This is just a quick post, but one I’m really hoping to get some feedback on.
How do YOU feel about “System Neutral” material?
The inspiration for this question comes from two projects I’m working on.
Those following my blog have seen my Neutropolis setting articles I’ve started up recently. This has been an idea I had for essentially using D&D 4E materials to run a steampunk-ish urban fantasy dystopia.
Another project I haven’t really discussed much openly about is a collaborative project in the scheming phase right now. Essentially, a few friends and myself are considering writing small publications of adventures and campaign settings that aren’t geared towards a specific system, although we would attempt to give some pointers and advice for various Open Licensed systems where available. The idea being to reach a broad market….here’s some adventures, some maps, and some settings….and it wouldn’t matter if you’re running AD&D, 4th Edition, Pathfinder, or any other fantasy game.
Back to me Neutropolis stuff, I’ve been getting some interest comments and conversations with others about how it could be interesting in other RPG systems. One friend of mine had an awesome character concept: Essentially an urban beast ranger, who instead of a normal animal has a clockwork pet. I felt using 4E that could be worked in just fine, but then he pointed out the obvious strengths of going with a system like Savage Worlds, or a slew of other “supers” and pulp-ranged game systems. Also, I’ve sort of been reading about systems like Fantasy Craft and seeing some potential there as well. So, I considered the idea of maybe going back over and starting to write the system without the 4E-specific terminology.
What’s interesting is when I asked for feedback over Twitter, one response I had came from an individual who didn’t care for 4E, but felt that going System Neutral was “dangerous” in that nobody is really interested in it. Which, thinking of my own interests at times, I can see how at least having a system tied to an idea or setting could be a bit more appealing, even if it’s not the system YOU are wanting to play.
So what do you guys think? Is System Neutrality not really the pursuit? Is it better to focus and cater to a specific system than it is to be broad enough for general use? Or is this something the hobby could really use more of? I felt that if we focused more on the story, the adventure, and non-mechanical driven stuff (like Puzzles and Trap design) then it could easily be incorporated into one game or the next.
Floor’s open, rant away.