The Guy That Wrote This (uhlrik) wrote in roleplayers,
The Guy That Wrote This

Related Universal Systems Comparison

As folks on this community may already be aware (see my recent posts), I am in process of reviewing and evaluating a large number of different systems for possible usage in an upcoming online-based renaissance legendary fantasy game (IE one with characters keyed to function rather like mythic heroes of yore rather than regular joes). As I have engaged in this, I've gotten many and varied suggestions from folks both here and in person.

My first round of reviewing these systems has led me to cursorily glance over a lot of different games in a short time (I'll be posting some more reviews in the next few days), and has gotten my curiosity going on a few topics. And yes, the systems that I've skimmed will get a more thorough going-over before I post actual reviews.

A lot of the systems I'm encountering seem quite similar in a number of ways with regards to their core mechanics, which is quite likely unsurprising but interesting. Note that the similarities I am noticing here are based on a quick look rather than in-depth comparisons at this point.

Of course, HERO and RTG's Interlock system got together and had a baby that is known as Fuzion, which is itself also a universal system that has seen use in a number of different games ranging from Bubblegum Crisis to Artesia. Fuzion doesn't seem to ever get mentioned on this list, which is probably an indication of what this community thinks of it (assuming folks are actually aware of its existence).

Fuzion, in turn, looks to be pretty similar to the Unisystem (which I recently reviewed) and readily compatible with (of all things) BESM, at least according to one article I read.

There are two options for the core mechanics of Fuzion: Stat + Skill + (either 1D10 like Interlock or 3D6 like HERO) versus target number or opposed roll. The first option is the same core mechanic found in the Unisystem, and the scale stats are measured on is close at the low end, though Fuzion tops out with higher numbers (in classic unisystem, the human max is 5 where Fuzion allows concievably up to 10 for a human, though the usual practical maximum is 7-8 (in Bubblegum Crisis, is states that Einstein had about an 8 intelligence...), meaning that in a Fuzion game you're basically operating similarly to Unisystem on the absolute simplest mechanical level, you're just probably working with slightly higher numbers. This close similarity got me to thinking, and hence this post.

So, of all of these theoretically related (but distinct and distinguishable from one another) universal systems, I'm curious as to what folks here think the strengths and weaknesses of each happen to be.

I know that HERO is known for extreme granularity and theoretically solid balance (with certain breakage issues, though), buckets of D6s and slow combat resolution.

BESM is known for fast, fluid resolution and scalability, though its offspring Tri-Stat dX moves quite a bit closer to HERO's granularity and thus slows down a bit as well. (I have not yet gone over these two systems' rules so I can't otherwise comment yet). One of the bigger differences appears to be that success on a roll is determined by rolling below rather than above a target number, a trait shared with GURPS and WFRP.

Unisystem seems (somewhat like Tri-Stat and possibly Interlock) to be somewhere in between, though I could be mistaken in that assessment as I've never seen it in actual play).

It may be noted that I have not mentioned GURPS. Though that is (obviously) a generic system, it is systemically very different from pretty much everything on the list above. If you want to offer comment there as well, however, you're welcome to.

So, from the universal/generic systems I listed above, what would you say the comparative strengths and weaknesses of each would be? If you're only familiar with a partial list, then by all means just say what you think the strengths and weaknesses of the ones you know a bit about happen to be. I'm still interested in that.
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