the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
Scott and I had a discussion last night about tabletop RPG rule systems that was both extremely frustrating and fairly enlightening. The first thing that became clear was that we had very, very different definitions of 'simple' and 'flexible' when it comes to rules systems. I don't think either of us are necessarily wrong

He adores FATE and Cortex Plus while I look at them and shudder. I prefer some sort of percentile system or GURPS that's very, very, very light on the rules/dice or, if I can get it, something diceless. I once played a game where we traded off GMs every hour, and each GM had a preferred dice system, so we changed that regularly, too, even though we had continuous plot and characters.

I think the basic problem is that he considers the rules and the manipulation of the rules to be an interesting part of the game, a way of simulating character problem solving efforts. I don't. I compared it to min-maxing during character creation. I find it mechanical rather than creative and an active impediment to the parts of the game that I'm actually interested in.

I want dice/rules to be an added factor that can make the story go in an unexpected direction from time to time. He wants dice/rules to be tools that both players and GM use shape the story into their preferred lines.

It took me a lot of effort to get Scott to understand what I was trying to say.

Scott thinks that my preferred style of play only works with long established trust between players and GM and that it's really easy to screw up. He's probably right. I'm more on the improv/collaborative writing end of things. Whatever results the dice give, the point is to come up with a cool and compelling story that everyone present is into. I know that he can run games for a lot of players who I can't really manage because I have trouble with players who aren't enthusiastic about story in the ways that I am.

For Scott, a game is flexible if the rules will allow players to put together problem solving approaches based on how the rules work, a very engineering approach. For me, it's flexible if it allows a wide range of settings, genres, character types, etc. without insisting on divisions that hem the story in.

Explaining what we each mean by 'simple' is harder and not something I'm prepared to tackle just now because my brain is turning to goo.
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