Forums Gaming Chat Roleplaying Do you play multiple systems? Why?

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    • Posts : 4638
    • Drider

    Another random shot in my role as occasional starter of discussions 🙂

    It’s a simple question: do you play multiple systems? That doesn’t necessarily mean multiple genres, since you could happily run everything from pirate adventures to Victorian melodrama with, say, GURPS, but I’m interested to find out how many people have a stable of different games they play, or if you prefer to adapt a system you know well to a new setting. Someone must keep buying those hundreds of RPGs steadily flooding the market, after all.

    Whichever way you answer, what’s the reason for your choice? Do you feel that a dedicated system gives a better result? Are you still chasing the perfect RPG? Does learning new rules bore you rigid, or do you crave mechanical excitement (ooh-err missus, fnar-fnar etc)?

    Over to you.

    • Posts : 7755
    • Treant

    I play lots of games – while I have preferences and go-tos I am always looking to try new systems. I like indie games but I find that my current access to players makes those difficult as a long term prospect. If I have an idea for a game I will often choose the system I think will work best – or if it is a published thing I often like the story and just play it in its home system.


    I also have a few homebrew things lying around that I really need to air off and get on here at some point 🙂


    Hal :hal:

    • Posts : 447
    • Thri-kreen

    I run multiple systems, but I do have preferred systems/settings (e.g., Call of Cthulhu, Glorantha). I like reading new systems, but I find the organization of most rule books sorely lacking, so that tends to stop me from just buying every cool new RPG (though I will buy them when they’re bundled together, a la Bundle of Holding or package deals on DriveThru).

    Hafwit 2.0
    • Posts : 160
    • Orc

    I play and run multiple systems. I enjoy trying new games because they lead to different experiences (and because I’m just curious). I guess I’m one of those people who keeps buying every shiny new thing, finances allowing.

    • Posts : 2127
    • Succubus

    As with many others I play multiple systems. The problem is that most of the people I play with just want to play Pathfinder :(. Now Pathfinder’s good, don’t get me wrong. But the whole “armour doesn’t make you harder to hurt, it actually makes you harder to hit” nonsense doesn’t wash with me. It also has the same problem that many other level based games has in that things that were once dangerous and challenging become redundant. You’re left seeking ways to constantly escalate things when you could be enjoying the same things that you used to. One afternoon you might just want to kick back and enjoy the good old days but the challenge isn’t there any more. Those ogres were a walk over. What happened to the days when they were big and scary?


    While I generally prefer skill based systems over level based systems the level based ones have a more defined structure. It’s easy to tell what’s a level appropriate challenge for players rather than estimating based on experience. I’ve also found that, while some of the rules might be a little off, they’re so well meshed in with everything else that changing any one thing typically breaks the system.


    So… I play Pathfinder when I want a mainstream rules heavy clunky game that’s very popular and always easy to persuade people to play.


    Sometimes I want to sit back and relax. Play something without too many rules that’s going to be fun for everyone without them needing to go and learn an encyclopaedia you could concuss a burglar with before they can begin. For games like that I’ll play Dragon Age, Shadows of Esteren, Fighting Fantasy, Maelstrom Domesday edition or something of that ilk.


    Then again sometimes I want to play a complicated game that doesn’t have a whole load of “levels” to scale everything. Something with less of an artificial feel to the structure and more actual rules than many of the rules light games that I enjoy. You know. Serious but not level based. For that I’d opt for something like Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay or Runequest (I’ve only got 3rd or 4th edition). Those two really grab me. For WFRP I love the old “we don’t get high level characters” thing. It’s like playing AD&D 1st edition with 1st level characters where monsters are actually dangerous again. For RQ I like the simplicity of the skill system. I don’t like the assumed high magic setting where every single living creature is a spell caster but you can get around that by adjusting your mindset regarding what magic actually is. Once you realise that in RQ, most of the times it’s just some guy clutching his lucky talisman praying for that rare streak of good luck, then it’s not as high magic as it seems. Just a rather magic heavy way of handling things. When you stop thinking “everyone’s a wizard” and start thinking “it’s folk traditions” then it sort of works.


    I really “like” Cursed Empire. I also “hate” it. It’s an unfulfilled rules nightmare (a mishmash of Rune Quest, Ars Magica, the spell creation system from the Elder Scrolls computer games & the levelling system from AD&D 1st edition shoe horned in with possibly a little bit of the WFRP & Rolemaster character creations included as well). So the rules are a nightmare. The setting is okay. It’s innovative. It’s got good potential. The scenarios that have been written for it are really good. Good adventures. Unfortunately while the guy who wrote it is a really great GM he couldn’t write a rules system to save his life. Cursed Empire 2nd edition includes two starter adventures that both basically say “if you need combat stats for this bear/these merchants go and look them up in chapter 13” when there’s only 9 chapters in the book. It’s obviously a revision of the 1st edition more than a standalone piece. Yet somehow the clunkiness of the combat system actually appeals to me (6 different dice rolls and 3 sets of book keeping to resolve a single attack). It’s a crumbly clunky archaic system with a setting that’s basically the fall of the Byzantine empire set to “the movie 300 for Goths”. Yeah. I don’t know. Don’t ask me why. Fortunately the whole piercings and tattoos thing prevalent in the artwork is apparently mainly there because their main artist is “really into that scene” and does the art at mates’ rates.


    So to sum it all up. Sometimes I like to play complex systems as a mental work out. Sometimes I like to relax and play something relatively simple that won’t require me to think. Sometimes I enjoy the structure of level based systems. Sometimes I enjoy the freedom of skill based systems.

    • Posts : 6
    • Commoner

    I’ve played several systems and I can only say that I have very few…. Notable titles such as Gary Gygas’s “Dangerous Journeys” where it takes 2 hours to make a single…fighter character. Also the game I believe it was called Amber a diceless system as well as the original Travaller system, where you could die in character creation.  That being said.. from the systems I do play, I tend to go for those with the best story/backdrop.  If it has something I can intergrate into my campagin I do so as it makes for a richer setting for my players.  I have added anything pretaning to atlantean setting to Pathfinder as Azlinti are basically the same thing.


    Movies also provide classes/races to be emulated such as the story behind the Tarakian from Heavy Metal.  It is a positive energy being that is mute/sterile that relies on psychic warrior style class and a very limited amount that can be worn/carried.  Or the paladins from the Dragon Magazine, one for each alingment; again updated for Pathfinder.


    Well you get the picture, if I need story for Lycans I go to WW for tribes or if I want gothic horror its Cthulhu mixed with Ravenloft.

    • Posts : 197
    • Orc

    I rarely play different systems but I often run different systems.  In fact I tend to drive my players a bit around the bend that way.  Which is why they try to corner me with one game only at a time.


    I do think dedicated systems can do more for particular genres but for me even universal systems get a feel to them.  I can hardly approach GURPS without it feeling like a modern conspiracy game.  BRP almost always feels like a western even if I add sorcery or superpowers.  I’ve played Hero 5th in superheroic and heroic modern and far future and swords and sorcery but it never feels quite right outside of its champions trappings.


    I’m always searching for the right mechanic feel for whatever game I want to run next and it is an act of will to not plan a new campaign when I’m supposed to be prepping for the next adventure of my current campaign.


    I don’t think I’m chasing the perfect RPG.  At this point I think I don’t believe there is such a beast.  I think that when I first got into tabletop gaming I had so few choices available that all the variety that was really out there has enchanted me ever since I found it.  DrivethruRPG is absolute crack and I have pdfs of more games than I will ever have time to play much less ever talk players into trying.  But filling a notebook with NPCs and a new campaign for a system I’ve never read before is just something I love doing.  Those notebooks are always on the shelf and every now and then I actually get to pull one down and have a weekend session ready out of the blue.


    I like lots of different mechanics and I like the mechanics that are very genre specific and let you get your hands on the dials of a setting very clearly.  Like sanity in Call of Cthulhu and stability in Unknown Armies.  Both approach a similar game topic but they do it differently and achieve different feels and I could never tell you if one is clearly better.

    • Posts : 379
    • Thri-kreen

    I’ve played in a number of systems. I’ve spent time playing a bunch of different systems. There was a change from D&D 2nd Ed and then 3rd Ed to Savage Worlds. The reason behind this was there were so many rules and things to keep track of at high level. The change to savage worlds worked for a while but then the group drifted apart.


    For Star Wars I have played the WEG 2nd ed, D20, Saga Edition and The Edge of the Empire. I think that the systems for these have been very interesting as they have been trying to catch the world that has begun in the films and then expanded in the books and cartoons. I enjoy the WEG version and I think it captures the flavour of the world well. It doesn’t do Jedi very well in my opinion but I’m not sure I’ve seen that in any edition. Edge of the Empire has a nice dice mechanic with regards to failing with an advantage or succeeding with a disadvantage that captures the films well. Think look blasting the bridge controls to stop stormtroopers for succeeding with a disadvantage.


    I have purchased many systems myself and I do like the idea of the feel that different systems are trying to give. The trouble with this is the sheer amount of time that it takes to learn the rules and to get players up to speed on them. At the moment I want to run 5ed, Numenera and quite possibly some FATE stuff.  I always like breaking out the CoC out as I think it works really well for the setting and I’ve had great fun running that. 

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