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I Have Powers - 50 best core rules
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50 best core rules
(yoinked from gbsteve)

Here's the list of the 50 best core rules, as scored on RPG.net, bold the ones you own.

I'm adding a game designer/writer twist: italicize ones you've worked on. (Supplements count.)

1 Nobilis (8.31)
2 Spirit of the Century (8.25)
3 King Arthur Pendragon (8.14)
4 Unknown Armies (8.13)
5 Call of Cthulhu (7.95)
6 Feng Shui: Action Movie Roleplaying (7.93)
7 Mutants & Masterminds (7.75)
8 Over the Edge (7.7)

9 Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (7.68)
10 Paranoia (7.68)
11 Angel Roleplaying Game (7.67)

12 Talislanta (7.62)
13 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Roleplaying Game (7.62)
14 Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game (7.6)

15 Dread: The First Book of Pandemonium (7.59)
16 Prime Time Adventures (7.56)
17 Big Eyes, Small Mouth (BESM) (7.55)
18 Don't Rest Your Head (7.55)

19 Starblazer Adventures (7.55)
20 Tribe 8 (7.54)
21 Fading Suns (7.52)
22 All Flesh Must Be Eaten (7.45)
23 Jovian Chronicles (7.45)
24 Adventure! (7.4)
25 Silver Age Sentinels (7.39)
26 Reign (7.37)

27 RuneQuest (7.36)
28 Call of Cthulhu d20 (7.34)
29 HeroQuest (7.33)
30 Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (7.33)
31 Faery's Tale (7.33)
32 Dogs in the Vineyard (7.32)
33 Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game (7.32)
34 Wraith: The Oblivion (7.31)
35 Puppetland: A Storytelling Game with Strings in a Grim World of Make-believe (7.31)

36 Hollow Earth Expedition (7.31)
37 Ars Magica (7.29)
38 Legend of the Five Rings (7.29)
39 Artesia: Adventures in the Known World (7.29)
40 Heavy Gear (7.29)
41 Deadlands (7.28)
42 Changeling: The Lost (7.27)
43 Monsters and Other Childish Things (7.25)
44 InSpectres (7.21)
45 Dark Heresy (7.21)
46 Kult (7.21)
47 The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen (7.2)
48 Castle Falkenstein (7.19)
49 Blue Planet Player's Guide (7.19)
50 Blue Planet (7.18)

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Comments
trooper6 From: trooper6 Date: February 25th, 2010 11:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I wonder why GURPS isn't anywhere on that list?
chadu From: chadu Date: February 26th, 2010 12:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, that was a curious omission.
jeffr23 From: jeffr23 Date: February 26th, 2010 12:20 am (UTC) (Link)
GURPS 3,4, and lite, D&D 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, and Pathfinder varieties, either White Wolf Vampire game, Shadowrun, Champions/Hero System all excluded...it's a pretty idiosyncratic list. But at the same time, oddly pedestrian in it's idiosyncronies. (No Jorune, HoL, Gamma World, Orkworld, Polaris, Sorceror or, to pick a system at random, PDQ, at least two or three of which ought to show up on a truly quirky list...)
boymonster From: boymonster Date: February 26th, 2010 12:21 am (UTC) (Link)
I think the sampling is inherently lacking in usefulness.
reverancepavane From: reverancepavane Date: February 26th, 2010 07:55 am (UTC) (Link)

Perhaps we should use the Wikipedia list.

There is probably a game or two I don't own, plus the games I have officially worked on. <grin>

billwerk From: billwerk Date: February 26th, 2010 04:02 am (UTC) (Link)
The whole list is "as voted on by RPGNet users who bother to ever look at the game index". Toon, Hero, Gurps, D&D4, White Wolf, etc. all do make the top 100 of the listing.
From: doccross Date: February 26th, 2010 12:17 am (UTC) (Link)
TOON is missing? Hmmm...no doubt it was crowded out by the decided indie lean.
cmdr_zoom From: cmdr_zoom Date: February 26th, 2010 12:47 am (UTC) (Link)
You expected otherwise from RPG.net?
boymonster From: boymonster Date: February 26th, 2010 12:20 am (UTC) (Link)
I worked on some King Arthur Pendragon supplements.

Otherwise, nada.
chadu From: chadu Date: February 26th, 2010 01:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
You don't even own any of the list other than Pendragon?
boymonster From: boymonster Date: February 27th, 2010 04:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I own most of them. Are you kidding? :)
chadu From: chadu Date: February 27th, 2010 04:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
See, not following the protocols leads to confusion.

BOLD the ones you own.

(You might light people on fire with your mind, but I have powers.)
boymonster From: boymonster Date: February 27th, 2010 08:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
Tell me Phoebe, do you want someday to have award like that of your own?
cmdr_zoom From: cmdr_zoom Date: February 26th, 2010 01:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Shorter to list them this way:

6 Feng Shui: Action Movie Roleplaying
12 Talislanta(1)
17 Big Eyes, Small Mouth (BESM)
24 Adventure!(2)
30 Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia
33 Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game
37 Ars Magica
48 Castle Falkenstein

(1) Um... has anyone actually played this recently? My main impression was "typical second-generation D&D-knockoff everything-but-the-kitchen-sink fantasy game, where More Weirdness And Variety Means Better". Ten different kinds of magic and different rules for each. I guess if you're thirteen and have tons of free time, or fondly remember when you were...

(2) Sorry, but this iteration of the Storyteller system just didn't work for me. All the stuff with Stalwarts, etc, and detailed rules for dramatic editing rather than (say) Feng Shui's much more freewheeling (if trust-requiring) "just say it's there and go with it" approach was really clunky. The worldbook section also left a very bad taste in my mouth - nothing in the official setting struck me as especially good, let alone brilliant, and having all of the characters illustrated by photos of what were plainly WW staffers and their gamer friends in half-assed costume was just ridiculous.
zonemind From: zonemind Date: February 26th, 2010 05:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Adventure! was… a huge disappointment. There were parts I loved, but they were like flakes of diamond stuck in tar. I couldn't find a use for the whole package, and the diamonds weren't large enough to use for anything else.

On the other hand, I didn't actively hate the setting, like I did with Spirit of the Century.

And on the gripping hand, I actually gutted SotC and used the Fudge-based mechanics inside, and loved them.
cmdr_zoom From: cmdr_zoom Date: February 26th, 2010 03:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Adventure! was… a huge disappointment.

Same.
Anyone want my copy?
zonemind From: zonemind Date: February 26th, 2010 03:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Nobilis?

Number one?

The HELL?!!

No. Upgraded to "Fuck No", then a layer of "I'd be more likely to see action with Gisele Bundchen" melted over the top.

Epic List Fail, only slightly compounded by the fact that Blue Planet made the top fifty… twice.

I will say that Spirit of the Century was a pretty good implementation of Fudge, though.
joshroby From: joshroby Date: February 26th, 2010 04:49 am (UTC) (Link)
I was amused as well that Nobilis, which isn't quite a rule set, got the #1 slot.

But it's a popularity contest and geek-cred-showoff exercise, so should we expect anything else?
zonemind From: zonemind Date: February 26th, 2010 06:02 am (UTC) (Link)
I wrote a lengthy response, but in the end… no, I guess not.

Still, I'm disappointed that a community that blows so much hot air about "innovation" has compiled a list comprised mainly of chestnuts, clunkers, and antiquities.
reverancepavane From: reverancepavane Date: February 26th, 2010 07:49 am (UTC) (Link)

I'm probably going to regret this, but I'm now curious about your (as in both zonemind and joshroby) objections to Nobilis. If you can summarize in a sentence or two. And would another minimal rules game, such as, say Amber also be as objectionable? Or say, Over the Edge?

zonemind From: zonemind Date: February 26th, 2010 11:04 am (UTC) (Link)
Sure, and in two words: "Playability" and "Hubris".

That's kinda brief, and while brevity is the soul of wit, I think I'll elaborate a little. My thoughts on Amber and Over the Edge are at the end, if you'd like to skip ahead. However, I am not your generic gearhead, and this is no angry screed.

Let's start with "playability". This ties back to what I alluded to earlier about Adventure! in another thread. Adventure! looks great. Character creation is quite fun. Then you try to actually use the game system with the character you created and blam, fun's over. What should be swift and exciting instead grinds like an old espresso maker, and half the time you ordered orange juice.

Nobilis, like Changeling: The Dreaming, has whole chunks where I just cannot figure out what I'm supposed to be doing, or what the designer actually intended -- mechanically or otherwise. I will grant that I didn't try as hard with Nobilis as I did with Changeling, but the outcome was the same. When I went to someone who was a fan and asked for illumination, the answer I got was basically, "I made up my own rules for that part."

I'm not afraid to cut my own trail, rules-wise, but I do object (strenuously) to being told there's a trail when there is not. Put another way, if I've paid for a minuet, I don't want a damn fugue.

Next up, "hubris". I have to be careful here, for obvious reasons. Nonetheless, I do not find Borgstrom's grasp of metaphysics or philosophy to be particularly well-developed. What is there is evocatively expressed, but not actually examined with any acuity. It's like high school speech tournaments -- you can see the genius on the vine, but it sure ain't ready for consumption.

Here I'll contrast Nobilis with Unknown Armies, and compare it with Mage: The Ascension. (In Nomine had a similar problem but later it had a different one.) In essence you take an idea -- a metaphysical concept -- and you make it true. Nobilis' sort-of-Neo-Platonism is completely counter to Mage's take on maya. Still, both take the foundations of reality, establish what they really, truly are… and then stop before it gets actually scary.

Unknown Armies didn't stop. I couldn't really enjoy the game because, damn. But I always admired it, and I've heard some really great stories about its use (the best being a Batman/Gotham City campaign via UA).

(In Nomine… was developed by Steve Jackson Games, and while I actually really like GURPS for certain things, that was NOT a good fit.)

Mage was made to be popular -- it's solidly middlebrow. I don't really fault it for its lack of intellectual rigour. The game is about making you feel like you have big 'uns, and naught else. It let you be Neo before Neo even existed, and it did it really well. Some developers and designers missed that, but rarely.

Nobilis, though, invites me continually to admire it, its genius, its beauty. And I can't, because it's just a straight-up kabbalah, complete with Atziluth, only this time made of flowers. It's pretty, but also a bit hackneyed, like the statues on the cover of the book. Even the syncretism -- Imperators for eikones, Chancels for shekhinah -- is unoriginal.

It's not that I hate it, it's that I can't stop rolling my eyes at it.

Amber has its own issues for me, related to my not being interested in the IP it's built to model, but I do think the design is workable. Further, I knew people who played it (and obviously enjoyed it) for some years. Certainly, it was revolutionary in its day, and still exerts real design influence all these years later.

Over the Edge is self-consciously weird. It knows what it is, as it were. I've never had anything to do with it, beyond a thumb through one of the really early releases, and the occasional tangential reference from the guys over at Atlas. Even so, I'd be willing to give it a shot. I doubt I'd love it -- there's the whiff of a punk aesthetic circa 1978, somehow, and that's just not my cuppa. Still, I've never had someone say to me, "The setting's great, but I can't get my heard around the mechanics."

They always start with the how the setting's impossible… and then kinda trail off.

And that, at long last, is that.
chadu From: chadu Date: February 26th, 2010 01:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you. It's always nice to hear your thoughts on these sorts of issues.

My Mileage Varies... but not as much as you'd think.
zonemind From: zonemind Date: February 27th, 2010 02:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Glad to be appreciated!
joshroby From: joshroby Date: February 27th, 2010 03:19 am (UTC) (Link)
My criticisms of Nobilis are simply that, while you have this character sheet and powers and currency to spend, in the end it comes down to whether the GM thinks you should win or not. I could care less about the world; my complaint is that the book tells me that I can be an empowered player exploring and doing all sorts of cool shit, but when the shit hits the fan, it's a giant Rube Goldberg machine cloaking GM Fiat*.

Nobilis fails the Primetime Adventures Test: the setting would be more entertaining played using PTA rules than the rules in the book.

*And to be clear — GM Fiat is fine. Lying about GM Fiat is not.
(Deleted comment)
joshroby From: joshroby Date: March 1st, 2010 04:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
And you are going to reveal those three tricks here, or in a blog post, or...? ;)
rednikki From: rednikki Date: February 26th, 2010 05:53 am (UTC) (Link)
So glad to see that Feng Shui ranks so high and that Champions is NOWHERE on the list.
chadu From: chadu Date: February 27th, 2010 04:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Righty-ho.
jonlaw From: jonlaw Date: February 26th, 2010 10:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Um, I think I'll try to respond to Chad's question.

1 Nobilis (8.31)
2 Spirit of the Century (8.25)
3 King Arthur Pendragon (8.14)
4 Unknown Armies (8.13)
5 Call of Cthulhu (7.95)(1)
6 Feng Shui: Action Movie Roleplaying (7.93)
7 Mutants & Masterminds (7.75)
8 Over the Edge (7.7)
9 Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (7.68)
10 Paranoia (7.68)
11 Angel Roleplaying Game (7.67)
12 Talislanta (7.62)
13 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Roleplaying Game (7.62)
14 Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game (7.6)
15 Dread: The First Book of Pandemonium (7.59)
16 Prime Time Adventures (7.56)
17 Big Eyes, Small Mouth (BESM) (7.55)
18 Don't Rest Your Head (7.55)
19 Starblazer Adventures (7.55)
20 Tribe 8 (7.54)
21 Fading Suns (7.52)
22 All Flesh Must Be Eaten (7.45)
23 Jovian Chronicles (7.45)
24 Adventure! (7.4)
25 Silver Age Sentinels (7.39)
26 Reign (7.37)
27 RuneQuest (7.36)
28 Call of Cthulhu d20 (7.34)
29 HeroQuest (7.33)
30 Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (7.33)
31 Faery's Tale (7.33)
32 Dogs in the Vineyard (7.32)
33 Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game (7.32)
34 Wraith: The Oblivion (7.31)
35 Puppetland: A Storytelling Game with Strings in a Grim World of Make-believe (7.31)
36 Hollow Earth Expedition (7.31)
37 Ars Magica (7.29)
38 Legend of the Five Rings (7.29)
39 Artesia: Adventures in the Known World (7.29)
40 Heavy Gear (7.29)
41 Deadlands (7.28)
42 Changeling: The Lost (7.27)
43 Monsters and Other Childish Things (7.25)
44 InSpectres (7.21)
45 Dark Heresy (7.21)
46 Kult (7.21)
47 The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen (7.2)
48 Castle Falkenstein (7.19)
49 Blue Planet Player's Guide (7.19)
50 Blue Planet (7.18)

(1) Call of Cthulhu gets a technical italics entry for me, but only barely. I made uncredited contributions to the 1990s Handbook back, well, in the 1990s. I did the military backgrounds and story seeds sections, but when my main introductory piece got cut, the editor thought I was no longer on the lists of contributors and I did not find out until the book was in my hands. I still got paid in both books and a little cash. My cousin and best friend fortunately got full credit for their work. However, it was hardly the most respected of the CofC publications, and was largely eclipsed by the much more brilliant Delta Green setting a few years later. I was supposed to get credit in a subsequent printing, but they never did a second run.

The cut piece got "published" many years later on Edward P. Berglund's Nightscapes site
here.

I own a chunk of stuff on the list, although most of it has been reference rather than play. Many of the entries are really redressed repeats. For example, Buffy and Angel could be consolidated. There is some difference in tone, but they are set in the same universe and used the same rule set.

I guess any list becomes arbitrary in many ways, but as always, the start of some interesting discussions.

Thanks Chad.
tundra_no_caps From: tundra_no_caps Date: February 26th, 2010 12:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's ridiculous how many I own...
28, if you count the latest version of Pendragon.
johntaber From: johntaber Date: February 26th, 2010 04:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

My List

* = I own.

1 Nobilis (8.31)
* 2 Spirit of the Century (8.25)
3 King Arthur Pendragon (8.14)
4 Unknown Armies (8.13)
* 5 Call of Cthulhu (7.95)
6 Feng Shui: Action Movie Roleplaying (7.93)
* 7 Mutants & Masterminds (7.75)
8 Over the Edge (7.7)
9 Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (7.68)
10 Paranoia (7.68)
11 Angel Roleplaying Game (7.67)
12 Talislanta (7.62)
13 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Roleplaying Game (7.62)
* 14 Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game (7.6)
15 Dread: The First Book of Pandemonium (7.59)
* 16 Prime Time Adventures (7.56)
17 Big Eyes, Small Mouth (BESM) (7.55)
* 18 Don't Rest Your Head (7.55)
19 Starblazer Adventures (7.55)
20 Tribe 8 (7.54)
* 21 Fading Suns (7.52)
22 All Flesh Must Be Eaten (7.45)
* 23 Jovian Chronicles (7.45)
24 Adventure! (7.4)
* 25 Silver Age Sentinels (7.39)
26 Reign (7.37)
27 RuneQuest (7.36)
28 Call of Cthulhu d20 (7.34)
29 HeroQuest (7.33)
30 Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (7.33)
* 31 Faery's Tale (7.33)
* 32 Dogs in the Vineyard (7.32)
* 33 Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game (7.32)
* 34 Wraith: The Oblivion (7.31)
35 Puppetland: A Storytelling Game with Strings in a Grim World of Make-believe (7.31)
36 Hollow Earth Expedition (7.31)
* 37 Ars Magica (7.29)
38 Legend of the Five Rings (7.29)
* 39 Artesia: Adventures in the Known World (7.29)
40 Heavy Gear (7.29)
* 41 Deadlands (7.28)
42 Changeling: The Lost (7.27)
43 Monsters and Other Childish Things (7.25)
* 44 InSpectres (7.21)
* 45 Dark Heresy (7.21)
46 Kult (7.21)
47 The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen (7.2)
48 Castle Falkenstein (7.19)
49 Blue Planet Player's Guide (7.19)
50 Blue Planet (7.18)
From: rillibee Date: February 28th, 2010 02:10 am (UTC) (Link)
I have the following games (roughly half the list):

1 Nobilis (8.31)
2 Spirit of the Century (8.25)
4 Unknown Armies (8.13)
5 Call of Cthulhu (7.95)
7 Mutants & Masterminds (7.75)
8 Over the Edge (7.7)
11 Angel Roleplaying Game (7.67)
13 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Roleplaying Game (7.62)
16 Prime Time Adventures (7.56)
17 Big Eyes, Small Mouth (BESM) (7.55)
19 Starblazer Adventures (7.55)
21 Fading Suns (7.52)
23 Jovian Chronicles (7.45)
24 Adventure! (7.4)
25 Silver Age Sentinels (7.39)
26 Reign (7.37)
33 Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game (7.32)
37 Ars Magica (7.29)
39 Artesia: Adventures in the Known World (7.29)
40 Heavy Gear (7.29)
48 Castle Falkenstein (7.19)
49 Blue Planet Player's Guide (7.19)
50 Blue Planet (7.18)

I'd say the most common thread among these games is that I found most of them to be interesting to READ. Some for the flavor text, others for the rules or the presentation of those rules, and some for both. They vary pretty wildly in how fun they were to PLAY, and I've never played a large number of them.
danbuter1 From: danbuter1 Date: February 28th, 2010 11:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank God RPGNet has no connection to reality when it comes to game popularity/saleability. :)
danbuter1 From: danbuter1 Date: February 28th, 2010 11:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

my list

1 Nobilis (8.31)
2 Spirit of the Century (8.25)
3 King Arthur Pendragon (8.14)
4 Unknown Armies (8.13)
5 Call of Cthulhu (7.95)
6 Feng Shui: Action Movie Roleplaying (7.93)
7 Mutants & Masterminds (7.75)
8 Over the Edge (7.7)
9 Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (7.68)
10 Paranoia (7.68)
11 Angel Roleplaying Game (7.67)
12 Talislanta (7.62)
13 Buffy the Vampire Slayer Roleplaying Game (7.62)
14 Mouse Guard Roleplaying Game (7.6)
15 Dread: The First Book of Pandemonium (7.59)
16 Prime Time Adventures (7.56)
17 Big Eyes, Small Mouth (BESM) (7.55)
18 Don't Rest Your Head (7.55)
19 Starblazer Adventures (7.55)
20 Tribe 8 (7.54)
21 Fading Suns (7.52)
22 All Flesh Must Be Eaten (7.45)
23 Jovian Chronicles (7.45)
24 Adventure! (7.4)
25 Silver Age Sentinels (7.39)
26 Reign (7.37)
27 RuneQuest (7.36)
28 Call of Cthulhu d20 (7.34)
29 HeroQuest (7.33)
30 Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (7.33)
31 Faery's Tale (7.33)
32 Dogs in the Vineyard (7.32)
33 Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game (7.32)
34 Wraith: The Oblivion (7.31)
35 Puppetland: A Storytelling Game with Strings in a Grim World of Make-believe (7.31)
36 Hollow Earth Expedition (7.31)
37 Ars Magica (7.29)
38 Legend of the Five Rings (7.29)
39 Artesia: Adventures in the Known World (7.29)
40 Heavy Gear (7.29)
41 Deadlands (7.28)
42 Changeling: The Lost (7.27)
43 Monsters and Other Childish Things (7.25)
44 InSpectres (7.21)
45 Dark Heresy (7.21)
46 Kult (7.21)
47 The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen (7.2)
48 Castle Falkenstein (7.19)
49 Blue Planet Player's Guide (7.19)
50 Blue Planet (7.18)
buddha_davis From: buddha_davis Date: March 1st, 2010 02:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmmm... just consider them all bolded, but none italicized. Damn... I really got to look into insuring my collection...
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