View Full Version : Home-brew or Canned?

03-17-2008, 02:55 PM
I don't hang out in this forum much, even though I've run lots of SF or futuristic games, and I was trying to figure out why.

Partly, I think, that's because I have a tendency to run my own universes rather than play in somebody else's. I have played Traveller and Star Trek, but I was already thinking of being a writer when Star Wars (the RPG) came out, so I was disinclined to play in it. Other worlds seem like they don't quite hit the mark for me, so I play in a homebrew that will hit whatever I'm currently aiming at.

So I have a tendency to use a universal system (CORPS or Hero or EABA; GURPS just strikes me as the roleplaying game of exceptions, rather than a useful game) and modify something slightly to better reflect the world of the game (skill trees or package deals or default skills or what have you).

The only times I've played in someone else's world (er, a professional publisher, instead of a GM), I've been playing horror or fantasy. In the first instance, usually the horror derives from the world, so you can't really separate it, and in the second, even then we put some other spins on the game. (I mean, really--levels were real and you could get addicted to going up? A Marxist paladin?)

So for SF...do people prefer home-brew universes or the chance to play in someone else's world?

Inquisitor Tremayne
03-18-2008, 12:30 PM
Welcome to the Sci-fi/Fantasy boards!

I prefer to play in "canned" games as it were.

A completely home-brewed game sometimes has difficulty instilling a feeling of verisimilitude and I find it is already hard enough instilling that in a pre-gen'ed game.

I will however, create my own story arcs and what-not in those pre-gen'ed games.

03-22-2008, 03:22 PM
I use a system for sci-fi since Star Wars is great. What I don't do is follow cannon to the teeth. If the players get high enought to kill vader early, why not? Not that that'd be easy...

As far as fantasy, I like forgotton realms, but I always lean towards my own realm based on real mythology. I think the ancient religions and cults of greece, rome, scandinavia and western europe are the best to use.

So I'm not sure if that's canned... I guess my source books are history and anthropolgy books vs. DnD books; and part of that is it's much more interesting in my view to read about history. After all, history is more bloody and gritty than PG DnD. Think of all the gore a Paladin of Zeus could get away with.

03-24-2008, 08:15 AM
I prefer home brew campaigns for all of my games. Granted, I'll use someone else's setting for a template, but I always put my own spin on it. About the only game I've ever run that I followed the setting closely was Gamma World, but even then I still change quite a bit about the world.

I just don't care for the direction most games take their canned campaigns. Guess it's the closet writer in me!:biggrin:

03-24-2008, 11:22 PM
Hey Skunk, I followed pretty much the same path. My first campaign was Star Frontiers, but we ran out of modules even though I bought every single piece of SF material TSR sold. So I started to invent stuff, that lasted for over a year. Then we went to Pendragon and my boss gave me ever Pendragon piece in the catalogue (she owned the LGS). We again ran out of prepared stuff and I had to wing it, for about a year. Then I got into ADnD and got frustrated because no one could own ALL the rules and someone was always complaining that there was a rule out there that I wasn’t obeying. I quit 3.5 for my own home brew game and it has been going off and on for … a long time.

03-25-2008, 12:32 AM
Most of what I've done has been canned mechanics, home-brew game world. I ran Forgotten Realms a few times when it first came out and there wasn't much material for it, but the more junk that was written for it, the less and less I liked it and finally abandoned it all-together.

I did Star Wars for a time, but to quote another post about SW "I always felt I was playing in someone else's sandbox". That game didn't last long.

About the only game I held to somewhat strict canon was Shadowrun, though I gave it much more a distinct William Gibson flair. :) The material is strong enough to make my life easy, and loose enough I have a lot of maneuvering room.

I've come up with my own mechanics for RPGs but quite frankly, it's an enormous amount of work, and you can never iron out all the holes in any system. There's plenty of canned mechanics out there that work well. Some of the most amazing systems I've ever played are the extremely light game engines like Feng Shui which focus more on game flow than character-combat-dice mechanics.

03-25-2008, 03:27 AM
i'm typically find that i feel too busy creating worlds to want to spend a lot of time on building a system just to play in a world. i typically adapt whatever system is convenient to my worlds. no matter what system i use, i find i have to make custom rules for something or another....

03-27-2008, 01:31 PM
Home Brew to the Point I wrote and Published APOCalypse 2500 (http://www.swordandsigil.com)
I too was unsatisfied with the way others had handled much of the game physics and usually weapons where totally lacking in any real world understanding of sword play, ballistics, or current scientific theory when dealing with future tech.

I ended up creating an entirely new system "RPG Percentile System," links to which can be found here (http://www.swordandsigil.com), which deals with things like armor penetration, shot placement, and damage in a much more logical way. I also tend to explain my tech and magical aspects in a story teller type of way to help really build the worlds feel. The series APOCalypse 2500 currently has 6 books and I am finally working on the Tomb of Magic hopefully to be released this summer 2008. I think you will find my world very flexible and much more is coming in the way of "canned" adventure modules as outer space time and interdenominational travel are all on the table.

Some say it sounds like RIFTS which I will admit inspired me by the virtue of its short comings, in my opinion. However once I started (at first just to write a personal RIFTS supplement) went totally insane and created an entire new system (6 books and growing) and a new unique world that is now similar in only one aspect which is that Magic and Technology both exist in my world. That is where the similarity begins and ends as APOCalypse 2500 is unique to its self.

If you check it out pleas give me your first impressions as you can read the back story at www.swordandsigil.com (http://www.swordandsigil.com) or follow the links to my sails page (http://stores.lulu.com/whatiswhat) and preview all the books in more detail with NO obligation to buy or create an account.