So this is why some developers use OGL systems

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As I’ve mentioned before, I have been working (again) on my own Tabletop Roleplaying Game system, based upon one I wrote a few decades ago. The goal was to take the somewhat convoluted system I made back then, and turn it into something modern, something streamlined, and something much more fun to play.

Yeah… That isn’t going as well as I’d thought it would, actually.

You see, what I have in mind for my system is really great (in my humble opinion, anyway), but putting it down on paper has been proving to be a bit of a chore. It’s the minutiae of the system that is bogging things down, and making this a lot more time consuming and difficult than I’d have thought.

For example: Action resolution. In theory, it’s as simple as the Acting player plays a card from their hand (the system uses standard Poker cards instead of dice), and the Defending player or GM then plays a card in response. If the Acting player’s character (or the GMs NPC, should they be Acting) has a relevant Skill in play, they can then React to the Defender’s card, if they choose. Lowest card wins, with ties favoring the Defender.

Simple, right?

But what if the Defending character has a relevant Skill that might help protect them, or otherwise influence the Contest? What if they are wearing Armor or other protection device? What if the Acting character has a special weapon or Magick item in use?

What if, what if, what if…

Suddenly my super simple, very quick, and easy to play game becomes a gigantic Hell of seemingly endless contingency sub-rules, and that frankly sucks!

So I can see why so many developers are drawn to the Open Game License systems, be they based on Dungeons & Dragons 3.5, 4th Edition, or (more likely) 5th Edition. They don’t have to worry about the system so much, and can instead just bend their setting to the system at hand, and save themselves a lot of time and bother.

Now, that’s not really something I want to do, at least not in this case, because I have a system in mind, and it will continue to fester in my brain until I get it out! But it does make me think about using an OGL system to develop one of the settings I have built over the years, once my current project is finished. Maybe this will be something I could work with my brother Beoulus on?

Anyway, that’s for the future. Right now, I have rules to untangle, and get from my brain into a manuscript!

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