Issues related to designing RPG system mechanics.

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13
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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 ...
9
votes
4answers
742 views

What are the best ways to utilize Wisdom and Charisma?

This question primarily refers to a fantasy RPG called "One Step Beyond", published back in 1989. It had five ability scores: Strength, Mental Strength, Will, Agility, Health. These were essentially a ...
9
votes
1answer
324 views

Why does (A)D&D change so much between editions? [closed]

Most systems, as far as I know, stay mostly the same between editions. Yet Dungeons and Dragons has had major changes between almost every edition, with the skill systems, combat abilities/feats, ...
2
votes
4answers
336 views

Handling many modifiers on a probability curve

So I've been working on a 2d20 based system for a side project, and it's playing out as a hybrid of a roleplaying system and a simulation-heavy combat game. This means that the engine has quickly ...
7
votes
2answers
728 views

Creating my own RPG but having a hard time. Need advice

I've been playing tabletop RPGs for 20 years and I finally mustered the courage to create my own RPG. The problem is that I've gotten very discouraged as of late. I asked my local gaming community ...
6
votes
3answers
407 views

Do universal rules systems without any implied setting whatsoever exist?

Is it possible for a system to be universal without implying anything about setting? If it isn't, why? There are lots of universal systems, but they all seem to have mechanics that pin down ...
22
votes
10answers
1k 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
667 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
173 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
438 views

“High on Magic” - how original is it?

I have written a RPG called "Chuť magie" - it's in Czech and it means literary "Taste of Magic", but I'd definitely call it "High on Magic" in English. I'm not planning to translate it to English ...
5
votes
3answers
262 views

How to implement dual-classing in a non-levelled RPG game?

I'm working on an alternate ruleset for a tabletop pen-and-paper RPG (like D&D). Recently I've been toying the idea of abolishing a level system. However, I don't want to remove the ability for a ...
16
votes
10answers
733 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
249 views

Character turn mechanic that is both detailed and handles long actions

We play according to a homemade-ish freeform-ish system. I, as a GM, have a lot of fun with the system as I morph it. And the benefit for the players is that the whole thing is a one-pager. But we ...
6
votes
3answers
502 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
212 views

Are there any game mechanics for handling item condition in detail?

Many sources (ex) point out that a distinct advantage of non-metal armour is that it does not rust in the rain. Also, "adventurers", carrying all their belongings on their back, pretty often find ...
6
votes
4answers
596 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
355 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 ...
12
votes
10answers
3k 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
923 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 ...
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 ...
25
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
342 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 ...
16
votes
5answers
725 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
481 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 ...
24
votes
4answers
801 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
665 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. ...
7
votes
1answer
375 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 ...
17
votes
6answers
476 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 ...
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
264 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 ...
5
votes
6answers
598 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
363 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
513 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
625 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
186 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
958 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
600 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
634 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
643 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
677 views

What is an “ashcan” release?

What are "ashcans"? What are their purpose? Where does the name come from?
12
votes
7answers
425 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 ...
11
votes
8answers
11k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
379 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 ...