Runequester

27 years old, Danish. Geek cred: Author of Trench Storm (ww1 miniatures rules) and Fast And Dirty (ww2-to-near future miniatures rules) Fave RPG's: Runequest, Heroquest, Reign Fave mini's games: Stargrunt 2, Crossfire, Nuts Fave bands: (too many to mention, but for sake of name-dropping Slough Feg, Iron Maiden, Sabaton

Mar 192011
 

Yes, advanced dungeons and dragons. The old one, by Gygax (or the 2nd edition by Cook if you will).
Although Runequest and Rolemaster are games we play more, I do have a soft spot for the original AD&D. I think it has a lot of scope and potential, and people usually respond to it very well, once they are at the table.
So since I am bored, here’s a few different musings on running AD&D games. These are things more specific to AD&D, than broad, generic gaming advice.
1: What do I roll for this?

Its a common complaint that dice rolls are all over the place, but in a lot of ways, that can be a strength. As the GM, you have a lot of options available to you. Some ways to have a player resolve an action can be: An ability check. A straight percentage chance. A saving throw. Use the “spell learn” or “bend bars” rolls. etc etc.There’s a lot of mechanics in there, and they can be used for a lot of interesting results.
2: Say no to skills.

Skills have been standard in RPG’s since Traveller and Runequest. For AD&D, I’d stay clear of them.Look at the character and judge the situation. A ranger should never be rolling dice to see if he can find shelter, and a cleric knows about ancient religions. No hero should roll dice to ride a horse.When you factor in race, class and their background, you’ll know if they can do it or not. Bring out the dice if the situation is truly challenging.
3: Dont roll dice constantly

Rolling dice can be fun, but it can also break the game if everything comes down it.If you look through the AD&D rules, dice rolls are not actually all that common. The implication is certainly that they are rarely rolled, unless the rules specifically bring it up.There’s really two paradigms here: Roll often or roll rarely. A lot of games assume that you’ll roll dice frequently, and that you’ll have a high chance of success. For AD&D, I find it fits the game better if you roll fairly rarely, and with average or even low chances of success. The player should in most cases have a chance to solve the situation without resorting to dice. Think of them as the saving throw. Your plan didn’t work out, so we’ll give you a chance to bail.
4: Thief skills.

A few simple pointers: The thief should never be punished more than another character would, just for attempting his skills.The thief should never be punished simply for being a thief. Examine the situation. If any character could attempt it, the thief can roll for his thief skill to do it faster, better etc. If he fails, he still gets the same chance everyone else would get.
5: Hit points.

Yes, hit points are a mess. They still are. That being said, exploit the fact that they don’t all represent physical punishment in your descriptions. A 5 damage hit when the fighter is at 30 HP is a staggering blow he barely parried. The same hit when he is down to his last 8 HP is a deep gash in his arm, with blood flowing everywhere.”Hitting” does not mean you wounded them until the very end. Until then, you are just wearing down their defenses.
6: Saving throws.

Same deal. Let the players determine how their character resisted. A fighter might just shrug off the spell through determination, while the magic user knew intricate counter measures. As saving throws are based on threat, not defense (reverse of post-AD&D editions) use the freedom.

7: Morale.

Whether you use the morale checks or not, the GM should always play creatures intelligently. Nothing saps suspension of disbelief faster than the heroes murdering 20 goblins, and the last 2 obligingly march up to get killed, just for the chance of inflicting 3 more HP of damage.When intelligent creatures are cut down, have them retreat, surrender, negotiate, etc. If the world seems to be a living, interesting place, the players will invest more in it, and may keep themselves alive longer.

8: Dont fudge dice.

Personal policy and some GMs hate this, so use if you please.All dice rolls I make are plainly visible to the players. If they know you will save them, the dramatic tension goes out of the scene. A little fear never hurt anyone in a game.On the flip side, don’t make impossible situations. Most fights should have alternate solutions, ways to improve the situation etc.Make them work for it.

Feb 252011
 

Me and Ruben played a pretty fun game of Troops, Weapons & Tactics (yes.. it abbreviates to a rather rude word. Yes, this is probably intentional) today.

The scene was Italy 1943, the force a platoon of fairly inexperienced Americans, supported by a machine gun team and a 60mm mortar. Opposing them a platoon of somewhat fresh but unsupported Germans.

We had rolled up characters with personalities, using the excellent “Platoon Forward” supplement, likewise available from Toofatlardies. I’ll let Ruben talk about his characters and the story as it unfolded.

The battle ended with 7 or 8 casualties on each side, at which point my Germans conceded the field. While they were still putting up a fight, the flanks were getting worn down, and it didn’t seem reasonable to expend more men on a routine patrol action.

Some general lessons:

As always, TW&T captures the old saying that in battle, even simple things are hard. Troops almost invariably do not move at the pace you expect them to, squads get bogged down or decide to hold their safe spot rather than move up to the firing line, officers find themselves in the wrong spot, and coordinating anything becomes extremely difficult. The “platoon attack” that seems to easy on paper is a lot more difficult in real life.. and in TW&T.

Deciding whether shots counted as “great”, “okay” or “poor” proved no trouble at all. We also generally agreed on target numbers for spotting. I imagine once we involve vehicles, it’ll flow just as easy.

Platoon officers are vitally important if you want to get anything done. Having two big men with an important squad vastly raises their chances of getting to move, directing their fire and keeping them in good shape.

Close range fire is extremely unpleasant. One unfortunate yank rifle team took multiple casualties from close range grenade throwing and MG42 fire. One of my german teams found the same fate as they found themselves on the receiving end of two BAR teams without much cover. Once you are outside 12″ and in some cover, firepower tends to slack off quite a bit.

Grenade throwing worked out extremely well on my end.

I forgot that mortars have a minimum range of 24″. Also forgot about smoke grenades. Maybe next time.

Overall, an enjoyable game with a good historical feel.

Nov 272010
 

Capitol does not have quite the range of units that Imperial or the Legion boasts, but they have a lot of interesting tricks available.

The key benefit over other armies is rapid deployment. A lot of the Capitol units have unique deployment methods, whether it is infiltration (free marines and desert scorpions), parachute insertion (rangers) or the helicopter deployment that all units can utilize. Each of these have some measure of risk involved but it means it is very hard to keep a Capitol player away from where he wants to go.

This is combined with rapid moving units, such as their light vehicles and Martian Banshees and you have a quite mobile force on your hands.

The main weakness of Capitol forces tends to be that their lack hard hitting close combat troops. While they have some, like the Sunset Strikers, close combat tends to be more of a backup plan, than deliberate policy for Capitol. As such, some units like Sea Lions and free marines carry Punisher blades for backup. Examine carefully if the situation warrants a close assault, but be carefull as you may easily get overpowered by an opposition better equipped and prepared for it.

Equipment wise, Capitol equipment is generally solid, combining decent damage, range and accuracy. Don’t neglect the general armoury for additional weaponry, particularly for heavy damage output.

An army is led by great men, and there’s a fair share of options. Uniquely, only a few of the Capitol hero models require their respective squads to be fielded, thus you can easily have, say, a Free Marine hero even if your squads are all basic infantry. This gives some good flexibility, and lets you bolster your force easily.

None of the Capitol hero models are single man death machines but you have a lot of flexibility. There’s no less than four personality models available, each of which lends unique options as well. While the use of personalities should be a rare thing, they give you some fun options and can really raise the oomph of your force.

Nov 272010
 

So unfortunately official Warzone figures can be hard to find.

Prince August in Scotland still has some in stock but they are getting fewer and far between. So it is time to start looking for substitutes out there:

Luckily human scifi figures are easy to find in 28mm. It’s just a question of finding figures that match well.

When looking for a proxy figure, I’d worry less about looking exactly like the figure in question, and more if it has the right “feel” to it. What’s important is that it looks like a Bauhaus Blitzer to YOU.

So let’s look at this by army:

Capitol:

Capitol are likely the easiest as they are basically just soldiers. The cheapest option is the Cadian Shock Troops from Games Workshop. Very reasonably priced plastic kit, easy to pose in a variety of ways, and if you pick up some spare weapons from somewhere, you can create a good variety of figures.

http://www.craftyspot.co.uk/images/cadian%20shock%20troops.jpg

For some of the more specialized troops, you’ll want to look around. Free Marines could be done cheap with Catachan Jungle Fighters, especially if you could find the older metal figures

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_wRZ1N9p2Fyg/TIJDd3-QbxI/AAAAAAAAAMI/En-Ay33eTJw/s1600/Oldschool+models.jpg

There’s also an excellent Vietnam war range from TAG that can do well for a lot of Capitolian grunt types, like Sea Lions.

http://www.theassaultgroup.co.uk/store/home.php?cat=21

The same manufacturer also does modern day american infantry, which would be a great fit for Desert Scorpions.

Heavy infantry might be represented well by the Pig Iron System Troopers

http://www.pig-iron-productions.com/system-troopers-c-11.html?zenid=2efd78cc5b7d18611cd29dadf305e2f1

Overall, as a Capitol player, you are well served by the market, as there’s a wealth of stuff out there. For units like Martian Banshees you may have to get a little creative, the same going for the vehicles, but the results will be a unique and interesting army, at a pretty low investment.

Nov 262010
 

Back in high school, Warzone, the Mutant Chronicles wargame, left a big mark on us. It was the first game to show us a different way of doing things compared to the Games Workshop stuff.

So today, we had 2 games of Warzone, one Bauhaus vs Capitol and one three way battle with the Dark Legion.

A few observations:

Flamethrowers are wicked (very high damage, no attack roll, can roast an entire squad).

Violator blades and chain rippers are equally wicked (sweep attacks hurt grunts bad, and 2 wounds per hit means grunts are unlikely to survive)

Large dark legion creatures that are strong enough not to need to brace their weapons are deadly.

There really never was a superior squad turn sequence to the Warzone one. Everything just feels so fluid and natural: Everyone takes their actions, one trooper moving, aiming then firing while another is “rock n roll” with his MG for 3 actions.

Even big beefy heroes can be brought down by a determined volley of rifle fire.

From a collecting / hobby perspective:

Highly customizable armies

Very cheap entry cost. 12-14 models for a 500 point army. Maybe twice that for 1000 points. An initial investment of 30 dollars or less.

Welcome to the warzone maggots. Hope you survive!

Here’s a picture of our ghetto terrain setup.

Ghetto Warzone Terrain

This is what happens when you don't have fancy terrain.

Nov 242009
 

It’s almost the end of the year, and I’d like to talk a little about the past, present and future of FAD.

These rules have been around for 7 years now. They began as hastily written comments on a notepad, after playing and having my mind blown by Stargrunt II.

The things I knew I wanted, when I started the project was this:

Suppression should be automatic.

Only 6 sided dice.

Combat should be squad based.

The core mechanics would be roll 2 dice and pick the highest or roll 2-3 dice and see how many score over a certain target number.

With that in mind, the original game came into existence. My friend Paul liked it and gave some feedback, and I proceeded to talk it up a little on theminiaturespage.com and the old GW fan site Portent.net. As time went on, I realized that I had struck something that people actually took an interest in. I saw threads where people asked for advice on a rules set, and people I didn’t even know would suggest FAD. I googled it occasionally and found it mentioned on forums and websites I had never even frequented.

As time went on, I even learnt that people had run games using FAD at a few conventions across the world. That blew my mind.

Yeah, it’s nowhere near the popularity of games like 5150, Stargrunt II, Warhammer 40.000 or any of those. The twohourwargames yahoo group has 3600 members and multiple posts every day. The FAD group is fairly quiet and has just shy of 500 members. But it’s something I had never anticipated or experienced before.

Now it’s November of 2009, and FAD4 has been out for a good while now. So what is lying ahead of us all?

First and foremost are a few projects that have been in various states of development for the past year. We have a lot of little additions to the core rules (night fighting, more traits, some clarifications of points that could be clearer, that sort of thing) which will eventually become FAD 4.3. I don’t think there’s any chance of having this done by December so expect something in the first half of 2010.

We have been working on a campaign setting as well (Cyberia) which will give a “out of the box” option to people who don’t want to fiddle with designing their own units from scratch. There’s also work on a WW2 and possibly modern day options. These are propably more distant projects though.

One thing that have been churning in my head lately is the idea of having money go into, and come out of, FAD. I am not talking about making the game commercial only (I watched my old ww1 rules Trench Storm whither and die from that decision) or making a living off it. Let me explain:

There’s a lot of things I think could be achieved with a bit of cash. A few include:

Commissioning artwork, writing etc: This is by far the biggest one. We’ve been extremely lucky in having some very talented volunteers provide us some great art to use. However, volunteers are subject to the randomness of life, and are motivated mainly by interest and passion.

Being able to have some artwork commissioned for FAD products would give us another, additional source of material. It could also go to additionally reward and motivate people who have volunteered their efforts.

It would also permit some additional incentive to prospective rules writers who may otherwise be disinclined to spend hours developing a rules supplement.

Advertising: I would like to do a bit more work advertising (and thus paying money into supporting) popular tabletop gaming sites like theminiaturespage.com and rpg.net. Having some cash flow would allow for that, as well as give FAD some additional exposure.

Miniatures: This is faraway and expensive idea, but having a range of miniatures developed for FAD would be pretty cool.

Conventions: I’d love to have something setup where we could showcase FAD at conventions, and possibly provide some stuff for that, such as freebie print copies of the rules or whatever might be the case.

Cooperation with a miniatures supplier: This talk has come up before, and at least one supplier showed interest, however the arrival of my son into this world made me unable to follow through on this. I am however very interested in having some cooperation with manufacturers of scifi figures, particularly some of the small-scale operations. This would enable us to provide FAD stats and points values ready to use, and give them more exposure and advertisement, while giving FAD more exposure as well.

There’s other incidental expenses that could occur as well, such as server space if we move to our own server, website maintenance and whatnot.

So where does money for these ideas come from? Well, it can come from my pocket. I generally can’t really afford that, and I’d love for FAD to sustain itself.

I am also not keen on the idea of selling PDF’s. Anyone can develop for the game, and that is how it ought to be. So if I sell a supplement on urban warfare, and another guy does it for free and his is better, nobody will buy mine, and for good reason.

The core FAD products should be free and readily available.

Printed copies: An option that will almost certainly be used is to offer the printed version of FAD through a print-on-demand service such as lulu. Last I checked the cost of a book of this size would be about 10 dollars, so it could sell for a few bucks more. Based on polling on the yahoo group and comparing to existing products, most people are willing to pay 12-15 dollars for a game of this size.

This would not change the fact that it’s available for free, and there’d be no “exclusive” version. It’d simply be a service to people who prefer getting a printed, spiral-bound copy, rather than dealing with pdf’s and printing it themselves.

Ransom model: Those who play RPG’s may be familiar with Greg Stolze’s ransom model. You offer up a game or supplement and set a ransom. People pledge whatever money they feel is fair. When the ransom is met, it’s made available for free to everybody. This avoids PDF piracy, and nobody pays more than what they want to. If the ransom isn’t met, the money either never gets deducted, or is donated to charity.

Donations: Asking for money is basically begging, and in addition to being distasteful, people aren’t inclined to give money just for the sake of doing so. In the past when the topic of commissioning artwork came up, a few people showed an interest in donating towards that, so its conceivable that specific expenses could receive some funding through donation.

These are all ideas I have been mulling over, and I am still trying to lay out the best path to really push FAD forward into the spotlight more, and capture more ground.

Lastly, I’d like to put out a call for support and aid. I am at a spot where I have projects that I think FAD needs, but I do not have the luxury to work on all of them myself. I need people who are competent designers and tinkerers, creative writers or just plain thinkers, who may be willing to pitch in for some specific projects.

I’ll put forth more specifics, but the two main projects are: FAD WW2 and help with the Cyberia setting. I have two people lined up for the latter, but I need more, to really make progress in a reasonable time.

It’s been a strange and amazing 7 years, and I’d like to thank all of you out there for everything you’ve done. Here’s to another 7 years of fast and dirty wargaming

Ivan – authordude

Aug 092009
 

So this kicks off the WW2 rules quest.. what will hopefully become a series of blog posts about ww2 wargaming, as I and my friends go through a ton of wargame rules, analyze and talk about this, and test out the same scenarios with each system.

The series will cover both commercial and “freeware” rules.

The first on the list is Landser, which is free from the yahoogroup located at http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/Landser/

This is a first glance before putting the rules to the test. The rules are short and compact: Only 4 pages in total and only covers infantry combat (which is all I am interested in, generally). No army lists are included, though the downloaded included separate PDF’s covering US, German and Soviet squads. The game is aimed at about a squad on each side.

Turn sequence is a straight (I go, then you go). When its your turn to go, each figure can perform one action, such as moving, hiding, firing etc. Its possible to fire on the move, but at very low accuracy. There’s a fair number of actions, and I like the inclusion of a hide and sneak option, though I’d prefer an alternating activation sequence

There’s not much in the way of command/control. Figures can move off as they see fit, and there doesn’t seem to be any particular benefit to the squad leader.

Combat looks very quick and dirty. You roll to hit, and then roll for effect. Automatic weapons get a template, and there’s rules for the most common weapons types (various machine guns, grenades and rifle grenades). As an interesting touch, most hits will simply force the target to hide, causing a suppression effect.

If you do get wounded, the wound may be light or heavy, and each has a small chart to roll the actual effect. Very nice touch as it gives a good range of possibilities. As it reads, it looks like long range fire will be relatively safe but can easily disrupt a squad, while an MP40 at point blank range is bad news.

Morale is simple. Once 2 men are dead, you test morale with a D10 against the number of men left. If you fail, you break off the fight. Its unclear if you are supposed to test once, every turn, or every turn you take an additional casualty, though the latter makes the most sense. This “break point” increases for more determined or well trained units.

National traits are briefly discussed in the separate PDF’s. Soviet soldiers cannot fire on the move, while Germans and Americans can only assault if a leader does so.

Fielding most infantry types should be relatively easy, though I did not find rules for the Sturmgewehr and no distinction between self-loading or bolt-action rifles.

Overall, Landser is nothing anyone havent seen before. It is however a nice, quick and effective skirmish game, with some fun touches to it. I definately look forward to playing it, and I could see this little freebie becoming a recurring game at my table.

Jul 242009
 

So 4th edition D&D has been out for a while, there’s a steady stream of books out for it, its received quite a bit of acclaim and popularity, and the inevitable question has risen a few times: Why am I not playing it ?

So to address these in a manner that illuminates my playstyle and preferences, something that any gamer could do well thinking about occasionally, here are the reasons I have chosen not to play D&D 4, after giving it a few tests after it came out.

Unlike a lot of people I am not viewing this in comparison to 3.5 (which I hate like the plague) or AD&D or the classic D&D games. I evaluated it in comparison to other fantasy games on my bookshelf, some old (Runequest), some classics with recent editions (GURPS, Warhammer) and some bleeding edge (Burning Wheel, Heroquest, Reign)

1: Classes.

I realize picking on D&D for having character classes is a bit unfair, but it is the nature of the beast. I dont mind having a template that gives me direction when I create the character, but as the game goes on, I want to be free to develop my character in the direction I choose, rather than a pre-determined set of options.

2: Levels

This is the bigger pet peeve. As a player, I find level based advancement absolutely choking. I despise having to wait another 3 sessions to advance my character, as it prevents me from reacting organically to what happens in the game. Whats worse is that a level structure means there is only a finite amount of chances to make those changes. I can endure character classes if they are done in an open and entertaining fashion, but level based play is a killer for me these days

3: Character focus

I am lately finding myself wanting games that put the character to the forefront, their beliefs, their wants, their goals and desires. And to have mechanics that back that up. Burning Wheel, FATE and Heroquest are all good examples of this. D&D has traditionally never done this and the 4th edition is no exception.

There are two views of mechanics and roleplaying. One view is that the mechanics should stay away from the roleplaying, while the other is that the mechanics should support or encourage the roleplaying. D&D falls in the former school for sure. As does a few other games I enjoy, including my beloved Runequest, so its not inherently a killer in itself, but its a factor.

To me, it is completely uninteresting whether your character can swing a sword, hit 2 enemies in one blow and then leap 3 squares. What is interesting is that he has a burning passion for avenging his father, and that passion compels him in the game.

4: Simulation

Rules should simulate reality or setting to a certain extent. With 4th edition, D&D has really moved to the end of the Game axis of the game-simulation graph. This obviously resonates with a lot of people, but it makes the mechanics appear arbitrary and uninsteresting to me. Simulation does not have to entail realism. A superhero game is highly simulationist for example, as is Bunnies&Burrows.

5: Handling time

I was shocked to discover how long 4th edition combats take. I had chalked this up to our inexperience when testing it, but reports from friends and various actual play reports online confirmed that the game is indeed designed to have all combats last around a 1 to 1.5 hour time frame.

I only get to game face-to-face 2-3 times a month, due to work and family constraints, so I can’t in good conscience devote that much time to every single battle we have, unless its an epic conclusion. Rolemaster and GURPS both move faster than this, at an equivalent number of combatants, and with similar amounts of record keeping, and they are both renowned as “crunchy” systems.

6: Cost

I have a reasonable hobby budget, but I prefer spending that on miniatures. There are very few roleplaying games I invest a lot of money in. D&D has a basic start up cost exceeding 100 dollars, simply for the 3 core books to play. If I want a setting to play in, thats another 35 dollars, and this still only gives me a handful of character classes.

Throw in another 35 dollars when we get tired of what was in the players handbook (and an active group will cycle through the 8 or so character classes pretty quickly). This is more than I’ve spent on most of my wargaming armies, and I can’t justify spending that amount of money on a game that I will only play occasionally, at most.

WOTC has set an extremely high cost of entry for their game, which boggles my mind. For the same cost, I can obtain the core books for 3-4 other games, and have a far wider variety of material to play with.

So those 6 reasons comprise my main reasons for passing on this game. I bought 2 of the books, I tested it, I came to realize that it will not fill any lack in what I am looking for in a roleplaying game, and I passed the books on to a friend who will find far more benefit, value and enjoyment in them, than I ever will.

Jan 172009
 

A long time ago, there was only wargames. Then people starting experimenting with things, and we got results like the Braunstein games, and eventually Dungeons and Dragons.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Through the years games have straddled the lines. Examples of wargames with RPG elements include Inquisitor and many of the offerings from twohourwargames (Nuts, 5150, Chain reaction etc). Examples of RPG’s with wargame elements are most strongly represented by D&D and Warhammer FRP.

For our current roleplaying campaign, I tossed around a lot of ideas, and my initial thought was to use a wargame set to run a roleplaying campaign. We’d have rules for the tabletop combat, and then just roleplay through the “talky talky” scenes. In the end, we settled on GURPS, since it has a very strong tactical combat aspect, but if we run a large battle, we may switch the mechanics to resolve that.

In the upcoming session, the two players are respectively the sergeant and corporal of a French infantry squad near the Franco-German border in 1940. They’ve been sent on a routine patrol to check out a bridge in the area, where they’ll be attacked by a German patrol.

The interesting part will be that this will be run using GURPS rules, but with miniatures and terrain set up (if a bit primitive looking, as I only have so much time to prepare), and conducted as a tactical battle, in the vein of a proper wargame.

The players will have to issue orders to their subordinates (8 squad members in this case), and may have to endure those orders being misunderstood or not carried out, based on morale and leadership tests. All aspects traditional of a wargame. Simultaneously, they will be able to act independently, come up with ideas and implement them, and act “outside the box” in the manner of an RPG.

Nothing about this is truly new, it’s existed for years, but I think the core of it, is something that is too often overlooked in roleplaying games. Plenty of games use miniatures and tactical movement, but they often omit the things that wargames have done for years: Opportunity fire, morale, the uncertainty of whether orders are carried out, the importance of leadership. We have to go back to Megatraveller before we see those things making an appearance and that’s been how long?

I often get asked why I don’t like D&D, since I like tactical combat so much. My response is twofold:

A: Swords and spears don’t interest me, rifles and tanks do.

B: D&D has good tactical combat in the sense that it’s fun and is pretty much a game in itself. But it doesn’t have plausible tactical combat. When I play, I want to think about whether I can place my machine gun in enfilade, whether my men will be able to hold the line, whether my ambush will work, NOT whether I am placed in the right square to get a +2, or how these three powers will interact with each other.

And that is where we can turn to wargames, to find solutions to those problems.

Whatever happens, it’ll be interesting to see how they deal with the situation, and how they react to the fog of war of not knowing where the enemy is, until they are actually observed on the table.

Nov 212008
 

I’ve talked about in the past why I think a realistic game system is superior to an inherently unrealistic one, ESPECIALLY in a fantasy or superhero game.

But that’s not what I am going to talk about now, even though its one of the strengths of GURPS.

Neither is it points based character creation, which I’m not actually a huge fan of.

Its the toolkit.

A lot of games these days are driven by their powers, races, options etc. D&D, as well as White Wolf’s various offerings relies hugely on this. Setting books don’t sell as well as rules books, and people like lots of rules to put in their games (looking at the games that sell well these days. overwhelmingly D&D and White Wolf, but also Shadowrun, GURPS and WFRP, they are all crunchy games with enough text and charts to make your eyes bleed if your not inclined towards that)

What drives me up the wall is that outside of GURPS and HERO, most companies never actually give you the keys to the toolbox. You can get book after book with countless pages worth of predefined powers, abilities, classes, races or whatnot, but you are never actually given the freedom to just use the toolset for yourself.

If D&D 3.5 was supposed to permit you to play any character, why can’t we have a system for constructing character classes? They published hundreds of the damn things, so obviously more classes were wanted.

Of course, if I can make it myself, I won’t want to pay you money to do it for me, but that frees up the developers to make books that actually matter, instead of just repackaging more “powerz” that I should have been able to do myself.