[[Other people have said stuff like this before, but I've been thinking about it a lot lately. Especially the bit at the beginning. Also, this started as a conversation about poodles.]]
Oddysey: I'm finally starting to learn my own DMing style, and it really does work better if I know what I want going into the game.
Well, ok, that's not entirely true. I couldn't articulate it until 2000.
I mean, my better games have always been marked by the fact that I was bringing so much to the game -- more than made it to the table.
I mean, for me, I have to have a clear idea of what the game is going to look like before I run it.
I can't be fumbling around in the dark.
Does that make sense?
I don't mean railroading or "writing" the game.
There are a hell of a lot of assumptions that go into running a game. And not all are always the same from game to game, even with the same group running the same system.
I mean, how often does system show up in the Henet game these days? ;)
And like Zak has said, he's played a bunch of different games now with a bunch of different people and there's just as much differentiation between the games run by different people using the same system as there is between different systems.
He's said he doesn't really notice the system much. [[note: I can't find where he said this now, otherwise I'd have linked to it]]
I think probably style of system might make a difference but I don't know that -- especially for a one-shot -- there'd be much noticeable difference between 3.5 D&D and GURPS fantasy.
And none between GURPS and M&M.
And in that case, personality mechanics might actually be good -- it'd give you some handholds to grab.
I mean, basically, it's everything that's marked mental goes, physical stays, and social depends on exactly how the switch happens and whether people know about it.
But yeah. Anyway.
Outside of specific edge cases like that, it's better just to use the system that you're comfortable with.
And I don't know, when you get right down to it, how much difference there is between 0e and GURPS besides ease-of-use.
On a campaign level, that's another matter.
And I think that's a distraction from the real work that needs to be done to figure out what you want a game to be and how to get from here to there.
You really can't get the Amber experience from any other game.
Likewise, something like Burning Wheel (or D&D 4e) that has a lot of metagame pieces is going to give you a really different experience from something where it's easier to shove that stuff into the background.
But if you're deciding between two systems that are really just random number generators that you ignore when you get a better idea...