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

In the AD&D 1st edition Dungeon Masters Guide p.9, Gary Gygax writes: Of the two approaches to hobby games today, one is best defined as the realism-simulation school and the other as the game ...
Quadratic Wizard's user avatar
97 votes

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

So, I am a freelance game designer and I’ve worked on a couple of systems and with a couple of design teams, but I am a “professional” only in the strictest sense (I have been paid for my game design ...
KRyan's user avatar
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95 votes
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How do role-playing games avoid lame duck scenarios?

Beware of mislabeling situations as lame duck In most games players have a vast array of options available to them. Generally speaking it is best to let players try their darnedest to survive. ...
user-781943's user avatar
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90 votes
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What dice mechanic gives a bell curve distribution that narrows and increases mean as skill increases?

(SKILL+CONSTANT) dX, keep highest CONSTANT I don't know exactly the behavior you're going for, so there'll be a few arbitrary numbers in my example: skills can be ranked from 0 to 5 dice rolled are ...
nitsua60's user avatar
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66 votes
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Why did the designers make Werewolves *immune* to most non-silvered damage?

Tradition The lycanthrope has been a standard monster since the game was invented. From OD&D Monster Manual(1974, Monsters and Treasure) (Lycanthrope): Only silver weapons or magical ...
KorvinStarmast's user avatar
65 votes

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

You might want to take some inspiration from the game Paranoia.* In particular, instead of trying to avoid hidden notes, make note-passing between the GM and players a common and ubiquitous mechanic ...
Ilmari Karonen's user avatar
60 votes
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Were "class tiers" in D&D and Pathfinder made on purpose?

Almost-certainly not. One of the authors of the third edition, Monte Cook, has claimed that it was an intended feature to reward “system mastery,” for example here. He credits/blames Wizards of the ...
KRyan's user avatar
  • 353k
58 votes

Why is Armor Class called that way?

It derives from the wargames which inspired D&D. The 1971 Chainmail miniatures game which inspired D&D included a table for one-on-one combat, which determined hit or miss based on the ...
Quadratic Wizard's user avatar
49 votes

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

"Spells" that do more than they say are fairly common. The easier answer is in "spells only do what they say". It's pretty common for game systems to give a character an unusual ...
Darth Pseudonym's user avatar
48 votes
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How to let my players fail their rolls intentionally, but covertly?

Secret Rolls You could simply ask that the players roll all of their checks in secret, then tell the other players the result. The success of a lie depends on the player's bluffing skills. You can ...
Ladifas's user avatar
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46 votes
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How does it affect the game if not everything speaks Common?

You ask about the effect: What would the consequences be of removing Common from a large majority of creatures? It often makes the game needlessly difficult We - the people I played with from ...
KorvinStarmast's user avatar
44 votes
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Roll Xd6, keeping highest value and adding +1 for each duplicate of that value?

There's a couple little tricks we can use here. Firstly, we want to look at the individual values of a roll, so we need to cast the roll to a sequence. We do this by appending ...
Someone_Evil's user avatar
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44 votes

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

"D&D is not a physics simulator" is shorthand for a more thoughtful thesis. As you have observed, "D&D is not a physics simulator" is an oft repeated response to people who ...
Thomas Markov's user avatar
41 votes
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Is there a one-word replacement for resistance to magic?

Resistance is a perfectly fine word by itself, so long as you do not end up with other types of resistance (energy resistance, for instance). Willpower would work if your magic is primarily mental, ...
SPavel's user avatar
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41 votes
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Do/did any major RPGs have "hidden rules" or "spells that do things other than what they say"?

“No hidden rules” is just what it sounds like, and what several other answers say: the rules are what’s printed on the page, and you have access to them. That wasn’t always the case. You mention Mao ...
fectin's user avatar
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36 votes
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Are the design goals for 5e currently available?

Many of the design goals can be found in this archive.org capture of DnD's own archive of articles. I could not specifically find an article about plain language, but filtered for Legends & Lore, ...
Mattamue's user avatar
  • 930
34 votes

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

A close approximation to the percentages you want would use something like this: Dice Fumble Range Probability 1 1 1/6 (16.7%) 2 2-4 6/36 (16.7%) 3* 3-7 35/216 (16.2%) 3-6 20/216 (9.3%) 4 4-9 ...
manveti's user avatar
  • 841
33 votes
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How do I get started learning how to design my own RPG?

I'm going to take a shot at being more concrete than the question asks. This answer thus focuses on the what you have to do, rather than the "where to find resources to tell me what to do". That is ...
Frames Catherine White's user avatar
33 votes

How do role-playing games avoid lame duck scenarios?

None of these scenarios are Lame Duck scenarios In order for a scenario to be a Lame Duck scenario, it must be impossible, not just improbable, that you win. A fight in D&D 5th edition with five ...
Please stop being evil's user avatar
30 votes

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

Mathematically we can increase precision and accuracy by removing dice and increasing static numbers. Making dice smaller has a similar effect, but has limited applicability unless one uses digital ...
Weckar E.'s user avatar
  • 3,471
29 votes

What is a "Game Jam"?

An event where many people try to make a game within a time limit, and often to a specific theme. "Game jam" actually has a Wikipedia entry which summarizes it quite well: A game jam is an ...
Quadratic Wizard's user avatar
28 votes

What makes a system poorly suited for one-shot games?

There are a couple of criteria that would make a game system unsuitable for a one-shot: The game has a high learning curve and you are likely to get players who have never played The World of ...
Thunderforge's user avatar
  • 15.8k
26 votes
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Have the designers said why they did not include XP loss?

The designers put their reasoning right in the DM Guide. Experience Points are now optional to help make the game work with more styles of play. [Doing] away with experience points entirely...can ...
Tim Grant's user avatar
  • 26k
26 votes
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Is there any explanation or discussion regarding the change in the Bard class from its AD&D1ed orignal implementation?

The bard was changed in AD&D 2e because it was rarely played, and because Zeb Cook didn't like the class. The bard originally appeared in The Strategic Review #6 (Feb 1976), in an article by Doug ...
Quadratic Wizard's user avatar
25 votes
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What does "Forgeite" mean? Where does it come from?

"Forgeite" refers to users and game designers who frequented and followed design theories of a site known as "The Forge," found at http://www.indie-rpgs.com [Internet Archive link]. While the site is ...
Longspeak's user avatar
  • 7,108
24 votes
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Why do the tiers of classes change so little regardless of what additional material is used

You know how the first step in solving a problem is admitting you have a problem? Paizo does not acknowledge any balance problems on the extreme levels described by the tiers. Everything else stems ...
KRyan's user avatar
  • 353k
24 votes
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How many rolls of a D20 would you expect to equal or beat (20 - number of tries)?

The average number of rolls is approximately 5.294 for the specific case in the question. The probability distribution for the specific case is: $$ p(1) = \frac{1}{20} $$ for \$n=1\$, and $$ p(n) = \...
Dave's user avatar
  • 2,871
23 votes

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

Fumble if the leftmost, unique die is a 1. (Hear me out.) N dice are rolled on the table. One of those dice is unique--say it's black with white pips and the rest are numbered dice. If the unique die ...
nitsua60's user avatar
  • 102k
23 votes
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What is the origin of the term describing a game as a ‘Heartbreaker’?

Obviously the word has existed to describe a person (or thing) who broke hearts, often pejoratively, long before it was applied to RPGs. For the specific RPG usage, it originated in this 2002 essay ...
Dale M's user avatar
  • 212k

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