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A grand discussion of RPG rule systems

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What would you say regarding these issues:

 

 

 

- Which system offers the quickest possible play?

 

- Which system is the most complete in that it covers most of all situations that could occur?

 

-Which system offers the most realistic simulation of 'reality' ?

 

-Which is the most complex that has been made?

 

-Which system is the most innovative?

 

-Which is the worst?

 

-Which is the best for each genre?


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This is all just from personal experience, so it might be extremely limited.

 

1. (simplest) D6, most definitely. No crazy dice needed, no real dice rolls needed, everything is designed to be as intuitive as possible. It simplifies everything so that basically all movement is calculated the same, dmg, etc.

 

2. (most complete) GURPS. Designed for any setting with any weird psionic, technological, magical whatever. Tons of sourcebooks on lots of things to back it up as well.

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*This thread after 50 posts*

 

flame.sized.jpg

 

 

 

I liked SPECIAL the best of all.

 

(Why there is no category for which system you like best?)

 

(A: because then everyone would just say d20 or something and not actually discuss anything.)

Edited by Authority

This statement is false.

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One thing I've noticed (well not me but a roomie from college before I got booted) was that the Systems were set up usually so that menial tasks took as much XP/whatever to lvl up as the most complex task. Thus if you were the king Knitter of the world you couldn't fight worth crap.

 

Then there are systems based on popular books/graphic novels. Marvel, for example, made a RPG with stats for all their characters. Problem was that if you took Daredevil for a spin you couldn't do the backflip, slide down a rail, hit a guy while flipping, and land perfectly. We tried it and DD fell during the first backflip couldn't get up and promply got turned into somthing like cottage cheese.


Victor of the 5 year fan fic competition!

 

Kevin Butler will awesome your face off.

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- Which system offers the quickest possible play?

 

Probably AD&D 2e or d20. I don't like 3e, but for a GM with all new players, it might be worth considering as a first step, especially if the GM is also new to RPGs. I'd go with 2e myself, though, because I simply know it better, and 3e really isn't that much of an improvement to warrant consideration for me.

 

- Which system is the most complete in that it covers most of all situations that could occur?

 

GURPS 4e looks pretty solid to me when it comes to character creation. It's limited in some areas, but you can make exactly the character you like (unless you're completely munchkin, of course). I think Twilight 2000 had some of the more complex weapons rules that I've seen, though.

 

-Which system offers the most realistic simulation of 'reality' ?

 

Not sure, but then who really cares? GURPS is probably a competitor here, because it's not engineered toward a specific and supernatural setting like most other systems (Storyteller, 3e, etc.). Besides, good rules should compromise between fluid rules and a compelling representation of reality. It may be close to reality to spend an hour working exactly what effect a bullit wound had, but it isn't much fun. On the other hand, it doesn't serve the suspension of disbelief much when high-leveled D&D warriors can take out armies of goblins because they have ludicrous numbers of hit points, meaning that the goblins can never hope to defeat them in a fight... The ideal lies somewhere in between those extremes.

 

-Which is the most complex that has been made?

 

Not sure. GURPS and Rolemaster looked pretty advanced to me, but I'm sure there are far more complex systems out there - they just never took of, and so nobody knows them... or at least I don't.

 

-Which system is the most innovative?

 

I liked some the ideas in LUG Star Trek. A very simple system that allowed lots of potential. Too bad it went under... GURPS 4e looks good, too. The Storyteller system is also pretty good, but I don't like the way dice-rolling works there.

 

-Which is the worst?

 

d20/3e is my candidate today. Oh, okay, the first original D&D system is worse, but then that's an antequated system.

 

-Which is the best for each genre?

 

What's a can of worms, because it depends both on taste and campaign style. I liked LUG Star Trek's Icon system better than Decipher's, which seems much closer to d20 to me, but it's a matter of taste. And D&D would be difficult to imagine without a d20 die, hit points and Armor Classes.

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You can use combos of other dice and so forth, but when the dice get rolled you are always effectively talking probability. And probability is in essence always a d100. So I say cut out the middle men.

 

However, when it comes time to choose what the target is for the probability I prefer a personal system. Here you have

natural talent, which only the referee knows;

experience and training, which both know

environmental factors, such as stress injury, fatigue and personality

opponent values

 

We did come up with a formal way of combining these, but in general the ref would just consider all these points in their head and choose the target.


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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You still roll a randomiser, right? The GM doesn't just go on gut feeling whether something succeeds or not, yes?


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You still roll a randomiser, right? The GM doesn't just go on gut feeling whether something succeeds or not, yes?

 

In Sweden, there is a bunch of people playing dice-less and rule-less. The call it free form.

 

Personally I'm not a huge fan (although it can be fun at times) because I find that a character sheet help me define my character.

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Yes. There is certainly a randomiser. This makes things better for all. But in my experience most refs skew things so far that any truly random element is lost. For example, how many refs have you played with who actually let their players die if they do something stupid?

 

I was a pretty brutal ref most days, and only a few people enjoyed the sessions. Until I learned to make things clear when the players were 'safe' and 'not safe'. This was a good way to heighten tension.


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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The death of a PC should be avoided unless it is a grand and fitting death that the player can feel comfortable with as an end to a character. Being shot to death by Kobolds in a random encounter does not qualify :rolleyes:

 

 

 

Im developing a RPG rules system and Im laborating with the idea of having a highly realistic damage system without the abstraction of a HP system. When a someone is hit/shot/exposed to gas/stabbed etc. they simply roll a dice to determine the extent of the injury. the scale goes all the way up to major organ damage, such a damage in the head hitbox will result in instantaneous death.

 

The only ways to avoid being hit are the ones in IRL, to avoid combat alltogether, to take cover or to wear a vest. Moving targets are also more difficult to hit.

 

But, it is fully possible for a character to catch a bullet to the head and die on the spot in the first round of combat. Im thinking of changing how this works for PCs since such a turn of events would be detrimental to the players enjoyment of the game.

 

 

Perhaps the system is more suited to a tabletop tactical game with miniatures?


DISCLAIMER: Do not take what I write seriously unless it is clearly and in no uncertain terms, declared by me to be meant in a serious and non-humoristic manner. If there is no clear indication, asume the post is written in jest. This notification is meant very seriously and its purpouse is to avoid misunderstandings and the consequences thereof. Furthermore; I can not be held accountable for anything I write on these forums since the idea of taking serious responsability for my unserious actions, is an oxymoron in itself.

 

Important: as the following sentence contains many naughty words I warn you not to read it under any circumstances; botty, knickers, wee, erogenous zone, psychiatrist, clitoris, stockings, bosom, poetry reading, dentist, fellatio and the department of agriculture.

 

"I suppose outright stupidity and complete lack of taste could also be considered points of view. "

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Just have ye olde helmet shoppe just on the outskirts of town, before the battle zone.

 

Speaking of battle zones, I think that is a good way to help delineate "safe" and "unsafe" zones, Wals.


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Im developing a RPG rules system and Im laborating with the idea of having a highly realistic damage system without the abstraction of a HP system. When a someone is hit/shot/exposed to gas/stabbed etc. they simply roll a dice to determine the extent of the injury. the scale goes all the way up to major organ damage, such a damage in the head hitbox will result in instantaneous death.

 

This sounds a lot like Swedish fantasy RPG Eon. It has very realistic combat and even a small injury is dangerous due to the risk of being infected. And it takes a long time to heal.

 

The drawback of such rules is that they make combat very slow paced. Fights take a very long time. But if it's realism you want I think that's the price you have to pay.

 

I've played Eon a lot and think it's a pretty good system.

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I would suggest for realisticish damage you try using the battletech rules with modification. roll a die to see what part you hit then just start thinking about the size and shape of the weapon (I sincerly doubt a quarterstaff would be able to knock off a limb but it might break it. By the same token an Axe wouldn't even come close to not cutting somthing unless the person is using the flat of his blade).

 

Also one would try to put in modifiers based on the size of the weapon vs the size of the opponent (don't think a maul the size of the rock of gibralter will hit a mouse but if aimed at an army you can kiss that army goodbye).

 

SO... one should try to make their rules fit the situation but have at least some basline to work off of.


Victor of the 5 year fan fic competition!

 

Kevin Butler will awesome your face off.

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Its a modern system so it focuses primarily on gunfire, no swords or axes yet. And it asumes everyone is human. And its also not public domain, thats why I wont tell you exactly how it works even though Swedish copyright laws will protect it.

 

 

 

The key feature is that its very very quick, its percentage based d100 so youre able to get all the random figures you need from just two rolls in combat.

 

The tricky parts like damage and 'armour' are already laid out in tables that are very simple to use. The second roll determines the nature of the damage, you just look at the table and see f.ex "incapacitated- target is effectively neutralized and will require intensive medical care in 30min not to die" or "class 2 body armour will stop any bullet from a 9mm or less aimed at the chest and stomach" (its doesnt come with a 100page booklet with just tables though like certain 80s games :(" )

 

It can also be simplified if youre doing massive combat, then its like an enemy will always be incap. if you roll X or more on the damage die and so on.

 

 

Ive played both Eon and Neotech but they have nothing in common with this system. Oh, except that a gun does damage depending on the ammo used and not the gun itself, but that idea is very old.. I know I fist saw it in Wastelands(lancelot games) in the 80s

Edited by Kaftan Barlast

DISCLAIMER: Do not take what I write seriously unless it is clearly and in no uncertain terms, declared by me to be meant in a serious and non-humoristic manner. If there is no clear indication, asume the post is written in jest. This notification is meant very seriously and its purpouse is to avoid misunderstandings and the consequences thereof. Furthermore; I can not be held accountable for anything I write on these forums since the idea of taking serious responsability for my unserious actions, is an oxymoron in itself.

 

Important: as the following sentence contains many naughty words I warn you not to read it under any circumstances; botty, knickers, wee, erogenous zone, psychiatrist, clitoris, stockings, bosom, poetry reading, dentist, fellatio and the department of agriculture.

 

"I suppose outright stupidity and complete lack of taste could also be considered points of view. "

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Has anyone here ever tried to play the Aliens roleplaying game? I say tried since they never really explained how to use the pages and pages of tables. It was awesome.

 

My problem ith simple hitpoint damage systems as opposed to these more detailed ones is that you don't know what happens next. Hurting a human being is not like carving a block of soap. People bleed, people get worse over time, or better.


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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What would you say regarding these issues:

 

 

 

- Which system offers the quickest possible play?

 

 

The system that offers the quickest possible play is more than likely Atlas' Feng Shui game. It is *very* rules-lite and is one of the most liked RPGs out there for cinematic action movie style gameplay.

I would love to use this ruleset for a "Fist of the Nort Star" RPG.. Hmmm...

 

- Which system is the most complete in that it covers most of all situations that could occur?

 

 

The most complete system covering most situations would probably be good old AD&D 2nd Edition. It has had so many different sourcebooks made for it that just about every single situation and/or possibility has been covered through its ridiculous past support.

 

 

 

 

-Which is the most complex that has been made?

 

Shadowrun without a doubt. This was worse to read through than GURPS. Unneedlessly cumbersome and slow rules. Stick to Cyberspace or Cyberpunk 2020 instead.

 

 

-Which system offers the most realistic simulation of 'reality' ?

 

As has been said the most realistic simulation of reality that I've seen is both GURPS and Rolemaster. I don't think you can get much more realistic than that.

 

 

-Which system is the most innovative?

 

As far as most innovative.. This is a toughie, I don't think there truly is an innovative system out there right now. IMHO most of the major systems nowadays are almost all predominantly skill-based and use more or less the same concepts.. That being said, Feng Shui is relatively innovative for action movie style play.

 

 

-Which is the worst?

 

The worst system bar none is 3e/3.5e/d20. It is just munchkin garbage. I am biased and opinionated, I know.

 

 

-Which is the best for each genre?

 

 

The best for fantasy is still AD&D 2ndEd and I have a soft spot for OD&D. Sorry Paladium.

The best for cyberpunk are SLA Industries and Cyberspace

The best for post-apocalyptic.. Well there aren't really any good post-apolcayptic RPGs. Screw d20 Gamma World. I'd stick to a fan-made Fallout

The best superhero RPG.. Well, I am actually playing around right now between Champions and Silver Age Sentinels

The best for horror.. Lots of people love Call of Cthulhu but the rules are too simplified for me. I just prefer good old White Wolf games

I am not too familiar with the anime mecha genre but Heavy Gear looks to be decent

 

 

 

With the above being said, let me add one more question that you did not ask:

 

Which is the best system for a homebrew world?

 

I love FUZION. FUZION seems to be one of the most customizable. All the customizability of GURPS without the unnecessary complexities. My next homebrew world will more than likely utilize these rules. Not to mention that it ranks pretty high in covering most situations and genres. The online fan support for it is remarkable. And the wonderful thing about FUZION is that it is free!

Edited by Lancer

image002.gifLancer

 

 

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Which system offers the quickest possible play?

Of the games I've played, AD&D 2E might be a strong contender here. The choices available to 1st level character are pretty limited (especially if you don't use the optional "Proficiencies" or "secondary skills" rules, or any of the non-core "Player's Option" rulebooks) so you can get through character creation very quickly without new players having to learn much about the system.

 

Which system is the most complete in that it covers most of all situations that could occur?

Of the game systems I've tried, I'd have to say GURPS. The core rulebooks cover quite a bit, and there are tons of supplemental books to cover specific settings/play styles.

 

Which system offers the most realistic simulation of 'reality' ?

GURPS is a strong contender here as well, if you avoid the more fantastic supplements.

 

Which is the most complex that has been made?

That's a tough choice to make since complexity can take many different forms. Some systems have relatively simple mechanics but become complex due to the vast scope of options they allow, while others complex mechanics to try to simulate realism, while keeping the options relatively simple and limited. A general trend I've seen (especially in game systems that are/were popular, such as the various [A]D&D editions) is that the ruleset grows increasingly unmanageable as the system ages.

 

For example, the core rules of both AD&D 2E and D&D 3.5E are pretty simple once you get you've played for a little while, but if you start including all the optional rules from expansions you end up with an unnecessarily complex maze of crossreferencing between a stack of rulebooks. 2E had tons of "kits" from various "Complete Book of..." supplements, proficiencies from "Combat & Tactics", etc, and a major optional system (which could be considered 2.5E) in the "Skills & Powers" book. 3.5E has piles of books with new races, feats and prestige classes, and even new base classes.

 

Which system is the most innovative?

Many good innovations get borrowed by later game systems, so without knowing the complete history of the RPG industry it's hard to know where a particular idea first originated. I'd have to say that the original D&D game was pretty innovative in its time because it took wargaming and added a role-playing aspect to it. By modern standards though, it is very primitive. I think that the idea of a generic rulesystem that can be adapted to a wide variety of settings was a good innovation. GURPS was my first experience with such a system, but there may be other systems that came before it that I've never played. Also, moving from a strictly class oriented system to a more flexible skill oriented system is a good innovation, though again, I'm not sure where this first originated.

 

Which is the worst?

I would say that [A]D&D prior to the d20 system is probably one of the worst that I've played a significant amount. There have been other game systems that I've looked at and tried to create characters and run a short test scenario with some friends, and discovered them to be basically unplayable, but they're too bad to even bother mentioning.

 

Some things that I disliked about AD&D 2E:

1) The rule mechanics seemed rather incoherent, like a bunch of little separate sub-systems that were just thrown together.

2) The system (core rules anyway) was very class oriented. Although there were optional rules later on that changed this somewhat, I base my judgements primarily on the core rules.

3) The game mechanics for certain things (such as dual/multi-classing, and level advancement) were different for different races.

4) There were seemingly arbitrary restrictions built into the core rules (such as race/class restrictions) that should have been left to the campaign setting rather than included in the core rules.

 

Many of these problems were improved in the d20 based D&D editions. Some people dislike D&D 3.x and claim it's too "Munchkin" friendly, but I think that's much more a function of the DM allowing too many supplemental sourcebook feats and prestige classes rather than a fundamental flaw in the mechanics of the d20 system. If you keep a few simple rules in mind when you DM, D&D 3.x is no more Munchkinful than AD&D 2E (some of these rules apply to RPGs in general, some are D&D3.x specific):

1) Anything from a non-core rulebook is excluded by default. The DM may be willing to compromise on a case-by-case basis if you have a good reason why the core rules are not sufficient to represent your character's capabilities, but expect the answer to be "no" in many cases. You don't really need the "Dread Pirate" prestige class when you can already represent that with existing feats and skills (such as Leadership and Profession (sailor)) and playing the role of a pirate.

2) You can't just wander over to "Ye Olde Magick Shoppe" and buy any items you want. Most of your magic items will have to be pried from the cold dead hands of enemies that used them against you, or will be gifts for performing an exceptional service from someone. You generally have to take what you get, not choose your favorite item from the menu.

3) You can't just wander over to "Ye Olde Magick Supply Shoppe" and buy materials for any items you want. Just because you have the item creation feat, spells, levels, the gold, the time and the XP to create an item doesn't mean you just get it. The "cost of materials" gives you the average market value of those materials, it does not mean that they're available in any town or city you visit. In fact, the specifics of the materials included in that cost are generally not even listed, so it could very likely involve some kind of "quest" to obtain them rather than a gold cost. This is all at the DM's whim, so item creation feats are not a "free ticket" to being able to get exactly the items you want.

4) You can't just wander over to "Ye Olde Magick Pawn Shoppe" and sell off the excess magical loot you've found for its full (or even half). the market value. Even inexpensive magic items are too expensive for most shops to deal with. There might be shops that allow people to sell things on consignment or at auction for a cut of the price, but to have such a place where you could effectively sell off expensive magic items would require it to be in a pretty big city, or in a smaller town that was widely known as a trading post of magical items. A trader who was willing to give "instant cash trade-in" for magic items would probably offer only 1/4 or less of the market price, since he/she is taking all of the risk that it won't sell, and would need considerable profit to cover the high cost of security (locks, guards, traps etc) necessary to protect items that are valuable and highly desired by the most dangerous people in the world (adventurers).

5) Prestige classes are campaign world specific. The ones in the DMG are just examples. If there are any well known non-secretive groups in the campaign world that have prestige classes associated with them, the players may be informed of the requirements and abilities of them at the start of the campaign (and able to design their characters with the PrC in mind). Other Prestige Classes must be discovered as you play. You might not even know the PrC exists until you happen to meet the requirements by accident and are offered special training by some associated group or individual. Prestige classes are not supposed to make you more powerful than base classes, they are merely intended to give you an additional connection to the campaign setting.

6) You should learn enough about the campaign world before creating your character that you can create a character that fits it. While 3.xE doesn't have any class/race restrictions "hardcoded" into the core rules, this doesn't mean that players are free to disregard the customs of the campaign world completely. An unusual class/race combo might be fine if the player has a reasonable explanation for it, but a player should be willing to accept a DM's refusal if the character is simply unreasonable in the context of the campaign world.

 

Which is the best for each genre?

I don't really have an answer for this question, although I tend to prefer d20 based systems for more fast-paced, action oriented games, and GURPS for more realistic games. My preference is based more on the play-style I'm trying to encourage rather than the genre or setting though. d20, as well as the older [A]D&D systems tends to encourage somewhat reckless behavior by the players, especially toward lower level opponents. GURPS can be less forgiving of reckless behavior, and a bunch of NPCs with less points than a starting PC standing on balconies with loaded crossbows can present a credible threat even to a fairly skilled PC fighter.

 

-Kasoroth

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I kill reckless players regardless of level in the d20 System. in the d20 System, specifically d20 Modern, a critical hit with a shotgun will immediately drop a character into dying. Hell, a 9mm hit can drop the average character with one hit.

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I kill reckless players regardless of level in the d20 System.  in the d20 System, specifically d20 Modern, a critical hit with a shotgun will immediately drop a character into dying.  Hell, a 9mm hit can drop the average character with one hit.

 

Indeed, d20 modern is generally better than D&D for teaching reckless players a bit of humility. D&D has raise dead and resurrection spells to take away some of the teeth of such threats, and trying to deny those spells to clerics of the appropriate level tends to result in some profoundly unhappy players. I've only played d20 modern a few times and never DMed it, but I suppose its harsher rules could be adapted to a more "realistic" fantasy setting as well if you take out the modern equipment. Then a few crossbowmen on a balcony might be feared like in GURPS rather than laughed at as in D&D.

 

-Kasoroth

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When I am making a d29campaign, regardless of genre, I borrow elements from d20 Modern and and Arcana Eveolved. Both have elements that make the game feel more realistic, both in how well a character might survive a deadly attack and how he can be ripped to shreds.

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Has anyone here ever tried to play the Aliens roleplaying game? I say tried since they never really explained how to use the pages and pages of tables. It was awesome.

 

My problem ith simple hitpoint damage systems as opposed to these more detailed ones is that you don't know what happens next. Hurting a human being is not like carving a block of soap. People bleed, people get worse over time, or better.

 

Yeah i played in a alien game once, but I don't think we used the normal rules. We used phoenix comand rules, but i think that is the system that the alien rules come from so they are probably similar.

The above rules also get my vote for most complex and probably for most realistic (haven't studied them closely enough to be sure), but they seemed to be pretty focused on tactical combat and not on much else so I dunno how realistic they are for anything else...

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Has anyone here ever tried to play the Aliens roleplaying game? I say tried since they never really explained how to use the pages and pages of tables. It was awesome.

 

My problem ith simple hitpoint damage systems as opposed to these more detailed ones is that you don't know what happens next. Hurting a human being is not like carving a block of soap. People bleed, people get worse over time, or better.

 

Yeah i played in a alien game once, but I don't think we used the normal rules. We used phoenix comand rules, but i think that is the system that the alien rules come from so they are probably similar.

The above rules also get my vote for most complex and probably for most realistic (haven't studied them closely enough to be sure), but they seemed to be pretty focused on tactical combat and not on much else so I dunno how realistic they are for anything else...

 

 

Forgot entirely about this for a long while.

 

I'd agree they seemed most realistic. Which for many players helps with game immersion. If anyone'e not tried 'em, I'd recommend them.


"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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- Which system offers the quickest possible play?
I've found that quickness of getting into play from the "starting point" is more about how far detached the setting is from the real world, and the number of options in character generation, while quickness in actual play is more about how often you have to refer to the rules book.

 

Quickness of the latter kind is often desirable, IMHO. The former depends on more factors, so I'm not so sure.

 

In any case, out of the ones mentioned, d20 is the only one I've actually GMed, and I'd say it's pretty slow on both accords.

 

 

- Which system is the most complete in that it covers most of all situations that could occur?
I don't think it's desirable to have a specific rule for many specific cases. All you get is a rules bloat, which also makes a game alot slower. IMHO, it's better to have a generic resolution system applicable to any situations which aren't covered by other rules. AFAIK, none of the systems mentioned do that.

 

 

-Which system offers the most realistic simulation of 'reality' ?
I think there are two kinds of (working) "realism" approaches to RPGs

- Systems that focus on one specific situation, and tries to depict that as well as possible.

- Systems that create their own kind of "reality", encompassing the whole word in the system.

 

AFAIK, GURPS is of the 2nd kind.

 

EDIT: In any case, I don't think realism itself is very desirable of a rules system, since it doesn't itself include player choice, only the "result" of the system. As a secondary priority, it can work.

 

 

-Which is the most complex that has been made?
Does it matter?

 

 

-Which system is the most innovative?
For innovativeness these days, you'd have to look at indie-RPGs... Whether that means they're also good is up to opinion. Most commercial RPGs basically recreate the same thing, over and over again.

 

 

-Which is the worst?
I think it's more about actual play than the systems itself. Most (commercial) systems work, if you know how to use them, and what to use them for.

 

 

-Which is the best for each genre?
I don't think it's about genres, as much as it's about playing styles. Edited by MrBrown

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