Thursday, July 16, 2009

How many generic rules do you need? One?

Yesterday I was looking at the Open RPG forum over at, and found poll about generic systems. The question of course was, which of the generic ones you use.

I found this interesting, since among the 60 or so rule systems that I own, I find a few of the ones mentioned in the poll. Here's the list of the systems in the poll.

  1. BRP*
  2. GURPS*
  3. HERO
  4. Savage Worlds*
  5. Unisystem
  6. FATE*
  7. HeroQuest
  8. PDQ
  9. d6 system*
  10. d20 system*

The systems I own is marked with a star.

Considering the fact that generic systems is supposed to be able to be used for any setting, why would you need more than one? Surely it would be cheapest to buy one and then use that for all your gaming needs, since it can be used for anything. Right?

Maybe I should ask myself why I own so many of these? I know I prefer some of them for different reasons, and to be frank I don't think I would enjoy using any one of all these systems for all my campaigns. I've heard of that kind of behaviour many times, but it don't seem to be my way. All those systems come with an agenda, and some kind of implied style of play. Since I don't own all of them I can't tell you what it is, but I'm certain it's true for all. Just compare GURPS and the D6 system vehicular combat rules. Two campaigns using these two will be very different, even if both are generic and universal.

So, why bother with generic systems if having style/setting/rules as a unit seem to make so much sense? I'm not sure, really. For me as an obsessive collector I don't need much to get a new system, but if forced to explain myself I'll be sheepishly out of words. I kind of hope I'm not alone at this...


  1. I'm not sure what I couldn't use BRP for to be honest. It's pretty damned versatile and doesn't have anything that annoys me (which is some feat ;) ).

  2. Yeah, BRP is the one that I'd personally probably could live with as my only system. It has few quirks, which is a feat indeed. But, it also have a slightly bland feel to it. I'm pretty sure when I've read through the big fat volume of BRP that I will feel it colourful enough, though.


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