Best RPGs of 2016

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Best RPGs of 2016

Postby Luke » Mon Oct 17, 2016 10:05 pm

So each year I put up a post to get a feel from Wellingtonians what RPGs published that year have been their favourite. Though this thread is aimed at RPGs published in 2016 only, please feel free to mention supplements or any other RPG you encountered this year that stood out.

Last year's thread is here: http://nzrag.com/nzrbb/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=855.

After the peak of 2013 and 2014, 2016 seemed to continue to the slight downward trend of 2015. There is even more RPGs coming out than ever before, both old and new. There are also more ways of publishing than ever before. The result is that though there are still plenty of good RPGs out there, there is also a lot of chaff, and it is getting harder all the time to distinguish between the two. The real gems, like the top two on my list, could easily be overlooked. Whether this results in a levelling out in coming years or a mini-bust is hard to tell.

Also of note in 2016 is the opening up of the D&D5e OGL and the emergence of RPGs under it. The one making the most noise is Adventures in Middle Earth, finally bringing together to long promised "Lord of the Rings using D&D" RPG. But the one that caught my attention was Amethyst, finally bringing a setting I was interested in to a rule set I enjoyed.

I have continued to have success in managing to run and play RPGs that make it into my top 5, with my top 1 to 3 from 2014, my top 1 from 2015, and my top 1 and 3 from this year all seeing action. Despite high hopes for various Apocalypse World RPGs in the last few years, my enthusiasm for these have waned somewhat, mostly due to mixed experiences at the table.

My top five for 2016 are:

1. Godbound: Godbound took the older free-wheeling style of D&D that I loved and used it to recreate the original gameplay experience of Exalted 1e. It seems like it wouldn't work but it does and it does in excess. I have known of Kevin Crawford for a while but have been turned off his work as, at first glance, it seems plagued by the many foibles of old school RPGs. However, on further review and actual play, his games are fantastic and prove to be well designed for what they set out to achieve.

The fact that he turned his mind explicitly to emulating my favourite RPG of all time with Godbound, and Exalted 3e proved to be so disappointing, only reinforced my decision to give the top spot to this RPG.

2. Coriolis: Fria Ligan are a Swedish outfit publishing through Modiphius. Last year, they totally impressed me with my impulse purchase of Mutant Year Zero. Now they seem to have invaded my top 5 RPGs with two entries this year. Coriolis is the space opera RPG I have been looking for for a while, with a tagline of Firefly meets Arabian Nights. Great mid crunch rules that are thoughtfully designed - traditional in approach but with communal ship building systems that are just fantastic. As with MY0, the presentation and art is cohesive and evocative. This is high on my list to play next if my regular campaign game came to an end.

3. Amethyst Quintessence: Amethyst is a setting I have been interested in since its D&D 4e release. Unlike most D&D settings, this one has a greater feeling of one that would be used in a work of fiction. The fictional world takes precedence of the D&D gaming base, though the later is also well served too. This was the first RPG under the OGL I became aware of and D&D 5e is a great match. So much so I am running it as my fortnightly campaign.

4. Adventures in Middle-Earth: As a fan of The One Ring and of D&D5e, I knew I would like this RPG. Though it seems to overlap both of those, there is a place for AiME in bringing the most popular fantasy setting together with the most popular fantasy RPG. It seems like a positive entry into any local Con schedule. It does suffer from some balance issues that are reminiscent of the OGL boom that followed D&D 3e, but these are outweighed by many really great ideas both from TOR and new. Add in C7's superb lore and art and its a winner.

5. Genlab Alpha: The second Fria Ligan entry and hot on the heels of Mutant Year Zero, Genlab Alpha is just an example of all round great design. I love how there is a very definite setting and campaign attached to the book, but its also a good RPG for mutated animals in an post-apocalyptic setting generally. It makes it immediately playable but not limited. It should also plug in nicely to MY0, continuing to expand that great RPG, with further expansion for robots and non-mutated humans to come.

A notable mention goes to T.I.M.E Stories. This is a board game but it really does challenge the boundaries of roleplaying in board gaming by taking the "choose your own adventure" concept and using board game mechanics to let it be played in a multiplayer way. It seems to be a love/hate affair for a lot of people, but the love is strong with this one and my experiences agree.

My 2015 choices: Shadow of the Demon Lord, Urban Shadows, Mutant Year Zero, Star Wars: Force and Destiny, Exalted 3e.

My 2014 choices: Far Away Land, D&D 5e, Ryuutama, Icons: Assembled Edition, Book of Cairn.

My 2013 choices: Atlantis: The Second Age, Double Cross, Warbirds, Golden Sky Stories, Lords of Gossamer and Shadow.

My 2012 choices: Tenra Bansho Zero, Shadows of Esteren, Marvel Heroic , Hellas 2nd Ed., Legends of the Wulin.

My 2011 choices: One Ring, Mistborn, Fabled Lands, Vampire the Masquerade 20th Ann. Ed., Advanced Fighting Fantasy 2e.

My 2010 choices: Eclipse Phase, Gamma World D&D4e, Dresden Files, Eoris, Icons.

My 2009 choices: D&D4e, Mouse Guard, Summerland, Anima, WFRP3e.

My 2008 choices: CthulhuTech, Dragon Warriors, D&D4e, Dark Heresy, Grimm.

My 2007 choices: CthulhuTech, Star Wars Saga Ed., Monte Cook's World of Darkness, Solomon Kane, BlissStage.

My 2006 choices: A Game of Thrones OGL, Spirit of the Century, Qin, Burning Empires, Agon.
Playing: D&D5e
Running: Godbound, Masks, Legacy
Planning: None
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Re: Best RPGs of 2016

Postby Anarchangel » Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:05 pm

Ah! I've heard good things about Godbound too, but I didn't realise it was doing an Exalted thing.

If you get a chance, check out Masks, Luke. It's probably the New Hotness in PbtA (as well as The Sprawl, but that's less new to Wellington folks!)

Now that that's finally out, I'm hoping to get a chance to decently play more than five different RPGs in a year!

Here's what I'm excited to receive and read:
Coriolis
Bluebeard's Bride.
M.A.S.H.E.D.
Legends of the Elements (Have, but have yet to play)
Ardens Ludere
My games: The Sprawl; Conquering Corsairs.
Con Rotation: The Sprawl; Dungeon World.
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Re: Best RPGs of 2016

Postby Luke » Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:37 pm

Anarchangel wrote:If you get a chance, check out Masks, Luke. It's probably the New Hotness in PbtA (as well as The Sprawl, but that's less new to Wellington folks!)


Masks? *checks my Backerkit*

1 Masks: A New Generation (PDF)
1 Masks: Deck of Influence/Deck of Villainy (PDF)
1 Full Set of 6 Pairs of Masks Dice (12 Total Dice)
1 Masks (Hardcover)
1 Masks: Unbound (Hardcover)
1 Secrets of A.E.G.I.S. (Hardcover)
1 The Deck of Villainy
1 The Halcyon City Herald Collection (Hardcover)
1 The Hero Deck

:D
Playing: D&D5e
Running: Godbound, Masks, Legacy
Planning: None
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Re: Best RPGs of 2016

Postby Anarchangel » Tue Oct 18, 2016 9:10 pm

Convenient!
Ardens Ludere
My games: The Sprawl; Conquering Corsairs.
Con Rotation: The Sprawl; Dungeon World.
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Re: Best RPGs of 2016

Postby Luke » Wed Oct 19, 2016 3:16 am

Anarchangel wrote:Ah! I've heard good things about Godbound too, but I didn't realise it was doing an Exalted thing.


FWIW here's a patch to bring it closer in line to Exalted. You could do even more, but I tried to keep this to a minimum.

Godbound Tweaks for Exalted

General
• Change AC to ascending AC: AC = 20 - AC. To hit, an attack roll must equal or exceed the target’s AC.
• All Exalted (other than Dragon-Blooded) are Free Divinities. No Exalted may chose the Apotheosis Word.

Solars (use Exemplars)
• Rebel Innate Power may not be chosen.
• In addition to the 3 Words, choose 2 Words from which you can take Lesser Gifts (Minor Words). You do not get the innate abilities of Minor Words. Minor Words can be upgraded to full Words for 1 Gift point.
• The Sun Word may only be taken by Solars and 1 of the Words or Minor Words for each Solar must be Sun.
• Minor Words are insufficient for learning a True Strife.
• Solars who learn the first 5 Gifts in a True Strife get the 6th and last Gift free.

Abyssals (use Exemplars)
• The same as Solars, except as below.
• The Death Word may only be taken by Abyssals and 1 of the Words or Minor Words for each Abyssal must be Death.
• Replace Consuming Temptation with Taboo Behaviour.

Lunars (use Proteans)
• Lunars do not get the Innate Weakness to a mundane substance or the extra 1HP per level.
• Lunars get Consuming Temptation and Incandescent Power.
• The Beast Word may only be taken by Lunars.
• Lunars may not take the elemental Words of Fire, Sea, Sky, Earth, or Fertility.
• Lunars may not take Adept of the Throne (Sorcery Greater Gift).
• Replace the Forging of Sinew and Bone (Shapeshifting Greater Gift) with:

ASSUME THE FORM OF WAR On Action
With this Gift a Lunar may assume a hybrid form for a scene by committing Effort for the Scene. When in their hybrid form, Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution are increased to 16. If their ability 16 or 17 already, it is increased to 18. If it is 18 already, it is increased to 19, which has a bonus of +4. If it is 19 already, it is increased to 20, which has a bonus of +5. Their natural weapons damage increases to 1d8.


Sidereals (use Undestined)
• Sidereals have Inflexible Words, though they may still use miracles defensively.
• The Time Word may only be taken by Sidereals.
• Sidereals may not take Adept of the Throne (Sorcery Greater Gift).

Dragonblooded (use Elemental Scions)
• Access to Greater Gifts in Words is granted at the rate of 1 Word every 2 levels, starting at level 6.
• Words in which the PC does not have access to Greater Gifts are insufficient for learning a True Strife.
• Dragonblooded may not take Adept of the Way or Adept of the Throne (Sorcery Greater Gifts).

Liminals (use Arrayed)
• Liminals may not take Adept of the Way or Adept of the Throne (Sorcery Greater Gifts).

Heroic Mortals
• The following Heroic Talents are removed: Adept of the Gate, Adept of the Way, Adept of the Throne, Heroic Vancian Caster, Heroic Old-School Ability, and True Strife Training.
• When taking Innate Gift heroic talent, a Heroic Mortal may instead choose to gain the first Gift in a True Strife for which they already mastered the corresponding Lesser Strife.
• When taking Innate Gift heroic talent, a Heroic Mortal may take Adept of the Gate (Sorcery Lesser Gift), provided they are an archmage of at least one low magic tradition, but they choose 3 invocations rather than 4.
Playing: D&D5e
Running: Godbound, Masks, Legacy
Planning: None
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