Ultimately, I'm looking at finally kludging together my favorite bits of RPG rules from various sources and seeing how they hold together (hint: not well). What rules bits are these?
- Hero System: I really love this system, as it has become my fundamental basis for understanding things like 'game balance' and 'game effect' and 'game special effect'. I'd argue it became my first gateway into the concept of game design, given the different tweaks done on the various genres. It is a point-buy system, and I like the independence of all the various game stats and powers, and many of the core philosophies despite the bad taste in the mouth it gives to some people with 'all the math'. It's not really that complex (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division are all you do here -- no factorials, no exponents, no roots), but I suppose the amount of math rather than the difficulty puts people off.
- Marvel Super Heroes: I loved the random generation of characters, and the way that the Basic version of the rules explained things all 'in character'. I like the FASERIP stats and the text-based ranks of ability from Feeble to Unearthly and Beyond.
- DC Heroes: rounding out the obvious influence that superhero RPGs had on me, DC Heroes impressed me with their use of APs -- a device that somehow merged solid math (exponential jumps in ability) with a way to 'fudge' how big an effect was by using 'benchmarks' or ranges of effect.
- Fuzion: I really liked the concept of switches and dials, the ability to change the 'physics engine' of the system by tweaking key bits of it. I appreciated the attempt to merge HERO with Mekton, but it didn't really all gel that well. I also liked the ability to compress stats cleanly, making stat blocks for NPCs easier to reflect.
- FATE: now that I finally understand it better, based on my fave gateway drug RPG -- Marvel Heroic Roleplaying -- the concept of having Traits or Disadvantages that players (either the PC in question, or other players) or the GM will be able to invoke or compel is a great one. I liked the old HERO rules for randomly determining if a disad might come into play in a given game, but this is a nicer way that ensures that the so-called disads get triggered every so often.
It's a lot to tackle in the month, but what the heck -- I'm not getting any younger.