I've never really thought of myself as a single system gamer. I started out with D&D 3.5, but I got into d20 Modern fairly quickly, and GURPS not too long after that. I was generally aware of the larger universe of roleplaying games, and had designs to try a number of them. I wasn't one of those people who never played anything but D&D.
Except that for the most part, I never did play anything that wasn't d20 based. My flirtation with GURPS crashed and burned in spectacular fashion, and I spent the next few years playing and running D&D, Arcana Evolved, d20 Modern, and Star Wars d20. Since then starting college, I've played in a short GURPS campaign and ran a session of Feng Shui, but the only serious campaign I've ran was 4th Edition D&D.
And yet, somehow, I've never identified as a D&D gamer, or a d20 gamer. It wasn't even that I wanted to play other games, but always ended up playing d20 because that was all my group would play. The people I play with have always been fairly open to new games. (Upon seeing the new World of Darkness books I had in my backpack, they each picked a splat and started making characters for fun.) I just always ended up playing d20 games.
I only really noticed this when I started writing about the new World of Darkness. Lots of responses, lots of advice, lots of people who are very much not D&D players -- rather than D&D players who dabble in other systems, like me and a lot of other bloggers out there. Or, as the case may be, players of no particular system who nevertheless end up playing D&D and D&D derived systems most of the time.
The way things are looking, though, I won't be playing anything d20 for a while, and D&D is only a little less unlikely. Several of my prime candidates for players in a campaign next semester don't like d20 at all, and I've been in the mood to experiment with another system for a while. I might still end up running Swords & Wizardry, which is close enough to being D&D to count, but Traveller, Mage, and Vampire are all very much in the running. My home group hasn't discussed next summer much, but most of our recent gaming has involved experimenting with new systems. I might not be a d20 player again for a while.
I think this venture will be completely rewarding.ReplyDelete
Branching out into other systems expands the horizons of gaming, and many people quickly discover the hack-and-slash/anti-role playing hang ups of D&D (not that any system is flawless - its just that most games center around role play, where as D&D, esp. 4th ed., is just the original Chainmail with a smattering of Warhammer streamlined with pretty pictures added; I played a game on Friday night with some friends and all I did was roll dice with "Hit" or "Miss repeated constantly by the other players and GM alike ("We have to get through 4 encounters tonight, besides there's nothing to role play anyways - I almost fell asleep and this sentence is total run-on but that's okay :D).
New systems also provide a wealth of material for using in any of your games, regardless of the system you decide to stick with, as well as if you are designing your own system. Personally, I tend to use a repeating cycle of GURPS, White Wolf, Call of Cthulhu, Rifts, and some indie RPGs (Prime Time Adventures and Don't Rest Your Head specifically). I do have some d20 material, such as the Thieves World setting from Green Ronin, but I use that for the world and make characters in a different system.
Some people do actually do some great things with d20 (even D&D 3.5 to some extent), and I have to throw that in the mix.
Nevertheless, there are so many other rewarding and more enjoyable systems out there (especially considering the advent of 4th ed. D&D).
Even if you eventually decide that d20 or 4E is your favorite, nothing but good can come from learning to enjoy more options. You'll be a far better GM for it.ReplyDelete
I also *strongly* encourage you to try some of the newer collaborative roleplaying games out there. You really haven't seen all there is to see until you're tried some of: Spirit of the Century, Dogs in the Vineyard, Primetime Adventures, My Life With Master, In A Wicked Age, Dirty Secrets...games that work in different ways from the ones you listed.ReplyDelete
John: Sounds like you've had some lousy DMs -- but then, that may be more than norm than my own experience running d20, which always tended to devolve into wedding crashing madness. Glad you've got some systems that work better for you.ReplyDelete
Viriatha: My thoughts exactly.
Tim Jensen: I am kind of curious about Dogs in the Vineyard (and all the rest) but I'd want to get the right group together. I might be able to find some people willing to try it at college, but I don't think my home group would be able to take them seriously.
I remember when I had my first "break" from D&D. It took steel wool and penance to make me play another game. Mind you, I started playing when the only game was D&D so I basically thought that nothing else mattered or was close to as good. I was wrong. There are countless awesome games out there (or at least five or six I'm sure) explore and enjoy. If you can't find anything you like and you're feeling ambitious make your own system, that's what I'm doing right now and its a lot more fun than it sounds.ReplyDelete
I know what you mean. My longest-running group of gaming friends used to be wary about 'learning a new system', but they came around. Three small press roleplaying games that I have had 100% success with are 3:16: Carnage Among the Stars, InSpectres, and In A Wicked Age. These are relatively cheap, light on the rules and can be effectively taught in under 15 minutes.ReplyDelete
Well, if you absolutely must keep one foot in kinda-sorta d20 land, I am running a Labyrinth Lord game.ReplyDelete
But otherwise, enjoy your exploration of the wider hobby. Eventually, you'll probably find something that clicks, and you and your group will wallow in it for a year or two. At least, that's been my experience with similar groups.
Jack Crow: I've had it in the back of my mind for a while to write a system for this setting I came up with a long time ago. I'd have to get the setting into game-shape first, and I've got a lot of other, easier projects at hand, but someday, I'll give in to the temptation.ReplyDelete
Tim Jensen: Oh, they'd be game to try it, I'm sure. But I have doubts about their willingness to or interest in playing the game on its own terms. That's mostly based on their reaction to the White Wolf books (enthusiastic though they were . . .) so maybe with a game where it was more obvious that the premise was the point it wouldn't be as big a deal.
Trollsmyth: You've still got spots in that? There's a part of me that's desperately curious, but I'm not 100% sure I can make a weekly game. I'd like to, and the desperately curious part of me thinks I can make the time, but I'd hate to sign on and then have to back out because things got crazy.
Yep, still spots left, and I just lost a player because their schedule wasn't quite as open as they'd thought. Life happens.ReplyDelete
As for the commitment, I'm not sure what you've got on your plate this semester, so I'll only say we'd be happy to have you, but I'll certainly understand if you can't, or if you think you can and then need to bail later. As I said, life happens.
I'm not sure what you mean when you say "I have doubts about their willingness to or interest in playing the game on its own terms." Do you mean they probably wouldn't be interested in a long term non-d20 game? Or that they insist on playing any roleplaying game as if it were d20 regardless of what the premise was or what the rules say?ReplyDelete
And we postponed our starting 'til next week.ReplyDelete
C'mon, you know you want to... ;)
Tim Jensen: The latter, more or less -- sorry I wasn't more clear, I cut out a lot of explanatory remarks from that comment. I don't know if this is a specific reaction to nWoD games and their ideas about the people who play them, or if it's something more general, but, well, they really want to do a cross-over with all the splats I've got and think my reservations are based on the mechanical difficulty in such a venture, one of them wants to play "a perfectly happy vampire, with no social or emotional problems whatsoever" and one said that Promethean would be better "without all the non-rules stuff." They're good players, and I could see how the wacky adventure game they want me to run could be a lot of fun, but I'd rather at least give the mode of play a shot.ReplyDelete
Brian: Sent you an e-mail, because dang, you had to go and put riding birds on the equipment list. Curse you!
It sounds like Wod just isn't the type of game for them. That's fine, but you may want to recruit new players and start up a second group.ReplyDelete