules. Any fucking rules made by God or men. That's why the three of us always thought something like, "well we do want to play some PnP, but we hate other people rules so let's make our own rules and lore and setting and everything, when it completes then we can finally commence a proper PnP gaming yadda yadda..." Yeah it was stupid I know.

    Sorry I digress man, but good luck to you. I too, want to finally have my proper PnP gaming just once in my goddamn life. But I don't have enough time nor constitution right now. I'm not playing any game (computer or otherwise) at this moment, and just patiently waiting for Battle Brothers, Expeditions Viking and also non-beta Ultima Ratio Regum releases. No more PnP escapades for now mate. :)
    Take care man, just enjoy life and our people degenerate pop culture and the usual banalities.
    IN THE GRIM DARKNESS OF INDONESIAN DOMINATION OVER THE NUSANTARA, THERE IS ONLY PANCAGILA (PLUS RETARDED UNHOLY SLANGS)... :salute:
     
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  6. something that sounds manly Learned

    something that sounds manly
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    if you guys wanna start a real-life pnp session, count me in brah
     
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  7. nikolokolus Magister

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    If you're confident in your English it might be worth checking out one of the myriad RPG communities on Google+. A lot of people advertise games that they run over "hangouts" or Skype with virtual tabletops like Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds. People are usually pretty "newbie" friendly -- just an option if you have trouble getting a face-to-face group together.

    As for rules, the Fifth edition of D&D has a free "Basic rules" download available that strips out some of the complexity of the full ruleset (I've only read it, not played it). I'm also a big proponent of other free, so-called D&D-like retroclones, like Swords & Wizardry, for beginners or Basic Fantasy RPG. BFRPG is nice because there are quite a few free adventures available.

    Browse RPGNow.com and search for free or pay-what-you-want stuff and start reading. Hopefully something will click with you and whomever else might be playing with you.

    Good luck.
     
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  8. FritzedProcess Educated

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    I'm guessing by your choice of examples that you are looking for a fantasy setting sort of thing. Depending on the number-crunching factor you are seeking, I'd recommend Savage Worlds (a generic system that can be adapted to any kind of setting, it's light on the numbers and tables but there's enough detail in it to make each character special) on the low end of crunchiness and MERP or Rolemaster on the high end. D&D 3/3.5 and Pathfinder would be in the mid-high level of the scale, Pathfinder being a patched and fine-grained version of D&D 3.5.
     
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  9. Rpgsaurus Rex Magister

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    PnP is 90% people 10% system. You need chemistry. Also get a female player or two, they may suck but it'll boost the male's creativity and get them into "properly playing" mood instead of degenerating into silly shit (cockfest PnP always does).
     
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  10. Make America Great Again Zed Duke of Banville Arcane Patron

    Zed Duke of Banville
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    The best introduction to RPGs ever written is the Dungeons & Dragons 1983 "Red Box" Basic Set written by Frank Mentzer (based on earlier versions of D&D). If you can manage to obtain even a PDF copy, it includes two books, the first being the Players Manual that serves as a general introduction to the game for players and prospective Dungeon Masters alike, starting with a brief narrative introduction to the basic concepts, then a lengthier solo adventure in the style of a CYOA/gamebook, and finally rules relating to character creation and other useful information for players. The second part is the Dungeon Masters Rulebook that includes the things that a DM should know and the players probably shouldn't, such as monsters, treasure, various rules, and a sample dungeon.

    [​IMG]

    IIRC, a few years ago Hasbro/WotC released something under the name D&D using this same famous illustration, so be careful before buying anything.

    There's a decades-old (likely apocryphal) story about players stumbling across a gazebo and attacking it due to the fact they don't know what a gazebo is and thus assume it must be a monster.

    Although it's possible to play an RPG with as little as a single player, I'd recommend at least 4 players for D&D.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2017
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  11. Hoggypare Educated

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    Not so long ago I've been in quite a similar place as yourself OP. After trying some PnP, I can say it is a wonderful thing, beating any cRPG experience if you manage to find a good group of people.
    As for your questions it all depends on what kind of player you are. There are some good suggestions already but I will mention my own experiences getting introduced to the PnP concept. As for the system, it is obviously the best to start with something simple, so avoid Shadowrun for example, even though the setting is cool as hell. I found that a very good game for a newb is actually lovecraftian Call of Cthulu. Even though it has the fame of being extremely hard and punishing on the players it has some great advantages:
    1) The rules are quite straightforward, yet leave many interesting options for players and aren't too RNG dependant (a criticque I would level at Dark Heresy or DnD) so you feel like the skills and abilities of characters really leave an impact
    2) It is an RPG concentrated on doing other stuff than fighting. Investigations! Explorations! Negotiations! Those are the things where PnP shines. Combat is actually well done in most cRPG's, it's the other stuff that is lacking due to obvious limitations. In PnP combat is either complex and time consuming or boringly simple and boils down to just rolling dice, so the system that focuses on the medium's strenghts avoiding the weaknesses is a big plus for me.
    3) The settings are easily relatable to the players. It is normally set in 1920, but you can use modern settings. You can even make a campaign in modern Indonesia if you like. The characters are normal people, soldiers, professors, criminals, doctors. The twist is that they encounter supernatural events, uncover untold mysteries and the like. It is actually great that no-one but GM has to get introduced to the setting and the Cthulu Mythos before playing.
    4) It is not yet another generic fantasy world (which might be a downside for you, depends what you are looking for)

    Also, if You find it hard to gather enough people to play, there is always a very useful tool, called roll20. It enables you to play RPG's through the internet and is free to use (with cosmetics shop). That's actually how I did my campaigns to include a friend who lives in another country.
     
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  12. udm Arbiter Patron

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    Related: I run public games at a local board games Meetup (13th Age, Atomic Highway, Savage Worlds). Not too long ago we had an Indonesian guy join a few sessions. Cool dude, still a student. What he described of Indonesia was basically what you mentioned in the OP, that there weren't many PnPers to begin with. Sucks, but glad to see you're taking the baton as GM.

    Start with Risus if you haven't the faintest idea about proper RPGs (C or PnP). It's free and there's an adventure for you to kick start your GMing career with. Mind, the first few times you GM will probably not turn out well if you've never even played PnP before, but it's all about the learning experience. I'm not an old fart myself - there are definitely more experienced PnPers here - but I can tell you that improving your craft at GMing can have its satisfying moments.

    Ah yeah and watch this too:
     
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  13. Make America Great Again ERYFKRAD Arcane Patron

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    Indonesia has way more Pnpers than India or even Pakistan will. Hell, even Pakistan has one player(Andhaira), and that's one more than India. :negative:
     
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  14. Black Angel Savant

    Black Angel
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    felipepepe clemens nikolokolus FritzedProcess Zed Duke of Banville Hoggypare thank you so much for the suggestions, bros! But one thing I forgot to mention in the OP, is about dices. Like I said, it's next to impossible to find any PnP enthusiasts out here, so it's also next to impossible to find if there's any 20-sided dices or whatsoever, so is there any system that's viable with the use of a 6-sided dices (or maybe 2 or 3 pieces of it)? I posted this thread in NMA and got a suggestion to play GURPS lite, and it's viable with 6-sided dices, what do you think of it? There's still quite a lot of board games to be found around, but just in case... oh well, like Hoggypare suggested, maybe I'll resort to the use of roll20 or anything like that.

    Shame. You're in Jakarta, right? Maybe after I finally get a hang of PnP, we should try to meet and have a session, maybe even get Forged of Blood devs (Critical Forge) to join in. I've just (un)officially graduated from college, currently dealing with revision and shit before ceremonially graduated in February.

    You an Indonesian?

    Damn, that was sad. You should teach your children to become nerds play PnPs and cRPGs and pass the torch for new generation.

    Luckily, I'm the only guy in my circle of community to play cRPGs, and the only one to even actually aware of PnPs, so I'll be the one to make the rules or impose the existing ones upon my friends :smug:

    Now that I remember it, there was this one time when a friend of mine watched me played Underrail, he was interested so I let him play a bit. Despite dying so many times (I was at Junkyard), he loved every bit of what he played. Maybe I'll drag him to play PnP with me.

    Don't worry, there's a female or two in my circle who's also a bit nerdy, as in one of them play video games with his bf (who's also a friend of mine), and the other one is okay with card and board games.

    Even if I can't get them to play.... well.... :codexisforindividualswithgenderidentityissues:
     
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  15. Make America Great Again Zed Duke of Banville Arcane Patron

    Zed Duke of Banville
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    Dice are just random number generators, and there are ways to randomly generate numbers without dice. :M It would be a shame to limit yourself to systems using 6-side dice only.
     
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  16. HoboForEternity Magister

    HoboForEternity
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    yeah. sure. looks like it could be fun
     
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  17. Old One Magister

    Old One
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    If you go with the Basic D&D red book Duke Zed suggested, you might also want to check out some of the B-series beginner modules from the same era. I've been reading through my old collection recently, and they'd be a good supplement to the red books.

    B1 In Search of the Unknown
    B2 The Keep on the Borderlands
    B3 Palace of the Silver Princess
    B4 The Lost City
     
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  18. something that sounds manly Learned

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    Black Angel

    yes, and I live in Jakarta too!

    I've been interested in PnP for a while, unfortunately most of my friends with even slight interest on it are discouraged due to lack of local community, and also the cringey-ness of sword-and-sorcery fantasy (I dare you to "Cast Magic Missile" in Bahasa)

    I have no previous experience in PnP too, but here's my idea for our first time plays:

    I suggest instead of anything sword-and-sorcery we play something relatable with fantasy elements like aforementioned Call of Cthulhu. It will be much easier to invite other people to join. Not to mention less emphasis on combat means less maths that'd bore our friends. It's not like you can't replay ToEE if you really want combat anyway. There are some free materials to get started at their site too.

    You might also want to try the single player adventure available there (Alone Against Madness)

    We also need to train someone to be a decent GM before we invite our friends to join.

    For dice, there are online dice rollers... no need to buy dice, just open it from your phone.

    Or just make our own.

    (By the way, the Lone Wolf books don't seem to require any dice)
     
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  19. udm Arbiter Patron

    udm
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    Did you see my post? Give Risus a look.
     
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  20. Black Angel Savant

    Black Angel
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    udm damn I forgot to address your post. Sorry! Yeah, I had a look and it seems the easiest to get into atm. Thank you, I'll read up and study it.

    nonoriri that makes the 4 of us, Indo-Codexers haha. There's so much I have to digest, so it's gonna take some time before I even decide to drag my friends into this whole mess.
     
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  21. Make America Great Again Zed Duke of Banville Arcane Patron

    Zed Duke of Banville
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    Those are all classic adventure modules. The Keep on the Borderlands might the be the easiest for a novice DM. Although those early adventures were independent of any established setting, if Black Angel wants a ready-made setting for D&D, the Known World campaign setting begins with maps in the "Blue Box" Expert Set written by Frank Mentzer in 1983 and was eventually detailed in the Gazetteer series, with the Grand Duchy of Karameikos becoming the established setting for most of the B-series of modules.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
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  22. joesys Critical Forge Patron Developer

    joesys
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    We actually do run a semi regular session for a pnp tabletop rpg called Pathfinder. It's quite similar to D&D 3.5e. If you play cRPG, it's the ruleset used in Temple of Elemental Evil.

    We usually play on Saturday, near Sawah Besar train station. Feel free to PM me if you are interested.

    In general, yes, PnP RPG isn't very popular here. I do know a few groups that are playing here but I'm not sure how active they are. There is also a semi active thread on kaskus here.

    Alternatively, you can also try roll20.net.
     
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  23. something that sounds manly Learned

    something that sounds manly
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    .... where have I been all this time :negative:
     
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  24. Galdred Generalist Patron

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    There are a few systems that use plain regular D6:
    Shadowrun uses D6, and is a pretty cool game (maybe not a very elegant system, but who cares?)
    Star Wars RPG (the old games by West End Games), and more generally, the D6 games that are derived from it.
    The Fudge open game system also uses D6 , but you'd need to find whatever setting supplement that suits your needs.
    Fuzion has an option for 3D6 and onf for D20, you can browse the list of games that use it in the end.
    Gurps too indeed (and Gurps not lite).
    You also have the Silhouette system, but it is miniature based, so if finding dice is a problem, I doubt finding mech miniatures would be any easier. That said, I ran a Heavy Gear campaign using toys from the Armored Trooper Votoms (1/144 by Tomy) line as miniatures, and it worked great.
    I wouldn't use a software to roll dice. I think it breaks the pace much more than rollhing dice.

    But really, unless the game system is a total mess, I don't think it is the most important to introduce new players. I think playing in a setting everyone finds cool with cool characters is more important to get some steam (and rule preferences may vary from one group to another).
    You only need a system that doesn't force you to constantly browse through the game rule book and kill the pace of the game in the beginning.
    So if your would be group likes Star Wars, Star Wars RPG might be the best choice, regardless of the limitations of the system.
    You should definitely not take Gurps only because of the rules IMO.
    Fuzion has an option for Cyberpunk, which would be great if you are into it (or have a look at Shadowrun if you are among the people who think using miniguns and cybernetics to battle against dragons is cool).

    If you are starting out, getting a game with enough scenarios/Campaign to delay having to write your ones might also help a lot.

    Now regarding my personal experience:
    I never played a Gurps based game that took off. For one reason or another all fizzled early on. The core system might be good, but having lots of rules that are not relevant to your game in the rulebook might make things slower or whatever, I don't know, I was only a player.
    I started DMing Star Wars, and we had a great time. It is fun but it can take some time to get things dead. + Fighting against the most incompetent soldiers of the multiverse might or might not appeal to your players (WEG Star Wars had much less jedi nonsense than the D20 and later iterations), so it definitely worked in getting my group hooked with RPG, but we were around 11 at the time.
    After that, the next game I DMed was Shadowrun 2nd edition. We had a pretty cool time with it, but you need to enforce a lot of rules (mostly to find and use illegal arms and armor) to keep characters in line; as they can quickly get out of control. The main problem is that many runs end up with one character soloing the matrix, one soloing the astral space, and the other waiting for their turn to play. I think it has been streamlined in later editions, but I cannot tell as I only quickly browsed the rules. It is one of the settings I prefer to this day.

    Heavy Gear: If you want a miniature based game, I also had a great time DMing Heavy Gear. The combat options change much compared to your usual RPG (calling artillery strike, jamming opponents, rollerskating but reasonably sized mechas). The latest Silcore rules iteration is a bit of a mess, but the previous edition of Heavy Gear still works well.

    On a side note, I'd advise against playing only with another player. I think 3 works much better as it brings some dynamics to the group.
    Two player RPG might be ok for short sessions, but it is not like the real thing.
    I think 3-5 is the best(I prefer 4 but YMMV). More can be hard to handle, and make things too slow in combat, character level ups, ...
     
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  25. Galdred Generalist Patron

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    Divinity: Original Sin 2
    I just remembered 2 more entries that might be of interest, as I mostly listed sci fi games:
    The old CODA system also uses D6 and is used by Star Trek, and one version of Lords of the Ring RPG. I played as a player in a Coda LOTR campaign, and I quite liked the system, as it had less variance than D20, and a smoother character progression.
    There is also a Game of Thrones RPG that uses d6 by Green Ronin Publishing. Given the popularity of the TV show, it might help getting players to the table. I have not played this iteration myself, but quick rules are available for free on their site.
     
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