Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What's on the tip of your brain?

Simple question today. Imagine you're not in front of your computer reading stupid gaming blogs, you're not looking at your shelf full of game crap, nor are you talking to your gaming buddies. You're doing something totally non-game related when you have an idle thought about role-playing games. Even if your thought has nothing to do with game mechanics, assume there's an implied game where the thought makes more sense with in the context of game X rather than game Y or Z. What system(s) are you most likely to be thinking of?

Personally, almost all of my random thoughts about RPGs can be filed under D&D, Encounter Critical or Traveller. That's just three systems, assuming you look at something like Mutant Future as a special case of the general field of D&D. Which I do. I'm curious if others get sudden inspirations about a wider range of games. Doc Rotwang! strikes me as being a likely candidate in this regard. Does anybody ever have unbidden thoughts about games they haven't played, read, discussed or otherwise thought about in years? I played one brief Shadowrun campaign when the game first came out and have never thought about it since unless someone us brought it up.

43 comments:

  1. Shadowrun or Jovian Chronicles. Probably Jovian Chronicles these days.

    Which shows where my mind is when it's not working on D&Disms, I suppose ;3

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  2. My brain always goes to Moldvay D&D or Talislanta. Keep in mind, I've never had an opportunity to run or play Tal, but it is the game that often comes to mind regardless.

    After that, Savage Worlds and Risus roll in there: two of the hard hitting go-to systems in my collection.

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  3. I don't have a game that I think of.

    No, seriously. It's definitely not D&D, I can tell you that much. That's part of my problem, and a big reason why I keep buying RPG after RPG.

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  4. My unbidden game thoughts are almost always Hero/Champs related or World of Darkness... but WOD is more (to me) a setting or environment than an actual system.

    I get other random ideas every now and then. The Dude gets them all the time. For ALL kinds of systems.... It's most annoying when trying to have an actual conversation with him.

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  5. Ideas for D&D, Gamma World, Encounter Critical, Mazes & Minotaurs and Marvel Superheroes in both its chart-based and card-based incarnations often pop to mind, though my time is really limited so my actual play ends up being D&D. Though my random thoughts usually end up falling into my D&D game in some mutilated form.

    Right now I'm feeling the itch for pulp sci-fi, which usually leads me to Star Frontiers, but for some reason that just isn't exciting me. I'm toying with the idea of doing up a one-shot pulp sci-fi game using one of the Marvel rulesets. If only I had time to run it...

    (Funny enough, I rarely think of using the Marvel rules to run an actual Marvel game. Most of my campaign ideas for MSH are actually set in the DC universe or in my own setting.)

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  6. GURPS, D&D, Harnmaster, Traveller (various editions), and HERO.

    Those are my big 5 that I think about when trying to adapt something. GURPS & Traveller for Sci-Fi. GURPS, D&D, Harnmaster, and HERO for fantasy. Although I think about GURPS & D&D more than Harnmaster or Traveller.

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  7. Most likely 4e, since that's what I'm running. For the longest time it was tri-stat dX, back when I ran that.

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  8. Usually in terms of B/X-LL, especially house rules and tweaks.

    Savage Worlds or WFRP (2nd, not the new one) are also popular among the voices in my head.

    Occasionally I'll get an extra creepy/horror idea that doesn't fit a WFRP and think in terms of CoC (BRP 5th).

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  9. Settembrini8:33 AM

    I could write pages about that subject. Sometime in the future, we´ll meet over some beverage and discuss this.

    Short answer: Traveller, BattleTech, D&D; in varying orders.

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  10. True 20, S&W white box, and BASH. Lots of BASH thinking right now because I'm gearing up for a supers game.

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  11. I only get those kind of thoughts ;)

    I'm pretty much in the same state as blizack. Ideas for D&D (or other traditional medieval fantasy rpgs) rarely occur to me and when they do they end up mutating into something else.

    I don't tend to think about mechanics so much as ideas for settings, creatures, characters, traps, vehicles, plots, etc. However, I view each with each own distinct style and flavor so an idea for Star Trek may or may not necessarily work for Traveller in my mind.

    Just recently (within the last two weeks) I've had the exact experience you describe for Ars Magica, Changeling: The Dreaming, Faery's Tale Deluxe, Mekton, Shadowrun, Star Trek, Star Wars, Teenagers from Outer Space and Traveller just to name a few.

    I also have a pretty bad case of ADD it would seem.

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  12. Depends on what I'm doing. If it's for a traditional fantasy game I tend to think in AD&D 2e or 3e terms. If it's modern, OWOD or Shadowrun(the latter if anime inspired), and for futuristic/scifi games I tend to think in terms of Alternity.

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  13. Probably Cinematic Unisystem or GURPS.

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  14. well, usually it's Tunnels & Trolls, 1e AD&D, or Rolemaster - but more often than not the stat thoughts bubbling up out of nowhere tend to be 'game neutral' things - lists of colors, material types, etc - ideas for things that can be applied to various things

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  15. I'd say Labarynth Lord / Mutant Future or Spellcraft & Swordplay is probably the most common for me. MF is my go to system these days, but I've just finished up a Changeling the Lost game using S&S as the core rules and I've had a vission of a cyberpunk S&S kicking around for months now.

    The Pleistocene BECMI /MF mod my fiance and I have been working on probably occupies more random thought time then any other game right now, but since it is not done I don't think it counts.

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  16. Wait...just got some more...for Call of Cthulhu, Doom & Cookies, Ghostbusters/InSpectres, Monsters and Other Childish Things, Mutant Future, and the secret UFO/Sci-Fi/Anime/Superhero?Horror game I've been toying around with.

    Damn, its creativity overload...Make it stop!!!

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  17. Generally Savage Worlds.

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  18. oWOD. Usually, if an idea requires something a tad more system-specific, it's Vampire or Mage.
    Mage in particular when I get an idea from watching a movie or something.

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  19. Hmmm... If I have a cool modern idea, I usually defaul to "How would this work in CP2020?", although I've also been thinking lately of, "What would Twilight:2000 do?". If it's sci-fi, I sty to fit it into Star Wars terms, although I also idly consider Traveller. If it's weird, I immediately think Unknown Armies, then usualy discard that idea as too complicated, and default to Call of C'Thulhu.

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  20. The gamer cells within my brain must've atrophied for these days I'm more likely to have a passing idea and to think, "Gee, that'd make a swell comic strip," than to consider the idea in game terms.

    Still, if I do exercise a gamer cell or two, it's within terms of Dungeons and Dragons, GURPS, or old school West End D6, as in Ghostbusters or Star Wars. (I'm a sucker for those SW character type write-ups and I loved drafting intro scripts).

    Interestingly, I played many a Palladium game in my day but can't recall the last time I considered an idea in those terms.

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  21. In order of probability:
    1. B/X D&D
    2. 2E AD&D
    3. 4E D&D
    4. Barbarians of Lemuria
    5. T&T

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  22. My unbidden RPG thoughts are almost all D&D-related, and lately almost exclusively OD&D related as I take the original rules and build upon them to make up the simple, basic framework of the campaign I'm getting ready to run.

    There's some room for Call of Cthulhu thoughts from time to time, though, and very occasionally a notion about WEG Star Wars- which I only ran once, in the mid-to-late 90s.

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  23. I'm not sure if this is exactly what you're looking for, but for the longest time I found that all my games were turning into Call of Cthulhu, whatever they were originally.

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  24. Anonymous12:13 PM

    D&D or Traveller, occasionally BRP.

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  25. Either WFRP, Call of Cthulhu or Cthulhu Dark Ages. Sometimes I'll get a more general idea that would have to use a hack of BRP, and very rarely I get an idea for OD&D

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  26. It really depends on genre or even sub-genre. The closest I have to a default, I guess, is BRP.

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  27. Anonymous12:48 PM

    Usually either as an entry in a 1E D&D table (they just had so many of them!) or else trying to describe it with an elegant rule.

    If it's a thought about a rule I already know, maybe I just compare it to what I've already seen. Or I try to reconcile the rule or table with the reality to see if the rule or table holds up. And if I have some paper I'll write it down so I can do a little tinkering when I get home.

    Mostly I encounter something that's not system-specific. I have a great big scraps file on my flash drive where I write up interesting little festivals, foods, cultural practices, places, professions, names, etc.

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  28. 1) Rolemaster/MERP - I think of most fantasy games in terms of these. We played a LOT of Rolemaster back in the day.

    2) Top Secret S/I - It just worked for me for modern games.

    3) The Atlantean System (The Arcanum, The Lexicon, and The Bestiary) - My all-time favorite game system...sometimes, it just pops into my head.

    4) TSR's Conan RPG - though II just really loved that table...though we only played it a bit.

    5) Age of Heroes - Probably the most random of these as I've never played it (though I will be conducting a playtest soon), I really liked Gleichman's design notes....I think they should be required of all games.

    ~AoB

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  29. Anonymous1:27 PM

    1) Rolemaster/MERP - I think of most fantasy games in terms of these. We played a LOT of Rolemaster back in the day.

    2) Top Secret S/I - It just worked for me for modern games.

    3) The Atlantean System (The Arcanum, The Lexicon, and The Bestiary) - My all-time favorite game system...sometimes, it just pops into my head.

    4) TSR's Conan RPG - though II just really loved that table...though we only played it a bit.

    5) Age of Heroes - Probably the most random of these as I've never played it (though I will be conducting a playtest soon), I really liked Gleichman's design notes....I think they should be required of all games.

    ~AoB

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  30. Can the gamers imagine and think beyond the gaming characters?even oif role play?Well I love the warcraft characyers.

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  31. For me, lately it's been Cinematic Unisystem, Encounter Critical, 0e D&D, Savage Worlds and various and sundry games otherwise.

    Then there are the shows, books and YouTube videos that make me say "That would rock in Lords of Creation."

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  32. Anonymous5:00 PM

    My waking (and sleeping) hours are a constant mix of The Atlantean System, vs. Monster, D&D and the simulacrums (a mishmash there), Deadlands/Savage Worlds, Call of Cthulhu and a bit of Hollow Earth Expedition.
    Daydreams, dreaming through life and nightmares are usually somewhat interchangeable.

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  33. Idle RPG thoughts oft' run to media hacks & conversions... and so the systems that come to mind are Risus* from S. John Ross and Chaosium's BRP**.

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  34. > You're doing something totally non-game related

    Um, huh? You've lost me. What do mean "non-game related". :)

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  35. When it's not D&D, it's generally Heavy Gear, The Fantasy Trip, or Street Fighter: The Storytelling Game.

    Rich

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  36. I was at a motorcycle dealership, checking out the armored jackets, idly wondering what armor class they were.

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  37. Crap on a crap cracker, Jeff -- you know me quite well, don't you?

    When random game-related thoughts zip to the front of the queue (and they do this a lot -- I probably think about gaming more than I do about sex. HOLY COW! NO ONE WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT THAT!), the system I think of first is likely to be one of dozens.

    Yes, literally. Dozens.

    Just today, I was going somewhere with my wife, and she was listening to a Loreena McKennit CD. The song mentioned a highwayman, and I said, out loud: "All of a sudden, I wanna play 7th Sea)".

    I haven't even looked at those books in months.

    Walking towards the grocery store, we passed a local print shop and it occurred to me that I probably ought to get my Marvel Super Heroes stuff printed up some time. (Why MSH? Probably because I was thinking of ZeFRS yesterday, for no good reason.)

    Later, when we got home, I jumped into the shower, and I suddenly started to think about optional rules for playing Risus with a serious bent -- a train of thought which led me to think, "Gee, just use Over The Edge for that."

    Oh! And whenever I see a Zorro movie on TV, I immediately think of Fading Suns.

    I do have my favorite games, of course -- who doesn't? But strangely, I'm as likely to think about HERO as I am about Theatrix or Tunnels & Trolls or Traveller

    FOR NO GOOD REASON.

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  38. I had such a thought whilst at the post office today: I was wondering if Paizo would ever consider parsing the Pathfinder RPG over to a set of sci-fi rules. I know! Crazy talk!

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  39. Richy Kay9:51 PM

    Skyrealms of Jorune.

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  40. Whatever systems I'm designing, developing, or testing at the time become the magnet for my stray gaming thoughts. This is true even if the game in question is _entirely_ inappropriate for the stray gaming thought ... my brain tries to slam that square peg into the round hole and the sad truth is this kind of insanity has provided more than its share of valuable insights :)

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  41. Pondering this post a bit more, I had a tangential realization that my experience with GURPS is not unlike my experience with LEGO. That is, the building is a signficant part, even the whole, of play.

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  42. marko2:24 PM

    warhammer fantasy roleplay or dark heresy (depending of setting: fanatsy or sf)

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  43. 3.5 D&D (or Pathfinder), Gamma World (4th edition) or M&M. These pretty much occupy my gaming thoughts 100% of the time.

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