46 – Best and Worst Roleplaying Systems

The Mythcreant Podcast

While Mike is away with a cough, Oren uses his perfectly objective viewpoint to declare which systems are superior to others. Jim praises games he can break with power combos, and Chris raves about mechanics that make GMs do all the work. They all share stories about their roleplaying experiences and discuss the upsides and downsides of different systems.

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Opening and closing theme: The Princess Who Saved Herself by Jonathan Coulton. Used with permission.

Show Notes:

Jim’s number: 1-800-3.5-ROKS

The Marvel Universe: Roleplaying Game

Mutants and Masterminds

Star Trek: The Next Generation Roleplaying Game

Anima: Beyond Fantasy


The Riddle of Steel

The Pros and Cons of the Learn by Doing Method

Dungeon World Is a Game to Skip

Why Mouse Guard Is Amazing


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  1. Bobbyziltch

    All this mention of superhero games and abstract versus simulation makes me wonder.

    Have you guys played Godlike and it’s sequel/spin off Wild Talents?

    It’s quite an interesting system where Godlike wants to do low level super hero powers in a WWII simulation type system.

    While Wild Talents just says go crazy here’s 5 times the points you got from before.

    • Oren Ashkenazi

      I don’t think any of us have played those ones, though I’ve heard a lot of good things about both from the Role Playing Public Radio podcast.

  2. Rand al'Thor

    I’ve just recently came to this site. I listened to the whole podcast and I’m wondering: Could you write articles on hacking rpgs? So you can be a rat in Mouse Guard, for example? Do’s and don’ts of hacking. Or review more systems. For example, you should try playing Mythic. It’s a GMless game where you ask questions to determine what you usually get from your GM. You can also use it as AI for any RPG you want, and you can play solo. Review some systems in-depth, and explain what you think about dnd 4e trying to be like WoW and other MMOs. Love to hear your thoughts, thanks.

    • Oren Ashkenazi

      Welcome to the site! There will definitely be more RPG reviews coming. I recently did a Fifth Ed D&D review that’s gotten me in some hot water, and more are in the pipe line. It does take a while to do those, cause you gotta play the game for a while to really see where the rubber hits the road.

      The idea of hacking RPGs is a neat one, I’ll put that in the cue. I did something similar in this one, where I talk about how you can use Mouse Guard to run a horror game. https://mythcreants.com/blog/five-systems-for-running-your-horror-campaign/

      • Rand al'Thor

        Thanks for responding! I read that one a long time ago and thought that if I ever run a horror RPG, it will be Mouse Guard. I completely adore Mouse Guard, so I’m glad to find this site. (Oren, I loved the fifth ed review! I so agree with most of the reasons, but remember 3.5 is terrible so I play fifth ed now. I’m yet to try 4e so that’s why I want to see a review for people like me. I hear it’s real balanced.)

      • Oren Ashkenazi

        Mouse Guard is so cool!

        On the subject of 4E, while I might do a more indepth review later, here’s the short version. 4E is very balanced, but in my opinion it plays like a video game with no graphics. It’s very difficult to tell a story in 4E, because EVERYTHING is based on game balance, not at all about how it works in the setting. For example, the Ranger has an ability where it can shoot two arrows at once, but it can only do that once a day. Why? Why can’t a ranger just do that again? Do they have sore fingers?

        Objectively, 5E is probably the best edition of D&D around, but only just. If you’re gonna play D&D, go with 5E. I just prefer to avoid D&D all together. It’s like being told you have to choose the best model of Ford Pinto.

  3. Rand al'Thor

    The Mouse Guard comics are a bit dry, though. However, what is Pathfinder like?

    • Oren Ashkenazi

      Pathfinder is essentially super polished 3.5, not unlike 5E actually. It’s better than playing 3.5 normally, at any rate.

  4. Copperhamster

    The original (TSR) Marvel system balanced things like ‘stick a brick in someone’s head and kill them’ by having the exp system be ‘Karma’.

    If you killed someone, your Karma reset to 0.

    And for Mouseguard, I want to play a Hamster…

  5. Rand al'Thor

    Is Savage Worlds any good?

  6. Paul

    No mention of FATAL? It’s the legendary worst rp system of all time

    • Oren Ashkenazi

      We didn’t even think it was worth a mention. Like, when you’re talking about your favorite and least favorite cars, you don’t usually bring up the pile or rusted nails out back.

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