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

Toadmaster

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I wonder if that’s accurate? Certainly Gurps has more support for various genres with all the books they have. But when I was in college (1988 or so) Hero/Champions had a huge presence on campus. Never saw Gurps. Of course a sample size of 1 is about as bad as it gets.
In my case HERO was a local game company born in the San Francisco Bay Area (San Mateo, CA), so I've always assumed that my experience was skewed by some home team advantage at the local conventions. Chaosium also seemed well represented even during their barely keeping the doors open stage, and again a local company.

My impression that GURPS has a bigger fan base is solely based on forum discussions.

SJ Games is much bigger than HERO ever was but SJ Games has a lot of product beyond GURPS and GURPS supplements sell to people who never have and never will use the system.
 

James Gillen

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I used HERO at least once for a D&D campaign after finding AD&D 2nd Edition inadequate. Not long ago we were going to play Shadowrun (after finding SR4 inadequate) with the M&M3 rules. Nothing ever came of that, but we were going to make Power Level 8 characters and managed to get some fairly decent street samurai/street mage conversions out of it.

JG
 

FeralToaster

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I wonder if that’s accurate? Certainly Gurps has more support for various genres with all the books they have. But when I was in college (1988 or so) Hero/Champions had a huge presence on campus. Never saw Gurps. Of course a sample size of 1 is about as bad as it gets.
Weird when I was in college Gurps was on the nearly on the tier as DnD(pick-a- edition) as a standard pick for gaming. I only read a HERO book (or pdf to be accurate) when I came to the Pub and heard it had a lot of cool settings.
 

Ronnie Sanford

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It is kinda weird how different roleplaying is across the country/world. When I was in college there was a roleplaying club (maybe 200 people) and AD&D was the most popular but Hero / Champions and Cthulhu were right behind it. But you hear from other parts of the country were Gurps, Shadowrun, etc were popular. The only constant seems to be D&D.
 

Trippy

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Here's the thing: the prescribed use of any system is really just a marketing decision. Most systems are adaptable to a degree, and the only reason why GURPS, HERO, BRP, Fate, Savage Worlds, etc, are better at doing the generic, universal thing is because they are marketed this way, with a bunch of various, supporting supplements and settings. Some games do have specific mechanics that are tied to a particular thematic quality of a setting (like Vampire's Hunger mechanics, for example), but actually most games really just have general engines that just happen to be used as house systems and then people make the associations in their own heads.

I'd like to have seen RuneQuest using Pendragon rules and HeroQuest being used for a supers game, incidentally..
 
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FeralToaster

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It is kinda weird how different roleplaying is across the country/world. When I was in college there was a roleplaying club (maybe 200 people) and AD&D was the most popular but Hero / Champions and Cthulhu were right behind it. But you hear from other parts of the country were Gurps, Shadowrun, etc were popular. The only constant seems to be D&D.
Heh you had a Rpg club? I thought those only existed in myths and legends:grin:. we had to worked off of a series of bulletin boards, book clubs, and anime groups. You find another gamer you made sure to keep them in your holiday greeting card list.
 

Ronnie Sanford

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Heh you had a Rpg club? I thought those only existed in myths and legends:grin:. we had to worked off of a series of bulletin boards, book clubs, and anime groups. You find another gamer you made sure to keep them in your holiday greeting card list.
Yeah I did a lot of gaming in college. 2 or 3 games a week.
 

Ronnie Sanford

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Yeah, I did about the same but had to trek all over the city to do so. Hard work (especially in winter) but I made a lot of friends from it.
Where did you go to school? The club I was a member of had access to a large seminar room where several groups were playing every night. Additionally there were 5 dorms and all of them had groups meeting in their lobbies. I miss the games and I miss the social aspects of living on campus. I DON’T miss the exams and studying.
 

FeralToaster

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The key to college gaming in NYC (at least when I back when I was a student) was knowing the subtle differences in gaming culture between the different colleges. St. Johns was a DnD stronghold but was cool with any edition, just don't be a jerk about it. NYU had a lot of Storyteller games going on but way more on "let's try something different organized storytelling" take than a "the corebook is the authority and the Storyteller deserves respect" philosophy. Fordham had a smattering of a number of games in addition to DnD gaming but as long as you were cool , edition/system wars were minor tiffs mostly fun to watch. The other schools sort followed like that. Most games were run out the commons or somebodies dorm. Forget any special status as a club but you could reserve a vacant classroom with you filled out a form a week in advance and didn't make a mess. A student could move from campus to campus easily as long as he had a friend to welcome him in, so Gm/storyteller were veteran commuters by their second freshman semester. Overall it was more an issue with disorganized systems of communications between the various gaming groups than a lack of games going on. Exams were a burden but you pick up organizational and time management skills to balance everything out. Oh and that one time I took my history paper on charlatans and Con-artists in Tudor England and straight up turned it into a campaign that Friday.
 

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Played in a game where the GM ported the world of darkness to BESM. Without, humanity for vampires, and paradox for mages, this quickly evolved into something very different. Not bad mind you, just different.

This is the same GM who had allowed some players to bring Street Fighter characters into a world of darkness campaign years prior.
 

Brock Savage

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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 imagine the practice is de rigueur among RPG connoisseurs. I do it as a matter of course; my current campaign setting of Hyperborea uses an AD&D retroclone system which I have carefully ported into 5e.

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.
@Moonglum and I are the same in this respect. I peruse a large amount of gaming material for inspiration but stick to a handful of favorite systems.
 

FeralToaster

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I ran a Technomancer (the GURPS setting) game using Spycraft 1e.
That sounds like an awesome game, Tom Clancy style geo-politics coupled with a game system that works well with X-Com style combat gaming. I have to ask, did you use the Dark Inheritance sourcebook as well? Dark Inheritance was the spy craft 1.0 setting from Mythic Dreams about playing Cthulhu powered super agents fighting a shadow war after a global breaking of the masquerade, oh and it also had the exploration elements of Stargate added for good measure. For some reason it never got on the drivethru and is kinda hard to find nowadays.
 

Mankcam

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I was considering running Pendragon using D100% instead of a D20, it's a pretty easy port to do (1:5%).
Never got around to it, but I think it would work better with my group who are used to playing BRP D100 games like RQ and CoC.
 

Nobby-W

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[ . . . ]
This is the same GM who had allowed some players to bring Street Fighter characters into a world of darkness campaign years prior.
I wholeheartedly support this idea and it's not the first time I've seen it, although I'm not sure it was ever implemented.

Street Fighter was the greatest game White Wolf ever made. Change my mind.
This was the early 1990s and I may have had a slightly jaundiced view of World of Darkness fanboys. I may have also been That Guy with my VTM character constantly referring to things 'back in old country' and how Uncle Vlad would never have put up with this posey rock-star vampire nonsense. As Taika Waititi might have put it: 'We are creatures of the night, not creatures of night life!'
 
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tenbones

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I wholeheartedly support this idea and it's not the first time I've seen it, although I'm not sure it was ever implemented.

Street Fighter was the greatest game White Wolf ever made. Change my mind.
This was the early 1990s and I may have had a slightly jaundiced view of World of Darkness fanboys. I may have also been That Guy with my VTM character constantly referring to things 'back in old country' and how Uncle Vlad would never have put up with this posey rock-star vampire nonsense. As Taika Waititi might have put it: 'We are creatures of the night, not creatures of night life!'
I'd say it was the most ambitious. But the system was *horrible* for actually doing combat. This wasn't due to the mechanics themselves, but due to the probability curves of the task-resolution. At a certain point you had equal chances to Botch as to get Critical success.

I'd love to do a Streetfighter game using Savage Worlds...
 

Baeraad

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I'm about to experiment using a modified version of CWoD's Nature/Demeanor system in my FFG Edge of the Empire game and replace the Obligation system.
The Nature/Demenour system is one of those things that seem stupid and pointless but turn out to do a surprising amount of work in practice. Deciding that a character is motivated by X but pretends to be motivated by Y puts you a long way towards giving them a deep and realistic personality, even though all you did was mash two stereotypes together.
 

tenbones

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The Nature/Demenour system is one of those things that seem stupid and pointless but turn out to do a surprising amount of work in practice. Deciding that a character is motivated by X but pretends to be motivated by Y puts you a long way towards giving them a deep and realistic personality, even though all you did was mash two stereotypes together.
That is *exactly* the conclusion I came to when thinking of a "solution" to the general meta-gaming currency-ish mechanics of the Obligation system in FFG's Star Wars.

It's not a BAD system per se. It's conceptually great. But it really is kinda wonky and needs a lot of refinement. I tried replacing it with their new version in their "generic" Genesys game... but it led me down the path of realizing that Nature/Demeanor is pretty much what they're trying to emulate in a more clunky fashion.

N/D just needs a little tweaking in terms of in-game rewards for playing incentives (in this case Nature rewards Destiny Points for significant actions, and drains Strain for lesser ones. Conversely it potentially gives you Strain for excessive actions that go against your Nature... ) Easy to track! Easy to define. And it gives the players a lot of breathing room to express their characters between the two.
 

Nobby-W

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I'd say it was the most ambitious. But the system was *horrible* for actually doing combat. This wasn't due to the mechanics themselves, but due to the probability curves of the task-resolution. At a certain point you had equal chances to Botch as to get Critical success.

I'd love to do a Streetfighter game using Savage Worlds...
It's a function of dice pool systems. As you add dice you get a lower and lower kurtosis and more clustering around the mean. Street Fighter could give you attacks with 10 or 12 dice even as a starting character. While it's quite fun to roll a dozen dice for an attack, the PDFs of large dice pools are quite thin in the tails.

By sheer coincidence, here is an analysis I did on D10 dice pools when I looked at developing a buckets-of-dice system at one point.

 

Coffee Zombie

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One of the most successful fantasy RPGs I've run was using Vampire: Dark Ages and bits of Mage: The Ascension (as well as the Combat supplement). Players enjoyed the hell out of that game and still talk about it now and then. I've also ported more than a few things over to Savage Worlds, most prominently an Aberrant game. Lately have looked at porting my One Ring game I've put on hiatus over to something else, cuz the native rules are lackluster imho.
 

Nobby-W

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I think the biggest piece of system bashing I did was a homebrew system for moderns and sci-fi based on the Twilight:2000 1e system. For those not familiar, it's a percentile roll-under system that's quite similar to the BRP family. In the end it diverged a bit but not unrecognisably. At various points it got used for moderns, some 1930s Daredevils-ish stuff that never got run in the end, space opera and a near future cyberpunk-ish setting. Mostly moderns and space opera.
 

Nobby-W

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There is quite a bit of setting information available... the problem is that it's scattered across the winds into the various games, the two novels, on the cards for the wargames, in the RPG... and articles in the magazine, Cry Havoc, that Rackham put out. I think the treasure hunt of collecting it all really drove my interest in the setting.
[ . . . ]
This is the right way to publish a setting, I think. Rather than write up a 'big book of canon', keep your notes for setting canon to yourself and release relevant bits as a part of adventure modules and campaign packs. I had a similar experience to what you describe with Traveller when I was a wee lad. When I saw new Traveller material in the bookshops (there were about 3 in my home town that carried RPG material) I would read it. This process of unfolding was a particularly enjoyable way to pick up a setting and learn about the material. You could read each morsel with a sense of wonder, and seeing it bit-by-bit preserved the impression of a much greater universe out there.

By contrast, whenever I've seen someone publish a 'Big book of canon' it's often seemed quite sterile, and can include a significant proportion of gratuitous world-building material that's not necessarily all that useful. I get that world-builders like to show off their wonderful creations (as a serial world-builder I soooo get it) but my experience is that nobody just wants to see your creation splurged out into some sort of canon guide. They might think they do, but in practice it's not nearly so interesting. I think the thrill of the hunt is a real factor in this process.

OTOH, setting canon is hard to do well. If you just throw the material together for its own sake then you get material that's a bit manufactured and sterile. Runequest worked because Greg Stafford had put his heart and soul into Glorantha; The Third Imperium setting for Traveller evolved into quite a substantial background over time and most people licensing Traveller did it for the setting rather than the game system. As a counter-example, much EotE and MERP material (despite dozens of modules being published for these settings) was a bit crap and really felt like it was just thrown together to make up the numbers.

Drip feeding your canon is (IMO) the way to go. You will get folks interested in seeing more of your creation if you don't show it all at once and I suspect it also drives sales of other materials if done right. If we go back to Traveller as an example, the stereotype of the old grognard with dozens of Traveller books (and there were more than 80 CT publications from GDW alone, let alone the third-party material) is quite real. Runequest was also quite successful with this approach.
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Joseph Wolz

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That sounds like an awesome game, Tom Clancy style geo-politics coupled with a game system that works well with X-Com style combat gaming. I have to ask, did you use the Dark Inheritance sourcebook as well? Dark Inheritance was the spy craft 1.0 setting from Mythic Dreams about playing Cthulhu powered super agents fighting a shadow war after a global breaking of the masquerade, oh and it also had the exploration elements of Stargate added for good measure. For some reason it never got on the drivethru and is kinda hard to find nowadays.
I used the D&D 3.0 PH and Spycraft for rules. and Technomancer for the setting. IIRC, the game was centered around shapeshifting Nazis trying to get fissionable material from our Earth to take back to Technomancer land. The PCs jumped through the same gate to track them down. I might actually have the notebook with that info somewhere.
 

Rich H

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A good few years ago I ran, with great success, a Planescape campaign with a system based around White Wolf's Storyteller. The setting with its factions and magic/belief/paradox just seemed (and was) a perfect fit for the Storyteller System. Then when D&D 3e came out, I decided to switch to that for some inexplicable reason. The game tanked in the second session using it; it was really weird as the players just approached the game in a completely different way. I was disappointed with them but really mad with myself for ruining what was a great combination.

More recently, I've been working on a homebrew of the old Dragonlance SAGA system for a Star Wars campaign that I'd like to run. This also feels like a great match but it's still only about 50% done as I am making some significant changes but keeping the core ideas of using cards/suits/trumps and attributes to drive play.
 

E-Rocker

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Not sure if this counts, since, to the best of my understanding, OSR adventures are more-or-less written to be used with whatever your system of choice is: I once used my homebrew system to run the Lamentations of the Flame Princess adventure Tower of the Stargazer. It worked fine; probably a bit less deadly than if we'd actually used the LotFP system.

Don't know if we'll ever get to finish the adventure. It was a small group and now one player is always too busy with work to play. Also, if we're being honest, my homebrew system was not particularly good. I mean it wasn't particularly bad, either. It just kind of was.
 

tenbones

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Cyberpunk 2020 LIFEPATH!!!!

I think every game should use Lifepath. While I kinda do this in my own Session zero, verbally. I need to make a big Lifepath system for each genre-splat. This needs to happen.
 

Nobby-W

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Cyberpunk 2020 LIFEPATH!!!!

I think every game should use Lifepath. While I kinda do this in my own Session zero, verbally. I need to make a big Lifepath system for each genre-splat. This needs to happen.
I think that CP2020's life path is quite good - and there are other events in the chrome books. It builds a character that has some context and community - contacts, friends, enemies. Your character is a part of a scene, rather than a randomly wandering murder hobo. Once your players get into that mode of thinking it makes for substantially richer interactions with the surrounding society and environment.

You could abstract it to much higher levels - something that makes a contact that can do X catergory of things, something that makes a friend, someone who owes is owed a favour, an enemy etc. Even with systems that don't have this sort of rules I've done quite a few characters where I just made some of this stuff up, and the DM has almost always been quite happy to have it as a starting point for character hooks. In some cases they've even turned one of the contacts into a major side quest.

I did this for the first campaign I played in with my current group and never got around to doing it for my current character. The DM just prodded me for it, so he's definitely sold on the idea. This is D&D 5e, which doesn't have a system for this sort of thing in the RAW.
 

Antiquation!

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Cyberpunk 2020 LIFEPATH!!!!

I think every game should use Lifepath. While I kinda do this in my own Session zero, verbally. I need to make a big Lifepath system for each genre-splat. This needs to happen.
I agree; I think they do a fantastic job establishing game world flavor and setting expectations as well as providing character history without 10 written pages of backstory fluff. While point-buy is perfectly functional to build to a specific concept, I've long considered building a lifepath system for use with GURPS via a series of templates and lenses; however, the amount of effort that would be involved in fleshing it out on paper has so far stopped me.

I did go ahead and implement random roll chargen in GURPS though (not just attributes but also skill packages, ads/disads, etc.) which has been fun and useful for creating NPC's on-the-fly. I originally put it together for use with early campaign character funnels. I've also seen a few implementations of random-gen that other people have put together and automated out there which were useful references.
 
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tenbones

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There's also alternate Lifepath options in Home of the Brave for military characters (Spec Ops).

The new Lifepath system in the Witcher RPG is *fantastic*. I was reading it last night... reinforcing my bias that all RPG's should have these as part of their design.
 

Nexus

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There's also alternate Lifepath options in Home of the Brave for military characters (Spec Ops).

The new Lifepath system in the Witcher RPG is *fantastic*. I was reading it last night... reinforcing my bias that all RPG's should have these as part of their design.
I wouldn;'t mind as long as they were optional.
 
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Here's the thing: the prescribed use of any system is really just a marketing decision. Most systems are adaptable to a degree, and the only reason why GURPS, HERO, BRP, Fate, Savage Worlds, etc, are better at doing the generic, universal thing is because they are marketed this way, with a bunch of various, supporting supplements and settings. Some games do have specific mechanics that are tied to a particular thematic quality of a setting (like Vampire's Hunger mechanics, for example), but actually most games really just have general engines that just happen to be used as house systems and then people make the associations in their own heads.
I couldn't agree more. Well stated.

To answer the OP, I personally use either PDQ or Traveller to run most settings, regardless of genre. The deciding factor tends to come down to the desired tone for the setting in question. So, yeah, do it all the time!
 

FaerieGodfather

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To date, I've attempted to run Super Mario Bros in HARP, Street Fighter, Shadowrun (4th), Pathfinder 1e, Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, Fate Accelerated, Barbarians of Lemuria, and D&D 5e.

The Pathfinder attempt is how I met Irene.

I've attempted the White Whale in its native systems (AD&D 2e and Alternity), in D&D 3.5 and d20 Modern, and Fate Core.

I've attempted my Cascade City setting in Fight! and Cortex Prime.
 

AsenRG

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I wouldn;'t mind as long as they were optional.
Impossible! Theyhave to be mandatory:devil:!

I mean, of course everybody would then use them as written, leading them to realize the greatness of lifepaths! Nobody plays games anything but RAW, right:tongue:?
...of course I'm sure, what do you mean about the thread title:shade:?
 
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