Since my group is in the system changing mood with our shift to D&D 4e, I have decided I would like to introduce them to a system they have not all played before. Since we have the Sword and Sorcery Fantasy game covered with D&D 4e I want to try something a little more sci-fi oriented. I thought about running Mutants & Masterminds, but since I'm the only comic book reader in the group I decided against that one, for now.
After much deliberation I have narrowed my choices down to Rifts, Gurps, Hero 5e, d20 Modern, and True 20. Each of these systems has the capability of offering what I want, but which is the right system for my group?
Rifts offers an incredibly rich world full of every imaginable combination. We could play in nearly every genre and still use the same characters, which is a plus. I also own 2 Rifts books already, Rifts Ultimate Edition and the Game Masters Guide, another plus for that game.
On the down side the game is pretty awkward and the books are not set up for easy reference if you have a problem. Since we will pretty much be learning the game from scratch as a group, though I have read the 2 books, that is a big negative. Plus there are so many books you need to play a proper game that the cost would be incredible if we decide to stick with the system, another negative.
This system offers the same play any genre environment as Rifts, which is a plus for this system. I don't own a single book for this game, which is a huge negative. Also the cost of buying the books I would need to run a game would be pretty steep given that none of us know how to play, another negative. I also know very little about the system, but according to opinions on various boards it much easier to learn than Rifts.
Hero also falls into the do anything category and I also own several books including Champions. So we are back at square one once again. I would only need one or two more books to get what I need and be able to play a game, which is not bad. However, the books that I own are all in pdf which makes it a real pain in the ass to try and learn. I can't stand reading that much material on a computer screen and I sure won't print out a 600 page book on my little printer. Still we could do it if everyone in the group is committed.
I have the core book for this as well as the Past supplement and have played this at least a few times with one of the members of my group. It is d20, a plus, and since the other players have played 3e D&D the learning curve is minimal. But to play the game I want to play would require the purchase of another book. Although, I do have tons of 3e material to use. However, the whole point of picking a new system is the fact that we don't know how to play it. So while this would seem the obvious choice, I'm not sure it is the right one.
This one seems to have it all. Play in any genre, check. Fairly familiar because it is based on d20, check. Still a different system, check. Plus I do have a printed copy of the main rules. But is it really different enough to make it worth playing? Will it still seem too familiar. I have read the core book and it is different in some ways, but familiar in others. But I still don't know if it is the right system.
I've toyed with the idea of running one game in each of the systems, at least the systems that I own and seeing which one the group prefers. The down side to this is that it would take months and would be a lot of work on my part, especially in terms of teaching.
So I am asking for opinions. Which system would you use? Feel free to post your comments and let me know what you think. Depending on the feedback I get I will make my decision, possibly narrowing it down to two systems. We will try them out and if this works I will post the groups opinions of the games here.