Questions about the design of RPGs. More specific tags may apply—click “info” or “learn more…” for a guide. Not used for homebrewing, rules, or house rules questions.

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6
votes
1answer
311 views

What design reasons have been given for the fact that armor doesn't break?

In D&D objects have hitpoints values, but when I equip a suit of full platemail it doesn't grant me protection in the form of its own hitpoints before any actual damage is applied to me. Have any ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

Is there a one-word replacement for resistance to magic?

Is there a one-word term that's understood by role-playing gamers to mean resistance to magical attacks, in the same way that many role-playing gamers would quickly recognize armor to mean resistance ...
21
votes
2answers
1k 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 do for the game-system? How does it affect the fun of the players? Why was ...
9
votes
2answers
588 views

Have the designers said why they did not include XP loss?

There seem to be no spells that cost XP, creating magic items doesn't cost XP, and monsters don't drain levels. The first two, at least, were significant considerations in 3.5. I can speculate, but do ...
15
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
27
votes
3answers
863 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
226 views

What is the motivation for the rule and lore changes in 7th Sea 2e?

When I first heard about the second edition for 7th Sea, I thought it would be a small update to the first one - like offering searchable .pdfs, having a nicer layout and better pictures in the books, ...
17
votes
1answer
2k views

Why did the sorcerer/wizard spell lists diverge in D&D 5e?

The party I am playing with is currently playing Pathfinder, and we are considering switching to 5e within the new couple of weeks. I have been doing research on the difference with Sorcerers between ...
4
votes
2answers
263 views

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

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 ...
27
votes
3answers
2k views

What does “Forgeite” mean? Where does it come from?

I have heard usage of the word "Forgeite" as a descriptive name for a certain kind of games - in most recent example it was Dogs in the Vineyard. It is implied that it has something to do with Forge ...
9
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 ...
30
votes
5answers
4k views

How many rolls does it take to get to six coins?

I'm designing a microRPG and need some help calculating probabilities so I can make an informed decision about how many coins to start with (controlling session duration and early-game frustration). ...
7
votes
2answers
242 views

What is the purpose of differently-sized stress boxes as opposed to flat stress or same-sized boxes?

I can see the point of differently-sized Consequences on entities. Light ones are a mark, moderate ones are a more realistic, lasting dent, and so on. They behave differently and have, arguably, ...
5
votes
1answer
101 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
96 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
107 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
435 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
204 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
537 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 D&...
3
votes
0answers
101 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
478 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
votes
2answers
240 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
132 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, ...
5
votes
1answer
165 views

Are the design goals for 5e currently available?

Numerous questions and answers refer to the design goals of 5th edition, and if a reference is given, it is to a no-longer valid link at wizards.com. Are the design goals of 5e currently available, ...
2
votes
0answers
82 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
votes
2answers
367 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
518 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 ...
18
votes
1answer
736 views

What Influence Did Sean K. Reynolds Have on Pathfinder's Monk?

As one of the designers, Sean K. Reynolds has a lot of influence on many aspects of the Pathfinder Role-Playing Game. With that said, I would like to learn more about his influence on the Monk's ...
3
votes
0answers
107 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 ...
12
votes
8answers
5k views

What diceless tabletop RPG techniques are there?

I am interested in using a diceless resolution system for my roleplaying, but am not sure what my options are in that vein. I can think of basically two categories of diceless tabletop role-playing ...
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
263 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
139 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 there'...
27
votes
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
950 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
2k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
870 views

What are the major design/philosophical differences between Dresden Files and Fate Core?

I've read the Fate Core rulebook and am starting to read the Dresden Files: Your Story and Your World books. I am looking to describe the differences between Dresden Files and Fate to friends. If ...
7
votes
2answers
836 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
342 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
226 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
votes
4answers
338 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
144 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
348 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
941 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
705 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
votes
9answers
1k 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
votes
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 ...