Issues related to designing RPG system mechanics.

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18
votes
2answers
2k views

What success rate design is the most “fun”? [on hold]

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 ...
33
votes
14answers
1k 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
327 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
13k 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
774 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
658 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
385 views

How to create battles in a war

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 ...
2
votes
3answers
519 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
663 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
269 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
902 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
278 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
votes
6answers
474 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 ...
-3
votes
1answer
173 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
947 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 ...
7
votes
8answers
2k 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
784 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
453 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 ...
10
votes
9answers
774 views

In need of general tips for making more interesting and fun battles

I've been a Game Master for about 5 years now and I've mantained the same group of players for that long, we're all young gamers (I being the oldest with 22 years old) and since we're not from USA we ...
1
vote
0answers
153 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
208 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
1k 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 ...
19
votes
6answers
573 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
784 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
628 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
209 views

How to balance orcs and uruks PCs

As weird as it sounds, I like to play the other side in RPG stories, or at least, design how to play. In old MERP PCs could be of the Middle Earth evil races (orcs, half-orcs, uruks, trolls, ...
25
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 ...
20
votes
9answers
755 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
154 views

What resources should I use to create a mod for d20 Modern?

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 ...
4
votes
3answers
822 views

Calculating dice pool probability with limited rerolls

I need a probability calculation script that works with various dice and dice pool sizes, that accounts for a mechanic that allows you to reroll up to X dice that are failures, but ONLY once per die. ...
7
votes
2answers
305 views

Where can I learn how to design my own RPG?

Let's say I have an idea for my own tabletop roleplaying game. Where can I go to learn more about how to design and publish my RPG? In particular: How can I find advice and resources to help me ...
11
votes
5answers
649 views

Looking for game with a specific initiative system

In working on a new game system, I'm looking for any relatively-balanced system that uses initiative in a specific way. I'm just looking for a reference point and inspiration, or if anyone else has ...
-1
votes
3answers
465 views

Is rolled death during character creation ever OK? [closed]

Is it ever Ok to have a Diceroll made during character gen kill or cripple a character before they are played? I know in certain Systems, this is almost true if you are really unlucky at rolling. (Eg ...
6
votes
2answers
167 views

Where could I go to find editing services that specialize in RPGs?

So I have had a time travel themed RPG successfully kickstarted and am entering the stage where I await feedback from the playtesters. In the meantime, I am searching for editing services that ...
9
votes
5answers
367 views

What are the essential design features of a combat system that make it scalable from single combat to mass warfare?

My question stems from this post by p.marino, as it raised my curiosity. I do not wish to spend the time and money to acquire and read Silhouette Core. Furthermore, I lack the knowledge of piles of ...
5
votes
1answer
323 views

Average Damage Output in 4e?

Is there a resource that lists the average damage output for each role (Defender, striker, leader, controller) that is divided into ADO per level or at the very least ADO per tier? I am really just ...
10
votes
1answer
395 views

Recommendations for game mechanics that emphasize reagent or component based spellcasting

I'm researching spell component systems for a 3.5e campaign. In 3.5e, spell components are an inconvenience at best and a waste of time at worst. I'd like to homebrew a solution drawing from mechanics ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

What are the major innovations in Dungeon World compared to D&D 3.5/Pf/4e?

In various comments on this site, DW was mentioned as [Dungeon world/Apocalypse World] is really more required reading for any designer today working on innovation in mechanics Having read the ...
1
vote
0answers
104 views

Managing complexity due to concrete-scale rules [closed]

We are rolling out an RPG system for the fun of it. However, recent tests have lead us to a rather unsolvable problem. In order to make single combat interesting and hopefully realistic, close-combat ...
1
vote
1answer
199 views

Any rules or supplements for mass combat in Underwater or Aerial fantasy environments?

I want to create a Pathfinder campaign for my players that culminates in a war between fantasy cities. I've been researching mass combat rules looking for something comprehensive that effectively ...
6
votes
4answers
455 views

Game design differences between contested rolls and general attack rolls in combat

Background: Our group does D&D 3.5/4e one week, and a different system the other week (we've done GURPS and Serenity, and I'm going to be running Mutants and Masterminds 3rd edition). I've ...
15
votes
5answers
676 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Structure for a political sandbox game

I am looking for a fairly structured approach to creating, preparing for, and running a political game. To be more precise, I am looking for the following: A structured approach or even a game ...
5
votes
5answers
422 views

Is there a Open Game License (OGL) or similar life-path system out there?

I've decided to try and "build" a system of my own, and I've decided to make it a "life path" system but I don't really want to start from absolute scratch, but thus far I've haven't found any open ...
3
votes
1answer
376 views

What are the most common design problems found in games based in levels and classes? [closed]

I am starting to develop a home-brew system along some members of our group, and one of the things we have to decide is the advancement system. We are divided between point-based and class/level, ...
1
vote
1answer
922 views

How would you create a MtG RPG Campaign/Game? [closed]

There was a MtG computer game published years ago which provided a campaign style game. The player travelled around a map comprised of differing terrain. This terrain was one of the MtG land types, ...
15
votes
10answers
802 views

Difference in basing damage on degree of success compared to a separate roll

So I am thinking about my own homebrewed system, and am wondering how to implement damage. I am considering two types of system here: Damage is rolled separately (base on weapon), and success of the ...