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Systems You'd Never Play after Reading Them

Retreater

Explorer
FATE
The narrative end of the game, the attempt to codify when a GM can introduce plots and complications, it's just not my thing.

DCC and MCC
Get those weird dice, nonsensical charts, and character funnels out of here. Checks all the boxes for what I'd never want to play.

Valiant and Shadowrun Anarchy
They're Catalyst, so you know they're bad. Passing GM duties from scene-to-scene is a gimmick I don't see working in any group I've ever played with.

Dragon Age
Hate the setting. I picked up Fantasy Age and realized I don't like the rules either.

Mutants & Masterminds
I don't know which edition I picked up, but the charts for comparing size to distance to height to weight to power of a laser blast befuddled me. Also, the GURPS-like selection of powers and hindrances weren't appealing.

Shadow of the Demon Lord
Was gonna play it, but I got Warhammer Fantasy 4e before I had the chance. So why?

Starfinder
Let's add more complications of technology and confusing starship combat on top one of the most obtuse current game engines (not including Shadowrun). Hard pass.

Swords & Wizardry, Labyrinth Lord, et al OSR Games
I played them back when they were D&D. We've moved on. Thanks.

Palladium Fantasy, After the Bomb, Ninjas & Superspies, Beyond the Supernatural, Rifts, et al
They're Palladium. They're bad, poorly organized games that confuse me mostly in how they still have a following despite 1987 production values, old school design, and some of the worst game mechanics.
 

FaerieGodfather

Registered User
Palladium Fantasy, After the Bomb, Ninjas & Superspies, Beyond the Supernatural, Rifts, et al
They're Palladium. They're bad, poorly organized games that confuse me mostly in how they still have a following despite 1987 production values, old school design, and some of the worst game mechanics.
Despite agreeing with everything you've just said, I've tried and tried to run this system and I know that soon I will try again. I desperately want these games to work for me.

Bet that has something to do with why they still have that rabid fanbase.
 

MGibster

Explorer
6th Edition, which is coming up, is reportedly much streamlined, so maybe there's a chance for ya?
Maybe. The binding on my 5th edition book also started falling apart the very first time I opened it. All attempts to contact Catalyst Games was met with stony silence. I'm not sure I'm keen on giving them more money.
 

steenan

Adventurer
Exalted. I fell in love with the setting, but the system was awful - overwhelmingly complicated and completely unbalanced. I tried several different rulesets instead. Ended up running a very satisfying campaign with a Fate-based system.

Cthulhutech. The concept is inspiring, but both the rules and the setting details are bad. I'm still looking for a game that would give me the kind of experience Cthulhutech promised but couldn't deliver.

Kult. Setting was fine, but the system looked like it had nothing to do with the themes of the game. I hoped the new edition would fix it, but while they improved the game somewhat, it's still, in my eyes, not worth the effort.
 

Manbearcat

Adventurer
Any game that encourages the GM (myself) to covertly or overtly subordinate player decision-points or action resolution mechanics (and through it the integrity of player decision points) to their personal conception of what play trajectory should look like. So much of late 80s through mid 90s TTRPG design.

I’ve run many of these games or sat in on them, so it’s probably too late for that.
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
FATE
The narrative end of the game, the attempt to codify when a GM can introduce plots and complications, it's just not my thing.

DCC and MCC
Get those weird dice, nonsensical charts, and character funnels out of here. Checks all the boxes for what I'd never want to play.

Valiant and Shadowrun Anarchy
They're Catalyst, so you know they're bad. Passing GM duties from scene-to-scene is a gimmick I don't see working in any group I've ever played with.

Dragon Age
Hate the setting. I picked up Fantasy Age and realized I don't like the rules either.

Mutants & Masterminds
I don't know which edition I picked up, but the charts for comparing size to distance to height to weight to power of a laser blast befuddled me. Also, the GURPS-like selection of powers and hindrances weren't appealing.

Shadow of the Demon Lord
Was gonna play it, but I got Warhammer Fantasy 4e before I had the chance. So why?

Starfinder
Let's add more complications of technology and confusing starship combat on top one of the most obtuse current game engines (not including Shadowrun). Hard pass.

Swords & Wizardry, Labyrinth Lord, et al OSR Games
I played them back when they were D&D. We've moved on. Thanks.

Palladium Fantasy, After the Bomb, Ninjas & Superspies, Beyond the Supernatural, Rifts, et al
They're Palladium. They're bad, poorly organized games that confuse me mostly in how they still have a following despite 1987 production values, old school design, and some of the worst game mechanics.
Give it to Mikey. He reads everything!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYEXzx-TINc

I thought I'd add Microlite20 to my list. Not because of the super-elegant monster stat blocks:
[Hill Giant
HD 12d8+48 (102 hp) AC 20 Greatclub +16
(2d8+10) or rock +8 (2d6+7)]
Not due to the typeface and art, which actually do evoke some "what's this D&D thing?" wonder. Not because it gets rid of the who-wins-on-a-tie ambiguity. And definitely not because of the super-accessible homepage and hoop-free downloads. (That cave-ladder banner is oddly creepy.)

Mostly because I already know how to play full-blown d20, and I wrote a different lite-game towards which I'm biased. Also, casters pay for spells in hit points? Ouch!
 

pming

Explorer
Hiya!

Eclipse Phase. Man...jumped on the boat back when it was just a PDF. Read this and that, always found the idea and setting fascinating...but a bit..."disjointed". Then got the hardback, screen, and a couple other books. Tried to make a character. Tried being the operative word. It's not that it was 'hard', it's just that I hate skill systems that have skills that modify abilities which modify skills which give you a bonus skills which modifies a skill you had which increases which gives you another +1 to some other skill you already had...it's like a freaking spiderweb of interconnected bonuses! Made my head spin. I want to make a PC. I don't care how "accurate" it is...I just want it to work with the system.

HERO System. VERY interested in playing this one day! I "over-splurged" months and months ago and dropped about $1100 on a swack ton of printed books (thick buggers!...shipping to the Yukon was...uh..."expensive"...). Picked up pretty much 'everything' and multiple core books (I think x4 of every one of them; 6e, but some 5e stuff like the Fantasy HERO and whatnot). My imagination starts working overtime on all the cool settings and campaigns I could run! But, like Eclipse Phase, the points can get cumbersome. Not too bad...but honestly? A very little thing just bugs the crap outta me! ...seeing the points cost on the character/npc/monster sheet or write-up! :mad: I'm slowly creating my own sheets, but man...I have so much STUFF for it! May have bit off more than I can chew with this system...

Arcana Evolved. Yeah, that one by that Monte guy. ;) Absolutely LOVE the the classes, the races, and many of the rules adjustments. Alas...it's 3.e base...and, seriously, ick. 🤢 All the freaking bonuses and penalties and numbers escalating to the point that rolling a d20 is just a formality. Rolling d20 to beat a DC 27 when you have +38 is, well, pointless...and making an attack when you have a +18 bonus...but your opponent has AC 40 and 600hp...wtf is the point? It's all the flaws of the d20 system, but turned up to 11. If I ever do run a game of this...pretty sure I'm going to use either 5e or BECMI. Or maybe some game that has nothing, or virtually nothing, to do with the "D&D" systems (like, say, Masterbook, Dominion Rules, or Rolemaster).

I would put Pathfinder 2 on that list...but it's not going to grace/foul my bookshelves! (Don't ask...It's just, well...just no).

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

John Dallman

Villager
Victoriana, first edition. The combination of confusion and bad research made reading it an exercise in disbelief. I donated it to an auction shortly thereafter.

I have never managed to read Aria, but have kept it because it has grand ambitions, and someday I might get somewhere with it.
 

aramis erak

Explorer
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.
I've run a few campaigns of BW. It works. Fight and Duel of Wits are, functionally, options, but I've had no problems using them other than session length.

I've never read 7th Sea but I see others gushing about it, enough that it's on my list of "want to try" games. I'll take this as a warning though. Any specifics you can share about why it didn't work?
2e fails on many levels - the most obvious of which is the dice handling time. John desperately needs a translator - his more recent writings need to be migrated to intelligible english. He also used a hard to read font.

Spending successes, especially as few as you get, across a scene doesn't appeal to me.

1E fails on a different set. The mechanics are essentially the same as L5R, but getting rid of 4 of the 9 attributes. The character gen is poorly worded, and the setting has one huge issue that made for a less than fun bit of explanations to my friends... "No St. Paul. The Gnostics won at Nicea." This results in the improbable hierarchical Gnostic Christian church...

For my agnostic and athiest friends, too religious a game.
For my religious friends, an offensive religion.
Most of my pagan friends found it to historical in tone.
Many of all three categories found it too ahistorical.

In other words, setting wise


ElfQuest
Rules were similar to RuneQuest/BRP, but the setting was just missing so much... like starting equipment. Did you just pick what you wanted or only what the GM gave you? Of course, there were no guidelines for the GM to use to decide what to give you. It was written for fans of the comic book, so they could re-live the adventures of the comic book characters. It was not a stand-alone game or setting.
I found it immanently playable. 1 weapon of each type skilled in. one reasonable item. Make or find the rest in play. Same as with most ‎BRP games. It lead be to the comics, not the comics to it.

Twilight 2000
Always loved the concept, but, back when it came out just never had enough meat to actually use.
I found all three editions playable. Now, 2013? total dog.

Plenty of material in both the 1.0 and 2.0 cores to run. 2.2 was, except for the task mechanic, the same game.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Moderator
Staff member
HERO System. VERY interested in playing this one day! I "over-splurged" months and months ago and dropped about $1100 on a swack ton of printed books (thick buggers!...shipping to the Yukon was...uh..."expensive"...). Picked up pretty much 'everything' and multiple core books (I think x4 of every one of them; 6e, but some 5e stuff like the Fantasy HERO and whatnot). My imagination starts working overtime on all the cool settings and campaigns I could run! But, like Eclipse Phase, the points can get cumbersome. Not too bad...but honestly? A very little thing just bugs the crap outta me! ...seeing the points cost on the character/npc/monster sheet or write-up! :mad: I'm slowly creating my own sheets, but man...I have so much STUFF for it! May have bit off more than I can chew with this system...

^_^

Paul L. Ming
As a megafan and frequent* HERO player, I eventually made a spreadsheet for making characters. Much like PC creation itself, it was time consuming to set up, but once created, was a breeze. Definitely a time saver when calculating build point costs. I designed mine to show the costs, which is helpful but not necessary.

Alas, the program I used stopped being supported by Microsoft a decade + ago, and no longer runs on any Mac post-OS9.

One of these days, I’ll replicate my efforts...



* well, at one point in my life
 

Aldarc

Adventurer
and the setting has one huge issue that made for a less than fun bit of explanations to my friends... "No St. Paul. The Gnostics won at Nicea." This results in the improbable hierarchical Gnostic Christian church...

For my agnostic and athiest friends, too religious a game.
For my religious friends, an offensive religion.
Most of my pagan friends found it to historical in tone.
Many of all three categories found it too ahistorical.

In other words, setting wise
In other words, the 7th Sea setting falls into the Uncanny Valley of Earth-based settings.
 

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