You’ve been playing a while and you’ve been always using CoC and its worked out pretty well. Sure, you have to invoke the Golden Rule every now and then, but at the same time, you know the system, so why not use it for the fantasy campaign you’re trying to sell your players on.
Please don’t. I know many people think CoC is the greatest thing ever, but at the same time, that group of people haven’t usually played anything more sophisticated. They still like to think that the solutions of their youth are still valid solutions today. Would you still use the same computer you used back in the 80s? Probably not. These things have moved on. Why shouldn’t RPG systems? After all, they are of pretty comparable age.
I touched upon this here last week, but I felt this would require a bit more indepth explanation.
The major problem here is that a certain generation of GMs don’t understand the different approach modern games bring, so they just hug their equivalent of a rotary phone tight and won’t let go. They’ve ran these games forever and know the systems inside and out. Its a safety blanket. They don’t want the hear the truth that despite being forward-thinking and open to new ideas back in the day, they are now troglodytes who are very detrimental to the hobby itself. Certain systems can’t move on, because they have a fanbase of people with disposable income, who keep insisting on just slight variations on the themes.
The difference between those old games and those of the new generation is that they approach the whole thing quite differently. Whereas the first games just tried to bring you tactical options, and the next tried to be realistic, the new generation tries to use the systems to encourage certain genre-specific behavior. Whereas the older systems simply assumed people would be able to tell stories with their systems, the new systems encourage everyone involved to push the story by simply using the mechanics.
Take for example fail-forward mechanics. In games like Apocalypse World and its ilk or Blades in the Dark failing will always lead to something. It will always push things forward. Sure, you can bring this to other systems as well, but its going to be hard. Especially in combat. Two opponents just hitting each other and missing isn’t in any way exciting, but with a fail-forward mechanic, those misses will always lead to something. Maybe you knock something over or expose yourself to an attack, but its important that everything moves on. These new systems guide you through it.
Of course, the new systems are also leaner. Back in the day realism was the thing and systems would just add more and more rules to take everything into account in a more realistic way, but that is a never-ending swamp of new corner-cases that need to be considered. The new systems have simple rules that are used to cover all the situations. It might not be realistic, but that’s hardly what players want anyway. They want to have cool and exciting adventures or meaningful experiences, not a load of charts or flipping through a rulebook trying to find that one line where it says you don’t get that +1 in this particular situation. So, leaner is better.
If you are one of those people, who can’t move on from what they used to play 20+ years ago, please just give these things a chance. I know you that won’t even matter in most cases, because you need your blankie, but maybe, just maybe some of you will get over your fear of change and come out with a positive experience you can share with other people in your social circle. I mean, if you can play better games, why wouldn’t you?