Best Tabletop RPGs for GMs

cjspyres

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Oct 12, 2011
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So, I found I had the time to start playing tabletops with my friends again. After playing for a while, I started to think about the difference in the games between PC/GM. Obviously, some games a more suited for the players, while others are more made for the GM. So, what is everyone's favorite games to GM/DM? And why are they your favorites?
 

koichi

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Sep 22, 2014
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Personal favorite is FFG's 40k line. Simple core mechanic, modifiers can be easily determined for a given task and fairly balanced classes.

Also the critical charts. Everyone should use those critical charts.
 

loc978

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Marvel superheroes FASERIP system... the rules are loose and the GM (or "judge") can pretty much pull whatever they want out of thin air. It's about as casual as tabletop gets.
 

thatonedude11

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Mar 6, 2011
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Now, I'm not a big tabletop RPG player, but I still think Paranoia would be one of the best games to DM. Other games allow the DM to interpret the rules in their own way, but Paranoia embraces this philosophy. The rule book encourages the DM to just do whatever they feel is necessary (or entertaining). The players then can't call the DM out on this, because displaying knowledge of anything other than the most basic rules is punishable by immediate execution of the offending player's character. This is one of the many ways that the designers of Paranoia used to make the game as easy and as entertaining as possible for the DM, and in my opinion, if the DM is having a good time, the players are having a good time.
 
Jan 12, 2012
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Apocalypse World. It's a great system where the DM doesn't have to memorize tables of results and modifiers, because the players always (and exclusively) roll. It's designed to keep things moving forward at speed, with little prods to move people who aren't acting, and big reactions to keep it going. Really easy to learn behind the screen, some really good pages for notes (the Fronts sheet is incredible, and I've used it in other systems), and you get to keep twisting the screws without worrying about mechanical balance.
 

Illesdan

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It depends on what world you want to set yourself in, really. I'm running my friends through a Castlevania campaign, using Castlevania monsters and settings, but using the rule system of 2nd Edition Dungeons and Dragons. When I'm a player myself, I prefer Vampire: The Masquerade over D&D. We've tested out a few systems here and there over the years, but alot of us know D&D and Vampire rules so well, we just write up a campaign and go. For example, after my campaign, a friend is going to put us in Silent Hill, but use the rules of Vampire to do it by.
 

small

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thats an easy question to answer.. paranoia you get to be as sadistic as you want and so do the players. if you GM properly you might need a house rule the surviving PC's get topped up with 5 clones between missions.

for those who dont know picture a vault from fallout, run by an insane AI that hates communists and mutants, every individual has 6 clones and oh yeah you are a mutant and possibly a member of the communist party.

suffice to say the first adventure I ran had 6 players.. 36 clones all up. 5 hours later there was one player left and he had 1 clone left.. good times :)and even then karma came back to bite him in the ass.

every mission the PC's get an experimental device to test. not testing it is treason. the surviving player was questioned by the computer as to why he hasnt tested the experimental r2d2 sized robot.. he tried, couldnt get it to do anything and the computers response.. "hmm lets see citizen.. robot EXPLODE" mission ends :)
 

scotth266

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Jan 10, 2009
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I've DM'd and enjoyed 4E, Edge of the Empire, and Pathfinder. I think my favorite is Edge of the Empire though, as it does the best job out of any system I've seen in getting the players involved in telling the story. It's also fast and simple, a great system to ease players into tabletop games.
 

oreso

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Thunderous Cacophony said:
Apocalypse World. It's a great system where the DM doesn't have to memorize tables of results and modifiers, because the players always (and exclusively) roll. It's designed to keep things moving forward at speed, with little prods to move people who aren't acting, and big reactions to keep it going. Really easy to learn behind the screen, some really good pages for notes (the Fronts sheet is incredible, and I've used it in other systems), and you get to keep twisting the screws without worrying about mechanical balance.
This is a good answer. Vincent Baker writes games with the best GM advice (Dogs in the Vineyard [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogs_in_the_Vineyard] in particular) and writes systems which really allows strong GMing to shine. Whereas other systems seem to expect GMs to be ninja masters who know all the rules, can juggle all the NPCs and drive the plot, Apocalypse World [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocalypse_World] and Dogs in the Vineyard gives the GM concrete tools to help manage things, and distributes a lot of the busy-work that GMing can be bogged down by.

I'd also add that any GMless game are obviously easier to run. For example; Love in the Time of Seid [http://norwegianstyle.wordpress.com/2010/06/04/love-in-the-time-of-sei%C3%B0/], Witch: The Road to Lindisfarne [http://www.ukroleplayers.com/witch/] and Montsegur 1244 [http://thoughtfulgames.com/montsegur1244/] provide dramatic games with strong plots, without needing one player to shoulder most of the burden.

Cheers!
 

Starbird

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Sep 30, 2012
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I've been running my own heavily customized version of DnD 3.5ed and I've DMed fairly consistently over the last 15ish years. It does get a little complicated (especially with my tendency for strongly mechanical boss fights and crazy strong items) but I'm an old hand at it now and really love what I do.

Oh - is it weird to be a DM at 36?
 
Jan 12, 2012
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Starbird said:
I've been running my own heavily customized version of DnD 3.5ed and I've DMed fairly consistently over the last 15ish years. It does get a little complicated (especially with my tendency for strongly mechanical boss fights and crazy strong items) but I'm an old hand at it now and really love what I do.

Oh - is it weird to be a DM at 36?
No, not for any reason I can think of. I know people who love RPGs both much younger and much older than that; there's no age gate to the hobby.
 

plugav

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Thunderous Cacophony said:
Apocalypse World. It's a great system where the DM doesn't have to memorize tables of results and modifiers, because the players always (and exclusively) roll. It's designed to keep things moving forward at speed, with little prods to move people who aren't acting, and big reactions to keep it going. Really easy to learn behind the screen, some really good pages for notes (the Fronts sheet is incredible, and I've used it in other systems), and you get to keep twisting the screws without worrying about mechanical balance.
Yeah, Apocalypse World is an amazing design. And if you don't like the apoalyptic setting, there's tons of games now that use its core rules for dungeoneering (Dungeon World), Lovecraftian horror (tremulus), supernatural not-quite-romance (Monsterhearts - I love this one), etc.

My favourite thing to run, though, is Ghost/Echo [http://www.onesevendesign.com/ghostecho/]. Well, not the game as it is, but I use the rules for my modern supernatural games. It's ridiculously simple, but I was always more into the fiction than the mechanics.
 

happyninja42

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koichi said:
Personal favorite is FFG's 40k line. Simple core mechanic, modifiers can be easily determined for a given task and fairly balanced classes.

Also the critical charts. Everyone should use those critical charts.
Same company, different game line. FFG's Star Wars game line. Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion, and the upcoming Force and Destiny.

VERY fun game mechanic system. Easy to learn, very flexible and stat light, which makes it really easy to GM. More emphasis on storytelling and cinematic fun than number crunching stats and stuff.

Highly suggest checking it out.