If there is one thing I feel I'm pretty good at, it's writing rules. I'm not great at it, but I'm pretty good at it for GURPS, and I do have an abiding interest in writing them. I like to tinker, and I like to think, "What if?" and "How would you do this?"
But there is a contradiction in that, too. I like the occasional rules-heavy game, I like rules-light games, and I like rules-medium games, too. But I generally err on the side of "use less rules at the table."
So I write a lot of rules, and I buy a lot of crunchy, rules-filled material, but run a table with less rules than you might expect.
That kind of stuff.
In short, why do I write a lot of rules, but generally come down to a much smaller set when I play?
- a specific, generally minimal, set of tools
- a large number of choices for those tools.
That is, I want rules that play well together, or at least play well with the other rules. I want options for gritty realism all the way to cinematic handwaving of any semblance of reality. But I want to be able to choose from them.
I also like the mental challenge of assembling new rules.
But I really don't want to mix everything up in a big slurry or stew and use it all at once.
I might appreciate having detailed rules for running long-distance races for that one time the PCs do a long-distance relay race. I might want disease rules and long-term incapacitation effects in my pirate game. I might really care about who draws first to the point of consulting a box on Fast-Draw for all of the nitty gritty.
And I'll want it all compatible.
But I don't necessary want all of it at once.
If you want a food analogy, I want a buffet but I don't want to eat some of everything every time.
So anyway, that's why you'll see me write rule after rule after rule, and publish books full of them . . . and then not use them all. It's just more tools for the toolbox, but I still only choose a few of those tools to include.
I sometimes convey this to others, too. If you've ever run into my "Why are you even using those rules there?" attitude, you'll recognize this. It's me saying, why use rule X when you're playing Y? Why use the gritty realism rules for that kung fu movie game? Why use the cinematic rules for shooting when you are playing a gritty game? Why bother with economic development rules when your game just needs a simple answer to "How much is a _____"? It's not just me being annoying, obstreperous, and a big bother. I'm really trying to prompt a decision about what you want from the rules, and to get you to look at what you're trying to accomplish. You might have a good reason for seemingly incompatible rules going together. But I always feel like part of my job as a reader, playtester, editor, etc. is to make you look at it from my point of view, and then explain why you made your choices.