I have never used a system or watched someone else use a system that is better than the Window. It is simple, flexible, and, most importantly, completely free. The rules to the Window can be found at http://www.mimgames.com/window/. There is talk amongst roleplayers that the Window should not be used by beginners, but such a beautiful system should be what roleplayers interested in storytelling use first.
Strengths of the Window:
- It is an incredibly simple system. Each ability that a character possesses has a corresponding die. When you need to use that ability, you simply roll the die and see if you get a 6 or lower. That’s it.
- You do not have to limit your characters to archetypes. There are no pre-determined character classes. As long as the Storyteller (Game Master, i.e. the person running the game) agrees, an Actor (Player) can make a character with whatever combination of abilities that she wants and she can be just as good or as bad at those abilities as she desires. It is difficult, though not impossible, to play a suave and cunning orc rogue in Dungeons and Dragons. It is incredibly easy in the Window.
- The Window does not pit the Game Master against the Players. Everyone is working towards the same goal — making a good story.
- It is totally free. All of the rules for and theory behind the Window are online. There are no books to buy.
- All you need are dice and an imagination. Also some paper. Paper helps.
Difficulties of the Window:
- You have to make everything yourself. Before our first session, both the players and I had to go through a lot of preparation.
- The Window is not as good for people interested solely in “winning.” If all you want is time to zone out and fight some monsters with your friends, then a d20 system might be better.