RPGs (general)

Does genre dictate system?

I’ve been thinking a lot about systems lately. I recently bought a copy of the Savage Worlds Super Powers Companion and after a preliminary look it seems like a perfect fit for this genre. This isn’t surprising though, as Savage Worlds lends itself so well to campaigns with a pulp feel.

Since its release, I’ve used Savage Worlds for a number of different games and mini-campaigns but the only games that seem to mesh well with the system are those that mix genre elements in a fast paced, action-oriented atmosphere. The same is true of other systems.

I wind up gravitating towards a particular system based on what genre I’m interesting in exploring. For fantasy, I prefer either Castles & Crusades or Labyrinth Lord; for science fiction, I prefer Traveller (big surprise); for horror I like Call of Cthulhu (though I’ve not played it in years); and for modern/spy/action or Weird West I like Savage Worlds.

For me though, these aren’t merely system preferences so much as genre-system preferences. In each case, there’s something about the game system that captures what I’m looking for in a game of that flavor. So much so, that I tend to think of these systems as my defaults for that particular genre.

How much does this factor into your own decisions in running games?

One thought on “Does genre dictate system?

  1. To me the choice of system is important for the genre I play. Some systems are better at supporting certain genres than others. So for me it is natural to choose a system, that supports a certain genre, and then I begin to add house rules to further support genre and style.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s