Monday, June 29, 2015

How Many RPG System Rules Do You Actually Play?

I've spent the better part of the day today going through piles of gaming shit stuff that just doesn't fit where it's supposed to. I have accumulated RPG systems and their supplements for so many years I literally have my gaming material in 2 states, not to mention storage, the basement and a closet in another room besides my "gaming area."

One day I'll catalogue what I actually have, but it occurred to me me that not only have I forgotten many of the rpg system rules of the games I used to play and run (RoleMaster / SpaceMaster / MERPS, WFRP, the Pacesetter System, RuneQuest, Traveller, CoC, Gamma World, GURPS, Champions, Rifts and other systems that escape me at the moment) but I have a ton of systems I just never learned.

Then we look at the more recent acquisitions and with few exceptions they just aren't being played. Most of the OSR stuff can be considered a single system, just with different tweaks, so my preference for Swords & Wizardry means I can still grab adventures from Castles & Crusades right on through Dungeon Crawl Classics and over a dozen systems in between - but I generally only run S&W as my OSR system of choice and convert from other OSR systems on the fly.

Tunnels & Trolls is simple enough (once you get past the horrible organization of T&T 5e) that I can run it without referring much to the book. Far Away Land is the ONLY recently published rule system that I grokked right away and can run with minimal if any rules searching.

That's it. D&D derivatives, T&T and FAL. Three systems that I can grok these days. Dozens if not hundreds that I own and will never play - either for the first time or the first time in 20 years.

How many systems do you actually play compared to owning?


  1. I got back into gaming through S&W and it is the most like the D&D I played since I was in 5th grade. Today I referee a recurring FAL game. Easiest system ever. I have mad love for FAL.

  2. I own quite a few systems - mostly because I'm curious and give at least a look at various games, especially freebies. I end up usually just running either Swords & Wizardry or USR for people (the latter is usually my choice for when I need to improvise on the spot and/or the players haven't had much exposure). I keep wanting to run Shadowrun but for some reason none of my potential players share my enthusiasm.

  3. D&Derivatives mostly, with the occasional Traveller and Pendragon when we have time.

  4. Dangerous Journeys is mine. Though I must admit I prefer to approach a system not on what it does, but on how it handles the world.

  5. Only one. I could never really get into other games besides D&D, even non-D&D d20 games (for some reason, I just couldn't grok guns in d20 Modern). Most of the time, it's not so much that I don't understand a game, but that I don't like the rules for various reasons. They just don't deliver what I want, which is usually some variant of D&D (different genre, goals and activities, magic system, chargen, etc.) Many don't feel like RPGs at all, or do but miss some crucial element like randomization, while others I'd just want to steal a few ideas from instead of learning a whole new system

    Yeah, I'm a pretty boring person

  6. Play dozens and own dozens more I'd like to play.

    D&D has a system now? I thought it was just tossed together ad hoc.

  7. As GM I run one system at a time. These days it various D&D derivatives (at the moment Blood & Treasure in the Lost Lands). I also run d100 games (OpenQuest/Renaissance and Call of Cthulhu). Those are my favourites. Further up the road I'd like to run some WFRP 2e and D&D 5e. And some CyberPunk 2020 if I can talk my group into that.

  8. Swords & Wizardry Complete mashed up with Crypts & Things and Magic World/BRP are my go to games. I'd run/play more but spare time is not in abundance and finding people to play with is not trivial.

  9. Traveller, D&D 5e and various OSR, but I'll buy any book with pretty pictures. (And that's before drinks, I'm a pretty cheap date.)

  10. According to my database I play - or have played - less than 1% of the games I own. And the games I have run or played in are considerable in number. On the other hand I generally have less than a handful of games in active play (although currently all are in abeyance due to health issues), and another double handful that are effectively in development.

    Active games at the moment are Ironclaw (which is the replacement for Runequest in my Gloarantha game), a highly customised D&D, a Nephilim game (using the French 1st edition rules), and Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies.

    One shots for cons that are ready to go include D&D, FASA's Star Trek, Marvel Heroic Roleplaying (set in Glorantha), and Stars Without Number. Honorary mention to Houses of the Blooded and Maid because they can simply be run off the cuff.

    In active development are Far Away Land, Beyond the Wall, Dungeon Crawl Classics, Scarlet Heroes, Ironclaw:Squaring the Circle (which is different from the Ironclaw listed above), Traveller, World's Apart, 13th Age, Abandon All Hope, and Stars Without Number.

    Campaigns that may be quickly resurrected include Pendragon, Bushido, Champions, The Fantasy Trip, Flashing Blades, at least four separate D&D games, Dungeon World, BESM, Mechwarrior (albiet using powered armour than Mechs and using a lot of Living Steel and Maximum Metal [Cyberpunk 2020] as a result), Torg, Bloodshadows, Shatterzone, my Runequest III game set in SPI's Lands of Albion (also usable with most later Ruequests), Ringworld, Stormbringer, Castle Falkenstein, Nobilis, Cyberpunk, Dead Inside, Timelords, Fvlminata, Kult, Lace & Steel, Over the Edge (in both standard, SF, and Fantasy versions), Paranoia (1st ed!), Twilight 2000 set in the Ogre/GEV universe, and several Traveller campaigns. [Note that this is not what I've played but campaigns that are pretty much ready to go with interest, time, and players (although the dust will have to blown off most of them)].

    As to the games I still want to run there are lots more. The trick is finding the time and players (especially since I prefer face-to-face than online). I used to have a games group where we would try new games each month. This was lots of fun and I miss it...

    [But I steal ideas from all the games I have and mix and match heavily. Pendragon was about the game system I actually ran reasonably by the rules (although it was pointed out that I had gotten an important bit of it wrong - at least for high-level play). Almost every game system has something to recommend it.]

  11. D&D derivatives, Advanced Fighting Fantasy 2e with my daughters, and that's it : what I began with and nothing else ! It's weird, considering how much time and effort I put in my Star Wars D6 games back in the days, not to mention a long-running love affair with Chill. Maybe FAL will change that (just got my Tome of Awesome in the mail and can't stop thinking about it).

  12. I tend to play everything. I own all forms of D&D and something like 95% of the clones. Play them all interchangeably. Every Unisystem game. Mutants and Masterminds 2 and 3. Chill, BESM and Chaosium's BRP. I have been getting more into Ubiquity powered systems too. D&D-like and Unisystem though represent the majority of my game playing and running.
    At one point I owned several White Wolf games and many supplements, but I have knocked it down to just a handful of books.

  13. At home, we play Pathfinder. I hope to start in a 5e league this week. At cons, I find my way into OSR as much as possible. I also try to get into other systems. This year at cons I have played DCC,Star Wars (the new one ), 0e, and 1e.

  14. I've only returned to role playing within the past couple years, and in that time I've been running S&W Whitebox almost exclusively. This is not a situation with which I am content, however. The long list of games I want to run (including Traveller, Advanced Fighting Fantasy, Metamorphosis Alpha, FATE, Savage Worlds, etc.) is well represented on my bookshelf, and have to remind myself of this fact every time my eye wanders to some new version of D&D.

  15. Like a lot of others, I returned back to RPG’s about two years ago when I discovered this blog named Tenkars Tavern…lol..after reading through it I decided to try the Swords & Wizardry game…my only downfall is there is no “public” interest in my area for gaming…no bookstores, no gaming stores, no online advertising for gamers. So my only face-to-face player is my daughter. The nearest gaming store is a two-hour drive.

    Currently, we’ve switched over to 5th Edition. I think they’ve done a bang-up job with this version and currently run a campaign with my daughter and as a player on Roll 20 in two 5Ed campaigns.

    As for as other type games, I’m strictly a Fantasy type person, really have no interest in Horror, Science Fiction, Wild West or other genres.

    So D&D 5E and Swords & Wizardry are where my dice roll currently.

  16. Right now I am running a D&D 5e game on Roll20/G+, working on a Savage Worlds game I'm going to run for my main group, and working on a FATE Accelerated game I'm going to run at a con.

    I am playing in a D&D 5e game on Roll20/G+, a HERO game, and my main group alternates between a Pathfinder game and a Savage Worlds game.

    I would like very much to play in a V:tM 20th Anniversary Edition game, or a Monte Cook's World of Darkness game.

  17. Pretty much all editions of D&D (except 4th), S&W and a little bit of Pathfinder.

  18. RIght now I'm running B/X D&D, D&D5e and Dungeon Crawl Classics.

    I'm playing in Empire of the Petal Throne and Star Wars: Edge of Empire.

    In the last 12 months I've also played or run D&D3.5, Labyrinth Lord, WH40K Rogue Trader, Lacuna Part 1, Star Frontiers, Fiasco, Swords & Wizardry, Vampire: the Masquerade, Lasers & Feelings, and Tunnels & Trolls.

    Hell, that list looks insane even to me. That's a lot of systems.

  19. I used to run GURPS in late 80's - 90's.

    I now run Basic Fantasy RPG and Stargazer's Warrior, Rogue & Mage in PbP. On my very rare FtF games I run Savage Worlds or Searchers of the Unknown.

    I play in The One Ring RPG, Beyond the Wall, AD&D/OSRIC, Savage Worlds, Labyrinth Lord, Microlite20, Risus, and Barebones Fantasy.

    My "wish I could play" list includes Hollow Earth Expedition, Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea, and Adventurer Conqueror King.

    I've got dozens and dozens of different systems that I'll never play simply because I'll never have the time, but I like to thumb through them every now and then!

  20. This article hits home as I realized I am an "RPG Hoarder". I'm looking at a move and I'm painfully going through all my dead tree versions of games and deciding which ones to keep and which ones should go. I realized I spent a lot of money on things I've collected that will never be played.

    As to what I play these days? Savage Worlds, D&D 5E, and Barbarians of Lumeria. I'd like to add a dedicated sci fi system into the mix but so far haven't.

    The rest, including my near complete collection of Rolemaster Standard Edition books, has to go. :(

  21. Currently, D&D5, L5R and Shadowrun. With occasional forays into Pathfinder, D&D B/X and Rolemaster.

  22. Over the years, I (like so many others) managed to collect a fairly eclectic library of games... My personal core of games that I have run over the years is fairly small in comparison -- AD&D is the primary, with Shadowrun as a close second. [Shadowrun is the only one that I ever gamemastered at a con (Dexcon) two years in a row], some Call of Cthulhu.... there was even a very short attempt to run Man, Myth, & Magic back when I was 12.
    As for systems that used to be in the regular rotation as a player, we would go through phases and cycle through AD&D, Shadowrun, Warhammer Fantasy RolePlay, Gurps, Champions, Call of Cthulhu, and World of Darkness (original incarnation)]

    For me the collecting of games has helped to fill the gap in my life that not having a local group to play with for the past 10 years, due to pressures of time and family. So like Scotty reads technical manuals, I read gaming material because I like to see how different people choose to translate aspects of life into game mechanics that still feel 'right'... and if I find a new mechanic that makes such intuitive sense that it makes me sit back and go 'Why didn't I think if that before?', I will then work on adapting it into my preferred gaming systems.
    After the quest for new gaming mechanics, it is all about the source material -- for example, I have a huge collection of L5R gaming material from 1E through current, just because I absolutely love the world and its history, and the only way to stay current on the Lore is to keep up with the ruleset.
    And then, I am also always interested in the magic system of each world, from how it is defined, to how it is applied in developing both spells and magic items.
    All said, I am now lucky enough that my kids are old enough to be interested in playing, and I am glad that 5E has come out at the same time, so we can explore the new-old system together, and have it be new for both of us. We tried Pathfinder a while back and it went well, but 5E has a great feel that has already inspired my daughter to start asking about gamemastering and I am stoked to see that.

  23. There are too many systems out there which are similar but still different in some minor details which prevents them to be 100% compatible to each other. Hence - in the over 25 years I am into RPGs I developped my own and I stick to it.

  24. Castles & Crusades is pretty much all I play these days and that's played through Fantasy Grounds 2 & Ventrillo. I did give the viritual 5e Starter Set a try for a session a month or so ago. It was fun, but my group and I are all in on C&C.

    On the other had I own a lot of games in PDF & Print and enjoy reading, but just don't have the time to play them all.

  25. In the last two years I've run classic D&D, Stars Without Number, Star Frontiers, Mutants and Masterminds, GURPS 3rd Edition, Call of Cthulhu, and Top Secret S/I.

    I never really thought about how much my group bounces around systems, especially since we don't get to play regularly.

  26. Compared to the number of games I own, I've run way too few of them.

    Over the last couple of years I've GMed: WFRP2, LotFP, Crypts&Things, Prince Valiant Storytelling. Everway is beeing played without a GM.

    ... a least there is hope for: Urchin, Clockwork & Chivalry 2nd and Montsegur 1244.


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