Friday, June 9, 2023

Did you know I wrote a Universal/Generic RPG in the 1980s?

...and that the free PDF version has been downloaded nearly 14,000 times since it was "re-released" back in 2011?

It's been a while since I mentioned The System around these parts. The System is the universal RPG that I originally wrote as a high-schooler in 1985, abandoned when I realized GURPS had hit the market, then finally resurrected when I discovered the OSR back in the early part of 2011 (though had yet to understand what a retro-clone was... which The System is definitely not). If you've never heard of The System, it was actually the first New Big Dragon RPG product ever published (in the early months of 2011), and the one that set the ball in motion for what I've done since. Below is how the "original edition" appeared in the mid 80s (on the left) and how it appears now in the "25th Anniversary Edition" (on the right). I suppose I should start getting ready for the 40th Anniversary Edition in 2026.

I'm quite willing to admit the game has its flaws... I mean, c'mon, I was 16 or 17 when I wrote it. (e.g., there is a very convoluted constitution-to-hit-point system, and there is an innovative but ultimately ill-conceived initiative and movement tracking system, and while it purports to handle supers among its genres, I can't claim that it actually scales to reflect the expanse of power levels between the weakest and strongest heroes). But over time, I have more and more appreciation for the fact that it uses d6s only, and led to some underlying things that Welbo and I would like to see become part of a "2nd Edition" of The System. (Should we ever get back to it.)

There have been some interesting developments over the last ten or twelve years. For example, it was poised to become a guy in Brazil's replacement for GURPS. I've also received several emails over the years with people asking about using the underlying system as a framework for other games (both tabletop and computer-based), though nothing has ever materialized from those inquiries.

• If you want the full story on The System, check out this post.
• To download a free PDF from MediaFire, click here
• To buy a print copy of The System from Lulu, head over here.

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