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Subject: D&D-esque game for three players, all new to the genre? rss

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Rawlyn Watson
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A couple of friends and I have started getting into tabletop gaming after years of playing video games(in particular, RPGs or anything with multiplayer co-op) together.

We're all really keen to get back to our "RPG roots" and find a suitable entry point game. I guess the problem we're having is that it seems three players just isn't enough.

Is there such a thing as a decent roleplaying game (a la D&D) for a group this small? We don't mind if there's a learning curve, we're all willing to make that effort.

Apologies if this is a common question, or if I've got my terminology completely wrong - I'm new at this Thanks for your time.
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Paul DeStefano
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You should head to RPGGeek if you are looking for an actual RPG.

Board games may have the same themes, but it's not quite the same as roleplaying.
 
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Brian Fong
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for a board game, probably closest thing would be Lords of Waterdeep or Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition)if you're looking for an RPG specifically, try RPGgeek
 
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EBWonder wrote:
for a board game, probably closest thing would be Lords of Waterdeep or Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition)if you're looking for an RPG specifically, try RPGgeek


For a boardgame, Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) is the way to go (for the swords/magic feel)

RPGGeek will give you more pen and paper games, so I do suggest that as well, but if you are looking for a boardgame RPG feel type, Descent.

One person will take on the role of the Overlord (think DM) and the others will control characters/hero's. It scales well too, so, if you want each person to control two hero's, they can. Each will have separate gear, skills, money, choices! The Overlord controls the monsters of the game. They are not required to RUN the game like a DM would, so this role can even change hands easily from one player to another between games.

There are a few other games that use this Overlord, player mechanic with different themes, if Swords/magic isn't quite what you want.
Horror/HP Lovecract theme: Mansions of Madness
Sci-fi Space Marines: Level 7 [Omega Protocol]

Those are the ones I know of...
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EBWonder wrote:
for a board game, probably closest thing would be Lords of Waterdeep or Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition)if you're looking for an RPG specifically, try RPGgeek

I don't know, but I think that the Dungeons and Dragons Adventure System Board Games would be the closest thing to D&D.

They also have the advantage of not requiring a DM, so that having three players is more than enough.
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Sam Hillier
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I'd recommend Pathfinder, the card game, for new players. Easy to learn, easy to play, works well with 3 (no need for a DM). The game is pretty bare bones, but it has the framework for an RPG-like experience. It kind of forces you to visualize and make a story out of the various skill checks you'll be performing.

My usual RPG group has been playing this at our weekly meetup for months now, and we look to continue indefinitely through the various adventure packs.
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Brian Fong
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You might also want to check out Shadowrun Crossfire. it's basically a rpg-like card game (set in the shadowrun universe - think dirty DnD with cyborgs) that you level up over time. Or you can do as Tom Vasel suggests and pre-level your characters.
 
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Brian M
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Descent, Pathfinder Card Game, RPGGeek...yep, best answers are pretty well covered.

If you are looking for an RPG-like board game, Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game and Arkham Horror might merit a look.

For actual RPGs, D&D 5e just released a new version. Not my thing, but if you like D&D...

I'm fond of Savage Worlds, which is a fairly easy to play and versatile system. And quite inexpensive!
 
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Jordan S.
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If you're looking for recommendations in terms of proper pen-and-paper RPGs, while any RPG can technically support and provide great fun for as few as two people (1 GM and 1 player), I find that some games, settings and their associated play-styles can end up less friendly to a low player count. This is often a result of the game design itself (D&D, particularly in its later editions, really call for a full, diverse party to work best).

A couple of personal suggestions for FREE RPGs to try out with your friends to see if anything sticks are below. Especially with a fewer number of players, I tend to stick to RPGs that are very light in the rules department. This is to encourage more social engagement, collaborative story-telling and character development as the focus of the game, rather than a focus on mechanics. With fewer players, you have more room for individual, creative input, which can really turn an RPG session away from just rolling dice and into something very memorable. Not that there's anything wrong with rolling dice...

Suggestions:


Swords & Wizardry: Whitebox
Download: http://www.swordsandwizardry.com/WhiteBox3p.pdf

- A very simple, streamlined re-working of the original D&D game published by Gygax and Arneson. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles that saddle later editions of D&D...and that's the point honestly. More focus on character and adventure and less focus on rules and dice.


Barbarians of Lemuria
Download: http://www.1km1kt.net/rpg/Bolv2.pdf

- Another rather simple game system that is also brilliantly flexible. One of my go-to RPGs for both new and experienced role players.


Mini Six Bare Bones Edition
Download: http://www.antipaladin.com/Mini_Six.pdf

- This is a solid, universal game system using only standard six-sided dice that could be used for any genre/setting really. It comes with several setting suggestions if you desire the inspiration or just want to jump in and play.
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Vincent
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Why not have a look at Pocket Odyssey? I believe they are taking preorders and I still have some copies left when it arrives.
 
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rawlyn wrote:
A couple of friends and I have started getting into tabletop gaming after years of playing video games(in particular, RPGs or anything with multiplayer co-op) together.

We're all really keen to get back to our "RPG roots" and find a suitable entry point game. I guess the problem we're having is that it seems three players just isn't enough.

Is there such a thing as a decent roleplaying game (a la D&D) for a group this small? We don't mind if there's a learning curve, we're all willing to make that effort.

Apologies if this is a common question, or if I've got my terminology completely wrong - I'm new at this Thanks for your time.


Subscribed to see what others suggest.
I would like to play an it-is-like-an-RPG board game.

I recently acquired cheap When Darkness Comes. It feels like it must be the one, but not even a slim chance of playing right now

Apart that, Descent seems to me the closest thing... but the few times I have been able to play it felt more a battle (with win conditions more interesting than "kill all enemies").
You most definitely have no GM in Descent. You have got two different factions with asymmetric win conditions, one comprised of few specialized characters (the heroes) against one comprised of lots of disposable troops (the Overlord).
 
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Vincent
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K____ wrote:

You most definitely have no GM in Descent. You have got two different factions with asymmetric win conditions, one comprised of few specialized characters (the heroes) against one comprised of lots of disposable troops (the Overlord).

Uhh, I think you're wrong there. Unless you mean it doesn't feel like having a DM or something. There is one overlord against all other players.
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Jordan S.
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the_vinman wrote:
Uhh, I think you're wrong there. Unless you mean it doesn't feel like having a DM or something. There is one overlord against all other players.

True. I think what he means is that Descent has a very antagonistic relationship between the players and Overlord (who can meet their win conditions first), whereas an RPG (ideally) has a more collaborative one (let's work together to explore an exciting adventure). Thus, there is no true "GM" but, rather, simply one player who is opposing all the others.
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Jin Juku
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If you actually want a tabletop RPG experience, I'd say try D&D itself. Get the Starter Set for the latest edition, $20, and download the basic D&D PDFs from the website.

Now would be a great time to get in on the ground floor of that.
 
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jeff
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Look into Dragon Age RPG it's really good, easy learning curve and under appreciated. It's like playing in the world of the video game without limits.

http://rpggeek.com/rpg/2138/dragon-age


Edit: If you plan on going the route of D&D expect to spend money. It's owned by Wizards they are very cheap and cleaver at draining your pocket.


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Jin Juku
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AvidHunter wrote:
Look into Dragon Age RPG it's really good, easy learning curve and under appreciated. It's like playing in the world of the video game without limits.

http://rpggeek.com/rpg/2138/dragon-age


Edit: If you plan on going the route of D&D expect to spend money. It's owned by Wizards they are very cheap and cleaver at draining your pocket.




+1 for Dragon Age, it's a good system. Pre-orders for set 3 are going up soon.

But for the new D&D, they're already releasing all of the actual rules as free PDFs online. And none of the stuff they've released so far (basically going back to 4e) has been any more expensive than any comparable RPG product.
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jukujin wrote:
And none of the stuff they've released so far (basically going back to 4e) has been any more expensive than any comparable RPG product.


I'll agree with that to an extent.

My issue is they will come out with the editions books and then release more books that update and correct those books (like 3.5) and then do it again.

Then come out with added abilities and cool stuff for each class that your going to want and release them all as separate books instead of one big one.

Ohh don't forget about the fact that they do that for all the players books and the dm's books, with multiple books for the monsters etc.. Then after you amass this library they will release a new edition.

They are so cheap that they used the same exact mini's in their board games as their old common minis from the collectible DDM except they are unpainted. And the same rule system as 4e except dumbed down. Plus the same tiles and components from game to game.

Not a Wizards fan anymore.
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Andy Leighton
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With RPGs one of the most important thing is genre. Are you purely interested in high fantasy? Or are you more flexible?

The FFG Star Wars games are very good and have a Beginner Game option which holds your hand as you run your first adventure (and there are a couple more you can download). You can then upgrade to the main book.

As people have said Dragon Age is good and was featured on Wil Wheaton's Tabletop
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Jordan S.
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AvidHunter wrote:
Not a Wizards fan anymore.

I'm there with you. WotC's D&D and I began the journey of falling out of sync in 2002, culminating with the release of 3.5E in 2003 which finally broke the camel's back. While I have nothing against WotC personally and don't hold any sort of blanket boycott against them, I just reached the point that I saw what had become of D&D and where WotC was taking it and decided I was no longer interested.

I've played 4E with some friends a few times but never bought any of its products. A bullet dodged, to be honest.

When the 5E open playtest was announced, at first I carried some cautious optimism but the further they got down the development track, the less impressed I became with its direction until finally dropping out entirely.

Again, different strokes for different folks as always, but these days I'm more impressed by what independent/small-press efforts like Swords & Wizardry, Dungeon World, Dungeon Crawl Classics and Lamentations of the Flame Princess are doing in honor of D&D, as opposed to the direction the official game is being taken.

Here's two cents. Try not to spend it all in one place.
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Rawlyn Watson
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Ah, did not know about RPGGeek - thanks for the heads up everyone.

Some really useful information here, thank you all. Sorry for the blanket reply - there was more of a response than I expected
 
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rawlyn wrote:
Ah, did not know about RPGGeek - thanks for the heads up everyone.

Some really useful information here, thank you all. Sorry for the blanket reply - there was more of a response than I expected


I am sure a lot of people subscribed to the thread, so, take your time, digest the info, and if you have some followup questions, post em!
 
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Michael Carter
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GSReis wrote:
EBWonder wrote:
for a board game, probably closest thing would be Lords of Waterdeep or Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition)if you're looking for an RPG specifically, try RPGgeek

I don't know, but I think that the Dungeons and Dragons Adventure System Board Games would be the closest thing to D&D.

They also have the advantage of not requiring a DM, so that having three players is more than enough.


I don't really see the connection between the D&D adventure system and actual D&D. The D&D adventure games are extremely simplified.
 
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the_vinman wrote:
K____ wrote:

You most definitely have no GM in Descent. You have got two different factions with asymmetric win conditions, one comprised of few specialized characters (the heroes) against one comprised of lots of disposable troops (the Overlord).

Uhh, I think you're wrong there. Unless you mean it doesn't feel like having a DM or something. There is one overlord against all other players.


Yes, I mean there are two opposing factions the Heroes and the Overlord.

In the RPG usually the DM is the "director" of the "movie", and the other players are the protagonists, that are improvising their part. ...this metaphor sucks, but it is the best I read somewhere, and I am no good at creating one myself

The DM in an RPG controls both friends and foes, and is a kind of referee when something unexpected happens ("well let's see, you should roll pickpocket to do that, but also throwing(knives) is fine").

In Descent the Overlord's job is to smash the heroes to the curb, as fast and as completely he can, to get to his objective first. (I know there are DMs that think a bit like that but...)

And of course he does not interpret rules: just like the other players, the Overlord has to follow the rulebook to the letter (or argue over ambiguities to get an advantage, just like everyone else).
 
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