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GM Advice:
Gaming Systems

By Shamus
on Wednesday Oct 15, 2008
Filed under:
Tabletop Games


Talking about gaming systems is a lot like talking about operating systems. There is a certain fervor in the discussion that always seems incongruous to me.

I want to turn the GM advice thing around this time and see what everyone else is playing, and why. I talked about what I look for in a roleplaying game and solicited advice in a post way back at the beginning of this year. That made for fascinating reading, and I kind of wanted to return to the well for another drought of that.

It seems like a majority of gamers begin with one of the major systems (probably a version or variant of D&D) and then graduate to one of the more specialized systems once they learn about the game and discover what parts they enjoy most. Some people latch onto a system and play it until the rulebooks are a part of their DNA. Other people skip from one system to the next with reckless abandon. A lot of this depends on your group, your preferred setting or genre, and (unfortunately) your budget.

So, a few questions I’m curious about. Just answer the ones that are most interesting to you:

  1. What gaming system did you start with when you were learning the game?
  2. What’s your preferred gaming system when you’re running a game?
  3. What system do you prefer as a player? (For some people this is different from #2.)
  4. And because we live in an imperfect world: What system do you actually end up using?

This answer might get kind of long. I know trackbacks are about as reliable as the Holodeck, so if you answer on your own site please send me an email (shamus at shamusyoung dot com) and I’ll add a link at the bottom of this post.

Read more here:
The Iron Scroll

Comments (166)

1 2 3

  1. Penn says:

    I started with AD&D 1st edition.
    I’ve skipped through many preferred systems over the years (mostly whatever the most recent version of D&D was, with a foray into Rolemaster at one point).
    As a player, I prefer whatever system suits the game being run. I’ve quite enjoyed many, many systems over the years, although currently I’m really having fun in a Changeling the Lost game, using Mind’s Eye Theatre (the new version) rules.
    Currently, I’m about to start up a second game of D&D 4e, to go with my first one (different players).

  2. MintSkittle says:

    1: AD&D. I never actually played a game with it, but reading the one rule book I had made me want to play.

    2: Shadowrun. Because that’s the one game everyone in our group knows.

    3: Since Shadowrun is the ONLY tabletop RPG I’ve played, I guess that will also do. I would like to run a heroes game, but the Hero System book is a behemoth.

    4: Shadowrun. See previous answers.

  3. Strangeite says:

    1. AD&D 1st Edition. For me, it is the system by which all other systems are judged. For a 4th grade nerd living in Hazard, Kentucky, it was like being given a magical portal to another dimension.

    2. GURPS. The flexibility of the system to cater to my erratic plot lines which incorporate way too many genres.

    3. White Wolf’s Storytelling System. I am ashamed to admit this and it has been many years since I have played the system, but I have very fond memories of its ease. I really enjoyed those games.

    4. D&D 3.5. I have the books. My 10 year old son knows the rules and since I only find time to play very sporadically, it seems the most logical to jump right into.

  4. Eric says:

    To answer all the questions at once: D&D. I keep coming back to it after trying something new. WOD, werewolf, 7th sea, their all good, but in the end I don’t like the d10 system, after a while your rolling enough die that you can’t fail(even at the beginning of the game depending on how you role your character).
    I don’t feel that complete randomness like the d20 system has, anything could go wrong at anytime just like in reality. The roleplaying aspect just depends on the group your with.

  5. Gabriel Mobius says:

    1. D&D 3.5. I was a latecomer to tabletop RPGs, mostly because next to no one in Barbados plays them. But I eventually found an IRC room with a couple of guys to play with, and it went from there.

    2. Tough call. I like a whole bunch of systems for different reasons, but I’d have to go with Mutants and Masterminds. That system allows for so much, and requires very little book-keeping on the part of the DM. Not to mention how easy it is to fudge a villain’s abilities on the fly or even come up with a whole new villain on the spot because the players did something unexpected. It’s great fun.

    3. D&D 3.5. I enjoy messing with the system and seeing what I can create within its confines. That, and it’s the system most likely to be run here with any regularity.

    4. I wind up using whatever I can muster up interest in. It’s usually D&D 3.5, but sometimes it’s M&M or something else.

  6. krellen says:

    1. D&D Basic. The red box.

    2. I don’t have one. I tend to run what’s most appropriate for the setting. All my games have been forum-based for the past three years, so I’ve mostly used light, stat-centric systems that make conflict resolution simple.

    If I had to pick an existing rule-set to run with right now, I’d probably go with 4th edition D&D.

    3. I’m having a blast playing 4th edition D&D right now. They took out all the parts of 3rd that sucked.

    4. See comments about forum games. Basically it’s a six-stat system with balanced assignment between mental and physical abilities.

  7. Kizer says:

    I started with DnD 2nd Edition, but that wasn’t very formal. I really started with DnD 3rd, with the starter box. I still like Mialee to this day . . .
    As for now, I don’t game as much as I used to, so I like systems that are easy to pick up and play. Which means . . . Feng Shui!!
    However, nothing beats the fun of GMing for DnD in my opinion.

  8. Matt K says:

    Started with AD&D which worked nicely because we were all 14 and so mostly kick in the door players. Since then I had a taste of Vampire and Mage and found that system was interesting enough that I wouldn’t mind playing more. However, besides those two occasions, I exclusively played AD&D and then D&D 3/3.5. Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to play table top since College (and even then it was on very rare occasions). I probably should try and get back into it at some point since I’m itching to play some table top again.

  9. Daemian Lucifer says:

    All of the systems that exist cannot compare with a home made one.Add the best bits from what makes sense in other systems,change and quirk it a bit,and youll end up with the perfect one for you.Both as a GM and a player I prefer home brewn one over a bought system.The later usually boils down to metagaming and exploiting the rules.Personal system,especially if the rules aren revealed to the players,forces them to think of things that make sense,instead of those that will go best with the rules.

    I myself didnt try that many systems though.Started with AD&D2,went to shadowrun,then mingled among a lot of home tweaked systems.Then I patched one myself and use it ever since,except when I am the player.

  10. Hal says:

    Well Shamus, you might remember that you’re the one who started me into RPGs, so I guess it’s obvious that I started on 3.5 D&D. Which is also what I run when I DM, since I started by DMing.

    As for preference . . . well, I tend to take things that I like from everything I’ve done. I like 3.5 D&D, but partly because I know it so well. I’ve played a few Savage World games, and I liked that because of the ability to get some use out of those more obscure dice (yay for d12!).

    Currently, I’m playing both a 3.5 and a 4.0 game of D&D. I’m really enjoying the 4.0, since a lot of the mechanics are new and interesting for D&D. I wrote a bit about it on my blog not too long ago.

  11. Target says:

    1. AD&D 2nd edition. Mostly Forgotten Realms (though I ignored the major NPCs) or Dark Sun.

    2. I’ve only recently returned to DMing. And I’m not sure I’m wild about the system I’m currently running (Starship Troopers d20. Essentially 3.X combat system).

    3. Playing in a RuneQuest game w/ a homebrew adaptation of D&D3.5 magic. Really liked the high level (for lack of a better term) campaign, having more frustrations w/ a low level campaign. I’m sure some of that is culture shock (95% chance of success to 20%) and some of that is probably the GM requiring skill checks for routine things (what do you mean I failed my worship roll? I’m a priest, you’d think I could give these foes a proper burial)

    4. Running my SST game is a bit hard for me at the moment. Feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the crunch (especially since I haven’t played in the system before, I’m just not as familiar w/ the rules as I’d like to be). Some of that will change w/ time. But generating encounters still seems to be an awful lot of work. I’ll need to try to steal some 3.x resources and adapt them or come up w/ a better/quicker method on my own. Or I’ll just convert over when Mongoose releases SST on a d100 system.

    Right now I prefer the d100 system of RQ. I think a lot of that is familiarity. 4e looks interesting, but I’m not willing to make that purchase yet. Especially since I would end up doing a lot of conversion work to make SST run.

  12. 1: AD&D, started when I was a kid when my dad ran a game for me and a couple of friends. It was years before I could play again, but I played all the old gold-box computer games that came out.

    2: Probably Mutants and Masterminds or 3.5 D&D depending on what I’m running.

    3. Whatever suits the game, I like a fair amount of variety in my games and I’ve played just about every major system out there at one time or another. I do not like any White Wolf game or variant thereof, though, I find the system obnoxious in the extreme.

    4. Whichever system is the game we’re playing–there aren’t many truly generic systems out there.

  13. Bowmore says:

    What I started with: Like many players, I started with 1st edition AD&D when my second-oldest brother introduced me to it. I quickly graduated to 2nd edition AD&D, and when 3rd edition came out, I never looked back. THAC0 is dead to me, and I’m looking forward to getting 4e books.

    What I prefer when running: Any system that allows me to quickly whip up NPC enemies or even eyeball the stats of the PCs and make up something on the spot they can fight without having to flip through pages. I like to be able to get right into combat with as few pauses as possible to arrange things — it really grabs the attention of the players if you can jump right into a combat scenario with them. So far, Star Wars RPG Saga Edition has been fantastic for this.

    What I prefer when playing: Any system where concept determines class, not the other way around. I enjoyed 3.5e D&D, but the inflexibility of many of the classes and the false versatility provided by feats got tiresome after a while. Again, SW RPG Saga has been very good to me.

    What did I end up using: For most of my gaming life, 3.5e D&D. It’s far from a perfect system (curse you, save or die!) and the game’s balance breaks down past level 12 or so, but my old group had a blast with it.

    BONUS! What I’d like to play: I’d like to try out more non-D&D games. I’ve dabbled in a few White Wolf games, a couple Marvel superhero systems, and even a diceless game, but I feel like I’ve been eating peanut butter sandwiches for my entire life. I’m getting restless to try something else, and there are several systems I’m very curious about. It’s just a matter of staying in one place long enough to find a group that plays more than D&D.

  14. Dave says:

    1. AD&D 2nd Edition
    2. Star Wars Saga Edition (also, the only system that I’ve ever used to run a tabletop game, but that’s beside the point)
    3. Star Wars Saga Edition or D&D 4e (I think; I like the mechanics, but haven’t actually played 4e yet)
    4. D&D 3.5; we may move to 4e at some point, but 4e launched a few months after the most recent campaign started, and we’ve got an old near-epic game that’s going to be revisited for a few weeks.

  15. Lukasa says:

    1) I started with AD&D, but almost immediately graduated to D&D 3E, so I tend to consider that my ‘real’ first system. I didn’t play AD&D long enough to think that THAC0 made sense.

    2) D&D 4E. Call me crazy, but I think the lack of roleplaying rules is a good thing. That means I can freeform roleplay with my players, before we step into a very streamlined and fun combat system. I enjoy watching my players work together in combat, and they do it much better in 4E than they ever did in 3.5.

    3) A dead-heat between D&D 4E and New World of Darkness (along with its various expansions). As I said above, 4E is a very streamlined and simple system, that encourages teamwork, and so I prefer it for group games: if nothing else, the game moves at a better pace to keep people interested. However, my friends and I also do a lot of internet-based solo roleplay, and we prefer nWoD for that, as it has more character depth built into it.

    4) 4E when I’m with my gaming group in meatspace: nWoD otherwise.

  16. Ludo says:

    1. a quite old and now fortunately obsolete game named “L’Oeil Noir” (the Dark/Black Eye in french) when I was 12 years old (that was 21 years ago). I remember I played a game when I was 8, but the name of the system eludes me. It was not D&D.

    2. definitely ORE. It’s flexible, powerful and tweakable to my tastes. In my 20 or so years of gaming, I tried a lot of systems (or at least read them).

    3. difficult question, I haven’t played as a player for more than 4 years. I have really fond memories of D&D 2nd and Agone, and the diceless Ambre was a thing of beauty.

    4. me and my players are actually playing Godlike (ORE then) while waiting for Wild Talents 2nd Ed.

  17. Ericc says:

    What gaming system did you start with when you were learning the game?
    I started playing D&D (Keep on the Borderlands). It made an impression on me because my first character received a ballista bolt to the head (not a backstab, though). I fiddled around with with Twighlight 2000 and Traveler in middle school/junior high, but it wasn’t until I graduated from High School (1990) and started running a game for a fantastic group of players that we started playing around with other systems. I was introduced to Cyberpunk, Torg, picked up Vampire, & tried Mage & Werewolf.

    What's your preferred gaming system when you're running a game?

    This is a tricky question. I typically prefer D&D, however, with my current group Vampire or Mage brings out the roleplayers in all of them and we really have a lot of fun. Drawback is the lack of adventure/campaign support from White Wolf. I burned out on writing while getting my MBA, so I don’t have the motivation to write my own stuff. Plus, one of my strengths is mutilating prepared adventures to match the players’ preferred playing styles.

    What system do you prefer as a player? (For some people this is different from #2.)
    Difficult to say…probably Torg or Cyberpunk 2020. I like the Drama Deck in Torg and the Interlock System for 2020. The d20 system follows the same ideas as the Interlock System (roll a dice, add skill level & modifiers, compare to target number).

    And because we live in an imperfect world: What system do you actually end up using?
    D&D. It’s pretty universally known.

  18. cardboard says:

    1. ADND 2nd
    2. Hero, because it’s easy to use for pretty much anything. I’m running a modern day mercenaries campaign right now, and I have a high fantasy campaign on indefinite hold and a low power old school fantasy campaign floating in my brain. No it’s not just for supers, No you don’t need calculus to play it, No the combats aren’t really any slower than other fairly heavy systems (depending on rules used and the players).
    3. Hero
    4. Hero, because I’m running the games. I’ll soon be hooking up with another group that seems to prefer DnD 3.5 and BESM.

  19. Retlor says:

    1. D&D 3.5 was my first system, and it took me a while to get used to it. That thing is more complicated than a lot of people realise.

    2. I’ve only ever GMed nWoD so I’ll have to go with that. Hopefully that will soon change with the upcoming Exalted game I’m going to run.

    3. My favourite system to play is Exalted 2nd Ed. Something about the rules does it for me. Whether it be the way that the rules work with the fluff to create an engaging and actually fairly intuitive system that supports the world it’s based on while still enhancing it, or just the way that I can sometimes roll over 30 dice on a single roll. Yeah, one of those two. If I had to go with another, it would be Eden Studio’s Unisystem, because it’s very quick and easy and it was used on All Flesh Must Be Eaten and Buffy, two of my favourites.

    4. Currently every game I’m in is D&D 4E. Not that it’s a bad system, but it does get old.

  20. Amadan says:

    1) I guess it was called Basic D&D, at least in retrospect… not the 1st. ed white box, but the one with the Blue cover. Rapidly transitioned to AD&D 2nd, but there was a lag time while they were releasing the books.

    2-4) Hero System. I became a convert shortly after discovering Champions back in ’81, flirted with & played a number of other systems, but by the mid 80’s HERO was, as you put it, coded into my DNA.

  21. Strangeite says:

    Lukasa: “I didn't play AD&D long enough to think that THAC0 made sense.”

    It never made sense to me and I used it for years.

  22. lebkin says:

    1. I started with a D&D Basic set. I couldn’t tell you which. It had no box and it has disappeared into the sands of time save one lone D10.

    2. I am loving 4th Edition D&D. From a DM standpoint, it has easy prep, is easy to run, and gets my players excited. The vast amount of players make finding other opinions and resources online very easy.

    3. DMs get to play? How come no one ever told me? Seriously, I’d probably pick 4th Edition D&D, simply because its what I’m running, so it is what I know.

    4. D&D will probably always be our game, in its various editions. Everything else is just short diversions. And because of the age of my campaigns, I run a mix of 3rd and 4th.

  23. Hermes says:

    1) What gaming system did you start with when you were learning the game?
    DnD 3.5.

    2) What's your preferred gaming system when you're running a game?
    I’m designing my first game now, and I find the rules easiest to learn and remember in a d20 system (be it DnD or D20, the latter of which is what I’m using).

    3)What system do you prefer as a player? (For some people this is different from #2.)
    D20 again, for the same reasons, though this might change once I’ve played with more than DnD, D20 and WoD (which I find quite odd – the better you are at something the more likely you are to fail? Also, the campaign was a bit crazy, so that might’ve affected my view).

    4) And because we live in an imperfect world: What system do you actually end up using?
    We play a campaign, then change to something else, each taking it a turns and using a different system, so I’m okay on this front.

  24. Colonel Slate says:

    1. Mechwarrior 3rd Edition

    2. Mechwarrior 3rd Edition with Battletech thrown in, I’m surprised that no one has either of these yet!

    3. Favorite system is a toss up between Mechwarrior, or DnD the group I usually play with has brilliant ideas (And some times deaths) in both systems.

    4. Our own slapped together RPG that we use because none of us like the rules all the way in any of the books for any system, comes from being developers I guess.

  25. Pat says:

    1) First game I actually ran was using the TMNT rules (which I believe is a cut-down version of the Palladium/rifts rules).

    I’m going to sidestep all the other questions by saying I don’t have a single preferred system for playing or running games. I tend to pick systems based on the sorts of atmosphere I want to generate.

    For general action/adventure scenarios, I like quick freeform rules (Star Wars, Amber Diceless etc) that steer people away from calculating probabilities and towards doing cool-looking stunts etc.

    On the other hand, I feel that bling is a part of Sci-fi/Cyberpunk games, so I want a complex system with a lot of detail. Hit-locations for one-shot kills, range modifiers for weapons to encourage sniping or tactics and a system that can handle more-than-human stats without becoming annoyingly godlike. I tend to use the HERO system for those (the non-Superhero base of the Champions RPG) although I expect GURPS would do equally well.

    Mostly I like to run/play diceless games (Amber, Over The Edge etc) but frustratingly I can never find anyone else that likes to play them.

    Oh, and (4) -Currently I’m using a friend’s home-brew version of Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes (MSPE) with the magic system from Ars Magica bolted on. It works pretty well.

  26. BlackJaw says:

    I’ll follow the same concept noted above: The best rule system to play is the one that best fits the style of the game… and that the style of the game really depends on who’s playing.

    But enough question dodging:

    1) 2ed D&D (AD&D). I started with the Dragon Mountain Boxed set and then moved through Council of Wyrms and Planescape. Planescape is what sucked me in more then anything else. Council of Wyrms was nothing I ever played and I honestly think that’s a good thing. It wasn’t written all that well (in retrospect).

    2) I’d love to run a Sci-Fi game using Savage Worlds. I’ve got this setting I’ve been tossing around in my head for years now. The style would be cinematic (Savage worlds does this well) but the setting is semi-realistic: Artificial gravity means spinning, no FTL ships or communication, no humanoid or even intelligent aliens, no bug hunts, etc.

    I’ve also considered running a Super Hero game using Mutants and Masterminds 2ed. I think it’s a system that works well for what it wants to do, and it breaks with “Standard d20” significantly to do so.

    3) Honestly this is most limited by the other GMs and Players I’ve encountered. I’ve really enjoy playing D&D (3.5 and 4th) but that’s about all I’ve ever done as a player. I imagine there are other game systems I’d also enjoy, but I don’t find people to play with that are worth playing with that run them. A friend of mine back in CA use to threaten to run Call of Cthulu a lot. I wish he had. I would have enjoyed running a character that goes mad.

    4) Mostly I play the latest version of D&D because that’s the easiest thing to find going on, the easiest thing to find players for, and there is enough of both that you can find a game worth playing as a part of (player or GM.)

    I don’t go in for the concept that “D&D is only played by people that don’t know any better.” I run into a lot of gamers that have a bias against D&D because it’s D&D. They all use to play it, and they all “moved on” to “real games.” D&D is fun. If you can have fun playing it, it’s worth being played. It’s not the end all of game system, but if you want a game about kicking in dungeon doors, surviving the trap that was on said door, killing every ugly thing in the room, and then taking there stuff before moving on to the next room… well it invented the concept, and it’s still a blast. If you want angst roleplaying you go with world of darkness… and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you want complex story and interaction you have Burning Wheel (and it’s variants… Burning Empires looks fantastic.)

    That said: Every player has their own pool of favored settings or games that they play, or wish they could play (and thus buy all the books for without ever getting a game going.) Most GMs have a some custom or bastardized Home Brew rule set too. Yet, in most cases, everyone has D&D (and maybe 1 or 2) others that is the only overlap with the other players they know. Eventually, after you’ve played for a while, you can talk much of your group into trying something new, but it doesn’t always work out. Home Brew rule sets that people play generally evolved over time from some other game system that was, at some point, once “off the shelf.”

  27. Plasma says:

    I tried d&d once, back when I had real friends, and found it excessively complicated. I also tried something called I think Agone once (I played a very large minotaur named Fluffy Bunny. doing the voice gave me a sore throat)? But my friends were never very good at keeping a campaign going, and now the point is moot for tabletop, because I no longer have any RL friends to play with.

    However, I play on an online site called Vaxia (http://www.vaxia.org/simplemain.html), and I have for some ten years now (I am 21). Vaxia is the answer to all four of Shamus’s official Numbered Questions (my experiments in actual tabletop only came long after I had become used to Vaxia). I think of it more like a tabletop game than anything else, and indeed it began life as a tabletop game run by the founder and some of his friends. It has a system that is very simple for the players (seven primary Stats, seven secondary Stats automatically derived from the primaries, and as many (up to 15, but hardly anybody uses that many) general Skills as you want (things like “pyromancy”, “longsword”, “singing”)), but very complex for the GMs (we call them Story Hosts). Of course, the SHs have an automated excel file to help them (we call it “the Helper”, I’m not sure how standard that terminology is).

  28. Patrick says:

    1: AD&D 2nd Edition
    2: I haven’t found ppl who where willing to buy more than one system, so all I’ve ever known was D&D.
    3: D&D 4th is nice, and I prefer it to 3rd, which I prefer to 2nd, so I guess that’s my final answer.

    4: I like rules-heavy games. When the rules get in the way, however, I like to throw them out. 3rd Edition was nice for this.

    I’ve looked at systems like burning wheel (I like the skill system), but once I noticed that there where all these extras to tack onto the role-playing aspect, I dropped it. I prefer to have absolutely no restrictions on role-playing. Alignment in D&D was an eh thing to me, but it was loose enough that you can justify any action under any alignment. When you start having to tack on all this other RP baggage, I get turned off.

    In sort, telling me how the physics of your magical world is fine – telling me I don’t have 100% free-will in it is not.

  29. Tesh says:

    1. I started playing with TMNT as well. I went from there to GM the Palladium Robotech system, then flirted with GURPS but never made the move. I didn’t pick up anything D&D until Baldur’s Gate on the PC, and still haven’t played it as a tabletop game. I have an LoTR game that I borrowed from my brother in law, but haven’t played it.
    2. I enjoyed running the Robotech system well enough, but we were always using house rules. I suspect that would be the case with any system.
    3. Robotech and TMNT were fun as a player, but honestly, I had the most fun fiddling with character sheets and creating characters and optional rules. Even then I was more interested in design than in playing.
    4. I don’t tabletop game these days. My group lost interest as we started high school (early 90s). I’m still interested in design, and poke my nose into various systems now and then, but I still haven’t seen anything that really fires me up. Battletech is closest to what I’d want to play with these days, largely because of the tactical depth.

  30. Old_Geek says:

    1)D&D, before there was anything else. I don’t think it was the original box set, but I remember it was so old it didn’t come with dice. Just tiles with numbers on the other side that you had to flip over.

    2)I enjoy running GURPS. The combat mechanics are a little clunky, but its one of the few systems flexible enough to allow me to run a three way battle with mages verse space marines verse cthulhu monsters.

    3-4) Right now i’m fortunate enough to be playing in a deadlands campaign. The game world combines the old west, steampunk magic and horror. The mechanics combine dice, a deck of playing cards and poker chips. I’m playing a fire and brimstone Lutheran Minister who enjoys bashing satan worshiping undead with his staff, while my wife plays a sioux shaman who can turn into a bear. Hard to beat that.

  31. Ingvar says:

    1. I started out with the Swedish translation of “Basic RoleplayinG” (essentially the stripped-down mechanics of RuneQuest and/or Call of Cthulhu, the Swedish translation had a slight fantasy drag) and then continued with games with similar mechanics. First other mechanic was “Dungeons & Dragons” (the non-advanced variety), then AD&D.

    2. This is actually a damned hard question. Most of the time, I just wing it, without a specific system, but with rough guidelines (“make dramatic sense”, “don’t let routine sloppiness and/or stupidity lead to success”, “when in doubt, roll 2D6 – D12, the higher the result, the better for the players”) and I have found myself using Chill’s base system for con scenarios in the past (not ever for a Chill-like game, though). But, pretty much anything taht I know well enough that I don’t have to spend all my time looking things up is fine.

    3. Actually, I don’t mind the system at all. But recently (as in “the last 4-5 years”), it’s mostly been assorted GURPS settings. At the end of the day, as a player youre relying more on the rest of the group for amusement than the system per se.

    4. As above, mostly GURPS.

  32. Zippy says:

    1. Either Classic Traveller or Steve Jackson’s The Fantasy Trip
    2. D&D 3.5 (due to rules familiarity)
    3. Don’t get to be a player much!
    4. Ends up being D&D 3.5

    Q: What are the best superhero systems?

  33. Gnagn says:

    I started way too long ago to think about with Basic D&D in 1978, and quickly moved to AD&D as it became available.

    Not sure I really have a preferred system, mostly been defaulting to D&D3 lately because that’s what the players have wanted to play. I am about to start a game using Castles & Crusades, which is an OGL based update of AD&D 1e by Troll Lord Games. They’ve just released the first chunk of Gygax’s official version of his original Castle Greyhawk campaign, now called Castle Zagyg for reasons beyond their control. I’m looking forward to some old-school gaming.

    I’ve also always wanted to run a game of Unknown Armies, but you really need the right group to make it work properly and I just don’t have it.

    As a player, I’ll generally play whatever’s in front of me. The most fun I’ve had in a game as a player was the World of Darkness campaign I played in through most of the 90s, but that was more due to the Storyteller and the group we had, not so much the system we were playing in.

  34. unitled says:

    I’ve only just (as in, about two weeks ago) started playing PnP RPGs, but we’re using Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, partly as I’ve heard good things about it, but mainly as it’s easier to motivate my friends to play if they already know all the lore. I love the random nature of the characters, and the fact that combat is pretty deadly encourages people to try things other than charging axe first into hand-to-hand combat.

  35. Nilus says:

    1) Advanced Dungeon and Dragons(before it was called 1st edition). Although I moved quickly from that to 2nd edition D&D.

    2) I really can’t answer this because it really depends on the type of game you are running. For a D&D style dungeon crawl I love D&D. For a pulp style action game I like Savage Worlds. I find that I enjoy a lot of different systems for many different reasons with very few I hate(Palladium). I have not interest in 4th edition(I think 3.5 is fine) but I think Saga Edition Star Wars(which is effectively 4th edition) does a much better job with the universe then the old D20 or D6 rules did for it. Honestly if I had to choose just one it would be Savage Worlds

    3) Again it depends on the game. But I much prefer to play in a 3.5 D&D game then run one. I don’t mind the White Wolf system when I play a game but I hate running a game with it(I had an Exalted game end because it became to much work to actually GM it long term, it was like 2nd job)

    4) D&D 3.5. We all have, we all know the rules. Thus its what we play. Right now we have a D20 L5R game going, A classic D&D game going and I am starting an Iron Kingdoms 3.5 game. Honestly I would have prefered to do that one with Savage Worlds but getting the group on board would have been to much work.

  36. Illiterate says:

    1. Classic D&D
    2. 3.5 D&D or D20 Modern. Simple, easy to understand, everyone already knows how to play. Call me what you will.
    3. I really love playing classic WoD. Let someone else figure out the difficulties, argue with me for a moment over how many 10 sided dice I get to throw, and try to keep me from destroying the universe with ambiguously written rules. Hell no I don’t want to run this. Hell yes I’ll play it any day.
    4. Whatever anyone’s playing, I guess. Haven’t had a chance to play or run in quite a while. I’ll show up for kobolds ate my baby at this point. seriously.

  37. Gotelc says:

    1. I started gaming with 3.0 and a game whose name escapes me but the name had something to do with “rune” and “earth” or “bound” and the elves called blood elves (i think) had Thorns on their bodies.
    2. I prefer 3.5 but that is just because I know it best. I have dabbled with 4th ed. but not too much.
    3. I can play any system, from White wolf’s d10 system to Amber RPG Dice less systems. As long as someone can teach me the rules ill play anything.
    4. 3.5 because that is what everyone knows and owns.

    I have played many different systems, a lot of the older out of print systems because i play with older people who have a soft spot for them. I say any system that made it into a book form is probably very fun if you sit down and learn it. one the best pieces of advice i could give to anyone: Try every system, you will be pleasantly surprised by at least one thing that it has to offer. and you will probably have a hell of a time doing it.

  38. Nilus says:


    For cape games I can’t recommend Mutants and Masterminds enough. Its a great system D20 based but with a lot of twists(they eliminated hit points for one). It gives you the feel of a Superhero comic and it can be easily scaled for street level heroes to cosmic Supermen.

  39. Perry The Cynic says:

    1. Champions. (Well, technically, Fantasy Hero.)
    At the time (long ago), I didn’t even know D&D existed. So I guess I’m atypical. :)
    2. GURPS. (4th edition, now.)
    I like “feels real” campaigns. Even if you have dragons and psionic assassins and troll armies clashing on the High Moor, the players should still be able to say “we soak the moor with oil and set a magical trigger that sets it on fire when a troll crosses this line” and have a game system that knows how to adjudicate the outcome without resorting to improvised bolt-on rules or just vigorous GM hand-waving.
    On the downside, GURPS is in many ways a game construction toolkit – it is world-neutral by design, and thus doesn’t have a world/culture/expectation set it comes with. For me that’s a great advantage. For some other people, it’s a deal breaker. For example, the folks at Fear The Boot seem to love domain-specific game systems – a different game mechanic for each world, to better express its feel. Not me.
    3. GURPS, obviously. But I’ll play almost anything with a good GM.
    4. GURPS when I GM; various AD&D as a player.

  40. 1. What gaming system did you start with when you were learning the game?

    The original brown books.

    2. What's your preferred gaming system when you're running a game?

    My own. http://adrr.com/story/ for examples.

    3. What system do you prefer as a player? (For some people this is different from #2.)

    I like to play using Runequest or Call of Cthulhu

    4. And because we live in an imperfect world: What system do you actually end up using?

    Runequest III

  41. wintermute says:

    1) Red box D&D

    2) That varies depending on the setting / feel I want. Deadlands, Cyberpunk 2020, WOD, Abberant… I suppose D&D 3.x is a default, though.

    3) Pretty much anything, so long as the GM can make it sing.

    4) D&D 3.x.

  42. 1. What gaming system did you start with when you were learning the game?

    My first Rulebook was Rifts, but I wasn’t able to get into a game using that system until after I’d gotten into other games. My first played ruleset was probably AD&D, although I got into a group of friends that each were running their own games, so really I learned AD&D, D6, D10, and Palladium all pretty much at the same time.

    2. What's your preferred gaming system when you're running a game?

    Each system has its benefits, but they really do fit best in their own settings so I’ll use based upon what I’m running. I like the D6 and D10 systems for handling skills, but I prefer the D20 system for combat. Our group is starting to use Pathfinder and I’m finding I really like that system.

    4. And because we live in an imperfect world: What system do you actually end up using?

    I have Palladium, the old World of Darkness, D&D 3.0 and 3.5, and have just gotten my hands on the Pathfinder stuff. I’ve looked through the D&D 4.0, and it looks pretty slick, but I’m not yet willing to spend any money on it. I’m playing now, we’re using 3.5 and pathfinder, but I’ve got ideas for a Eberron Campaign I’d like to run and it’ll probably make use of the 3.5 system or pathfinder if we find that it translates well. Of course if Eberron is released in 4th Ed, I may look into that as well.

  43. 1. Either D&D Basic (pre-AD&D 1.0) or Tunnels & Trolls, not sure. Went through over a dozen systems after that before settling on . . .

    2. GURPS. Fits my GMing style well and has hooks for whatever I need. Usually play it Lite though.

    3. Ideally, GURPS, but I’m not fussy and will try whatever the GM wants to use.

    4. GM’s whim. Latest were D&D 3.5, Serenity RPG, and CoC: Delta Green.

  44. Strangeite says:

    Karl Gallagher mentioning GURPS Lite reminded me of another benefit of GURPS.

    GURPS Lite. When I try to get a one shot game together with my friends (all of whom WERE roleplayers but ended up having families, jobs, etc.) it is very nice to be able to email them the free PDF of the GURPS Lite rules before the session. They are compact enough that they feel like they understand the rules, but not so complex to overwhelm anyone. I have in the past tried to play systems that they aren’t familar with and found that we spend too much time rules lawyering because of the aforementioned lack of rules knowledge. GURPS Lite solves this problem nicely.

  45. Stephen says:

    1. Started with my stepdad’s copy of red box basic D&D, moving on to AD&D 2nd when I went to the game shop and found out I couldn’t just go ahead and buy the 4th-6th level box as suggested in my available materials. I started buying Vampire shortly after that, so my gaming development was pretty parallel between D&D and WoD.

    2 & 3. I tend to prefer non-level-based games with a high degree of player agency: I tend to view players as having an equal stake in the story as the GM, and appreciate systems that make it easy for a player to tell exactly the story he wants within the framework set up by the GM. Specifically, I’m a fan of Nobilis, Spirit of the Century, Unisystem Lite, and many other games that include a full player plot-control resource mechanic.

    4. I have a hard time getting anyone to run or play anything that isn’t D&D or a d20 variant. Part of the problem, from a running a lot of D&D even though it’s not my favorite system side, is that D&D tends to be an easy toolkit for any kind of fantasy game idea, since it provides such a rich language for player character actions in such a world. Systems that focus less on game challenges feel like they require the setting to be much more thoroughly painted at the start of play.

  46. David B says:

    I started with D&D – the beginner box with the d20 that became round after a few rolls. I moved to AD&D with the DMG, Monster Manual and Player’s Handbook, and it was downhill from there. Later on, I discovered Hero, though.

    My preferred system to run, though, is actually Teenagers From Outer Space, mostly because I like the silliness inherent in the game, and the fact that it has very few hard and fast rules. Games get much more RP in a system where you’re encouraged to do whatever you like.

    As a player, though, I prefer Hero. I get a lot of customization options, and I find it easier to play within a stricter framework, but GM under a looser one. It’s a contradiction I’ve learned to live with. Gurps is acceptable as well.

    As for playing, well, mostly I’m not. But generally, I’ve come to regard all mechanics as basically the same on a short-term basis, and for the long-term, I’m playing online. WoW is my master now.

  47. Sam says:

    1. I started playing with D&D 3.5. Years and years ago, I apparently bought an AD&D sourcebook, mostly because the cover artwork was awesome in my young mind. I have no idea where it is, nor do I remember ever actually reading it.

    2. So far, I’ve only run 3.5 and Star Wars D20. I like both systems, but I really want to try about a half dozen more. Systems like GURPS, Unisystem, White Wolf games, and D&D 4th, although I’m having a surprisingly difficult time learning the last one, simply because the rampant changes they made from 3.5 are tough for me to absorb since I was raised on 3.5.

    3. I’ve enjoyed all of the systems I’ve played. 3.5, Paragon Superheroes, Star Wars, and Unisystem all have their own strengths and weaknesses, but it’s nice to try out different systems every once in a while. I’d actually like to play each of the systems I mentioned in #2 as well.

    4. I usually end up playing in a D20 variant of some sort. Both the Paragon Superheroes and Star Wars games are based on D20 or D20 modern, so it isn’t a big stretch from 3.5. I may be picking up the Unisystem again soon, so here’s hoping.

  48. Miako says:

    Back when I had friends, before they all ditched me for being a world class asshole…

    1. I drew up a character for medieval WoD. Played it as a larp character. Dunno if that counts. I don’t remember the exact order of things, but I was rapidly in a Mage game and a D&D game.
    2. Never GMed. No head for it.
    3. Rolemaster, Shadow World is da bomb.
    4. If I had friends, and a life, there might be an answer to this question.

    WoD broke my Werewolf Gm’s mind — “you mean his flaming sword does more damage than a nuclear weapon?” FAIL for Game Balance, folks.

  49. joe says:

    I started with 2nd edition D&D and Tunnels and Trolls (a bad knock off thereof). But later graduated to white wolf, which helped a lot.

    When I’m running I like systems that I have control over that are simple. MUTT (my own beast), true20, Window. Systems for storytelling.

    Usually I end up running Savage Worlds, MUTT, or something white wolf.

    but my favourite game to play? I’m not sure. I think any game can be good with a good ST and good players.

  50. Drew says:

    1. MERP (Middle Earth Role Playing) I was about 11, we totally misunderstood the system, and in no time at all we had made our characters into gods. Whoops. Damn good time, though.
    2. Rolemaster. Well, ideally. I mean, the system is kind of cumbersome, but it makes the most sense to me, and that’s important.
    3. D&D or Champions. I like rolling dice for damage instead of having lookups like in RM. Still, RM makes more sense to me anyway.
    4. The most imperfect answer of all: None. It’s rough, but I just don’t have the time to find a game anymore.

  51. Ian Price says:

    1. What gaming system did you start with when you were learning the game?

    Freeform. I learned to roleplay on the internet before being exposed to AD&D 2nd ed as my second gaming experience.

    2. What's your preferred gaming system when you're running a game?

    I prefer to have a system, and to run it by the book. The clunkier it is to run a system by the book, the less I like it. Other than that, it depends on my mood. I’ve recently enjoyed running:

    Ninjas & Superspies (With Mystic China supplementing it; a Palladium RPG)
    D&D 4th Edition
    World of Darkness (New, including Mage, Werewolf, and mortal characters)
    Home-brewed Systems (tailored to the game)
    Shadowrun (3rd ed)

    3. What system do you prefer as a player? (For some people this is different from #2.)

    One the GM is familiar with and running relatively by the book. I’ve recently enjoyed playing:

    RIFTS (the core Palladium RPG, in most ways)

    I need to start making more people run things for me.

    4. And because we live in an imperfect world: What system do you actually end up using?

    I’ve never ended up using a system I didn’t like for long without changing it. However, there are some games I’ve been wanting to play/run for a while and haven’t had the chance:

    Legend of the Five Rings (been too long)
    Seventh Sea (ditto)
    Aberrant (never finished a game)
    Adventure (only one shots so far)
    GURPS (see L5R and Adventure)
    Call of Cthulhu (nobody ever runs this around here)
    Wraith: The Oblivion (I want to see shadow-guiding done right for once)
    Heavy Gear (see GURPS)
    Battletech Mechwarrior RPG (ditto)
    Warhammer Fantasy RPG (ditto)
    Feng Shui (see L5R again)

    Edit: Hey Col. Slate, looks like you and I share some interests there.

  52. Gary says:

    1. I started out on Shadowrun. This one was great as it melded both of my young loves, Scifi and Fantasy. I always play a caster type, and it was kind of neat to be a wizard with a gun. :D

    2. Shadowrun was the best for creating games because of its standardized world and the backstory. You could graft on your own ministory in the bigger scope of the overall setup and have a convincing bit of circumstances to play through.

    3. I’m going to have to go with Shadowrun because as much as I like D&D I can’t seem to find a group that likes to roleplay.

    4. I most recently have played D&D 3.5. I quit about 3 months ago though because I was fed up with the lack of roleplaying in the group. So now, I play nothing. :P

  53. Cuthalion says:

    return to the well for another drought of that.

    I’m pretty sure you mean draught. Kind of the opposite meaning there.

  54. Claire says:

    Oh, oh, me too!

    1. What gaming system did you start with when you were learning the game?

    Oddly enough, I did things very backwards. I received HeroQuest for the Christmas of 1991. After about two weekends, we were over that, and realized we’d like it much better if it were more like some NES games we’d played (Dragon Warrior, Final Fantasy… we even had a mass combat system loosely inspired by Romance of the Three Kingdoms.) So, we hacked together an unholy mess of crap with a hodgepodge of ill-fitting statistics (in retrospect, very similar to the AD&D Player’s Option substats), and played alternately on a Risk board and the Heroquest board (which I still have, by the way.)

    We continued to incorporate new elements between sessions, as we encountered things we didn’t like (our mass combat rules started out far too fatal), and picked up new ideas (An uncle gave me a giant box of TSR’s AD&D trading cards, and we had a grand time extracting ideas for new magic items and mechanics from them, despite our laughable ignorance of D&D… we decided THAC0 would be gold, for one, because we couldn’t figure out a better use for it. I wish I still had the hand-written rules for that.

    A couple of years later, I tripped over the RPG section at Waldenbooks and got us started on AD&D second edition, which we also modified relentlessly.

    2. What's your preferred gaming system when you're running a game?
    The only systems (other than the one we designed) that I’ve ever successfully GMed (meaning, convinced my friends to play) are D&D red box, 2nd, and 3rd. (Got out of RPGs for a few years and missed 3.5, avoiding 4.) Of these, I have the best memories of GMing D&D 2nd edition, probably because we played it much, much more than anything else. I’ve tried to get different groups of players into Vampire: The Dark Ages (guns are icky), Star Frontiers, Shadowrun 3rd edition, D&D 3.5, Call of Cthulu (Chaosium), and right now I’m working on All Flesh Must Be Eaten. (un-d20ized)

    3. What system do you prefer as a player? (For some people this is different from #2.)
    I had my best times as a player under D&D 3rd edition. By that time, I’d largely passed on the GMing mantle to another member of the group, so I actually got to play a lot. I experimented with a lot of different character ideas in 3rd edition, and found the system reasonably flexible (the new GM was fairly permissive with oddball feats/abilities/advancement, which only ruined games once or twice. Still not as bad as the deck of many things.)

    4. And because we live in an imperfect world: What system do you actually end up using?
    Nothing. =( Graduate students don’t have enough free time to game, and if they did they’d drink it, for the most part. I’m seriously considering inviting people over for drinks, barricading the door when they get in, and springing All Flesh Must Be Eaten on them.

  55. Greg says:

    What gaming system did you start with when you were learning the game?

    I started playing AD&D with my parents at about 8 years old.

    What's your preferred gaming system when you're running a game?

    I’ve not got a prefered system for running, I think the sort of players you’ve got and the style of game you want to run are more important. I’ve had fun running paranoia, call of cthulu, vanishing point, ad&d, varoius world of darkness games (mostly mage), HERO, Wushu, hell sometimes with systems I’ve made up on the fly (once with a system I made up while running the game). The system changes the tone of the game, but not the quality, that depends on the GM and the players.

    What system do you prefer as a player? (For some people this is different from #2.)

    As above, but with a much longer list of games, give me a good GM and good players and I don’t care what system they’re running (or if I have to learn a new one). I’ve been roleplaying with the uni society for years now (being a postgrad now) so I’ve seen lots of players come and go. There’s no correlation between game system and game quality, but there are between who’s playing & running and game quality.

    And because we live in an imperfect world: What system do you actually end up using?

    Right now I’m mostly playing vampire, zombies, AD&D (3.5 and 4.0), Aces & Eights and Cthulu. A big society means lots of opportunities to try different things :)

    Also I don’t agree that budget needs to hold you back. I can run most games from memory once I’ve played in them a few times (Almost certainly not the way the rulebook says, but that way is almost always imperfect anyway). Or you can get an interested player to loan you the rulebooks (since players almost always outnumber GMs) I’ve run games in loads of systems, but I only own 2 rulebooks.

    If all else fails implement the old “On the GMs birthday anyone who’s played in one of their games this year needs to buy them a sourcebook” policy. I do that in reverse, but my players know I’d rather recieve chocolate :P

  56. Greg says:

    *looks up*
    Claire lies! Postgrads have enough time to game :P
    Or maybe that’s just if they’re t-totallers ;)

    Also by “zombies” I meant “all flesh must be eaten”

    And I also got given heroquest early on, it’s a great way to get new gamers introduced :D Also the more recent Descent appears to be along similar lines.

  57. Cuthalion says:

    1. My own system I made with some initial help from a friend and some current help from my brother.

    2. Mine.

    3. D&D 3.5. I’ve been in games of a few other systems (BESM D6, BESM D20, D&D 4, and the one my brother made), but never for very long since I mostly only started this year. But I like 3.5. It helped me make sense of games like KotOR, which was really confusing before. ( 2 to all saving throws? What the poo does that mean? I’m not throwing this at anybody! It’s a piece of armor!) I also am a sucker for medieval fantasy, so…

    (In a side note, I always end up playing every character as a bard — lots of random skills with a few spells. So I finally made a Kobold Bard after my character died for reals at the breath of a dragon in the campaign I’m about to describe to you.)

    4. D&D 3.5 or my brother’s system. That’s just how it turned out.

    As for best memories, the guy DMing a 3.5 game I got into used a module called something to the effect of “The Forgotten City”. It was about a city named Cauldron in the crater of a volcano. I never ended up paying a lot of attention to the plot, but I roleplayed much more than I rollplayed.

    I was a halfling sorceror, since I hate prepping spells and I thought a halfling would be funny. During an early battle or dungeon thing — I forget — I rolled poorly and ended up frozen in this ember/magic ball for 2 weeks or so (in-game time). As such, I didn’t pay attention to the rest of the game until I was about to be released. At that time, the rest of the party ended up in a fight with some Spawn of Keist (sp?). Zombie things that turn you into zombie things.

    Someone got infected.

    We were losing the fight, very badly, so that the only survivor was the infected guy.

    He made a run for the city to get help.

    He ended up infecting the entire city.

    My halfling sorcerer suddenly woke up from his enchantment and found himself where the party had left him, inside the temple. He peeks out the windows into the trashed city of zombies. He tries to sneak out. He fails.

    We managed to epically ruin the entire campaign by destroying the significant city and most likely the world. It was awesome.

    The DM let us redo that part.

  58. Moridin says:

    1. Runequest 3rd edition. I was something like 13, when my friend had me give a try. We played a one-shot and I haven’t played with that group after that.
    2. D&D 3.5. I’ve read through many systems(including WoD, Gurps, D&D 4th edition and a few more)but I prefer rules heavy fantasy as a GM.
    3. So far I have played/GMed only D&D and Runequest, so I can’t say for sure, but Shadowrun and World of Darkness are 2 systems and settings I’d like to give a try at least as a player.
    4. D&D 3.5. With my current group I’m the only one who’s willing to GM and I’ll try another system if I get the books for another system. So far nobody in my group has been willing to give me any.

  59. Lunafysh says:

    1) What gaming system did you start with when you were learning the game?
    D&D Basic (the red book) and then D&D Expert (the blue books – one of which I actually found in my attic)

    2) What's your preferred gaming system when you're running a game? For a serious game – GURPS 4e. It is extremely flexible and basically all that we (as a group) play in, as it covers just about every genre you can imagine. For when I’m running at conventions – TOON, because I AM THAT SILLY!

    (It also helps that I’m one of Steve Jackson’s MIBs)

    3) What system do you prefer as a player? (For some people this is different from #2.) Shadowrun – I’ve only played it a couple of times, but the guy who ran it was a mastermind. The whole “rebirth” of magic is such a kick.

    4) And because we live in an imperfect world: What system do you actually end up using? GURPS, for the most part. I’ve recently picked up D&D 4e for my 9 and 7 year old boys due to the simple mechanics and the pregen characters in the module. I’ll keep it simple for a while, then wean them off the pablum, into more complex and diverse gaming.

    MIB 7004 Steve Jackson Games

  60. Bouks says:

    1. Started with the 3 D&D booklets, but AD&D 1st was just coming out and we changed over as the books were released. At my first session, the experienced players were looking over the brand new Player’s Handbook for the first time. :-)

    2. My preferred system really depends on the world I want to run, and I haven’t had time for world building for a LONG time. I would probably want to run the system I’m playing in now, Ars Magica, or for other settings I’d probably look for a GURPS version.

    3. Currently, I’m loving Ars Magica as a player – it’s very roleplaying focused rather than kill, loot, repeat, and it’s incredibly flexible.

    But I do have a soft spot for Warhammer Fantasy Role Playing – I went through a great WFRP campaign once, and like a lot of the system. But the magic system was weak. I also enjoyed Shadowrun, but didn’t like the combat system. I tried making a homebrew combination, but it had some issues that I never got around to resolving. Then I found ArM.

    4. I actually am playing Ars Magica, so that’s a bit of luck. :-) Frankly, I’d rather introduce people to a good system than make do with a bad one if the game is going to last more than a single session. For non-magi characters, the basics of the system can be distilled down to one page as long as the GM can help the players with their skills.

  61. I started with Palladium (Heroes Unlimited specifically), which is a strange place to start. I’ve pretty much played all of them by now.

    I usually use Sudhra as both a setting and a world. It’s a game/world of my own design; it’s popular enough that there are roleplaying groups sending me e-mails about how much they like it. Players of mine pass on the world to their circles and so on, so it’s getting around a bit.

    Although lately, we haven’t been using a system at all. Just sort of gather around and make stuff up. I got a good group so it works really well.

  62. Martin says:

    1) I started with Book you are the hero. One would read the book to the others and they would make the choices. we would flip to the right page and start reading it out loud. The reader would sometime add choices and invent the story. This eventually lead us to our first REAL system which was D&D (the boxed one).

    2) When running a game, I choose a system where the players know all the rules inside out. That way, I don’t have to look for those. I leave to them to sort it out. I keep the right to override any rules to keep the game interesting. I can then concentrate on the storytelling. With both groups, it’s D&D3.5, mostly the OGC version of it. That’s for the players, because behind the screen, if I want to try to disarm a player, I call for a roll that would probably disarm him… That keep the story interesting, as long as there are no abuse… I don’t want to railroad the player, I want us to create a real good story…

    3) I like to play ANY system where I can roleplay. When a system has too many stats, it becomes hard to roleplay. Ex: Bluff in D&D3.5… if all I need to convince the guard to let me go is a roll, why would I have to invent a really good story? So I like to play AD&D1st.

    4) We are playing (or supposed to play, as free time is hard to come by, these days) D&D3.5. We choose to allow big bonuses to skill check for roleplaying. Even to tumble and jump. The more spectacular or unexpected, the bigger the bonuses. (It’s good for the rating, we are saying, as if there where people watching a TV show)

  63. Scott says:

    1. Shadowrun 3rd. My brother got me into it during my earlier years in highschool.

    2. This one is tough, since I’ve only GMed Shadowrun 3rd and 4th (reeealy different systems, btw) for a few of my friends (including MintSkittle, #2 post), but I would like to try some homebrew systems or D&D 3.5… Or whatever comes up!

    3. Right now I’m playing a seriously stripped down version of Rollmaster. I think the only thing we use are the damage tables. It only works because our GM is a genious.

    4. Anything. As long as I can have fun with friends, new and old, I’ll play it!

  64. onosson says:

    I started with the “basic” boxes (red, blue) playing with my little brother, then got together with my friends and played AD&D (1st edition) for a few years. I haven’t really gamed since high school, not in real life. However, I did try and get my wife into it once, and decided to come up with something that leaned heavily on story and creativity as opposed to stats and strategy. Bear with me…

    Instead of dice, use a pack of cards (the reasoning behind this is that decks of cards are fairly common items, more easily obtained than dice imho).

    Your character has three stats, that’s it. Call them Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence or whatever you prefer. Those are the best equivalents in d&d terms. You could use a point-based allocation method, or just draw cards from the deck to assign them (ignoring face cards for the time being). I called Strength “Body”, and it subsumed Con, HP and Str in D&D. Intelligence I called “mind” and it subsumed Int and Wis (Charisma I leave up to the role-player!). Dexterity I actually called “Luck” and had it subsume Dex as well as chance-y occurences that didn’t fall neatly into one category or another. You could count Dex as part of Body if you prefer.

    When you need to “roll” for something, you instead draw a card. Numbered cards and the Ace give you 1-10 for a check against your stat. Draw lower than your stat and you succeed. Draw higher and you fail. Draw equal, and you take another card!

    Face cards: you can use these in a couple of different ways, depending on your preference. The simple way would be to assign numbers, so that stats can go up to 13 (a 14 would automatically succeed at anything). Otherwise, they are “special”. The Jack is an AUTOMATIC fail, no matter what your stat. The King is AUTOMATIC success. The Queen – you get to keep her. When you save a Queen, you get to play her at another time – before you draw for a card you play the queen, and you get to draw TWO cards for that check and drop the lower one.

    That’s IT. Nothing else to the game mechanics at all. Emphasis on creativity and storytelling.

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