Sunday, August 24, 2014

RPGaDay #24 Most Complicated RPG Owned

This is another one where you're probably expecting me to say GURPS, isn't it? Well, I'm not. And I have a couple of reasons why.

First of all, I think complexity in an RPG is subjective, at least to a degree. No one playing a game needs to know every rule. So no matter how thick an RPG book is nobody needs to know more than a few pages of rules at a time. Some games differ in where they put their complexity. For example, building a first level character in D&D is relatively simple. But as play progresses and the character gets new weapons, spells, powers and abilities, that character becomes more complicated. Since each new rule is introduced one at a time, the player feels that the game remains simple.

GURPS front loads its complexity, requiring you to juggle points and priorities as you build your character. But once the character enters play, the game is actually quite simple. Even if you get into GURPS Vehicles (which is not easy by a long shot), once you've done the cube roots and other obscure math to build a sailboat, you know everything you need to know about that sailboat and never need to do any of that math again.

Secondly, there are a couple games on my shelf that have it beat. I've mentioned Burning Wheel once or twice. That is a game you've really got to play to comprehend. I had to actually build a character to understand how the process worked. And there are functionally 3 different combat systems, as well as an involved social combat system, each with their own intricacies.

Another one worthy of mention is Arduin Eternal, a revival of the classic Arduin RPG. The mechanics are fairly simple. It's moved to percentile roll high, much like Rolemaster (which I do not include because I do not have it in my collection currently). But also like Rolemaster, character creation is a bear. Lots of lists and page flipping.

1 comment:

Barking Alien said...

GURPS is complex for the sheer fact that it even HAS cube roots.


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