Running Ultraviolet Grasslands: Which System?

Which system would you use to run UVG with if you don’t want to use SEACAT?
The d40 hero table in the beginning makes me think Whitehack because you already have your vocation, affiliations etc spelled out for you … but it’s a roll under system so I would have to rewrite the Misfortune and Discovery tables in UVG where high = good. I watched a bit of @EricVulgaris actual play with The Black Hack and it didn’t seem to work too smoothly with roll under.
Maybe Freebooters with 2d6 for the saving throws, d20+ modifier for all the caravan stuff and this awesome table for the techno-magical spells https://abominablefancy.blogspot.com/2017/06/an-exaltation-of-rockets.html … but mixing two resolution systems is frowned upon with good reason and I don’t think the classes really work.
My front runner at the moment is Knave which is classless … but I would prefer some more heft for realizing different character concepts outside of the inventory system.
So, what system would you use for UVG?

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I haven’t ruled out using the rules that come with it. But yes Knave is nice, I don’t mind hacking or adapting something on top of that.

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I think Veil 2020 would work really well with UVG, especially if you want that cyberpunk flavor *~

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I’m not sure why one would need to swap tables to make everything roll under or roll over - as long as something is mechanically separate one need not have unified mechanics. It’s quite helpful to have different mechanics for different subsystems as it offers a change of pace to players, making individual rolls stand out. It also facilitates easier modification of subsystems because one need not make sure that the change makes sense as part of or within the grammar of the unified system, only as part of the subsystem.

I believe that UVG is largely a setting book, so system shouldn’t matter too much unless it departs from the ethos of play and assumed conventions of the UVG world - anything higher lethality with risk v. reward mechanics and combat as a fail state should work. My own impulse would be to use B/X, but I can see the Hacks working fine as well.

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@Haladir put this together, a hack of Homebrew World (itself a hack of Dungeon World) for running UVG:

I haven’t dug into UVG enough to comment on how well it works, but it looks pretty cool!

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@Gus.L My preference to have a unified system for everything is largely aesthetic, rolling a natural 20 should feel good for the player or bad but not both. I agree that the system isn’t that important but I love the d40 hero table from UVG and would prefer something more versatile to realize them (like Whitehack) to the vanilla fantasy classes of B/X (Although there is B/X Mars that I wanted to check out).
@Jeremy_Strandberg The Caravan and Commerce Moves look great. I like that they are relatively fiddly and stay true to the Oregon Trail vibe of UVG. As with B/X I would prefer less Cleric and Thief characters and more Halfling Lunatic Seers and Cogflower Necromancer Lawyers.

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That’s all good of of course - I find esoteric mechanics offer me more opportunities as a GM to vary ad hoc challenge - which of course is a big part of classic play and its mechanical voids. I do wonder if you’re unfamiliar with the tradition of play that UVG is coming out of (not sure if you are?) how it will run for you? I suspect it’s full enough of ideas and imagery that it’ll function with almost any sort of system - but am always interested how more classically designed material gets used in newer traditions.

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I wouldn’t call myself an expert but I’ve played and ran a fair share of OSR adventures and I do want to run UVG in the spirit of classic D&D. I also agree that you don’t have to: I’ve played in a short lived UVG campaign with Apocalypse World 2e and it worked like a charm (My character was from the chopper playbook and I had a gang of ostrich riding scavengers. If that doesn’t sound like UVG I don’t know what does). What I want to get from the campaign is the awe and wonder of exploration: The experience should combine the zaniness of the Heavy Metal comics with the psychedelia of Blue Oyster Cult lyrics and I 'm looking for a system that is rules lite, deadly and allows to quickly make characters that fit into that world.

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Thanks for the shoutout! I ran about eight sessions with those rules, and they mostly worked pretty well.

(Alas, the group is currently on indefinite hiatus due to bad shit happening in a two of my players’ lives, such that they no longer have the time/spoons to play.)

I’m hoping to take a third major pass at the rules soon: There are some typos here and there, and we found a few bits of the rules to have rougher edges than we would have liked. I also want to finish up a Psychic playbook, and also play around with Advanced Backgrounds (basically compendium classes you could take at start.)

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I played UVG using Mutagen Trail, which I helped develop. It’s a drift from d20 pass/fail resolution, but it’s got great support for travel in a strange wastelands. It might be a good fit if you’re looking for something character-driven, with resolution that tends toward compromise and narrative momentum.

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I really like Knave so I’d second that suggestion as well. (Into the Odd and any Basic D&D flavor would probably work well too.) In general I think adding to a system is easier than trying to tear out and modify pieces of it (though both approaches can work well.)

My guess is you can take whatever you like best and graft UVG onto it but if your players aren’t already familiar with one or the other it’s true they might find it a bit confusing

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Five Torches Deep maybe? Combines a simplified 5e Roll Over mechanic with evocative classes that emulate the D&D classes (Fighter, Thief, Cleric, Mage) with an archetype mechanic that modifies each to create: Ranger, Barbarian, etc.

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@Haladir- The moment I saw Ultraviolet Grasslands I wanted a DW hack of it. Your hack looks like something I would love to try if I can find a group to play it.

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Five Torches Deep, Knave, and Old School Essentials are not just my favorites, but they have a lot going for them for this specific effort. Arguably, of those, I’d think FTD is probably the “easiest” for most people to get on board with, still have that old school flair, and has room for a little extra meat beyond Knave and similar lite systems.

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I haven’t heard of Five Torches Deep, need to check it out. Thanks for the suggestion.

A similar one with a little more crunch, though not much, might be Best Left Buried. It’s skill based and focused around non-spatially defined dungeon crawling/dungeon crawl genre emulation but it has some neat elements to it.

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I do believe there was discussion back in the G+ days about roll over as an alternate method for black hack / white hack.

You’d be rolling 1d20+STAT (the whole thing) over a target of 21. You’d either add the powerful opponents mod to the target of 21 or subtract it from the roll.

So if you had a STR of 15 you’d be rolling 1d20+15 for STR tests and would be trying to beat 21.
If it was melee and the opponent had 3HD higher than your own then the target number goes up to 24 (or instead you could subtract 3 from the roll and keep the 21 as the target).

The odds are the same vs the roll under method, you keep 20s special, and everything is unified (high rolls are good).

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I remember seeing a review by Ben Milton on his youtube channel. Looks really good. I love the Darkest Dungeon vibe, the three stats (like Maze Rats / Into the Odd) and that characters are highly customizable but I don’t think the grimdark tone fits the weirdness of the Grasslands.

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Interesting, after revisiting skerples’ UVG hack for GLOG I’m about to just use Whitehack with roll under for everything and Stat +modifier for caravan stuff but I would really prefer a unified system - not so much to keep the 20 special but to have high = good / low = bad as a basic rule. I don’t think Whitehack has the powerful opponent rule, though, but that could easily be implemented. Thanks for the suggestion!

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I ran a 6-month UVG campaign using Troika. Here are my notes:

I found the inventory management in Troika to be a good fit, and the whacky backgrounds also blended into UVG pretty well.

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