New System creation is a lot of work…



Perhaps some background on what I am trying to accomplish is in order. I have one (or more) game setting worlds in my head that I would like to share with the world. The biggest question is how do I present it? Do I write it as system agnostic? Or Should I grab a system, commit, and write it specifically for that system? I have spoken to an actual game designer and his answer seemed to think both are good. Since I couldn’t pick a system I liked 100%, I figured I’d create one. Trouble is, now I’m spending all my time crunching numbers with system design. I’m back on the fence again. Maybe I should just pick a system? Or just go systems-less and get writing.

Game world would be late medieval gunpowder becoming common, magic common, but rooted in the four elements. Fantasy races optional. Undead are common.  Power/abilities come from birth, rather that profession.

Which way to go?


One response to “New System creation is a lot of work…

  1. Ah… I wondered if that was you there on the other side of the boat… 😀

    I’ve agonized over that same question (off and on) for several years, across several different campaign concepts, and only within the past few weeks (maybe two months) did I arrive at a conclusion. I’m going to write my setting (I’m starting with one of my maps and the “How to make a Fantasy Sandbox” article at, then see what system(s) or tweaks feel reasonable for it.

    The thought process that brought me to that decision basically boiled down to realizing that until I had a solid feel for what stories I was trying to tell, what flavor the world they were set in had, and so on and so on, trying to pick (or tweak) a system was distracting me from the real/fun stuff.

    Well, that and trying to figure out how I was going to write it (e.g., what software I’d use), which I still flip back and forth on, even now…

    Should I reach a point where I can say, with some certainty, that the setting fits best with a particular system, then I’ll work on figuring out the specifics of that marriage. If it never really “clicks,” I figure I’ll write a section for each system that I think the setting will work with, and provide details there…

    The trade-off is that I’ll have to come up with a way to classify things (spells jump readily to mind) that is generic enough to be useful in defining and describing various bits, pieces and components of the setting, that can also either be easily converted to “hard” system-values once/if a system becomes obvious, or that can be granular enough that the eventual system-determination becomes moot. For that, at least at the draft stage that I’m currently in, I’m kinda following the flexible/generic structure that FUDGE uses, though I doubt that it’ll stay that way until the end.

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