Ever used one game's mechanics to run a different game's setting? If so, what game(s), and why?

Gringnr

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Just wondering how many of you have ever paired one game's mechanics with another game's setting. If so, which games did you use for each, and why? Were you pleased with the results? Why or why not?

I haven't done any of this myself, but I'd like to. I have a couple of things I'd like to try, such as:

-Using Prime Directive 1e's Tricode System mechanics to run a game set in Traveller's Third Imperium

-Running a Classic World of Darkness scenario using the Action Table System from 1e Chill

I'd either have to alter or handwave stuff for both. For example, the Tricode System has 10 Characteristics. Traveller has 6. And there's no equivalent to Traveller's Social Standing in the Tricode System. I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to Jerry-rig something, though. I've started some rudimentary notes on creating Traveller characters using the Tricode System (Using the Tricodes' tiered Success mechanic to determine commission, promotion survival, etc), but it's just spitballing so far.

Chill did have a supplement called Creature Feature, which allowed players to take on the role of a Vampire, Werewolf, Mummy or Ghost. I was planning to use its system for more of a Hunter scenario, though. I think the Action Table System has a lot more "meat" and style than the Storyteller System (which I also like, to be clear). Alterations would have to be made, owing in no small part to the radical difference in "tone" between the two horror-themed RPGs. No Humanity score in Chill, frex. Then again, maybe a CWoD that doesn't take itself so seriously would be a welcome change of pace!

I'd love to hear what experience, if any, some of you have with this sort of gaming kit car. Or, if, like me, there are mash-ups you'd really like to do (or seen done by someone else).
 

TJS

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I've run Planescape with GURPS and Ars Magica, and briefly with Mage. Mostly because of little interest in AD&D2e amongst my gaming group at the time. Also with 4E D&D.

But Plansescape is the type of setting which warps easily to whatever system you want to play it with.
 

TristramEvans

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Um, yeah...almost everything (laugh). If I leave out simply adapting IPs to a system instead of using the "official game", there's still a pretty numerous list...

Phaserip for Call of Cthulhu, Planescape, Tribe 8. Shadowrun, and Star Frontiers
Way back in the 90s I ran Ravenloft using Shadowrun. (That was one of my favourite campaigns of all time. Shadowrun, but in the cyberpunk future of the Demiplane of Dread, rather than Earth. Strahd Industries, Azaralich Inc., SothCo. Undead Street Samurais and Dracolich Senators. That was back when I seemed to have infinite free time and really put alot of work into my game prep, I practically rewrote the entire core rulebook.)
The Window for Call of Cthulhu, Over The Edge, and Unknown Armies
Outlaws of the Water Margin for Pendragon (retaining Pendragon's Traits system)
Tribe 8 for Planescape, Changeling: The Dreaming, and Vampire: The Dark Ages
Riddle of Steel for WFRP
 

Chris Brady

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Savage Worlds for a short Eberron campaign (Did it much better than D&D 3e did) and I ran a con game of Ravenloft using Dragon Warrior before I lost the book. I tend to stick to the game systems for their specific settings, even if I have to mangle and twist them to fit, but those two were the only ones I felt were so badly designed for their system of choice.
 

finarvyn

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Back in the day I used OD&D for pretty much everything. I ran a fun Star Wars campaign by tweaking the OD&D rules. Jedi were clerics with a spell list more like magic users. Alien "monsters" are so easy to make, since you mostly just need HD and AC. I used OD&D for Barsoom and King Arthur and James Bond campaigns as well. I guess back then we didn't know that some rules sets were "supposed" to go with certain campaign styles, so we used what we had and then applied it to what we wanted. I think nowadays a lot of folks get hung up in "getting it right" instead of just having fun.
 

Mankcam

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Sometimes it is just easier to run settings with familar game mechanics, rather than try to learn a new set of rules for each setting. I also have a penchant for generic rules, so I can tinker and adjust them according to genre and setting. The trick is to add and alter a few things here and there, to make it feel like the rules fit the setting well, but with keeping the main frame of the familar mechanics.

I have ran The Hyborian Age (setting for Conan) and used BRP Mythras for the game engine instead of the Mongoose Conan D20 game. It ported across easily, and ran very well. I am familar with various BRP games over the years, and love the crunchy tactile flavour of the combat system, including hit locations, and this made it feel perfect for a grim sword & sorcery setting.
I also have the current Modiphus Conan 2D20 rules, it looks great for content, and it does have crunchy game mechanics including hit locations and such. However I don't think that these core mechanics are any better than Mythras, so I'll keep on using Mythras if I want to play any Hyborian Age games.

I'm currently using the campaigns and other inspiration from The One Ring rpg for my Middle Earth game, however I'm running it with the Fate Core mechanics. It's going great, I'm very pleased with the results, the system really allows for a lot of handwaviness in regards to how magic works in Middle Earth, and Fate's narrative emphasis allows the game feel very much like the source material.
 
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3rik

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The GM I started roleplaying with tended to GURPSify everything. We played GURPS Star Wars and GURPS Shadowrun, among other things.
 

Moonglum

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I do this constantly. I'm generally dismissive of the notion that we need or even benefit from a great diversity of mechanical rule sets (how many different ways do we really need to make a to-hit roll?), but I enjoy setting information, spells, items, etc. from a huge range of games. So, I tend to stick to just a couple of core rules sets, which I mix and match with settings at will. My favorites:
- The Fantasy Trip: Almost any fantasy or pre-modern quasi historical game that has basically realistic treatment of damage and death. For a while I used GURPs for this purpose, and I've toyed with Runequest and Pendragon as core engines, but it's been ~20 years since I turned to anything other than TFT to run this sort of game.
- Pre-3E D+D (meaning, an amalgam of more or less self consistent rules and materials from OD+D, Basic, Advanced, and OSR knock offs): Fantasy and pre-modern historical settings with unrealistic/cartoonish treatment of damage and death.
- Traveller: Space
- GURPS: modern and near future

That's pretty much it. And in terms of actual hours spent in play at the table, the first dominates and the first two represent ~90+% of my gaming over the last 20 years.

The exceptions where I'll not do this are games where the rules and setting are so perfectly matched that I can't stand to disentangle them, and I learned the rules so long ago that it's easier to just use them rather than slap something else on top. Examples include Pendragon, Gloranthan Runequest, Boot Hill and Behind Enemy Lines.
 

Gabriel

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BitD, I wrote adaptations of Robotech to both Torg and Star Wars d6 1e. I wish I still had the d6 conversion. It worked really well.

I wasn't ever able to get the broader group to accept either on a permanent basis because they weren't "Official." The players had the attitude that Kevin Siembieda's version of Robotech had to be more accurate and better than any homebrew made by scouring the animation, by virtue of Palladium Books actually having the license. Yes, I had players who stated the Beta stats in the original RPG had to be correct, because Palladium had the official license, so what was shown in the show had to be in error.

Around the turn of the millennium, I ran a short campaign that was very much in the style of Captain Harlock on the Star Trek system by Last Unicorn Games. I didn't run Star Trek because my players didn't have any interest in Star Trek, and thought being Federation officers travelling the galaxy and solving problems was gay. However, they did like the idea of travelling around the galaxy, attacking other starships, and beaming aboard to have sword and gun fights was cool. I was really wanting to use the Star Trek/Icon system at the time, so I ran a non Star Trek space pirate game.

Yeah, I know, it wasn't exactly running a different game on the Star Trek/ICON system. But I was treating the Star Trek system as a generic system for my own setting. I remember thinking at the time that ICON was a pretty neat system if you ripped out the stupid template/overlay character creation and instead used the point build system it was using under the hood.
 

Gringnr

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BitD, I wrote adaptations of Robotech to both Torg and Star Wars d6 1e. I wish I still had the d6 conversion. It worked really well.

I wasn't ever able to get the broader group to accept either on a permanent basis because they weren't "Official." The players had the attitude that Kevin Siembieda's version of Robotech had to be more accurate and better than any homebrew made by scouring the animation, by virtue of Palladium Books actually having the license. Yes, I had players who stated the Beta stats in the original RPG had to be correct, because Palladium had the official license, so what was shown in the show had to be in error.

Around the turn of the millennium, I ran a short campaign that was very much in the style of Captain Harlock on the Star Trek system by Last Unicorn Games. I didn't run Star Trek because my players didn't have any interest in Star Trek, and thought being Federation officers travelling the galaxy and solving problems was gay. However, they did like the idea of travelling around the galaxy, attacking other starships, and beaming aboard to have sword and gun fights was cool. I was really wanting to use the Star Trek/Icon system at the time, so I ran a non Star Trek space pirate game.

Yeah, I know, it wasn't exactly running a different game on the Star Trek/ICON system. But I was treating the Star Trek system as a generic system for my own setting. I remember thinking at the time that ICON was a pretty neat system if you ripped out the stupid template/overlay character creation and instead used the point build system it was using under the hood.
Yeah, that's pretty much what I'd like to do with Prime Directive's Tricode System. And Traveller's "lore" is sandboxy enought that it doesn't feel confining to me
 

Simlasa

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I've been running Rackham's Aarklash/Cadwallon setting using B/X D&D for a while... mostly because Cadwallon's system is heavily reliant on miniatures combat and that wasn't going to work at school... but I like the setting and wanted to dig into it a bit deeper.

Most of the time though, I don't use the whole thing and hardly ever run any setting as written... I'm just stripping it for parts to use with a system I know/like.
Like, I'd never run Earthdawn with its RAW... and there's lots of stuff about the setting I don't like (I'd ditch the fantasy races to start)... but the basic idea of it (post apocalypse fantasy) and its metaphysics are things I've happily stolen and built upon.
 

Baeraad

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I ran Blue Rose with Savage Worlds, since True20 is too damn fiddly to be comfortable for me to run in realtime (it works great in play-by-post, mind you, since that gives me time to look stuff up without disrupting the game). It worked pretty well as long as the game was about traveling and dealing with problems along the way. Not so much once it became about investigation... though admittedly that might be because my mystery wasn't all that great in the first place.
 

EmperorNorton

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Way back in the 90s I ran Ravenloft using Shadowrun. (That was one of my favourite campaigns of all time. Shadowrun, but in the cyberpunk future of the Demiplane of Dread, rather than Earth. Strahd Industries, Azaralich Inc., SothCo. Undead Street Samurais and Dracolich Senators. That was back when I seemed to have infinite free time and really put alot of work into my game prep, I practically rewrote the entire core rulebook.)
Damn, that sounds badass.
 

Chris Brady

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Way back in the 90s I ran Ravenloft using Shadowrun. (That was one of my favourite campaigns of all time. Shadowrun, but in the cyberpunk future of the Demiplane of Dread, rather than Earth. Strahd Industries, Azaralich Inc., SothCo. Undead Street Samurais and Dracolich Senators. That was back when I seemed to have infinite free time and really put alot of work into my game prep, I practically rewrote the entire core rulebook.)
Damn, that sounds badass.
Yeah, wow!
 

Tom B

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I've used generic systems instead of the system that came with the setting. I used CORPS for Dark Conspiracy and Call of Cthulhu. I used Fudge for Darkurthe Legends.

I'm considering using Shadows over Sol for a lot of SF settings, depending on which I settle on and it's native mechanics.
 

Silverlion

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Fireborn. After playing it for a while, and realizing the system really sucked, and penalized players for NOT min/maxing we switched to using Buffy: TVS aka Cinematic Unisystem. Combat maneuvers for example, in Fireborn, were complex chains that needed multiple successes for each stage (from a single roll) but were very easily ended by any die failure or any counter/defense success and all this for a game that really wanted action based combat. Add to that the magic system required multiple rolls to simply cast a weak see in the dark spell.
 

AsenRG

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Yes, more than once:smile:! In fact, the majority of my Exalted games were using a different system - from Talislanta's OMNI and LotW, to a diceless mix of Stalker RPG and Active Exploits Diceless. (We even tried to hack Godbound, but it didn't work for our tastes:wink:).

Using Traveller 5 to run Tekumel actually worked pretty well:devil:!

OTOH, using StarORE for a historical wuxia game actually worked even better:tongue:!

My current campaign started with the BASH version of Legends of Steel. We're now using Flashing Blades instead.
Yes, despite FB not having any magic or magical creatures by default...so I think I can safely rest my case here:evil:!
 

Graewulf

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A loooong time ago (almost 30 years....yikes), I played in a Shadowrun campaign that was modified and run with the Top Secret S.I. system. It was fantastic and one of the best campaigns I've ever played in. Our GM was pretty good and everything about the game ran remarkably well. I don't know that he spent a whole lot of time doing the necessary modifications (he was a full-time college student at the time) or if it was difficult to do them or or if he was just good at doing them 'on the fly', but the game ran seamlessly.
 

Dumarest

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We're now using Flashing Blades instead.
Yes, despite FB not having any magic or magical creatures by default...so I think I can safely rest my case here:evil:!
Swashbuckling adventure in 17th century France is magical.
 

The Butcher

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I think about doing this all the time, but end up doing it rarely if at all. Only example I can think of is using Mongoose d20 Conan material with Savage Worlds.

But I still want to run a bunch of settings (Tékumel, Conan/Hyborian Age, Dark Sun, ASoIaF/GoT, Totems of the Dead) with Mythras; Eclipse Phase with Cepheus; Unhallowed Metropolis with Savage Worlds.

Though to be honest, if I had the time to write proper conversions, I’d end up modding the material so much as to end up with a home brew.
 

ORtrail

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I always wondered if anyone else had run a Prime Directive campaign. I know I house ruled the system, but I couldn't tell you the details, as it was 25 years ago.

As for the thread topic, I've run Gamma World 4th edition (1992 version) using Supers! Revised and it worked (mutations and advanced weapons are just Super Powers, right?) decently. Maybe not as gritty and dangerous as some would like Gamma World though.

I've mostly used some variety of BRP when I need a better game system to go with a setting. I used it for Fringeworthy last year and it worked great. I'm working on finally running a Jack Vance Tschai Planet of Adventure campaign using BRP via Openquest via River of Heaven, along with the GURPS setting book.

My list of settings to match with BRP include Jorune, Army Ants, Gamma World, and Firefly/Serenity.
 

PolarBlues

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I used to do this a lot. On paper I totally get the idea of ripping the setting from one game while using a tried and tested system.

I do this sort of thing less these days as I've noticed it uses up some of the player's good will. A lot of players aren't just looking for a good time while playing, they are also interested in feeling part of the wider hobby and sampling the games that are available. If I've played a Shadowrun game in which the GM was using Fate or Unisystem, have I really played Shadowrun? Does this help me decide if I want to buy the Shadowrun core books or join that other Shadowrun group that plays on the Thursday? Can I talk about Shadowrun knowledgeably on RPG Pub?

That said, the last time I did this, ran Necessary Evil with ICONS, it worked really well. Then again I don't think Necessary Evil is one those settings where mechanics play a major part in the settings flavour.
 
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Chris Brady

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That said, the last time I did this, ran Necessary Evil with ICONS, it worked really well. Then again I don't think Necessary Evil is one those settings where mechanics play a major part in the settings flavour.
Oh! This reminds me, I DID run a REALLY short M&M 3e campaign in the Palladium Scraypers setting.
 

Nick J

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I just kicked off a game recently using Gavin Norman's Dolmenwood (written for B/X) as a setting skeleton, converted to BRP (a mashup of Magic World, BRP "Big Gold Book," and Renaissance). My happy place as a GM has always been more on the side of intrigue, politics, and exploration vs. dungeon crawls, and gobs of combat, and I think these rules and this setting are a great match. It helps that the setting itself is more "tone" and fluff than heaps of stat blocks too, so "conversion" was more about creating playable races like grimalkin, moss dwarfs, and goatmen adapted from the Dolmenwood versions, which wasn't too hard.

It's been fun so far.
 
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Ronnie Sanford

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We use the new Delta Green's sanity rules for our Call of Cthulhu games. In my view they are less abstract and hand wavey!
 

Jetstream

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Mostly just Exalted. The Exalted system has always aggravated us for one reason or another.

I tried to do it in Mutants and Masterminds 3e, but that got... strange.

Godbound worked alright, but the mechanics changed a shitload of setting assumptions and it also got weird.

And I also don’t really like running games so...
 

silva

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Since we tried using the Sprawl rules in Shadowrun, we can't go back.

I'm generally dismissive of the notion that we need or even benefit from a great diversity of mechanical rule sets (how many different ways do we really need to make a to-hit roll?)
I'd say rules can do much more than just calculate to-hit rolls, but to each their own. ;)
 

CRKrueger

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Nothing crazy like using Phoenix Command for Magic Girl Anime or anything...
  • I started my Middle Earth campaign with MERP and then moved to full blown RM2.
  • I moved my Conan campaign from Mongoose d20 to Mythras.(Granted not a big deal since Mythras is practically purpose built for Conan S&S)
  • I’ve done short westerns with both CP2020 and Shadowrun 2nd. :gunslinger:
  • Helped a friend move his D&D campaign to RMSS.
  • Planned on a Warhammer Mythras Campaign, but ended up doing something else. Will run it one day...
  • Planning using Savage Worlds for 40k doing a full conversion of the FFG system. Not done yet.
  • Was going to use Jovian Chronicles to stat up Battletech stuff, but the interested peeps joined the military and I’ve been mecha-less ever since. :weep:
  • Took original Top Secret and tried to convert Gurps Cyberpunk into it.
  • Since for most games, the number of stats or skills really doesn’t matter if the underlying system doesn’t change, I’m always Cutting, Pasting, Folding, Spindling, and Mutilating those from system to system.
  • Thought about using the ICE diaspora of Cyberspace, Spacemaster and RM2 to run either Shadowrun or 40k, but that seems like something that will have to wait for the retirement home.:dice:
 

EmperorNorton

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I never ran it, but kept trying to find another system to run Scion in. I loved the idea of Scion but HATED the mechanics.
 

tenbones

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I've been running Rackham's Aarklash/Cadwallon setting using B/X D&D for a while... mostly because Cadwallon's system is heavily reliant on miniatures combat and that wasn't going to work at school... but I like the setting and wanted to dig into it a bit deeper.

Most of the time though, I don't use the whole thing and hardly ever run any setting as written... I'm just stripping it for parts to use with a system I know/like.
Like, I'd never run Earthdawn with its RAW... and there's lots of stuff about the setting I don't like (I'd ditch the fantasy races to start)... but the basic idea of it (post apocalypse fantasy) and its metaphysics are things I've happily stolen and built upon.
Oooo! I've always been interested in the setting! Is there a lot of setting material out there for it? How much have you cribbed for your own personal notes? Inquiring minds are drooling!
 

CRKrueger

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Oooo! I've always been interested in the setting! Is there a lot of setting material out there for it? How much have you cribbed for your own personal notes? Inquiring minds are drooling!
Yeah, I’ve always been interested in this setting too, ever since I heard Benoist talking about it.
 

TristramEvans

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Yeah, I own Cadwallon, it is a gorgeous book. It's a shame about the system - or translation of the system - there are elements I really like, like instead of Attributes, you have Attitudes, and the use of stances for Combat, but in the (almost 20 goddamn years!!!) I've owned it, I've never been able to suss it out. It's worth noting that the setting is essentially one city within the universe of the Confrontation/Ragnarok miniature Wargame universe (essentially Rackham's Mordheim), and there has been a board game based on Cadwallon since then that is much easier to understand.
 

Trippy

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The way in which certain, archetypal settings - or implied settings - frequently get adapted to different systems, it's not really that unusual. How many versions of D&D are there out there for example?
 

AsenRG

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Wait, you're supposed to run the mechanics with the setting? I always thought publishers were just being generous!
Yeah...I admit that I had that same suspicion:tongue:.
Then I realized that they're giving us mechanics new players could use if they don't have another set of rules they want to try:grin:!
 
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