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People who generally stick to one (crunchy) system - why do YOU do it?


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The advantage of a crunchy system is toys to play with, the advantage of a tool-kit game is being able to use those toys with a wide range of campaign ideas.
I think I'm very with you on this part - I also have a plethora of campaign ideas; I don't think a single use system would keep me happy (and hasn't, to date). Coversely, like you, I want to not have to make up too much stuff myself; it's REALLY awesome in GURPS that a lot of stuff is premade in the other supplement books (like, I just used a lot of stuff for my upcoming SotB game from the GURPS Space pdf I got some years ago (why is it so hard to find a decently priced print copy? Why don't they do it like they did for other books with Amazon's POD service? Gah!).


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GURPS since 1991, for everything except superheroes. I'm not sure I can actually recommend it - it's like learning statutory law (there's rule, then exception, then exception to the exception, all spread out along a gazillion books - 3rd ed though, haven't looked at 4th). What can I say - I like law too.

But, since I've been running with it since forever, I can make it do pretty well everything I need, and yeah, it does run smoothly and I feel I can do pretty much everything I want with it. I've run Kult setting with GURPS for 8 years, and am currently running Eclipse Phase setting. I'm generally too lazy to learn new systems.

(For superheroes, it's DC Heroes 3rd edition, with some serious modifications. Or maybe Hero, if I ever find a gaming group who's into that particular brand of madness.)


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I'm not sure I can actually recommend it - it's like learning statutory law (there's rule, then exception, then exception to the exception, all spread out along a gazillion books - 3rd ed though, haven't looked at 4th).
The primary goal of 4e was to consolidate the disparate systems that grew organically over the lifetime of 3e into a coherent body of rules. It is mostly successful, and so there are a lot less competing, parallel systems (with the exception of magic systems, which is by design since they each handle magic in different ways).


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Yeah GURPS 4e is a lot less, errr, "organic" than 3e in that regard -- for example, I don't think there will ever be a GURPS Compendium for 4e, and that's a Good Thing. They just tightened up everything in the core systems.

Overall I really like GURPS 4e and while I don't really commit to a unique system like the OP wants to, I do have a couple of de-facto systems I often go back to, and GURPS is the main one. The good thing is that GURPS is as crunchy (or not) as you want, since you it's designed as a toolbox where you can, if you want, remove a whole bunch of stuff like hit locations or combat maneuvers or trim down the skill list or whatever. Of course it has a "lower crunch limit" so that's why I have a couple other very light/very narrative systems for one-shots/gaming with newbies/etc., but GURPS does give you a lot of mileage up and down the crunch ladder.

Interestingly enough, though, I don't overwrite setting rules with GURPS as much as I used to. Before, I was doing it because there was a lot of games with interesting settings and concepts, but with uninspired rules, rules that don't have much "special bits", or rules I don't like (hello d20). These days however I find that more games come out with rules that do have a bit of "flair" that really complements the setting, and I find myself more willing to learn their system because they're more than just "yet another task resolution mechanism".


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I have always found GURPS and Hero/Champs to be more alike than not. A matter of taste (often based upon which one you first learned).

After some time in a One System For Everything! phase, I concluded that often I find RPGs just feel better with mechanics that suit the specifics of the setting: Latin-named Forms & Techniques in Ars Magica, with Requisite Arts for complex things... Poker chips & poker deck in Deadlands' Weird West...

I am not grasping new rulesets quite as easily as once I did, but I still look at new games! Most of my group, however, is pushing back against New Systems.


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My group isn't particularly keen on new systems, and GURPS works well for what we're doing.


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I have it! In fact, I have Mythic Rome, M-Space and After the Vampire Wars as well. ALMOST beat out GURPS, but when I talked to the group about converting our current game from Genesys to another system, they voted down Mythras because we haven't played it, and GURPS they sort of know. Which i DIDN'T FIGHT, SINCE i like GURPS.
for shame! ;) but seriously, GURPS would have probably been my second choice rather than Mythras for this camp. Indeed, I could have ran it more quickly in some ways, but I do like the linear probability of the d100 vs the 3d6.

The advantage of a crunchy system is toys to play with, the advantage of a tool-kit game is being able to use those toys with a wide range of campaign ideas.
ya, i think this is it. my group got tired of swapping too, and now we just play Mythras, and this is what I run, and i'm happy with it. I need to hack it, I can hack it without a lot of changes and without a lot of breaks, and it just works.

Daz Florp Lebam

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There's something very satisfying about getting into the weeds and cruching those numbers. That's mixing metaphors, but yeah. One of my brothers is an accountant and has moved up the ladder enough that he doesn't get to crunch numbers and balance books as often as he used to, and he really misses it. Some people's brains just really like that.


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I did some crunchy games bitd, I do no more.
Why did I do them?
Clearly defined rules, usually. That's clear limits (well, as clear as possible) for everything and everyone.
High crunch usually comes with character customization, which I like to this day.
Why stick with one? Number-crunching gets easier after a while, you stop checking things up in the books as the learning curve flattens out.

The system our group mostly stuck to was ICE's: Rolemaster/ Spacemaster/ Cyberspace/ MERP.
Despite it being a class and level system, it is pretty flexible and hard to break IMHO.

Another crunchy system we stuck to for a while was Hero, but we ended up using it only for occasional Supers games as Fantasy Hero and Space Hero didn't turn out to be as fun as we expected.
OTOH GURPS never clicked for us, I guess my group is not of the "a system for everything" variety. I know I'm not.

As the people who liked RQ best (me included) where a minority, Basic RPG didn't get much play outside of Stormbringer or CoC.

Shadowrun 1e and 2e, instead, saw a lot of action, but that's because of the setting. You don't happen to throw grenades at Dragons with cyber-linked grenade launchers otherwise.
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Neo•Geo Fanboy
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Another HERO player here. Our group likes it because:
  • One set of basic rules for 99% of the games we play. Even if we add/subtract options, the basics are the same for all of the games. And the real basics are REALLY BASIC.
  • Speaking of options, we find that we can tune the game to be what we want/need. Our Napoleonic campaign (10 years!) skewed to realism, and thus we "switched on" options accordingly. Likewise, our Bureau 13 games were more action and fast paced, so we changed things up there. Super heroes? Star Trek? Conan? Post Apocalyptic? Pulp adventure? Space marines? Japanese samurai? Paranoia? Hell, CAVEMEN? I even did a highly stripped down HERO to run a DOOM one shot.
  • Supports theater of the mind and miniatures. Our big group needs minis (8-13 players), but we've done smaller games (3-4 players) and just did theater of the mind. Works great both ways.
  • If there's something we want/need, we can create it for the game, look in a book of pre-fabbed stuff, or check a forum.
I'm not saying HERO is right for you, but that's the perks for us. And frankly, GURPS has the same advantages. Mutants & Masterminds? Pretty much the same. And there's many other great, crunchy systems out there, although generic/effects based ones are quite nice :)
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