On Saturday night, we decided to get a session going since one of our old crew was back in town for the weekend. The past few sessions we played we used World of Shadows
(World of Dungeons done Shadowrun-style). Because I didn't have any WoS character sheets on-hand, we decided to play Shadow-hack
(my Shadowrun mash-up with Old School Hack).
We made characters and that was pretty fun, and at the start of the actual gameplay, I was very excited. However, I quickly regretted the choice of Shadow-hack once we hit the first scene where the lead started flying around. I mean, on paper, Shadow-hack looks awesome to me. But, after playing World of Dungeons and World of Shadows for the past five sessions, I found Shadow-hack's antiquated systems to be really difficult to use. Here's why.
First, the fact that the game has a separate system for combat and non-combat scenes threw me off, and part of the that has to do with the way we play Shadowrun. I noticed that when my group plays Shadowrun, they really latch on to the "run" part. If I don't consciously push for a mission with planning and legwork involved (which means come prepared), it's basically one big constant blur of action, movement, chases, quick decisions, changing locations, and deadly but brief battles. The players VERY rarely find themselves in a stand-up fight in a stagnant location where they are trying to fight to the death (unlikein D&D). Instead, we get occasional shots fired back and forth, the single punch thrown, a bum-rush through a doorway, heated car chases, that kind of thing. Which, by the way, is awesome and is not a problem at all.
The problem was it felt like it would totally break the flow and the immersion of the fiction to suddenly change from free-flow narration to heavily codified and procedure-based combat. I couldn't bring myself to do it, so I pretty much threw out the whole combat system and based all of combat on single rolls. Which brings me to my next problem.
Shadow-hack uses an old-school style Target Number success system. In other words, if you roll equal to or over the TN then you succeed, otherwise you fail. Back in the day, this seemed to work fine. But this time around, I felt the constant need for a middle ground: the Partial Success. I totally did not like the "black and white", "yes or no" results of actions. It was just flat and uninteresting. It bothered me so much that just decided to slap together a quick system with the AW-style three-tiered success trichotomy and it felt better.
The point of this is... After playing games with the World of Dungeons engine, I don't think I can go back to games with combat systems that require a complete change of pacing or yes/no success systems. Anyone else feeling this?