Wednesday, 9 June 2010

RPGs - What's in a system?

All the talk over on Thoughts on 4e has really got me thinking: How important is system when it comes to roleplaying games?

We're currently mid-way through games in FantasyCraft, Savage Worlds/Deadlands, GURPS, PDQ, HarnMaster, Castle Falkenstein, Warhammer Fantasy, and THOGS/VIRUS, I guess... and it's bloody frustrating! The only campaign that ever came to any kind of conclusion was in DnD 4e, and that only happened because players refused to help each other out and/or got bored - it was a TPK, by the way.

I'm fed up with starting again. We need something that everyone will love, but I really don't know what. I thought Deadlands would be great, but reception has been a bit damp. Warhammer was fun, but the DM gave up after one session. I loved Harn, but it didn't play like other people wanted it to - or rather they weren't happy rolling with what was dealt them in character generation, and went for fighters anyway. Falkenstein was a mistake, GURPS is the wrong system for the game, and you know our thoughts on 4e...

In the midst of all this, I'm trying to write a system that does what I want it to do - but if it isn't what the players want, then it seems the setting is going to be irrelevant.

Maybe I just need a setting that I can run with - the Adventure Path I got for 4e was a blast to run and let me splice a lot of my own ideas in, the sample adventure for GURPS (Caravan to Ein Arras) was really good fun to run - until everyone gave up at a cliffhanger moment.

I seems like things are unravelling at the moment, and we may end up getting Descent out every week unless we can get together and get behind somehing we can all have fun playing - but what??

7 comments:

  1. My group, for several years, played one game for four sessions (a fifth if it was needed), and then we moved on to a different game. That was the rule, and it worked terrifically.

    You guys could come up with a list of games that everyone kind of liked, then decide who would run them, then go from there.

    -Tourq

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  2. Hmm, food for thought - is that "four sessions and that's it" or was each game played in rotation in blocks of four sessions??

    I could see something like that working - we plan a 4 week adventure at a time, then move on...

    We kind of came up with a list last night, we just need the full compliment of players at some point!

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  3. We would play Star Wars d6 for four weeks, then move on to Rifts for four weeks (etc.). It gave us focus, and made us look forward to gaming. It really helped.

    -Tourq

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  4. Tourq your suggestion makes sense, and we used to have a similar system in place in the past, not quite four week rotation but the DM would give a heads up after each session on his estimate of how many games sessions he had left, its just fallen by the wayside over the last few years.

    Tom it’s not as bleak as you may feel, we have just had a bad year for gaming with illnesses, a lack of numbers, weddings preparations and up coming holidays really taking its toll. However I am ready to get Fantasy Craft going and I have some good ideas for Spycraft. Nath can run a game or two as well, and if you can settle on a system that you like we will be in good shape.

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  5. 1) What version of Spycraft are you thinking of using? We played version 1 for almost a year straight (first time we went past two months). A year ago we tried Spycraft 2.0 and oh-my-god was that a mistake. That game is too unwieldly. Never again. If I ever play Spycraft again I'll use the original game.

    2) My opinion on what game system to settle on: I've been gaming for quite a while now, and there was a period of time that we were looking for the perfect system. Guess what? It ain't there. I would say to really think about the type of game you want to play, and the setting. Focus your game on the story and adventure, and don't worry about the system. Don't even make any houserules. I think that a setting / genre that the group has decided on after much thought provides much more satisfaction than deciding on a system.

    -Tourq

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  6. I will be using the 2.0 version of Spycraft. The book does have a lot in the way of rules, if I trim the rules to what is needed and add the other rules over time it should work for us.

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  7. Good luck! I've always wanted to play Spycraft.

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