Issues related to designing RPG system mechanics.

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0answers
66 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
79 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
77 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 ...
14
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3answers
400 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
182 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 ...
24
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3answers
571 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 ...
4
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1answer
520 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
93 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
447 views

How can I simplify a series of rolls without changing probability too heavily?

Ok, I'm working on a combat system converted from a video game to a tabletop game, and I'd appreciate some feedback on how I can make my combat defense system work. Currently attacking is handled as ...
0
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2answers
227 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
120 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, ...
2
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0answers
70 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 ...
4
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2answers
350 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
487 views

How to create battles in a war [closed]

I've been creating my own campaign loosely basses on the Eberron campaign setting (as in very loosely, I've only been using the names of countries & cities to create my own map). I was planning ...
3
votes
0answers
99 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 ...
4
votes
6answers
2k views

What 3–4 social skills would cover every need? [closed]

I'm building a role-playing system and am just thinking about the social skills. In D20, you have like appraise, barter, intimidate, gather information, and then the really useful diplomacy, bluff ...
29
votes
17answers
7k views

What alternatives to hit points are there for abstracting wounds? [closed]

I don't like hit points as an abstraction anymore. I'm interested in writing an RPG and I have some ideas for other ways of handling wounds, but I wanted to see what else was out there. MERP had ...
2
votes
1answer
234 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
128 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 ...
27
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4answers
1k views

Why do characters with a high prime requisite gain bonus XP?

In earlier versions of Dungeons & Dragons, a character with a high ability score in their class' prime requisite receives a bonus to all experience he earns. For example, the 1983 Frank Mentzer ...
17
votes
4answers
918 views

How necessary is mechanical character advancement?

I've been fiddling around with a game system for some time (ever since the 2010 Game Chef competition) that's based around characters that are shape-shifters. Because of this, characters have a fluid ...
15
votes
3answers
1k 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
2answers
817 views

A system for tactical magic duels with low handling time?

I'm trying to cobble together a solely magic-based campaign that will have a really flexible system of magic. I've always been a fan of the D20 system, but it does have its limitations: for this ...
7
votes
1answer
329 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
199 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 ...
10
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4answers
327 views

How do I make players more comfortable in an unusual historical setting?

I run a lot of games/write systems set in specific historical/cultural contexts, because I like rpgs as a way to explore them and think they provide a great sense of place. However, I tend not to ...
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0answers
124 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
306 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
916 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 ...
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 ...
15
votes
5answers
1k views

How would you play test an RPG before all of its rules are complete?

I've been writing my own RPG, mainly to address some of the flaws / frustrations I've come across in other games. Luckily, I've found a few willing participants to help test the rules and mechanics in ...
21
votes
6answers
697 views

What can I learn from playtesters?

As a roleplaying game designer, I'm interested in discovering the range of useful feedback that can be solicited from external playtesters. Assume a rule-set and playtest document is all the contact I ...
21
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9answers
996 views

What game elements are essential for a playtest?

I'm currently designing a game, and I have most of the elements of the game sorted in my head. I'm in the process of codifying them, and I wanted to know what game elements are essential for a ...
12
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3answers
9k views

Common Dice Mechanics [closed]

I'm thinking of doing a study/paper/educational-piece about different dice rolling systems in RPGs and other games. I've played RPGs in the past but it's been years so I wanted to be sure I knew the ...
7
votes
6answers
850 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
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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 ...
35
votes
14answers
2k views

What kinds of rules promote good team cohesion?

It seems like a lot of roleplaying games quite freely allow players to play antisocial characters who can't really be part of the team. I've been part of groups (in D&D) with both a noble ...
6
votes
3answers
533 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 ...
12
votes
8answers
23k views

What could you call medical doctors in a medieval/fantasy setting?

This is a follow up to Medieval Medicine in a Fantasy Setting?. What could you call a medical doctor in a medieval/fantasy setting? I'm thinking along the lines of how an "alchemist" is more ...
12
votes
3answers
959 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
750 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, ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Most faithful way to convert a d20 base roll to a d6 base roll?

I'm semi-converting an old adventure from DnD 3.X to d6 Fantasy, but I'm having trouble getting a roll conversion that I am happy with. The adventure calls for an extended test of d20 +X rolls until ...
1
vote
4answers
338 views

How to implement multiclassing during character creation? [closed]

Assume I want to have characters defined by classes, archetypes, whatever. And there's no advancement, or at least sufficiently little advancement that the choices made at chargen always define the ...
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
491 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 ...
10
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6answers
553 views

Game design question. What systems should I look at to see how hit points as a resource impacts gameplay?

(Sorry for the long winded intro. Since this is about a game nobody is familiar with, I'm trying to ensure that there is some amount of context before asking the actual question.) So I've got a ...
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1answer
210 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 ...
7
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 ...
9
votes
5answers
483 views

PC characteristics overruling player intent

This question could be generalized (and thus it would probably reach more people) but is easier to consider in a given system, so I'll stick with nWoD's Storytelling. Is there a good official or ...