Friday, April 6, 2018

What's More Important: Setting or System?

As I start digging through the current document for Solar Blades & Cosmic Spells (currently funding on Indiegogo) I find myself loving the setting but translating in my head how I would run it with Swords & Wizardry. It's a good system but I find myself wanting to run the supplied setting with a different ruleset.

Heck, I've run DCC RPG adventures with Swords & Wizardry, converting on the fly.

I doubt I'm the only one that does this. Let us know your thoughts on it.


  1. I would favor setting heavily. Converting to the old systems is fairly simple.

  2. These days, I really need a system AND setting I like in a new game to buy into it with any amount of interest. I'm gun-shy after getting Numenera with Kickstarter - I'd have never bought it at full price had I read it first (though I'd have bought it at a deep discount for the reading). Otherwise, if I hear the elevator pitch and I really like the concept, I might pull the trigger, but it would take a heck of a lot to make me do that. I haven't seen a new game in years that has made me want to expand my "in-use" library. I've mostly been grabbing things at Half-Priced for reading material as my sole game input. But hope springs eternal...

  3. Both system and setting carry weight into the play experience. A setting can obviously be played in different systems but depending on how different those settings are things may feel very different. A friend once ran an 8 session experiment starting with basic fantasy for 2 sessions, converting the PCs into DCC or 2 sessions, then converting again into Savage Worlds for 2 sessions, and finally finishing with a hacked version of Numenera for 2 sessions.

    The characters stayed constant but the changes in the characters on a system by system basis really changes the feel of the game. My cleric in felt almost as different going from basic fantasy to DCC as he did going into Savage Worlds or Numenera.

    That said I think a game setting in a system you like will also be more fun than the same setting in a system you don't.

  4. System. I rarely, if ever, run setting due to my improvisational style. While I might steal ideas from a good setting, it’ll never be run “as is” at my table. Thus, when making a purchase, system is one of my first considerations because the less I have to convert the more likely it’ll end up getting used at the table.

  5. I've converted Death Frost Doom on the fly for 5E. A lot of my DCC games end up being really improvised. For setting, once again I like on the fly with a bare bones approach and let the player's actions and ideas that just pop up during the game influence the setting. As far as Solar Blades goes, I can see how it would be a blast to play using White Star.

  6. [beep] *subject has given uncodable response [beep-beep] In this gamer's opinion (note that word: opinion) the two cannot be separated. In 1975 I called my game "The Shattered Lands" not "D&D in my setting of The Shattered Lands." Certainly combat resolution, OD&D versus '77 Traveller for example, will certainly flavor a setting. Just as the presence of "in setting" things (hurtloam, magical ambergris, manna pools, etc.) will heavily influence the system. Just another gamer's 2 coppers.

  7. The right system allows me to run any setting.

  8. Same here. Except I use my home brew "build" of D6 System


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