Picking A System

I’m a huge fan of tabletop RPG’s, as many readers have probably realized. I run a weekly game using the Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition rule set with a home brew campaign and world. It’s a great creative outlet with strict time constraints. Sometimes our group isn’t going to be as full as it needs to be for the next section of the campaign. Sometimes I just don’t feel like playing a players character while their absent. In extremely rare cases, I haven’t finished preparing the next leg of the adventure to my satisfaction. When this happens I pull down one of my other systems and run a one off campaign.

Most recently, I used the Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space rule set and used a canned adventure. It was an interesting experience, as I tend to make up my own adventures, even one offs. Generally, there’s only one thing I need to ask myself when I get ready to play a new campaign, and that’s what system do I use? If I’m completely honest, I tend to fall back on GURPS fourth edition, because I know I can make whatever I need to make in that system. But that can be time consuming and requires making sheets for every little character that populates my RPG. It’s much easier to go with something I can just grab all the villains out of a manual, like D&D or The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game. But then sometimes I want to use elements from the World of Darkness system. It’s rare, but it does happen. I’m not greatly familiar with many aspects so that’s time and effort I have to put in to make the game work and run smoothly.

The three key points to think of when making a campaign are how familiar you are with the system you’re using. Not very familiar? Make a lot of time to just read through the books, especially the example portions. What is your campaign going to be about? If you’re dealing with a more combat heavy game, things like World of Darkness and Dungeons & Dragons are going to be more your speed than the more story driven Fudge Dice system from The Dresden Files RPG or Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space. And finally, is there a specific existing universe you want to play in? Doctor Who and The Dresden Files are just two of a plethora of licensed properties made into RPG’s. Others include James Bond 007 (RPG), Firefly RPG, and even Supernatural RPG. 

Now, I’ve got to cobble a game together where the characters all play as pets that are trying to keep their owner from being kidnapped.


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