Does anyone have any suggestions on newer RPGs that have built in balance

the cat

Drone
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I was reading the description of Dyfed and it mentioned imbalance as a selling point. Personally I like balance in RPGs so I wondered if there are any up coming games these days that take the opposite approach.

Edit - new can include recently released in the past 2ish years.
 
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EvilMegaCookie

Registered User
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Does this mean imbalance as in a power fantasy or that getting a broken build is easy? Or that the enemies are hilariously more powerful than you and rolling dice is like asking which area you want to have stabbed next?
 

the cat

Drone
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Does this mean imbalance as in a power fantasy or that getting a broken build is easy? Or that the enemies are hilariously more powerful than you and rolling dice is like asking which area you want to have stabbed next?
From the blurb:
"Discard any notion of fairness or balance"
I get the notion its more option 2. That line made me go from 80 percent sure I was gonna buy to 10%.


"But Cat, arent you currently running DCC?" YES! While running DCC, I have come to realize that I tend to like things a little more fair. I still plan to play DCC as intended but i have been searching for the next thing in the meantime.

Demonlord - my brother has been looking into it and has said some good things. Its a start at least.
 

WistfulD

Registered User
Validated User
I was reading the description of Dyfed and it mentioned imbalance as a selling point. Personally I like balance in RPGs so I wondered if there are any up coming games these days that take the opposite approach.
From the blurb:
"Discard any notion of fairness or balance"
I get the notion its more option 2. That line made me go from 80 percent sure I was gonna buy to 10%.

"But Cat, arent you currently running DCC?" YES! While running DCC, I have come to realize that I tend to like things a little more fair. I still plan to play DCC as intended but i have been searching for the next thing in the meantime.
Well, honestly speaking, aren't just about everything else in the recent gaming pipeline other than OSR games and this one game (which uses imbalance as a selling point) rather balance-focused? Imbalanced has become, overall, a bad word in game design, and most games that don't at least pay lip service to balance as a goal are either 1) games which harken back to older times in gaming, or 2) this rather unique rejection-of-trend-as-aesthetic game.
 

Aaron Mouritsen

RadioFreeDeath
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Pathfinder to some extent. I don't think it's a secret to any player that some builds are more optimal than others. Part of the game is parsing out suboptimal builds. That being said I don't think the game purposefully tries to design suboptimal choices.
 

calliban

Assume I'm wrong
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Any Powered by the Apocalypse game, to be honest. Those games require a different state of mind from your players. I once saw a girl basically steering a Monsterhearts game to whichever direction she wanted by basically masterfully abusing the mechanics. While certain playbooks are broken in basically every game we've tried, there seems to be a way of playing the game that makes thing worse; in retrospect, maybe there actually is a correct way to play certain games.

The new Legend of the Five Rings, from Fantasy Flight Games. This 5th edition has no notion of balance - courtiers are better fighters than bushi samurai by a large margin, there are certain auto-win abilities available from the very start, and schools supposed to be the best in the setting in certain things, such as dueling, are actually the worst. I would extend it to FFG Star Wars games and their home system, Genesys.

Monte Cook's Numenera and the Cypher System just got a new edition, and the authors weren't really worried about balance there. It's not as bad as it used to be, but it is one of those games you may accidentally powergame without really trying to.

The big boy Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition is pretty unbalanced by design, and authors are vocal about it. Spellcasters are just better than everybody else, Druids are better fighters than Fighters, Rangers are over-rangered by basically anyone who tries it, certain spells and feats are just better than others, and so on. Which is a shame, as modern D&D actually needs a bit of balance - it wasn't the case before 3e as the monsters weren't supposed to be fair back then, but they are now. Pathfinder 2 better fit your 2-year window, and it is basically way worse than D&D5e when talking about balance alone.

The new 7th Sea has no semblance to game balance whatsoever, and certain character choices will actually render your character unplayable in most scenarios. I haven't read the new Khitai books (which will match your 2 year rule), but as far as I know they follow the same rules so there is a chance they may suffer from the same issues.

There are also some games where the lack of balance work in favor of the game by design. Some of the best OSR games are like that. Mostly any game from Sine Nomine (such as Stars Without Number and Godbound); Kevin Crawford's books don't provide you with balanced characters in terms of raw power, but his games are made to accomodate this style of play so you'll mostly never care about it (but if you give a giant robot to one of your players, you should give giant robots to all of your players).
 

the cat

Drone
Validated User
Hey Calliban, perhaps my question was worded badly. I am looking for newer rpgs that like balance. Personally I like built in balance by design and am looking for something newer.
 

manwhat

Thoroughly mediocre GM.
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Though I would actually say that most of the good PbtA games are actually reasonably balanced. The Monsterhearts player that 'steered the game by abusing the mechanics' is the player that was playing the game correctly - you're meant to always be on the hunt for Strings so you can manipulate other PCs and NPCs!

Likewise, I'm not sure what spirit the first post was intended in, but yeah, Shadow of the Demon Lord is actually pretty good for balance (especially the reprints and updated PDFs that help out the Fighter and Rogue); there's still some caster supremacy at the highest levels but getting there you'll sure wish you were a fighter earlier. Someone who picked 'magician' as their starting class doesn't even get the benefit of SotDL's equivalent of proficiency (one boon), on anything.
(For comparison, warriors get 'proficiency' on all attacks, rogues have 'proficiency' on any one thing per turn, and priests can grant 'proficiency' to any character, but it uses up their reaction for the turn).

But, yes, anyone proudly saying "this game is imbalanced!" is just generally a bad designer; there's a difference between "some powers may be a bit more or less useful, don't sweat it too much" (as you might see in any number of entertaining random-power games) and "yeah two people can genuinely try to make a good character and end up with one twice (or more) as powerful as the other".
 

Ineti

Playing mind games! Woo!
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Star Trek Adventures is pretty well balanced. All PCs start out as competent Starfleet officers, whether they're newbie ensigns or veteran captains.
 
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