That *New Game* Smell

They say the first step to resolving an addiction is to admit you have a problem. Well, here’s my problem: I’m addicted to new settings.

too many diceI look at new systems whether they are set in an existing RPG framework or a brand new one. I’ll look into systems and worlds whether I’m currently running and/or playing in a campaign or not. Regardless of my current circumstances, I seem to compulsively keep an eye out on other settings to check out what they are all about. This can be an obviously be an expensive addiction just between buying the various settings and finding storage space for it all.

Think I’m kidding? In the past couple of years, I have checked out the Pathfinder campaign setting, the Dragon Age campaign setting, the Mutant & Masterminds setting (and their DC spin-off), the A Song of Ice and Fire RPG and Eclipse Phase settings. (And that is just naming a few of the games I have checked out — this is actually a slower phase for me than normal.)

What I haven’t ever really figured out is what I’m looking for.

On the one hand, mining new systems for ideas is attractive to me. I may not ever use a system like Eclipse Phase, but its ideas about its setting and how to make use of reputation within a setting are full of great ideas. And it’s a similar situation with the A Song of Ice and Fire RPG — I’m not all that interested in running a Westeros-themed campaign, but the tools around building noble houses in a fantasy setting seem very useful.

But my compulsions don’t tend to stop there…

A friend (or on-line blog post) could say something that makes me curious enough to check it out the system. I believe it was Fitz’s review of FantasyCraft that made me want to check it out. Or it could be just a bit of the blurb about the setting makes me curious as to either to what the setting is like or how the rules handle something.

In the case of Dragon Age, it was a bit of both things — the setting was Dark Fantasy, which I tend to like, and I was really curious to play around with the stunt mechanics.

For Mutants & Masterminds, I bought the first book for two reasons. One, I was curious what all the hype was about. Two, since the old Marvel Superheroes RPG system that was put out by TSR, I haven’t really found a superhero RPG setting that I clicked with the rules. Given all the superhero movies that are out, I thought it might be time to check out another system for that type of genre.

At any rate, I have an addiction. And even though I’m not currently playing or running a campaign, I don’t really see an end in sight!

What attracts you to look at new systems?

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4 comments to That *New Game* Smell

  • If you enjoyed Mutants and Masterminds and you’re a fan of the Marvel TSR game, then I would recommend the ICONS RPG. It is written by Steven Kenson (creator of Mutants and Masterminds) with the old FASERIP game in mind. The traits map almost 1 to 1 (Strength and Endurance are combined in Icons) and the scale is dropped down from 1-100 to 1-10. Character creation is random. It is then modernized with a light layer of Fate style aspects.

    • Thanks for the suggestion, Bill. I had seen a bit about ICONS on Green Ronin’s website when they were developing it, but I have yet to check it out in more detail than looking at a sample encounter. I’ll have to add it to the list of things to check out at some point. 🙂

  • yeah it’s funny i used to do the same thing. i downloaded probably 30-40 full corebooks from drivethru. i found myself going thru a cycle of diminishing returns however..each one i downloaded i wasn’t really reading-just skimming it. and i was in search of a game. i found it with d&d 5e and now game every week. the complexity of play was a major drawback, i was on paizo boards for about 2 years and could never even create a character (and i had the phb).

    i just needed a primer/introduction i guess and i really got into d&d 5e (i love the rules lite system) and bought starter set and phb. and occasionally i’ll go back and read some of the other rulesystems now ..13th age has some excellent d20 tips. the rest i just use for style/setting ideas.

    • forged

      Hi Greg — Thanks for the comment. It’s great that you found a system that clicked and you are in a regular game now. It can help immensely to be able to explore a new rule system with others. For already established settings, they might have valuable experience on how to get going to running a game quickly which will help with things like character creation. If it is a new setting, at least you are learning the system together.

      I’ve been hearing good things about 5th edition from Fitz (well apart from his gripes about 0th level spells), so it is on my list to check out. I have a philosophical issue (or two) that White Wolf and Wizards of the Coast created for me, so we’ll see when my checking it out actually occurs. Commenting further on those reasons is probably a post in the future.

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I’m glad to know I’m not alone in my searching for ideas. 🙂

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