Is there room in the world for another generic system?

edited April 2012 in Story Games
Your thoughts?

Comments

  • If you're providing something new and useful, then yes, absolutely there is room. If you're just making another Risus-esque system that no-one will ever use, no.

    Ever seen this list? It's chock full of simple, functional, and utterly useless systems.

    I don't want to offend anyone, but I'm merely saying that when you put out a game you should be sure you're offering something people can't get anywhere else.
  • As much as I like the idea of generic systems I don't recall the last time I used one to run a game. The problem, for me anyway, is that even if I used a generic system I'd tailor it for whatever genre/setting I was using, and that to me is where most of the work takes place. But then, I don't go in for a lot of crunch, which usually needs to be carefully constructed to not become a real mess. If I'm going to do the work to tailor a game to my specifications then I'm going to start with a non-generic system that leans toward what I want to do and cut down the work necessary on my end.
  • There's always room in the world for another generic system. Ever go to the fiction section of a used book store? There's always room on those shelves too for more unread books to be stacked.

    It doesn't mean that anyone outside your immediate group will play it, but it also doesn't mean that there's a moral imperative to see that it isn't made.

    -Andy
  • edited April 2012
    What does generic mean, though? We always think of GURPS or Hero, and yeah, if you're going to make a game like that, there's no room and no need.

    But isn't something like Microscope generic? It gives you a structure bereft of fictional content and says "build". Just like GURPS. A different structure, but still a structure. If that's generic, then yes, make more generic games and we will play them.
  • Okay, ima say two things [IMHO]:

    One: First and foremost design and play the game you want. I mean it. Fuck what anyone else says. Andy's point is a good one.

    Two: As emphatically and clearly as I can state this: fuck no. Generic systems are terrible and useless. I am a huge advocate for, say AW, but the lack of a solid setting or situation [despite its excellent procedures] is a major stumbling block. I get the why and the how of it, but I think more should and could have been done to hone it down. Systems should be intimately tied to the fiction. I my own design endeavors, I think this was my biggest mistake. Nail down the genre, tone, situation, setting, colour, story, &c. Games should strive to be as specific to either genre or situation as possible, be they Lady Blackbird, Ribbon Drive or Mist-Robed Gate. Really, less is more in gaming. Not having to hack or deal with setting, names, new classes, mechanical tweaks to fit genre conventions, &c, means I can focus on playing my character(s).

    Inevitably, you can't do everything as a designer. People will drift, hack, off the rails, improvise and whatever. And there'll be gaps in the design. Always.

    But, sincerely, do as much of the work as possible.
  • All your game are generics because I will haxxor them.
  • Is Fiasco generic? It doesn't come with a defined setting, although you're expected to find one before you play.
  • Fiasco comes with a defined Genre though. Monsterhearts or Ribbon Drive are similar - hell, so is PTA.

    Having a constrained genre is pretty close to having a constrained setting.

    If anything, constrained genre / thematic is more specific and constraining then having a detailed setting.
  • Maybe I'm just being perverse, but "a small group of adventurous people who face challenges that they meet or just as often fail to meet based on their skills and general effectiveness" strikes me as possibly more specific than "things go terribly wrong". Most of the stories I'm interested in telling are not easily told with skills+stats sorts of games.
  • I'm increasingly of the opinion that there aren't really any generic games. Most of the games we think of as generic are set up to do fairly specific things (like genre-y adventure stories) or -- in some instances -- expect the players implementing them to use some subset of the rules or otherwise hack them into a much more focused game (GURPS, for example).

    So... yeah, sure.
  • Posted By: Hans c-oWhat doesgenericmean, though? We always think of GURPS or Hero, and yeah, if you're going to make a game like that, there's no room and no need.
    .
    I suppose it means a system not tied to a specific setting or situation. Buut, it can still produce a certain type of experience - or at least a certain type of play.
    Posted By: Hans c-oBut isn't something like Microscope generic? It gives you a structure bereft of fictional content and says "build". Just like GURPS. A different structure, but still a structure. If that's generic, then yes, make more generic games and we will play them.
    By that definition, it is.
    Posted By: Orlando WilsonTwo: As emphatically and clearly as I can state this: fuck no. Generic systems are terrible and useless. I am a huge advocate for, say AW, but the lack of a solid setting or situation [despite its excellent procedures] is a major stumbling block.
    With AW, you are supposed to solidify setting and situation yourself. I suspect for a large subset of GMs, that is one of the fun things.

    And that applies to more generic games as well. AW and Microscope occupy some kind of middle ground I reckon -- leaving some things up for grabs on purpose.
  • edited April 2012
    I think AW is off-base for this thread. It's not generic at all! It's not a tome of setting material, but it says: Post-Apocalypse, right? Dream up some stuff, MC. You don't have to know it all, but daydream a bit. These things will help you, and the players, dream it up: Here's the playbooks--here's what people are like in this post-apocalypse. There are Fronts composed of these specific, fictional, archetypical threats.

    You take what the game gives you and mash it up in no particular order (maybe we have Driver-Battlebabe-Brainer facing off against a rival gang or maybe we have Hocus-Hardholder-Maestro'D dealing with their internal shit and trying to make a living off of the waste drug), and you have your setting and situation. You don't have to build. The setting and situation are all there. You just pick from a list.

    Maybe I muddied the waters by talking about Microscope. But AW is out!
  • I'd say that "generic" is not very useful here, as it's not genre-agnosticism that causes problems, but rather creative vagueness. Microscope works because the person reading it gets convinced that it would be fun to create their very own historical timeline. GURPS, meanwhile, doesn't work for many people because it does very little to direct you towards a creative payoff; sure, it argues for the fun of the traditional adventure in the GM's world, but presumably the veteran roleplayer has already seen and done that, so it's not even a hook from his viewpoint. Of course some people still bite on GURPS, but I think it's fair to say that it's not the expected reaction to a game that is only about regulations for measuring a player character's punching power with or without power gloves.

    So, creative hooking. Failing that, as many have remarked, there surely is plenty of room for a generic system out there, even if it's just as something to fill the shelves. This is not as insignificant as one might think, as a well-made generic system could still act as the backbone of an otherwise compelling game. For example, Solar System - it's a generic system, and I don't think that it's particularly compelling by itself. Sure, Solar System is good and well-made, but those are not the same as creatively compelling. The system justifies its existence by being the rules-set for the seriously attractive fantasy roleplaying game Shadow of Yesterday. And of course, people sold on it in that context are also willing to fiddle with it independently, outside the TSoY context.

    I don't think that writing up a setting is necessary for a game to have creative impetus, though. Apocalypse World is a good example: it has even less setting than the already vague TSoY, but it all hangs very well together because the game has that clear creative imprimatur: go thence and barf forth apocalyptica, the game tells you, and it provides plenty of shards and puzzle pieces to put into your personal vision of what the post-apocalyptic rock'n'roll setting hinted at by the game might look like. That's creative hooking: if you care for the genre and aesthetics presented, you'll be motivated to master the game and play it well.
  • edited April 2012
    Also, "generic" is at least partially about marketing. GURPS and Hero go for that. If Fiasco were marketed as "play a game where shit goes pear-shaped, in any number of settings and situations!" we would probably think about it differently, as a "new" kind of "focused generic design". However, it was built and marketed as "Make your own Coen Brothers movie! Also there's playsets!" I don't buy Fiasco to build something, and Fiasco doesn't want me to unless I want to. GURPS tells me to buy it if I want to build something.
    Posted By: J. WaltonI'm increasingly of the opinion that there aren't really any generic games. Most of the games we think of as generic are set up to do fairly specific things (like genre-y adventure stories) or -- in some instances -- expect the players implementing them to use some subset of the rules or otherwise hack them into a much more focused game (GURPS, for example).

    So... yeah, sure.
    Also, this is probably true.
  • edited April 2012
    To clarify what I mean by generic...

    1) The game system isn't designed to emulate a specific setting or genre, although there might be supplements to the core game that do so.

    2) The game isn't designed to explore specific themes or emotional content.


    GURPS obviously fits my definition of generic. Many games have a core that is generic with genre and setting grafted on or integrated to various degrees; Basic Role-Playing, Savage Worlds, D6, FATE, etc.

    All the generic games I can think of have had many setting and genre books produced for them. I don't think people want to play generic games so much as they don't want to have to learn multiple systems. Which is I think a fine need for generic systems to fulfill.
  • Posted By: Eero TuovinenFor example,Solar System- it's a generic system, and I don't think that it's particularly compelling by itself. Sure, Solar System isgoodandwell-made, but those are not the same as creatively compelling. The system justifies its existence by being the rules-set for the seriously attractive fantasy roleplaying gameShadow of Yesterday.
    I am sure I am far from the only person who will completely disagree with you on this. I've never bothered to read through all of the setting of The Shadow of Yesterday because I just didn't find it that compelling. (Sorry, Clinton. I really should read it!) But the concepts of Keys and Secrets? That was compelling, that was what got us to grab the system and immediately use it for settings and situations that we found more compelling.

    Dogs in the Vineyard is another good example of this. How many people say "I don't wanna play a game about some Mormons in the Old West"? And how many of those people are happy if you just re-skin it to Jedi? Or to a Viking-era Scandinavian setting, as our group did? And we did it with that specific system because we saw that it offered tools to provide particular game experiences.

    At the other end of this, Talislanta has an extremely minimal / simple game system, which in that sense makes it "generic", but it's the setting that's compelling. If you know and like Talislanta already, you might say "hey I can use this system to run games in other settings". But if you don't know or don't like Talislanta-the-setting, you're not likely to say "but this would be a great system to do [x]", because there's nothing particular about the system to get a specific experience with it.
  • Posted By: philarosBut the concepts of Keys and Secrets? That was compelling, that was what got us to grab the system and immediately use it for settings and situations that we found more compelling.
    Well, it was just an off-the-cuff example. My own experience has been that although I'm a huge Solar System geek, it's because I got into the system first for other reasons, and only grew to appreciate it via play. I imagine that many people have had similar experiences with e.g. GURPS. The point stands, though, regardless of the example - the worth of the game is in being compelling, not in being specific. If you can create a generic system, like say Solar System, and people find it compelling because it offers them something exciting, then that's a worthy game.

    Also, Philip - come visit us here in Finland, and we'll play some TSoY. I think you'll find that the setting is very compelling indeed. (This is no extraordinary claim, I can totally believe that an e.g. Talislanta expert would be able to showcase the best parts of the setting to me just as easily.)

    Most roleplaying games will find their creative compel in something powerful they have to say about human-condition-something-or-other. I've been reading Hero System lately, and I'd say that it's at its most compelling in the part where it outlines the mechanical differences between lethal and ordinary damage in an elegant, exact and unforgiving manner. There are many things that can make your game compelling, and not all of them are setting-specific.
  • I would play a game that doesn't have a specific setting but whose rules:

    - do something significantly new
    - emulate a specific theme or genre
    - solve a problem I have with gaming that no other game does
    - are like an existing game I love but faster and with less work
  • Posted By: Jon Shepherd.

    Ever seenthis list? It's chock full of simple, functional, and utterly useless systems.
    What is "Sorcerer" doing in that list? Sorcerer isn't free....

    But this remind me that Sorcerer is a good example about how little "generic" is a game whose brand of "generic" is tied only to setting agnosticism and pre-setted themes...

    For most of their history, role-playing games had systems that were little more that D&D hacks (and I am not talking only about Rolemaster, I am talking about GURPS, Vampire, Amber, etc too: just look at the amount of space is devoted to combat and the unchanging role and authority of the GM), so "different games" come to mean only "different setting or character type" and "different house rules used in this hack of D&D", with this second difference cosmetic or very minor in rapport to the first.

    So, this is how the false equation "no specific setting" = "generic" was born.

    There are a lot of (forge) games that have no specific setting, but they are anything but "generic": Sorcerer, Primetime Adventures, My Life With Master (has a typical example setting but the rules make it clear that can be played anywhere), Annalise, Fiasco, Shock:, etc.

    Some of them have specific themes (My life with master for example) but not everyone do. Primetime Adventures doesn't have a specific theme or setting, it has a specific (and peculiar) system and a specific kind of Characters (not tied to a setting). Others have a specific kind of situation but not setting or theme (Sorcerer, Annalise), others have a specific kind of very peculiar system (The Pool)

    None of them is "generic" or "universal" if not in the sense of "this book doesn't describe a specific setting" (and in this case it should be called "setting agnostic" o "with no fixed setting", not "generic".

    To be REALLY generic, a game should have no specific setting, no specific situation, no specific characters type, no specific color and... no kind of specific system peculiarity!

    Do they exist? I think so: Fudge, D20, Basic RP, GURPS, Hero System all have specific systems, that don't make them 100% interchangeable, so they are not 100% "generic", but they have enough similarities with each other (and with hundreds of other systems) that I think they can be called "generic" with little error. But not "generic" as in "universal" (no game is universal, GURPS less than most), but "generic" as in "bland"

    It's no surprise that the most played of them have a rich market of "spices" (setting modules, rules add-on, etc.) to give them flavor. They are the rpg equivalent of boiled raw spaghetti. If you don't add salt and tomato sauce (or something better than tomato sauce) they have really no taste.

    So, there is room for other generic system? Well, the hard disks are big these days, a little file don't take up much space, there is room. There is need? I don't think so.

    There is need for games with no fixed setting and/or themes? Absolutely. But please, don't call them "generic"... :-)
  • Posted By: Moreno R.To be REALLY generic, a game should have no specific setting, no specific situation, no specific characters type, no specific color and... no kind of specific system peculiarity!
    I sympathize with the attempt to re-define yet again another perfectly adequate piece of gaming terminology, really! I agree with you that D&D corebooks have rarely contained much in the way of setting, yet are not considered "generic" and this is problematic for those that identify setting as the key element to avoiding genericness. But I think "system peculiarity" is still a bridge too far. To say (for example) that Primetime Adventures is not generic is beyond ludicrous. It certainly is.

    To answer the OP, of course there is "room", the barriers to publishing are falling further every day and will continue to fall. If you mean "will it be a commercial success", we can only guess at your definition of commercial success. I know I like generic systems and use them consistently. I also love generic games and consistently turn to them for my idiotic, I mean brilliant, projects that no designer in their right mind would ever attempt to publish anything for commercially.
  • Posted By: JDCorleyPosted By: Moreno R.To be REALLY generic, a game should have no specific setting, no specific situation, no specific characters type, no specific color and... no kind of specific system peculiarity!
    I sympathize with the attempt to re-define yet again another perfectly adequate piece of gaming terminology, really! I agree with you that D&D corebooks have rarely contained much in the way of setting, yet are not considered "generic" and this is problematic for those that identify setting as the key element to avoiding genericness.

    Yes. I listed d20 but not d&d because d&d is not made up only by the system: D&D is not "generic" at all in the color and the character types, for example.

    And it's true that I am using "generic" differently from common rpg usage, but I am not creating another rpg-specific definition: I am using the common language meaning of "generic" noticing how silly and outdated is the rpg usage in that contest. (I mean... Sorcerer a generic game? Or Shock:?)
    But I think "system peculiarity" is still a bridge too far. To say (for example) that Primetime Adventures is not generic is beyond ludicrous. It certainly is.
    I agree that is not a very satisfying wording: how we can define "peculiarity"? At the end I used that word because I didn't want to risk flames more than I already did, but to be honest, I was thinking more along something like "different from D&D"

    What I mean is that, if every single game was different from another, no game would be "generic". What can make game system "generic" in common language is the way they are very, very similar to hundreds of other already published games. "generic", as in "I already have seen this everywhere for years"

    So, for me PTA is not generic because it offer a gaming experience not similar to the one D&D offer: it's not the usual "a penny for a dozen" common D&D clone, but it's a very specific game with very specific effects.

    And the way it can be applied to any setting is misleading about the specific need of PTA: .try to use it to play Conan, for example. Or The Man with No Name from Clint Eastwood movies. Or even a simple D&D dungeon delving... PTA require characters with (1) personal issues (at least one), (2) relationships with PNG, and (3) character arcs in a multi-protagonists story. You can't use PTA to play a hardened and immutable tough guy (well, you can, but after the end of character creation, you have a tough guy with abandonment issues that at the end of his character arc maybe will retire to a nice place raising puppies... non exactly what you started with...)

    PTA can be seen as "generic" only in the (absurd) rpg meaning: "the game manual doesn't contain a fixed setting"
  • I would have said no when I started playing PTA. "Here it is," I thought. "The narrative generic system for all time!"

    And then Spirit of the Century came out, then Heroquest, and then Fiasco, and then Smallville.

    There's always room for new takes on generic systems. Though I don't think any of those games intended to be generic (although the core rules of Fate were certainly heading that way, and Heroquest 2 was made explicitly generic). For the record, I don't consider SotC generic, but gleaning the rules from SotC and Dresden makes it easy to play Fate generically (and Fate Core is on the way to make it explicit).

    The idea that generic games have to be designed that way, or worse, have to have all flavor removed is ludicrous. If we're sticking with the definition of generic systems as established by dinosaurs like GURPS and HERO, then it's a shitty definition. You're welcome to that definition. I have absolutely no interest in playing game systems that only serve as functions for determining random outcomes without no sway, style, or attitude.

    There's definitely a line, but it's pretty fuzzy. I've used Nobilis to run an Avengers game. Is Nobilis generic? I don't think so. You have to do a lot of work to remove the nature of the characters from the context of being Powers. But all I have to do is make up new Oracles and In A Wicked Age can change setting and tone drastically.

    Just because a game can't apply to every genre doesn't mean it's not generic, any more than saying GURPS doesn't qualify as generic because it can't be used to emulate a Coen Brothers movie or a TV show. it's only generic if you're interested in playing traditional RPG styles. Fortunately for GURPS (and HERO) that style were the ONLY widely known way to play RPGs for the first 20 years of roleplaying.

    Now we have many, many, many new ways to play. Play focused on different themes or tone or styles. As a result, our generic games are focused on themes or tones or styles. It's not possible to capture all of those. But when I go to the store and pick a generic brand soup, it's not just "soup." I still have to pick a flavor. So yeah, we have a generic game that can run ANYthing as long as it's going to be played as if it were a TV show. We have a generic game that can run ANYthing, as long as it's got some pulp style (which luckily for us, 90% of geek favored genres of movies, books, and shows are descendants of pulp fiction).

    And ultimately, your generic may differ from mine. I knew people who have used 2nd Ed AD&D to run sci-fi (not Spelljammer) games. I'm baffled. I'd never do it. I don't get it, but maybe AD&D was generic to them.

    So to answer the OP question. Yes, absolutely. As long as we lack a perfect games, there are always ways to improve design and therefore there will always be room for more generic systems.
  • edited April 2012
    I think, after reading some of the comments, I misunderstood the question.

    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: Moreno R.</cite>
    PTA can be seen as "generic" only in the (absurd) rpg meaning: "the game manual doesn't contain a fixed setting"</blockquote>

    If IAWA, PTA, Fiasco, &c. are for the purposes of this question 'generic' systems, then sure mang, design another. All great games and there's always room for innovation.

    I, however, even when playing in the 'trad' style, have no use for something like GURPS, HERO, or FATE. Especially not another one.

    With a more subjective emphasis: these days, I don't even have a use for something as 'generic' as Burning Wheel, Eclipse Phase or similar. Neither generic in setting or narrative, but personally, still too much to do.

    Powered by Apocalypse World games (Dungeon World, Monsterhearts, &c.) are the upper limit for gaps left for the players to fill in (all with tight procedures to do so). Honestly, I find games with Lady Blackbird or Mouse Guard levels of specific setting, narrative, system, characters, &c. to be far more appealing.

    I also think successfully designing a game where everything works out of the box without the need for modification and provides a compelling play experience, is much, much hard to do.
  • I think we should consider the implications of "generic" games like "generic" pharmaceuticals.

  • edited April 2012
    Posted By: Moreno R.You can't use PTA to play a hardened and immutable tough guy (well, you can, but after the end of character creation, you have a tough guy with abandonment issues that at the end of his character arc maybe will retire to a nice place raising puppies... non exactly what you started with...)
    Sure ya can. You can have an Issue that you address by not changing or growing. That works just fine in PTA. Situations relating to your issue continue to escalate and in the spotlight episode you have a major showdown because of it, which you respond to by not changing how you do business. Then you choose not to alter your character sheet after the episode. Done.
    Posted By: Orlando WilsonI, however, even when playing in the 'trad' style, have no use for something like GURPS, HERO, or FATE. Especially not another one.
    I feel like we are just spinning our wheels talking about what games we like and don't like. I love GURPS, I can list 1 billion reasons why, you hate it, you can list...oh, there must be 6 or 7 reasons... ;) so where does that leave the OP, who wasn't asking about either of those things, but whether there was some unspecified "room" for generic games.
    Posted By: shreyasI think we should consider the implications of "generic" games like "generic" pharmaceuticals.
    Exactly the same as non-generics, but cheaper?
  • Steve: Yes, there is plenty of room. Find what ASPECT of play you want to make toolboxy and go for it. [I am going to use a different term for "generic" every time I need one, to shut up the damned semantic crap.]

    For example, Hero System choose power customization and high detail granularity in combat as aspects of play, and exploded them out at that level, filing off Color at each step (mostly). My own GLASS system is "genre-agnostic": Generic Live Action Simulation System. *I* chose the aspects of 'DO if you can, otherwise STAT, and get rid of the silly calls' and determined every generalized effect I could think of from years of LARPing (and from scanning Hero System page by page, I'll confess). And by choosing the Action First and Minimal Calls (i.e., minimal Handling) and No Arms Races aspects, I was able to discard effects I didn't want and file off the Color for those I did (or those I recombined, to generalize several flavors of effect into one).

    As other have noted, many flexible games pick an aspect of play from a given trope and expand it out to apply it in other ways.
  • I'd rather have a system doc for a specific game than a generic system. That way, you know what the system is built to do. For example, you can see what Lady Blackbird does clearly and that informs the kind of hack you produce. It is much more difficult, on the other hand, to see what GURPS does when you go to apply it.
  • Posted By: shreyasI think we should consider the implications of "generic" games like "generic" pharmaceuticals.
    Would that they were that good. With generic pharmaceuticals I get exactly the medicine I need (though often with a less tasty candy coating around it, but hey, it's a pill, not a sucker I keep in my mouth for an hour) and I get it for free (after paying my insurance premium) instead of needing to pay $40 a month for it (in addition to paying my insurance premium).

    Man, I'd love it if generic games were that good of a deal.
  • edited April 2012
    Posted By: Moreno R.So, for me PTA is not generic because it offer a gaming experience not similar to the one D&D offer: it's not the usual "a penny for a dozen" common D&D clone, but it's a very specific game with very specific effects.
    I had to think about this one a while before I respond. I have always said that any (American) gaming terminology that doesn't reflect the fact that (in America), the overwhelming majority of game purchases and play were people purchasing and playing D&D was probably bad terminology.

    (This is why I said "indie RPG" should mean "non-D&D RPG". I lost that battle to the "creator owned" people.)

    If we take D&D play as the norm and all non-D&D play as varying degrees of departure from the norm, then in that respect D&D is the only truly generic game - the "regular ole" RPG that is the center of the hobby, everything else (including GURPS and HERO, whose play is staggeringly different from D&D) would not be generic.

    This definition definitely appeals to me because it is grounded in what is really getting purchased (overwhelmingly, D&D) and played (overwhelmingly, D&D).

    I'm not sure that we can beat that windmill, though, any more than I could win my fight for "indie RPG". The train has left the station a long time ago.
  • edited April 2012
    Let me quote that for you JDCorley:
    Posted By: Orlando WilsonIf IAWA, PTA, Fiasco, &c. are for the purposes of this question 'generic' systems, then sure mang, design another. All great games and there's always room for innovation.
  • Posted By: David ArtmanMy own GLASS system is "genre-agnostic":Generic Live Action Simulation System. *I* ... *snipped*
    And you ended up with a system that nobody plays, last I checked.

    And I don't mean that to be a total ass, because I think there's TONS and TONS of value in GLASS. I point aspiring live combat larp system writers at it, because it does the best job of any document I've read of looking at what you can/should do with a live combat larp system.

    But I think that the fact that it is so agnostic - and that it is designed so that the actual game that uses it can/should put a layer of simplification and color on top of it - that keeps it from being used.

    The Accelerant System, on the other hand, has Madrigal as it's flagship game. But many others have taken the underlying mechanics and tweaked them slightly to run a bevvy of other games that use the same core.
  • Posted By: Orlando WilsonLet me quote that for you JDCorley:
    I agree!

    GURPS is also a great game, and was a big innovation in its day.
  • Posted By: RobMcDiarmidAnd you ended up with a system that nobody plays, last I checked.

    And I don't mean that to be a total ass,
    ...just partially! ;)

    Actually, no one plays because (a) I never promoted it and (b) I never finished it, at which point it would no longer qualify for your objection because it would come with somewhere between six and twelve ready-to-run game type setups. So I wouldn't be selling Fantasy Heartbreaker and hoping folks boil out GLASS; I'd be selling Fantasy and Pirate and Caveman and Zombie and....

    But whatever... I think my point about choosing aspects holds, and GLASS is an excellent example of consciously doing so, right on the first page of content.
  • Posted By: David ArtmanActually, no one plays because
    Because you haven't run a campaign in it. Unlike tabletop, that's 99% of the time the only way a larp system gets played - if the designer actually runs it.

    Systems don't sell in larp. Or at least not well (WoD being the exception. And maybe Cthulhu Live, maybe). Events sell.

    I'd love to see you put a game together using GLASS. Preferably anything other than generic fantasy.

    Maybe pirates+magic, like 7th Sea but with your own pseudo European setting. That would be cool.
  • edited April 2012
    [xposted +2]

    And not just in its day but for me personally. It was the first game I played after Palladium and D&D. I marveled at its formal systematical rigor. I was like, I could do anything. GURPS Transhuman Space remains one my favourite supplements of all time. OF ALL TIME. l'm a let you finish but OF ALL TIME.

    But these days when I see stat blocks my eyes just sorta glaze over.

    It's just that it takes so much work to run. No just on the GM but on the players too. Even with the setting books. There's just such a huge amount of mental and creative work needed to play one of these games both during play and during prep. And talent to boot.

    Where, if you look at something like 3:16, it takes so much of that burden away from the players and the GM, so they can focus on, you know, playing and having fun.

    My position on the whole matter, is that the less 'generic' a game, the better. That's just my bag right now. Basically, if I am paying for a game, I'm paying for the design team to do the work for me. Procedures, colour, art, Q&A, the whole shebang. I'd rather have something I don't like that I can ignore or change, then just nothing at all.

    So, then, bake in as much shit as possible. That's my solicited opinion on the matter of 'generics.' That is to say, don't. Which was covered pretty well in the first couple of posts.
  • Posted By: nemomemeAll your game are generics because I will haxxor them.
    nemomeme speaks truth.

    Who needs generic games when you can hack a non-generic game into the form you need?

    Formulated in a different way: Is it easier to turn a GURPS into Star Wars Jedi than it is to turn Lady Blackbird into Star Wars Jedi?

    Formulated in yet a different way: What's the value of playing GURPS without hacking it for a setting? What's the value of playing Lady Blackbird without hacking it for a setting?
  • What's the value in playing Star Wars without "hacking it" for your own version of Star Wars, starring your own characters, in new situations and speaking different dialogue and taking different actions?
  • I've never played Lady Blackbird, but I've also never wanted to play Star Wars where we are on the run from the Empire, getting a Lady to a wedding. Or even twisting it to secret plans or something. There is a specific story structure which maps to approximately 20 minutes of the source material. Generally, when playing Star Wars or (insert your favorite setting here) I do not want to play a specific scenario, no matter how well it maps to the source. I want to explore things unexamined by the source material. A generic system needs to give enough flexibility to create entirely new characters and situations, as JD says, so that all the players are able to capture what they want from the source and use that to create new stories and events.
  • If there's another The Pool out there somewhere in someone's desk drawer, I want to see it. (So, to answer the question: Yes.)
  • Posted By: JDCorleyWhat's the value in playing Star Wars without "hacking it" for your own version of Star Wars, starring your own characters, in new situations and speaking different dialogue and taking different actions?
    I don't think we mean the same thing by "hacking." In fact, I suspect that you put "hacking it" in quotes because you knew you meant something different than I meant. So you're starting with a false premise to make your point--not cool.

    Creating characters, situations, and ephemera are not hacking; that's playing. Creating system: that's hacking.

    GURPS Star Wars Jedis (I wouldn't be surprised if this existed, at least as a homebrew thing on the web somewhere) isn't a set of characters, situations, and in-game actions. It's a set of rules to produce those things in a way that feels Star-Wars-y.
  • Posted By: RogerIf there's another The Pool out there somewhere in someone's desk drawer, I want to see it. (So, to answer the question: Yes.)
    whats The Pool?
  • Posted By: stefoid
    whats The Pool?
    This is the Pool. Seriously, read it. Formative in so many ways, and also generic. Note the year of publication, all of the regular stuff in there is original, just about.

    Note, though, that it has had much less play than many theoretically less important games. It's a critical favourite, but still not as compelling as a non-generic game.
  • edited April 2012
    Posted By: Adam DrayCreating characters, situations, and ephemera are not hacking; that's playing. Creating system: that's hacking.
    nope.avi
  • Other Worlds just came out a few months ago. It is somewhat based on Heroquest and it looks robust to handle many genres. I haven't played it, only read it.
  • Posted By: JDCorleynope.avi
    You fail at discussion.
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