What are your favorite “Mainstream” RPGs of the last decade?

edited August 2018 in Story Games
I’m mainly an indie guy, but I want some more mainstream RPGs in my collection; especially, mainstream games published in the last 10 years or so. I have a dozen or two but I’m a collector (i.e. seriously sick) so it’s important that I waste money on this. Define mainstream however you like. Thanks for any suggestions.

Comments

  • The One Ring is relatively "mainstream" and definitely my favorite in that space. It is a fine, fine choice for the money wasting collectable angle, since the art is gorgeous and there are lots of books. ;)
  • Cepheus Engine is a Mongoose Traveller 1st edition OGL clone with a Classic Traveller feel. I love it because of its hackability and relative simplicity.

    Invisible Sun from Monte Cook Games just came out. It's an incredible piece of art, with the giant Black Cube it's packaged in (28 lbs), the four thick and lavishly appointed rules volumes, the cards and pieces, and everything else about it. They invented a script, then intentionally did not give a decoder for it, leaving people to figure out the letters on their own. There are ARG aspects to the game, with secret websites hinted at by secret messages in the rulebook, and secret email addresses you can contact to get new material for free. There are at least two hidden spells inside the Black Cube itself, if you know where to find them.

    D&D 5e is just fantastic.

  • I haven't seen the new Delta Green, but if it's up to the level of the old stuff (or essentially reprints it), then it's a worthy investment even for non-collectors.
  • edited August 2018
    Airk,

    Unfortunately, I own The One Ring and its many books. A very solid suggestion on your part. Any others? Thanks.

  • Adam,

    Unfortunately, I own Invisible Sun and D&D 5 E. I’m very excited about Invisible Sun but have yet to receive my shipment. I will check out Cepheus Engine. I’ve never played Traveller so I don’t have much to compare it to. Thanks for the suggestions.
  • edited August 2018
    Eero,

    Delta Green is on my buying list. A very solid suggestion on your part. Any others? Thanks.
  • I own everything of Eclipse Phase. I'll recommend getting the books up to and including Rimward. Can't compare to trad systems with good rulesets like DG and The One Ring (I love both) nor is it as original as DG but there are just loads of interesting places and factions in those books. Panopticon is useful for the more technical aspects of these transhuman societies.
  • I own everything of Eclipse Phase. I'll recommend getting the books up to and including Rimward. Can't compare to trad systems with good rulesets like DG and The One Ring (I love both) nor is it as original as DG but there are just loads of interesting places and factions in those books. Panopticon is useful for the more technical aspects of these transhuman societies.
    The one thing that completely scares me about Eclipse Phase is how “crunchy” it is. I don’t think I could play or have the time to play a game more crunchy than D&D 5E and even that would probably be too “crunchy” and time consuming. I’ve heard good things about Eclipse Phase and I like sci-fi. Do you think there is any way around the “crunchiness” and how time consuming learning the rules would be, etc.? Thanks for the suggestion.

  • Not my favourite but what about Degenesys?
    (I have to say I know nothing of it except that it has gorgeous art)
  • edited August 2018
    I dunno if you have any interest in OSR retroclones, but if you do, I recommend these two:

    Secret Fire for its moving alignment system.
    Adventurer Conquer King for its systems for managing powerful characters' places in the world.

    If the goal is adding mainstream games to fill out a collection, I'd look at White Wolf stuff and 7th Sea.

    I've heard great things about the setting for Ehdrigohr, which uses the Fate Core rules.
  • Sadly, I don't have anything else to suggest; I've mostly fallen out of love with mainstream titles because they feel very samey to me at this point. ToR has enough unique elements to stand out.
  • Gumshoe games are pretty neat and have some cool mechanics and GM tools. I would suggest TimeWatch or Night's Black Agents which have new and spiffy versions of the Gumshoe engine.

    If you like the 60's or Delta Green or conspiracy theory stuff, then Fall of Delta Green is quite brilliant and beautiful, but if you're already going to buy Delta Green there's going to be a lot of overlap except for the Gumshoe mechanics.
  • I really like Bluebeard's Bride and Monsterhearts 2 on a design level, even though I don't have interest in playing them because of them both being "play to find out" games.
  • I haven't seen the new Delta Green, but if it's up to the level of the old stuff (or essentially reprints it), then it's a worthy investment even for non-collectors.
    In my thoroughly biased opinion (having done the copy editing), it surpasses the original.

    And Fall of Delta Green (which I merely own) is one of the best translations I've ever seen, as well as a great setting book for Ken Hite's favorite setting. I keep saying he's got to be wrong because there are plenty of great non-real world settings I want to run stuff in, and then I look at what I actually run...

    I've now read 7th edition Call of Cthulhu, and while it Moves My Cheese, which is very disconcerting, it's a better game for it.

    I think just about anything else I'm thinking of does not fall under my definition of "mainstream", but I'm a bit vague on where one draws the line.
  • IMO PbtA is GURPS for the new century. But you probably have some of that already.

    Have you seen Tales from the Loop? Trad, pretty pictures, riding on the Stranger Things wave (but based on a way cooler IP,. iMO).
  • I rather like Adventures in Middle Earth but would rather use an older version of D&D to run it. Therefore I'm working on doing exactly that. Obviously, I also like my own games like Barbarians of Lemuria: Mythic Edition and Triumphant!.
  • edited August 2018
    These are only halfway mainstream (with some indie design elements), and I haven't played either, but they are very much praised and sound very interesting (from my reading and talking to people about them):

    Mutant: Year Zero

    And

    Tales from the Loop

    They are often described as "traditional games done right" and, as far as I can see, based on the same engine. "Mutant" is post-apocalyptic and features some great GM-Assistance tools (random generation of events and things to explore) while "Tales" is somewhat like Stranger Things, as Wilhelm says above.

    Somewhat in the OSR vein, there are a lot of fans here of Stars Without Number, a collection of books for old-school adventure roleplaying in space.
  • edited August 2018
    Barbarians of Lemuria: Mythic Edition and Triumphant!.
    I second that, BoL is cool!
  • I'm not really sure what qualifies as "mainstream" here based on some of the responses, but...

    DnD 4E (pre-Essentials), 13th Age, and the English release of Tenra Bansho Zero. To me, all these games wed traditional rpg procedures with more narrative-oriented innovations and creative agendas. I enjoy these sorts of games because it almost feels like I'm "cheating" and enjoying the best of both worlds.

    Outside of the "mainstream" (or not, depending on your measuring stick) I also really love Apocalypse World and Blades in the Dark.

    Trent

  • Do you think there is any way around the “crunchiness” and how time consuming learning the rules would be, etc.? Thanks for the suggestion.
    I used to run it with a lot of cheat sheets, but I still had to learn the rules of course. If I were to run it again, what might be interesting to try would be to viciously cut all the rules for combat, hacking, equipment etc. (the Shadowrun stuff) and leave in place only the rules for interesting SF concepts like resleeving, forking, psychosurgery.
  • I don't know if Chuubo and Red Markets count as indie or not but they're definitely worth checking out if you don't know them.

    Also, if you play Fate, there's a pretty nice version of Eclipse Phase called Transhumanity's Fate which lets you enjoy all of the delicious fried onions in the setting without having to chew on the very tough mechanical steak.
  • That I've gotten to play:
    Beyond the Wall & Other Adventures
    Mythras
    Dungeon Crawl Classics
    D&D 5e
    Coriolis
    (same underlying system as Tales from the Loop and Mutant: Year Zero)
    Godbound

    That I've read but not played:
    The Nightmares Underneath
    Stars Without Number
    Barbarians of Lemuria
    Runequest: Roleplaying in Glorantha


    Aside from Coriolis, this list is heavy on OSR stuff, especially Sine Nomine games, and the flagship examples of Runequest/Runequest-derived fantasy games in the last decade. Pretty unsurprising given my overall tastes. For purposes of this list, I'm not counting Powered by the Apocalypse games or their clear derivatives like b as mainstream
  • edited August 2018
    Oh, yeah, Godbound! @Jeff_Slater that is probably the game in this thread that I've heard the most exciting things about.

    Also Spellbound Kingdoms if I haven't recommended that to you already. The combat system is so ingenious that I want to use it for other things.
  • If @Deliverator is around, he can talk up Godbound plenty! I'm GMing an ongoing campaign with him as a player and he's run a bunch of it too. It presents a lot of interesting GMing challenges, some enormously cool possibilities for epic narratives to emerge, and is really well-focused on being a game about how the PCs want to change the world, what they're willing to do to make it happen, and what unexpected consequences that involves rather being about whether or not they can
  • 13th Age is amazing.
  • What's the draw for Godbound? I read it, and it felt like pure oldschool D&D heartbreaker -- trying to make D&D do something cool in a cool setting by buckling on tons of additional awkward subsystems.

    I dig the setting, and thought it was super cool, but the game? Eh.
  • Godbound's draw is that it's basically Exalted by way of old school D&D. You're recently empowered demigods in a deeply deeply broken (like at all levels up to the metaphysical) world. You've got the potential to save or reshape or ruin the world in accord with your divine nature. You'll probably end up at the center of a cult. You can only level up and grow as a divinity by working your will in the world, but that often has unintended consequences. What are you going to do?

    The mechanics all work to support that. How divine power changes setting elements for good and ill. How expending that is necessary for leveling. How cults & factions are managed. How the combat mechanics and rules for divine miracles work. How the skill system, such as it is, is tied into free-form facts about your backstory and, as you level up, your actual in-game deeds. Etc...

    And although the underlying rules are essentially old school D&D based, I wouldn't call it a heartbreaker at all. The author's quite clear about why he uses that basic rules chassis (whether or not you end up agreeing with his reasons), and it's not because of nostalgia for D&D or lack of familiarity with other design traditions. Similarly, I don't find the subsystems awkward in play at all. They do leave a lot of space where GM adjudication is required, but that seems to me pretty inherent to a game with the kind of open-ended spontaneous miracle-generating PCs capabilities that this one is all about.
  • That's odd, because that's not the feeling I came away with at all; Most of the miracles and stuff were pretty firmly defined. I just think that the whole thing boils down to a "points management game" in a not especially exciting way. Yes, it's not a heartbreaker in the sense of aping D&D because it doesn't know better, but to me, the end result is pretty similar.
  • Gifts are pretty tightly defined. Miracles are freeform - they can mimic Gifts at a higher cost or they can be used for a whole range of other spontaneous things. The book contains a list of example uses of miracles beyond mimicking Gifts but is explicit that list is non-exhaustive

    That said, there is a fair amount of resource management as you devote and/or reclaim bits of power, especially since there are a couple of currencies to represent different forms of that power (I'm thinking Effort, Influence, & Dominion specifically)
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