Hi all, this is partially related to the ongoing thread about epic fantasy but it is also a practical question. I have some friends that have never played an rpg before and want to try it. I have talked to them a bit about what they are interested in and what they want to get out of it. The gist is that their curiosity was piqued by seeing interesting character art (on social media) from other people's campaigns and they want to create an interesting fantasy character and play a game that engages with that character's personality.
To the best of my understanding, they are interested in:
- Playing a recognizable fantasy archetype (anything in the Tolkien/ D&D popular imagination)
- Playing a character that feels unique
- Play that focuses on character drama: personality, goals, motivations
- Narratives where adventure (overcoming dangerous environments and monsters) is tied to this character-level drama
- Narratives that test interpersonal relationships and ethical commitments
- Narratives with substantive opportunity for character development, or at least change
The systems that leap to mind as doing some of these things:
- Monsterhearts: nails basically everything I'm looking for except for the setting and the 'adventure'.
- Dungeon World: brings the sense of setting and adventure, but (in my limited experience) relies on freeform development of character drama. Bonds give a launching-off point but not meaningful mechanical follow-up.
- Follow: I think some of the quests could do this perfectly, but the Gm-less structure and open-ended scene framing might be off-putting. Follow is great, but it might not match some of their expectations for an rpg.
- D&D 5E. I have never run it, but it's the only game they've heard of. I expect that character creation will require them to make a lot of decisions about the elements of play they care least about.
- Masks: A New Generation: I think this hits a perfect balance between interpersonal drama (from influence and conditions) and adventure. However, this is far from the setting/ genre the group expressed interest in.
-The Shadow of Yesterday? I've never read it but the elevator pitch sounds close to what I'm looking for
I'd appreciate any suggestions about these system or others.