Here’s the second part of my list of RPGs that could use a little more love.
At the edge of human space, scavengers venture to forbidden worlds to recover ancient technology from the ruins of long-dead alien civilizations. The alien ruins are known as Golgotha.
Golgotha is a science fiction RPG by Greg Saunders about exploring and looting alien ruins. It uses the Black Hack, a light OSR system as its base. It’s basically a D20 system where you roll below your 3d6 stats to do things.
There are tables for creating Golgotha, including the guardians and countermeasures found within. There are multiple examples of Golgotha provided.
It’s quite well written, and gives a nice impression of a dangerous world. It’s got a bit of a Numenera feel to it. Here’s an example:
Travel far beyond the bloated worlds of the inner machine planets, past the verdant and colourful pleasure worlds, past the worn out military rings where sanctioned wars rage endlessly, past even the fringe systems where separatists build their power, on into the outer dark where other races more ancient than humanity have long held sway, that is where the Golgotha lie. Ancient relics of long-dead empires, these mausoleums are riddled with countermeasures and deadly remains, not to mention bizarre alien species. Why would you choose to go there? Because Golgotha hold the secrets of unknown inhuman cultures within their echoing halls – ancient, lost technology that the Overseers, caretakers of the Human Sphere, mysteriously covet. Steal enough from the tombs and in exchange the Overseers will boost your body and mind, making you more than human, more than enough to complete your destiny.
DoubleZero is a game of modern action from Dancing Lights Press. It’s basically an improved and streamlined version of the old 1980’s James Bond RPG. There’s no established background for this one, but it’s intended to be used for any modern action/mystery setting. There are a few separate setting books available as well.
I like this one mostly because of the system mechanics. It uses a basic percentile system. For any action you roll a d100 and try to get below a target number. The target number is based on the characters stats, and the difficulty of the action (1 to 5). The target number is the 3d6 stat multiplied by the difficulty. For example, if a character has a DEX of 13, and was firing a gun at a difficulty of 4, they’d have a 52% chance to hit. All modifications to the roll (skills, environment, range) are made by changing the difficulty level. Normally, all of the characters have all of the possible target numbers on a table on the character sheet, so no math is required in play.
The better you roll, the better outcome you get, whether it’s more damage, more information, or better reactions. In practice, I found the system runs really smoothly. I’m planning on using DoubleZero to run some old Top Secret modules.
There are basic rules for vehicle chases, hazards, and carrying out investigations. The book is cleanly and clearly written, but like all of Dancing Lights Press’s stuff, it has no art or decoration. It’s purely functional, which I’m fine with, but some might want a little more flash. It is however, quite cheap – currently only $5 on DriveThru
There’s supposedly a newer version of this game coming out this year.
Sorcerers in a Persian inspired fantasy desert city search for ancient magical artifacts. This one has a lovely Arabian sword & sorcery feel to it. It uses the D6 system.
The interesting bit is that each player gets to play multiple characters. Normally they create a sorcerer, a major PC, and several minor PCs. They all live and work together in an organization called a Vahnam. The players call up whatever character they need to play in a particular scene. Killing a PC won’t necessarily stop a game. There are rules allowing a Vahnam to grow and expand over time. As the players discover more artifacts, they can also extend the magical powers of their sorcerer characters.
The magic system is freeform, where a spell’s difficulty and effects are decided each time a spell is cast.
There are faction rules for monitoring each player’s relationship with the various groups in the world.
The book has a nice colored pencil art style that I’m quite fond of. I haven’t actually gotten around to playing this one yet, but I’m looking forward to running a short campaign.