Questions about the design of RPGs. More specific tags may apply—click “info” or “learn more…” for a guide. Not used for homebrewing, rules, or house rules questions.

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15
votes
5answers
2k views

Is there a one-word replacement for resistance to magic?

Is there a one-word term that's understood by role-playing gamers to mean resistance to magical attacks, in the same way that many role-playing gamers would quickly recognize armor to mean resistance ...
9
votes
2answers
587 views

Have the designers said why they did not include XP loss?

There seem to be no spells that cost XP, creating magic items doesn't cost XP, and monsters don't drain levels. The first two, at least, were significant considerations in 3.5. I can speculate, but do ...
8
votes
1answer
226 views

What is the motivation for the rule and lore changes in 7th Sea 2e?

When I first heard about the second edition for 7th Sea, I thought it would be a small update to the first one - like offering searchable .pdfs, having a nicer layout and better pictures in the books, ...
27
votes
3answers
2k views

What does “Forgeite” mean? Where does it come from?

I have heard usage of the word "Forgeite" as a descriptive name for a certain kind of games - in most recent example it was Dogs in the Vineyard. It is implied that it has something to do with Forge ...
6
votes
1answer
309 views

What design reasons have been given for the fact that armor doesn't break?

In D&D objects have hitpoints values, but when I equip a suit of full platemail it doesn't grant me protection in the form of its own hitpoints before any actual damage is applied to me. Have any ...
30
votes
5answers
4k views

How many rolls does it take to get to six coins?

I'm designing a microRPG and need some help calculating probabilities so I can make an informed decision about how many coins to start with (controlling session duration and early-game frustration). ...
3
votes
1answer
96 views

How Do I Reverse Engineer Ability Checks from 3e to 2e?

This question relates to how the designers of 3rd edition might have come up with the roll-over Ability Check mechanics from the roll-under Ability Check mechanics of 2e. The problem I'm trying to ...
5
votes
2answers
105 views

Why are Wonders/Talismans double cost?

As the title says. Well, Mage Revised doesn't even say they're double-cost - but Guide to the Technocracy says: Like the Background: Device (Talisman), each dot in Enhancements costs two ...
5
votes
1answer
101 views

Where can I find online playtesting groups?

I'm just putting the finishing touches on the 9th iteration of my self-designed RPG system (with its own setting), and though it was woefully rocky in its early days I think that it's really coming ...
0
votes
1answer
204 views

What are ability scores used for in Dungeons and Dragons?

In Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition, a character's ability score is never rarely used. We only use it at character creation, to calculate the ability modifier. So, why bother having BOTH the ability ...
7
votes
2answers
242 views

What is the purpose of differently-sized stress boxes as opposed to flat stress or same-sized boxes?

I can see the point of differently-sized Consequences on entities. Light ones are a mark, moderate ones are a more realistic, lasting dent, and so on. They behave differently and have, arguably, ...
27
votes
3answers
859 views

What is the reason behind “one level at a time” level advancement in D&D?

During the answering to this question about large experience point gains getting truncated -- when a single XP award would raise a character more than one level at a time -- the following question ...
3
votes
0answers
101 views

Why is the experience point progression in 5th edition D&D uneven? [duplicate]

Fifth edition D&D's experience progression is linear for the first few levels, then takes on an approximately parabolic relationship as shown in the graph on the lower left. However, the amount of ...
17
votes
1answer
2k views

Why did the sorcerer/wizard spell lists diverge in D&D 5e?

The party I am playing with is currently playing Pathfinder, and we are considering switching to 5e within the new couple of weeks. I have been doing research on the difference with Sorcerers between ...
0
votes
2answers
239 views

Why is Intelligence usually a character skill, instead of player skill? [closed]

Games with character attributes like strength, agility, and the rest usually have Intelligence as one of those attributes. However, Intelligence is different to the other attributes in that it is an ...
8
votes
3answers
132 views

How deep information should players have in a political negotiation-focused edu-larp?

I am considering an educational larp, perhaps even suitable for a lesson of one and half an hour in length at gymnasium (roughly: high school) level or at yläkoulu (roughly: middle school) level, ...
5
votes
1answer
165 views

Are the design goals for 5e currently available?

Numerous questions and answers refer to the design goals of 5th edition, and if a reference is given, it is to a no-longer valid link at wizards.com. Are the design goals of 5e currently available, ...
2
votes
0answers
81 views

Have any RPGs used an Action Point system? [closed]

Are there any RPG systems out there that handle Action Points, or Time Units? Instead of having simple action types, handling turns more like Xcom UFO Defense or Xenonauts. If so, what are the main ...
3
votes
0answers
107 views

How to design an introductory adventure heavily based on exploration and interaction with the environment? [closed]

Tower of the Stargazer and B1:In Search of the Unknown are two of my favorite introductory modules. The main reason is their focus on exploration; in particular, they feature extensive possibilities ...
2
votes
1answer
261 views

Low-fantasy spell systems I could reference (5e) [closed]

Magic is fun, magic is awesome, but I kinda wanna do something very specific with it now that I'm going to DM. I've got a very strong image of how magic is in the world I want to implement it in since ...
4
votes
2answers
139 views

What is the reason behind hiding the difficulty level in systems that keep DCs hidden?

On one side, you have games such as Fate that show the players the difficulty level of a task, and perhaps upon an unsuccessful roll, the players can spend resources to raise their result. Then there'...
7
votes
1answer
342 views

What is the origin of Dis/Advantage in D&D 5?

I was listening to a podcast on D&D 5 discussing its design. They mentioned the mechanic of Dis/Advantage as being one of the coolest aspects of the game. I was wondering: Is this innovation ...
4
votes
2answers
367 views

What is the origin of Inspiration in D&D 5?

I was listening to a podcast on D&D 5 discussing its design. They mentioned the mechanic of Inspiration (points awarded (5e DMG Inspiration) by the DM for a roll boost due to good role play) as ...
4
votes
1answer
537 views

What is the origin of Backgrounds in D&D 5?

I was listening to a podcast on D&D 5 discussing its design. They mentioned the Backgrounds as being one of the coolest things in the game. I was wondering: Is this innovation created by the D&...
3
votes
0answers
226 views

How should I reward xp to my players in my game of Dark Heresy in Stars Without Number? [closed]

I'm about to start running a game of Stars Without Number hacked to play Dark Heresy. My players will be creating their characters in a few days. But in my hack, I have so far not a word on what they ...
1
vote
0answers
144 views

How should character skills be categorised? [closed]

I would like to build my own RPG system. I'm not following any particular trope or format but I do usually enjoy characters who are the sum of their skills. I'd like to actively distinguish skills ...
6
votes
2answers
348 views

How do I work out the skill modes for a new Fate game design?

I’m working on a new Fate implementation as a personal project, deriving mainly from Fate Core, and I’d like to use skill modes for its skill system — I feel modes would be extremely suitable ...
14
votes
3answers
432 views

How do I find playtesters?

Obviously the first tester group would be your own group. But beyond that? It would seem to make sense to have at least more than one group test out your game, as different groups want different ...
7
votes
6answers
862 views

How to prevent a stand-off because the player that moves opens himself up to attack

I am writing a RPG game handbook, and I am using an action point (AP) system for the game mechanics. Each turn, each character has 8 AP to spend in actions however he likes (moving costs e.g. 1AP per ...
20
votes
2answers
2k views

What success rate design is the most “fun”?

I'm looking for researched answers here, not just your feeling of what you like best. I'm setting up a lego based rpg for a bunch of young children, and my friend and I are trying to figure out what "...
6
votes
3answers
607 views

Is there a class-and-level system that encourages horizontal character development? [closed]

What class-and-level system increases the breadth or variety of characters' abilities instead of the power (often in the form of bigger numbers) of their abilities? Such a system should have leveling ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Are there advantages to descending AC?

From a game design standpoint, are there any advantages to descending AC? I've tagged this D&D because I think this was the most popular game which required a low AC all the way to the year 2000 ...
12
votes
3answers
939 views

How can I test a system I am creating?

I'm currently trying to create a fairly basic system for running table top role playing games that is loosely based on my experience with Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition and Pathfinder. By system, I ...
19
votes
2answers
4k views

Is the omission of a racial +2 to wisdom intentional?

In the 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons, the selection of a race determines one or more bonuses to a primary attribute. For example, humans get +1 to all six attributes, while a wood elf gets +2 to ...
6
votes
1answer
523 views

How to hire freelance writers for my self-published RPG who will adhere to my canon?

So, I'm in the early stages of writing my own tabletop RPG System/Setting. I plan to self-publish most likely, probably starting off just on DriveThruRPG and seeing how it goes from there. And I'm ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Is repeated playing the only way to test system balance?

I've been working on a new RPG system, a variant of Savage Worlds, for a special one-off game I'm designing for my friends. Everything is going well, but one thing I've found myself wondering more ...
18
votes
1answer
736 views

What Influence Did Sean K. Reynolds Have on Pathfinder's Monk?

As one of the designers, Sean K. Reynolds has a lot of influence on many aspects of the Pathfinder Role-Playing Game. With that said, I would like to learn more about his influence on the Monk's ...
9
votes
8answers
3k views

How do I approach the probability of a d100, using 2 d100's?

We're running an almost 100% homebrew system, which uses skills in order to craft objects during play. Allow me to first formulate an example to explain my question better: Jack is quite the mason ...
18
votes
3answers
1k views

Why is spellcasting not improvisational, like martial combat is?

From my reading of the D&D 5e PHB, as well as other answers on this site (see Are melee combatants limited to standing around saying "I attack"?), it appears that martial combat is ...
1
vote
0answers
272 views

Magic Systems: Names for Non-Vancian Magic? [closed]

Vancian Magic is the common magic system used in most editions of D&D. You can go to almost any design circle who is familiar with D&D and use the term with most people immediately understand ...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

How do I build an encounter for level 5 D&D characters? [closed]

I'm running a session tonight and I made a huge magical prison. I have everything ready to drop the players inside (boss fights, puzzles, status conditions on different floors), but I didn't populate ...
13
votes
4answers
310 views

How to add challenge to a RPG-like experience for a three year old

This is an offshoot of this question, and comes in part from a comment recommending this blog post about "Advanced Doggies and Dragons", a game developed for a four year old by a gaming Dad. I have a ...
3
votes
3answers
789 views

What would an “E6” for 5e look like? [closed]

I understand that 5e has flattened the curve significantly, but characters will still achieve (at least demi-) godlike powers by the time they are level 20. I'm interested in a more gritty setting, ...
-3
votes
1answer
213 views

When to throw away a bad RPG system design? [closed]

Let's say you're putting together a custom RPG system of yours (core mechanics of dice and conflict resolution, support mechanics, the skills, the races, the fluff, etc.) Let's say you're making a ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

What about “Save-or-Die” spells makes them so powerful? Are they balanced as is, or require tweaking?

On reading guides on classes, most notably caster classes, near every guide recommends that the player take the "Save-or-Die" or "Save-or-Suck" spells. Usually, these end up being status effects. I ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Why Does Spellcasting Have Levels?

I was reading this question, and it occurred to me: I don't know why the designers of 5e chose this magic system. There are a lot of spellcasting systems out there, and I want to know why they choose ...
7
votes
5answers
2k views

Are there roleplaying games where your race levels up separately from your class?

Class-based RPGs give you new stuff to add to your class as you level up; what race you are does not really affect this. But what I am wondering, are there systems where you can level up your ...
10
votes
2answers
891 views

What constitutes a “story game”?

In Dealing with players of vastly different skill levels?, I got into a discussion with @SevenSidedDie about characterizing Dungeon World as a story game. @SevenSidedDie stated that: @neontapir ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

How to improve my fast-paced scene

I recently got myself into short forms RPG as a GM and I really love the potential! I tried a short game (3 hours) and it went OK, but I am not quite satisfied yet. I need more practice, that's for ...
26
votes
3answers
1k views

Did having a 'Caller' player positively influence the gameplay in Moldvay's Basic D&D?

In the 1980 Basic D&D rules (Gygax and Arneston, Moldvay editing), the following text appears in Part 4: The Adventure: THE CALLER: One player should be chosen to tell the DM about the plans ...