Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I'm as Bad as WotC

Well...maybe only in spirit, not actuality. But I keep finding myself wanting to convert all my RPGs to some version of the same basic system (namely, B/X).

I mean it's hard not to...for any game where combat is a major factor, I find the B/X combat system to be pretty darn good. Recently, I was considering how easy it might be to convert Shadow Run to a B/X equivalent...after all, what is Shadow Run but a party of fantasy characters going on adventures in hopes of scoring ca$h. It's the same damn thing...except with guns and cyberware.

Ugh...I'm as bad as the brain trust behind D20 (or GURPS, for that matter). Not every role-playing setting requires the same system, and definitely not every system is a good fit for every setting. For example, I would NEVER try to make a B/X equivalent of Vampire the Masquerade...that's just ridiculous!

[well, probably never...I try never to say "never"]

But there are many games that just seem to be begging for a B/X-style streamlining. Shadow Run (i.e. "fantasy cyberpunk) is definitely one of them. The superhero genre is another. So is the space opera setting. So is the 1930's pulp adventure setting. Maybe even Rifts (i.e. "fantasy apocalypse").

Maybe I should come up with a list of games that I see (in my mind's eye) as "convertible," just to see what the common denominator of all of 'em are. Maybe I'm just in a semi-exhausted trance-like state right now and not thinking clearly.
; )


  1. I've seen the desire for "one game to rule them all" several times, and it usually ends in frustration- and ingenuity. Hope you have fun with the eyeball list!

  2. And then there are some that are similar, like Villains and Vigilantes. There's an old-school supers game. I recently got my old copy out since Dee and Herman have control of their IP again and was amazed at how simple it is.

  3. I used to go through periodic burst of mass conversions to whatever hot system I was currently obsessing about. I've since regained my sanity. Now, I just convert on the fly depending on what I'm running at the moment.

    But I wish you luck with the various B/X conversions. I think Shadowrun would be a great place to start.

  4. Good idea. Why should we have to learn entirely new rules every time we change genres? Also, interplayability allows characters to jump genres, which is part of what made Barrier Peaks so much fun.

    Rules are just an interface to facilitate collective storytelling.

  5. @ Brian: Indeed. But specific rules for specific designs can be a good thing...for example, the Dying Earth's social mechanics are excellent for the Vancian setting, not so much for other "fantasy" settings.

    @ Risus: Says the guy named Risus Monkey. Can't Risus be adapted to just about anything?

    @ Anthony: This piqued my interest, too. The fact that their new "version 2.1" is supposed to be the same as the old 2nd edition but with "clarifications" sounds most intriguing. Might pick this up myself!

    @ Loquacious: It SHOULD be a fun exercise...hopefully it won't turn into a month-long obsession!
    ; )

  6. I have the new one somewhere...currently misplaced. Figures.

    The only thing that added really (besides changing the art!) is an appendix wit Mexican Wrestling moves. :D

  7. Sorry but I'm of a somewhat different mind set. While I think Shadowrun could indeed be run with a D&D derivative system, I'm not a big fan of one size fits all.

    Some games were designed specifically to emulate a certain genre or feel. Also, regarding Brian's question of "Why should we have to learn entirely new rules every time we change genres?" We don't have to but its fun.

    I get bored using the same rules for everything. Right now I'm itching to play something with % only. Or just D6's again. I love various D6 systems...West End Games, Mini Six, ICON, ooh Storyteller variant! Maybe the awesome one role engine but...ooh! Gotta go kitbash.

  8. @ Risus: Says the guy named Risus Monkey. Can't Risus be adapted to just about anything?

    Risus can be used to run anything... just not for *anyone* (or for any given circumstance). Anyway, it's pointless to convert to Risus when it can be done on the fly.

    Also, I'm an RPG slut. I like to sample all sorts of systems.

  9. @JB:
    Rules variations are interesting, plus learning new things is healthy, good for the brain, even if only variations on a theme.
    Besides, then you can convert them to B/X!

    'try to make a B/X equivalent of Vampire the Masquerade':
    Oh come on, embrace(:-)) the awesome! Besides if this game could be GURPS-ized...

    'Rules are just an interface to facilitate collective storytelling.':
    In my opinion, they help with decision making and generate moments of awesomeness not usually found when people talk at each other about how cool their fictional personas are. There have to be limits, otherwise one guy could kill all the Orcs! Unless, of course, that's what your game is about! :-)

    @Barking Alien:
    '"Why should we have to learn entirely new rules every time we change genres?" We don't have to but its fun.':
    You took the words outta my mouth!

    'Gotta go kitbash.'(I'd assume for your PA game? ;-)):
    You and me both. I've been futzing around with my homebrew for 26 yeas, with no letup in sight. It's very enjoyable to just tinker sometimes, also this can be put to use. I especially like R. Talsorian's Dream Park Interlock variant for this purpose. And BRP. And Labyrinth Lord. And Street Fighter's modified WOD mechanics. And D6 and so on...

  10. Moderation in all things. ^_^

    Trying to shoehorn everything into the same system usually isn’t a good idea, but neither is using different rules just for the sake of being different. Both sins have plagued this hobby. The question isn’t should we unify or not. The question is: Does X justify a new system or not. (And probably even more often, that should read subsystem.)