with an existing group: how to choose a new rule system/campaign

Discussion in 'Roleplaying Games' started by Charlie D, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. Charlie D

    Charlie D Member

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    Once my campaigns get rolling things go well. But choosing a new rule system and campaign descends into complete chaos. We may even have some false starts and switch systems a few times before actually getting started.

    I think I've found a system (Warhammer) that we'll stick with for a while so this may not be a problem going forward. But for a while we kept trying new games to see what worked but actually deciding on what to play was a lot of work.

    Does anyone else have this problem? Do you have any solutions you've found that work?
     
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  2. The Butcher

    The Butcher Legendary Member

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    I’ve been there! All systems have a learning curve, though inherent complexity will dictate just how steep this curve is — and unless you’re sticking to very rules-light systems, it can get frustrating real quick, and leave the group yearning for the adroitness that comes from a more familiar ruleset.
     
  3. Shipyard Locked

    Shipyard Locked Legendary Member

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    Tell me about it. Video games have gotten so good at gently introducing gameplay elements step by step, but most tabletop RPGs still throw you head-first into the deep end of the swimming pool.

    I'm toying with Demon: The Descent right now, but the prospect of gradually introducing someone, let alone a whole group of people, to both its rules and setting is daunting.
     
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  4. Charlie D

    Charlie D Member

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    One good thing I've learned from all the madness of trying new systems is my complexity gauge. RuneQuest is too complex while Warhammer FRPG is just right. D&D 3E and 4E are too much while AD&D 2E is perfect. I also like the rule system for Mutant Year Zero and there are now a lot of RPGs out using the system. And Mongoose Traveller 2E works. Ubiquity is also an interesting system with lots of RPGs using the rules.

    I usually start with one or two shots now before trying to plunge into a full campaign. I tried this approach with RuneQuest and it saved all of us a lot of future headaches.

    So I may not have to go through this again anytime soon!

    I don't know much about Demon but I did run Hunter: the Vigil. I think starting with humans instead of monsters helped the players learn the system. Turned out the system was not our favorite, but the campaign ran for several adventures.

    Does Demon have a quickstart or pregenerated characters? A one or two shot using pregens might ease people in.
     
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  5. K_Peterson

    K_Peterson Active Member

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    I'd much rather test out a variety of new systems with one-shots or really brief campaigns than dive in for a full-length campaign and have it turn into a false start. If I'm running the campaign, I'd like to know what I'm in for before I devote a lot of time to the campaign planning.

    I run a rather small stable of systems, and a new system would have to make quite an impression on me for it to join that rotation. As a player, I'll try out just about any Rpg system. But I'm a lot more selective as a GM.
     
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  6. Shipyard Locked

    Shipyard Locked Legendary Member

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    Generally, WoD's core games have the advantage of being able to start your character as a human and have them transition into monsters, but one of demon's key appeals is also its undoing in this regard: demons were never humans. I suppose I could start the players as stigmatics (humans who have been slightly altered by exposure to the God-Machine), but I think a lot of my potential players would find it kind of lame not to be able to keep those characters when they transitioned to demon characters.

    Maybe. I've considered reducing available character options for the first session, playing out their fall, then allowing them to rebuild the same character once they've gotten the hang of things, since this is arguably workable with a demon's technomagically fluid nature.
     
  7. TristramEvans

    TristramEvans Goosebuster Moderator

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    Generally speaking in our groups the choice of rules falls entirely on the GM, so whatever they like and are comfortable with. I only once, as a player, objected to a rules system, and that was Dungeon World. After the first game I gave my criticisms, the GM agreed and we never played it again. Otherwise, for us, the system isnt as important to us as the chance to roleplay.
     
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  8. The Butcher

    The Butcher Legendary Member

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    When we played AW, transitioning from task/event resolution to the “dissociated” conflict resolution mindset took us a couple of sessions, and the presence of one player who’d already ran a PbtA game helped a bit. It’s a bit jarring at first but it works.
     
  9. TristramEvans

    TristramEvans Goosebuster Moderator

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    I don't know how big the differences are between AW and DW, but it was really only two elements that bothered me: players rolling dice for NPCs/antagonists, and the attempt to enforce improvisation on a traditional dungeon crawl in a manner that purposefully removed the point, to my mind, of the dungeon set-up. The 'moves' set-up of the system didnt really bother me at all (I've noted elsewhere I simply regard it as ''training wheels for a DM''), and one aspect of the game (XP for failure) I loved so much I stole it for my own house system. All if it could have easily been fixed to the point it wouldnt have bothered me, but in a world with hundreds of systems I like that dont need fixing, why bother was pretty much our conclusion.
     
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  10. Tommy Brownell

    Tommy Brownell Well-Known Member

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    I make a shortlist of what I'm willing to run.

    I make the group pick their favorites, in order, separate from one another (so no one influences anyone else). I tally those scores and that's what we play.

    We tend to stay on a given campaign about a year or so and move on to something else, using the same process.
     
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  11. Ladybird

    Ladybird Well-Known Member

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    What we do at the club is, a bunch of people say they're willing to run things that block (A space of about two months), then people sign up to whatever game they want for the block; our organiser keeps limits (We usually try to limit games to five plus GM), but the GM can also say that they do / don't want specific players in the game and that's taken care of too. Of course, people are also free to try and persuade GM's to run particular games that they like playing :smile:

    If you play so many systems at such a rapid pace, eventually you realise that most traditional systems are basically the same, don't really matter very much anyway because they aren't why people are at the table, and character gen always takes longer than it should.

    ---

    If I ever ran Pandemonio (Which I'd like to) I'd probably start the first session with pregen characters in a different city somewhere in the UK, wipe that city off the map in the first session with a massive supernatural incursion so that everyone has the right idea about what's going on; then start the second session with real character gen
     
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  12. Voros

    Voros Active Member

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    Not that familar with DW but in AW the player contribute to world building but from then on out it plays like a 'trad' RPG to me. Does DW really make PCs roll for enemies? In AW you roll to attack or avoid damage, failure means you take damage.

    Jason Lutes wrote an excellent DW supplement Freebooters of the Frontiers and Perilous Wilds/Deep that tweaks the rules to make DW play closer to OSR or 'trad' D&D.
     
  13. Ladybird

    Ladybird Well-Known Member

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    You're kinda, sorta, rolling for the monsters; the player rolls to resolve the entire back-and-forth of combat, and if they don't score a 10+, the enemy gets to react. Here's the hack and slash move, so you can see:

    The GM gets to decide how the enemy "attacks", of course, but by default it's the player that rolls the damage dice if they do "damage" (Not that this matters; when I ran it, I rolled for damage, because I wanted to).
     
  14. Charlie D

    Charlie D Member

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    Is it possible to have them not know all their powers to start? Slowly reveal them as part of the adventure? Then they keep their character but slowly learn all his or her powers.
     
  15. Charlie D

    Charlie D Member

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    That sounds workable. The no discussion is interesting.

    Does it ever happen that most of the group pick one game but one player really does not like that particular game? I have a player who would not play AD&D 1E but the rest of the group would for example.
     
  16. Tommy Brownell

    Tommy Brownell Well-Known Member

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    We have the understanding that you're in with the group's selection. Really, my players are *very* easy going and there are no hard "no"s from them. I could just tell them "Hey, I'm running this" and they'd all say "okay", but I do want a barometer of where their interest lies.
     
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  17. Tommy Brownell

    Tommy Brownell Well-Known Member

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    I have one VERY dominant personality in the group who is married to one of the other players, and he would - intentionally or not - turn it into a voting bloc pretty easily if we did open discussion.
     
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  18. opaopajr

    opaopajr Well-Known Member

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    I tried player surveys beforehand, and then offering my pitch (system included). It usually works well. Sometimes I can get away with just the pitch.

    I am very much a "make your offer and receive your interested audience." It often works getting active players, possibly because there is this implied notion that there's no player veto power to the system. It's an understood 'He who is willing to put in the prep and run the game gets final say on what they wanna use'. The player's veto is not expressing interest in playing.

    You must be a tight group of friends letting each other place veto power on each other's creative offerings. Feels weird to me. But I sort of appreciate that camaraderie dynamic -- from a distance. I'm of the "unsolicited creative direction is still unsolicited" view; basically being told unasked (openly or passively after the fact) what to creatively make, and not make, bristles my inspiration font.

    My biggest stumbling block is life tribulations sucking the wind out of a campaign. With enough ambient death, hardship, and sickness it's hard to keep momentum. I find it's just best to put things away until you and company are in a better headspace.

    But that's another discussion... :closed:
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
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  19. Charlie D

    Charlie D Member

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    We pretty much discuss everything openly. Part of the reason we continue to game despite all of life's challenges is that everyone is all in and has an equal say in the game. I GM so I do most of the work but having everyone all the way in keeps the momentum going and actually takes some of the pressure off of me.

    That is probably why a new campaign set up is so chaotic. Everyone is all in and committing yet again carving a bit of time away from family to play the campaign for months (family events always trump gaming of course, but we make things work). We all are invested.
     
  20. Tommy Brownell

    Tommy Brownell Well-Known Member

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    Gaming is the excuse to have a shared experience with my friends. It gets us to carve out time together (even more important now that half the group is halfway across the country, rather than gaming for its own sake and hunting up players.

    My current group is two of my best friends, one of their wives and my 14 year old son.
     
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  21. Charlie D

    Charlie D Member

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    My fourteen year old son is playing in my new Dark Sun campaign. This is the first time my fourteen year old son has tried gaming. He can't wait for the next game.
     
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  22. Tommy Brownell

    Tommy Brownell Well-Known Member

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    We've played together a few times, but I had a hard time running games for him when he was younger. This is his first full blown campaign. It's been an adjustment (me and one of my players both lack a real "filter", but we're working on it), but he adds a nice dynamic to the group.
     
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