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The Games We Play: TTRPG Week 2

Now let's take a moment to talk a little more in depth about the actual games. There are myriad games out there, each with their own system. But, many are run using the same system and right now we'll discuss the three most popular types.

The d20 System: Arguably the most used. This system is simple - roll a twenty-sided die, and add all relevant modifiers. If the number is the same as or beats a static challenge number, then you succeed at the task. If you are doing an action which is directly opposed, say trying to knock an opponent prone, than both sides roll and whomever has the higher number wins.

Percentile System: Abilities and skills are all based on a number from 0% – 100%. The higher the number, the easier the skill is to use. Using two ten-sided dice, you roll and try to get equal to or under your skill or attribute number. The system uses a degrees-of-success mechanic wherein the increments from the base number determines if your character does better or worse than initially intended. Victory in opposed rolls goes to whomever has the greatest success.

Dice Pool System: The character attributes and skills determine how many dice they roll. For static rolls, the Game Master determines what number needs to be rolled and how many successes are needed. Each die that rolls that number or higher is a success and each die higher than the needed number adds to degrees of success. Opposed rolls have both sides roll and victory goes to the one with the most successes.  

Here are some games and the genres they exist in; perhaps you'll find something you'll like to try:

Dungeons & Dragons- The archetypal fantasy game. High fantasy influenced heavily by the works of Tolkien. Currently in fifth edition.

Pathfinder- Like D&D, it's a high fantasy setting. However, it tends to have a darker tone. Currently in second edition.

Sci Fi:
Traveler- Set in a distant future where mankind travels the stars. Good game for those who like Star Trek or Babylon Five.
Cyberpunk- Dystopian near-future. Corporations have taken over, and the world is slowly spiraling down. Characters are usually a ragtag bunch of misfits trying to survive and hold on to what is left of their humanity.


Call of Cthulhu- Based on the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Characters are average people who gain insight into the true nature of reality and all the nastiness it entails. Game is intentionally skewed in favor of reality.

Vampire: the Requiem- Part of the World of Darkness setting. The supernatural exists and hides itself in the shadows of society. Characters are vampires dealing with not only the rigors of vampire politics and keeping hidden from the humans who outnumber you, but various other supernatural entities who may decide they don't like you.


Mutants and Masterminds- Generic superhero setting designed to allow you to build your own hero or villain.

Martial Arts:

Exalted- Set in a world on the brink. Characters are reincarnated, divinely-backed martial artists trying to return the world to its former glory, assuming they don't accidentally destroy it.


GURPS- A generic and highly robust system that can be used to create any story or setting you want.

Big Eyes, Small Mouth- a simple system designed to create unique characters and an anime-themed setting.

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