Varsovian
 member, 1381 posts
Thu 21 Sep 2017
at 18:34
Let's say you want to introduce someone to RPGs...
What it says on the tin :)

Basically - let's say you want to introduce someone to RPGs. Specifically, let's say that *I* want to introduce someone to RPGs. Also, let's say that the potential person's primary interest would be a fantasy game... If so, which system would you use? Here's what I own in the fantasy genre:

GURPS 4E
Pathfinder
Warhammer Fantasy RP 2E
Mutants & Masterminds 2E with the Warriors & Warlocks sourcebook

Which system would be the easiest to grasp for a total newcomer?

Also, if I were to introduce the newcomer to an RPG of *any* genre, which of these systems would you recommend? Any of the above, or maybe:

GURPS 4E with a non-fantasy story
Mutants & Masterminds 2E with superheroes / villains / agents / whatever
Call of Cthulhu
Trail of Cthulhu
Numenera
The Strange
Old World of Darkness:
- Mage: the Ascension
- Vampire: the Dark Ages
- Demon: the Fallen
New World of Darkness:
- mortals
- Vampire: the Requiem
- Mage: the Awakening
- Promethean: the Created
- Changeling: the Lost
- Hunter: the Vigil
- Mummy: the Curse
- Beast: the Primordial
Qin: the Warring States
Dark Heresy 2E
Black Crusade

Any suggestions?
biscuit
 member, 16 posts
Thu 21 Sep 2017
at 18:40
Let's say you want to introduce someone to RPGs...
I would use something that can start simpler, like Pathfinder or Savage Worlds.

GURPS and Warhammer are quite a bit more complex, and I know nothing of M&M.
engine
 member, 442 posts
Thu 21 Sep 2017
at 18:53
Let's say you want to introduce someone to RPGs...
I don't think it really matters, as long as they are into the trappings of the game. No matter the complexity of the game, most of the real rules will need to be set aside initially anyway, so the key difference about RPGs - the fact that the characters are freer in their actions than in a video game or board game - can shine through.
Isida KepTukari
 member, 168 posts
 Elegant! Arrogant! Smart!
Thu 21 Sep 2017
at 19:05
Let's say you want to introduce someone to RPGs...
I would say a lot depends on the person.  I began reading my dad's 2e AD&D books cover-to-cover for a year before he taught me how to play, so the transition from casual reader to gamer wasn't too bad.  When I know I'm about to learn a new system, I'll read the core book/player's book all the way through so I have a grasp on the terminology and basics before I even get into character creation and play.  Someone who wants to put in lots of reading time might find getting in any system a lot easier.

Your potential player might have a certain character concept in mind, and there might be one of your chosen systems that allows that concept to be created more easily.  One system's campaign world (or play style/rewards system) might fit your player more than another.

Another thing to keep in mind might be popularity/accessibility of the system in your area.  In my neck of the woods, Pathfinder is HUGE, 3.5 D&D is still popular, 4e was so unpopular the local gaming stores stopped carrying it even when it was still relatively new, and 5e is gaining ground.  M&M, Warhammer, and GURPS are less popular, so you'd be much more likely to find a local group for Pathfinder (and have lots of stuff to buy at the FLGS) than anything else.

Keep in mind that D&D in general, as well as Pathfinder, is very widespread and fairly popular.  A player who knows those systems could likely find fellow players in many parts of the country/world.

I haven't played GURPS for more than two sessions (as a total newbie), nor have I played Warhammer or M&M, so I can't compare them to Pathfinder.  However, Pathfinder does have a ludicrous amount of options, so you could likely find something official to make your exact character.

As for what system might be good in general:

I'm a big fan of the Cypher System/Numenera/The Strange.  It has a good system of rules (though not nearly as detailed as Pathfinder), but also allows for a lot of latitude by both the Game Master and the player for creative play.  The character creation is simpler, and you can get into gaming faster.  A character creation session for a Pathfinder character for a new player can take several hours, and so you might only have enough time for a very, very short introduction to adventuring your first day.

The question would be if the person wants to hop into gaming right away (which would mean using a less detail-oriented system to start), or if they are good with spending a session or two in just character creation and learning the basic rules (allowing for a more detailed, rules-intensive system).
swordchucks
 member, 1440 posts
Thu 21 Sep 2017
at 19:07
Let's say you want to introduce someone to RPGs...
engine's got the right of it.  The system is less important than the tone you use.

From a personal perspective, I encourage you to give them a pregenerated character and play for a little bit before you let them make their own.  Yes, there's more investment in playing something you make, but it's also a weird part of the game where you aren't really playing.

Let's say you hand them a knight and play out his great mission to return a relic or something.  There are some challenges and some fights, and then, just as an impossible horde is closing in on him (or her), cut away.  Have them make their own character that happens to come across the dying knight just in time to be told about the stolen relic and how important it is that it gets to place X.

You move character generation from the front, where you're basically having to tell them how everything works to the middle, after they've sort of learned their way around the system.

This message was last edited by the user at 02:59, Fri 22 Sept.

Kessa
 member, 531 posts
 Dark Army:
 Out to Lunch
Thu 21 Sep 2017
at 19:16
Let's say you want to introduce someone to RPGs...
Whatever system you start them with, you should keep it simple to start before adding more complex rules into the mix. Consider any games that come with quick-start guides-- they give the overall rules without getting into all the nitty-gritty stuff in the core book proper.

That said, I've found a lot of new-to-tabletop players to catch on pretty surprisingly quickly and once they do, you can add more specific rules in. If the system is in line with their interests, they'll pay more attention as well.

M&M 2E is pretty easy if you are willing to take a few minutes to walk them through a few things. I can't speak for the source book specifically, since I don't own it. Anything WoD is also pretty simple and straight forward. Pathfinder is a good primer for a lot of other systems so long as you keep it simple to start.

Another question to consider might be what kind of game do you think this person would be interested in? Tilted more toward hack'n'slash, more social, how story based? You can use any system to do any of these, but if you're running the right system with the wrong focus for someone, that can tamp down interest.
Mrrshann618
 member, 123 posts
Thu 21 Sep 2017
at 20:52
Let's say you want to introduce someone to RPGs...
As stated earlier, the tone and how things are done make up for the rather clunky rules that many systems have. A good GM can make even the worst system tolerable.

That being said I found that the CoC system tends to catch on the quickest.
Rather than dealing with target numbers or difficulty checks, a straight percentile roll is understood by most.

Now a long time ago I played the old WEG Star Wars and I caught on to that rather quickly. Just d6's nothing else to get confusing. Not sure what systems run like that anymore.
willvr
 member, 1091 posts
Thu 21 Sep 2017
at 20:54
Let's say you want to introduce someone to RPGs...
It's more what gives you the idea they'd like RPGs? Lots of people like reading fantasy or sci-fi that don't really like RPGs. Because if you know what it is about RPGs that you think would appeal to them, you can figure out how to approach the idea of introducing them to it.
Varsovian
 member, 1382 posts
Thu 21 Sep 2017
at 21:18
Let's say you want to introduce someone to RPGs...
Thanks for the advice!

I'm asking about systems, as I do agree that a new player would have to have a lot of rules simplified or glossed over. And I'm wondering whether it's always that easy to do? For example: I'm just reading the WFRP 2E book (yeah, I'm a newb to this system, too) and the character creation seems... simple. A few rolls, taking down some notes on equipment, skills etc. I'm quite surprised, actually, with how easy it is.

Meanwhile, Pathfinder? Again, I'm still learning it, but the character creation is *robust*. Modifiers to calculate, skills and feats to choose... Feats are layers and have various prerequisites. Races have various features, classes have long write-ups of special abilities. Even creating a basic fighter isn't very quick - and if you choose to create a spellcaster, you can spend a few hours just trying to understand all the wrinkles. I don't have a big problem with that, but I fear that a complete newcomer would be put off by something like that... and it'd also be a bit hard to simplify this stuff.

There's a similar problem with GURPS. I'm a great fan of GURPS, but the character creation can get quite arcane there, with all that calculating how many points you spend on each skill etc. Again, not sure how to simplify that?

So, maybe PF or GURPS are just not the best system to throw at newcomers..?
nauthiz
 member, 538 posts
Thu 21 Sep 2017
at 21:31
Let's say you want to introduce someone to RPGs...
It's really going to depend a lot on what they're already familiar with.  Someone who enjoys a lot of video games in the japanese RPG style for instance is going to be familiar with things like choosing from different attacks/powers and taking away HP, mana, etc.

Some people don't give a fig for rules at all, others will want to read the core book from cover to cover before they begin.

Really the best thing you can do is tailor the situation exactly to what gets them the most excited.  Whether that means giving them the book to read and letting them make a character on their own step by step, or giving them something pre-generated, or asking a lot of questions and stating up the character yourself as you go, it's about engaging them in a process that they'll enjoy.

System choice will be a part of this, someone who enjoys numbers and reading/understanding of rules is going to likely be more satisfied with a crunchier system, someone who really doesn't care for such probably shouldn't be introduced through a crunchy system like pathfinder.  Maybe Fate is going to be more their speed.

Again, it's all about knowing what's going to make the experience the most fun and rewarding for them, and thus encourage them to continue and explore more of the hobby.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1201 posts
Thu 21 Sep 2017
at 21:42
Let's say you want to introduce someone to RPGs...
For new players, don't bring them into a full system at all.

Savage worlds is probably the best, because of the fewest mechanics to bother with initially, yet more complex mechanics can be explored.

Whatever system you use, create their character for them by asking them about their character ask narratively, not mechanically (I.E. don't ask what class they are, instead ask what there character does for a living, or how they fight enemies, then pick ghe class that best fits their answer.)

Then, do not show them an entire sheet. Just a few descriptives (name, height, weight, hair, etc), the ability scores, and skill list. Play a session with just that. Don't worry about all the other modifiers or special abilities, not even for enemies.

Then the next session, each encounter pick one mechanic to teach them, and make the encounter all about that mechanic.

Repeat till they have been introduced to all the major mechanics (feats, perks, sliding/shifting, Attacks of Opportunity, etc), then have a boss battle bringing it all together.

After that, play normally, paying special attention to the small/rare details such as environmental effects.
LadyMer
 member, 88 posts
Thu 21 Sep 2017
at 22:05
Let's say you want to introduce someone to RPGs...
It'll also depend on what kind of game you think they'll enjoy.  WFRP is easy to make characters for, easy to run... and anyone who's wanting to play Lord of the Rings or King Arthur-type stories won't enjoy it if they roll up a ratcatcher with terrible stats.