What is your favourite system? [poll]

This thread http://story-games.com/forums/discussion/21525/dream-system-poll-on-a-mechanic#latest make me think of asking?

What is your all-time favourite system? I really mean the mechanic of the system rather than any one particular game, e.g. PbtA rather than Apocalyspe Word itself.

My two are Otherkind dice, and Danger Patrol dice (I don't know what to call it really, I just made that name up).

Comments

  • Favourite in terms of 'play most often' has to be Dead of Night, because the rules you use during play can fit on the back of a postcard, so it's easy for me to whip up a game at the drop of a hat.

    Favourite in terms of 'admire' is a dead heat between My Life with Master and Don't Rest Your Head: tight, driven sub-systems that mesh together beautifully to drive play towards pre-defined end points, there's nothing wasted in these systems.

    Favourite in terms of 'hack the most' is PbtA: I think I have some kind of condition in respect to that.
  • Well, thanks @James_Mullen. You're right, I was kind of vague framing my question, I guess. My most admired engine is Otherkind dice. My most played and reskinned is Danger Patrol Pocket. And currently, my most favorite in terms of wanting to play is Danger Patrol (beta).
  • My favorite system ever is Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine, which is so much my absolute ideal game. It does literally everything I want a game to do, and is just super super useful to my group with the way that we value games as storytelling engines first and foremost.

    Some honorable mentions as far as other system I'd call some of my favorites:
    - Nobilis
    - Annalise
    - Ribbon Drive
    - Black Hole Girls
    - My Centipede Boyfriend
  • Favourite in terms of 'play most often' has to be Dead of Night, because the rules you use during play can fit on the back of a postcard, so it's easy for me to whip up a game at the drop of a hat.
    Dead of Night is awesome! I’ve done a couple of hacks to it—one a throwback espionage game that worked very well.

  • edited March 2018
    My favorite is B/X (Moldvay & Cook) with some house rules.

    Next down would be:

    Pendragon
    The Black Hack
    Mercenaries, Spies & Private Eyes
    Crimson Cutlass
    Danger Patrol
    Castle Falkenstein

  • edited March 2018
    For play structure, Sign in Stranger. Some GM duties/authorities are shared by all players, and some are held by no one at the table. "What's really going on?" is unknown to all until resolved with lots of successful investigation.

    For combat, probably either Riddle of Steel or Spellbound Kingdoms. Hard to describe succinctly.

    For core mechanic, Puppetland. Players speak in character voice. GM speaks in past tense, saying what happened. A few descriptive stats can be compared for opposed actions. It's basically a seamless conversation with functional GM fiat.

    For advancement, D&D (pre-3E). For success in violent adventures, you gain greater survivability and cooler spells so you can tackle cooler violent adventures.

    Bonus points for elegance: FU RPG (roll for Yes/No, And/But) and Cthulhu Dark (use Sanity die, increased chance of success but might lose Sanity).
  • Spellbound Kingdoms.
    Spellbound Kingdoms very good for combat.

  • Polaris "but only if" conflict mechanic. Amazing at showing the protagonist and the antagonist whether they are on the same page.
  • Hi Everyone,
    Ben, Dave and James kind of did what I was hoping for. Please say what it is about that game that you like. And unless the game is really one of a kind, I'm more interested in the "engine" rather than any particular game. For example, Otherkind, Ghost/Echo, and Sign in Stranger all use Otherkind dice. And say something about why it is your favourite, ie. most admired, hacked, played, etc. For example, is Pendragon your most admired game because of the passions system or the lineage system? And telling us what other games use those systems would be nice to.

    Otherkind dice is an extremely elegant conflict resolution system in which once the stakes are set the resolution is in the player's hands: set the stakes, roll 2d6, player assigns one to the danger and one to the goal. It's my most admired system.

    Pocket Danger Patrol is my most hacked system (for my home games). It has a like framework that is accomodating for hacking.
  • light framework
  • I guess my thread title is a bit misleading. I should remove the [poll] bit, but I can't edit my posts.
  • edited March 2018
    As for old games, I like Hero system (3D6 + modifiers) skill rolls : skinnable ad libitum.
    Keys in The Shadow of Yesterday : both drama bait and plot armor.
    Objectives in my game (refined from "goals" in Capes and similar to "claims" in Annalise), Utopian Chronicles : applied dramaturgy.

    As for system as a whole, like in system integration, and how the moving parts interact : play pretend. 100% organic.
  • My favourite mechanic are the Face-Off (conflict) scenes in Remember Tomorrow. More specifically that they don't allow me to initiate conflict between my held (own) character and a faction. Very counterintuitive but drives home the point that the game is not about me talking about my stuff. So what I end up doing is either having lots of inter-character conflict (because I'm allowed to initiate that) or using factions to go after other people's characters. Both choices are great for a game. That it is the factions who make the player characters' lives hell and not the other way around also fits the downbeat tone of the game.
  • edited March 2018
    Ad libitum.
    Unless you meant "libido", but then I'd say you enjoy reskinning games a bit too much ;)

    Edit:
    Is "play pretend" an actual RPG? Or was that tongue in cheek?

    Do you have a link to Utopian Chronicles? It showed up a couple of times in this forum but a web search lead me to nothing relevant.
  • Thanks for the correction. I guess I took too much etymol.
    Yes, "play pretend" is the real thing and the assertion is provocative because, what is a RPG system, and stuff, but at the same time, I believe it is the best system of play.
    I'll send you a link to Chronicles, which is my drama & fantasy take on Capes Lite (MuseOfFire US / La Caravelle FR).
  • edited March 2018
    You know what, I should name-check another favorite core mechanic: Primetime Adventures played wrong. When the whole group throws their creativity at "what will success mean" and "what will failure mean" (breaking the rule that the high-card narrator determines such things), I really love the interaction and the results.

    Also, game I keep meaning to hack: Kagematsu. Everyone has a sort of unlockable XP track as they progress toward their goal of winning the samurai's devotion. You start with small connections and work your way up the ladder toward larger ones. ("You have to do A and B or C before you can do D" is also a feature of Spellbound Kingdoms combat, BTW.)

    @Hopeless_Wanderer I just embellished my earlier post to describe the games I mentioned.
  • edited March 2018
    @Hopeless_Wanderer

    For the games I mentioned:

    B/X — Maybe the best written set of rules there is. Makes nearly everything easy to understand, the system is simple (with a exceptions). I’ve played more games using Molday/Cook than any other RPG.

    Pendragon — Laser focused on emulating play for Arthurian knights. System is streamlined to near perfection. Love the winter phase, passions, aging, and family aspects of the game. Simultaneous combat as well.

    The Black Hack — My current favorite. So easy to hack. System is very simple and fun to play.

    Mercenaries, Spies & Private Eyes — Takes Tunnels and Trolls engine and adds a clever skills system to it. Fast and deadly combat.

    Crimson Cutlass — Excellent and underrated swashbuckling game. Uses cards and eight-siders for resolution. High points include rules for advancement, duels, and ship combat.

    Danger Patrol — I could have picked John Harper’s Lady Blackbird or any other of his designs. Design, layout, rules are all amazing. The danger die is nifty in play and the system is smooth.

    Castle Falkenstein — Another game that uses cards instead of dice. Love the way the book is presented. You’ll create a diary rather than a standard character sheet, makes it very personal. Setting is very interesting as well.


  • The following:
    1. GM describes a situation.
    2. Players tell what their characters do.
    3. Group decides how likely a bunch of different outcomes are, based on what would be likely in the fictional world.
    4. Participants roll dice to figure out what comes to be.
    5. Go to 1, taking into account what just happened.

    Traditional roleplaying games and variations of D&D (aside D&D 4) can almost always be used in this way. At the moment I particularly enjoy this in the context of play with keywords such as: fictional challenge (contra mechanical challenge), sandbox, player-driven. But it is quite adaptable.
  • edited March 2018
    @Thanuir that might be my favorite too, but I feel like the details of Step 3 tend to be influenced really heavily by formal rules systems. What sorts of outcomes do we even think to inquire about? For example, are we resolving degree, collateral, and positioning, or just a yes/no binary to immediate task execution? So I'm wondering if you have a favorite ruleset for that part. :)
  • edited March 2018
    I should probably elaborate on my answers, since I was kind of misunderstanding the question initially.

    - Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine - This is the only game I've found that does exactly what I was a ttrpg to do, nothing more, nothing less. The resolution mechanics are diceless and deterministic (what the players says is true is true). The Quest/Arc mechanics are all about creating narrative outlines before you start play that you then revise and refine and recontextualize in play, which is mine and my group's preferred way of doing things narratively (we're not at all fans of the "play to find out" philosophy) and is the way we've been playing for years, with then Chuubo's just giving us a mechanical structure that incentivizes it and rewards us for it. Also, it's centered on pastoral slice-of-life play where the focus is your day-to-day life and your emotions and your relationships, and if there's some adventurey thing going on, it's not looked at as being any more important than the day-to-day stuff, and focus on the slice-of-life day-to-day interactions is mine and my group's favorite mode of play, and it's something that so many other systems tell you not to do, tells you to skip over because it's supposedly "not interesting" or whatever. Basically, Chuubo's is the game that best supports exactly the type of play that my group and I are interested in, and it does it in this super super elegant way that works so perfectly.

    - Nobilis - I love this for a lot of the same reasons that I love Chuubo's (because things like the conflict resolution mechanics are the same mechanics). It's not quite as ideal for me as Chuubo's though, because it doesn't have the narrative structuring and slice-of-life mechanics, but it still just does so much mechanically that I love so much. The style and the aesthetic (especially for 3e) is just so pretty too.

    - Annalise - Claims are honestly just the coolest thing, and this is one of my favorite ways of doing GM-ful/GM-less play that I've seen. Also, the Moment mechanic where you basically pause play, resolve the dice stuff, then resume, roleplaying about the outcome is the only dice-based mechanic I've seen that I like.

    - Ribbon Drive - The whole thing with the playlists is just super super novel and cool.

    - Black Hole Girls - Competitive GM-ful is just a really interesting concept that this game executes really really well. There's some stuff in here I'm not a big fan of (the fact that it uses and relies on dice, for one), but it's just generally good enough to outweigh those negatives for me through its mechanics being super neat and unique.

    - My Centipede Boyfriend - The "audience participation" mechanics in this are so neat. The game is just a really cool blend of ttrpg and improv theatre exercises. The storyteller being blindfolded and no one else being allowed to say words until the storyteller finishes talking, but being allowed to make noises and manipulate props, and then play rotates to a new storyteller is really cool. It's a really nice method of making things like monologues extremely viable without ending up with everyone else disengaged, because everyone is doing stuff even though segments of play are realistically just one person sitting there talking for extended periods of time. Also, the subject matter is just so fun and silly, and slice-of-life stuff is always just a major plus for me.
  • Do I have to pick one? I really have 4... (D&D [usually expressed as OD&D, but AD&D counts also], RuneQuest, Classic Traveller, and Burning Wheel).

    If you twist my arm hard enough, RuneQuest probably wins by a slim margin.

    Frank
  • "Fortune" resolution from Everway (1995-ish) has become my favorite random conflict/situation resolution technique since I've democratized it. Draw a tarot card (could be any suggestive oracle, really), interpret it in the context of what's happening and narrate what happens next. The "democratizing" part merely consists of all players being empowered to interpret the card (only one player per conflict, though) instead of just one player (the GM) doing all the interpreting all the time.

    Why I like that so much? Bluntly, most or all other randomization techniques I've tried feel like they're narrowing the scene down to a few variables, to a coarser pixel res, while this feels like it's broadening the conflict or situation to include previously unnoticed factors.
  • edited March 2018
    @Thanuir that might be my favorite too, but I feel like the details of Step 3 tend to be influenced really heavily by formal rules systems. What sorts of outcomes do we even think to inquire about? For example, are we resolving degree, collateral, and positioning, or just a yes/no binary to immediate task execution? So I'm wondering if you have a favorite ruleset for that part. :)
    That depends on our purpose for playing. If I am running OSR (GM as referee, sandbox, challenges, etc.), then dice are used when there is uncertainty about something that seems relevant for present or future success of the characters or direction the world is going to.

    For example: Someone just failed a roll to release their magic when they were disturbed, but they failed it only slightly. As a referee, I asked if we would like to want to include a rule for spell mishaps in such situations, since it was suitable for the idiom of magic that was operating. Agreement from players, so we considered a little bit what kinds of things might the spell energy do when released without control, and then rolled some dice to select among these.
    (It ended up saving that character's life, but also cutting some rope bridges that were pretty important for moving around in that adventure location. But it might just as easily have doomed that character to even more certain death, or done any other thing.)

    If I were running a drama game, then we would use dice when the outcome is important to a player character, and when there are several interesting possible outcomes, and when these have a reasonable change of happening. We might roll dice to establish if a character can make a campfire if we want to emphasize that they are not used to doing it, and them getting cold or causing a forest fire or whatever would be interesting.

    Whatever name the cover of a rules book (if any) has, it has less effect, by far, on such decisions. Purpose and style of play matter a lot more, when discussing traditional roleplaying games.
  • Because I prefer to play solo, I've found that I really took to Trollbabe's way of handling NPCs and how every roll is against your own stat.
  • @Thanuir , cool. I was thinking less of the name on the cover and more on rules for combat, saves, skill checks, positioning, fallout, etc. But your description of "roll for uncertain challenges in challenge games, roll for uncertain drama in drama games" works for me.
  • - Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine - This is the only game I've found that does exactly what I was a ttrpg to do, nothing more, nothing less. The resolution mechanics are diceless and deterministic (what the players says is true is true). The Quest/Arc mechanics are all about creating narrative outlines before you start play that you then revise and refine and recontextualize in play, which is mine and my group's preferred way of doing things narratively (we're not at all fans of the "play to find out" philosophy) and is the way we've been playing for years, with then Chuubo's just giving us a mechanical structure that incentivizes it and rewards us for it. Also, it's centered on pastoral slice-of-life play where the focus is your day-to-day life and your emotions and your relationships, and if there's some adventurey thing going on, it's not looked at as being any more important than the day-to-day stuff, and focus on the slice-of-life day-to-day interactions is mine and my group's favorite mode of play, and it's something that so many other systems tell you not to do, tells you to skip over because it's supposedly "not interesting" or whatever. Basically, Chuubo's is the game that best supports exactly the type of play that my group and I are interested in, and it does it in this super super elegant way that works so perfectly.
    I've been meaning to ask you about Chuubo's for a while. This description is fantastic. Thank you!

    I really want to try this game.

    I don't anticipate having an opportunity for that in the near future, though. So in lieu of that, I'd like to start a thread to ask some questions about what you've written here, if that's cool with you. If not, no prob. Whaddaya think?
  • - Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine - This is the only game I've found that does exactly what I was a ttrpg to do, nothing more, nothing less. The resolution mechanics are diceless and deterministic (what the players says is true is true). The Quest/Arc mechanics are all about creating narrative outlines before you start play that you then revise and refine and recontextualize in play, which is mine and my group's preferred way of doing things narratively (we're not at all fans of the "play to find out" philosophy) and is the way we've been playing for years, with then Chuubo's just giving us a mechanical structure that incentivizes it and rewards us for it. Also, it's centered on pastoral slice-of-life play where the focus is your day-to-day life and your emotions and your relationships, and if there's some adventurey thing going on, it's not looked at as being any more important than the day-to-day stuff, and focus on the slice-of-life day-to-day interactions is mine and my group's favorite mode of play, and it's something that so many other systems tell you not to do, tells you to skip over because it's supposedly "not interesting" or whatever. Basically, Chuubo's is the game that best supports exactly the type of play that my group and I are interested in, and it does it in this super super elegant way that works so perfectly.
    I've been meaning to ask you about Chuubo's for a while. This description is fantastic. Thank you!

    I really want to try this game.

    I don't anticipate having an opportunity for that in the near future, though. So in lieu of that, I'd like to start a thread to ask some questions about what you've written here, if that's cool with you. If not, no prob. Whaddaya think?
    I'd very much be up for a thread about this! Thank you for asking. :) And I'm glad the description was helpful.
  • edited March 2018
    No love for Fate? Fate Core / Fate Accelerated is one of my favorites because:
    - Aspects (open ended descriptions)
    - Fate point economy incl. compels and player empowerment
    - Stackable unified ladder (-2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3...) for everything from skill, bonus to difficulties
    - Fate dice with a distribution centered around 0
    - Fractals (treat vehicles, threats, magic weapons etc like characters)
    - 4 basic moves (Attack, Defend, Overcome, Create advantage)
    - Stress boxes & consequences

    I really enjoy it a lot for it's flexibility and hackability.

    Another favorite is Microscope. It is quite unique for setting creation. I like:
    - Extremely hard scene framing auhtority (I'm killing your favorite character, destroying your city)
    - Ability to jump back/forth in time, go to less/more detail
    - Clear mechanics for framing scenes
    - Simple voting mechanic
    - Palette in the beginning (things you want/don't want in the game)

    It's great system for collective worldbuilding, i.e. for a new campaign.
  • edited March 2018
    Another favorite is Blades in the Dark:
    - simple yet crunchy mechanics with AW style results (like 7-9)
    - zero prep play
    - awesome playbooks, also for team
    - lots of random tables
    - project clocks
    - mechanic to skip planning the heist
    - vice mechanics
    - devil's bargain to improve roll

    It is less some completely original mechanics but rather a collection of great state-of-he-art stuff that really works well together.

    One more: Cortex Plus:
    - simplicity & flexibility of roles Leverage RPG roles (grifter, hitter, mastermind, thief, hacker)
    - relationships & values in Smallville RPG
    - Doom Pool (GM dice) & initiative mechanics of Marvel Heroic RPG

    Of course, Cam Bank's new Cortex development takes these things a bit further.
  • edited March 2018
    Aaaand one more: Unknown Armies:
    - Magic system
    - UA2 skill system with d%
    - UA3 collective conspiracy/world building on the pinboard
    - UA3 %-based milestone completion
  • I really, really, deeply enjoy the Karma engine ("Zero System") in Tenra Bansho Zero. The cycle of rewards, power increase, risk of deprotagonization, and change is beautiful.
  • edited March 2018
    FreeMarket is still one of my faves. The seamless way that setting and system are merged so the whole thing fits together perfectly. However, I'd never use the system outside on that one game.

    Thinking on it that last statement is true of most games I want to play these days. That said, I do like me some good Aspects in games I'm running these days.
  • My most admired engine are the Decision Cards as used by Archipelago (also: "Love in the time of Seið"; "Itras By"). They´re simple, fast and promote failing forward.
  • Aaaand one more: Unknown Armies
    I love this system as well.
  • A few things I love:

    * The richness of Dogs in the Vineyard's conflict process.

    * The Pool

    * Otherkind Dice

    * Freeform roleplay, with strong and clear delineation of authority

    * Organic task resolution (like in old-school D&D)

    * The selection of moves in Monsterhearts, and how they shape subtle interactions
  • Systems I love...

    Otherkind Dice!

    Burning Wheel's -wise as linked test

    Burning Wheel's Fate to explode 6s which you only really remember when the outcome is tense

    Polaris' ritual phrases, especially the echo-y finality of an And Furthermore.

    Anima Prime's Maneuver dice as prerequisite to a Strike.
  • Oh, also:

    The very simple but incredibly effective "structured conversation" approach @David_Berg and I came up with for his GMless game of Supervillainy, Within My Clutches.
  • Besides Otherkind, and Ghost/Echo, what other games use Otherkind dice?
  • Um, uncountable drafts? :D

    Eowyn game is "powered by otherkind", I do believe.
  • It's a mutated form, but yes!

    Also, similarly in different ways, games like Annalise, Levi Kornelsen's various Schema rules, and most *World game moves (although often only on a 7-9 outcome).
  • I still interested in hearing about more otherkind dice games that might be out there. Please speak up everyone.
  • Psi*Run is Otherkind at its heart.

    Big fan of Fate Accelerated Edition and Wushu Open.
  • So many Otherkind dice-based systems out there. Psi*Run, of course, but also Bliss Stage, Annalise, Wyrd is Bond, Land of Nodd, Ghost/Echo, unWritten, Steampunk Crescendo, Fubar, and, of course, Otherkind itself.

    I had fun adapting Lady Blackbird to Otherkind Dice, which was a total blast in play:

    http://story-games.com/forums/discussion/12262/hackbird-otherkinding-lady-blackbird
  • I really like your Hackbird mechanics, Paul!
    Interesting, you've also built in "create advantage" (a bit like Fate Core) . The "flip 6 to 1" mechanic is also nice (could be used like Blades' 'Devil's Bargain').
  • Thanks! I've since played Lady Blackbird with those rules every time, and it's a blast.

    If you're using them in a game which doesn't have Conditions, they would work very well with the Devil's Bargain idea - excellent thought.

    In practice, sometimes they overlap: "Hey, if you want to use those 1s, instead, I think you're at risk of getting Lost in the scrapyard..."
  • Here are some really neat systems:

    Project: Dark - Spend cards to make incremental progress in stealth challenges, with difficulty deriving from conditions of sound/light/attention.

    Fortune's Fool - Players share a deck of cards with very powerful game effects, and have different individual powers of deck manipulation.

    Sideload - Collect and play cards to evolve your deck and beat challenges en route to hopping up the chain of alternate realities.
  • @David_Berg Any idea where one finds Sideload? (I collect playing-card-based RPGs but have never heard of this one and it appears impossible to Google for....)
  • @JasonT , looks like the author's website hasn't been active in a few years. You can email him and tell him I mentioned Sideload and maybe he'll hook you up? Not sure if he ever moved beyond the playtest draft.
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