System Matters… Sometimes too much…

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I’m going to be running a Wasterunners campaign for some friends scattered across the country. This is exciting, but it is also a bit frustrating. I have a good idea of the setting, but I don’t have the necessary game mechanics down.

I’m a firm believer in the fact that system matters, otherwise I’d just run this in Shadowrun or something generic. Unfortunately, Shadowrun has some mechanical bits that just won’t work for this setting (the opposition of magic and technology, magic as physically-draining on practitioners) and a whole host of mechanics that promote a different feel than I’m going for…
A generic system is… well… generic. It sacrifices flavor and focus for flexibility. A generic system might be able to model the powers and such in my game, but it isn’t going to provide mechanical support for the game’s spirit. Also, I want to go relatively rules-light, and most generic systems aren’t.
What game systems do get at the spirit I’m going for? Well, Unknown Armies isn’t far off… unfortunately, it has some limitations. It is a very human-centric system and isn’t well-suited for things on a superhuman scale. Also, I really don’t like the combat system. The combat system I can modify, but the human-centric nature of it is a bit rougher, since it is a percentile system scaled to set the ‘human maximum’ at 100%.
FATE is nicely flexible insofar as it can be tweaked to support different tones, but I’m a bit burnt out on it at the moment.
I feel like I’m missing something.
If I had the time, I’d just write up my own system for this… but I’d like to get going with it in the near future.



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