Issues related to designing RPG system mechanics.

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7
votes
1answer
333 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
443 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
599 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
319 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
81 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
152 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
194 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
382 views

What would an “E6” for 5e look like?

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, ...
19
votes
6answers
533 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
3answers
536 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
578 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
991 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
3k 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
182 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 ...
19
votes
9answers
652 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
149 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
508 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
245 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
432 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
367 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
161 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
328 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
360 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
213 views

How to implement multiclassing during character creation?

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 ...
5
votes
1answer
273 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
365 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
2k 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
96 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
480 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
1answer
164 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
389 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 ...
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 ...
15
votes
5answers
601 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
794 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
328 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
309 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
671 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
631 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 ...
17
votes
6answers
683 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 ...
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 ...
8
votes
1answer
184 views

What purpose does keeping Vancian Spell-casting in Legend serve?

I've got to admit, I'm somewhat confused by the option to keep Vancian-style spell slots for the Shaman and Tactician casting tracks. Most tracks in Legend either provide abilities that are at-will or ...
3
votes
1answer
340 views

Designing stats for ReBoot Tabletop game

As a personal project I am working on creating a tabletop game based on one of my favorite childhood shows. The show is ReBoot. One of the things I am having a rough time designing is a simple stat ...
13
votes
2answers
231 views

Who should be addressed in an RPG rule text?

When reading RPG rules text, I have noticed that the text sometimes rather inconsistently switches between assuming that the player is doing the reading and that the character is doing the reading. ...
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 ...
9
votes
4answers
699 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
311 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
313 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
697 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 ...