Discussion: Do you prefer genre-specific or generic RPG rules?
After seeing another listing for a new generic RPG system (generic in this use is referring to those that do not come with a setting built in, since I know you can technically take any RPG and make it ‘generic’, which the community does all the time) I got to thinking about trying to figure out why I had never been particularly interested in generic RPG rule sets. I mean, I like reading them, and I don’t imagine I would have any trouble stretching most of them to do whatever I need them to do, but I haven’t seriously looked a generic system since GURPS, which was – I believe – the third RPG that I ever played after AD&D and Shadowrun 2e (after I wrote this, I realized that Savage Worlds has actually been a more recent example for me). There’s just something about an RPG book that is built around trying to emulate a specific setting or genre, often the more obscure or fascinating the better. Durance, with its emphasis on playing out the power struggles on a prison colony, and Wild World Wrestling, which is – you know – a wrestling RPG are two that come to mind. I’ve not gotten to check out The One Ring yet (still), but it appears to be a good example of this as well. That is not to say I don’t like seeing how people take an existing system to a new genre (including most of the games that have adapted FATE, ORE, or Savage Worlds in some way) and I even enjoy trying to stretch those systems as an exercise, to learn more about how they work. But the real thrill for me is seeing how a new system plays out and how it tries to accomplish whatever goals it might have. I think part of it, for me, is there is no surprise is modding a game myself (although, again, it is something that I find interesting in its own right) and I find that generic rule sets rarely surprise me, so I have largely stopped looking at them. Maybe I’m missing out? Of course, if you just want to play as much and as consistently as possible, a single rule set probably speeds that up as well. So, do you prefer to just use one rule set or do you like specific books for each game your going to play? Or some combination? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!