Thursday 16 December 2010

Why I'm shying away from complicated RPG systems

I began to hate complicated systems years ago when I had to spend six hours creating a character for Rolemaster under the watchful eye of the GM. When the game started I was killed in the first twenty minutes - I was backstabbed by the GMs fucking NPC assassin! All that time in character creation, wading through books and choices and complicated crap that would make no difference to the character anyway and I don't even get to experience the very reason why I'm in the hobby; playing an RPG.

After that I was loathe to spend any longer than half an hour in character creation. That spread on to the rules themselves. Now I just want simplicity. I want to be able to sit at the table for a four hour session and be able to have the characters ready in the first 30 minutes, spend the next 30 minutes making sure everyone is up to speed on the basics of the mechanics and then the next three hours playing an actual game. Then we're sorted for the campaign.

I don't want complicated character advancement, either. Got points to spend? Levelled up? Right, end of session, ten minutes to spend/choose. That's that, ready for the next game.

I'm over rules - I just want to play and be played!


  1. There is no need for complicated systems. I lost interest in D&D once they began to make it more and more complex just to sell more books. I found that the slim Middle Earth RPG was all I needed. A good gamemaster does the rest.

  2. Ooooooooooooooooooooh. I think it depends on what you feel like. I want system to exist for me to game against - I want the system to support me and allow me to manipulate it in clever ways. I also want a system to provide surprise and choice. The simpler the system, the fewer combinations you get. I think there is a sweet spot for a given session and player group. Of an evening, I do like something quite lite but if I am running a campaign, players want something more from the system,