How to Run Skyrim as an RPG

D&D:

Pro:  You’ve got magic, you’ve got elves and stuff, and you’ve got Dragons, oh yes do you have dragons.  A campaign where you go around the frozen north and kill dragon after dragon sounds like D&D at its best.

Con:  Varies based on choice of edition- pre-4th casters have less magical staying power than Skyrim’s mages; on the other hand 4th edition’s play ethos is largely based on tactical encounters, and Skyrim’s go-anywhere, do-anything sandbox is a major feature.  Also, D&D comes with its own setting assumptions, which don’t always line up with Skyrim’s.

Burning Wheel:

Pro:  Skills level up as you use them.  Seems subtle, but it’s a major selling point towards that Elder Scrolls feel.

Neutral:  Need to hack the magic system.  But there’s got to be something in the Magic Burner that you find appropriate, and the magical Tax system is pretty close.

Con:  Burning Wheel is extremely character focused; Skyrim is exploration of setting.  Plus only the lifepaths for Humans really work; Nords only.

Old School D&D/Retro Clones (including Dungeon World)

Pro:  Sandbox is what these games are meant to do.  Easily customisable to make new races, etc.

Con:  Most old-school games are low-magic, and casters suffer.  Like D&D, it may not necessarily feel like Skyrim.

Savage Worlds

Pro:  Easily customisable.  Characters will need a few levels to feel as heroic as what Skyrim offers, but by that point, its a pretty good match.

Con:  Savage World’s toolbox approach means you’re doing most of the work yourself.  If an Alchemy system like Skyrim’s is a big deal to you, Savage World’s alchemy is much simpler.

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay

Neutral:  Ironically, the selling point here is either a strong plus or a strong minus: you play gritty, dirty characters.  It’s not a story about the Dragonborn, but about everyone else, the guards, the thieves, the bandits.

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2 thoughts on “How to Run Skyrim as an RPG

  1. I take responsibility for instigating this post. 🙂

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