Experienced GM: Other Games

Spirit of the Century

Welcome once again to opposites month here at TPK. As I mentioned last week, I want to go into some of my other game ideas that I would like to do either in addition to my current game or after it ends. I’ll be discussing why I want to make this particular game and what sort of game it will be. Of course between planning my wedding and starting a PhD program in September, I’m not entirely sure when I will have time to do any of this. But it is good to have goals so without further ado: other games!

D&D 3.5

D&D35I first cut my teeth with D&D 3.5 a few years ago. As soon as I started playing I was hooked. I pored through the players books trying to find all the information I could to make my character better and to play around with other characters as well. The plethora of books and supplementary materials for this edition allows players to really express their characters through the game mechanics. Almost any sort of race or class or idiosyncratic fighting style is in there somewhere meaning that players are free to have as much choice in building their character as they wish. It also means a baffling amount of information for a GM to know in order to run a game successfully which scared me away from the system when I was starting my first game.

Going back to 3.5 would be like coming home if your home is at the top of a mountain. Comfortable and familiar but with one heck of a climb to get to it. The amount of research that I would need to do in order to GM a game of 3.5 makes me lean towards a longer campaign once I’m ready. If it were a one off or even a short adventure rather than a full campaign I feel like it would be a waste of time. I’d rather put my hard earned knowledge to good use.

Ebberon and Dark Sun

EberronI love these settings. I have neither played nor GMed in a game that uses either but everything that I’ve read on them makes me more and more interested. The magic and technology infusion of Eberron is a concept that I love in any piece of Sci-Fi or fantasy. The warforged alone serve up amazing story potential. Plus, magic trains. Who doesn’t love magic trains? For Eberron, I’d love to do a short campaign with my current group to see what they think of the setting. I want to plop my players down in this world and see what they’ll make of it. If they like it then a longer campaign would be the followup.

Dark SunDark Sun is a different animal altogether. While Eberron is a setting I wouldn’t mind living in, there is no part of Dark Sun that makes me want to be there. At all. That is the intriguing bit to me. The world of Dark Sun is bleak. Everything is out to get you including the world itself. With survival as the main goal rather than profit or adventure, it creates a whole different feel than your typical D&D setting. Although this does mean that I would shy away from a longer campaign in this world. A short adventure would give my players a feel for the setting and how dangerous it can be. I think a longer game would burn them out but it would be a fun side trip.

Spirit of the Century

Spirit of the CenturyAnother game that hooked me right away. When character creation is this much fun then you know you have a real winner. The way story ties so tightly into gameplay in this system is what really attracts me. I would love to make some plot outlines and have a few sessions with some of the story tellers I know. Considering that I can count a writer, a poet, and a bard amongst my current group, I’d love to see what they could do with the mechanics Spirit of the Century offers for storytelling.

Various Systems

Here is the last and vaguest section. To really become an experienced GM, I need to work with other systems. I have mostly played D&D and only GMed D&D Essentials thus far. This should help explain the examples above. It is easier to set a gaming goal if you know what that game is like. However, I know that there are plenty of other amazing systems out there that could teach me a lot about GMing. So please sound off in the comments and/or tweet me about other systems that you have used and would recommend. Preferably something easy to pick up and do a one off session with since my time is fairly limited but I’d happily hear about more complicated systems too.


  • I hate to see such a well thought out post with no comments. That is reason 1 for my feedback. We bloggers love reciprocal chatter :)

    I too have the 3 base books for D&D 3.5 and I love going through them again and again just for ideas. But the only systems I’ve played are 4E and a rather rough shod GRUPS of which I am most certainly not a fan – not the campaign mind you, the DM did some amazing things. GURPS is way too heavy/clunky and the gameplay staggers and suffers for it.

    Your post intrigues me about Dark Sun. I have never looked into it, but being a bit of a survival nut anyway, and because I like the thought a ranger living rough and scraping by in the wilds, I’m now thinking I may just have to look further into it. Some gaming buddies of mine and I are currently working on our own tabletop RPG and maybe I can glean some “real feel” bits from Dark Sun to apply.

    As to suggestions, I hear great things about Pathfinder and Traveller.

    Best of luck with the wedding and grad school. The latter is by far the more trying, but stick with it. I passed on grad school because I was pretty done with academia and wanted to get a “real job” to make some money and move on with life. But now I look back and think, what if…

  • 3.5 and Pathfinder did offer a plethora of options, it’s just a shame that so many of them were so easily overshadowed by a few key ones.

    Spirit of the Century was my first “story” game and I love the character creation. The mechanics have been greatly simplified in Fate Core. It took me a while to accept the need for that, but I realized that I was already not bothering with some parts of the SotC character generation.

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