Anyone in Here Play D&D?

We’ve gotten into playing every Sunday afternoon after lunch. I’ve also found a copy of a military themed RPG called “Delta Force: America Strikes Back” that was published in 1986 by a company called Task Force Games out of Amarillo, TX.

It’s pretty involved, moreso than 5th Edition D&D, which is pretty slicked down to accommodate new players (my sister is a purist who won’t play anything other than version 3.5). Does anyone know of any decent, well-engineered military RPG games?

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I happen to have my copy tucked in a drawer at my parents house almost 25 years later. I am still looking for the cruise ship module base on the Achille Lauro hijacking.

Also tell your sister that real D&D players know how to calculate THAC0 and see what she says(it’s a 1st and 2nd ed thing, that while honestly not that difficult to get, was made more complicated than it needed to be).

Hmm mil-specific titles, not any modern ones off the top of my head. They either tend to bog down in the details, or be too light. Let me look at my Giant Shelves Full of Games™, and see if I’ve got any suggestions that might still be in print. The late 80’s and early 90’s had some really great mil focused RPG’s but I don’t know if any are still around. I would actually recommend finding war gaming system that plays how you like at the squad or soldier level, and grafting an RPG system onto that. Mechwarrior from FASA many years ago basically, adding an RPG to their table top rules.

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Don’t know any military RPGs off the top of my head but I used to play a Science Fiction themed RPG titled “Traveller.” That was hours and hours and hours of fun back in the day.

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I know modern tabletop wargames but no modern RPGs. Except Call of Ctulhu and All Flesh Must Be Eaten, but one is horror and the other is Zombie Survival.
I haven’t played either, just looked at the rule books.

I do play D&D (well, actually I have never played as a player, I’ve always been the DM), starting 15 years ago or so with the 3.0 edition although I partly know the 2nd edition AD&D rules.
Then moved on to 3.5E for years, and only recently switched to 5E.
4E was… weird. There were some good ideas in it but most was bad. I have the PHB but never played a single session.

IMO 5E is perfect for my group. I did introduce a few houserules for stuff I missed from 3.5E (such as a few more sources for attacks of opportunity) but most of it is solid, quite balanced compared to other editions of D&D, and less work.
I play with people who are not that involved in the game. (Which basically means: I am the only one who really knows the rules and the world, and I manage the player characters. The players just tell me what they aim for).
In 3.5E that was a major task.
I also houseruled or just ignored some rules because they were so complex that everything took ages (I had six to eight players back then).

Another BIG thing about 5E: while there are some nice additional books like Tasha’s Cauldron or Xanathar’s Guide, the game doesn’t really need them. You can literally start to play it out of the box using just the $30 PHB (and some online sources if you wish), and if you want more you get the MM and the DMG.
3.5E books are a major investment. I am pretty sure I have $400+ of 3.5E books somewhere (and I admit that I would have spent another 200 bucks if I had not… obtained those rules in other ways).

I still recommend the 3.5E for groups that have

  • players invested in both their characters and the world
  • players who know the rules (which means: the general rules from the PHB and those applying to their character
  • players who manage their characters mostly themselves (skill points, feats, prestige classes, all that jazz). This also includes getting the books they need. Fighters for example NEED the “Complete Warrior”.
  • time to play often enough so they don’t forget the rules.
  • a DM who doesn’t mind the rules being split over 10+ books
  • a DM that isn’t afraid of houserules to re-balance the game (which isn’t officially maintained anymore).

For everyone else 5E is the way to go. It took me a while to let go 3.5E (and I still play my campaign in 1375, so my Forgotten Realms campaign setting is still the one from 3E) but I am now happy with it.
It really revived the D&D scene, and my group.

Honorable mention goes to Pathfinder.
As frickin’ complex as 3E (back when 3.5E was released people called it “dumbed down” because it got rid of the bazillion skills 3E had :laughing:) but somewhat maintained.

Edit: oh dear here come the flashbacks of spending a whole evening leveling up player characters. I was in college back then so I had the time. That would be utterly impossible now unless I ditched all other hobbies).

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Traveller was my thing back in the day. I wasn’t much on elves and dragons and stuff, but I loved being a Space Marine.

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We are really having a ball with 5E at the moment. My wife and my oldest adult daughter got sucked into it, and now we play as a family with my son as the DM.

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I have been reliably informed that finding an intact copy of the “Terror at Sea” expansion is next to impossible because not very many were sent to print.

Sadly I am not surprised. The local game store had a copy for probably over a decade (considering I had bought the only copy of Delta Force, that’s not a real surprise), but it got bought or tossed out at some point before I realized I wanted it.

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I’m actively looking for a copy of it, and if I find an extra one, I’ll mail it to you. We have a few vintage bookstores in our area and I might get lucky. TFG went out of business before the series got very popular.

4th Ed was really an attempt at making a tactical fantasy table top battle simulator versus an RPG. In my experience it didn’t do well with the gaming public at large. It seemed popular at conventions due to it basically being a wargamer so it was much easier to say who “won” and “lost.” I think the transition to 5th Ed was a return to it’s origins, where as you said you only need the PHB and maybe one other book to run a full campaign. The rest is just extras to flesh it out. 3 and 3.5 suffered for “official rules creep,” where to use any of their campaign world settings you are buying book after book as they keep adding new rules. I think some one at Wizards realized how successful Avalon Hill was with Advanced Squad Leader, and sought to do the same thing.

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Definitely let me know, and I’ll happily pay for it!

I never ran an actual game of Delta Force, but we did mess around with trying out the combat system in a few different scenarios. Overall I found it a bit cumbersome, but one of the few purpose built military RPG type systems available.

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That’s so cool!
I play with my wife and friends, but I hope I will be able to play with my kids one day.

Its one perk indeed was being super quick and easy to play.

Absolutely.
When it was released it was viewed by many as a “return to D&D”. It is quite similar to 3.5E in many things. EDIT: although definitely streamlined.

Yep, it was both awesome and a nightmare to balance as there was also a lot of “power creep” involved. Which I understand from a economic point of view, and it is true that players loved the new feats and stuff that allowed for epic (a.k.a. horribly broken) character concepts so they definitely did something right there.

Another thing about 3.5E vs. 5E (sorry for the double post, I’m on mobile so editing is a bit of a hassle :sweat_smile:):

Remember how we used to stack an at times endless amount of positive and negative modifiers in 3.5E?
Sure it was precise. But boy could it drag on.
Example: shooting a large, but prone target behind partial cover, using the precise shot feat, a +1 arrow, with a bard helping you using “inspire greatness”. The target also is wearing a hide armor +1, has a dex score of 14, is flat-footed, and has mage armor active.
All of the above are numeric modificators (IIRC, it has been a while).

In 5E there is advantage and disadvantage. Which is basically rolling twice and taking the higher or lower dice respectively.
Some spells (like mage armor) or similar effects also grant fixed values now, not modificators.
So much easier.

I admit that I still occasionally add modificators when I feel that advantage/disadvantage doesn’t quite do the situation justice, but for most cases that new system is perfectly fine.

My only main gripe with the base mechanics of 5E is the proficiency bonus. For the skills I’d like to have a bit of variety back. It doesn’t have to be the old “X(depends on class)+INT-mod per level” but maybe something similar.
Keep the current system but just grant 2+INT-mod skill points to everyone, to use on non-trained skills. Something like that. Rather easy to compute, it would give INT some purpose back, and it would help making characters with a more diverse skill set.

I have played these two in the past … but that was along time ago… not even sure if they are still in print.

I am and always will be a child of the Cyberpunk era.
As such I played an insane amount of Cyberpunk 2020, more as a master than a Player and for me it was the perfect game.

I’m still undecided about Cyberpunk 2077…

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Huh.
I just realized that I went full nerd mode above. :smiley:
(I tend to read my posts some time after posting them)

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As I alluded to here, I am a firm believer that dice rolling and rules exist for two reasons. 1) To fill in all the extra flavor you as the DM just aren’t inspired to, or didn’t have time to get to, and 2) to provide agency to the player in the collaborative storytelling art that is roleplaying. What really turned me off to 3rd Ed was the rules for every situation, much as what one would find wargaming. Who had time to create house rules, when $1500 bucks and 20 source books later you needed an abacus to keep track of all the modifiers that were “official rules.”

I actually really liked the mixed dice mayhem of 1st and 2nd Ed. due to the fact it allowed for far more granular seeming control of the results, gave the players plenty of things to obsess over (1D8 damage or 1D4+2, etc), and created a flavor to the game that was unique. When D20’s were really only used to roll attacks, and D10’s were imitative, you could create tension in the narrative just with a deliberate selection of a single die to fiddle with as the DM. Players would lay out their dice in “battle order” if they suspected things might be dicey (pun intended), etc. I do miss that quiet a lot actually now that I think about it. Upon further reflection I appreciate system that allow that kind of totemic prop for player participation.

Back to the matter at hand, military focused RPG’s. I have in my library SpyCraft, I never player it and honestly I don’t recall if the system seemed decent or not. It is however modern at least.

Some other I spotted on my shelves that would work, the Palladium system (Rifts, Macros, Robotech, etc all the same system which apparently is officially the Megaversal system). Not the worlds greatest system, but very workable and pretty refined having been around in one guise or another for several decades as the this point. Most of the settings are distinctly military/combat in nature so it handles it well. As an aside, I always like Rifts, it was a neat setting.

There is also GURPS, which has plethora of either modern or military related supplements released for it. I was never a huge fan of the actual system personally, but that is apparently just me considering how successful it’s been.

DP9’s Silhouette system was paired with two of my favorite sci-fi settings with Heavy Gear and Jovian Chronicles (god bless Ebay, I bought every single source book for Jovian Chronicles for $19 shipped in one lot). The idea was to be able to use both table top miniatures for combat as a stand alone war game, and integrate the RPG element in. With a good GM who doesn’t go for rules lawyering it’s an extremely fast system that I quiet liked. It allowed for a focus on the action and story telling. Now if you try to use the table top war game rules for Jovian Chronicles, pack a lunch, a calculator, and then realize you should have just bought Attack Vector instead. Also DP9 has the Gear Krieg universe which is great fun WW2 super science action gaming both as a table top game, as an RPG.

Lastly is The Riddle of Steel, the only RPG to ever be endorsed by the Historical European Martial Arts Alliance. It is a VERY granular system where combat is involved, and has a pretty decent magic system as well. Obviously it’s focus is on hand to hand combat, but the expansion Flower of Battle I believe has more detailed ranged combat rules, that could be extrapolated to firearms if one wished. As a practitioner of both eastern and western martial arts, it does capture the reality of that type of encounter. It is also rather cumbersome and unsatisfying in result. Yes the reality is two similarly equipped and experienced folks facing off with pointy things, is that they both end up seriously hurt. I don’t RP for reality, I play for the cinematic. However if dirty, nasty, brutish and short is you aesthetic, then you may enjoy it more.

And once again when I get started talking about gaming I go full nerd.

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I am shocked that I didn’t participate in that thread you linked. Probably was busy and didn’t see it.

Very good points raised by both you and @Tankerwade, thanks for the link!

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