Sunday, September 20, 2009

Platform-Neutral Products. Worth the investment?

Written by Justin Mason

So what's more important, the fluff or the crunch? We all have our own favorite role playing game systems, or own set of house rules and special mechanics. A lot of the time this can limit how useful certain materials are... especially if they are written for an unfamiliar game system.

I'm curious to know what other game masters think about platform-neutral products (or in other words, products that don't provide any sort of mechanical reference, but rather just detailed information about a setting, monsters, items, plot hooks, etc.).

I think it's a good concept. But I'm not sure I would choose to buy a product that was a description of a particular setting or series of events over a product that also provides the relevant mechanics for my particular game system.

I can read a good novel or short story, watch a movie, or even read material intended for another game-system and get that same imagintive seed for some really fantastic ideas to use in my game sessions.

What if platform-specific rules related to this crunch-less material were to be made readily available on the product manufacturers website? What if other role-players who also use this material were the source for those rules?

I'm just pondering the possibilities, and I am not 100% sure I see the benefits of RPG products produced for no particular game system. If I’m going to buy a product just to boost my imagination, what game system it’s geared towards doesn’t really make a difference to me. What are you thoughts?


  1. System Neutral products make up the bulk of what I buy. The one reason I disliked 3.5 products were the giant stat blocks that cosumed most of the space. All the crunch you need is in the corebooks, unless you are tweaking a class or monster. I prefer the ideas.

  2. I think a good middle ground for this is to devote the book to system-neutral flavor, but post the crunch free to your website. That way you could do 3.5, 4e, or even GURPs stat blocks for the same monster without taking up extra space in your setting book.

  3. Fluff all the way.

    I have yet to find a "system" that could handle every in-game possibility. If I did find one, the book would be 600 pages.

    I don't want to remember (or have to look up) rules. I just wanna play.

    I love the one page dungeon concept that chgowitz and chatty cahmpioned. I want my fluff light, and my rules even lighter.

  4. My thoughts can be found here:
    Though they roughly agree with the previous few comments.


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