>Before I circle back to discuss Dungeons and Dragons, I’d like to mention a few other systems of note.
In the category of, “systems that claim to be able to do anything,” we have GURPS (in its many incarnations) and HERO. GURPS stands for Generic Universal RolePlaying System, and is notable for being both point based, complex, and expensive if you want to use it to its full potential. Many, many GURPS books exist, from fantasy to cyberpunk to vampires to sci-fi and beyond, it at least WILL do the ‘universal’ part of its name. My experience with it has been limited to glancing through the books in the store, and it looked a bit overwhelming. The advantage, though, is that all of the books are at least compatible with each other, so it IS a valid way to do large, multi-genre roleplaying games. I’ve promised myself to try it someday, but it may be awhile.
HERO system I’ve looked at even less, but along with champions it markets itself the same way. Equipment rules are, evidently, somewhat lacking, and the main book is large enough to crush your cat if you accidentally dropped the thing on it.
There’s also True20, from the publishers of M&M, Green Ronin. Again, no personal experience with it, but it didn’t look too bad when I glanced through it.
For more rules-light rpg’s, check out ICONS (from the creator of M&M), and I’ve heard FUDGE mentioned a few times in positive ways. The aforementioned (and free!) Risus operates on a similar principle to these. If you’re curious as to what a Risus character would look like, here’s an example.
Stefus the Archer:
Archer with Mad Skillz (4), Outdoorsman (2), Swashbuckling Swordsman (1), Animal Whisperer (3)
That’s it. That’s the entire character sheet. If something comes up, he just has to figure out how to use one of those cliche’s to approach the issue, and roll that number of d6’s (that’s the die with 6 sides), and add up the numbers; if it’s more than the target number, he succeeds. Outdoorsman, for instance, is used for things like building shelters, following tracks, finding food in the wild, and so on. Archer? Pretty self explanatory . . . Swashbuckler? Well, be creative. Animal Whisperer basically has to do with things like taming wolves, riding horses, or whatever else might come up.
And that’s pretty much how it works. Check it out for yourself here. While I like my system with just a little more crunch, Risus looks like fun, and I’ll be doing some tests with it later down the road.
If I remember something I forgot, I’ll mention it then. Suffice it to say that there’s more RPG systems than anyone can keep track of, and some of them are really good . . . and some of them, less so. Here’s a tip: don’t open Call of Cthulhu. Just don’t. You will lose SAN.
Next time I’ll take a more detailed look at D&D. Stick around.