View Full Version : 3045 RoX, our pen & paper RPG

06-14-2009, 05:31 AM

As mentioned in my introductory thread, a few friends and I are developing a pen and paper RPG. I thought I'd introduce it here and see what your thoughts on it are. A lot of it is still WIP (detailed background stories, species descriptions etc.), but we're getting there. The plan is to eventually sell it commercially, which is one reason why I take some stores in not copying stuff from other... well. People I guess. Or copyright holders, whichever is closer. Another is that I prefer to at least try and be original. If I make something up and later find out someone else did it before, oh well, that's random chance (unless of course it would lead to copyright infringement, I don't want my stuff to be stolen, so I won't steal other's).
There are roughly 100 pages of backstories, species, rules etc. Due to many revisions and new ideas that required some retconning of the material already there, it's a bit confused and unsorted, but that will get fixed. It's also all in German for the time being, so if you're curious about specifics, you'll have to bear with me while I do translations. But on to the game!

The game, so far called 3045 - Return of Xarlos (which, admittedly is only the name so the abbreviation is "RoX" ;) and will probably get changed, if only slightly) is set in the year 3045 (who would've guessed that :D) in the Milky Way. In the more than 1000 years from now to then, many things have happened (obviously). A great, utopian society started on Earth and explored the Galaxy utilizing a new technology called Tunnel drive, which enables FTL travel, peacefully uniting the five Great Realms and thousands of smaller nations in the Terran Empire. But then, they met the Demerians, a species bent on annihilating the other races for reasons unkown. Driven back by the sheer numbers of the Demerians, the technologically superior Terran Empire made a fatal mistake. Desperate for a weapon with which to win decisive victories, they turned their primary power source into a weapon: Black Tiberium Bombs (the name is still WIP, see first chapter of this post), which have the potential to destroy entire solar systems. These weapons were built and stored on Earth itself, as it was assumed the planet was the safest of the Empire. Technically, this was true, the Blue Planet never was attacked. But one of the weapons malfunctioned, and due to the way the detonation of these bombs work, caused a chain reaction of cataclysmic proportions. Within minutes, the Terran Empire's capital was obliterated. No longer trusting the remains of the Terran Empire, the member species fell back into their pre-Empire groups and governments and the Empire collapsed.
Thanks to left-over technology by the Terran Empire, and fierce determination of the border species, the Demerians could nonetheless be kept in check, but at astronomically high losses and victory was deemed impossible. Most beings considered the end of the war a question of who's resources would run out first.
Then, after centuries of war in which the borders never moved more than a few lightyears, they were proven wrong. A few years before the games' setting, all sides became subject to random, often suicidal, illogical attacks by unknown forces. Soon, the Demerians recognized these "Xarlos" (name WIP) as an old enemy that had been banned by the oldest race in the Galaxy, the Razielim (also WIP). Without revealing what the previous 700 years of war against the rest of the Galaxy was about, the Demerians offered a cease-fire in order to battle the Xarlos, who they thought were the greater enemy. Beginning to run low on resources, tired of the war and most of all afraid of the new enemy, the (now) eight Great Realms accepted.
And this is (very, very briefly told) the world your character is born into. We don't plan on one singular story that everyone has to follow, but rather want to supply players with an existing, (hopefully) exciting world for them to explore, maybe become a major part of the world's history, maybe just get rich (or die trying) and have adventures.

Technically speaking, it's a D8 game the team and I came up with over the years. D8 mainly because it was the only die we had and dice rolling programs never crossed our minds. Nor did buying other dice, and by the time it did, the system was based too much on that die to change it easily (tho truth be told, we're currently discussing changing the system). So far, parts of it are under revision (specifically the abilities section, which we just can't seem to nail down, and each time we think we do, our advisor who played various P&P games over the years objects), while others work quite well (such as the battle system, which is rather not too convoluted, yet, in my opinion, takes into account a lot of variables).
The game features implants, add ons for weapons, science-inspired spells (think Parasite Eve), close combat, energy-based, projectile and explosive weaponry and 8 species in the basic box, with ideas for 22 more floating around (some are a few pages long, some are just a few words on a Post-It note), several dozens of different abilities (such as persuasion, medicine, acting, abilities for different weapons, etc.). While a science-fiction game, I kind of think it's more fiction than science. I don't mind sacrificing science if it makes a story better, and so far the players don't mind either.
As to it's current state, I'd call it a late alpha, maybe a beta. It works rather well for the most part, just a few bugs need fixing and some content is missing.
Things that are missing:
- detailed species descriptions (I'm talking 10+ pages per race)
- artwork (I can't seem to find an illustrator who can await payment until after release ;))
- some more background details
- a working abilities check system (I swear this one got reworked so many times, it's not funny anymore)
- experienced play-testers ;)
- other descriptions and content (some of the weapons just have names and attributes so far, as do spells and implants)

Things that need fixing:
- I think only balancing O_o But that will probably happen only during playtesting

Questions, thoughts, comments? Keep in mind that I left out quite some details, both in regards of story and rules (I know, for example, why the Demerians started the war :D or where the almost immaterial Itheritas come from).

I also want to thank cplmac for helping me find the right category, and all of you for posting worthwhile reads on here for me to find. I've tried to find a program like gametable for years, for example. It's also rare that I find a community that I feel comfortable enough in to share details on this project, so go pat yourself on your shoulder everyone :)

Oh btw, since this is kind of my baby, I'd like to state the following: criticism is welcome, if it is constructive and phrased at least semi-politely (this paragraph could act as an example of things ok by me). If you choose to ignore this request, I'll probably choose to ignore your post, so why bother? I don't expect any of this to happen on this forum, but I've had some bad experiences.

06-14-2009, 04:07 PM
Welcome to the forums! Or should I say Willkommen zu den Foren! :D

(babel fish rules)

Your setting sounds awesome! It seems you have lots of detail and I am guessing you and you're friends have been playing in this setting for awhile?

I want to ask - have you thought of using an established gaming system? Many out there have open (free) licenses, or free licenses if you ask for them, or even licenses that are super cheap. Instead of reinventing the wheel, you might find more success using a system with an existing player base.

I recommend the following resources to learn more about game design, publishing, and the industry:

The Game Publishers Association (http://www.thegpa.org/) (GPA) - This group of publishers are THE most helpful lot you will meet. They have piles of resources and information to help out budding publishers in the industry. VERY affordable membership, especially considering what you get. A MUST have membership for small publishers (IMHO).

The Forge (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php) - Indie game design forums. Great place to learn about game design and get ideas. Read the rules before posting, this is a VERY academic group and they have standards. :D At least poke around, it might be worth looking.

RPG.net (http://www.rpg.net) - Great all around RPG forum. The About The Industry (http://forum.rpg.net/forumdisplay.php?f=5) section is a great place to discuss game design, industry stuff, find freelancers, etc. I highly recommend you spend some time there.

A couple things to consider (common mistakes new publishers make):

1) DON'T announce the game until you are ready to go to press/publish online! So many publishers string their new customers along for long periods of time that the game loses momentum AND customers. Be patient. Get close, then do a 6 - 8 week preview on your website, generate some buzz, and then BAM - publish it. :D Some game companies avoid deadlines so they don't disappoint customers. This is as annoying as waiting 2 years for a product. You can make seasonal deadlines to give people SOME idea of your release schedule without having to hit a specific deadline. Of course meeting any promised deadlines is another great way to impress your customers. ;)

2) Keep your web site updated. It is the window into your company's and game's soul. Create a design blog and post at least weekly. Keep news updates on a regular basis. Show people that you are alive and working. :D Gamers that think a company is dead are less likely to buy that company's game.

3) In public - Be professional and polite! I can't name all the new publishers who have come into forums and completely SABOTAGED thier games by thier behavior. It's sad. Don't take ANYTHING a random forum poster says personally. Don't engage trolls or flamewars. Just state your opinion, use lots of "I feel" and "I believe" and respect the position of any detractors. Not every game/system is for every gamer. Smart publishers know this and focus their attention on the gamers that DO like/want thier game.

I wish you great fortune on your endevour! Do some research, keep plugging away, and I look forward to seeing 3045 RoX out there sometime in the future!

06-15-2009, 01:19 AM
Thanks for your reply, your compliments and your tips (also, for your reputations' sake, don't use online translators ;)) :)

I have thought about using other systems and looked into a few (GURPS for example), but at the time, the current system was already existing and in development for such a long time, I didn't feel comfortable to let all the work go to waste (this was before I got other people involved, hence the first person stuff). We may check out some more systems if we can't get our abilities to work and see if other licenses allow for us mixing their system with ours. Not what I would like tho, especially since only a part of it needs to be fixed/ finished.

The game, so far, is not really announced. All told, laround 50 people know about it (including readers here ;)), most of them have at one point been asked to contribute or just heard me talk about it with others. This is basically what I'm still doing: looking for help and advice.
I spent much of my youth in game mod communities (AHL woohoo) and have seen lots and lots of mods just go "Oh, I have this idea, now I need people to finish it!" or "Oh, we're gonna make the greatest mod in the history of ever" and then you never hear anything from them again, so I agree with your warning. We've kind of hit rock bottom with the abilities system, and since the only guy on our team with more than a few hours of P&P experience (before RoX that is) can hardly be reached, I thought I'd expand our range of experts.

Our website so far has only been a hub for the teammembers (and even they hardly use it), but obviously, it will be expanded as well.

Don't feed the troll is always smart advice, but sometimes hard to do, especially if your baby is under attack. So far, I think I did well :) Then again, because only a (large) handful of people know about the game and the majority worked or works on it, trolling and flaming has naturally stayed at a minimum

I'll look at the links you provided when I get to it (freelancers sounds very interesting) and will prepare some of my questions. I'll probably begin by explaining the current abilities system and ask for your advice.

06-15-2009, 01:39 AM

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
06-15-2009, 12:15 PM
Got some kind of mailing list? I'd buy it. Definitely!

06-16-2009, 06:36 AM
Not yet. Once it's for sale (and translated to English, I suppose), I'll certainly make another post about it here.

People who'd be interested in taking a look at what we've got so far (as I mentioned, opinions by experienced players are very welcome) and what's not covered here can drop me a PM, of course.

06-22-2009, 12:57 PM
Hi again! Sorry for taking so long to get back to you, but final exams take precedence ;) (also, *bump* of sorts)

Anyway. As mentioned previously, there are some problems with the abilities system that we need some help with. But I guess it would be best to start by explaining the system we have so far.

Basically, the abilities are separated into several categories like physical bilities, knowledge, etc. These categories each get a certain amount of points, based on the character's attributes (strength, intelligence and so on). Knowledge-based abilites for example are based solely on IN, the espionage category is based on (Charisma+Agility+Intelligence+Reaction)
divided by 4. The results of the category's calculation can be freely distributed among the abilities in the respective categories. So far, we're pretty much satisfied (although our P&P expert suggested limiting the number of points more and/ or getting a separate formular for each ability).
Our main problem is how to use those abilties. Until recently, the GM basically decided on a whim whether or not a die roll was successful or not. Then we "came up" with the following system. The points invested in a ability would pretty much amount to levels. In order to achieve something that depends on the abilities, you have to have a higher level (read: more points) in that ability. The roll, of course, is to add an element of chance: if your level is too low, a high roll can compensate for
that; if your level is far too low, a critical roll can help your character to achieve whatever he's trying regardless of level - of course it can make an able character fail regardless of level.
To determine what level is needed for a certain check, we would create a list of guidelines (such as: medicine 10 means you know how to apply bandages or basic first aid, while, say, 100 means you can do surgical procedures - the numbers have been selected rather randomly, just to give you an idea).
Our advisor's objection was along the lines of the values for the abilities becoming too high and the roll becoming trivial. I see his point, but isn't that somewhat negligible?
What are your thoughts (or questions)?

06-28-2009, 07:18 AM
With Farcaster's permission, I'll post updates in here when they come up.

After our recent brainstorming session about Mitochondrial Spells (because "Magic" seems weird in a scifi game), we came up with a new system.
In the old system, the divisors in the formulas for the categories were rather low, basically (Attribute+Attribute)/Number of Attribute. This of course led to rather high values that could be distributed among the abilities (one of my characters had 40 in history on level 0) and made coming up with a list of guidelines somewhat work intensive (we'd have to create a list for up to 100 points per ability just to cover the first 10 levels or so). Also, it made advancing in one ability not as critical as it should be (40 or 50 in history does not really mean all that much).
As mentioned before, we never really found a way to check these values satisfactory either. So, we did the following:
We upped the divisors by a few notches (not only to make the numbers smaller, but also to balance out different numbers of abilities per category). You still have to roll and with the roll added get a higher number than the one you need to beat. Now, this makes even the D8 awfully powerful (you could have 1 in an ability and yet, for example, pick locks of level 9). You may have guessed it: the roll gets divided as well: by 2 (or 3, that's yet to be decided), making the roll less powerful but still an element of suspense.
First and foremost, this leaves us with lower, more manageable numbers where it's decidedly clearer what level any given challenge should be. It also makes decisions which abilities to improve more important.

What say ye?

07-07-2009, 07:28 AM
For update's sake (that sounds weird), I thought I'd show you some images. They're all pretty much WIP, but what the hell.

Here's (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v498/Gott/3045/misc/ucrspromo.jpg) a picture of a (rather expensive) railgun and it's brother. I won't go into details too much.

This (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v498/Gott/3045/terraner/mpcommando3.jpg) is an MP, pardon the angle.

I'm not very good at skinning stuff, as you can see, but as those are mostly just to visualize stuff within the team, it's not all that important.
I'm pretty sure I'd prefer drawn illustrations over CG graphics in the books anyway.

A Skaa'rror (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v498/Gott/3045/skaarror/t0001.jpg), I mentioned several times by now. It's a sketch done by my ex-girlfriend, sketches done by me are far less impressive.

I think that's it for now. There are more, I'll wait for the lively discussion here to die down before I post those ;)

07-08-2009, 04:05 PM
We're satisfied with the new abilities system so far. This basically means that the rules are done (although, knowing the team and myself, we'll come up with some additions during playing, heh. Oh, I also just remembered: the way implants are implanted is sketchy as of yet /me puts this on the list). The character sheet is mostly finished as well (I'd like to get some eye-candy on that thing, and it's even available in English :eek:), as are basic spells and firearms.
Currently, we're working on melee weapons, two adventures to get people going (which, admittedly, basically involves writing down what we have played so far and adding some tweaks), an in-game-newspaper to introduce players to the world and further content. Illustrations are not that high of a priority (your mind has the better pictures), but basically, everything you need to play is there. Therefore, I'd like to retract my statement a few posts prior to this one and say it's a beta, not a late alpha anymore.

If anyone's interested (in checking out the sheet for example), just drop me a line. I'll get a basic list of species up here within the next few days for you to peek at.

07-30-2009, 08:15 PM
I finally made it! Apologies for the delay, I know you've all been waiting eagerly ;)

Anyway. The summary will be brief and only include the main species, which are intended to go into the basic document. There's not a whole lot of sense in hammering new players with the 30 races that we've got on our minds.

Let me begin by explaining how we decided on choosing races. It basically was thinking which species one would encounter the most. Naturally, the ones with the most influence on the Galaxy, the ones whose (tenthousands of cubic lightyears spanning) nations play the largest roles in interplanetary politics, were chosen. The second step was thinking "Which of these races are intended for players in the first place?" (as, for example, the Demerians would be hard to implement the way we imagined them, as would be the Razielim - they would just be too strong).
As it turns out of the 8 major nations, 2 were decided to be kept NPC races for now. Of the remaining 6, only 4 had unique races, the other 2 are, if you will, melting pots of different species.
We then chose to add 3 more species, whose nations don't play that large of a role, but whose species did or does in the grand scheme of things, in galactic history, etc.
Also, emulating a few standard roles played a minor role. Here're the ones we came up with, briefly summed up in alphabetical order. Please excuse the lack of imagery. I don't feel comfortable to show my sketches here.

Please not, all player species (so far) are largely humanoid due to evolutionary reasons.

So far, the least fleshed-out of the basic races, despite (usually) being citizens of one major nation. Their society is somewhat similar to the human one, but with even more treachery. Physically, they sport horns on their heads, two necks and more varied skin colors than humans. They were originally created as an injoke, as their nation's name was to be very close to the human one, and this a constant point of objection for both parties.

Female-only species. They look indistinguishable from human women, except that their appearence appeals to any of the other races (also evolutionary reasons). They only inhabit the system in which their home planet, Valia, is. In game terms, they could be considered sorcerers. While their ability to cast Mitochondrial Spells (basically magic with a scifi touch) is not the highest of the basic races, the requirements to learn those spells is reduced for them. They are also rather intelligent and, barring injury and illness, immortal. Their importance stems from them being one of the oldest races, and as such, can be found everywhere. The wisdom acquired during their long lifespans is valued by many.

The tanks among the basic species. As mentioned in other posts, they could be considered a mix of Klingons and Predators/ Yautja. As such, they feature high combat-related stats, but suffer penalties to their charisma and mitochondrial abilties.
Culturally, they revere fighters, but are not barbaric. They will fight like demons if needed, but are not necessarily look for trouble. They do not kill what could not kill them and as such, are rather peaceful. Their domains give them what they need, hence there is little desire for expansion. While their nation extends only over a few systems, they are sought after because of their combat skills, and many Skaa'rror, seeking challenges, will accept job offers.

This four-legged race is known everywhere for their lack of optical perception and their ability to balance this lack with their ultrasonic vision. Quiet and thoughtful, they offer a good balance between fighters, thinkers and casters (magicians, if you will). Their nation is also a minor one, but due to the humble and respectful curiosity inherent in all Sonicons, they too can be found everywhere. Sonicons and Skaa'rror usually get along very well, as there seems to be some deep understanding for one another.
As mentioned, they have for legs. This makes them resemble Centaurs somewhat, however, they do not have any hair. Instead of eyes, they have 6 slits from which they emit and with which they sense ultrasound. They are optically blind (meaning they cannot perceive anything that is smaller than about 0.5mm), but using their ultrasound perception, they can not only see in utter darkness, but with enough concentration even see through objects. Their skin color is typically grey and rather smooth.

The Telerio Teleria, the Telerians' nation, is one of the youngest major nations in the Galaxy. Founded shortly after their race was discovered by the Terran Empire, this nation quickly expanded to major-size and joined the TE. This speedy ascension stems from the Telerians' ability to memorize everything instantly and with computer-like accuracy. As such, they were quick to learn other races' languages, technology, culture, everything they got in contact with. The reason they did not ascend before is simple: their ability for independent thought is limited to the point that some say it is non-existent. They are able to memorize and reproduce anything instantly, but unless they've been in a situation before, are unable to adapt to it. Furthermore, each Telerian has a certain paranoia, be it that they think someone is following them, that any food they did not produce themselves is dangerous or that everyone wants to stab them while they sleep,
Physically, they are rather humanoid. The main differences are their (upside-down) bowl-shaped heads, their larger hands and their longer feet with smooth bottoms (which can be used for skiing). They are capable fighters and can heal other beings once per day (the amount they heal increases with experience). Despite their paranoid nature, they are rather sociable.
Side note: The details of this race, safe the name and a few historic ones, are the brainchild of one of our team members. We are currently exploring one of their planets, and it is interesting, sometimes even absurd and very unusual, but entirely fun.

You didn't think I would leave those out, did ya? Also called humans or even earthlings, there is not much to say about them that you don't know already (y'know, being one of them and all). Because of the expanse of the Terran Empire, they are probably the most common species in the entire Galaxy. The only areas where there are no human settlements is the Serafan Covenant (the Razielim nation) in the center of the Galaxy, and the Demerian Emperianax (the Demerian nation), which occupies about half of it.

Small, fragile, smart. Those words sum up the Zippa rather well. They are almost never taller than 1.40 meters, with their head taking up a large portion of their size. They are known everywhere for their intelligence and their state of the art technology. Also, their ability to cast Mitochondrial Spells is a bit greater than that of even the Sirens, even though they still have just as hard a time at learning spells as everyone else.
Tradeoffs for these high (highest both in intelligence and Mitochondrial Ability) skills are that they suffer from low resistance to damage (= low hit points) and low abilities when it comes to combat (low strength, low combat instinct, low stamina, low reaction, low agility). One could consider them the wizards and/ or dwarves/ gnomes of the basic races.
They are, as mentioned before, rather small fellows (and lasses) with large heads, large, prying eyes and generally a smile on their faces. Don't be fooled though. They do not eschew less friendly means when they think they could benefit from it.

So, what's your opinion on that wall of text? Would you be interested in playing any of those guys?

Oh btw: @trechriron I tried registering at rpg.net to try and find an artist for the game, but apparently, my email adress was banned (which I find strange, as I haven't registered there before). I tried sending them a separate email, but I guess it ended up in their spam folder right away. Do you happen to know anything about this? Maybe there has been trouble with people who use the same provider as I do?

Edit: in case anyone of you was wondering why I still keep posting here despite my intention to finish the game before going public with it: I'd like your expert opinions on the game, in order to avoid aspects that do not sit well with experienced players. Any help is welcome.

10-03-2009, 05:01 AM
Just wanted to let all of you know that we're still on the job, only real life interfered for most of us during the summer. But tonight, playtesting and development will continue.
I'd also like to share with you that our advisor volunteered to do some illustrations. Pending the results, I might be able to show you guys some more images from a time yet to come.

03-16-2010, 01:01 PM
Sorry for the long silence and sorry for not having more to show other than: We're now in the process of testing to see if all of the races are actually playable.
I figured it might be a good idea to let you know we're still around :)