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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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31 votes
4 answers
8k views

Is there a citation for "D&D is not a physics simulation"?

In multiple questions that deal with how the rules lead to outcomes that differ from what one would expect from real-world physics, answers make the point that "D&D is not a physics ...
Nobody the Hobgoblin's user avatar
24 votes
4 answers
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 ...
Mala's user avatar
  • 12.6k
38 votes
14 answers
4k views

What kinds of rules promote good team cohesion?

It seems like a lot of roleplaying games quite freely allow players to play antisocial characters who can't really be part of the team. I've been part of groups (in D&D) with both a noble ...
Joe's user avatar
  • 17.1k
28 votes
2 answers
2k 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, ...
Jack's user avatar
  • 34.5k
23 votes
6 answers
1k 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 ...
Jmstar's user avatar
  • 5,880
21 votes
7 answers
5k views

Do/did any major RPGs have "hidden rules" or "spells that do things other than what they say"?

It is extremely common for answers on this site to quote either "There are no hidden rules", "Spells do only what they say they do", or often both (example), almost always ...
Tektotherriggen's user avatar
58 votes
3 answers
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 ...
Thomas E.'s user avatar
  • 8,169
36 votes
2 answers
57k 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, ...
Robert's user avatar
  • 12.9k
27 votes
16 answers
9k views

How to design game elements other than combat? [closed]

Most RPGs I know about and have played are fighting-centered. That doesn't mean that all gaming is only about fighting, but that most of the rules and character abilities are primarily useful in ...
Mnementh's user avatar
  • 2,692
24 votes
3 answers
1k 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 ...
JohnStryker's user avatar
15 votes
8 answers
5k views

Item Creation Without Experience Points [closed]

Suppose you're playing an RPG with item creation rules that require you to spend experience points as part of creating the item, such as D&D or Numenera. Suppose further that your gaming group has ...
Serp C's user avatar
  • 1,456
12 votes
8 answers
8k 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 ...
Mark Booth's user avatar
  • 3,900
10 votes
3 answers
12k 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 ...
Nameless Nick's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
3k 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. ...
Please stop being evil's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
1k 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 ...
Hypergardens's user avatar
  • 2,264
4 votes
1 answer
313 views

Disadvantage/adversity dice pool mechanic that knocks dice greater than 1 out of the pool and adds 1s to it

I am working on a dice pool system for skills and actions to be used in a new system. In this system, any rolls of 1 will negatively affect the outcome of resolving an action using a dice pool. In ...
Loopyob's user avatar
  • 43
43 votes
4 answers
3k 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 ...
Dragonsdoom's user avatar
  • 1,367
32 votes
17 answers
21k 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 ...
valadil's user avatar
  • 19.7k
32 votes
2 answers
5k 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). ...
Ted Pwyll's user avatar
  • 758
29 votes
2 answers
3k views

How do I get started learning how to design my own RPG?

Let's say I have an idea for my own tabletop roleplaying game. How do I begin to learn about how to design and publish my RPG? In particular: What do I need to know about? And how should I learn? ...
Alex P's user avatar
  • 29.2k
29 votes
3 answers
4k 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 ...
eimyr's user avatar
  • 17.2k
28 votes
1 answer
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 ...
R.I.P.30.12.21Baskakov_Dmitriy's user avatar
25 votes
9 answers
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 ...
AncientSwordRage's user avatar
25 votes
2 answers
3k 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 ...
Mnementh's user avatar
  • 2,692
24 votes
3 answers
4k views

Why is spellcasting not improvisational, like martial combat is? [closed]

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 ...
starchild's user avatar
  • 3,132
20 votes
2 answers
5k 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 ...
PipperChip's user avatar
18 votes
5 answers
2k views

Cooperative character building?

I'm aware of games where the players cooperatively build elements of the story world (I hear Dresden Files does this), but are there any where the players cooperatively build their characters? What I'...
Joe's user avatar
  • 17.1k
17 votes
3 answers
2k 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 ...
Rinari7's user avatar
  • 439
16 votes
10 answers
2k views

What would you pick as the "four elements" of mind? [closed]

Good evening! I hope this isn't too vague, this is my first post on RPG Exchange (I see some cool conversations here, I'm happy to be a part). While doodling about with a magic system I'm developing,...
user avatar
16 votes
8 answers
691 views

Can rules changes fix interpersonal problems at the table?

Can rules tweaks help deal with some of the common interpersonal problems at the gaming table? For example: Someone is not really interested in the game, and reads and ignores play until they ...
Ry St's user avatar
  • 3,490
16 votes
5 answers
3k views

How can I introduce Life Paths to character generation?

The first time I played* Traveller, I found myself blown away by the detailed character creation, featuring year by year (4 year chunks actually) break down of how your character got where they are ...
AncientSwordRage's user avatar
15 votes
7 answers
686 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 ...
Naurgul's user avatar
  • 1,344
14 votes
3 answers
2k views

Do universal rules systems without any implied setting whatsoever exist?

Is it possible for a system to be universal without implying anything about setting? If it isn't, why? There are lots of universal systems, but they all seem to have mechanics that pin down ...
schlossblick's user avatar
14 votes
11 answers
7k views

What are common design flaws of build-point game systems? [closed]

I'm designing my own RPG system and I want to avoid the most widely-recognized flaws, loopholes, and exploits that build-point character creation systems usually suffer from. What are the most common ...
LitheOhm's user avatar
  • 9,557
13 votes
4 answers
614 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 ...
Joe's user avatar
  • 493
13 votes
5 answers
3k views

Do these stats cover enough of a person's ability?

I've had this thought in my head for a while, as I'm developing my game, but this question really sparked me into posing the question. In the game I'm developing, peoples normal stats/attributes aren'...
AncientSwordRage's user avatar
13 votes
3 answers
420 views

What kinds of player contributions work well and under what circumstances?

Introduction In Amber diceless roleplaying game players get extra points for building their characters by committing to player contributions, such as: Writing a diary, writing game reports, drawing ...
Tommi's user avatar
  • 10.3k
11 votes
1 answer
859 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 ...
Michael's user avatar
  • 635
11 votes
4 answers
2k 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 ...
Narrator's user avatar
  • 113
11 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is 5e character advancement commutative across multiclassing?

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 ...
Mindwin Remember Monica's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
656 views

Recommendations for game mechanics that emphasize reagent or component based spellcasting [closed]

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 ...
Dragonsdoom's user avatar
  • 1,367
10 votes
4 answers
2k 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 (almost)...
bryanjonker's user avatar
  • 3,905
8 votes
2 answers
410 views

What is the probability distribution for CthulhuTech rolls?

I've recently learnt about CthulhuTech, which has a unique dice pool system: CthulhuTech uses a proprietary game system known as "Framewerk" that focuses on a dice pool system. An unusual ...
AncientSwordRage's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
354 views

How to implement dual-classing in a non-levelled RPG game? [closed]

I'm working on an alternate ruleset for a tabletop pen-and-paper RPG (like D&D). Recently I've been toying the idea of abolishing a level system. However, I don't want to remove the ability for a ...
nopcorn's user avatar
  • 1,359
5 votes
5 answers
4k 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. ...
VarnaScelestus's user avatar
4 votes
4 answers
692 views

"High on Magic" - how original is it? [closed]

I have written a RPG called "Chuť magie" - it's in Czech and it means literary "Taste of Magic", but I'd definitely call it "High on Magic" in English. I'm not planning to translate it to English soon,...
Pavel's user avatar
  • 1,138