Option Paralysis and the Urge to Create Something Myself

black and white dice on counter

As you may well know I own a lot of roleplaying games. At this point I can’t even say how many. My “Pen & Paper RPGs” folder which contains all the PDFs I bought are stored has currently about 104 GB and contains approximately 18.000 files. Yup, that’s quite a lot. Of course this comes with the territory. You can’t really write a blog about all kinds of roleplaying games if you aren’t a collector of said games. But there’s a problem with having access to that much material: option paralysis.

Often I find myself at the point that I want to prepare something for a game I then can propose to my friends. One of the first things I usually think about is what ruleset I want to use. Even if I restrict myself to D&D-ish fantasy roleplaying games I can choose between everything from the original Red Box to D&D 5th Edition, countless retro-clones, and more modern games like the excellent Forbidden Realms by Free League Publishing. Then there are the generic rulesets which I could adapt to a D&D-ish style of gaming. I guess you see where this is going. Since there are so many options it’s really hard for me to make up my mind.

There’s also the problem that there are certain aspects of a game I love, but I am not too excited some of the other elements. Sometimes I think it would be great if I could easily pick and choose what I like and put it together into a new ruleset matching what I had in mind at that point. But unfortunately things doesn’t work that way. Over the years I have considered writing my own game based on the d20 System. Something like Swords & Wizardry Whitebox feels like a good starting point, but it also looks like a rather daunting feat. Still I am coming back to that idea.

Rules-wise I think things shouldn’t be much more complex than Whitebox. But there are a few changes I’d love to make like getting rid of alignments, replacing races by a ancestry/heritage system like Chromatic Dungeons did it. Since I love steampunk aesthetics and the combination of technology and magic, I might want to make a few changes to available equipment, how certain classes work, perhaps even use a different magic system. My head is full of cool ideas but I can’t quite make myself to commit to one idea. Again, the same issue with option paralysis crops up.

I am sure I am not the only one struggling with that issue and I am interested to read how other people dealt with this. As always every comment is highly appreciated!