Tagged Questions

Issues related to designing RPG system mechanics.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

15
votes
5answers
618 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
353 views

How do I make headshot rules interesting?

I'm working on a unified conflict system for a lightweight setting-agnostic RPG ruleset. The beta version is available on my website, although I have changed a lot of rules since that was released. My ...
6
votes
4answers
573 views

What can be done to maintain balance in a magic system in which mages must construct their own spells?

I'd like to build a magic system in which every spell is a one-off. A spell is created to serve a particular purpose and is cast once. I'm thinking that the time and place of the casting would be ...
3
votes
2answers
172 views

Combat - What is the chance of hitting someone on Range? [closed]

I'm designing a game system, and am working on the combat system. I have several questions, and I'm trying to create a system that is as realistic as possible. Sadly I have no experience with guns or ...
9
votes
5answers
335 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 ...
12
votes
10answers
2k views

What are common design flaws of build-point game systems?

I'm designing my own RPG system and I want to avoid the most widely-recognized flaws, loopholes, and exploits that build-point character creation systems usually suffer from. What are the most common ...
2
votes
5answers
892 views

What 3–4 social skills would cover every need?

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 ...
17
votes
6answers
695 views

Is the use of XP as a narrative currency for both GMs and players a novel idea?

In Monte Cook's new roleplaying game Numenera, XP is used as a narrative currency not only by the GM but by the players as well. Taken from his design diaries: Say the PCs find a hidden console ...
0
votes
1answer
339 views

Combat and exp/gold reward equations

I have a pen and paper game that I'm creating, but I'm running across issues in keeping the ratios between high and low level players similar in the battle and reward equations. Obviously a higher ...
13
votes
7answers
1k views

D&D: How to find out if someone is a spellcaster?

I know that one can use the spell "Detect magic" to find out whether any spells are being cast or active. But is it also possible, using some spell, feat or whatever, to find out whether a person is ...
24
votes
4answers
783 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

What didn't Monte Cook like about 4e?

It seems to be an established tenet of the conventional wisdom that Monte Cook does not like Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition. However, I came late to this party and never read the criticisms Monte ...
19
votes
9answers
672 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
237 views

What kinds of player contributions work well and under what circumstances?

Introduction In Amber diceless roleplaying game players get extra points for building their characters by committing to player contributions, such as: Writing a diary, writing game reports, drawing ...
6
votes
4answers
261 views

How can adversarial game mechanics be added to a game?

Some systems have the concept of an adversarial relationship between the game master and the players. These games typically have a series of mechanics to enforce this behavior and prevent one side ...
7
votes
1answer
371 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
360 views

Handling merchant inventory with lots of items?

Ok, so I'm converting a roguelike video game to a tabletop game (GearHead, if anyone's interested), and I'm running into a catch where I want to keep the tabletop game essentially compatible with the ...
22
votes
10answers
988 views

How do I balance game interactions between a giant mecha that can level cities and its pilot?

I have had recurring trouble with a subject I like, and would like to implement into my games, but can't find a good way to do so: mechas (big huge robots) From a system point of view, it is usually ...
8
votes
3answers
495 views

Do these stats cover enough of a person's ability?

I've had this thought in my head for a while, as I'm developing my game, but this question really sparked me into posing the question. In the game I'm developing, peoples normal stats/attributes ...
4
votes
3answers
652 views

Which systems use a dice pool *and* highest score mechanic?

I'm trying to design a system with a dice pool mechanic that looks at the highest roll in the pool as well as total number of successes? I want to show the quality of a success and it's extent. ...
14
votes
3answers
615 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
183 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 ...
16
votes
6answers
238 views

How do I ensure separation between historical events and the game world while still feeling historical?

I am running a pulp WW2 campaign where the players are deep inside Germany in 1940 uncovering secret projects, getting involved in the occult and discovering ancient powers that the Third Reich are ...
14
votes
2answers
943 views

What is the reason for introducing the rule for Attacks of Opportunity in D&D?

The Attacks of Opportunity are an important part in D&D and spinoffs of the game like Pathfinder. What does this rule for the game-system? How does it affect the fun of the players? Why was this ...
10
votes
4answers
596 views

Guide to writing an RPG - Examples inline or at the end?

I am writing a guide on how to write a free RPG on my blog. The guide has a series of techniques and tips from inspiration to playtest. I have been writing an RPG as I go along as an example of using ...
16
votes
5answers
718 views

Cooperative character building?

I'm aware of games where the players cooperatively build elements of the story world (I hear Dresden Files does this), but are there any where the players cooperatively build their characters? What ...
12
votes
6answers
660 views

Is the concept of a mutable game system viable?

I've been toying around with some prototypes for game systems, and I'm wondering if "mutable" RPGs (games where the rules of the game are represented and can be interacted with/changed in game) are ...
31
votes
14answers
1k views

What kinds of rules promote good team cohesion?

It seems like a lot of roleplaying games have no problems with players playing antisocial characters who can't really be part of the team. I've been part of groups (in D&D) with both a noble ...
27
votes
16answers
3k views

What alternatives to hit points are there for abstracting wounds?

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 ...
10
votes
3answers
478 views

Water and electricity spells - RL physics approach

I like to master (and play) in a world I can believe (even fantastic ones). This question comes from D&D3.5 but applies to every game where reality collides with things you can't (usually) do. So ...
5
votes
5answers
629 views

Why do Combat encounters and Skill checks give the same XP reward?

Not much to elaborate on. Reading the DnD4e rules, it sort of bugs me that a "skill challenge" counts the same as a combat encounter. They don't seem to be very equatable to me, both in terms of ...
16
votes
5answers
619 views

Co-operative story-telling mechanics

What are some existing or potential game mechanics that encourage players to "take the reins" a bit more and involve themselves in a story-telling perspective? Specifically, are there any examples of ...
9
votes
5answers
446 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 ...
16
votes
10answers
728 views

What would you pick as the “four elements” of mind? [closed]

Good evening! I hope this isn't too vague, this is my first post on RPG Exchange (I see some cool conversations here, I'm happy to be a part). While doodling about with a magic system I'm ...
17
votes
6answers
475 views

What are some examples of games that don't invent history or language? [closed]

IE, games that don't make up words or names in languages belonging to the game-verse, but borrow as exactly as possible from history, folklore, etymology, and mythology. (What is this type of game ...
12
votes
7answers
424 views

Role-playing within role-playing

Suppose that the PCs are actors that have to play roles in film, television, theatre. Or that they are some sort of spirits that process other people and make them do their bidding without letting ...
5
votes
6answers
596 views

Chuck Norris player character - can I keep true to the internet meme while still running a balanced game?

One of my group mates has been quite obsessed with creating a Chuck Norris inspired character. He's playing a martial arts heavy, assassin flavors of Rogue, in a DnD campaign, which works well enough ...
9
votes
6answers
422 views

Game design question. What sort of effect does HP as a resource have on a system?

(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 ...
5
votes
3answers
377 views

What games are based around single historical events?

I recently came across the game Montsegur 1244, which I think looks rather interesting, and it made me wonder whether there are any other games that centre around a single historical event in that ...
24
votes
16answers
2k views

How to design game elements other than combat?

Most RPGs I know about and have played are fighting-centered. That doesn't mean that all gaming is only about fighting, but that most of the rules and character abilities are primarily useful in ...
11
votes
8answers
10k 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 ...
19
votes
6answers
537 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
672 views

What is an “ashcan” release?

What are "ashcans"? What are their purpose? Where does the name come from?