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Tabletop Systems of Note or Interest


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So, I went to visit my cousin today, because humanity. We discussed traditional games for a while, as they can have the complexities of software while also having the benefits of whims and easy artistic manipulation. That, of course, is the theory.


Now the question becomes, "which game system suits your preferences?" For me, the one which I bear the most interest in to wrapping around something like, say, Avernum, would be Rangers of Shadow Deep by Joseph McCullough. It's a very simple but elegant system that would need a lot of contortions to work ideally, but you can read about why I like it so much here:




...I'd be happy to discuss my musings further on that matter further if pressed, but that's all WIP and sloppy even now. It was fun to get it all fresh on the mind again, however.


That said, I wonder what you other fine chaps (and chapettes) think about various traditional game engines, which ones you like, and which ones you'd bend to this setting or that setting? As per Avernum, there have been a few older threads on this board about that matter, such as this one here:




Anyway, just kind of wanted to throw something on this topic out there again - might make for a good conversation!

Edited by Thaeris
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Personally, I've been tormented by the impossibility of finding a good system for Geneforge. I think Avernum could be passably represented by most fantasy adventure tabletop systems, with minor tweaks for setting and magic level. But Geneforge requires some kind of hybrid RPG-wargaming system that just seems impossible to keep manageable.

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I played the Geneforge demo a long, long time ago and quite liked it. However, really knowing the game well enough to apply it to a pen-and-paper system is beyond me. Let alone any other game - I am a tinkerer first and foremost! But someday, I will get there.


...RPG-wargame hybrids are neat and make perfect sense. RPGs were of course born from wargames, after all. Bringing the two formats back together is what I'd term "adventure wargaming." And, for that matter, it might be worth a look into the system I was suggesting in the original post... 😉 Mind you that a LOT of surgery is needed to perfectly match the system to the setting. Heck, you see similar issues in the game modding scene all the time!


As per making your own "adventure wargaming" engine (if such sounds like a plan), that makes me think about my conversation with my cousin the other day. Shadowrun, which seems to be what he played a lot of, is basically an OSR (old-school rules) and wargame hybrid. The wargame part is basically seen in the dicing system, which consists of non-cumulative D6's. It's been a very long time since I worked on the following project, but I started it to get a better idea of how to do simulation in a traditional game system. And most of the game systems I was looking at use non-cumulative D6's. The statistics might be interesting to check out - just don't ask me about them, as I've not messed with any of it for some time:




...Another system I should look at again is Osprey's Broken Legions. When I was reading it the first time, it did not really gel, if you will. But, it reminded me of Nethergate, which is why I bought it. It's another game that would fall into the "adventure wargaming" or skirmish game family, but probably with a greater emphasis on wargaming.


Unless Geneforge changed a lot from when I played the demo so many years ago, you have finite energy to devote to your creations, do you not? This does not sound all that unlike points you have towards the creation of a party or unit in a wargame or "adventure wargame," if you will. Perhaps you should investigate some of the skirmish games out on the market right now? I've not tried Joseph McCullough's other and more notable game, Frostgrave, but that might be just what you're looking for.

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I'm a couple of editions out of date on Geneforge, but Shadowrun has at least the very basic framework of shaping built in the form of the rigger, the archetype that relies on operating drones, sometimes in semi-autonomous small squads. The trouble is that that part of Shadowrun has historically been clunky and miserable. Maybe 5E has cleaned it up? Cyberware and gunplay actually aren't a problem; it's easy enough to reskin the former as self-shaping (or take it out) and Geneforge has always had magic acting as tech. There would be no problem with a baton instead of a pistol and crystals instead of grenades.


The other system that seems more intuitively obvious is summoning elementals and spirits, but that's mechanically simpler but also a balance nightmare and probably too mechanically simple to cover the variety of shaping well.


—Alorael, who sees no reason that Geneforge couldn't be done with a heavily-modified d20 derivative. The problem is the heavily modified part: building a points system for much more detailed summoning, and balancing it, would be a large undertaking. It's been superficially brought up here before, and it usually falls apart because getting shaping to act and feel like Geneforge is so far from slapping new flavor and tweaks on any existing mechanics.

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That was a joke about the difference between old Shadowrun and modern wirrless Shadowrun.  It did not occur to me that those letters might be an actual independent acronym...  As it turns out, they were, though I don't think I've ever seen it actually used.  Congratulations, ADoS, thou hast slain the joke.

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