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Tron Troll
2019-02-03, 05:23 PM
So, I have used a fair number of games over the years, but only two do I know well: D&D and Star Trek Adventures. I've played lot of others, often for only short times, but have not to often run games as a GM in anything but D&D and STA.

So, group of us get together to talk about playing a RPG. As a group everyone likes the 'urban fantasy' idea. And the group, sort of picked me to GM. At least everyone else ''only wanted to play".

So, fine with me....I don't mind being GM. I sort of assume the game will be D&D (maybe 5E). And then it starts, as some of the players just start tossing out whole shelf's full of games. "We should play game x", "we should play game y" and "Oh game z has this neat rule" and so on.

Of course they toss out games I'd never even heard of(blades against the dark?)...and obviously don't own. So, I'm not all that comfortable running as GM I game I don't know....but no one seemed to care about my point. I tried to make it clear that if some game other then D&D was picked, I would not want to GM it.

And everyone else still said they only wanted to play, not GM. So...unless I GM, it's not game. We never did pick a game, and left that off for next time.

So, what to do? Even if a game is picked, I'm not sure I want to run out and buy the 'core rules', assuming I could even find them, AND then run a game as GM that I'm a stranger too. But if I don't....no game.

So, how do I get everyone to pick D&D? Why is there so much backlash that D&D is bad, but Mouse Hunt(I think that was another game...It did have 'mouse') is the best game? Is it just that odd thing people do of ''different equals better?"

DavidSh
2019-02-03, 08:06 PM
What does your group mean by "urban fantasy"? The term gets used in different ways. The first time I heard it, it meant "like the novel War for the Oaks. D&D would be a very bad fit for that meaning.

Also, do you think anybody else in your group would be capable of DMing a new system? Ignoring the question that it seems nobody is willing? It sounds like the group is just tired of D&D. Maybe a board game or card game would be better for the moment.

Berenger
2019-02-04, 01:44 AM
d20Modern: Urban Arcana is derived from D&D 3.5 and the online SRD should be enough to play if you are familiar with general D&D rules.

BreaktheStatue
2019-02-04, 02:36 AM
If you're determined to play with this group, I would recommend getting a list of the games they want to play, find out which is the least demanding on the DM, and then do that.

I do think it's kind of crappy that it seems like they're trying to conscript you into GMing an unfamiliar system against your will, though.

Mechalich
2019-02-04, 02:44 AM
'Urban fantasy' used casually in modern conversation generally means something set in a facsimile of the modern world with the addition of some sort of supernatural element - often but certainly not always the typical 'universal horrors' of vampires, werewolves, etc. - on top. D&D is a spectacularly bad fit for games set in the modern world that are not explicitly superhero games because the D&D mechanic inevitable creates a power dynamic of party > society and in the modern world the expected dynamic is society > party. Put another way, in most urban fantasy games a SWAT team is intended to be a threat at all levels.

You can run an urban fantasy game where the characters are effectively low-level supers, something in the vein of the Marvel Netflix shows comes to mind, that would viably utilize a d20-based system like d20 Modern or Mutants & Masterminds. That's probably as close as you can get to D&D in a modern setting.

Pauly
2019-02-04, 03:15 AM
Most urban fantasy campaigns tend to be big on talking/role playing and light on combat/crunchy stuff. You should be able to DM it without needing to be super expert on the system.

Just stand your ground and demand a rules light system.

Faily
2019-02-04, 03:18 PM
Stand your ground on what you want to DM. If you are not comfortable with DMing a system you don't know, then say "I don't want to DM a system I don't know". Yes, that might mean there won't be a game, but if someone is gung-ho on a specific game or system, I consider it to be their job to introduce it to the group.

Otherwise, maybe consider troupe-play like Ars Magica does. Which means that everyone takes turn in leading an adventure.

Knaight
2019-02-04, 03:49 PM
First off the games suggested were probably Blades in the Dark and Mouseguard. Secondly D&D does specific things well, and other things poorly. It's a great game about a team of heroes growing in power by exploring dungeons, fighting, and looting. If you want to play a game set in a city involving a team of criminals with added magic? D&D actively fights against you, Blades in the Dark is geared towards supporting exactly that. D&D getting used for things it's bad at instead of games that are good at those things is a large part of the reason a lot of people dislike it, especially if we also dislike what it's good at.

That said, as the GM your opinion on which system to use counts for a bit more than everyone else's, so it's entirely reasonable to insist that they either play D&D or switch who's GMing. On the other hand almost every other system is easier to learn than D&D. The core rules are rarely more than one book, and it's not uncommon for them to be free - and that one core book is usually shorter than any of the core books in D&D.

Slipperychicken
2019-02-05, 03:53 PM
Stand your ground on what you want to DM. If you are not comfortable with DMing a system you don't know, then say "I don't want to DM a system I don't know". Yes, that might mean there won't be a game, but if someone is gung-ho on a specific game or system, I consider it to be their job to introduce it to the group.

This. If you choose to be this group's GM, then you have the power to decide what to play. Use it.



So, what to do? Even if a game is picked, I'm not sure I want to run out and buy the 'core rules', assuming I could even find them, AND then run a game as GM that I'm a stranger too. But if I don't....no game.

If cost is the main concern here, you may give them a choice: You run a game they want and they pitch in to cover the cost, or you play the game you want and no-one pays anything.


On the other hand almost every other system is easier to learn than D&D. The core rules are rarely more than one book, and it's not uncommon for them to be free - and that one core book is usually shorter than any of the core books in D&D.

This is important to bear in mind: D&D, despite accessibility advances in the 5th edition, is among the harder-to-learn and more expensive roleplaying games on the market. Most others are going to be cheaper and easier to use.

Knaight
2019-02-05, 06:00 PM
If cost is the main concern here, you may give them a choice: You run a game they want and they pitch in to cover the cost, or you play the game you want and no-one pays anything.

"Get me the book and I'll run it for you" is often pretty viable. If they have a physical copy they can lend it to you, and for digital things it's pretty common for there to be a page which straight up says something to the effect of "go ahead and copy this for personal/group use, just don't do so commercially".

Friv
2019-02-05, 06:31 PM
So, it sounds like the people you're playing with want some fairly specific games.

D&D is a perfectly fine heroic fantasy game. But games like "Blades in the Dark" and "Mouse Guard" tend to be games that have been pared down in such a way that they only really work for one style, but they work for that style extremely well. You can't get the versatility out of them that you could out of GURPS or D&D, but boy do they sing at what they're good at.

With that said: you shouldn't run a game you don't want to run. This probably goes without saying. Because when you say, "If I don't run this, I don't get to play," this also applies to the other players. If no one is willing to run, no one gets to play, and if you're the only person willing to DM you sort of have all the power in this situation. You can absolutely say, "Sorry, guys, I'm not up to run a game I've never played, so either one of you runs one of these games for me and I'll give it a try, or we play D&D."

Frankly, it seems like a fair compromise. If a player really wants to sell you on one of these games, they should run a short campaign for you to show off what the game can do. A 8-10 session game of Blades or Mouse Guard is fully long enough to have a good time and short enough not to be an overwhelming commitment, and you can see if the system is something you'd be comfortable with.

Rhedyn
2019-02-05, 06:45 PM
So, I have used a fair number of games over the years, but only two do I know well: D&D and Star Trek Adventures. I've played lot of others, often for only short times, but have not to often run games as a GM in anything but D&D and STA.

So, group of us get together to talk about playing a RPG. As a group everyone likes the 'urban fantasy' idea. And the group, sort of picked me to GM. At least everyone else ''only wanted to play".

So, fine with me....I don't mind being GM. I sort of assume the game will be D&D (maybe 5E). And then it starts, as some of the players just start tossing out whole shelf's full of games. "We should play game x", "we should play game y" and "Oh game z has this neat rule" and so on.

Of course they toss out games I'd never even heard of(blades against the dark?)...and obviously don't own. So, I'm not all that comfortable running as GM I game I don't know....but no one seemed to care about my point. I tried to make it clear that if some game other then D&D was picked, I would not want to GM it.

And everyone else still said they only wanted to play, not GM. So...unless I GM, it's not game. We never did pick a game, and left that off for next time.

So, what to do? Even if a game is picked, I'm not sure I want to run out and buy the 'core rules', assuming I could even find them, AND then run a game as GM that I'm a stranger too. But if I don't....no game.

So, how do I get everyone to pick D&D? Why is there so much backlash that D&D is bad, but Mouse Hunt(I think that was another game...It did have 'mouse') is the best game? Is it just that odd thing people do of ''different equals better?"Savage Worlds handles "Urban Fantasy" pretty well, and I've personally found it to be the easiest thing to GM (enough rules that you can rely on the system to be fun, but not so many rules that it's hard to run).

That being said. You can D&D urban fantasy. Our group played Pathfinder in Space for many campaigns before Starfinder was ever a thought. We just took PF stuff and reflavored everything to be space themed. You can do the same thing with any version of D&D and urban fantasy. Though if your players are sick of 5e... Well then that is also a non-starter.

Slipperychicken
2019-02-06, 12:29 AM
D&D is a perfectly fine heroic fantasy game. But games like "Blades in the Dark" and "Mouse Guard" tend to be games that have been pared down in such a way that they only really work for one style, but they work for that style extremely well. You can't get the versatility out of them that you could out of GURPS or D&D, but boy do they sing at what they're good at.

Even D&D is only really good as a specialized hack-n-slash gonzo fantasy dungeon crawler. The further you go from that idea [i.e. changing the playstyle instead of calling your dungeon a space-station and calling the wizard a scientist], the more it breaks down and you find yourself writing the rules you actually need (as opposed to having the rules already in the game you paid $150 for), and struggling to convince players and GMs alike not to treat it as a dungeon-crawler.

The fanbase convinced itself that dnd is good for all forms of fantasy roleplaying because we didn't have much basis for comparison, and it doesn't have robust noncombat rules to necessarily intrude on efforts to roleplay. It just kind of leaves a whitespace there, which many dnd players have interpreted as freedom rather than neglect.

Rhedyn
2019-02-06, 08:02 AM
It just kind of leaves a whitespace there, which many dnd players have interpreted as freedom rather than neglect.This is why I understand players not wanting to do 5e D&D.

A lot of people do see the whitespace as neglect. What I find frustrating is when perfectly good GMs believe that if they can't make 5e D&D fun then they must be bad at GMing. Idk who told them this but I blame the culture around 5e to blame the GM first rather than lacking rules.

Thrudd
2019-02-06, 11:35 AM
"Get me the book and I'll run it for you" is often pretty viable. If they have a physical copy they can lend it to you, and for digital things it's pretty common for there to be a page which straight up says something to the effect of "go ahead and copy this for personal/group use, just don't do so commercially".

Yeah, that's what I'd say. I'd assume if someone is suggesting a game, that means they own it or intend to get it. So if they suggest a new game, ask them to give you the book so you can look it over. If it isn't completely incomprehensible to you and you don't hate it, give it a shot.

kyoryu
2019-02-06, 11:37 AM
Do what youíre okay with.

That said, a lot of modern RPGs require much less in terms of learning curve than D&D, so donít presume without looking that a month-long learning curve is in order

Jay R
2019-02-06, 03:51 PM
Nobody can tell me I have to run a game I'm not willing (or able) to run. When I decide to run a game, I tell people from the start what game I'm running, or what games they can choose from.

The introduction of my most recent game started with:


I am planning to run a D&D campaign fairly soon.

The current plan is to use the 2E rules, but I could be talked out of that. I originally wrote some of it with a Fantasy Hero rules in mind. Iím prepared to switch to original D&D, AD&D 1E, AD&D 2E, or Fantasy Hero if thatís what the players want. (I donít know any later version well enough to run a game.)

This was the start of a four-page document on world background and character design.

kivzirrum
2019-02-06, 03:59 PM
Blades in the Dark is honestly a super fun game, so at some point it may be worth picking up the book and running it. But fair enough, that's not what you're looking for right now. To tell you the truth, I think it's kind of crummy for your pals to put you in this situation. Perhaps the ideal compromise would be to begin a game of D&D while familiarizing yourself with a system you all have interest in, until you feel comfortable running that one.

Cluedrew
2019-02-06, 09:38 PM
It just kind of leaves a whitespace [around role-playing], which many dnd players have interpreted as freedom rather than neglect.Thank-you, I feel that sums up some of the things I have said about that part of the system for a while. Not getting to something is different than consciously leaving something open ended.

Hackulator
2019-02-08, 12:23 AM
The game was likely Mouse Guard, based on the graphic novel series of the same name. It is exceedingly easy to run, however that doesn't matter. If everyone is insisting you run, they play in a system you enjoy running. If nobody else wants to take on the task of running (and let's be clear, even if you enjoy it, GMing is a task) they don't get to tell you you have to run and you ALSO have to run the system they want you to run. It sounds like a group of people who don't much care about whether you are enjoying yourself. Explain t them that if they want you to GM, you're fine with GMing a system of your choice. If they want to play some other system, one of them needs to man up and run.


Even D&D is only really good as a specialized hack-n-slash gonzo fantasy dungeon crawler. The further you go from that idea [i.e. changing the playstyle instead of calling your dungeon a space-station and calling the wizard a scientist], the more it breaks down and you find yourself writing the rules you actually need (as opposed to having the rules already in the game you paid $150 for), and struggling to convince players and GMs alike not to treat it as a dungeon-crawler.

The fanbase convinced itself that dnd is good for all forms of fantasy roleplaying because we didn't have much basis for comparison, and it doesn't have robust noncombat rules to necessarily intrude on efforts to roleplay. It just kind of leaves a whitespace there, which many dnd players have interpreted as freedom rather than neglect.

I have to vehemently disagree with this. One game I am currently playing in went like 6 months without a real combat, and it's been one of the most fun games I've played.

Anonymouswizard
2019-02-08, 09:41 AM
Even D&D is only really good as a specialized hack-n-slash gonzo fantasy dungeon crawler. The further you go from that idea [i.e. changing the playstyle instead of calling your dungeon a space-station and calling the wizard a scientist], the more it breaks down and you find yourself writing the rules you actually need (as opposed to having the rules already in the game you paid $150 for), and struggling to convince players and GMs alike not to treat it as a dungeon-crawler.

The fanbase convinced itself that dnd is good for all forms of fantasy roleplaying because we didn't have much basis for comparison, and it doesn't have robust noncombat rules to necessarily intrude on efforts to roleplay. It just kind of leaves a whitespace there, which many dnd players have interpreted as freedom rather than neglect.

This. I own the 5e Middle-Earth book and it's interesting how much they had to rewrite to deal with the fact that it doesn't take place in dungeons. While there are no rules for social interactions beyond the base game there are rules for planning and executing journeys, seeking an audience and getting favours, being granted a minor title (noble or otherwise) and the benefits and responsibilities that come with it. The book also doesn't explicitly state it, but I get the idea that you're also supposed to change long rests to only happening in a safe place like an inn.

Bare in mind that this is a setting that early D&D drew a lot from (although less than it did from pulp fantasy) and they still have to change a lot up to make it work. The four new magicless classes and the subclasses could be expected, but I hadn't realised how much D&D is focused towards dungeoneering and hex crawling until I the required changes to model the 'journey with events' nature of the Middle Earth stories. The 5e corebook includes no mention of how you'd prepare for a journey.

No mention, it assumes you're smart enough to buy rations and to know where you want to go, but no mention of planning your route, trying to avoid encounters, or a system to abstract it as AiME provides. Because it's not important to the game.

Slipperychicken
2019-02-08, 11:22 AM
I have to vehemently disagree with this. One game I am currently playing in went like 6 months without a real combat, and it's been one of the most fun games I've played.

Yes. By avoiding combat your group has, in effect, discarded some 80-90% of D&D's game rules and is running on the rather sparse rules presented for non-combat scenarios.

You're having fun, and you can correctly claim to be playing dnd. The rules manual likely isn't doing much to support your playstyle, however. It's like claiming that a fork is great for breakfast cereal because you usually put it down and use your hands instead. It's a poor tool for the job, and you are getting the job done by mostly not using it.

Koo Rehtorb
2019-02-08, 11:36 AM
Blades and Mouseguard aren't better games because they're different, they're better because they're better designed.

That said, you are under no obligation to run a game you don't want to run. Tell them what games you'd enjoy running and tell them that if they want to play something else someone else will need to GM it. But, you should also consider broadening your horizons. You might enjoy it.

iTreeby
2019-02-08, 11:40 AM
Blades in the dark is super easy to run, I would personally run if the table would by a copy of the book for me to study. The burden of creating the story is much more on the players than in other games. Npcs have very few stats and can be made on the fly. The players roll everything (unless you want to roll in secret for a faction offscreen). If you want a dark steampunk urban fantasy horror game, blades works really well for that. At the same time, someone who has a familiarity with the rules should run if only to make things that much smoother. If no one wants to run a game, play board games or institute a rotating DM schedule.

Hackulator
2019-02-09, 07:06 PM
Yes. By avoiding combat your group has, in effect, discarded some 80-90% of D&D's game rules and is running on the rather sparse rules presented for non-combat scenarios.

You're having fun, and you can correctly claim to be playing dnd. The rules manual likely isn't doing much to support your playstyle, however. It's like claiming that a fork is great for breakfast cereal because you usually put it down and use your hands instead. It's a poor tool for the job, and you are getting the job done by mostly not using it.

We make skill checks fairly often, and we roleplay. Our character's various abilities (utility spellcasting, flight, etc) come up all the time and function well. If you're implying some system that had mechanics to control our roleplay would be superior I would once again have to vehemently disagree. Sometimes minimal is better.

LordEntrails
2019-02-09, 08:50 PM
"Hey all, I'm willing to GM using x, y, and z systems with m, n, and o optional rules. If you all decide to play a different system and still want me to GM it, then I will look into it, but one of you have to buy me all the books and resources needed and I will need # weeks to read it and learn it before we start."

Don't let yourself be peer pressured into doing something you don't want and won't enjoy. Make it clear and stand-up for yourself. You need to enjoy doing it or it's not fun for you and you will resent it and the friends who pressured you into it.

geppetto
2019-02-10, 08:37 AM
So, I have used a fair number of games over the years, but only two do I know well: D&D and Star Trek Adventures. I've played lot of others, often for only short times, but have not to often run games as a GM in anything but D&D and STA.

So, group of us get together to talk about playing a RPG. As a group everyone likes the 'urban fantasy' idea. And the group, sort of picked me to GM. At least everyone else ''only wanted to play".

So, fine with me....I don't mind being GM. I sort of assume the game will be D&D (maybe 5E). And then it starts, as some of the players just start tossing out whole shelf's full of games. "We should play game x", "we should play game y" and "Oh game z has this neat rule" and so on.

Of course they toss out games I'd never even heard of(blades against the dark?)...and obviously don't own. So, I'm not all that comfortable running as GM I game I don't know....but no one seemed to care about my point. I tried to make it clear that if some game other then D&D was picked, I would not want to GM it.

And everyone else still said they only wanted to play, not GM. So...unless I GM, it's not game. We never did pick a game, and left that off for next time.

So, what to do? Even if a game is picked, I'm not sure I want to run out and buy the 'core rules', assuming I could even find them, AND then run a game as GM that I'm a stranger too. But if I don't....no game.

So, how do I get everyone to pick D&D? Why is there so much backlash that D&D is bad, but Mouse Hunt(I think that was another game...It did have 'mouse') is the best game? Is it just that odd thing people do of ''different equals better?"


You could always try a compromise.

Tell them that if they want you to run a system you dont own they need to loan you the books for it and give you a couple weeks to read them over and see if you like the system. Its not reasonable for them to expect you to go buy something new that your not that excited about but borrowing the books isnt too bad. Then you just have to read them.

And you never know, you might wind up really liking whatever they pick.