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RPG Systems: Universal vs Setting Specific?

InkSplatInkSplat 100%ed Bad Rats.Registered User regular
edited April 2010 in Critical Failures
So, I was just thinking about the benefits/drawbacks of a Universal System vs a Setting (or Genre, really) Specific system.

There are lots of really interesting systems out there, but most of them are Specific to their game--you can't just effortlessly transform D&D4e into a modern or sci-fi (though sci-fi would be easier than modern) game without quite a bit of tweaking. You can't transform Dogs in the Vineyard into an epic fantasy Dungeon Crawler.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Do you guys have a preference between the two? Do you think that 4e, for example, is better for focusing on what it does? Do you think a Universal System is inherently going to lack in more ways than it excels due simply to its scope?

Origin for Dragon Age: Inquisition Shenanigans: Inksplat776
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    nefffffffffffnefffffffffff Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    guurrrrrrps

    nefffffffffff on
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    Super NamicchiSuper Namicchi Orange County, CARegistered User regular
    edited April 2010
    i think that like any endeavor, you have to use the Right Tool For the Job, and finding the Right Tool is more tied to the genre conventions of your game and the tastes of your group.

    just because you can use Universal System X doesn't mean you should when your group likes Specific System Y better, and vice-versa.

    i know that smacks of dodgy 'go with what you feel is comfortable maaaaan' logic but i think that's really all that can be said about it

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    CrakkerjakkCrakkerjakk Registered User regular
    edited April 2010
    InkSplat wrote: »
    Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

    I don't think it's good or bad, I think it comes down to personal preference.
    InkSplat wrote: »
    Do you guys have a preference between the two?

    Generic.
    InkSplat wrote: »
    Do you think that 4e, for example, is better for focusing on what it does?

    I think 4E only works because of it's laser-like focus. When you try to use it for things aside from miniatures based tactical combat, it tends to fall to peices.
    InkSplat wrote: »
    Do you think a Universal System is inherently going to lack in more ways than it excels due simply to its scope?

    Not at all. But then, I think Generic systems still usually focus on a play style. GURPS does heroic fiction close to reality. Hero does cinematic fiction much like action movies. FATE does narrative fiction where simulationism matters less than equality of player competence. Savage Worlds does pulp.

    Anyway, my reason for preferring generic is that I like crunch, but I don't like learning new rules. So if I can find a generic with moderately high crunch that can run most of the types of games I like to play, I can chose a more detailed system than if I was learning a new system for each campaign.

    Crakkerjakk on
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