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Author Topic: Favorite Single Book RPG  (Read 3879 times)

KindaMeh

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Re: Favorite Single Book RPG
« Reply #60 on: September 24, 2022, 07:18:08 PM »
I'm trying to think of good one-and-done RPGs, because, as someone said, splats and supplements are a sign it was a good game and people want more of it, while the unstated corollary of that is that one book RPGs tend to be... not so good. Hardly a universal rule, but...

I mean, I'm actually hard pressed to think of RPGs off the top of my head that didn't get at least one other book.

I make no claim of being a fan of Evil Hat these days, but the Dresden Files RPG is actually something of a favorite of mine, and as far as I know it only had two books... the main book and the completely unnecessary book of NPCs for the core setting. But while I'm not in love with the FATE system, I liked Dresden's (original) implementation of it, the system is flexible enough to do quite a variety of game types.

There was the Paranet Papers expansion that added a few new stunts, alternative rules for soul fire and sponsored magic, etcetera, to go along with some new setting locations. But actually this was still my best runner up, for many of the same reasons you note. And because it felt close enough and good enough to count. I liked most of the books the setting was based on too, which may perhaps have colored my opinion. Weirdly, FATE feels pretty much like a super narrative-fiat-heavy, randomization-centric counter to Ascendant’s focus on stats, tables, and numbers. It also cares a lot more about character aspect trope invocation and resource management than Ascendant. But it’s partly because of that differing focus that it made for a competitor.

Persimmon

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Re: Favorite Single Book RPG
« Reply #61 on: September 24, 2022, 08:39:11 PM »
The single book part is making it difficult for me to identify candidates and yet also helping me make up my mind much more easily among those that qualify. I assume this means not just that the book has to have all the materials necessary to play the game, but also no extra playable options in any other printed books or adventure lines. Hmmm…

I’m going to go with my most recent fixation, Ascendant, because while the default setting and characters are something I might tweak a little bit, I really like the mechanics and it’s fresh in my mind. Most physical stats and powers have quantifiable effects and meanings, which I like as a nerd who occasionally thinks about fictional combatants and their capabilities for fun. I also like how it emphasizes stats over raw chance with respect to failure in many ways, but with multiple levels of success also granting some solid DM discretion within the confines of the rolls and narrative, somehow without it feeling super fiat based. Lots of ways to build, and a lot of freedom in character creation without it feeling like there aren’t any rules to give your character defined capabilities. But with stunting to provide freedom and out of the box applications during play as well as a fun smidge of resource management via hero points.

They might come out with more books or adventures or something going forward, but for now it’s a single book.

I had a few runners up, but a lot of my most likely contenders for best game more generally got disqualified on account of having been around long enough for content creep to set in.

Modules & setting books alone wouldn't disqualify a game so long as there's not more classes, options, etc.  In other words, splat.  Especially because in many cases, like, say Warhammer 2e and shadow of the Demon Lord, it seems that they pretty much assume you're using the extra books.

weirdguy564

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Re: Favorite Single Book RPG
« Reply #62 on: September 25, 2022, 05:17:23 PM »
I mentioned Rifts before, but that’s hardly everything in one book.  Rifts has literal stacks of expansion books.  So that’s out. 

Ok.  Let’s try again.

Fantasy.  Dungeons and Delvers Dice Pool Edition.  It’s simple, and yet characters are very customizable.  Stats and skills are all a D4, upgradable to D6, D8, D10, and capping as a D12.  Roll a stat+skill and beat a target number, often with other dice added for all those customizations.  Pick the best two dice rolled as your result.  1-handed weapons all do 1 damage, and 2-handed weapons do 2 damage.

Sci-Fi.  Star Adventurer.  It’s OSR Star Wars in just 35 pages, costing only $4 for a PDF or $9 for a book.  Leveling up is two rolls or one pick on a random table instead of a fixed table.  Powers are used just like skill checks, but each with a cooldown period if you fail a roll.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2022, 05:48:04 PM by weirdguy564 »
Saying D&D is the best RPG is like saying Bud Lite is the best beer.  Maybe we shouldn't equate "popular" with "good"?

Tasty_Wind

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Re: Favorite Single Book RPG
« Reply #63 on: September 25, 2022, 11:12:37 PM »
What about Dungeon Crawl Classics and/or Mutant Crawl Classics? I personally don’t care for the system (way too many tables and Zocchi dice can suck all the dicks*) but both are thorough and complete games in a single, well made rule book.


*i have a strange and unshakable love for the D7 that I dont fully understand...

Persimmon

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Re: Favorite Single Book RPG
« Reply #64 on: September 26, 2022, 12:11:50 AM »
What about Dungeon Crawl Classics and/or Mutant Crawl Classics? I personally don’t care for the system (way too many tables and Zocchi dice can suck all the dicks*) but both are thorough and complete games in a single, well made rule book.


*i have a strange and unshakable love for the D7 that I dont fully understand...

That could count, though I have the same criticism about the tables.  I like reading the book more than playing the game.  I do like the zocchi dice and use them in my other games.  The dice chain can be very useful.

cavalier973

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Re: Favorite Single Book RPG
« Reply #65 on: September 26, 2022, 12:27:04 AM »
I also vote for the Rules Cyclopedia. A complete game in one volume.

The artwork isn't as polished as that in the Mentzer 5, but Dykstra isn't a bad artist. There are some very nice pieces throughout, and some of them seem to follow the adventures of different parties--the same characters appear in different scenes.

The thief problem could probably be handled by allowing thieves to skip two levels of the skills chart each time they gain an experience level. They top out their skills at level 12, in other words.

A couple of things are missing that I added to the back page: the rules for discovering "big traps" by non-thieves, and the rules for natural healing from resting. Also, the DM will need to figure out how much the PCs get for selling mundane items. Also, the spell "Magic Missile" last for a turn not a round.

WanderingGM

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Re: Favorite Single Book RPG
« Reply #66 on: October 04, 2022, 03:26:27 AM »
My vote: Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu, 6th edition. Adventure modules were published, but there were no “must buy” rules expansions or splat books that I can recall. Plus, late 20th century weapons stats were included in the core rules, unlike 5th edition CoC, when you had to buy the Cthulhu Now book/adventure to get the stats for automatic weapons. Sure, they’re still nearly useless against Mythos creatures, but automatic weapon fire is just the thing for taking down those annoying human cultists.  ;)

Slipshot762

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Re: Favorite Single Book RPG
« Reply #67 on: October 04, 2022, 05:37:42 AM »
i use D6 fantasy D6 Adventure and D6 space for everything.

Persimmon

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Re: Favorite Single Book RPG
« Reply #68 on: October 04, 2022, 09:13:20 AM »
i use D6 fantasy D6 Adventure and D6 space for everything.

These games could be great, but part of the appeal of RPGs for me is using funky dice.  If I only want to use d6 I'll just play HeroQuest or Risk. :)

Trond

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Re: Favorite Single Book RPG
« Reply #69 on: October 04, 2022, 09:43:37 AM »
For me it’s Artesia. It’s choking full of material, including an interesting character generation system, lots of world building, and a beginning adventure. I like the art too. Although it’s sad that not more stuff was provided (there was some additional RPG material in the comics) most games don’t get this far with three books, never mind one.

AmbitiousGM

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Re: Favorite Single Book RPG
« Reply #70 on: October 06, 2022, 10:17:51 PM »
Not sure if it's my favorite (there's a lot of competition) but I have one that's very good and hasn't been mentioned yet:

Gubat Banwa - Crunchy combat with an interesting setting centered around violent conflict (based on Filipino mythology and folklore).

RebelSky

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Re: Favorite Single Book RPG
« Reply #71 on: October 06, 2022, 10:48:37 PM »
Lancer
Deviant the Renegades
Talisman Adventures
Talislanta 4th edition
Champions 4th edition
Other Dust
Stars Without Number Revised
Goblin Slayer TRPG
Fight! The Fighting Game 2nd edition
ACKS
Hyperborea 3e (technically two books now but previous editions we're 1 book so it counts)


Persimmon

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Re: Favorite Single Book RPG
« Reply #72 on: October 07, 2022, 10:19:20 AM »
ACKS is a splat book fest so it's disqualified.  Not that it's a bad game.

RebelSky

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Re: Favorite Single Book RPG
« Reply #73 on: October 07, 2022, 12:59:03 PM »
ACKS is a splat book fest so it's disqualified.  Not that it's a bad game.
ACKS core is its own game that you can play with just the core book. If you can play a game with only it's core book than that one book is a single book game that does not require other books, whether or not there are splatbooks available for it.

Jam The MF

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Re: Favorite Single Book RPG
« Reply #74 on: October 07, 2022, 01:14:22 PM »
What about Dungeon Crawl Classics and/or Mutant Crawl Classics? I personally don’t care for the system (way too many tables and Zocchi dice can suck all the dicks*) but both are thorough and complete games in a single, well made rule book.


*i have a strange and unshakable love for the D7 that I dont fully understand...


DCC was published as a single volume, complete game.  Later, they released a splat book that included new Classes, etc; titled, the DCC Annual.  They plainly state that the first book is a complete game, and that nothing in the Annual updates or replaces the content in the first book.; but it does have a splat book.
I was Banned from RPG.net a long time ago, for Having Common Sense.