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Four Different Kinds of Rules Light

It’s true that one reason some systems are light is that they don’t have enough of a gloracle, i.e. the light systems passes the buck to the GM’s whim instead. I’m not into that.

But there are three other, better reasons why a particular system is be lighter.

  1. They can have coarser granularity. C.f. Three Sixteen that just has a single “Fighting Ability” stat, vs systems where defense and offense are separated, vs something like Mythras where every body part has its own stats.
  2. They can have made better design decisions on a different “layer” of the system. C.f. how Fate tabulates point value of disadvantages during play instead of how GURPS tries to estimate & charge their costs pre-hoc. That means GURPS both needs to have a pre-written list of disads, and point values for those lists tabulated. While Fate can make disads a lot more open ended and people can write whatever they want.
  3. They can use more general mechanical solutions and repurpose them for different roles rather than having mechanically different subsystems. In some OSR games you save by rolling high but you do ability checks by rolling low is an example of that kind of complexity that could instead’ve been easily elidable. (With hindsight.)