Jump to content
Tech priest support

Name a RPG system you can't stand.

Recommended Posts

Maybe it was intended to replace 4th edition but it superseded Hero 5th in the publication schedule. Everybody was waiting for Hero 5th and when Champions: TNM was announced and then that it was going to be a whole new rules set, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth by those on the boards that were waiting patiently for 5th edition. The powers being divided up between three supplements didn't help sell it either. I remember much vitriol on the boards back then and moderation was virtually non-existent. I dub those Cybergames days the Time of Righteous Grumpiness. That made DoJ's acquisition of Hero Games and the subsequent focus on 5th Edition that much more miraculous to the people who felt cheated by the priority that Hero Games (under Bruce Harlick) gave to Fuzion and C:TNM.

 

Damn. That was late 90's. I had just gotten out of the Army and was transitioning back into civilian life.

 

Okay, I get what you meant now. Fair enough, though I don't recall 5th edition as being much of a wanted thing until after C:TNM flopped. 4e was kicking along nicely at the time ICE internally handed things over to R.Talsorian (1996) and it wasn't until after ICE hit financial strife (1997) that C:TNM resulted.

 

I certainly wasn't expecting any new edition at the time. But naturally YMMV and clearly does.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I checked the Wayback Machine site but it does not seem to have the forums from those days. Probably for the best actually. As I said, there was a lot of anger back then. There are still a few people that pass through the current forum that remember. It comes up every once in a while.

 

I personally liked both Fuzion and Champions: TNM. I was actually a little upset when I found out DoJ wasn't going to be supporting either one. Not that any of that is important now. As you say, varying mileage. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I found Space 1889 to be highly opaque.  Not character design which was fine but the action resolution system.  Enough that when we tried to use it I defaulted to "roll low and you succeed".  Or maybe it was "roll high".  I forget.  I never tried an actual game of Heroes Unlimited but I recall being put off by character generation when I played around with it.  I've never seen a worse random generation system for supers games.  I do not love dice pool systems but I can work with them.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Clonus, you're not alone in disliking the basic mechanics in Space:1889, which is otherwise one of my favourite settings. I'm still a bit puzzled why GDW didn't simply use Traveller or their House System mechanics.

 

I spend much time in my wilderness years of the late 90's and early 00's fiddling with using GURPS Lite instead (which I still think would work quite swimmingly). The Ubiquity system that is used in the new edition is fairly solid, though I'm not in love with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shadowrun was a cool setting and the source books looked very nice. But the system was pants. (That's bad.)

 

I tend to agree with Bruce Stirling who once wrote:

 

"The mechanics of this game [shadowrun] were fine, but the scenario was rendered moronic by sappy fantasy elements like elves, trolls, wizards, and dragons--all highly ideologically incorrect, according to the hard-edged, high-tech standards of cyberpunk science fiction."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, he's entitled to his opinion. But classic cyberpunk is just as disconnected from the reality of computer security and bionics, not to mention a lot of the time physics, chemistry and biology (hint: it's all stuff they basically made up because it sounded cool). He has no moral high ground to preach from.

 

What I really liked about Shadowrun was that it started from the "Magic is real, but has been dormant - and now it's back" premise BUT did not throw the medieval switch. History still counts, science still counts, technology still works. AND that magic didn't just become a technology.

 

+1 on the lethality of Cyberpunk. I don't think I ever had a character survive more than one session.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, he's entitled to his opinion. But classic cyberpunk is just as disconnected from the reality of computer security and bionics, not to mention a lot of the time physics, chemistry and biology (hint: it's all stuff they basically made up because it sounded cool). He has no moral high ground to preach from.

 

What I really liked about Shadowrun was that it started from the "Magic is real, but has been dormant - and now it's back" premise BUT did not throw the medieval switch. History still counts, science still counts, technology still works. AND that magic didn't just become a technology.

 

+1 on the lethality of Cyberpunk. I don't think I ever had a character survive more than one session.

 

I thought Shadowrun missed an opportunity.  One of the lovely things about the Cyberpapacy from Torg is that there was a magic spell to bodily transport the whole group into an astral realm that was connected to the computers and their connections.  For once we had a cyberpunk setting that avoided the inutterable tedium of a single character playing a full immersion video game to "hack" into a computer while everyone else read comic books or something.   Instead everybody got to play the video game (although I'd probably go with a letting them mentally travel while their bodies slept).  Far more fun.  But that's a setting flaw not a system flaw.  Still magic would provide an excellent explanation for how playing video games can get you into secret files in the first place.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I gotta disagree with Bruce Sterling.

 

The system was clunky and ultimately unworkable.

 

Look, if you don't like magic in your cyberpunk that's cool. But I liked it. That and all the mayhem that went with the re-emergence of magic in the setting's backstory.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I never played Hero Unlimited but I did mess around making characters. I don't mind random charts but rolling for High School success? And I also picked up Ninjas and Superspies, it has some neat background material.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cyborg Commando

 

 

Or HYBRID for the ultimate in WTF moments.

 

HYBRID doesn't count.  It wasn't so much a game as a classification scheme.  I never found out what Cyborg Commando's action resolution scheme was like, just noted that the setting was dull and the characters devoid of individuality.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I never played Hero Unlimited but I did mess around making characters. I don't mind random charts but rolling for High School success? And I also picked up Ninjas and Superspies, it has some neat background material.

 

You didn't roll for high school success, just Education Level, which gave wildly varied access to skills. Palladium games were pretty random.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You didn't roll for high school success, just Education Level, which gave wildly varied access to skills. Palladium games were pretty random.

 

And yet, the original "lifepath character generation" RPG - Traveller - got it pretty much spot on first time. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You didn't roll for high school success, just Education Level, which gave wildly varied access to skills. Palladium games were pretty random.

Ok couldn't quite remember exactly but I was thinking "that was harsh"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I managed to avoid playing most of the really awful systems that have been mentioned, like Palladium or WOD. Sticking only to games I've actually played:

 

Morrow Project - yeah, a great setting with an unplayable system. Honestly I feel like that describes most 80s post-apoc games...

 

Space 1889 - clunky as hell.

 

D&D 4ed...I actually can't quite say I hate 4ed, because I feel like it was incredibly well-designed to give a very specific play experience. Just because that's not a game experience I'm at all interested in playing isn't necessarily the system's fault.

 

Oh, and GDW's Dark Conspiracy. Yet another awesome setting with near-unplayable mechanics. As soon as I found it, I converted everything over to Hero and ran a 6-year long campaign.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, I think the SF RPG living steel had a great setting and an unplayable system, the phoenix command system which was really impossible to play.

 

It had a nice setting and some unique aliens, plus an interesting world. I wish the owners of leading edge games would allow someone else to develop living steel with a gear oriented PLAYABLE RPG system. Hero, gurps, fusion, EABA, whatever.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Never heard of those!

 

Cyborg Commando was a boxed set about an alien invasion being opposed by people who were turned into cyborgs. The rules set was clunky and the setting was about as original as manure in a stable. I bought it for $1 at one of those dollar stores back in the 80's and felt that I overpaid by about $6. Here is the Wiki entry.

 

HYBRID is not a role-playing game so much as the delusional rantings or a...well you decide from this excerpt   The WIKI page is far too kind, focusing on the disjointed formulae and references to non-existent rules and sources. There was a lot of misogyny and racism (as I recall) to boot. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recall references to the game so lethal your character could die while being rolled up...

 

Actually random generation combined with a lifepath system that could kill you had interesting consequences. It was remarkable how many inept dimwits seemed to think that the Scout Service was just their ticket to success.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

HYBRID is not a role-playing game so much as the delusional rantings or a...well you decide from this excerpt   The WIKI page is far too kind, focusing on the disjointed formulae and references to non-existent rules and sources. There was a lot of misogyny and racism (as I recall) to boot. 

:jawdrop: Wow, that's just...wow.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×