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20 Responses

  1. Lord Karick says:

    Savage Worlds? FATE? Though the former is any setting – past, present or future. Don’t know whether that disqualifies it.

    • greywulf says:

      Yeah. Both Savage Worlds and FATE fall into the same bucket as GURPS ad M&M – excellent generic systems that allow you to build your own game by providing a solid core and excellent tools.

  2. vulpinoid= says:

    I’d strip the serial numbers and setting from “Mage: the Ascension” (or “Mage: the Sorceror’s Crusade”…but certainly not “Mage: the Awakening”) and plug it into a suitable fantasy setting, then pull in some of the races from “Changeling: the Dreaming” if you really wanted Elves and Dwarves in your fantasy.

    But that’s just me.

  3. John H says:

    I suspect “fantasy as a whole” is so big that any attempt to tackle it results in a generic system. Tends to happen with super-hero systems too (M&M, Hero, Tri-Stat). So GURPS & Fantasy HERO are in fact the kind of game you’re waiting to see ;)

    The other contender is a very different beast, which takes a much more “freeform” approach. It supports the idea that PCs will travel among thousands of different worlds, but absolutely limits itself to fantasy (no guns or sci-fi crossovers allowed, although people have hacked the system to support such). So maybe the game you wanted is Everway.

    • greywulf says:

      I had forgotten about Fantasy Hero! I love HERO system, and especially Fantasy Hero 4th Edition, but getting players to actually look beyond the character generation and be willing to play it is a whole different kettle of fish, and perhaps a blogpost for another time.

  4. SoS Michael says:

    And continuing with the Savage Worlds suggestion, if you add the Fantasy Companion to the core rules it’s an even more impressive starting point.

  5. Gabriel says:

    Have you given a look to the Burning Wheel system?

    That being said, each fantasy world has it’s own idiosyncrasies and any time you wish to play outside the fantasy assumptions of the games creators (a middle ages world being the most pervasive) you will have to customize.

  6. carldot34 says:

    Champions (well, hero system but lets call it by it’s original name! If you can’t build it in Champions, it can’t be built. Give each player a pool of points and one can build Dragon Shouts, one can build an Al_Qadim genie and they are all compatable and internally balanced. Love it…it’s unfortunate that too many players (who may never have played it) see it as a Maths exercise.

    • greywulf says:

      HERO, like GURPS and M&M, is a solid generic system that can be tailored to provide anything you choose to throw at it, and Fantasy Hero is a particularly great supplement too. As you quite rightly say, the challenge is getting gamers to play it. Shame, really.

  7. Jessica M. says:

    Ever heard of the Mythic Roleplaying System?

  8. Actually, SUPERS! might work as well. Yeah, it’s geared toward superheroic playing, but the powers are generic and can be tweaked with Boosts and Complications. I haven’t looked at using it for a fantasy-based campaign, but it might do the job. Again, it is more of a generic system (d6 based).

  9. Philo Pharynx says:

    Ah, but rules systems that take the backseat have a harder time dealing with some of the systems where magic is a very complex and fiddly thing. You’ll usually want more specific rules for those.

    Each system has it’s assumptions. for example, M&M doesn’t do a good job with Vancian magic. (it’s possible, but it’s not easy)

    I think you are looking for a rainbow unicorn. The one true game that is all things to all people. I don’t think it exists.

  10. Just done a quick check in the comments, and if I’ve missed someone mentioning this one, I apologise, but what about Amber? You can create any character you want, and do anything you want, with any type of magic you can conceive of.

  11. Gary says:

    Shadowrun comes to mind a bit, but the terrible taste of complex rules and hard to grasp quickly system comes swirling back to me. But, it does include guns, cyberpunk, magic (and psionics?), hacking computers, and swords and stuff. Could that be adapted? I wouldn’t even want to begin to try. Maybe that’s the issue there. I guess your point is, all these systems still need to be adapted some to fit what you describe. Do you think a world with EVERYTHING would be fun? Cuz I’m not using a sword if I can have a mega blaster.

  12. I’d argue that I want to see things go the other way at the moment. I don’t want a bunch of generic or quasi-generic rules. I want to see unique worlds and the rules for letting me play in that work specifically.

  13. Brendan says:

    Flexibility and assumptions are inherently in conflict. Even the idea of “class” is just a prepackaged collection of stuff that you could easily break down in any way you like. Obviously D&D is a fantasy RPG, it is just not all fantasy RPGs, because fantasy as a genre is mutable. Star Wars is fantasy to me.

    The big problem with this is that RPGs are not just character and setting creation toolboxes, they are also games that plug together in ways that can be played. For example, many spells in D&D are not ways to simulate sorcery, they are game keys to game locks (for example, ESP is a more reliable version of listen at the door from a game perspective).

    So the tradeoff is set of assumptions that you can break down if desired (like most games that have setting assumptions) or toolkit that you must build up to do anything. Different people will disagree about which tropes are important, but having tropes is important to having a shared idea about the potential world without first needing to read pages and pages of referee info dump.

  14. Its been a million years (At least it seems) since I’ve looked at it. But isn’t True20 a fantasy game using the basic M&M system? That would pretty much fit the idea of what you are looking for?

    • Bill Olander says:

      True20 was just a combination of a handful of the optional rules in the 3.5 version of Unearthed Arcana (Generic Classes and Injury [AKA. M&M’s Toughness Save] if you’re looking it up) along with the spell system from the Psychic’s Handbook (also written by Steve Kenson).

      Although originally used in Blue Rose (I love that setting), the True20 core had a bunch of settings including Mecha v. Kaiju and one described as “swashbuckling space opera”.

    • Philo Pharynx says:

      Shadowrun has a very specific magic system (technically three or more depending on what options you use). It’s hard to adapt to other types of magic.
      I think that if you look at all of the d20 system spinoffs and their various magic systems you could get close to what’s described. D&D has normal magic, warlockry, psionics, truename magic, shadow magic, binding, incarnum, magic rating, spell points, incantations, and recharge magic. I remember there was a different type of magic in Sovereign Stone (You needed to build up successes, which could take multiple rounds). Arcana unearthed/Arcana Evolved used a magic system with multiple versions of each spell. Green Ronin’s True Sorcery is another system. I’m sure I’m missing some great products as well.

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