In our most recent Patreon poll, we did something that was kind of obvious in retrospect: We asked our Quest Givers for a quest. With Paladin still busting ass to prove himself worthy of becoming Lady Celestial’s divine herald, our golden boy needed yet another impossible challenge. Considerations were considered. Votes were tabulated. And our hapless aasimar was left with the most thankless, upsetting, and impossible task of them all: Convince the Heroes to change editions. 

Sometimes I wish Thaumaturge was still around. We’ll need his Edition Warrior spirit to make it through today’s topic in one piece. So hold onto your rulebooks and grease up the ye olde stake. It’s time to talk about dragging your players kicking and screaming into a new system.

There seem to be two camps on this issue, neither of whom like or understand the other. On the one side we’ve got “RPG Sommeliers.” These are the guys that love to pair system with experience. You’re going to play super spies? They’ve got a system. You want science fantasy? Here’s a menu of recommendations. You want to play gunslingers wandering a fantasy world based on pre-statehood Utah? Good news! They’ve got a system. But what they really want is for you to try a new system — any new system — rather than sticking to ol’ reliable. For an RPG Sommelier, game mechanics are a means of expression, capable of delivering unique  interaction metaphors that “content” alone cannot. They’re the ones who will tell you that D&D is about resource management rather than fantasy adventure. But even if they aren’t wrong, they aren’t all right either.

That’s because the other side have some points to make as well. These people believe in their “One True System.” They’re the kids who want to hang onto 5e, or GURPS, or Skyrealms of Jorune, or whatever the crap, with the grim determination of a dozen Charltons Heston. Their group has been playing this way for years. They like their system. If they want to try something new or different, they can draw on a dozen supplements to rejigger their genre. And hell, if they really want to they’ll just do a bit of homebrewing. Why mess with what you know and like? After all, the rules are just here to support imagination, and you don’t need any specific set of rules to do that.

No doubt I’ve completely mischaracterized your preferences and you will have STRONG WORDS for me down in the comments. I look forward to hearing them. Especially because the current historical gaming moment seems to focus on, “Will I stick with D&D 5e, jump to Pathfinder 2e, or broaden my horizons and go elsewhere?” So whether you’re an RPG Sommelier, a One True Systemite, or some more esoteric beast, tell us all about your trials and tribulations trying to get your pals to game different!


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