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Questions tagged [game-design]

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

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14
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the origin of the term describing a game as a ‘Heartbreaker’?

I’ve often heard the term ‘fantasy heartbreaker’ used to describe a game. Where did this term originate and how was it used? Matt Colville used the phrase 'fantasy heartbreaker' in his YouTube video "...
2
votes
0answers
84 views

Questions about new initiative mechanics for an RPG [closed]

I'm designing a new tabletop RPG. I've got an idea for how to handle battle initiative and am looking for feedback and if it sounds reasonable/workable. Each character has 6 stats: Strength, ...
6
votes
2answers
352 views

How can I encourage PCs to be more intellectual and less physical?

My friends and I created a roleplaying game. We don't like having many rules or having to find if a rule applies, so for an action a PC uses one of the following 9 statistics: Strength: For all kind ...
12
votes
1answer
155 views

Jurassic Spark kids game needs to distribute fun more evenly [closed]

I recently made up an outdoor kids adventure game that is really fun for most, but could use help with making the game more fun for ALL the kids. I conducted an anonymous survey afterwards and some ...
6
votes
0answers
113 views

Adapting a gamebook to multiple players [closed]

This is my first question, so I am truly sorry if it is nonsense. I am a newbie to RPG, however, I used to play gamebooks (Fighting Fantasy) and I really enjoyed them. I want to test if my group of ...
2
votes
1answer
85 views

How do I find the odds in a dice pool contest?

I'm designing a system where overall success is determined using a dice pool where you count the number of max-value faces among dice rolled and compare this number to some difficulty number. In this ...
9
votes
1answer
211 views

Does research show that explicit game mechanical rewards affect player behaviour? [closed]

As shown in research data, to what extent do explicit game mechanical rewards, such as various types of fate points (hero points, willpower, artha, other consumable resources) or experience points, ...
7
votes
3answers
325 views

Do Design Patterns Exist for Mitigating Common Drawbacks of Resistance-as-Ablative-Resource?

I've always been bothered by the way resistances to non-damaging 'bad effects' are designed in RPGs, and I'd like to know if there are better ways to design it (before actually trying to do anything ...
15
votes
4answers
585 views

How can I run a session where two opposing parties play at the same time?

A player of mine had an interesting concept where two parties who are opposed to each other would play at the same time in the same session. In essence the plot would be a group of thieves have been ...
2
votes
0answers
107 views

Taking out levelling and classes - Replacements [closed]

So, my RPG isn't going to use levels or classes to determine advancement. I'm trying to keep it open as possible, and also I realize that if a character levels up, and then they fight slightly tougher ...
1
vote
0answers
81 views

Deck building-based game system [closed]

I am currently developing a quick RPG system with custom dices and a deck building based approach to handle different types of actions/powers for each character. I am seeking some feedback here for ...
17
votes
9answers
3k views

How can the probability of a fumble decrease linearly with more dice?

I'm working on a simplified RPG system that uses only D6s, and I want a mechanic for fumbles/critical fails. Depending on how good the player character is, they have 1-5 dice to roll and they have to ...
11
votes
2answers
317 views

What Design Decisions Produce a Strong Positioning Game?

Over the years, I noticed that some games produce a very 'trench warfare' or 'shooting gallery' kind of feel. The 'trench warfare' variant is where once a combat starts, nobody really cares about ...
1
vote
2answers
127 views

How to differentiate various guns with adding as little mechanic as possible? [closed]

Currently I'm creating a setting which includes real firearms models (no limitations, any gun I know about or find in the internet can appear) and I aim for each gun to be different from each other, ...
0
votes
1answer
421 views

For what reasons do players prefer to have the risk of (Player) Character Death? [closed]

The Object of the Question In my almost two decades of RPGing, I've usually treated the probability of character death as a result of random chance in a matter-of-fact manner: as a thing that is, ...
1
vote
1answer
534 views

Why is the base DC for a spell saving throw 8? [closed]

In DnD 5e - Does anyone know what the rationale behind making the base DC of a spell saving throw 8 instead of 10? Most attacks, passive attributes, spell attacks use 10 as the base. The average of a ...
5
votes
2answers
250 views

How do I ensure tactical combat is interesting for my large party?

I am writing a custom PbtA hack to reboot an old play-by-post-RPG that I used to run on a lightweight, but overly random original system. The party contains 8-9 players (which worked out before the ...
6
votes
2answers
373 views

What mechanics can be used to make the environment itself into a challenging adversary for the players?

Most RPGs leverage combat as a main source of mechanical conflict. From what I can tell, this tradition stems from RPG's heritage in tabletop war games, and to this day combat remains a staple of the ...
1
vote
1answer
96 views

Homebrew game-designing problem: Ranged unit attack roll in Large-scale Battle? [closed]

I've run into a little homebrew game-designing issue and maybe you may have just the creative solution I'm looking for. I'll try to explain this as best as I can! I've been trying to create an ...
6
votes
3answers
591 views

What are the advantages to mixing roll-over and roll-under mechanics?

Some role-playing game systems—like Dungeons & Dragon before its third edition—use a combination of roll-over and roll-under mechanics (“roll-over”: high rolls vs. target number are good; “roll-...
2
votes
0answers
203 views

Minimum out-of-character interactions while still being an RPG? [closed]

As far as I know, most RPG system requires many out-of-character interactions. D&D (or other similar combat-oriented RPGs) imply a lot of rolling, tracking numbers, and declaring actions that don'...
2
votes
1answer
554 views

I need a dice system with a unique behavior and rate of growth (preferably in ANYDICE to verify) [closed]

I am looking for a defense system where the probability of hitting is proportional to the inverse of a quadratic polynomial with respect to defense. I don't care about attack scaling yet. If you ...
0
votes
1answer
159 views

To develop a tabletop RPG which discourages violence [closed]

So I had an idea, to bring about an RPG which has the same team-building, creativity, imagination and problem solving as D&D, but specifically without a great deal of violence. The go-to solution ...
15
votes
7answers
2k views

How to handle falling down during LARP combat?

I am currently working on writing the combat rules for a Dishonored LARP with a team, and we are stuck on how to proceed with a certain point: handling falling. Sometimes during LARP melee combat my ...
5
votes
3answers
243 views

What is the role of an objective combat system in story telling? [closed]

A weird Frankenstein role playing games are. They are often described as 'a group of players gathers to tell a story'. In telling a story, the protagonist(s) dying from a roadside bandit's crossbow ...
8
votes
2answers
160 views

How can I find RPG designers in my area?

For an event in the far future, my Dutch games society would like to invite a few local (in this case western Netherlands or possibly BeNeLux) RPG designers to come to us, play their games with us and ...
2
votes
1answer
276 views

How do I count the number of duplicates in anydice?

Let's say I have the following roll: 6 6 5 5 5 4. I want to count the number of duplicates, in this case 3 (6 and ...
3
votes
1answer
85 views

Modelling a custom attack resolution in AnyDice: highest non-draw die of pool

I'm experimenting with the probabilities of various "die pool" attack resolutions for a game I'm designing, knowing that pools will generally be 1-4 dice, with sacrifices to temporarily boost a die ...
13
votes
4answers
347 views

Version marking during game development [closed]

During RPG design, ones RPG goes through many iterations. If one has a PDF, or a print copy of the rules, or a .docx or what-ever, it is important to know what version you are looking at. ...
2
votes
0answers
89 views

A way for zombies and humans to cohexist [closed]

Preliminary Information I couldn't find any other reliable website where I could ask this question, even though it has no specific answer (which the rules suggest). But I have a strong feeling this ...
4
votes
2answers
744 views

Is 5e character advancement commutative across multiclassing? [closed]

Is 5e character development commutative across multiclassing? I'm talking about the mathematical property where given two operands and an operation, \$x \circ y = y \circ x\$. That is, regardless of ...
3
votes
0answers
431 views

Help Running a 5e Wilderness Trek (Hour-by-Hour) [closed]

So I will be DMing D&D 5e for the first time with a couple of friends (who will also be playing D&D for the first time), so I created a simple homebrew adventure. It's a Point A to Point B ...
8
votes
8answers
2k views

How to reward/punish group rolls for perception? [closed]

I'm GMing a group of almost novice players, using my own (house-rules) game system. One has played some D&D, the two others only a previous initiation one-shot adventure of mine in my system. I'm ...
2
votes
2answers
623 views

What areas of mathematics are the most useful for RPG design? [closed]

What are the most critical aspects of mathematics for a game designer to understand? For the purpose of the question, let's assume our imaginary designer doesn't have any current qualification beyond ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do the tiers of classes change so little regardless of what additional material is used

From comments by user2227713 on this answer: Why hasn't Paizo done more to balance these low-tier classes? Don't get me wrong, new classes are great, but I'd like to see balance changes too. ...
9
votes
2answers
547 views

What can I read about how we tie the stochastic characteristics of task resolution into statements about the nature of a game? [closed]

I like making RPG systems. One thing I've noticed is that different kinds of task resolution systems make the game significantly different. Background For example, games like D&D 3.X and ...
2
votes
0answers
93 views

Reliable Research Resources for RPG Creation? [closed]

I'm an Ozstralian enthusiast of ALL genres of game, electronic & tabletop, but mostly here to network resources for research & rules generation for a new line of fantasy / Medieval roleplaying ...
3
votes
0answers
282 views

Is there an official streamlined/simplified version of the D20 system? [closed]

I'm considering building my own RPG, the setting is already underway I just need a system. For sake of expediency, recognizability and legality I'd like to use an existing system as the base. The ...
19
votes
1answer
17k views

What have the designers said is the reason that Druids don't have animal companions?

In Pathfinder (and possibly 3.5, I'm not sure), Druids get an Animal Companion as a class feature. Rangers do as well, but their Druid level is equal to that of their Ranger level -3. In D&D 5th ...
1
vote
1answer
283 views

How do I implement conceptual magic into a d100 system? [closed]

I'm running a campaign with a constant group of players and have been for a couple of years now, in which they are playing several generations of PCs, each consecutive generation being more powerful ...
3
votes
0answers
186 views

Implement Ars Magica magic system into Rolemaster [closed]

I was wondering if someone has tried to implement the Ars Magica magic system into Rolemaster, and how. I guess you could assign some cost to the forms and techniques, maybe scaling its values to a ...
5
votes
1answer
473 views

Help with probability for a complicated dice pool mechanic

I'm putting together a system with experimental dice mechanics. I want to know the probabilities involved, preferably in a way such as anyDice where I can easily change all variables and get the ...
28
votes
1answer
4k views

Were “class tiers” in D&D and Pathfinder made on purpose?

As I read it everywhere, classes in the games I mentioned in the title differ in power a lot. This takes place in 3.5e and wasn't fixed in Pathfinder. Some search indicates that this problem isn't ...
164
votes
6answers
12k views

How to let my players fail their rolls intentionally, but covertly?

I'm experimenting with some pen-and-paper role-playing involving characters with hidden agendas. To foster a proper sense of paranoia, I want these hidden agendas to be unknown to not only the other ...
15
votes
1answer
2k views

What was Burning Wheel made for?

Of course all RPG systems have many characteristics, and all of them are made to improve or impede some part or another of the experience. My question is not about what different features Burning ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Syntax for a unique dice system on Anydice?

I've been studying and toying with a lot of odd dice systems for a while now, and Anydice has been a great help in understanding the probability effects of different systems. However, I've run into ...
68
votes
18answers
16k views

What dice mechanic gives a bell curve distribution that narrows and increases mean as skill increases?

I'm looking for a dice mechanic that produces a bell curve at all skill levels. I also want it to increase accuracy and precision as a character's skill increases — this basically means better average ...
11
votes
1answer
543 views

Why don't we replace d4s with double numbered d8s? [closed]

Maybe this is a dumb or off-topic question, and please see beyond my flippant language: but since dice are such an ingrained part of this hobby... Recently I got in a fit of nerd-rage at the ungainly ...
14
votes
5answers
450 views

Is there any known reason for the seeming paradigm change for the number of skills?

I'm collecting RPG systems and have almost a full library worth of books lying around. From what I saw, at least the big systems that were available in my country between 1990 and 2000, almost all had ...
54
votes
3answers
5k views

Is there any known limit for how many dice RPG players are comfortable adding up?

After reading a few RPG systems that use successes and others that use dice whose shown number are totalled, I came to the conclusion that personally I prefer adding up a maximum of 3–4 numbers and ...