Limiting yourself to one system



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28th Level Druid Verdant Lord.
2007-11-29 06:01:51

I have been on a lot of RPG sites over the past few months as I have searched for a group and in that time I have noticed that alot of people are only interested in running/playing in one or two systems. It could be D20, GURPS, Rolemaster, WOD or only independent games.
The posts will go something like this:

"Looking for a game group on Tuesday nights from 6-10 pm. I only play games in the GURPS system or AD&D."

I am perplexed. And I have to say that I just don't understand why anyone would limit themselves in such a way (Especially when your trying to find a new group). I've tried to but it just doesn't compute. I mean, I have my favorite games/systems and ones that I am not in love with but at the end of the day, in my experience, it is the people in the group that make the game fun, not the system or even the setting. So my query to you is: Why do people limit themselves in this way? What happened in their gaming life to lead to such an outcome?

Thanks for the discussion! :)
Cypress (The Gaming Whore)

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2007-11-29 08:59:19

IMO its a matter of practicality and efficiency of time, for myself if I have to GM something I would almost always use GURPS for example because I feel I know the rules enough to run whatever setting we all want to play in that system. Once the player base is comfy with GURPS, we can easily switch settings and not loose anything. This is obviously better off for long term games obviously, where a one shot game or silly game it would be overkill.

So while Little Fears is not adapted for GURPS, its likely easier for my to do the heavy lifting and migrate those rules and their gimmicks to GURPS so my players can use them. Rather than having each player do so if they are already kosher with the system.

Also time is a big part of gaming, most adult players have a limited amount of time, so if we need to train someone on a system or a setting gimmick you need to actually take that into account as well as character creation. Many people feel they only have 'just so many' characters in them at one time and they get burned out if they have to learn a system and foster another character rapidly. People don't want to roll up characters at the table, or if they must they want concepts in email or what not before hand. Because potentially mechanics, setting massaging, and player dovetailing can take hours at times and drag down the game time of everyone.

That said, if someone was "LFG GURPS or AD&D", I see that not being so detailed and limited but rather vague, akin to 'single [person] iso fun exciting partner'. And equally you need to ask that person for clarity. What's fun and whats exciting?

Since GURPS is just a system and AD&D is a system and a genre (rather than a setting) each of them could be almost anything, I would hate to show up to a AD&D table and find out I was ambushed by Birthright. I think they mean player with limited time with knowledge and preference of GURP and AD&D.

Chummer, the Computer is your Friend
2007-11-29 16:20:42

Yep, it's a question of time management.

I'm a computer geek so I'm constantly doing something related to server maintenance (I have several domains including including blocking unwanted e-mails, configuring the firewall, and upgrading stuff.

I'm also a motorcycle rider (see for pictures :) ). So I have maintenance to do on the bikes (we have 5 between us) and heck, we go for rides too :)

Right now I'm in two games. A regular Wednesday Shadowrun 3rd game that might be ending/changing soon (the GM's wife is having a baby) and an every other Sunday Shadowrun 4th game that I'm GMing. It takes me two or three days to get familiar with the mission or update my upcoming arc.

Heck, I also have a couple of TV shows I watch pretty regularly; House and Two and a half men.

So when I want to play, I'm going to be a little selective.


Female gamer looking for more players.
2007-11-29 23:09:02

I also agree that it's about time, but at the same time, I've noticed that people tend to stick with what they're familiar with. In my experience people rarely venture outside their comfort zone. Also, some people don't like certain systems. Like D&D 3.0 or 3.5. There are some people who completely REFUSE to play third edition. They won't even try it. Me, I'm open to trying out new systems, but I'm hesitant to try the ones that seem too difficult to me. But at least I'm open to the idea.

Looking for roleplayers
2007-12-04 14:08:34

My second game, and most games after that, have been with a homebrew system. Learning new games is a pleasure, especially when playing said games, instead of only reading the books.

So I don't get it either. In fact, I have hard time understanding people who don't do some homebrewing or design. The mindset is simply alien to me.

Chummer, the Computer is your Friend
2007-12-04 15:13:57

My second game, and most games after that, have been with a homebrew system. Learning new games is a pleasure, especially when playing said games, instead of only reading the books.

So I don't get it either. In fact, I have hard time understanding people who don't do some homebrewing or design. The mindset is simply alien to me.

I'm not sure where "homebrew" came from. Sure, I houserule systems; especially ADND back in the day. I incorporated rules and changes from various books and modules. I haven't done it with Shadowrun yet only because I'm still learning it. It really wasn't part of the original question though (at least IMO).

As far as creating my own system; well I have quite a bit of other work to do. I can understand someone who devotes all his (or her) time to gaming. I did that back when I was young. Now I'm willing to just play it as it sits and if it doesn't work, I'll move on to something else. I'm somewhat invested in Shadowrun so I'll be more likely to houserule a bit than move on. But with other games, with just a single or couple of books, I don't have a problem jumping ship to the next shiny object :)


Unisystem GM and Player
2007-12-05 23:39:35

I limit myself to one system as well but that's only for games that I run. I tend to find the system works best with the kind of games I run plus of course I know the rules well. When it comes to playing though I'm much more flexible I'll give just about any system a try if the game being run using it sounds interesting.

2007-12-11 00:02:56

My wife limits herself to GURPS. Here's why: * She's not interested in learning new rules systems. She works long hours, and values her free time too much to waste it on learning game rules. * Won't tolerate less detailed resolution. * Character archetypes are for children who don't know better and people without imagination. * She HATES wading through a mass of hit points. She's walked out on games where combat has devolved into roll-fests. She vastly prefers a good hit location system and realistic damage results, even (especially) when they can be used on her character as well. * Character generation should let the player generate the character they want, while giving the GM plot hooks to use. Without advantages & disadvantages, that doesn't happen. * Games should be character driven, not equipment driven. Stuff is just stuff. It's the character that matters.

If I ask my wife to go to a non-GURPS game with me, she'll do it... once. But when the problems above occur (which takes about 5 minutes in d20), she is (thus WE are) out of there.

I should note that the Sillhouete system from DP9 suited her for a time, though the extreme shape of the die curve eventually drove her away.

Unisystem GM and Player
2007-12-12 02:37:03

You might want to have your wife check out Unisystem, it should expand her horizon a bit, and other then her having to learn an additional rule system (but not a hugely complicated monstrosity of one) it should match the rest of her expectations.

Now whether you can find any in your area that play in it or runs it is another matter, my area has quite a few Unisystem people but they don't exist everywhere. Oh and obviously Unisystem is the system that I limit myself to when I'm running games. I've played lots of other systems but I much prefer Unisystem for pretty much all the reasons your wife prefers GURPS in fact.

GURPS. Check profile for more info.
2007-12-18 22:25:00

Time management is a real issue for a lot of people these days. For myself, having a demanding job that takes a lot of my time leads to limited time on the weekends. I can only run two or three systems. In fact, I have a prospectus (List of 16 potential campaigns I give people) with two of them.

As a player I can play anything with a basic understanding because to have a good time I don't need to be able to constantly exploit the rules.

Captain HeadWound Lives!
2008-01-18 11:11:35

I don't understand this either. It may just be that I have alot of free time but even so I Like trying new systems. while getting to know the rules can suck, being able to play anything has certain advantages.

New Pathfinder campaign starting soon
2008-01-20 19:00:32

Hi! Just joined this site and saw this discussion, so I wanted to put my own two cents in. I have also noticed a strong tendency for people to stick to one or two systems, and while I can't speak for others, I can say in my case it's mostly about costs than time. I've played a number of different systems in my time, but the one I have mostly invested in is D&D 3.5 since that's what I've been running more of over the years. I have run other systems with players willing to try something new, but in the end, we couldn't afford to keep up with costs as books keep getting pumped out, and most of us had already bought into one or two games as it was. Since the majority of my players and I favored D&D 3.5, that's the one I stayed with. It's not that it's the only game system I enjoy; it's that I already own most of the books in print for it and can't really afford to buy into anything else.

— Pathfinder RPG enthusiast

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