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-   -   Game Settings Written for the Game System vs. Generic Systems (http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=173235)

panton41 05-10-2021 06:02 AM

Game Settings Written for the Game System vs. Generic Systems
 
I've played GURPS off and on since about 1995, but recently took a break from it and got into other game systems. I came to realize that while GURPS is an excellent system, everything you play is just, well, GURPS-flavored. I also came to realize the same thing about the (very different) Fate system.

During the break from GURPS I got into the Chronicles of Darkness (aka "New" World of Darkness), Shadowrun 4th and 5th Edition FFG Star Wars RPG, Star Trek Adventures, Starfinder and Pathfinder 2Ed and realized how many of them were designed around a publisher's in-house system they used for several, often very different, settings. Which got me realizing many of the official GURPS settings really wouldn't work well in another system.

So it kind of dawned on me (rather recently) that the years I spent trying to shoehorn other system's settings into GURPS would have been better spent just learning those systems and to use GURPS for the things it does better. (Though, honestly, I think GURPS could do Shadowrun better than the actual Shadowrun system.)

Does this make sense to other people here?

Icelander 05-10-2021 06:30 AM

Re: Game Settings Written for the Game System vs. Generic Systems
 
Not really, in my experience.

GURPS lets you set dials and options for any setting metaphysics you want, so there is no reason why the system you use should flavour the setting.

Stormcrow 05-10-2021 07:06 AM

Re: Game Settings Written for the Game System vs. Generic Systems
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by panton41 (Post 2379109)
I came to realize that while GURPS is an excellent system, everything you play is just, well, GURPS-flavored. [...] Does this make sense to other people here?

I usually take descriptions of a game system's "flavor" to mean that the person is focusing more on the mechanics of the game than on the gameplay itself. Ideally, when you get comfortable with a system, the mechanics blend into the background and simply facilitate the adventure. As long as the outcomes seem appropriate to the setting, it doesn't really matter what happens behind the GM's screen or on the character sheet.

I spent a lot of time trying to streamline GURPS to suit the flighty feel of pulp adventures when I was running GURPS Tales of the Solar Patrol. I eventually realized I was wasting my time: the pulp feel was in the characters and situations, not in the stats on the character sheet or how quickly you could resolve complex situations.

If you just relax and let the game be the game, you can focus on the adventure and making the right calls to produce the outcomes that suit the feel that you want.

ericthered 05-10-2021 09:10 AM

Re: Game Settings Written for the Game System vs. Generic Systems
 
I find that game systems generally have three areas in which the "flavor" is meaningful: the combat system, the magic system (occasionally dipping into tech), and the "meta-game" or "narrative" system.



Of those three, the magic system is usually the thing that matters for a setting. The narrative systems often are about story telling style, not setting. Combat system is usually about playing the game as a game, not as a story, which doesn't do much with setting.



I often find that settings don't match their magic systems well, even when they are supposed to be made for each other. The exceptions are usually settings that match up to their systems one to one, or powered by extremely flexible systems.

David Johnston2 05-10-2021 01:02 PM

Re: Game Settings Written for the Game System vs. Generic Systems
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by panton41 (Post 2379109)
I've played GURPS off and on since about 1995, but recently took a break from it and got into other game systems. I came to realize that while GURPS is an excellent system, everything you play is just, well, GURPS-flavored. I also came to realize the same thing about the (very different) Fate system.

During the break from GURPS I got into the Chronicles of Darkness (aka "New" World of Darkness), Shadowrun 4th and 5th Edition FFG Star Wars RPG, Star Trek Adventures, Starfinder and Pathfinder 2Ed and realized how many of them were designed around a publisher's in-house system they used for several, often very different, settings. Which got me realizing many of the official GURPS settings really wouldn't work well in another system.

So it kind of dawned on me (rather recently) that the years I spent trying to shoehorn other system's settings into GURPS would have been better spent just learning those systems and to use GURPS for the things it does better. (Though, honestly, I think GURPS could do Shadowrun better than the actual Shadowrun system.)

To some extent. But on the other hand I think part of the problem is a failure to distinguish between between mechanics and setting in the first place. I have sighed in exasperation many times at people who insist on trying to import game mechanics that aren't really part of the setting. No, it is not essential or even all that useful that magic missiles not miss, that you have a sanity meter.

Then again I have wondered why people try to make GURPS totally modular when Hero System is already a thing and and if you like another game system's features there's really not much reason not to use that system with the setting, if it's a campaign entirely based in the setting. But I'll tell you right now, I would have no trouble at all running a Pathfinder game in Yrth or Madlands. Apart that from me just not liking Pathfinder or Madlands.

Which is the thing. There are a lot of game systems I do not like but could find the settings useful. Shadowrun. Space 1889. Traveller, and most notably D&D/Pathfinder. There are other settings and adventures where I just don't have the RPG. Battletech for example. A bunch of stuff that I got on Drivethru bundles. or as freebies. And there are settings that seem like a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to campaign there. So stick 'em in Infinite Worlds and then the PCs can just hop in for one mission.

Sometimes though you just need to accept that the way to play in a Maid RPG setting is with the Maid RPG.

robertsconley 05-12-2021 02:31 PM

Re: Game Settings Written for the Game System vs. Generic Systems
 
I been running my take on Judges Guild's Wilderlands of High Fantasy, the Majestic Wilderlands, for 40 years. Started with AD&D, moved on to Fantasy Hero, then wound using GURPS for two decades. Along the way I ran session and campaigns using other systems like Harnmaster, Fantasy AGE, D&D 3.X, D&D 5e, and my house ruled OD&D take, the Majestic Fantasy RPG.

My opinion from dragging my setting across these system that RPGs have three broad sections

system, advice, and lists.

The system are the mechanics about how to get something done or how something is defined. Attributes, how characters learn things, attempting a task, fighting in combat, monster statistics, etc.

The lists imparts much of the details of the RPG itself. This this can encompass, classes, skill lists, items, spells, monsters, NPC types, etc.

Advice in encompass material about how to run a campaign, play characters, create adventures along with aids like encounter table, generation tables, monster difficulty guidelines.

I have found that by altering the list and advice, one can to a great (but not inifinite) extent repurpose a given RPG for a given setting. The key is understanding what the system and what are the list.

For example in D&D 5e, using the three book the 5e system feel like how many edition D&D felt like over the years. Mishmash of various fantasy tropes mixed together into something recognized as D&D style fantasy.

Take the same system, altered the list of classes, skills, monsters, items, and repurpose feats as virtures along with some good advice with aides, you have a Middle Earth Roleplaying Game. Same system, completely different feel.

This is something I have found personally to be true when converting my GURPS Majestic Wilderlands material to use a modified version of Swords & Wizardry a classic edition clone.

The goal is not 100% fidelity but to be close enough that the original setting material works as is. While being able to use classic edition material from other sources.

thrash 05-12-2021 03:32 PM

Re: Game Settings Written for the Game System vs. Generic Systems
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by David Johnston2 (Post 2379184)
Sometimes though you just need to accept that the way to play in a Maid RPG setting is with the Maid RPG.

... or Tactical Waifu.

tshiggins 05-13-2021 08:53 AM

Re: Game Settings Written for the Game System vs. Generic Systems
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by thrash (Post 2379532)

Okay, the people of Japan have made tremendous contributions to world, but in the arts and the sciences.

However, the geekier end of Japanese popular culture sometimes qualifies as very weird.

That is all.

Varyon 05-13-2021 09:58 AM

Re: Game Settings Written for the Game System vs. Generic Systems
 
I feel most settings can be adapted fairly well to most systems, but it can take a lot of work if you're trying to maintain the "feel" of it. In DnD, a single 10th-level Fighter can wade through a small army of goblins with relative impunity, just needing to chug a potion or two afterwards for the lucky hits that got through. In DF, a roughly-comparable [250] Knight who tries that without sound tactics (primarily to keep the goblins from getting behind him/her) is probably down within a few seconds, and dead shortly thereafter, thanks to getting stabbed in the kidneys from behind (or if his armor is too good for that, some stabs to the back of the knee followed by a dagger through the eyeslit). So, if a setting is one that is designed with the expectation that mid-level adventurers can pull such feats off, either your "mid-level" adventurers need some additional points for superpowers in GURPS, or you have to adjust that part of the setting. Even ignoring the self-awareness of the characters from Order of the Stick, DnD or Pathfinder is going to match the feel of their setting better than GURPS DF would. On the other hand, another DnD-inspired setting, Goblin Slayer, would probably have its feel matched better by GURPS DF than by running it in DnD or Pathfinder.

Anthony 05-13-2021 10:46 AM

Re: Game Settings Written for the Game System vs. Generic Systems
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Varyon (Post 2379655)
I feel most settings can be adapted fairly well to most systems, but it can take a lot of work if you're trying to maintain the "feel" of it. In DnD, a single 10th-level Fighter can wade through a small army of goblins with relative impunity, just needing to chug a potion or two afterwards for the lucky hits that got through. In DF, a roughly-comparable [250] Knight who tries that without sound tactics (primarily to keep the goblins from getting behind him/her) is probably down within a few seconds, and dead shortly thereafter, thanks to getting stabbed in the kidneys from behind

This is...oft stated, but not actually true. A 10th level D&D fighter in mundane armor (say, chainmail and shield) goes down pretty fast to a horde of goblins.


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