Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Question : Pick a System, Any System

Over at Tenkar's Tavern he did a poll of which system 'the people' would like to see him run in Google+.  The list of old school systems was longer than I expected.  Labyrinth Lord surged ahead at the end, shooting past Blood & Treasure.  The systems are all fairly similar.  I know if I pick up a LL adventure and can switch it to Swords & Wizardry without much effort.

So what makes you choose one system over another?  And what system do you like best?

My answer is Swords & Wizardry right now.  Mainly because that's the main one my group uses.  Although I like LL a lot and now that I have Blood & Treasure I think I found my new favorite.


  1. Hmmm...I'm not really sure I have a favorite system at the moment. I like different ones for different things.

  2. I feel the same way as Trey, and mixing and matching makes sense, or tweaking what there is. It's fairly easy to add or remove elements to get something people can agree on, or at least get used to. I have a fairly simple core system that works for a lot of common interactions.

  3. Yep. Me too. Over the last three years or so, I've been playing a lot of WH40K Dark Heresy. It's a pretty cool system, but not really old school. I'm hoping to start in on a DCC campaign in the next couple of months. Also have Blood and Treasure on the way (maybe it'll arrive today). I'm also looking forward to seeing what Numenera looks like.

    What an embarrassment of riches the OSR has spawned. It's really amazing how much cool stuff has come out in the last ten years, and especially in about the last three or four.

  4. I am pretty shallow, if the system book looks like poopoo or is difficult to read, I will not like it. This is one of the main reasons I like Swords & Wizardry. Looks nice, presented well, and easy to read.

  5. Matt makes a good point - for me personally it doesn't have to look good, but some moody images or textures definitely help. A non-art version often seems to be missing something.

    It does have to be relatively well laid out though. I'll admit to being a little impatient with more complex rulesets when there seems to be a lack of thought put into the lead-in especially. I might stick with it or not, and if other players feel the same way, there could be a smaller player base and more of a struggle to get the critical mass.

    I'd also like more rulesets to fully cover philosophy and general mechanical approach in the blurbs, and at the very least at the beginning of the text, to help decide how suitable or interesting it is and set up a framework for what follows.

  6. LL does it for me. The truth is I look through most of the others and they're just D&D + house rules, which doesn't do anything to convert me away from the original games or LL.

    The last couple of years when I DM I use LL. At the moment our group is using 1e. The differences are minimal. I like LL because I can use it to play 0e, Basic and Advanced. It does the lot.

    S&W adds an extra layer of, in my opinion, unnecessary complication, so I don't use it. And as I said, most other "clones" are simply house-ruled versions of the original game, which I can do for myself without needing to sell my group on a new rulebook.

  7. Pure chance.

    I love b/x, LL was the first retro-clone I came across that was like b/x, therefore, I run LL for my players. Had I come across another system first, I'd probably use that.

    That said, if a game is only available as PDF, I'm unlikely to use it. I tend to spread multiple rule books around me on the floor to find inspiration, clarifications, etc. I've yet to find this kind of search and discovery, and the free association of concepts that results from it, replicated well in an e-reader.

  8. In many ways, they are all little variations / house rules riffing off the originals, and if you can run one of the bunch, you can run any of them with little additional effort.

    That being said, the flavor between the different rules can be substantial.

    Some games like Space Princess and Mutant Future change some of the default expectations and assumed settings.

    I'm looking forward to running the LL and B&T sessions for the readers of the Tavern. Any rules I forget will just default to AD&D (which I've done with the DCC RPG arcs I've run)

  9. Oh, and Tim, the list of 16 was greatly culled for a much larger list ;)

  10. Right now, I'm trying to strip the system away as much as possible (with the ultimate goal of rebuilding it in my own image, as it were). Because of that, Swords & Wizardry Whitebox is my preference at the moment, at least for adventure gaming with magic. SF is another thing entirely, and I have very specific desires there based largely in what has worked for me in the past.

  11. I like simpler systems, and the ruleset I keep going back to is Chaosium's d100, in particular the variant used in Call of Cthulhu.

  12. S&W Whitebox. It is bare-bones and, like original D&D, cries out to be house-ruled.