• Michael T. Christensen

Playing in Other Systems

While my gaming groups have primarily focused on D&D, we have taken time out to play in other systems over the years. Sometimes it's simply a one-off, like our Halloween session of the zombie game "All Flesh Must Be Eaten." Other times, we like the game enough to play an entire campaign. The first of these was through the super-villain game, "Necessary Evil."


A product of the “Savage Worlds” rules, the idea behind Necessary Evil is that you play a supervillain in a world where aliens have killed all of the superheroes and taken over. You run missions to try to get the aliens off the planet, but that doesn't exactly mean you're great people... you just want to clear out the aliens so you can divide the world amongst yourselves.



As you can guess by the subject matter (and the title), most of the characters you will play in "Necessary Evil" are, well, evil. My stance on letting players play as evil characters is, generally speaking, "Approach With Caution." On the one hand, it can be a blast... but on the other hand, players rarely need an excuse to play maniacs without inhibitions anyway, so making it part of their official alignment is a slippery slope at best. That said, there is some fun to be had from establishing characters that are all out for themselves - it's not how I'd choose to play all of my games, but for one campaign, it can be a lot of fun.


Another game my group has played a lot of is "Warhammer 40K: Deathwatch," which we played for the majority of 2012. The idea behind this setting is that you're in the far-flung future, and everything is horrible. War is the only constant, and almost every surface is completely decorated in skulls.



We played a bunch of space marines who went on dope adventures. Our characters were completely ancillary - we never used any of our in-game names, and never got too in-depth in the story - we just sort of blundered through several scenes of mayhem.


Also, my character had a skill called "gregarious," and I was the only one who was good at talking to NPCs. Anytime we were in a jam we needed to talk our way out of, I would just shout "Gregarous!" and roll my dice. It got to the point where the other players started calling my character "Brother Gregarious" (we were all "Brothers," in the monk-sense, because I think we were all chaplins or something, I don’t remember and it doesn’t matter), and that joke has continued to this day.


Next week, I'll talk about a few other games my group has tried out, including the one we played throughout 2013, "Unknown Armies," which is hands-down the strangest system I've ever played.


Discussion Question: What is your favorite system to game in? Have you ever strayed from the core games (D&D, Pathfinder), and tried something a bit off the beaten path? Leave your answers in the comments below, along with your recommendations for anyone looking to try something new!



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