member, 108 posts
 I like monkeys
Sun 7 May 2023
at 20:57
Expanding horizons from AD&D 1e
This is not a game proposal, but I am seeking input/advice on a question, so hopefully this is the right forum.

I have played AD&D 1e for 40+ years and have never played any other RPG's. I only discovered the world of PBP a year ago, and have been very active on RPoL ever since. (And it's been a blast.)

I would like to dip my toe in another gaming system and am interested in hearing suggestions from others.

Basically, I'm wondering if the best first step is to try a different edition of AD&D? And if so, should I try 3.5? Or 5.0? Or something else?

Or I could try Traveller, since it's more of a kindred spirit to 1e AD&D.

Or would something like Pathfinder be worth diving into?

Or perhaps another game altogether that I haven't mentioned?

Would love to hear from folks on here, not just your recommendation(s) but also your reasoning behind it. And maybe what your personal experience was if you were ever in my shoes?

I'm big on reading/studying/preparing, so whatever advice is given, I'm likely to buy the source materials and read through them thoroughly before trying to join a game on here. I assume that's necessary or at least worthwhile, but if you have any thoughts on that front, feel free to weigh in. I suppose I could also try to find a local table top game in my area and start there before trying it on PBP, if anyone thinks that's a better approach.

I'll leave it there. Thanks for reading this far, and thanks in advance to anyone who decides to post a reply.
Larson Gates
 member, 49 posts
Sun 7 May 2023
at 21:10
Expanding horizons from AD&D 1e
The question is what 'genre' of game are you interested in?
I played AD&D back in the day when I started, but that was 40 years ago. I basically gave up after about 7 years and have played a vast array of other games since, including a small amount of 3.5E and recently some 5E. Both play very differently to the original, even OSE which is a reskin of the original Red Box basic game plays differently.
I would suggest to start with defining which genre of game you want to play.
Traveller plays very differently to all versions of D&D. The one thing you never want to do in Traveller is get into combat..New clones anyone.. ooopps that's Paranoia. Remember the computer is your Friend.
 member, 109 posts
 I like monkeys
Sun 7 May 2023
at 21:26
Expanding horizons from AD&D 1e
Thanks Larson. It's a fair question, but I'm not sure how to answer it. I love AD&D, which is a balance of combat and role playing. I imagine I'd be interested in games that have a similar balance, but I'm pretty wide open as far as fantasy vs sci-fi vs horror or whatever. I'd like to hear from people who had a good experience with AD&D 1e, then fell in love with one or another gaming system and think it's worth a try for someone like me.

As for "the computer," I've already researched the question online, at some length (if that's what you meant?) But I'm more interested in hearing from people on RPoL.

This message was last edited by the user at 21:27, Sun 07 May.

 member, 389 posts
Sun 7 May 2023
at 21:45
Expanding horizons from AD&D 1e
First of all greetings! :)

Secondly that is a very interesting question to ask.

I think I'd advise you to investigate several free rpgs that are readily available. This way you can try them out without leaping feet first into buying an expensive full game.

D&D 5e
Basic Rules: https://dnd.wizards.com/what-is-dnd/basic-rules

The great advantage of 5e is that you will never be short of finding a game. It is played everywhere. It is also a system that while it has certainly changed since AD&D 1e still has a lot of shared DNA with that edition. It is still a game with alignments, Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma, Fireballs, Paladins, Orcs, Druids...

It might not be quite what you are looking for but it is worth checking out.

To begin with I'm deliberately sticking to free games you can find that are either different  editions of D&D or at least have a D&D link.

Mazes & Minotaurs
Rules (complete!): http://mazesandminotaurs.free.fr/revised.html

Mazes & Minotaurs began as a joke ('what if Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson had been more influenced by Greek myth and Clash of the Titans than Jack Vance JRR Tolkein) but it has very much turned into a proper game with only a few tongue-in-cheek references to a fictional history of the game to betray it's roots.

Mazes & Minotaurs is built on a d20 system, but slimmed down and simplified and focused on playing adventures in a fantasy Ancient Greek style setting that is one part Homer one part actual history and one part Xena: Warrior Princess. It is as I've said a simple system but it has a lot of flavour and for a free homebrew game there is a lot of material written for it.

Flying Swordsmen
Rules (complete!) http://lordgwydion.blogspot.co...g-swordsmen-rpg.html

Like Mazes & Monsters this game takes the D&D/d20 system, simplifies it a bit and gives it a very strong flavour - in this case Chinese Wuxia fantasy books and movies!

There is a definite influence from Oriental Adventures but this game is more balanced between the classes and much more firmly focused on one particular culture (in this case mythic fantasy Imperial China.) Every class has some form of martial arts (including weapon focused martial arts for anyone who wants to play a sword wielder) and there is a very flavourful list of spells for Wizards and Shamans.

I'd reccommend this one if you want to try something not a million miles away from the game you are comfortable with but still feels different.
Larson Gates
 member, 50 posts
Sun 7 May 2023
at 21:56
Expanding horizons from AD&D 1e
As for "the computer," I've already researched the question online, at some length (if that's what you meant?) But I'm more interested in hearing from people on RPoL.

It wasn't.. just a reference anybody who's played Paranoia would get, and there are a few on RPoL
As I said I moved on and played lots of games, Traveller, Mech Warrior, GURPS in various incarnations, Star Frontiers, Stormbringer, Shadowrun, VTM, Runequest, Palladium in lots of guises including Rifts, but the one I return to and run by preference, including on RPoL is Amber.
 member, 110 posts
 I like monkeys
Mon 8 May 2023
at 00:50
Expanding horizons from AD&D 1e
Larson and Ross - that you very much. All of that is helpful.
 member, 101 posts
Mon 8 May 2023
at 15:00
Expanding horizons from AD&D 1e
I encourage you to investigate Chaosium's d100 system called Basic Roleplaying. It's a set of rules that cover all genres -- fantasy, horror, sci-fi, superhero, westerns, anything you can imagine. I'm currently using it for a steampunk game I'm running on this site.

It's a book full of switches you can flick on or flick off, offering rules you can use or not use at your discretion.  You can flick on a lot of switches and run a complex game rules-mechanics wise, or leave them off to run a simpler game.

The basic mechanic is you roll a d100. If you roll equal or under your skill rating, you pass the check. Above, you fail. There are also modifiers to the rolls if you choose to use them. It's that quick and easy.

It's my favorite rules system and powers my homebrew rules. It's also the engine behind some classic games like Call of Cthulhu, Runequest, Stormbringer and a smorgasbord of others down through the years.
 member, 1406 posts
 Err on the side
 of awesome.
Mon 8 May 2023
at 16:33
Expanding horizons from AD&D 1e
I can also recommend Stars Without Number and Worlds Without Number if you're interested in sticking to a similar engine to AD&D1e; they were originally a clone of a clone of B/X D&D but have moved away from being exactly that, while remaining games where you can still grab a copy of any adventure from any pre-3.0 D&D and reskin it for your game with around 20 minutes of work. Both have free editions available on Drivethrurpg, though with extra content in the paid editions and supplements.
 member, 111 posts
 I like monkeys
Mon 8 May 2023
at 17:15
Expanding horizons from AD&D 1e
Great stuff, R&R. Thank you both.
Kelthas Dread
 member, 289 posts
 I was there when it began
 Ill be there when it ends
Mon 8 May 2023
at 17:39
Expanding horizons from AD&D 1e
Ok to help understand where I'm coming from some background may help.

I started Table top rping in 1975, with basic D&D. Changed to AD&D when it came out. Then through all the complete books with all their kits, and then to the Players Option books (by the way sampling a myriad of other systems along the way...gamma world, traveller, runequest, dragon quest, top secret, boot hill, yes paranoia, star frontiers, Twilight 2000 etc.)...

Then changed to 3.0...and a few years later 3.5, I played OSRIC briefly to remember why I loved AD&D. (There are probably 4-5 others that took the AD&D brand and remodelled it...some simplifying ...some reskinning)

 When the edition wars occurred I jumped ship to Pathfinder and haven't looked back. (Though I did play 4.0 twice to see how I liked it...I didn't) and now go back and forth between Pathfinder 1 and Pathfinder 2.

My point...role playing is the same in All systems. It's the mechanics that vary.

So unlike others I'd ask you...what kind of system do you like? Rules heavy? Rules Light? Lots of choices? Few choices? Complex? Simple?

Genres fit in all the above categories. It more matters what's your poison?

Personally I like Pathfinder.

Pathfinder 1 is a rules heavy, complex game with lots of choices

Pathfinder 2 is a rules heavy, simple game with lots of choices....

1 is a spinoff of 3.5 (some call it D&D 3.75) 2 evolved from that.

I've heard D&D 5.0 is very good...similar to how Pathfinder 2 evolved.
 supporter, 523 posts
Mon 8 May 2023
at 18:05
Expanding horizons from AD&D 1e
Hello 1492,

I can relate quite a lot with your experience, but I started trying different rulesets quite a few years ago.

As RossN mentioned, the most logic move for you is D&D5e, as there are a lot of players and a lot of support from publishers. I'd say that this will be your most obvious choice.

However, I'd recommend you make the most of RPoL and try new rulesets in games where the GM is happy to guide new players without any previous knowledge of that ruleset. There are a lot of these games around.

Don't feel forced to stick to different D&D editions, but try something completely different. Have a look at the genres that you are most interested and to the game descriptions, before focussing on a specific ruleset, as that will come later. Maybe at fist some rulesets will confuse you (for example, long time D&D players sometimes struggle to adapt to rulesets where there is no initiative in the fights... but this is just an example) but such is life! :)
If you are interested on a game, feel free to send a message to the GM and tell them that you are looking for a relatively brief experience with that setting and that ruleset, but after a few weeks or months you may or may not decide to stick around for longer. Some GM will be OK, some other won't.

This way I think that you can make the most of RPoL and what it can offer to you to explore different rulesets (and settings).

 member, 121 posts
Mon 8 May 2023
at 18:30
Expanding horizons from AD&D 1e
I played AD&D for quite a few years. Then I was away for almost 20 years, courtesy of moving out into a very rural area. When I got back into gaming, 5e was just coming out, and it was about the same time I discovered PbP. I tried some 3.5 and 4e games, and tried some PF1 (only edition out at the time). Tried some 3.5 in person, had a chance to try Savage Worlds (I think), then got in with a bunch of folks starting up a 2e game that lasted until the pandemic shut us down.

I don't have problems playing 3.5, but I find character creation extremely difficult. My approach to character creation isn't compatible with the way 3.5 needs to be done to be effective, which results in severely underpowered characters. I've yet to find a game where the RPing is enough to make up for doing a quarter to a third of the damage everyone else does in combat. I don't play "tanks" to begin with, but I still want to feel my character can carry their weight for the team and contribute in combat encounters.

I don't apply for 3.5 games anymore because of this, although if the DM is telling a story I'd enjoy being a part of, I will adopt already created characters.

PF1 is so similar to 3.5 it's often referred to as 3.75. I imagine if you played a lot of each, you'd find some significant differences, but I haven't, so pretty much everything I said about 3.5 applies to PF1, excepting being willing to adopt already built characters. I sincerely disliked the SRD for PF1 -- looking stuff up on it felt like being a pinball in a machine, there was so much back and forth between pages trying to find out how things worked, what new spell to pick, etc., and it just wasn't worth the hassle.

I couldn't grasp 4e at all. I did not grow up on video games, which may be why it made no sense to me.

I started playing 5e because it was, literally, the only game in town when my local library started running DDAL games. A 25 minute drive to play locally beats an hour for casual playing.

I haven't yet played 5e in PbP. It's ferociously competitive to get into a game, and I still don't feel fast enough/confident enough with chargen to compete. 5e is more forgiving than 3.5 if you don't preplan your future multiclassing at creation. You can get away with just looking ahead to your 3rd level subclasses, and still end up with an workable character. It is a little annoying that subclasses are scattered across a dozen books; there's 2-4 for each in the PHB, but every new book has some more, and/or has variant ways of running races/classes.

5e is a very "soft" game, in that character death is a very rare occurence. It is superheroic fantasy -- the PCs can get pounded near to death, go to sleep, and wake up all better in the morning, day after day after day.

And, it's still the only game in town... and easy to start new players in it, like the high school students where I work, so I've even started DMing 5e. I don't imagine I'll ever run my homebrew campaign with it, but I'm willing to run canned dungeons.

There are numerous third party companies that have created variants on 5e to give it more of an edge, or more of an old school feel. Some sound pretty good. Others are aiming more for a grim-dark vibe, which isn't really of interest to me.

I had a chance to try Savage Worlds (unless it was Fate? D6 based, exploding dice... it was a while back!). At the initial meet up the gm converted a couple of old Dungeon adventures, and gave us some characters he'd built, so we could dive right in and play. We had fun. Didn't seem that it would be too hard to learn, and the exploding dice was a fun mechanic. If we'd kept going from there for a while, I think it would have worked. Unfortunately, we all rolled up new characters by the book the next session. I found the chargen very railroaded. Then the introductory adventure was geared to help lock in player understanding of the factions I suspect... but when we didn't like the options given to us, and couldn't use outside the box ideas, or even just flee town and avoid it all, we were told we couldn't for Reasons.

I have no idea if this intro adventure came with the game or was completely built by the gm, but it put the players off, ruined the flavor of the whole session, and that was the end of that.

Last summer and fall I was playing the Fallout RPG. I've never played the video game, but "post-apocalyptic, with zombies and radiation mutants" ties in with enough pop-culture stuff that it's not a hard concept to grasp. It was fun, and a good use for d20s and even d6s that roll chronically low.

This message was last edited by the user at 18:39, Mon 08 May.

 member, 112 posts
 I like monkeys
Mon 8 May 2023
at 19:50
Re: Expanding horizons from AD&D 1e
I encourage you to investigate Chaosium's d100 system...

This seems like solid advice. Thank you. (And thanks, as always, for personally introducing me to RPoL. Shout out to James M. and all the readers/supporters of Grognardia!)

Kelthas Dread:
So unlike others I'd ask you...what kind of system do you like? Rules heavy? Rules Light? Lots of choices? Few choices? Complex? Simple?

The thing I liked about 1e AD&D was that the extensive rules were meant to be useful rather than restrictive. Nothing was set in stone. It was information that the DM could use, or disregard, or adapt to his own purpose.  For this reason, the details of the system varied slightly from one gaming table to the next. So I would like systems that allow the GM similar flexibility.

As for choices and complexity, I imagine I'm fairly middle of the road. I don't mind a complex character creation process with lots of choices, as long as there are simpler rules once you get past that stage, to allow for efficient (rather than cumbersome) game play.

The one thing I would have no interest in are games that allow the PC to be a super-hero from the start, or to become one in short order. I don't want to fight a dragon, or ride a dragon, much less be a dragon(born), unless/until I've logged hundreds of hours of game time in a campaign, in order to arrive in such a place.

I played AD&D for quite a few years. [...] Last summer and fall I was playing the Fallout RPG.

Thank you for the detailed reply. Your last comment is especially interesting. I did not know there was a Fallout RPG, but it just so happens that I have played the video game! Which is funny, because like you, I didn't really grow up on computer games. (I played Wizardry when it first came out c. 1980, and in recent years all I've ever played is Civilization.)

The only reason I am familiar with Fallout is because my sons knew I had never played a "first-person shooter" style game and they thought (correctly) that I would enjoy the story and setting behind Fallout. (I played whichever version is set in Boston and incorporates aspects of the American Revolution.) I'm fairly incompetent at video games that require hand skills, but the overall design of Fallout made it a lot of fun.
 member, 390 posts
Mon 8 May 2023
at 22:38
Re: Expanding horizons from AD&D 1e
Hey Yaztromo, thanks for the compliment and that's good advice. :-)

A couple of other games that might interest you 1492:

Gangbusters B/X

An update of the old Gangbusters RPG set in Roaring Twentiesand using a version of Basic D&D rules. It isn't free but it is relatively cheap on DriveThruRPG (https://www.drivethrurpg.com/p...gbusters-B-X-version) and looks a lot of fun if you are after a very different atmosphere while still sticking with familiar rules.

Advanced Fighting Fantasy, Second Edition

Quickstart rules (free): https://www.drivethrurpg.com/p...g-Fantasy-Quickstart

Based off the classic British Fighting Fantasy gamebooks of the 1980s and 90s (Warlock of Firetop Mountain, Deathtrap Dungeon, etc.) Advanced Fighting Fantasy has simple yet easily customizable rules. I admit I'm biased due to nostalgia for the gamebooks but it is a lot of fun and there are plenty of supplements including very good fan support.

The basic game is classic fantasy but there is also a spin off called Stellar Adventures which covers sci-fi gaming.


Rules (complete, free and in multiple editions!): http://talislanta.com/talislanta-library

Talislanta is more of a very strongly flavoured fantasy setting than a single RPG - there have been multiple editions of the rules which are simple and flavourful but it has also been converted to d20 and the original sourcebooks were released as system-neutral guides to the setting and monsters so really you could run it with anything.

Talislanta itself is honestly quite difficult to describe at least beyond 'fantasy setting'. As the Wikipedia entry puts it:

As Rick Swan stated in The Complete Guide to Role-playing, "It's as if H. P. Lovecraft had written Alice in Wonderland, with Hans Christian Andersen and William S. Burroughs as technical advisors."

This message was last edited by the user at 22:39, Mon 08 May.

 member, 113 posts
 I like monkeys
Tue 9 May 2023
at 00:12
Re: Expanding horizons from AD&D 1e
In reply to RossN (msg # 14):

Very cool. Thank you sir!
Lord Gwydion
 member, 36 posts
Fri 2 Jun 2023
at 15:04
Re: Expanding horizons from AD&D 1e
First of all, I'd second RossN's suggestion of  Flying Swordsmen, but I'm more than a little biased there. Thanks for the plug, Ross!

1942, if you have any questions about it, feel free to send me an rmail!

Other than that, there is a lot of good advice for you already in this thread. My suggestion (other than Flying Swordsmen) would be to try something NOT based on D&D/AD&D. One of the things I love about the OSR is that we've taken that chassis and twisted, modified, simplified, complicated, and rebuilt it in a lot of cool ways that all share a similar baseline.

But to me, it sounds like you need some experience with something different. If I were you, I'd look to the suggestions outside D&D (any edition), Pathfinder, or any of the OSR offerings (check them all out later).

Go for something like Basic Fantasy, GURPS, "Powered by the Apocalypse" games, Star Frontiers, Pendragon, or any other game that is mechanically different from D&D. Get a taste of something very different and see how you like it.
 member, 116 posts
 I like monkeys
Fri 2 Jun 2023
at 15:09
Re: Expanding horizons from AD&D 1e
In reply to Lord Gwydion (msg # 16):

Thank you m'Lord! I agree with you- it would be fun to try something outside of D&D altogether. And thanks for the rMail offer. I may take you up on that.
 member, 181 posts
Fri 2 Jun 2023
at 20:46
Re: Expanding horizons from AD&D 1e
The great thing is, we live in a veritable golden-age for RPGs- you name the genre, there is likely to be at least one game in that niche, and some games specialize in things that (so far as I know) don't have a genre outside of gaming.

I mean, there's a game about cats in a Lovecraftian world (not cartoon cats either), and it's good. There's a really fun Baron Munchausen game. There's several based on kid detectives. You name it, someone's tried it, and it often comes out really good.

Likewise, drop me a line, I will see if there's anything I can help recommend.

This message was last edited by the user at 20:49, Fri 02 June.

 member, 1 post
Mon 5 Jun 2023
at 00:37
Expanding horizons from AD&D 1e
In reply to 1492 (msg # 1):

Some pretty great suggestions here, though as a fellow AD&D 1E holdout I have to offer up Talislanta 2nd Edition as a stand-out contender (as RossN has).  Talislanta is one of the few RPG's that gives you the setting in remarkably few pages; it makes sense and grips the imagination, and the crazy variety of characters/ "classes" (similar to OD&D where race/class were more or less joined) has been turbocharged...something like over 40 choices there.

Talislanta 2nd Edition is fantasy like you've never quite seen it - strays well away from Tolkien-isms and is in many ways extremely bespoke...and nothing has existed since that even kind of resembles it.  It's darker/ grittier but not 'edgelord' morose - think Conan movies plus some.

Another benefit is its mainstream enough that people will recognize it...and the system is really intuitive - easy to pick up on the fly.

STORMBINGER/ Chaosium (Elric) looked like a really unique system but I've not played it, and it is a bit more obscure than Talislanta when it comes to curb appeal/ recognition.  If your intent is to just do something new regardless of the fanfare it may or may not have, DriveThruRPG has a tranche of things from every imaginable angle.
 member, 117 posts
 I like monkeys
Mon 5 Jun 2023
at 00:41
Expanding horizons from AD&D 1e
In reply to WorstCat (msg # 19):

Great info- thank you!