There are days when I feel torn apart between finding a RPG I feel truly comfortable with and writing it myself. And most of the time both goals are equally far away.
For many years I have been looking for that special game, a game I could pick up and play anytime. Sometimes I think I’ve found it, but more often than not I quickly move to the next one. There are days when I think I should “just” write that game myself, but this feat is even more daunting.
My fantasy RPG “Warrior, Rogue & Mage” has been praised by many fans and critics alike, but for me it hardly feels perfect. I am pretty sure there are hundreds of people who got more enjoyment out of this game than me. Yes, I tend to be my worst critic.
Recently I started working on a Scifi RPG – again – just to reach a point where I would rather start from scratch than carry on – again. I guess the fact that I am a perfectionist when it comes to such things doesn’t really help.
At the moment I am trying to find out what I am actually looking for. I want a game which is pretty rules-light, but which also allows interesting and varied characters. The game should also not focus on combat and have support for scifi settings.
Other Worlds and HeroQuest are at the top of my list at the moment, even though I have the feeling that I don’t fully understand how these games are supposed to work. I also looked into a few other games with strong narrative focus. I am pretty sure a lot of people will at this point recommend Fate Core which has a lot of strong points speaking for it, but it seems I am just not meant to get comfortable with it. The system Over The Edge uses also sounds awesome on paper. It seems that at the moment I am leaning towards pretty freeform systems which feature player-defined traits.
I also looked briefly into some Cortex Plus games. Leverage looks pretty cool even though I haven’t watched a single episode of the TV series. But I guess it should work for any game focused on heists. It should even be possible to hack it into a cyberpunk game. The Firefly RPG also looks pretty sweet, but I am not sure how easily hackable it is.
The thing is I am looking for a different experience in RPGs right now and I also want to find something generic or hackable enough to use it for various settings and genres – even though I would love to run a Scifi game next. Sometimes being a GM and wanna-be game designer is very hard. Especially if you are also a perfectionist of sorts.
I’m more of a game consumer than a creator, but I find a similar pull in all sorts of directions. My current riffs are The Black Hack, The Anime Hack, the D6 system (Mini Six), and the 2D20 system in which the next Star Trek game is expected. And as much as I love each of these, I still feel motivation to head off in my own direction taking elements of them all. To me, this is my hobby, especially now when I am altogether between game groups. To my wife, When I was stumped for a name for a blog I needed to start for a college class, my wife suggested the title “The Waffler”. I called it the Games Waffler, because in the end, that is what I am. I am looking forward to my next game, whatever it may be.
I worry there’s far too much “dependence” on using existing RPGs and making a few tweaks as an easier solution to create a new product. There are certain cases where an idea can easily port into an existing system, sure, but there seems to be a louder rallying cry for “use X system, don’t make your own!” And I worry this could lead to everyone missing out on something new and exciting.
If there’s nothing that screams Fate, Cortex, AW, or whatever, start from scratch.
You owe it to yourself to check out the cortex plus hackers guide. It shows how easily hackable the system is and it’s really easy at its core.
I am actually already reading it. 🙂