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What Games Should Ditch Their House Systems

Dread Moores

He/him
Validated User
Battletech, on both the tabletop minis game and the RPG side, has long been in need of a complete overhaul. The entire design philosophy behind the game is absolutely anchored in 30 year old ideas on what a wargame needs. The market has drastically changed, and the design guiding principle has largely been: "Never change enough to heavily invalidate previous product." It's stifled innovation, shut down some really strong ideas to regain market share, and absolutely had an impact on being able to bring in new players. If you want a heavily detailed, tactical wargame...you've got better options. Even with things like Alpha Strike, you're still left with having better options. Every new rules edition leaves the game in the same spot. Want to do a highly detailed game with combined arms influences and full on Tactical Operations style rules? Cool...there's better games for that. Want to do a fast playing frenetic fun-fest? Yeah, better games for that too. Want something in the middle, and just want to focus on big mecha smashing each other apart (ala the newest attempt with Battlemech Manual? Sorry, can't remember the name)? Yeah, better games for that as well.

It doesn't help that one of the strongest ways for the game to move forward *and* maintain its heavily detailed gameplay (using MegaMek) can never be anything but an unofficial fan project.

How to fix it, and with what system? I don't know the best answer there. I know what I'd want to do, but I don't know that's a very viable business option. I'd actually love to see the wargame moved to a dice pool format, using static TNs, and number of successes to determine impact. This lets all the various modifiers impact the number of dice rolled, and also allows the number of weapons to be cut down drastically. Pulse or ER lasers can simply become a mode for lasers, having their own impacts on pools and damage effects. Same goes for a lot of the various ammo types. There's been some pretty good usage examples of this in the most recent 40K RPG or even an offshoot of some of Shadowrun's own systems.

At the very least, do something with the RPG, because it has never managed to have a good edition, and that even includes Mechwarrior 2nd edition. Regardless of what the community says, that's not a good RPG. It's just the least bad version of a game system that has had nothing but terrible versions over its entire life cycle.
 

Cam Banks

Kiwi Game Designer
Validated User
Star Trek.

<snip>

I don't know what I'd use. Definitely not something combat oriented like Savage Worlds or D&D. A system more story oriented, but I'd want interesting technology interplay as well. Some of the best moments from my Fate adventures were using the brainstorm rules from Atomic Robo, I wouldn't want to lose that. Nothing too heavy like Genesys. A system the supports action as well as social conflict, but can stay out of the way when fun dramatic things happen.
Star Trek Adventures is a fairly easy game to convert to Cortex, as it's got a lot of Cortex inspired mechanics and procedures already in it. I've thought a lot about running Trek with Cortex for my local groups, it'd just be a matter of preparing some character creation materials and then largely doing mental conversions in play.

Cheers,
Cam
 

Doctor Guilty

Action Cartographer!
Validated User
Star Trek.
Amen.
I tried reading the Modiphius rules and went "why the F would I ever do it this way?"
A lot of people have suggested Atomic Robo and I think I see how, but I don't like Fate.
Far Trek comes close, but it's not quite what I want.
I might just break down and write the D6 version I've wanted for twenty-years-and-change, but it'll be a long wait.
 

VictorC

I kick trolls
Validated User
Star Trek Adventures is a fairly easy game to convert to Cortex, as it's got a lot of Cortex inspired mechanics and procedures already in it. I've thought a lot about running Trek with Cortex for my local groups, it'd just be a matter of preparing some character creation materials and then largely doing mental conversions in play.

Cheers,
Cam
Cool I was unaware Modiphius' 2D20 was inspired by Cortex. Did you get to consult?
 

Cam Banks

Kiwi Game Designer
Validated User
Cool I was unaware Modiphius' 2D20 was inspired by Cortex. Did you get to consult?
Nope, the developer is a fan of Marvel Heroic. I didn't have anything to do with the game myself.

Marvel Heroic (and other Cortex games) are inspired, in their own way, by other games, too. It's one big endless river of inspiration and influence.

Cheers,
Cam
 

Malckuss

Game Design Hobbyist
Validated User
Because to many people, Cortex isn't D&D-like enough in its expression. You can argue whether the original system is too, but moving toward something that moves farther away from that dynamic was probably a nonstarter.
I was referring to the matter that Earthdawn has dice step mechanics, and so does Cortex. Neither game feels like D&D, either, nor should they. Earthdawn may be fantasy, but it is far away from anything D&D. Earthdawn was the first game to give you an actual reason for going dungeon delving.
 

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
Validated User
I was referring to the matter that Earthdawn has dice step mechanics, and so does Cortex. Neither game feels like D&D, either, nor should they. Earthdawn may be fantasy, but it is far away from anything D&D. Earthdawn was the first game to give you an actual reason for going dungeon delving.
I'd argue its not far away from D&D at all in function; in fact, its a D&D game where the odder elements of D&D have been reified. And Cortex' compressed range wouldn't do it any favors here.
 

Rupert

Active member
Validated User
I thought Earthdawn was very D&D-like back when it came out. It just had a history for the dungeons and the nasties therein provided in the game. It has levels. It has XP via delving. It has classes. It has spells that while they aren't limited in terms of 'slots per day' are limited by your ability to link them. One thing we did like was magic weapons that could grow in power as your legend grew. Actually, we liked quite a few things about Earthdawn, but it being amazingly different from D&D wasn't one, because it wasn't.
 

Rogerd

Registered User
Validated User
Palladium RPG's just do not work with the current system.
Now they do work with Savage Worlds, or Cinematic Unisystem for lower power games.
They would become even more epic running on Diceless (Lords of Gossamer) if you want that kind of power level.
 

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
Validated User
I thought Earthdawn was very D&D-like back when it came out. It just had a history for the dungeons and the nasties therein provided in the game. It has levels. It has XP via delving. It has classes. It has spells that while they aren't limited in terms of 'slots per day' are limited by your ability to link them. One thing we did like was magic weapons that could grow in power as your legend grew. Actually, we liked quite a few things about Earthdawn, but it being amazingly different from D&D wasn't one, because it wasn't.
Same here. In fact, I'd argue that's a fairly deliberate design element.
 
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