I'm a young player, and an even younger DM. As such, there were very few systems (read: 2) I've had the pleasure of trying out, and now I'm looking for a system to host a new session in which wouldn't have the downsides of the systems currently known to me.
It's also entirely possible that, after writing all my hopes for a new system it'll seem like I want everything. If that is the case, please smack me silly and point this out - this would likely be my lack of experience.
So, these are the systems I've played and what I think about them:
Warhammer - I really like the SETTING of Warhammer, but the mechanics seemed to be really really uninteresting. It felt like I, as a starting player, could at most "hit with sword" each and every round in combat. The game MIGHT grow into something more later on, but without a sense of wonder and awesome newer players (such as myself and my colleagues at that session) won't be all too willing to return to the table.
D&D 4e - Here's the system I've spent most of my time with, both as a player and as a newbie DM. I don't really care that much for the world of D&D - it feels like your standard, rather generic fantasy setting. As a DM, I felt this is a good quality - it meant I can shape the world as I see fit, and it also means it's recognizable by newer players. It takes a bit too much time to create a character in D&D (I personally didn't mind, but I've found people who just wanted to have fun playing the game would get intimidated by all the possibilities), but on the other hand the initial character is "awesome" right out of the box and you can do more than just "hit with sword". This definitely has a nice empowering effect. The other good thing about this system is that, as a DM, I know what my players are capable of, which means it's easier to create a story and keep the players following said story. (I know, this smells of railroading, but I'm not that good of a DM to create a sprawling world all in one go.) Finally, there's one small downside to all that awesomeness - the actual combat can become really, REALLY tedious. I think this is partially due to the fact that, in a way, this game could "play itself". I mean, outside of story-telling moments and occasional out-of-the-box ideas most combat scenarios are "locked in" after the first turn, i.e. players are engaged with enemies and complex manoeuvres become difficult (due to opportunity attacks, which players tend to avoid). Finally - playing D&D with real-life friends was a bit difficult as preparing maps was a problem - we don't have tokens or maps. Best we could do was s gridded table-cloth and Scrabble letter tokens to indicate things. The experience was a bit better when I was a DM via an online virtual table, where grids and rolling mechanics are built-in... but I can't rely on these things being available in real life.
So, I'm looking for a system which, ideally, has the following properties:
- familiar setting - note that it doesn't HAVE to be fantasy and I like SciFi, but I can't shake the feeling that SciFi always comes with a bit of essential backstory and there's no such thing as "generic SciFi"... but if someone can prove me wrong I'm interested!
- easy character creation - the requirement for players to flip the D&D manual back and forth looking for descriptions really slows the experience down
- characters should feel "awesome" from level 1
- it would be nice if one could make do without grids and tokens for combat, and yet have some structure (as to not have the whole thing falling apart)
There, I think that's all of it. I wonder if such a system exists... '>_>