Friday, May 2, 2008

Mixing It All Together

I like to think my Gamer ADD is under control. But the fact of the matter is, I have far too many systems I like than I'll ever have time to run. Take fantasy alone: Rolemaster, Burning Wheel, Rules Cyclopedia D&D, Palladium Fantasy, Epic RPG, Iron Gauntlets, True 20....the list goes on.

Like a lot of folks, I've kicked around the idea of a homebrew system. Its already a bit of a joke in my gaming circle that I tend to houserule and streamline whatever system I'm running at the moment. The thing is, yeah, I could (and do) just run short-term, limited campaign arcs to get my fix of each system, but I really, really love a campaign that clicks and goes into long-term play. So what am I thinking? Take what I love about each of the systems I want to run, and somehow mix it into a cohesive, rules-medium whole.

Chances are, it'll be a wretched mess when I'm done. I'm counting on that, in a sense. But in a larger sense, I think its going to be a really cool exercise--really read and tear into all those systems, and see what I really dig about each one. I imagine I'll also find parts I don't like in practice so much as I thought. Either way, I think doing this will give me a clearer idea of all the things I want out of an RPG--and perhaps let me step back and see what I utilize and lean on as a GM.


McC said...

I've mulled over doing this, too. There are a lot of systems I adore, save for one or two aspects I don't like, or that I've seen handled better. The thought of taking them and just mashing them together has tremendous appeal.

I often worry, though, that in doing it I'll end up with a system that feels kludgey, and graceless systems often result in frustrated players (and GMs). The harder path, which I'm trying to force myself to pursue, is to design a system from the ground up. The pace at which I'm progressing, of course, would shame a snail.

The question most nagging in my mind is this: I like many aspects of these systems, but are they mechanics I need? Am I so trapped in thinking about mechanics in a certain way (influenced in large part from the D&D mold, due to how pervasive its reach is) that I'll end up including things that don't need to exist at all?

Foor for thought.

McC said... for thought. *facepalm*

trollsmyth said...

I'm doing something very similar, inspired by my frustrations with D&D 3.x, which had everything in it I've always said I wanted. :/

However, instead of doing a Frankenstein's monster of many different games, I'm boiling things back to the bare bones of Moldvay/Cook and then slowly building on top of that. That's where the shattered shields thing came from. With what I learn from this, I'm going to continue to tinker on my ground-up system.

Best of luck on your own project, and do let us know how it goes.

- Brian

Zachary The First said...

Well, I think that's my biggest worry, is that I don't want a Frankenstein's monster--cruelly stitched together, bulky, with obvious add-ons.

Really, I think, one has to look at the difference between liking a mechanic and liking what that mechanic does, and finding a way to incorporate that result into your game. I think we share some of the same worries in the process, mcc. :)

trollsmyth: Building on Moldvay/Cook sounds awesome. That's a great foundation, and an interesting way to have a baseline to compare to.