[RPG] Which roleplaying games feature realistic combat?


For many players and referees the characteristics of a Roleplaying Game are important. Does it allow for extensive character creation or it is quickly resolved, is it rules light or does it cover many situation with detailed mechanics? For some how realistic the combat system is an important consideration.

Which RPGs do you consider to have the most realistic combat system and why? Additional details would be appreciated like; How to you rate its usability and utility? How much customization do you get with improving the character ability with the various option? And so on.

A system that is able to combine realism, with quick character generation, character customization all in a minimal amount of rules would be ideal for the answer I am looking for.

Additional Notes Don't forget about fantasy or low tech combat as well.

Best Answer

Off the top of my head, here are some games I know feature "realistic" combat. I define "realistic" as "based on actual data or research from the real world."

  • Cyberpunk (the first one, 2013, not 2020), with its Friday Night Firefight rules, based on FBI ballistics data. Deadly lethal, quick, and playable. Character creation is moderately extensive, class- and skill-based with a cool lifepath system. Characters are customized additionally through cyberware and equipment. Includes charts of modern and speculative future weapons and ballistics stats.

  • The Riddle of Steel, written by a bunch of Renaissance combat re-creationists. The combat system is quick, fun, and playable.

  • Phoenix Command, a very complicated ruleset purportedly designed with physics in mind. It uses physics simulations for attacks. Terribly not playable.

Anyone who has actually played The Riddle of Steel or Phoenix Command is welcome to edit this post to flesh out those bullet points!