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RPG» Forums » General Discussion » General Role-Playing

Subject: Potentially returning RPG player, need suggestions please. rss

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Glenn D
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Thanks in advance for reading and providing some feedback.

I used to play a LOT of role playing games (D&D of course, Star Frontiers, Gamma World (one of my personal faves), Traveler, even played some of the more niche RPGS like 007, Boot Hill), and may be looking to return to the hobby.

My wife used to play as well, and this is where the story unfolds. We both used to play in our youth before starting college, and have toyed with returning to the foray, but have never pulled the trigger. We sank our time into our kids starting in 1997 or so by being involved in their school, karate 4 days a week, horseback riding, and other activitites. It seemed like we were always "doing something".

Fast forward to today. My youngest daughter just graduated from Navy basic training (with honors) and is now at A-school. My oldest daughter just moved out of the house and is getting married in about 5 months. This has left a void in my wife's life (she has been a stay-at-home mom for basically 20 years), and is struggling with the fringes of depression, as half her life's identity has been "mom-dom". We had a long talk today, and really want to re-discover some of our old "loves" that we gave up a long time ago (for all the right reasons). Maybe this is one that we pursue.

I have a fairly immense board game collection on BGG, and she plays from time-to-time. Recent games she really likes is Everdell and Azul. As well, we love co-op video games...especially split-screen multiplayer such as the Borderlands and Halo series (even Diablo from time-to-time) but I think she would really enjoy diving into an RPG that will give us a bit of something we can do from anywhere, whether that be a park, during our travel, and of course at home after the evening meal. Also, I think it would generate more discussion that video games just do not easily allow.

And this is where you come in. I have been away from RPGs so long, I don't even know where to start. I used to have just about every D&D hard back book (DM Guide, Player's Handbook, Monster manual, etc....) but my mom SOLD THEM ALL FOR $20 while I was away at college (must've been like 15 books or so cry). There's so much more available than in days of old when you just looked to the TSR catalog to find the next great thing.

I'd like some suggestions that meet the following criteria:

1) Must be robust, but not overly complicated.

2) Due to my work schedule and activities at home (we have horses to care for), the availability of modules (if that's still a "thing") is paramount, starting at the basic character level. I have time to do some basic DM-related responsibilities during lunch, but don't have so much time that I can custom-craft adventures, goals, and world-building on a regular basis. I can however, read a module and have it assist me in framing up a session. If these modules or adventure chapters are somewhat sequential and turn into a continuing/ongoing saga, then bonus.

3) The game world must be interesting from an "options" perspective. Lots of weapons/armor/races. Lots of ways to create/exist in the world that the game offers. Long-term leveling options. Challenge.

Her interests surround the following "genres" and/or books/movies: Star Wars, post-apocalyptic worlds (she LOVES the Fallout video game series...why is this not an RPG??), and anything sci-fi. A bit less of a Tolkien-esque fan, but did love D&D...and maybe that's the answer.

We did get the Gloomhaven board game and are enjoying it, but I think something a bit more "flexible" would be the ticket.

Again, thanks for your suggestions. I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have in an effort to center-in on options.


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Phil Dutré
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Your question is of coarse very broad, and probably everyone will give good advice about their favourite gaming system ...

But why make it more complicated than it really is? Simply get a copy of the current D&D starter set, see whether you like it, and move on from there.

Otherwise, you will start exploring and antagonizing over all these different excellent systems which are out there, which will only cost you time and put you in a mode of ‘perhaps there is something better out there’, and you will postpone that first session forever.

Quickly start gm’ing some games, develop your tatstes and preferences, and then make some more informed choices.

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Brian Leet
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This sounds like a terrific joint project. The D&D starter set is excellent. I’d suggest starting there. I noticed in your writing an assumption that you would be DM. Maybe that’s the most comfortable way to start, but I’d also suggest trying both roles. Maybe your wife would find that creating adventures taps into some creativity and energy she needs to find a release for.
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Ed
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I will also chime in with the starter set for D&D 5e. Its great and pretty inexpensive for the amount of content. Target stores have them on shelf and there is always Amazon.

I would also recommend trying out the D100 Dungeon game book as well as Four Against Darkness

You can play these solo and are very compact and easy to play.
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David Elrick
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If it's sci-fi you are after, there is also a Traveller starter set. It includes example characters, a mini-campaign (seven adventures IIRC - I don't have it in front of me to check the exact number) and a subsector to get you started.
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Ozan
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PghArch wrote:
This sounds like a terrific joint project. The D&D starter set is excellent. I’d suggest starting there. I noticed in your writing an assumption that you would be DM. Maybe that’s the most comfortable way to start, but I’d also suggest trying both roles. Maybe your wife would find that creating adventures taps into some creativity and energy she needs to find a release for.


Can't agree more thumbsup And maybe you'll like playing a PC more than being a DM.
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Eric Jome
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Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game
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Jamie Hardy
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I do not know how good your memory is, but you can purchase many of your old games. You can buy used copies or purchase them from DriveThruRPG. WotC has put out all of the previous versions of D&D. Please note that the games produced after 2nd Edition AD&D have the D&D name, but are not the same game. The rules are not the same and the style/spirit of the game is different. This is not to say you will not like the new editions, but they will not play or feel the same.

In terms of new games, I would recommend you pick up one or more of the Star Wars (FFG) games.

One final thing to keep in mind is who are you going to play with? That may help you narrow down your choices. Old friends who you played with? Then you are good with the older games. Looking for a new group? Well, you might need to play something people are playing now. The easiest groups to find players for are 5E and Star Wars.
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Eric Anderson
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BirdfluNuggetz wrote:

1) Must be robust, but not overly complicated.


What does robust mean to you?
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You don't explicitly state that it's just you and the wife, but you don't mention roping in others. Are you looking for a two-player RPG? Or will you be recruiting friends to join you?

I'll second the request for clarification around what you mean by "robust."
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John Constantius
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Thinking through your requirements, it sounds a lot like Pathfinder, Starfinder or D&D 5E could be your thing. There are a lot of other great systems out there, but the primary problem I think you’ll find is a lack of published modules. Traveller has a lot of published support, but leveling/growing with experience isn’t really a thing in that system and it sounds like that’s part of what you’re looking for.

So with those three in mind:

1) Must be robust, but not overly complicated.

Check, though Starfinder and particularly Pathfinder might fail the “overly complicated” requirement.

2) The availability of modules (if that's still a "thing") is paramount, starting at the basic character level. If these modules or adventure chapters are somewhat sequential and turn into a continuing/ongoing saga, then bonus.

Definitely check, particularly for Pathfinder which features sequential campaigns as a main reason for its existence, though it also does one-shots. Although it is currently moving into a second edition, there is so much existing first edition material I doubt anyone could play all of it in their lifetime.

3) The game world must be interesting from an "options" perspective.
3a) Lots of weapons/armor/races.
3b) Lots of ways to create/exist in the world that the game offers.
3c) Long-term leveling options.

Huge check for Pathfinder, maybe not quite as much for D&D 5E or Starfinder but they are “younger” games.
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You might also check out Shadow of the Demon Lord. It has lots of options that are not too complicated; the math behind the system is solid; and there's lots of published scenarios.

Only downside is that it is marginal with two, and also the themes are super dark (the world is ending and all the murder/torture demons are loose; that kind of thing) which may not be your cup of tea. From what I've read of the adventures you could probably sanitize on the fly for some things but not all.
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Clark Timmins
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So stop your cheap comment, 'Cause we know what we feel...
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Great RPGs for Beginners
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Paul Unwin
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Whatever system you choose, I urge you to give some thought to your approach. What might have worked satisfactorily for you in your younger years might not go over quite as well now, and vice versa. Your primary goal appears to be nostalgia, but memory can play tricks on us, and recreating the circumstances rarely recreates the feeling. Approach things with as open a mind as you can, and trust yourself to interpret things and address issues in new ways.

Good luck.
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Robb Minneman
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Jackasses? You let a whole column get stalled and strafed on account of a couple of jackasses? What the hell's the matter with you?
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dysjunct wrote:
You don't explicitly state that it's just you and the wife, but you don't mention roping in others. Are you looking for a two-player RPG? Or will you be recruiting friends to join you?


Yeah. That's a key indication. Things that work at the 1 player plus GM level don't function as well at the 6 PC count, and vice-versa.

Also: What genre are you interested in playing in? What's your complexity threshold? Did you find AD&D 1e/2e to be too complex, too easy, or just right?

One more: When you played D&D what did you enjoy most? Exploration (traveling the game world and seeing what's there), Roleplay (interacting with NPCs), or Combat (the pointy end goes in the other guy)?

You can pick up a lot of those old D&D books online at DriveThruRPG in PDF. And there are dozens of old school modules. D&D 5e captures some of that old-school feel with a more consistent and workable set of mechanics. It's something you know, you're familiar with, and which has a lot of support.
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Scott Peterson
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And there are plenty of published adventures for D&D 5e. Wizards has put out a number of hardcovers, which take a party of adventurers from level one up to mid-teens or higher. These would be pretty overwhelming to run with one player, I would think, but there are lots of other options out there as well. Adventurers League is the official organized play program of 5e, and there are I believe 8 seasons of content that have been published. Each season has a storyline that runs through them, related to the specific hardcover that was released at that time. You do not have to play the hardcovers to enjoy the AL adventures. There are also many, many adventures available through the DMs Guild. These are modules that can help expand the storyline, but are not approved for AL play though they do have to follow (I believe) guidelines from WOTC. None of these are designed for a single player, so you would have to do some work paring things down. And there are still more adventures available through sites like DrivethruRPG, although these do not have any sort of minimum standards from WOTC, so can be hit or miss quality-wise.
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CalicoDave
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Modiphius just announced a Fallout RPG. Looks like it's not releasing until next year, though.
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