Looking for help finding an interesting RPG


:) When I first read your comment, I just shrugged it off as your being a wiseass. But when I think it over, there’s a ray of truth to it… only it’s not a game I already played, it’s a book that made an impression on me when I was young.

The Hobbit. It and the Rings Trilogy are, of course, the source of a lot of RPG tropes, from orcs to poisonous spiders to magic jewelry. But I think The Hobbit, in particular, created in my mind the perfect fantasy exploration of other cultures and varied wilderness. Elrond’s elves, Beorn’s settlement, the Misty Mountains, and, best of all, Mirkwood. With meaningful discoveries all along the way. It’s not that there was no fighting, but killing left and right was not the core of the experience, and, in any case, it was not a book about gaining superhuman, god-like powers. And certainly not about fighting random baddies every few steps. And that process being the source of rising powers.

In my mind, the RPG genre has mostly gone off further and further in another direction, and I have often enjoyed it. I loved Wizardry. I liked Icewind Dale and Baldur’s Gate and a fair number of others, many of which I never finished but liked for a time.

But I guess I am searching around for a game that comes closer to the spirit of The Hobbit.

I’m still watching Let’s Plays of games suggested here, being very indecisive. Balrum sounds to have some technical tangles but also sounds like it has much of the spirit. Age of Decadence sounds very enclosed in terms of space, but very promising and I think I’ll end up playing it sooner or later whether it scratches this particular itch or not. Witcher 3 sounds far closer to my tastes than I had previously thought – but this bit about playing a guy with superhuman powers (and right from the get-go) I just don’t know.

But I really appreciate all the suggestions! Thank you all!


Geralt’s powers are… not that impressive most of the time. You can drive your character build in a variety of directions, but mostly I was good with a sword and had some heightened senses. He’s not a crazy wizard by any means. Mostly Geralt’s powers are that he knows things and that he’s prepared. Witchers figure out what they’re facing, prepare appropriately in terms of weaponry, barely-not-lethal alchemic potions, and tactics. And then they sometimes don’t die.

Think Strider, not Gandalf.


Have you played Life is Strange? Gone Home? Some of the walking simulators may scratch the itch in ways that RPGs don’t as much.

You could also look at Fallen London/Sunless Sea/80 Days, which are exploration games where you level up and consume/look for story bits.


Whoah you’re looking for an interesting atmospheric single player faux medieval open non-linear RPG with wilderness and town exploration, and you haven’t played The Witcher 3? I know it’s popular and not ‘off the beaten trail’ but really… it was the forum GotY 2015! :)

Okay so there’s combat, but crank it down to easy for zero challenge. And as a bonus you’ll get some of the best character and quest writing in the industry, and it’s not too hard on the eyes either.


The bummer thing about Witcher 3, despite what some others in this thread have said, is that it’s absolutely full of pretty much constant combat. Even worse, it’s meaningless combat, frequently with wild dogs and thieves that you’ll quickly outclass. Given that the game assigns exp mostly through completing quests and very little through combat victories, I really wish it had the guts to dial back on the frequency and focus on making the fights more meaningful.


Of course, for every critically acclaimed game there’ll always be someone who comes along to complain about how it’s not perfect. ;)

Do you have an alternative suggestion that better meets the brief then? For me W3 is one of those landmark games that anyone interested in the genre needs to check out.


Whatever happened to proper setting of expectations? I don’t believe I said that Witcher 3 was not worth playing, or that it wasn’t a very fine game. However I am saying that it, like everything else under the sun, is imperfect, and how I find it to be so. As for RPGs that I think shore up this particular deficiency, damn few in my experience. I’d love one that allowed a straight charisma/diplomacy option for talking through stuff. Still waiting on that one.


Hey I didn’t say you were wrong. :)

I found W3 did have it’s share of meaningful fights as well though, and playing at the higher difficulty a lot of the earlier trash ones were still a challenge.

Sure they got steamrolled later on but to me that’s not so bad, wading in feeling like a ‘badass’, and better than them remaining the same challenge level throughout.

Perhaps they could have introduced more enemy awareness, where they’re hesitant to engage in battle when severely outclassed. Thieves run or prefer to bargain and surrender or something.


Age of Decadence largely allows talking through things (though you have to make decisions that don’t, e.g., lead to getting jumped in an alley). And I think Unrest is entirely dialogue oriented. but the thing is people regard combat as gameplay and talking… not so much. so games with no combat don’t tend to be pitched as or designed as RPGs.


I don’t know how well it works, but there’s a mod that replaces the combat with gwent.



I’m not necessarily looking for zero combat, I guess that would be a point and click adventure. Which are also cool, but in a different way. My problem with Witcher 3 is that there’s just too damn much of it, and it’s boring, wears you down after a while. The bosses are pretty good, or when you get into decent fights with equally matched characters. I just think they could have cut down (or cut out) on the cannon fodder.


There’s tons of combat if you want it, or you can just run past it. No need to kill those millions dogs, just because they are there. They will not chase you very long if you just walk (RUN!!!) away.


Well, yes and no. I mean if it’s a matter of you need to get from point A to point B, sure just gallop on by. But if you’re just out and about, maybe just exploring or sightseeing, those wild dogs can really get annoying after a while.


I was going to recommend Underrail because it has a great sense of exploration. But there’s tons of combat.


If you’re looking for open-world, adventure-driven, combat-lite RPGs–and if you happen to have an appetite for retro look-and-feel–I would nominate Ultima Worlds 2: Martian Dreams. A great story using a great engine (Ultima 6). I’ve described it in the past as more of an adventure game in RPG clothing: It’s about identifying problems, and crossing the world to find the people and objects that can solve those problems. The setting is not fantasy, but isn’t typical grim-dark fare at all: It’s steampunk Victorian with historical figures.

Oh, and it is Warren Spector’s favorite Ultima game.

Oh, and it’s free.


Isn’t he also in the game itself?


He sure is.


Also true of Martian Dreams’ sister game, Savage Empire, in which a power-mad Warren Spector is the baddie.


I feel we would be remiss by not pointing out that, while both are indeed totally awesome, the Ultima Worlds games are 25 years old, so calibrate your expectations accordingly.


Yeah I tried Martian Dreams a year or so ago and the interface and inventory management killed it for me before I even left the ship. I was really looking forward to digging in but it seemed so time consuming just trying to deal with the basics I gave up.