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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13
votes
7answers
4k 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 ...
18
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 ...
1
vote
0answers
117 views

How Should Speed and Range Affect Hit Probability? [closed]

If one were to go for an increased degree of realism, and try to build a probability curve that produces most sensible results (but simplified, of course, since there is no such thing as a perfect ...
30
votes
2answers
3k views

Why is Armor Class called that way?

I want to teach the game to some new player, and while doing homemade character sheets, for simplicity, I wanted to use the term "Defense" instead of "Armor class" (which I found a bit unintuitive). ...
5
votes
0answers
98 views

Pros and Cons of Different Action/Turn Frameworks [closed]

I would like to have a clearer understanding of the pros and cons of various frameworks of turn composition and action economies. That is, I would like to see the relative benefits and drawbacks of ...
6
votes
2answers
432 views

What magic item benefits are built into the expectation of the game?

I often read that magic item progression is built into the game's difficulty, and that it's important for PCs to keep up with the progression in order to not fall behind. Exactly what progression is "...
23
votes
2answers
3k views

What success rate design is the most “fun”?

I'm looking for researched answers here, not just your feeling of what you like best. I'm setting up a lego based rpg for a bunch of young children, and my friend and I are trying to figure out what "...
15
votes
7answers
620 views

Role-playing within role-playing [closed]

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 ...
1
vote
0answers
101 views

Character sanity: struggle to remain sane by rationalization [closed]

Consider a game mechanic in which the player character can encounter events making them doubt their sanity, or perhaps having them believe in the supernatural right off the bat, even if the eldritch ...
54
votes
3answers
6k 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 ...
6
votes
6answers
201 views

Improving Lie Detection and Credibility Assessment Rules

Many systems have two or more skills/traits/other numeric values that can be pitted against each other in situations where side A tries to assess side B's credibility, where side B may or may not be ...
3
votes
1answer
156 views

Have PCs Historically Played Through More Campaigns Than is Currently Typical?

I'm relatively new to D&D, only having tabletop experience with 5e and a bit of 3.5, along with some scattered exposure to earlier editions through video games. I've heard references to ...
2
votes
1answer
146 views

Is players adversarial focus RPG even possible to execute? [closed]

I am new to the RPG community, when I am thinking of a adversarial relationship, I generally think of players co-operate to fight against GM controlled mobs in a campaign. But talking about game ...
7
votes
1answer
943 views

How to hire freelance writers for my self-published RPG who will adhere to my canon?

So, I'm in the early stages of writing my own tabletop RPG System/Setting. I plan to self-publish most likely, probably starting off just on DriveThruRPG and seeing how it goes from there. And I'm ...
17
votes
2answers
650 views

How can I incentivize Player Betrayal?

I'm working on a game where the players have a competitive goal (hoarding as much money as possible) and there will eventually be a reckoning where the amount of money they have hoarded away will ...
3
votes
4answers
902 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 ...
23
votes
4answers
9k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
164 views

Has anyone done research on average RPG probabilities?

I've been looking at designing an RPG system lately and I'm currently considering where to set the "difficulty" of a roll at to get some satisfying results. I'm wondering - has anyone researched some ...
7
votes
1answer
263 views

Is my idea for handling space combat in my setting any good?

I've been using a homebrewed system and hard sci-fi setting (not originally designed for tabletop RPGs, but for writing stories and as my worldbuilding project) with a group of friends for a while now ...
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 ...
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
94 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, ...
15
votes
5answers
4k views

How can you balance a system without making it bland?

In one of my long-term PvP LARP games, we've done a lot of work trying to balance the system we're using, either by banning certain "classes" or "powers" or by altering their specs slightly to make ...
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 ...
6
votes
2answers
371 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
161 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
122 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
107 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
219 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, ...
9
votes
2answers
552 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
332 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 ...
36
votes
2answers
34k views

Why did the designers make Werewolves *immune* to most non-silvered damage? [closed]

The Werewolf's statistics are that of a CR1 monster, even though it is listed as CR3 in the Monster Manual, presumably as a result of playtesting. By my personal experience with pop culture, ...
2
votes
0answers
109 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
114 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
334 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 ...
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 ...
1
vote
2answers
131 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
425 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, ...
28
votes
2answers
915 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, ...
1
vote
1answer
605 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
273 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
429 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
99 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
664 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-...
22
votes
3answers
826 views

How can I find online playtesting groups to playtest my game?

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 ...
2
votes
0answers
205 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
628 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 ...
11
votes
9answers
4k 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 ...
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 ...