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This is a tangent off of my question about Looking for a Space marine RPG similar to Starship Troopers (the Novel) where there were some good suggestions about systems to use or modify to meet my requirements. Upon reflection creating a modification of an existing system like d20 modern might be easier for my players to adapt to than learning a completely different system with very different paradigms such as Traveller.

In short, What websites, resources, articles should I are there to help a newbie designer identify and address design issues and problems?

As always, I appreciate comments and questions to help scope this question and any answers that respond to it.

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I don't think such a thing exists. Game design is still an art, not a science—like artists people learn by doing and by studying the masters. –  SevenSidedDie Apr 12 '13 at 15:44
I'm not looking for a design doc on how to design, but more site recommendation on who/where to study. –  Joshua Aslan Smith Apr 12 '13 at 15:45
Something to keep in mind is that d20 Future is already modular -- you're supposed to pick and choose from the different pieces it gives you. I've only looked at the SRD, but I'd hope that the actual book has advice on this! –  starwed Apr 12 '13 at 19:45
Good point I need to keep looking into it more, so far my beef with the d20 system as delve into it more is that it has a lot of D&D 3 & 3.5 design ideas built in (like prestige class requirements) that I think might be deal breakers. The d20 system isn't key overall, but I included it to try to tighten the scope and see what was there for this question. –  Joshua Aslan Smith Apr 12 '13 at 20:02
If you're going for d20, it really seems like it's silly to not take the existing Starship Troopers RPG and just change it to be less movie-ey and more book-y. –  mxyzplk Apr 13 '13 at 2:20
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2 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The Ultimate Game Designer's Companion was

designed to be a reference and encyclopaedia of rules for the d20 System, allowing gamers to put together unique scenarios, campaigns, and even full blown RPGs together quickly and easily, utilising the plug and play nature of the d20 System to the full.

It's out of print, and didn't garner wild accolades.

If you aren't already making use of the d20 System Reference Document (SRD), you can download it all or a component at a time. It's in RTF, so you can easily modify the content to suit your needs. However, this doesn't help you with the thinking behind any changes you're making.

Veteran game designer Robin Laws has created a series of posts about game design. They are not particular to d20 or to modifying existing systems. Mike Mearls discusses the design philosophy embraced by WotC in the official D&D blog.

Lisa Hartjes writes extensively about worldbuilding in her blog.

More broadly, Gnome Stew is a good jump-off point, as they focus exclusively on gamemastering.

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  1. If you're sticking with d20, then you might want to look at d20 Future.

  2. At this point, pick up d20 Modern or Future, play it, find what parts don't work for you, and then consider how to change them. For inspiration on how to change things, look to other d20 hacks, even those that aren't seemingly related, such as Pathfinder, Mutants and Masterminds, and even Anime d20. Also consider looking at other systems, in particular 3:16 Carnage Amongst the Stars (a mix of Aliens and Starship Troopers) and The Regiment: Colonial Marines (Aliens).

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The Regiment:Colonial marines definitely has potential, Falls short on the powered armor idea and concept but design wise meets up a lot and could be hacked to more closely fit starship troopers –  Joshua Aslan Smith Apr 12 '13 at 20:01
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