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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Are You Fluent With Multiple Systems or Just One?

Do Cats Dream of Polyhedron Dice?
Back in my high school and college days, I could pick up a new system and run with it later that day. Sure, I cut my teeth on AD&D, but I'd run just about anything: Paranoia, RuneQuest, MERP, RoleMaster, SpaceMaster, WFRP, Chill, GURPS, CoC, Traveller, WEG Star Wars, Champions, Top Secret, Star Frontiers, Gamma World, Boot Hill, Palladium Fantasy Roleplay, Star Trek, Sandman, Torg - I'm sure I'm missing a few. And these are just the ones I's run, there were others I'd play in others.

One of the few games that tripped me up was Swordbearer. By far, it was the exception to the rule.

These days, as a grumpy grognard of 46, I find that the further a ruleset strays from the OSR / D&D, the harder it gets for me to grok it.

I've owned Savage Worlds over many editions, and I still don't feel comfortable enough to run a session. Not even sure I'd be okay as a player in a session.

Loved Spirit of the Century when I first found it for the setting and the feel, but I still don't understand the FATE system. Heck, I supported the FATE Kickstarter, have my dice and my hardcover book - I may need some hand holding at some point. (Also have Dresden - gave up on that as reading the book caused eye strain - ah well).

I CAN run Tunnels & Trolls tho'. I proved that last Saturday Night when I ran it for the few regulars we had. But that game has old school sensibilities, and I've been running solos for years.

So, how well do you pick up new systems and rules? Easy? Hard? Not at all? Certain types easier than others?

20 comments:

  1. I am like you at this stage of my life: I am pretty much relegated to games with D&D DNA. This old dog has a hard time with learning new systems. .. with the possible exception of Dragon Age RPG, which I've been able to get a pretty good grasp of.

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  2. I used to, but skill erosion has gotten the best of me.

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  3. Cool pic... Reminds me of: "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" Extra credit if anyone can recall that reference, and I hope the cat is not an android. On gaming, D&D only, 1E through, well, Pathfinder. With some early Traveller thrown in.

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    1. same quote I had in mind when I captioned the photo ;)

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    2. Blade Runner, based on Phillip K Dick's short story "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?".

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    3. Erik Wins! or... Jay Wins! LOL

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  4. I used to be fluent in many systems, but these days it's mainly very light rules systems: basic D&D, searchers of the unknown, world of dungeons and the like. I'll play more complicated systems, just don't ask me to run them.

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  5. After the Nth rereading I am slowly groking Fate. Going to attempt to run a game this weekend. I think in the end it going to be too much metagame "making up shit when you want" for me. Whimsy Cards all over again.

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  6. I'm old but I can still pick up new systems pretty easily. I think I keep in practice because I am a compulsive game buyer with a short attention span. My difficulty is not in learning new systems but in trying to get gamers to try new systems. I played with my last game group for six years and they would only play D20. I was buying a new game every other week and I didn't get to play any of them. :(

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  7. I'm rusty in a whole pile of systems. But I'm still fluent in glossing over bits and sorting out the details later so I can keep up the pace when I occasionally run a game.

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  8. I can run any edition of D&D, T&T, Runequest/BRP/CoC, GURPS and Traveller pretty much any time, anywhere....and from back in the day I am rusty but could probably pick up on Cyberpunk 2020, DC Heroes (Mayfair) and a few others....but most new systems, especially indie systems after around 2002ish and FATE especially totally elude me.

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  9. I am fluent in many game systems. Never being satisfied with any particular one, I continue to home brew all my influences to date. My eye is always towards rules-lite mechanics which I will then graft on wonderfully presented sourcebooks for genres which I am interested in playing/GM'ing.

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  10. I'm exactly like you - as a teenager I used to be fine running a whole bunch of systems - WEG Star Wars, PARANOIA, Call of Cthulu et al - as well as D&D, but now I tend to be uncomfortable outside of D&D and closely related systems. I did do ok recently running Dragon Warriors, but it's very similar to D&D. I could learn Savage Worlds enough to play it, but I didn't like it and wouldn't be able to GM it. A whole bunch of other stuff I got recently I couldn't grok at all. I think age must be the main factor.

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  11. i can handle the games of my youth - adnd bx dnd RQ cthulhu gammaworld (2nd ed) TSR marvel but really not as flexible as i was when young where i would try anything and as you said would run anything in 24 hours - im 43 now and feel those games were not broken and im not really interested in new versions but i have tried. Fate too poetic to me. BRP I feel is most flexible and exiting still.

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  12. Funny. I used to be "stuck" with three to four systems at the most in my youth. And now I can pick up new systems for one-shot sessions with no difficulty at all. Possibly now that I'm an old grognard I'm able to see through the fluff and get the core mechanics of a system quickly enough.

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  13. The old systems, OD&D, 1st Ed and their counter parts OSRIC, C&C, S&W, LL, B&T (I guess these would be the same language with with different dialects), GURPS 3rd & 4th editions and I believe with a little brushing up I could run a Pendragon game.
    Systems I would like to be better at is Pathfinder, I think if I sat in on a few games it would make enough sense to me to run. I would like to learn the FATE/Fudge system, but like Rob said above, it may be too much meta gaming for me, but I'd have to try it out to see. And I've never run a Cthulhu campaign, that would be a blast.

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  14. I love lots of systems and never grow tired of learning new ones. Though I have a few I like to keep going back to; D&D Basic, AD&D, Unisystem are my current and long running favorites. I want to play some with FATE myself.

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  15. I can still pick up nearly any "traditional" RPG in 24 hours or less, at least well enough to play it if not run it.

    I am currently capable, in some cases even fluent, in D&D-types (including The Arcanum, the Palladium games, Empire of the Petal Throne, Gamma World, and so on), Traveller (any of the editions listed in T5; Traveller is probably my first and most important gaming love, though not my first game), BRP-types (including Pendragon and Nephilim), GURPS, Villains & Vigilantes, Top Secret, Flashing Blades, Space 1889, Fantasy Wargaming, Marvel Super Heroes (TSR), and my own Trait System. At least, I think I am - I haven't actually run anything in a couple of years now.

    I am definitely rusty or inexperienced at Shadowrun, Lords of Creation, Chivalry & Sorcery, CORPS, ORE games (such as Reign or Godlike), Swordbearer, Cyberpunk 2020, TORG, Rolemaster, Lace & Steel, Jovian Chronicles, Pacesetter system games (such as Chill or Star Ace), HERO System, the BTRC House System games (TimeLords, SpaceTime, and Warp World), WEG Star Wars, James Bond 007, Risus, Over the Edge, DC Heroes (Mayfair), Star Trek (FASA), Burning Wheel (though I mainly learned this because of Burning Sands: Jihad), and EABA.

    I just don't get Dogs in the Vineyard, FATE System games, Unknown Armies (though I love the magic system, the rest of the game doesn't work for me), HeroQuest (I buy them for the background info on Glorantha), Dread, and most other story games. I mean, I can play them if someone is running them (though I never did like writers' workshop exercises), but I don't really get how they are supposed to be run.

    Other games I've either forgotten (and so am very rusty) or haven't had a chance to try yet. That would include games like Fantasy Gaming, Unisystem games, ICON System games (such as Star Trek, Dune: Chronicles of the Imperium, and so on), Legend of the Five Rings, Deadlands, Warhammer FRP and the 40K RPGs, The Riddle of Steel, and so on.

    So, the tl;dr version: I am fluent in multiple systems, and I think that is a good thing. I would like to be conversant in every game, actually. Story games generally give me fits, largely because I am not interested in their way of approaching gaming, even when I am interested in their setting.

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  16. LOL gotta love this.. kitty kat made the full picture :)

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    1. if she's not on my desk, I must not be sitting there myself ;)

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