Æthursday! Generic vs. Universal

Æther is, and always will be a Universal system, a system that you can literally do anything with. Generic systems are different in that you can use the system to do anything. It’s a slight difference, but it’s an important one. It’s the difference between name-brand pop and store-brand pop, it’s the difference between using a system to run your favorite space-opera setting with psychic knights wielding laser swords, and using a system designed to let you do it.

Almost any system can be made to be Generic. Some systems are more able to do that than others. OSR type games and OD&D clones don’t handle modern weapons and vehicle combat very well, not without a lot of house rules; that’s not what they’re designed to do. Conversely, a system like Ingenium allows the GM more freedom to insert elements into it, or even to create coherent house rules (and official settings) because it is designed with a more universal appeal. Æther, on the other hand, is a system designed to let you do anything you want…maybe even everything you want…and make everything mesh together. Not a lot of house rules are involved, not a lot of time needs to be devoted to worrying about armor piercing, or the balancing of laser bolts vs. leather armor, because the foundation is all there in the main book.

Any system can be made generic. Some systems are designed to be able to work that way. Æther is a rare beast in that it’s designed to be Universal. That’s why the Random Setting Generator works for con games, online games, and even bringing together unusual adventure elements for an unforgettable experience. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with using it for official settings like Wellstone City, either. But the Universality of the system, allows you to create and change base settings in ways that work best for your group.

Æther is designed to conform to a gaming group, it’s made to run easy, it’s made to be ferocious, and it’s made, above all else, to be fun. Those three attributes are what we consider to be the key qualities of any RPG system, especially one that can be used to run any technology level, from cavemen to gravity drive using spacefarers, and in particular, have them right next to each other if need be.


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