What was the first "house system" from an RPG publisher?

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Dyrnwyn

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I've been reading FGU games from the 80's, and an interesting feature of them from a modern perspective is that they all use different systems. This got me wondering what the first true "house system" was for RPGs that was used across multiple game lines. By this I don't mean a generic system published as such, but a system that gets reused, possibly with modifications, for specific games. Any thoughts?
 

ffilz

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Depends on what you identify as a distinct game.

Monsters! Monsters! (Tunnels & Trolls) is 1976 (and later MS&PE)
Land of the Rising Sun (Chivalry & Sorcery) is 1980 (but never really adds any other RPGs)
Call of Cthulhu (RuneQuest/BRP) is 1981 (and later a number of games), BRP itself is listed as 1980 but at that time it was only included in the RQ2 boxed set.

Looking at this, I don't see anything else 1981 or earlier that I can think of as being based on a house system and really turning into a house system)
 

robertsconley

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Basic Roleplaying in 1980 which was followed up by Call of Cthulhu and Stormbringer in 1981 along with Runequest in 1978

Next was Champions in 1981 which was followed up by Espionage! in 1983 and Justice Inc. in 1984.
 

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BRP is generally considered to be the first attempt at doing a generic, universal system - and the first official product that was designed to be multi-genre was Worlds of Wonder (1982). Champions sometimes also makes a claim of being the first generic, universal system although it only started making the Hero system as a separate entity by the late 80s/early 90s.

As for 'house system', its harder to say. I guess all you need is to produce more than one game with similar enough games from the same publisher. How different were the rules of Metamorphosis Alpha and Boot Hill to original D&D?
 

robertsconley

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BRP is generally considered to be the first attempt at doing a generic, universal system - and the first official product that was designed to be multi-genre was Worlds of Wonder (1982). Champions sometimes also makes a claim of being the first generic, universal system although it only started making the Hero system as a separate entity by the late 80s/early 90s.

While there was no Hero System book until the late 80s. Hero System was a concept and talked about in each of the various books that made up 3rd edition. Champions, Fantasy Hero, Justice, Inc., etc.

Pretty much like BRP and Chaosium except the various Hero System RPGs were more closely related.

As for 'house system', its harder to say. I guess all you need is to produce more than one game with similar enough games from the same publisher. How different were the rules of Metamorphosis Alpha and Boot Hill to original D&D?
Very different
 

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BRP is generally considered to be the first attempt at doing a generic, universal system - and the first official product that was designed to be multi-genre was Worlds of Wonder (1982). Champions sometimes also makes a claim of being the first generic, universal system although it only started making the Hero system as a separate entity by the late 80s/early 90s.

As for 'house system', its harder to say. I guess all you need is to produce more than one game with similar enough games from the same publisher. How different were the rules of Metamorphosis Alpha and Boot Hill to original D&D?
While BRP was a distillation of RuneQuest, ONLY Worlds of Wonder sits on BRP as the core of a generic system. All the other 1980s Chaosium games are presented as custom games and may or may not include BRP for reference of the core of the system (most do not actually...).

I don't think BRP becomes marketed independently as a "generic" system until the Big Gold Book.

So unless we pre-empt RQ/BRP with Tunnels & Trolls (for Monsters! Monsters! and MS&PE), I find it hard to claim any earlier house system.

Hero is the first system I think that is built from an actual broadly universal system that helps define the whole system.

BRP doesn't remotely define how magic/powers work... And each Chaosium game system does them a bit different.

But I think it's splitting hairs to differentiate between universal system and house system...

Though GURPS really is presented differently than the BRP family or the Hero System family (at least 1980s Hero). GURPS has a universal core book and setting/genre supplements. Other than the basic settings in the core book, you NEED BOTH the core book AND a setting/genre supplement. Chaosium and Hero Games presented complete games. So if we want to split the hairs, then GURPS is a universal system and the BRP family and the Hero family are house system games...
 

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D&D.
They produced OD&D, AD&D, B/X, BECMI, and so on, and quite a few settings for it! I'd say this counts.
Yeah but they also produced Boot Hill, Metamorphosis Alpha, Star Frontiers etc that used completely different systems. Gamma World at least was designed to be more compatible with D&D, so there may be something to it, but different editions of the same game don't really constitute a house system. Most new editions of a game aren't like WotC D&D editions that replace a bunch of the mechanics.
 

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Going with "house system" as a closely related, but not necessarily identical system shared across games I'm going with Chaosium, followed by HERO.


Dismissing the BRP pamphlet, Chaosium had Runequest, followed by Call of Cthuthu, Stormbringer, Worlds of Wonder, Super World, Elf Quest and Ring World 1978-84. Each of these varied slightly from RQ but were very similar.

With HERO you have Champions, Espionage, Justice Inc, Danger International, and Fantasy HERO 1981-85. The generic HERO system wasn't introduced until 1990.

Though GURPS really is presented differently than the BRP family or the Hero System family (at least 1980s Hero). GURPS has a universal core book and setting/genre supplements. Other than the basic settings in the core book, you NEED BOTH the core book AND a setting/genre supplement. Chaosium and Hero Games presented complete games. So if we want to split the hairs, then GURPS is a universal system and the BRP family and the Hero family are house system games...

I don't think this is splitting hairs, perhaps opposite ends of the same idea, but they are distinct. A generic system is presented rather differently and works differently. Generic systems tend to put more focus on things working the same across the board by using a core rule book. House systems typically have more freedom to vary as they are complete games, they also will leave out rules that don't apply. There is no need to discuss firearms or space craft in a fantasy game, and no need to mention magic in a sci-fi game. You will usually find at least the core for these rules provided in a generic system, but not in a house system. You also are more likely to find setting specific rules in a house system.

Benefit of a house system is more freedom to tweak the rules to better fit the setting, universal tends to be a bit more restrictive relying on optional rules, rather that setting specific rules.

I think 3rd ed HERO vs 4th ed HERO is a perfect example as the earlier was a classic house system, and 4th made the transition to generic / universal. There are some very different assumptions made in each.

A later house system was that used by GDW in Twilight 2000, Traveller TNE, Cadillacs & Dinosaurs and Dark Conspiracy. These were produed well into the universal system era but remained with the earlier house system style.
 

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D&D.
They produced OD&D, AD&D, B/X, BECMI, and so on, and quite a few settings for it! I'd say this counts.

If they had covered something other than fantasy, but multiple settings is marginal. In fact having many versions of the rules that can be used in the same or similar settings is almost the opposite of a house system.
 

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Yeah but they also produced Boot Hill, Metamorphosis Alpha, Star Frontiers etc that used completely different systems. Gamma World at least was designed to be more compatible with D&D, so there may be something to it, but different editions of the same game don't really constitute a house system. Most new editions of a game aren't like WotC D&D editions that replace a bunch of the mechanics.
I agree, different editions is different editions not a house system.

Actually, thinking on it, I recall people identifying the Chaosium house system as such back in the 1980s. I don't recall anyone ever considering the then interchangeable versions of D&D as a house system.
 

ffilz

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I don't think this is splitting hairs, perhaps opposite ends of the same idea, but they are distinct. A generic system is presented rather differently and works differently. Generic systems tend to put more focus on things working the same across the board by using a core rule book. House systems typically have more freedom to vary as they are complete games, they also will leave out rules that don't apply. There is no need to discuss firearms or space craft in a fantasy game, and no need to mention magic in a sci-fi game. You will usually find at least the core for these rules provided in a generic system, but not in a house system. You also are more likely to find setting specific rules in a house system.

Benefit of a house system is more freedom to tweak the rules to better fit the setting, universal tends to be a bit more restrictive relying on optional rules, rather that setting specific rules.

I think 3rd ed HERO vs 4th ed HERO is a perfect example as the earlier was a classic house system, and 4th made the transition to generic / universal. There are some very different assumptions made in each.

A later house system was that used by GDW in Twilight 2000, Traveller TNE, Cadillacs & Dinosaurs and Dark Conspiracy. These were produed well into the universal system era but remained with the earlier house system style.
I'm good with that distinction, which is similar to the distinction I was trying to make. And yea, the GDW house system is another example. Paladium would be another example (Paladium Fantasy RPG, Rifts, Mechanoid Invasion, etc.). Also World of Darkness games.

So what systems besides GURPS and Hero are really structured and marketed as universal games? D6 sort of I guess (though it had 3 different core books). Masterbook?
 

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So what systems besides GURPS and Hero are really structured and marketed as universal games? D6 sort of I guess (though it had 3 different core books). Masterbook?
Amazing Engine, Shilouette, Savage Worlds, that's all I can think of off the top of my head.
 

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Fate Core/Accelerated, BRP Gold Book (a universal version of a house system), heroQuest.
 

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D&D.
They produced OD&D, AD&D, B/X, BECMI, and so on, and quite a few settings for it! I'd say this counts.
Ahhh but what of other genres? Does Star Frontiers count? I truly ask as low on detailed Star Frontiers knowledge.
 

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TSR Gamma World (1992) and Buck Rogers (1990) used AD&D 2e as the base. GW was actually a proto-3e with some of the changes that it made.
 

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I'm good with that distinction, which is similar to the distinction I was trying to make. And yea, the GDW house system is another example. Paladium would be another example (Paladium Fantasy RPG, Rifts, Mechanoid Invasion, etc.). Also World of Darkness games.

So what systems besides GURPS and Hero are really structured and marketed as universal games? D6 sort of I guess (though it had 3 different core books). Masterbook?

After GURPS there was a slew of them. In addition to the others mentioned CORPS, EABA, BRP (agree the big gold book was organized more as a universal system, than the individual games it draws from), Unisystem, Fuzion and I'm sure there are some lesser known ones not mentioned.

With D&D 3E and the OGL I'd put the d20 system down as a later house system. Bushido, Aftermath and Daredevils share a similar system. FGU had a lot of other games using unique rules, so this was not an exclusive company system, but is worth mentioning as they were at least dabbling with the idea.


I was a big fan of universal games, and still like the idea, but over time I've found I actually prefer the older house system model, as they maintain some commonality but generally compromise less setting to setting. With a house system no effort has to be made to make the magic system in not Conan work with the magic in not Lord of the Rings or not Excalibur. In a Universal system there is more of an expectation that Merlin and Gandolf can go lend Conan a hand without a lot of adjustment or hand waving.
 

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I've been reading FGU games from the 80's, and an interesting feature of them from a modern perspective is that they all use different systems. This got me wondering what the first true "house system" was for RPGs that was used across multiple game lines. By this I don't mean a generic system published as such, but a system that gets reused, possibly with modifications, for specific games. Any thoughts?

Sorry I kind of skipped over part of this and only focused on house systems. Early on many of the larger game companies were simply publishers, although many were founded / run by game designers. TSR, FGU, FASA, and GDW in particular turned out a lot of games from a variety of authors, some directly affiliated with the company and some freelance. So you see a wide range of systems used in their games, some with some fairly obvious family lineage and some completely different.

Chaosium, HERO and Flying Buffalo were small independents so they primarily published games from the same small core of writers, with the result being their games tended to use the same core rule concepts.

If you look at FASA's Behind Enemy Lines and Task Force Games' Delta Force there is a definite resemblance which you might call a house system, except the commonality came from both games using the same author (who had rights to his game system) but different publishers. With FGU's Bushido, Aftermath and Daredevils you have the same relationship with the same authors writing all three games, but they also used the same publisher making the connection more obvious.
 
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finarvyn

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Weren't Metamorphosis Alpha, Tekumel and OD&D close enough to be considered a house system?
I was going to make this exact point, only I would have added 1E Gamma World as well. MA and GW had some things different like fixed hit points instead of variable hit dice, but the weapon damage values were all pretty consistent to the point where I ran a lot of crossover games using OD&D as my base game and the others as setting variants. Gygax tied "Warriors of Mars" into his OD&D campaign. Indeed, Dragon magazine's article "Sturmgeschutz and sorcery" tied WWII weapons (TRACTICS game system) into the system and another Dragon article "Sixguns & Sorcery" brought Boot Hill style western action into the product line. While these games were initially marketed as separate games, the fact that there were published crossover rules sets sort of makes OD&D the nucleus of a house system. At least, that's the way we played it. All of those genres under OD&D rules.
 

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I was going to make this exact point, only I would have added 1E Gamma World as well. MA and GW had some things different like fixed hit points instead of variable hit dice, but the weapon damage values were all pretty consistent to the point where I ran a lot of crossover games using OD&D as my base game and the others as setting variants. Gygax tied "Warriors of Mars" into his OD&D campaign. Indeed, Dragon magazine's article "Sturmgeschutz and sorcery" tied WWII weapons (TRACTICS game system) into the system and another Dragon article "Sixguns & Sorcery" brought Boot Hill style western action into the product line. While these games were initially marketed as separate games, the fact that there were published crossover rules sets sort of makes OD&D the nucleus of a house system. At least, that's the way we played it. All of those genres under OD&D rules.
Boot hill as I recall has a vastly different system such that I wouldn't include it as part of their house system. I'm pretty sure it was much more of a gun fight simulation game in 1st edition BH.
 

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I thought about EPT, MA, and GW. I'm not convinced they have enough system in common.

Also clearly Boot Hill, Top Secret and any other non-D&D system that came after GW don't really seem connected to D&D very well.

With Chaosium, the entire RPG line was based off the same house system, with Pendragon largely converting it from D100 to D20. Chaosium seemed to operate in a "this is our system and we are going to adapt it to different genres" where as EPT is to some extent just a specific setting for D&D and sure MA (and thus GW) borrowed a lot from D&D but that was more out of a "this is what an RPG looks like" than an intention to design a family of games.

And I may be entirely blowing smoke with that... But I do recall conversation about the Chaosium house system back in the day. I really don't recall thinking MA was just D&D on a lost star ship.
 

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I thought about EPT, MA, and GW. I'm not convinced they have enough system in common.

Also clearly Boot Hill, Top Secret and any other non-D&D system that came after GW don't really seem connected to D&D very well.

With Chaosium, the entire RPG line was based off the same house system, with Pendragon largely converting it from D100 to D20. Chaosium seemed to operate in a "this is our system and we are going to adapt it to different genres" where as EPT is to some extent just a specific setting for D&D and sure MA (and thus GW) borrowed a lot from D&D but that was more out of a "this is what an RPG looks like" than an intention to design a family of games.

And I may be entirely blowing smoke with that... But I do recall conversation about the Chaosium house system back in the day. I really don't recall thinking MA was just D&D on a lost star ship.
I'm not sure you're wrong. I mean if I was looking to make an RPG and it was pre 1978 I'd do whatever I could to look like D&D just because that is RPGs at the time.
 

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Ahhh but what of other genres? Does Star Frontiers count? I truly ask as low on detailed Star Frontiers knowledge.
No, but I don't think they have to do all their settings with it for it to count as a house system:smile:.
And IMO, Dark Sun, Faerun and Planescape are different enough to be different games.

And I may be entirely blowing smoke with that... But I do recall conversation about the Chaosium house system back in the day. I really don't recall thinking MA was just D&D on a lost star ship.
Funny, that's exactly my impression:wink:.
(But then it wasn't based on actual play. Salt is your friend).
 

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I'm not sure when the first set of house rules came out, but En Garde! has been repeatedly modified for different settings from Dune to Lovecraft.
 

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I'm not sure when the first set of house rules came out, but En Garde! has been repeatedly modified for different settings from Dune to Lovecraft.
Third party adaptation of a rule set doesn't make it house system...
 

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Where did the notion come from? I know the idea seemed to come to prominence in the late 80s and early 90s. I think I first encountered the term 'house engine' when GDW started talking about what they were choosing for their system going forward.

Did this idea exist in the wargames community? Were there forerunners of the idea from any other quarters? I mean it makes sense in that it reduces the need to come up with a whole new system for every game...
 

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Where did the notion come from? I know the idea seemed to come to prominence in the late 80s and early 90s. I think I first encountered the term 'house engine' when GDW started talking about what they were choosing for their system going forward.

Did this idea exist in the wargames community? Were there forerunners of the idea from any other quarters? I mean it makes sense in that it reduces the need to come up with a whole new system for every game...
I think I recall Strategy & Tactics had games inside each issue that often used a similar base. Some of that is the nature of wargames I think. The idea that if you have 3:1 odds your highly likely to win and 1:1 is much more of a crapshoot. The effects of terrain, flanking etc are generally agreed on so much of the rules will looks similar.
 

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And I may be entirely blowing smoke with that... But I do recall conversation about the Chaosium house system back in the day. I really don't recall thinking MA was just D&D on a lost star ship.

I do remember hearing "BRP" described as Chaosium's house system in the 80s, rather than calling it BRP.

BRP was specifically the little 15 page pamphlet, and it got little attention from most in my circles until the 90s when it was reprinted it as a stand alone product with a real cover, rather than the give away pamphlet that came with RQ. I didn't see BRP being used to describe the system until Deluxe BRP (BGB) was announced (and then many years later released).
 

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Where did the notion come from? I know the idea seemed to come to prominence in the late 80s and early 90s. I think I first encountered the term 'house engine' when GDW started talking about what they were choosing for their system going forward.

Did this idea exist in the wargames community? Were there forerunners of the idea from any other quarters? I mean it makes sense in that it reduces the need to come up with a whole new system for every game...

I'm not a huge war gamer but there were definitely related game families within AH and GDW, but these were still pretty narrow. As I recall AH's Panzer Blitz and Panzer Leader were more or less compatible and there may have been some other follow on games that used the same basic rules. AH had a huge line of games though so a handful using the same system was far from their house system.

GDW had quite a few although they were more along the lines of a core with expansions, rather than stand alone games using the same system. The First Battle system is probably the closest to being a house system for them (Test of Arms, Sands of War, Team Yankee others) but those came out in the early 90s and like AH these were just one of several lines of games.

I think game family might be a better term for games that use the same system, but only make up a fraction of a companies games as is the case with FGU Bushido, Aftermath and Daredevils or the wargames I mentioned. Not being deep into the war gaming community I don't know how they discussed the idea (or not).
 
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I do remember hearing "BRP" described as Chaosium's house system in the 80s, rather than calling it BRP.

BRP was specifically the little 15 page pamphlet, and it got little attention from most in my circles until the 90s when it was reprinted it as a stand alone product with a real cover, rather than the give away pamphlet that came with RQ. I didn't see BRP being used to describe the system until Deluxe BRP (BGB) was announced (and then many years later released).
Worlds of Wonder certainly made the case that one system with minor tweaks could work well for multiple genres
 

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I though Champions sold universality better because you had comics with Doctor Strange, Iron Man, Nick Fury and the Legion of Super Heroes all doing their bit in distinct subgenre yet interacting with each other. Chaosium was obviously tweaking stuff between their different game. But Champion showed how it could be handled with one set of mechanics.
 

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I though Champions sold universality better because you had comics with Doctor Strange, Iron Man, Nick Fury and the Legion of Super Heroes all doing their bit in distinct subgenre yet interacting with each other. Chaosium was obviously tweaking stuff between their different game. But Champion showed how it could be handled with one set of mechanics.
Yea, I think Hero was a transition from house system to universal system. And that's a good point that the super hero games had to accommodate more variation than other RPGs and thus set the stage for dealing with different genres not by replacing entire rule modules, but using a universal core to express the different genres.

Chaosium then tried the universal thing with the Big Gold Book. I don't know how well the BGB really models different magic systems though. I just read Stormbringer magic the other day in m wondering if it could work for Warhammer's Old World and I realized it is barely disguised RQ spirit magic.

One of the challenges universal systems have is that in the attempt to make a universal system it's easy to lose flavor from magic. Fantasy Hero, at least the original, was horrible. Casters had just a handful of spells because they were "powers" not incantations... Not all magic systems work well with grimoires (D&D sort of does because of the way you learn spells). Ritual magic works well in some systems and is incompatible with other systems.

GURPS came out of the gate as a universal system, expanding on TFT enough to give enough weight for a universal system to work.

Certainly the idea of a single game engine working for multiple games was first seen in war games. Avalon Hill's early games all had similar mechanics way before Panzer Blitz and Panzer Leader (with Squad Leader becoming a "universal system" for WWII scenarios).
 

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Wasn't d20 the ultimate house system? You had a core SRD and then load of other games followed that with many flavours of fantasy plus superheroes and modern world and...

Not all Wizards of course, but it was a base ruleset from which so much flowed.

Also, to challenge the OP a bit - FGU - Bushido, Aftermath and Daredevils , a hell of a lot of system overlap there.
 

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Wasn't d20 the ultimate house system? You had a core SRD and then load of other games followed that with many flavours of fantasy plus superheroes and modern world and...

Not all Wizards of course, but it was a base ruleset from which so much flowed.

Also, to challenge the OP a bit - FGU - Bushido, Aftermath and Daredevils , a hell of a lot of system overlap there.
FGUs overlap was due to same authors though I think not a house system. I wonder if that is where you might draw a distinction. Does a company produce multiple games by multiple authors but with a semi consistent rules base.
 

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Yea, I think Hero was a transition from house system to universal system. And that's a good point that the super hero games had to accommodate more variation than other RPGs and thus set the stage for dealing with different genres not by replacing entire rule modules, but using a universal core to express the different genres.

Chaosium then tried the universal thing with the Big Gold Book. I don't know how well the BGB really models different magic systems though. I just read Stormbringer magic the other day in m wondering if it could work for Warhammer's Old World and I realized it is barely disguised RQ spirit magic.

One of the challenges universal systems have is that in the attempt to make a universal system it's easy to lose flavor from magic. Fantasy Hero, at least the original, was horrible. Casters had just a handful of spells because they were "powers" not incantations... Not all magic systems work well with grimoires (D&D sort of does because of the way you learn spells). Ritual magic works well in some systems and is incompatible with other systems.

GURPS came out of the gate as a universal system, expanding on TFT enough to give enough weight for a universal system to work.

Certainly the idea of a single game engine working for multiple games was first seen in war games. Avalon Hill's early games all had similar mechanics way before Panzer Blitz and Panzer Leader (with Squad Leader becoming a "universal system" for WWII scenarios).

GURPS at least initially did really well balancing universal and still offering different forms of magic for fantasy, horror, psionics. Later it seems like they pulled that back somewhat into more generic forms.

I think the similarity between Stormbringer and RQ magic was more about the time and effort put into it. CoC magic at least seems to be distinct from RQ magic, and there have been later magic systems adopted for BRP that were quite distinct, so more it took time to grow rather than being constrained by the rules.

Magic in HERO is challenging, it is far too easy to make spells that feel like powers, but I find that is more of a system mastery issue, than something that has to be. It was possible to make a spell caster in FH that didn't seem like a comic book wizard, but it was more work, and you had to be very creative.

Considering that most were already familiar with Champions it just added to many making spells that looked like super powers. 1E FH (3E HERO) magic works best for most people with magic that is more special ability, than spell casting. More RQ spirit magic or D&D's laying on hands healing of the paladin. It was possible to make a "real wizard" but took a lot of work and deep knowledge of the rules, and honestly was too much work for most. It also required a much higher power level than the default in those early HERO games so true wizards or sorcerers worked better as NPCs.

I think magic done right in the 1E FH would have meant doing a magic book that was the size of the core FH rules.

FGUs overlap was due to same authors though I think not a house system. I wonder if that is where you might draw a distinction. Does a company produce multiple games by multiple authors but with a semi consistent rules base.

As I mentioned in my wargaming post, I think the FGU example is best described as a game family, a step along the continuum of house rules to universal. Bushido to Daredevils developed during the same period as BRP, HERO and T&T / MSPE, so deserves consideration, but FGU and Flying Buffalo didn't continue to develop along that route where BRP and HERO would go on to form the basis of a whole series of games.
 
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Bunch

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GURPS at least initially did really well balancing universal and still offering different forms of magic for fantasy, horror, psionics. Later it seems like they pulled that back somewhat into more generic forms.

I think the similarity between Stormbringer and RQ magic was more about the time and effort put into it. CoC magic at least seems to be distinct from RQ magic, and there have been later magic systems adopted for BRP that were quite distinct, so more it took time to grow rather than being constrained by the rules.

Magic in HERO is challenging, it is far too easy to make spells that feel like powers, but I find that is more of a system mastery issue, that something that has to be. It was possible to make a spell caster in FH that didn't seem like a comic book wizard, but it was more work, and you had to be very creative.

Considering that most were already familiar with Champions spells just added to spells looking like powers. 1E FH (3E HERO) magic works best for most people with magic that is more special ability, than spell casting. More RQ spirit magic or D&D laying on hands healing of the paladin. It was possible to make a "wizard" but took a lot of work and deep knowledge of the rules, and honestly was too much work for most. It also required a much higher power level than the default in those early HERO games so wizards worked better as NPCs.

I think magic done right in the 1E FH would have meant doing a magic book that was the size of the core FH rules.



As I mentioned in my wargaming post, I think the FGU example is best described as a game family, a step along the continuum of house rules to universal. Bushido to Daredevils developed during the same period as BRP, HERO and T&T / MSPE, so deserves consideration, but FGU and Flying Buffalo didn't continue to develop along that route where BRP and HERO would go on to form the basis of a whole series of games.
I mean like just about everything in life we'd have to come up with a somewhat arbitrary dividing line. FGU is just such an interesting outlier in the early RPG history. Seems like they would publish just about anything. So a prolific enough author certainly could make a house like system in that environment.
 

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Wasn't d20 the ultimate house system? You had a core SRD and then load of other games followed that with many flavours of fantasy plus superheroes and modern world and...

Not all Wizards of course, but it was a base ruleset from which so much flowed.

Also, to challenge the OP a bit - FGU - Bushido, Aftermath and Daredevils , a hell of a lot of system overlap there.

I don't know that I would say ultimate, and the glut of publishers makes things a little weird since the games are under multiple roofs, but d20 was certainly a WotC house system. Some are quite different though Spycraft and Fantasycraft in particular making some fairly large deviations at least bending the definition.

I mean like just about everything in life we'd have to come up with a somewhat arbitrary dividing line. FGU is just such an interesting outlier in the early RPG history. Seems like they would publish just about anything. So a prolific enough author certainly could make a house like system in that environment.

Sure that is why I suggested them as a game family. Being only 3 games out of dozens published it was far from FGUs house system, but was clearly a system Robert Charette and Paul Hume liked. They also worked on Shadowrun which shares little with these games. I mentioned the same with Behind Enemy Lines and Delta Force which had the same author (William Keith Jr) but two different publishers. HERO has already been mentioned as one that is on both sides of the house system and universal system, and really so is BRP so anyone looking for a clean B&W definition is going to be disappointed. :grin:
 
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