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Author Topic: Recommended Indie RPGs?  (Read 5830 times)
thwaak
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« on: June 22, 2006, 01:29:45 PM »

Heya Gang,

I've found myself moving away from the mainstream, traditional RPGs, and becoming more and more interested in indie RPGs, both in the novel ideas, mechanics, and settings, as well nature of Indie RPGs (creator-owned, small press, etc.).

If I understand the terms correctly, I fall pretty much into the Gamist+Narrativist, with little interest in Simulationist games.

Can anyone please recommend indie RPGs that fall into the (G+N)-S mold?

Thank You,
Brent
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- Brent Wolke
Currently writing Scairy Tales for Savage Worlds.
Currently mucking with Animated Heroes for myself.
Eric Provost
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« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2006, 01:44:16 PM »

Hiya Brent, welcome to the Forge.

Someone else may disagree, but I'd say forget the ol' GNS stuff while you're searching for a game to play.  It's a crazy tar pit to get into.  Instead, what games have you played in the past that you liked, and what did you like about them?  What do you not like about the games you've played before?  Can you give us any actual play type experence to illustrate what you do and don't like?

There's lots and lots of really awesome games around here, I'm sure you'll find one that tickles you in just the right way.

-Eric
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thwaak
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« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2006, 01:58:48 PM »

Hello Eric,

Well, games I have enjoyed in the past....are just about everything at one point or another. :)

Seriously, I'm 35, and started out on the Red Box (Otus cover) D&D, and moved on, hitting Star Frontiers, Gamma World, Paranoia, Aftermath, Villains & Vigilantes, MSH, GURPS, Space Opera, Star Wars d6 & d20, AD&D, D&D 3.0, Deadlands, D6, and recently Savage Worlds (of which I playtested and helped edit, as well as numerous Savage World setting books). I'm even writing a Savage setting (Scairy Tales). 

The thing is...as time goes on, I'm losing interest in the traditional RPG set up in both the way they are produced/marketed as well as the ideas (settings and mechanics) coming from them. It's beginning to bore me. As I said (and despite your warning), I'm pretty Gamist: I like tweaking rules to create interesting mechanics for players and GMs to play with. I'm also Narrativist: I like a good story and the social interaction between a GM and the players. I have little to no interest in Simulation.

Ideally a game would provide some crunch, but also promote story.

Did that make any sense? :D

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- Brent Wolke
Currently writing Scairy Tales for Savage Worlds.
Currently mucking with Animated Heroes for myself.
Warren
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« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2006, 02:42:38 PM »

Hi Brent,

I think what Eric was trying to say was can you describe the top one or two times of actual play in the last twenty years or whatever that really "hit the spot" for you? You might want to start a thread over in Actual Play about it, as that might be more appropriate.

In any case, pointing out these high notes, who the players were, what they did, what made it rock for you would give everybody a better understanding of where you are coming from, so we can give you better advice on what to try next.

I hope this helps,

Warren
 
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Eric Provost
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« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2006, 03:06:10 PM »

Yeah, what Warren said.  I dig that you're not into the old school RPG picture anymore, but there still must be some moments of gaming, some sessions, where you can look back and say that you had a good time and you'd like to have that type of good time again.  The whole GNS thing is so easy to create misunderstandings and I'm just not confident that I'll hit the right note on gaming based on those categories.  It's also worth noting that the Big Brains o' Wisdom say that no one is really G, N, or S, but rather that everyone has moments of each and that some games are more facilitiating of those G, N, or S moments than others.  But that's kinda beside the point.

Here, how about I tell ya' about a couple of the indy games I've played and enjoyed and why I've enjoyed them.  Maybe one of them will jump out at you as the type of game you'd like to play.

The Shab-al-Hiri Roach
A great little GM-less game about professors vying for academic power by way of accepting the dominance of an ancient sumerian roach.  It rocks on toast.  While you're trying to gain Reputation points and occationally follow the misguided whims of an out-of-touch insect you tend to find yourself getting all sorts of nasty sicko brutal on your fellow profs. 

Dogs in the Vineyard
Don't let the wonky title or the Mormon-inspiration throw you, this game is killer.  The town creation / session set-up rules are so good that anyone can prep it in less than an hour.  It was inspired by good indie games and continues to inspire other good indie games.  Which is probably why it makes for a great introduction to indie gaming.  Besides, you get to roll lots of dice and kill sinners.  Who could ask for more?

Those are just two of the awesome games I've played from the Forge.  There's lots more, but I don't want to turn this thread into a thumbnail listing of the indie games that are out there.  Although it would probably be nice if one could find a list like that out there somewhere...  hmmm...

But anyway, really, the GNS thing doesn't help.  Talk to us about awesome times you've had playing and we can make better recomendations.  Until then, we're just shooting in the dark.

-Eric
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Judd
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« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2006, 04:07:08 PM »

Brent,

Welcome to the Forge.

I'm not trying to play deputy moderator here but probably the best thing you can do is read some posts here, read the rules at the top of each forum and then post about a game you played in over in the Actual Play forum.  Even if the point of the AP thread is to find a new game, as long as its rooted in AP.



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Pelgrane
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Posts: 125


« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2006, 05:43:19 AM »

I recommend My Life With Master as the indie gateway game of choice. For those used to more traditional games, it's easy to grock the rules, while slowly coming to realisation that this is an entirely different gaming experience. The actual play is not so out of the comfort zone of the traditional way of playing that players find it intimidating, but sufficiently different to open the door to a new mindset. I've never run or participated in a game that every player didn't enjoy - it's a low risk choice in that respect. It's very easy to GM - generally, you just write down a bunch of commands that evil master might ask each minion appropriate to their character and go from there. I recommend playing the vanilla background as a first game.

Dogs in the Vineyard required more effort to understand, and some actual play mentions that it doesn't suit everyone. It is fundamentally different, but the problem is that it's easy to play it with a more traditional mind set and just not get it.

The Roach as mentioned is great fun and well written. It is not in any way po-faced and has a level of humour which should help people get out of any embarrasment they might have about doing things differently.

Prime Time Adventures. You are collaborating to make a TV show. It's a great premise. It's like a combination of acting and script writing.I can't think how this could go wrong.

Cold City is a neat game set in post-War Berlin which incorporates an interesting trust mechanic, and gives some power to the players to narrate sucesses. It plays on national steroypes. And there's Nazi super weapons, too.

Polaris is a little more hard-core, but it's enjoyable. A couple of people found it hard to understand the narrative power they have, and others have suggested it has, let us say, pretentions, but it has the potential to create a sublime experience amongst roleplayers who get on well.

There are many more.

Simon Rogers
Pelgrane Press Ltd


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Joe J Prince
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Putting the fun into dysfunction!


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« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2006, 06:18:18 AM »

Hiya Brent,

I like the same kind of RPGs as you - story and gaming oriented. I try to write games that provide a good bit of gamey crunch but simultaneously promote a strong narrative. So I'll plug my website!

I think Contenders, Swansong and Call To Adventure will be of particular appeal to you. The CTA mechanics are not a million miles away from Savage Worlds. And if you feel the games fail you narrativly or in terms of gaming crunch then I'd love to have some feedback!

If you're looking for a competitive crunchy gaming/gamist element then I'd say PTA, MlwM, Polaris and Dogs are not for you.
Donjon, on the other hand could be right up your alley.

Cheers,
Joe
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thwaak
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« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2006, 09:39:39 AM »

Thanks for all the suggestions. I've looked into them, and have found a couple of possibilities. I'll let you know how it all works out.

Thanks again!
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- Brent Wolke
Currently writing Scairy Tales for Savage Worlds.
Currently mucking with Animated Heroes for myself.
Eric Provost
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« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2006, 11:09:32 AM »

Right on.  We'll be looking forward to hearing how it goes.

-Eric
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Thunder_God
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« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2006, 11:44:59 AM »

I gave Joe a little talk ;)

If you want Gamism, or at least Game and Competitive(usually accompanied by a fair amount of 'crunch') you may want to give CSI Games a look. Some games you can find by some searching on this forum are:
Cranium Rats by myself.
Threads by Filip Luszczyk.
Gnostigmata by John Kirk.
Dragon and Gun by Joe J Prince.
Apocalypse Girl by Sydney Freedberg.

There are several others, but until their makers will identify them as such(and call them as such, rather than say they fit my criteria), I will not list them, at least not for now. Amongst published games, give Paranoia and Capes a look though.
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Guy Shalev.

Cranium Rats Central, looking for playtesters for my various games.
CSI Games, my RPG Blog and Project. Last Updated on: January 29th 2010
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2006, 08:20:53 AM »

Thread's closed now.

Best, Ron
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