I’ve been knocking around the gaming world for years (honestly decades–man I’m old). Every system teaches a lesson (if some are nothing more than AHHH DON’T DO THAT!)
Recently I’ve been trying some games that are from different schools from mine–GURPS, RIFTS, Pathfinder, Numenera, FATE, Mouse Guard, most recently Fantasy AGE. Many have been an assault on my DM sensibilities in one way or another. A lot of them I’ve kitbashed to get them to work in ways that bugged me less. But it’s always been interesting.
I’d be interested to hear your takeaways from different systems you’ve encountered. That’s what this post is about mainly.
But here’s my takeaways:
FATE: I’ve never seen a game with such noble, beautiful intentions go so fully, wrap the front end of your car around a tree, wrong as this game. The idea that the priority should stop being numbers and rather that the power should come from prose descriptions of your character–that they are what you describe them as. That right there is gold. The plus and minus dice, where each die can add to your effort, hinder your effort or do nothing is an enticing idea. Lots of good ideas. I just wish the whole game didn’t feel like playing Guitar Hero as a RPG resolution mechanic. So many little minigames when all you desparately want to do is push them aside and just play the game!
GURPS: The customization options are like a shopping spree, but the core mechanics are so bad that as much fun as it is to detail out a completely custom character, actually playing the game is frustratingly stuffy and mathy. It doesn’t need a lot of changes to make it really fun, but those changes would need more playtesting than I’ve had a chance to do.
Mouse Guard: I love the idea of a battle as a whole having a pool of hit points rather than each individual badguy, so when you deplete the enemy’s resources in a fight that can look like whatever makes sense–putting out a fire, rallying townsfolk to defend the city, killing five badguys in a single swordstroke. The entire battle has a disposition of 12 and you have a disposition of 7 (or whatever the totals end up being, every conflict gives each side hp equal to a roll plus a stat and whatever advantages they start with) – so what does bringing a fight 4 closer to over look like to you? Or raising your own disposition by 3? It’s a great system once you get a handle on it. Plus character creation is delightful.
I figure that’s enough from me for now. I’m interested to hear from you guys.