>Directions: Aren’t Those Optional?

>I’m finished explaining how many different systems there are for the moment, for two major reasons: 1, there are way too many to count or keep track of and if I try it we’ll be here forever, and 2, not all of them interest me equally. I’m going to do the smart thing and just admit that, up front.

The systems I personally find interesting enough to try and talk about here on a regular basis are as follows:

  1. Mutants and Masterminds/DC Adventures
  2. Risus
  3. D&D 4th Edition
  4. Pathfinder RPG
  5. Some strange flavor of White Wolf something or other. 

Though I admit freely, I have no interest in trying to optimize rulesets for that last one; most of the flavors I’ve seen are too easy to break. While I like the setting well enough, I’m not a fan of the rules.

M&M
is my ideal choice for 2 major reasons: it’s d20 based, so I can use the dice I already bought when I first tried to get into D&D 3.5 Edition, and it can be used, easily, to reproduce any other game I could possibly want to play. That, and once you get used to the character creation process, it’s pretty simple, and gameplay itself is about as streamlined as anything I’ve ever seen or heard of – plus there’s only one die (the d20 itself) which is less confusing for newcomers, and it abandons a lot of other ‘retro’ elements of d20 like classes and hitpoints that have always bothered me a little. It’s crunchy, but elegant, and that’s about where I like being.

Besides, I didn’t learn to ride a bike using training wheels, and I admire a game design philosophy built around letting me directly build the character I had in my head, rather than a very loose abstraction (Risus style) or a rigid reinterpretation (D&D with its classes/races – admittedly, much more flexible than they used to be). 
Besides, trust me – it’s easier than you’d think. I promise. I’ll do everything I can to make the process as easy for you as I can.

Risus, while I haven’t tried, I will, and I promise I’ll talk about how it goes. Again, I find it appealing because of its ‘do-anything’ vibe, and the fact that it’s free is a plus. It’s not up to my normal standards of crunch, but it DOES look like fun, so I’m willing to break out the d6s for a whirl.

4th Edition, I admit freely, I like. While I have a few gripes with it, just about all of them can be easily addressed with a few well thought out house-rules (while I haven’t thought of them yet, I know they can be done), and it’d be great. . . as long as you have a map to play on.

Again, Pathfinder, I haven’t tried yet, but I like what I’ve seen so far. Considering that I liked the idea of 3.5 Edition much more than the actual product, whether this translates to ultimate satisfaction in a D&D experience remains to be seen. If only there were some glorious 4th Edition/Pathfinder hybrid . . .

Oh, wait. Using M&M I could make one. Hah! Sounds like a project for a later series.

And World of Darkness . . . will probably come up mainly so I can demonstrate how to duplicate its concepts in the system of M&M/DCA with, at most, a few house-rules. I liked the setting. I really did. The mechanics of a success-based system, however, feel lacking to me, as do some of the more rigid elements of the clan/faction breakdown. . . not unlike how I feel about the class/race breakdown.

In the grand scheme of things, though, it really doesn’t matter what system you pick, as long as it’s either a) one you’re happy running and you have players who are willing to try, or b) one that someone is willing to run for you. Oh, and c), you have fun doing it. This is, after all, a game.

And, of course, we’ll throw in a bit of Risus style silliness when we can get away with it.

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