“The world needs another generic fantasy system like it needs udders and a top hat”

Game Knight Reviews has a terrific interview with Mike Nystul about the now-running kickstarter for his new game “Axes and Anvils”, which is an all-dwarf RPG. Love the idea, and I’ve backed it myself. Do check it out; there are four days left!

It does bring up an interesting notion, though. While I firmly agree that we are now supersaturated with generic fantasy games*, are we in a position now where niche fantasy games will start popping up? Why entire niche RPGs rather than supplements for already-existing games?

* I view games like Dragons at Dawn and my own Adventures Dark and Deep™ as niche games, because of their special nature as research/recon projects, even though the games themselves are generic in the same way that D&D is generic.

Written by 

Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.

6 thoughts on ““The world needs another generic fantasy system like it needs udders and a top hat”

  1. Thanks for the shout out! And I have to say… I love the niche system idea. Keep it simple and do one thing really really well vs. trying to be everything to everybody. 🙂

  2. My 'Grand Unifying Theory of Fantasy Gaming' is that most core rules should really be supplements for existing games.

    No one listens 🙂

  3. Is there any particularly good reason though why he couldn't have made this a module for another existing open system? Just a sourcebook of rules for changing the default human assumptions in much the same way TSR's council of wyrms did.

  4. There are almost always pros & cons. There will always be someone who prefers one set over the other. Especially if one direction becomes dominant. Then you are sure to see a movement in the other direction form.

  5. In my current design/thought process, when I get back to designing my very specific Fantasy setting, I plan on releasing a seperate book to make the ideas of monsters and creatures, which are not compatable with a D&D Clone system, into a Clone format. So that people who don't like what I'm doing with the system can still play with the setting, even if it is with a different system.

    The reason I'm not just doing, say, Pathfinder, with the system, is that I am working on rejecting the current conflict resolution in most TSR-inspired RPG games, and am trying to find one that follows Cinematic action that I've wanted to see, but don't see because the systems do not encourage that style of gameplay.

  6. @kensan-oni: I recommend Old School Hack for fast and fun combat.

    In general, the rules have a huge impact on game play and the creative process. And, some crazed people (like myself) just can't resist tinkering with the system.

    Of course, I also do a lot of converting of existing settings over to other rule sets; you see a whole other side of things when you do that. Like Jack Shear's "World Between" for Fictive Hack, for example. Moving it out of D&D opens up whole other possibilities.

    I was thoroughly unimpressed with Fading Suns, Star Wars, and Aberrant moved over to d20. Sometimes the system just won't let you do what you want to do, and you need another one.

    (For example, I did character generation for "The Hobbit" in Old School Hack as a comedy piece, but it shows how that fiction would work in OSH much better than D&D, IMHO.)

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