My players mostly come from the crunchy style of play too, meaning that rules-lite is not as well-practised in my circles as I might have hoped. The added complication comes from two elements of game rules that, frankly, I like to see crunched up: magic and tech.
Yesterday I was the Mr Jekyll of rules-lite narrative play but today I am the Mr Hyde of crunchy rules.
What's a poor, maddened GM to do?
Fate versus Traveller5... and other stuff...
Yes, I am prepping a campaign for our new SF universe and proposing to use the new Fate Core rules.
Great, you say. So what's the problem?
Well... I'm also awaiting delivery of the Traveller5 rulebook. This tome of almost 700 pages contains rules for almost every conceivable detail that an SF GM might need... and quite a few that I am almost certain he won't. It's as much a trip of nostalgia and hubris to welcome this new edition of my favourite SF system into my home... but I also really rather fancy trying it out.
And then there is also the fact that Rick Priestley is proposing using a d10 based system for his forthcoming Gates of Antares tabletop wargame... and mentioned the decimalisation needed for his hoped-for RPG in the same setting. This got me thinking about the limitations of the humble d6 again, a matter that has haunted my love of Traveller for years! Frankly... he talks sense!
Ultimately, I am being torn apart by the temptations of multiple game systems... my mind wanders endlessly betwixt Fate, Traveller, HARP-SF, Hero, GURPS and myriad other games I own... and all the time the question in my mind is, "How can I make this SF campaign feel really cool?"
Do rules matter?
Some will accuse me of madness for asking this question... but, do they?
What is really needed to model a really cool SF setting?
Depends on what you want, I guess.
Fate models literary and movie/TV reality... it's a system where what matters is what makes the story move. You don't need "stats" for anything until it becomes important to the plot. Then it's turned into an aspect. Simple.
Traveller5 seeks to model a kind of future realism. Over the past N-years of development time that I've been involved with the game I've witnessed countless discussions about the relative "realism" of a given sub-system of the game. Frankly, a lot of the time, I've not cared.
And yet... sometimes, I do care.
Many things in Traveller work for me. Character creation using a story-creating game engine is attractive to me; you know, the old Term of Service in a career to gain skills and rack up the mustering out benefits. The fact that everything is scaled. The fact that I can just roll up almost anything using some tables... if I really need to.
But what is it that prevents me from really letting go and embracing this new, narrative style?
I really am not sure.
Perhaps it's the worries I have about magic over-powering the game. Or just that I really like to have a stat line for my Laser Carbine.
What's a poor, crazed GM to do?