System Bugbears

From RPGnet
Jump to: navigation, search

System Bugbears (aka System Gotchas)[edit]

This page collects known issues in RPGs which may not be immediately obvious from the books. They might be worth considering before running or playing the game.

13th Age[edit]

  • The Icon Dice rolled at the start of each session can give results which make no sense in the current context of the adventure.


  • Per RAW there is no restriction on Gloating, potentially allowing two opposing sides of a conflict to repeatedly Gloat at each other to gain an infinite number of story tokens.

Dogs in the Vineyard[edit]

  • The system as specified has no way to deal with de- escalation of conflicts or separating this from a dice bonus. By RAW a character can pull their gun, add extra dice added to their pool for escalating and their shooting skill, but then immediately put the gun away and resume brawling or talking.

Dungeons and Dragons, 3rd Edition[edit]

  • The Spiked Chain combined with Trip feats can be extremely overpowered when used to interrupt the movement of melee-based enemies via AoO.

Dungeons and Dragons, 4th Edition[edit]

  • There are extensive errata for this system which fix many issues - check them all.
  • In many cases there is no convincing or reasonable way to prevent a single character making every check in a Skill Challenge.

Dungeons and Dragons, 5th Edition[edit]

  • Fighting classes are generally dramatically underpowered compared to spellcasters.
  • The system gives no guidelines for pricing expendable magic items differently to non-expendable ones.
  • Unless carefully managed, the Bard class is outright better than the Rogue.


  • Problems can result from "fate point races", in which conflicts come down to two sides repeatedly trying to find Aspects to invoke to add +2s to a roll.
  • Arbitrary wording of aspects may create player argumentation.


  • The sample adventures are unrepresentative of the intended play experience.

Iron Kingdoms RPG[edit]

  • Alchemist PCs are required to spend money to build bombs in order to continue using their class abilities, which no other class is. It may be necessary to fudge this or provide a side source of income to balance this.

Mutants and Masterminds[edit]

  • The system makes assumptions about how Villain Points will be spent by the GM; failing to spend them according to these assumptions, which are unstated, may break the system.

Shadowrun (4th Anniversary Edition)[edit]

  • The rules for grenades make the scatter so wide as to make grenades practically unusable. It may be preferable to use the scatter values from the previous edition, which are exactly half those given.
  • The rules for Initiative Passes mean that a character with a higher number of IP must move a shorter distance in each of their IPs, potentially allowing them to be caught in the middle of a move that a "slower" character could make without interruption.

Star Wars (Fantasy Flight)[edit]

  • The sample adventures are unrepresentative of the intended play experience.
  • Lightsabers are, understandably, extremely powerful; unless you are playing a Force and Destiny game in which all PCs use lightsabers, it may be best to allow PCs to have only training lightsabers to maintain parity with users of other weapons.
  • The Auto Fire ability is extremely powerful and can end encounters in a single round.

The Riddle Of Steel[edit]

  • The rules do not make it clear what constitutes working towards an SA and what does not. In particular, there is no convincing argument in the rules as to why any lethal combat does not invoke all a character's SA's because "not dying" is a necessity for all of them.

Warhammer Fantasy Role Play (3rd Edition)[edit]

  • There are no rules on the use of abilities outside of combat (in Story Mode). This can create a problem with the extent to which healing abilities can be used between encounters.