Thursday, March 27, 2014

Flavour of the week - converting between gamesystems

In between the Fate game I play in, and my resurging love of BRP, I think about these trends in converting games to your favourite system.

When Savage Worlds debuted I remember seeing threads on everyday about how you could "savage" this or that old classic and make it sing again. Savage Worlds was the "flavour of the week" so to speak.

I'm a fan of Savage Worlds, and many games I think really benefit from a "savaging". But, one thing not always taken into account in those happy endorsements are the flavour a game system bring to the table. These days the worse enthusiasm have cooled off Savage Worlds, and now I think it's more often suggested for games that need that special pizzazz and zing that a fast flowing pulp, action game gives you. Needless to say, that's not all settings and games.

Now I get the feel that Fate is the new "flavour of the week". How does it stack up?

As anyone who have tried Fate knows, it's a game much like the revised 3rd ed of D&D where everything is nailed down. It's a crunchy system, but very abstract and broad reaching, with its capability of turning anything into an Aspect and thus part of the mechanics of the game. If you want a game system that fades into the background, I don't think it's a game system for you, just like I don't think you should use Savage Worlds if you want a simulationist feel to your game.

But, I'm beginning to see why it's very alluring to try to make Fate the base for any kind of game you want to play. It's very elegant to use the "Fate fractal" and let everything be modelled with a High Concept and some more Aspects, some Skills, some Stunts and Stress tracks. You can fairly easily model anything that way. Understanding that makes it easy to quantify anything, and put numbers on it.

The other game that I always think of is BRP. It's trivial to make up a skill list suited to your setting/game and if you need anything to be modelled by the game system, you make a skill or a derived attribute of it. Then you roll your percentiles and Bob's your uncle. You only need to make up a rough probability of something succeeding and that's the whole game system. Basically.

My thinking is that make not all games has to be run in Fate, just like to every game turned out to need to be savaged? Can anything be estimated as a probability written as a percentile, and end up BRP game?

I guess that if you want to you can turn any game into whatever it needs to be. Hero and GURPS were designed to be used for putting numbers on anything, but it takes so much work I'd never work up the energy to even try.

Whatever the feel of BRP is, and however it compares to Fate (I might delve into that at a later date), they have one big thing going for them both. It's really easy to convert things into those systems. My latest reading of Fate conversions have really opened my eyes to how things like that can be done. I'm beginning to see how the Fate Fractal might be the most insidiously genius thing Evil Hat ever created. Even if I arm myself with BRP in one hand, I'll be thinking of that fractal. Make all the cool things an Aspect, and then roll those percentiles!
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