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Systems You'd Never Play after Reading Them

Gradine

Archivist
I see this is as a sister thread to the "Systems You Left after One Bad Experience" thread. Whereas that thread asks you what games you abandoned after the play left a bad taste in your mouth, this thread asks you what games you abandoned before you even started; the reading of the game just appealed so little to you.

I mean, other than the obvious examples (your F.A.T.A.L.s and what have you).

So, I love Dungeons & Dragons. I also love the base concepts of Powered by the Apocalypse. I thought Dungeon World would then be the perfect fit for me; two great tastes that taste great together, right? Wrong. This wasn't Reese's style peanut butter & chocolate; it was separated peanut oil and pure bitter cacao. It felt like the absolute wrong approach to PbtA D&D by keeping only the things that PbtA doesn't do nearly as well as D&D. I get that it has a dedicated fan base, but I also don't get it, you know?

What other RPG books have you read and thought to yourself "who could possibly what to play this?"
 
"Space: 1889"

While the basic concept of a game set in the world of HG Wells, Jules Verne, and Edgar Rice Burroughs is sound, the fact that it both creates a unique setting which is inferior to the material that inspired it in conception, and that it also has such a bare bones rules light but also procedural system that it couldn't even really explain what to do with the numbers in ordinary scenarios of play much less offer good math for your fortune tests, meant that I simply had no interest in playing it. Where it I to play it, I'd end up using a different system AND a reimagined setting, meaning that the books were offering me basically nothing.

My understand is that most people who played the game kept the setting and used a different system to run it.

"Wraith: The Oblivion"

I could probably add all the X:TheY games to this list to one extent or the other. Wraith shared in my opinion a trait with Vampire: The Masquerade in that as written and described by the books, it was a non-social RPG which probably could only be gamed as described with a single GM and a single player. Of the two, I thought Wraith was the more interesting mechanics as written offering the opportunity to explore deeply emotional content, but it was even more extreme in being an unsocial private game. The solutions players seemed to find to both VtM and WtO was to ignore the core described game and develop a political intrigue game which ultimately amounted to a Supers game with some GrimDark gloss, and might as well be a CW DC universe show for all it played out. The core idea of inner exploration of character and the tensions around having lost some essential aspects of your humanity, where never really touched on in any play I participated in (V:tM) or observed. To further the problem, WW's systems tended to subtly undermine their examples of play, and often the provided material seemed to just sigh and let customers play their twinkish political intrigue games undisturbed by the games original intentions. As such, while I have a huge admiration for many elements of W:tO, it's a game I'd just never play.

MechWarrior

I enjoyed Btech immensely back in the day. But upon reading the RPG, I immediately was struck by the fact that a game based on a futuristic wargame that gave basically no plot armor to the participants was likely to not have a survival rate that would make it much worth playing as a story game.
 

Tonguez

Adventurer
Castle Falkenstein and Deadlands were two systems I read but never got the chance to play

Agree re Space: 1889, nice concept but I couldnt get the system
 
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MechaPilot

Explorer
MechWarrior

I enjoyed Btech immensely back in the day. But upon reading the RPG, I immediately was struck by the fact that a game based on a futuristic wargame that gave basically no plot armor to the participants was likely to not have a survival rate that would make it much worth playing as a story game.
I also love Battletech.

The Mechwarrior RPG is a mess. I run the Mechwarrior RPG by replacing the entire system with the ruleset from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG. The character to wargame conversion table for piloting and gunnery skills even matches up nicely with skill levels from BtVS.
 

ccs

39th lv DM
Twilight 2000.
When I got it way back in 198whatever I simply didn't have the RL xp & knowledge to run/play near future modern military in Europe well. And the mechanics weren't any fun either.
I've re-read it a few times in the decades since & I could run it nowdays. But the mechanics are still un-fun, so why bother?

R.Talsorians Cyberpunk.
Again with the mechanics. It had all this cool equipment, especially weapons/ways to bring the destruction. But if you thought MechWarrior was bad for PC survivability don't start shooting in this game....
Wich put a real damper on anyones willingness to play it in my circles of the time.


MechWarrior.
I love the BT minis game (especially pre-clans) There's certainly enough there story wise to support an RPG. But....
1e: My God, what a mess rules wise. I knew I'd never run it.
That said, I did play in a MW1e campaign. Wich only re-enforced my opinion of its rules.
2e: Rules wise = blech. And being set after the Clans had arrived sapped the rest of the interest.

Most of the World of Darkness titles.
I can do V:TM - as long as we aren't doing "Super-Friends with Fangs".
Interest is low, but I might be able to do Hunter.
But Werewolf, Changeling, Wraith, & Mage? No. I've zero interest in even reading them, let alone playing them.

4e
I wish I'd dropped this upon reading it. Unfortunately I spent almost two years giving it its fair shot as both DM & player.
 

Aldarc

Explorer
Shadow of the Demon Lord: No matter how awesome the rules may be, I can't get past its pessimistic, bleak, grimdark setting.
 
Human Occupied Landfill, aka HoL.

"Although HoL is playable, it was meant as a satire of RPGs. The pages of the books are written by hand, and the authors freely take stabs at other popular role-playing games, particularly Vampire: The Masquerade and Dungeons & Dragons, and those who play them." --Wikipedia
 

billd91

Earl of Cornbread
Traveller: New Era - If you thought Classic Traveller and MegaTraveller were too militarized, you ain't seen nothing yet.
Traveller 5 - the big black tome - don't... just don't. Total waste of $75 for the worst organized, most propeller-headed RPG book I've ever seen
Dogs in the Vineyard - totally put off by the game's inherent milieu
Vampire - largely the same as DitV
 
DnD: 2E, 4E, 5E, PF. Yuk.

Traveller: MT, TNE, T4, T5, GURPS, T20, Traveller 2300, 2320, MgT. The mechanics are all fiddly as hell, or inferior to - or just ported from - Classic Traveller, although there are plenty of ideas to mine.

CT is the most awesome game ever, however, so there would be no point in playing any other version.

I am also opinionated.
 

Iron Sky

Adventurer
Burning Wheel - some of the concepts are brilliant and inspired, but hearing GMs who have run several campaigns in it say "I still have a hard time with combat" or "I don't even touch Duel of Wits" makes me pretty leery of giving it a go.
 

Scottius

Villager
Human Occupied Landfill, aka HoL.

"Although HoL is playable, it was meant as a satire of RPGs. The pages of the books are written by hand, and the authors freely take stabs at other popular role-playing games, particularly Vampire: The Masquerade and Dungeons & Dragons, and those who play them." --Wikipedia

My copy of HOL still sits proudly on one of my dedicated rpg bookshelves. I actually did run a one off with it one time several years back. My players really gelled with the style of humor that game presented.
 

Staffan

Explorer
Changeling: the Dreaming was this for me. Well, not in the sense of "who could possibly want to play this?", but more in the sense of "This is a game with a lot of cool ideas that I have no idea what to do with." I remember buying a copy at Lincon 1996 (convention in Linköping), and selling it at the auction at Sydcon a week later.

Also, Exalted 3e. It has many cool things in it, and looks like it fixes a lot of the problems with older versions. But the main problem originates in the fact that older editions had a really strong focus on combat charms (charms are basically magical powers you can use that let you use your skills in superhuman ways), simply because combat had detailed rules so there was lots of design space for combat charms, and not so much design space for "running a merchant empire" charms. In 3e, they fixed that by having detailed rules for everything, so they could make lots of charms for all the skills. But as a result, the game becomes extremely rules-heavy, and not for me.
 
Dogs in the Vineyard - totally put off by the game's inherent milieu
I nearly put DitV on my list as well, but I didn't because the OP specifically said "systems you'd never play". And the thing is, I can think of some games I might want to play where I'd use the system, even though I am, as you are, inherently turned off by the game's built in setting. For example, I would definitely consider running a Star Trek game with DitV's rule set or something close to it, or really any sort of game where the primary conflict was conversational, and fisticuffs, and combat were upping the stakes. DitV is one of the few Indy games that seems to me to be well designed.

And I'm going to stop there, because there are a ton of games I could add to my list, but I was afraid I would start a firestorm of controversy by writing negative reviews of them.
 

Elfcrusher

Explorer
Human Occupied Landfill, aka HoL.

"Although HoL is playable, it was meant as a satire of RPGs. The pages of the books are written by hand, and the authors freely take stabs at other popular role-playing games, particularly Vampire: The Masquerade and Dungeons & Dragons, and those who play them." --Wikipedia
HERETIC!!!

Ok, so I never actually played it, either. But it was one of the few treasured tomes I kept when I thought I was quitting RPGs (ha!) and gave away almost my whole library.
 

Arilyn

Explorer
Numenera. There is nothing wrong with the system, perfectly servicable, but I just can't get excited about the player character generation system. I'm also not fond of fantasy that is littered with ancient tech. It's usually not executed well, and I'm afraid Numenera falls into this category.
 

5ekyu

Explorer
There are do many because I enjoy reading different rpg systems and stealing the bits that seem cool.

But a few notables

Mage:The Ascension - I was z huge VtM mark and even incorporated WtA but Mage went too far into what I saw as unplayable for me.

Cypher/Numrnera: Saw dedicated stream plsy snd bought and read and nope, huh uh, not gonna. Too much of a sense of negotiation at table resolution for me to get into playing it.

STA Mophi 2d20 whatever - similar exposure to Cypher in that there was a lot of streaming, then reading and nope not for me. When the players are more excited (frequently) about the acquisition of the meta-currency than the actual "oh our characters won" then thsts not a game that has the in-character vs table-side division of focus I want. I mean, pretty sure the word momentum was actually used more than any other word - including the character or ship names.

That's just a few - and only ones I had hoped to run but then gave up on reading. There are still the ones I bought, wanted to run but never got the group who did too at the same time.
 

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