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36

Average The Skills If he has to use two skills, average the two skills together and then make one roll. In this case, that'd be a single roll to get 50 or below, since he has 50 in both skills (so the average is 50). If he was better at one skill than another, it'd look slightly different. Say he has a 50 in Stonecarving and 25 in Artistry. That makes the ...


36

To sum up: children have same expectations of odds, probabilities, and equity as adults so long as the problem is stated clearly. For best interest capture, make it even odds (along the probabilities of blackjack) as influenced by a player-controlled simple skill minigame per test. However, the problems with Piaget's study do suggest maximal elimination of ...


31

The caller is an archaic role that is only relevant when the play group is very large. And by very large, I don't mean six or eight players, I mean ten or sixteen. Our sense of what a "large" group is has adjusted drastically downward since BD&D was written, and consequently the purpose and utility of a caller is no longer obvious. The gameplay ...


30

No, this isn't novel (although that does not mean that it isn't clever design in Numenera). There are two separate things married in that mechanic as you've described it. Both have been done before, and I can think of at least one game that has married them in the same way before. First there is the concept of a pull mechanic. Most GM-initiated events are ...


25

Try this one: every PC has one chit representing a "+1" bonus to any roll. They can only use it once for session, and they can only use it to influence some other PC's roll. Make it a +2 if the Player can come up with a reasonable explanation. E.g.: I cover him with suppressive fire while he sprints toward the enemy (+1/+2 to dodge) While she tells her ...


23

According to third edition designer Skip Williams, in his article Attacks of Opportunity (Part One), D&D uses attacks of opportunity to add tactical complexity and danger, to discourage certain actions in combat without banning them outright, and to balance out useful or powerful combat manoevers: Skip Williams: The D&D game uses its attack ...


23

Dungeon World is an odd beast. If looked at through the lens of existing D&D experience, it doesn't look like anything different, and lots of its differences seem stupid. To really appreciate what it does differently you have to spend some time immersing your brain in it. I'm a veteran, but I still keep learning new things about the game—it's like ...


22

The analysis of the purpose and substance of the change from 4e to 5e that inspired this question is inaccurate. Before 4th edition there was 3rd edition, and before that 2nd and 1st, and before those there were at least two other editions (maybe more) that don't neatly fit into the numbering scheme. In all except 4e, combat was more loosely defined. In the ...


22

You don't. You just roll one d100. As you understand, rolling multiple dice is a useful tool for achieving different result spreads. But rolling multiple dice is a tool with a time and place for when you want various advantages: you can take highest or lowest, you can create a bell curve effect, or do other interesting things. However, you're not ...


20

D&D 4e has Skill Challenges whereby the group has to succeed at multiple skill checks (the number depending on the difficulty) before accumulating 3 failures. The choice of skills boils down to whatever the players can justify. The Essentials red box (spoilers ahead!) has a nice example in the prewritten adventure "Talking to the Dragon" which gives ...


20

Rules = Objects in Setting Let's imagine a roleplaying game where the rules are represented by some physical objects in the gameworld. So let's say you don't like the rule that dwarves can't learn magic? This rule is a stone pillar a hundred feet tall, standing in the Valley of Orblag. Topple it, and the rule will no longer exist. The pillar of No ...


19

I'm assuming that by "big huge robots" you're talking about Gundam/Mech -style "I'm bigger than a house!" robots, as opposed to "powered-armor" a la Starship Troopers (although there's some overlap between the two). The first thing you need to decide, is what you want the focus of your game to be. I can think of a few examples: Focus on in-mech ...


19

In these three Legend Lore articles Mike Mearls talks about the fact a major design goal of D&D 5e is to Unite the editions.Specifically allowing the core game to be modified to play similarly to one of the past editions of D&D. Uniting the Editions Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 While not all mechanics were carried forward from past editions, vancian ...


18

Medical practice as we now thing of it was not extant until the 17th Century; the various providers of medical treatment included a variety of individuals with various titles. Some of the trends Laech, Physicker, Leech: Generally, a practitioner of Roman medicine. Leaches, salves, ointments, unguents, and caurterization, perhaps some stitching of ...


18

The best game with a system for party cohesion I've seen is Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay's 3rd Edition. As part of character creation, the players collectively select a 'Party Sheet' that describes the nature of their party. A number of different party sheets (such as 'Swords for Hire' or 'Servants of Justice') are included in the rule set, each with their ...


18

I think your premise is false: most systems change a lot between editions. To name a few: White Wolf's old and new World of Darkness settings are very different. Their flagship, Vampire, had drastic changes. Paranoia has had many large changes between editions. The new FATE Core changes many things from previous versions of FATE. To invert your ...


18

Dungeon World is a narrative game, at it's core, that distinguishes itself from D&D in the way it tells stories. The innovations are in the core philosophies and mechanics. Let me address each of your points in turn: Moves as Powers Moves are NOT just powers. Many are closer to D&D's feats. Others have no mechanical effect at all. Some simply tell ...


17

Ars Magica is the pride of its fans for this very reason—its core and supplements are founded on the principles of science, magic, and mythology as were believed by the people of the middle ages. The basic premise of the game is that all the things those people believed about the world are true: demons, humours, goblins, fairy circles, aether, etc. As a side ...


17

The first and third points aren’t really big deals; actually, the third point would be a disadvantage of save-or-dies. Would be, if the numbers were more reasonable. By the numbers: you can probably make someone fail a saving throw Ultimately, caster classes have every reason to pump their save DCs as much as they can. The ability score that sets the ...


16

The single most important thing you can learn from outside blind playtesters: Is it intelligible? There are two very good "blind test" modes: hand the playtest GM the rules, and have him run a group of players and report hand the playtest GM the rules, and, never once answering a rules question, play in his game with his players. Mode 1 is less ...


16

Keep them in-line, but use indentation, italics, or a change in font to clearly mark the creation example sections. That way, those who are interested can read them and those who'd rather stick to the instruction sections can do so easily. I find that having worked examples close to the suggestions is a great way to ease learning of new skills.


16

I would argue that "mechanical character advancement" isn't necessary, but advancement as a whole is. Non-mechanical Character Advancement could fille this purpose. This could be accomplished not with dice and stats, but with abilities granted as plot points, character development by the player and the GM (GM's acknowledging character development is very ...


16

Monte actually had very little to say about 4e other than that he didn't like its licensing. However, you can guess what he doesn't like about it from his comments on 3e, 3.5, and game design in general. Practically Mandatory Miniatures Monte on 3.5 (from here): The game has an even stronger focus on miniatures. 3.0 had a strong focus on miniatures, ...


16

A bit of history "Story Game" has been used in many different ways, but at least in the context to Dungeon World, it has a definite lineage. The term as associated use today, was first coined by Clinton R. Nixon (I believe around 2006-2007?) as a simple and catchy term for Narrativist games. This allowed a way to promote these types of games without ...


16

I'm going to answer this purely from a D&D perspective, as this is my area of expertise. The idea of 'descending armor class' in D&D comes from the 'alternative combat system' presented on p 19 of the first D&D book Men & Magic (1974). Here the armor classes given range from 9 (no armor or shield) to 2 (plate armor and shield), with the ...


15

Various systems have extended rules for social conflicts. For example: The Dying Earth RPG has a back-and-forth dice-rolling mechanic. I say something, I roll to see whether I convince you; you reply, you roll to see whether you convince me. Skulduggery uses the same mechanics. Burning Wheel's Duel of Wits mechanics frames social conflict similarly to ...


15

You may find this interesting... I once took a type of personality test that had four "axes" of classification: http://www.personalitytest.net/types/index.htm (I was taking a paper version, but it looks like the same test.) The categories are: Extraverted (E) or Introverted (I) Sensing (S) or iNtuitive (N) Thinking (T) or Feeling (F) Judging (J) or ...


15

Nomic Nomic is a game in which changing the rules is a move. In that respect it differs from almost every other game. The primary activity of Nomic is proposing changes in the rules, debating the wisdom of changing them in that way, voting on the changes, deciding what can and cannot be done afterwards, and doing it. Even this core of the game, of ...


15

In Spirit of the Century, in character generation you specifically include other PCs as "guest stars" in parts of your origin, linking them with common experiences (and, optionally, skills). This got inherited by Dresden Files and other later FATE-based stuff like Disapora, Starblazer Adventures, and optionally in Strands of FATE. In Ars Magica, the troupe ...


15

Having such numerical rules of thumb are both design decisions and design guidelines There is no “correct” ratio of monster damage to player damage or player HP to player damage, but these kinds of ratios are well worth thinking about. They influence balance, but also influence the play and feel of your game. If HP is about 4× damage, you ...



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