I was hoping to have my review of Rolemaster Rome finished by today, but it isn't quite finished. This weekend, I was looking at generic RPG systems to use with my Middle Isles campaign, and hopefully beyond. The hope of a system-generic ruleset for me has always been that you can use a single system you know well for a variety of various genres. Obviously, it doesn't always work like that.
I'm looking for something that's easy to learn, uses some manner of skills and traits, allows for at least semi-crunchy combat, doesn't have a huge list of situational rules for special events, possibly using a point-buy system, that makes sense when you think about it. Should be easy, eh?
I've put the candidates thus far into various divisions. These are the games (with the exception of the Final Four) that I've decided I won't be using this go-around:
The No Chemistry Division
GURPS 4e—I respect the system, but it's never clicked for me. Probably won't start now.
JAGS—Yeah, I get about halfway to the point where I'm going to pick up and run JAGS or JAGS-2 again, then it all falls apart. It's like that ex-girlfriend you keep thinking about getting back with, then you go out together, and you have nothing to say to each other. I love everything about JAGS except....JAGS, apparently. Wait, that's not right. I love the thought of JAGS? There—I have now put more thought into my relationship with a role playing game than that with several exes. Happy?
Cortex—Still reading. Not digging it right now.
The Too Pretentious To Seriously Consider Division
The Window—OK, so it sounds like the author has mellowed over the years. But this is too rules-light anyways, I think. But I can never get past the writing. That's a shame when a product allows that to happen.
The RPGnet Sweetheart Division
Wushu—Automatically eliminated by merit of it being recommended at 114,567 times a year at RPGnet whether it actually meets the criteria for what people want or not. RPGnet Wushu fans, if given a chance, will recommend Wushu to you not only as an RPG, but as a dietary supplement, living will template, breakfast cereal, and a political manifesto for Bolivian Leftists. As an afterthought, I will add it is way too loosey-goosey for what I'm after.
PDQ/PDQ#--I really, really enjoy the PDQ system. But it's a little light on structure for this go-around. I think I want to run Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies at Gen Con, though!
FUDGE—For me, FUDGE was never quite as solid as FATE. And I've decided I don't like FUDGE dice.
FATE—Even though the 3.0 version of FATE is a little more fleshed out, I think we're going with something a little more traditional this time around.
The Eric Gibson Has Killed It For Me Division
d6—Right now, I'm just so tired of the crap surrounding the on-again, off-again drama of d6, I don't even want to look at d6. It isn't the system's fault, but I'm tired of it right now.
The Just Outside Division
Iridium Lite—I have an on-again, off-again project I've been using Iridium Lite for. I really think I need a break. The system is fun, and makes sense. But not this time.
Savage Worlds—Yeah, it's nothing against one of the hottest rulesets on the market, but I don't think it'd work for my current gaming circle. Another time, perhaps?
The Final Four
GenreDiversion3—How can you not like Precis Intermedia? All they do is make solid, affordable gaming products. In baseball, GD3 would be that guy who reliably hits .275 every year, is decent in the field, and can be counted on for about 16-17 home runs. I've got a few concerns regarding scalability, but let's see how another read goes.
Basic Roleplaying—Basic Roleplaying is fantastic. It's got a Quick Start version—always a plus, and the system has been around so long for a reason. It's easy to add options to, but I'm not totally sure I'm sold on combat or roll-under. And I don't know that I want to put the time in to customize just now.
EABA—This is a system I hadn't messed with in a while, and in reading it again, it really made a lot of sense. I love the Universal Chart, I love the simplicity and scalability, I love the points-buy scheme (I think). Let's see if I remember why I put it aside or not.
Mini Six—Somewhat free of the d6 fallout I mentioned above, Mini Six has a lot of good things going for it: easy to pick up, short, and free. If my current d6 hangover doesn't kill it, this may be it.
So, that's it. I have a lot more reading to do. I've already flipped through a lot of other free systems aside from the ones mentioned above, but unless something new comes across my radar this week, one of those is it.