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ChaunceyK
10-04-2008, 01:36 PM
Just wondering what opinions are out there about Homebrew game systems. Since I can't figure a way to attach a poll, I'll list some basic answers...



I don't touch 'em, I have a favorite mass-marketed game & I stick to it
I've looked at some, but they don't appeal to me like the mass-marketed games do
I've played some & enjoyed them
Its the only way to go, down with "The Man!"

Of course, I'd hope some posters would elaborate on their answers, but I'm curious how most gamers feel about the subject.

Stormhound
10-04-2008, 03:20 PM
I've seen very few that were worth the trouble of reading...and that group doesn't include the one I attempted, once upon a time. Homebrews tend to be very biased toward the proclivities of the author...and since the author is someone who's sufficiently dissatisfied with available systems that they are writing their own, the odds are good that what they produce is going to be fairly far afield.

Besides, since I'm an inveterate tinker anyhow, I'd much rather get under the hood of something that enough people already understand.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
10-04-2008, 03:45 PM
Just wondering what opinions are out there about Homebrew game systems. Since I can't figure a way to attach a poll, I'll list some basic answers...



I don't touch 'em, I have a favorite mass-marketed game & I stick to it
I've looked at some, but they don't appeal to me like the mass-marketed games do
I've played some & enjoyed them
Its the only way to go, down with "The Man!"
Of course, I'd hope some posters would elaborate on their answers, but I'm curious how most gamers feel about the subject.
I do homebrew from published stuff and am currently working on something unique. But since i dont believe that was your question, then i feel this game(that will answer your question), has potential:

Fantasy DnD Game... http://planet-thirteen.com/default.aspx (http://planet-thirteen.com/default.aspx) ...and click "How to Host a Dungeon" link.

Also, i range from 1-3 on your poll. Hopefully someone will help you get it up. It's a good idea for a poll.

:spider:

Kalanth
10-05-2008, 08:22 AM
Only worlds, not game systems. I don't have enough faith in humanity to try a homebrewed game world. I am more likely to come across Doug and his homebrew (Fear of Girls) than coming across James Wyatt and his homebrew.

GoddessGood
10-06-2008, 09:03 AM
Homebrew settings I'll eagerly try. The only homebrew full-up system I've used has been the one made by a friend of mine that uses, primarily, a d12 much in the same way as d20 uses a d20. He's looking to get it published and it seems to be a solid system. He and his group have been playtesting it for years now. His main problem is the setting information is still largely contained in his head as he hasn't had much time to sit down and write it out.

So, homebrew systems? Yes, most definitely.

Webhead
10-06-2008, 09:29 AM
I'm with Stormhound on the angle of "I'd much rather tinker with a pre-existing game system than make one from scratch". In the same way, I'm much more inclined to play a system that has its basis in something already published.

However, I'm very open-minded and I will try just about any game system (even homebrews) once if that's what the group wants to do.

I also have interest in trying a wide variety of different games and systems because there is a surprising assortment of really good games out there. From Wushu to SotC, Supercrew to Dust Devils, Zorcerer of Zo to Prime Time Adventures, there is no shortage of fun, original ideas in game design.

Grimwell
10-06-2008, 09:35 AM
Because my goal is to have fun at a common table, I avoid homebrew systems. I don't write them myself -- and I don't go looking for someone running the perfect system to join in with.

Going with published retail product gives everyone a common frame of reference for what to expect, takes care of lots of ambiguities, and avoids all the baggage that comes with homebrew systems.

I have played in them before, and I have a generally negative view of them. In my experience homebrew systems are the product of someone who's not satisfied with the existing system for whatever reason (which could be valid), but also the product of someone who may have no idea how to build a game system that is balanced and functional.

I also never felt like I was on solid ground in homebrew games. Even in systems that were a decade old by the time I played in them. Part of balance is being able to count on a system working the same way every time you use it and planning accordingly, when you can't it's difficult to enjoy things.

My last reason for avoiding it is vanity. Every single person I've met who created their own rules system from the ground up was the sort of person who thought they were smarter than everyone else, including the game designers of actual released product. They would go on and on about the failings of systems they don't like, and then steal wholesale for their own from the same systems; or just try to stuff their system down the throats of everyone who they could find.

I take them as a "Put up or shut up" sort of thing. If you have the ability to design a functional game system, get it published and I'll read it. Show me your fancy PDF that you have been working on for years and years and I'm less interested.

A homebrew game system is the main reason I GM games to be honest. I was in a gaming club at college and the only fantasy game going was homebrew and wrong for all the reasons I listed above. It was also a place for the guy running it to show us how cool he was, his personal NPC's were always saving us from the stupid things we did (that he forced on us). I got bored and dissatisfied with it and started a traditional D&D game based on known rules at the club. Within a month I had more people than I could handle and new splinter games started. By the end of the year the only folks who were left with the homebrew guy were munchkins that he could sate.

Tangental note: I love homebrew campaigns. Where I don't know the story and can't pay to read ahead. I see those in a totally different light.

Webhead
10-06-2008, 09:48 AM
...Tangental note: I love homebrew campaigns. Where I don't know the story and can't pay to read ahead. I see those in a totally different light.

Yes, homebrew campaigns can be a lot of fun under good GMs. I've played quite a few of those over the years. Heck, every single D&D game I ever ran was essentially a homebrew campaign because I built the game world as I went.

nijineko
10-06-2008, 03:37 PM
i had to snicker at the "rules you can rely on" bit in the same post as d&d. every version has changed various major mechanics.

on the other paw, the "feel" of the game has remained pretty much the same, which counts for a lot. and a fair number of mechanics (if not always the same ones) have carried over.

but i did enjoy the chuckle, so thank you.

Grimwell
10-06-2008, 08:04 PM
Well, prior to third edition errata was very hard to acquire, so it was very reliable to go by the printed text in the books. You could rely on it not to change because the GM/Designer decided that he didn't like the results.

Oh wait, you are referring to changes between editions aren't you? I don't see that as much of a problem. You don't have to change rules systems when a new edition comes out. Even though I've converted every single time, I didn't convert the game I was running, I waited until a new one started to make the move.

Foki Firefinger
10-06-2008, 11:52 PM
I have tried a few home-brewed systems that were quite good and I would look forward to seeing them published. I have about 7 various home-brewed worlds myself-- four are D&D and the others are based upon the defunct game Aftermath. I occasionally help my son playtest his homebrewed systems and look forward to him publishing too. The home-brewed systems of today are the newly packaged games rolling off the assembly line to out stores of tomorrow. Fresh ideas are what it is all about. :)

kirksmithicus
10-07-2008, 10:17 AM
I love both, but I would never make anyone play a game they didn't want to play or with rules they didn't understand or why they had been changed. Mostly I just enjoy reading what others have come up with. Sometimes it's cool, sometimes it's lame. I'm constantly coming up with ways to alter the rules of almost every game I own, though I rarely inflict them upon players, and then only with their consent and as always, the rules apply to both sides of the screen. It's just something to do (a hobby within a hobby) and maybe a new way to think about how the mechanics of games work and why the authors made the choices they did. Homebrew setting are awesome, love to read other peoples material.

I spent about 4 years trying to write my own game system, just something I would be happy with (I have no delusions about being the next great RPG author).........anyway it totally sucked and was a monstrous, frustrating waste of time and energy because I'm never happy with anything, even my own stuff. :D So I've sworn off that kind of thing, and I've decided to only work on gaming aid type material so I don't get mucho more insanerer than I already is.

ronpyatt
10-07-2008, 08:57 PM
Home brew systems? Fantastic. They all started out that way at some point. Some are lame, but some turn into great systems. Many have little gems of a mechanic that plays very well.
Even house rules count as home-brew systems at some point.

tesral
10-08-2008, 03:44 AM
Homebrew, a bunch a guys sitting around coming up with a game. "Hey, we could sell this and it would be great."

Sounds exactly like D&D.

Funny thing but that is exactly how all the current big players got that way. They cooked up an idea, and went out on a limb with it. The scenery is littered with the carcasses of those that didn't make it. But they did, and all because of an unreasoning belief in their "little" ideas.

"Homebrew" A code word for "not as good as the pros". Them not Us. But all the pros started as home brewers. Sure D&D is all hard covers and flashy color art. It used to be little books with a staple the middle with art done by your college roommate, Homebrew.

Here is the deal. My ideas, your ideas, are just as good as the ideas of those people with access to money and decent artists. The quality of an idea is not dependent on the capital behind it. We all have seen examples of great production values (that come of money) and no decent ideas. Money and good art do not good ideas make. They don't preclude them, but the two are not linked. Mr. legal pad and a pencil could have some great ideas. We will not know if we don't look.

We have all seen our share of the lousy ideas, but the gems keep you looking. You might kiss a few frogs, but the beautiful princess could be the next one.

Likewise, don't degrade your own ideas because you are not Lizards or Steve Jackson. They started in a basement or a garage too.

Homebrews are always worth at least a look. The next D&D might be in those pages. A system so wonderful it blows you away. But you will never know unless you look.

Also, that system could be yours. Just because the gaming ghodds have not descended from the Hasbro towers and anointed you does not mean your ideas are less than wonderful. Believe in your ideas. Develop them and refine them. Be brutal and make them work for it. You could have a work of genius there, but if you blush and shove it under the bed before one of the gaming ghodds sees it, you will never know.

Clue: The only difference between them and us is they draw a paycheck for gaming. That does not make them certified geniuses. It could simply mean they are pushier than you or I. This business involves ego in barrel lots. Success can mean nothing more than you have the ego to push your idea to the money.

I could go on for many more words, but is freaking late...or early, it's that freaking late. Bed time for me, more later.

Webhead
10-08-2008, 09:22 AM
...*snippity*...

Exactly.

tesral
10-08-2008, 12:29 PM
To continue (with some sleep behind me). Yes, I use homebrews. I have since the day I looked in Men and Magic and said, "That doesn't make sense". At that moment with the first house rule I was playing a homebrew, and so is everyone that uses house rules, any house rules.

Now I have taken that further than most do. I rewrite the entire system to fit my campaign. But I have the time and the inclination. I have the small measure of ego that allows me to put my work out as every bit as good as the big boys. I am a (gasp) Home brewer.

Heck, I've even developed entire systems. It stank, but it was my first try. Overly complex was the main problem. A Wargame not an RPG. In the poor thing's favor it worked exactly like I wanted it to, but you needed a math degree to make a move. Ergo, it stank. Way to complex.

I encourage house ruling and home brewing. It is one of the ways we make a game ours. Tweak the system and give it the flavor we are looking for. Why, because nothing is perfect and I'm always looking for that better way. I will not let the fact that the rules have a hard cover and pretty art influence me, nor the fact that "Everyone does it this way". That is their game, not mine. My game is mine and just because a million people do X is no real reason to do X if I think Y is better.

Do I use rules as written? Sure. When I get to a Con or similar circumstances I break out the standard rules. It beats trying to explain house rules for hours. But in the comfort of my own game room, we do it our way.

Grimwell
10-08-2008, 12:57 PM
I agree with tesral, the only difference between a professional and an amateur is the fact that the professionals got out of the garage or basement. If you feel strongly about a game system you have designed, find a way to get it out there as a published product. Then the market will tell you what appeal it really has.

If you don't have the nerve to do that (and in this day of PDF publishing, it's not that hard), don't be embarrassed that you are a "home brew" game designer, just enjoy what you do and have fun with it. As long as you aren't stuffing it in peoples faces as a way to grandstand about your greatness you are doing the right thing (having fun).

My personal experiences with folks who have designed their own systems were negative because those folks would talk down published systems and talk theirs up; but they wouldn't publish them and the systems Were. Not. Fun. I don't have time to support someone's ego trips if they can't entertain me in the process.

boulet
10-08-2008, 02:15 PM
I agree with tesral, the only difference between a professional and an amateur is the fact that the professionals got out of the garage or basement. If you feel strongly about a game system you have designed, find a way to get it out there as a published product. Then the market will tell you what appeal it really has.

In practice I completely agree : game designers are just invested gamers. One shouldn't feel inferior just because of a title like "game designer". Though it's one thing to prepare your home brew, aimed at a group of friends you know well, for a game color you all enjoy and make it work with a draft of a document. It's a tougher kind of job to write a game from A to Z, that anyone may read and understand, plus the play testing, editing, publishing... Amateur/Professional shouldn't cloud the reality of game design : every one can tune up or create games. Still very few sacrifice a significant part of their life and decide to go public with their creation.

tesral
10-08-2008, 10:55 PM
It's a tougher kind of job to write a game from A to Z, that anyone may read and understand, plus the play testing, editing, publishing...

Computers put that in reach of anyone with the ambition. I can produce professional looking results right here on my little box. I can print and bind you up a nice looking book too. It comes down to time and inclination.

fmitchell
10-21-2008, 12:21 AM
To necro this thread ...

I've often thought of putting together a homebrew system, albeit with pieces of other systems I like, such as PDQ, Fudge, FATE/SotC, D6 (mainly the mechanic), BRP, HeroQuest (the Issaries version), and maybe GURPS (mainly for skills, equipment, and general world creation). The ideal end result would be fairly rules-light, so that players could learn all the mechanics over the course of the first game, and concentrate on weaving the story -- not crunching numbers and rolling dice.

The sort of game I hate, especially among small press and indie publishers, are the ones that start with D&D or some comparably complex system and ADD to it. If I have to spend more than an hour creating a character, or copy my feats/powers/merits/whatever on index cards so I can remember what I can do (I'm looking at YOU, 3.x and 4e), or regularly consult the rulebook during combat -- or any other time, really -- then I just don't want to play.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
10-21-2008, 01:05 AM
To necro this thread ...

I've often thought of putting together a homebrew system, albeit with pieces of other systems I like, such as PDQ, Fudge, FATE/SotC, D6 (mainly the mechanic), BRP, HeroQuest (the Issaries version), and maybe GURPS (mainly for skills, equipment, and general world creation). The ideal end result would be fairly rules-light, so that players could learn all the mechanics over the course of the first game, and concentrate on weaving the story -- not crunching numbers and rolling dice.

The sort of game I hate, especially among small press and indie publishers, are the ones that start with D&D or some comparably complex system and ADD to it. If I have to spend more than an hour creating a character, or copy my feats/powers/merits/whatever on index cards so I can remember what I can do (I'm looking at YOU, 3.x and 4e), or regularly consult the rulebook during combat -- or any other time, really -- then I just don't want to play.
Very well put, as i am sure you also speak for the countless 1000's of other players out there too, me being one of them.

Webhead
10-21-2008, 10:21 AM
Very well put, as i am sure you also speak for the countless 1000's of other players out there too, me being one of them.

Agreed. I like game systems that I can run confidently and concisely almost entirely from memory. And games get a big bonus from me if they don't imply a desire for miniatures in order to work well. Games that I've met thus far that allow me to do this:

Star Wars D6
Risus
PDQ
Wushu
FATE (almost...need a little more experience playing it)
Supercrew
Pace
Toon
"core" V:tM (granted, it's been years since I played, so I'm sure I've lost my touch)

MortonStromgal
10-21-2008, 10:59 AM
I like medium-light systems regardless of who makes it. Heck I even have my own system but I've never written it down just created a character sheet.

nijineko
10-21-2008, 07:01 PM
i could not say it better than many who have already spoken.

d&d started homebrew. nothing wrong with homebrew. i'm willing to eyeball just about anything and meditate upon it.

frank634
10-24-2008, 02:12 PM
Just wondering what opinions are out there about Homebrew game systems. Since I can't figure a way to attach a poll, I'll list some basic answers...



I don't touch 'em, I have a favorite mass-marketed game & I stick to it
I've looked at some, but they don't appeal to me like the mass-marketed games do
I've played some & enjoyed them
Its the only way to go, down with "The Man!"
Of course, I'd hope some posters would elaborate on their answers, but I'm curious how most gamers feel about the subject.


I spent most of my Gencon trip this year playing games that I have never played before. Most of those were homebrew. I can say this about it:

I HATE THEM

Now, I am not saying there arn't any good home brew systems, but honestly, they are not as good as marketed systems. This is one of the reasons I push for players to endorse new market systems or editions (like d&d 4e). It encourages the manufacturers to improve and better their systems.

tesral
10-24-2008, 11:53 PM
Now, I am not saying there arn't any good home brew systems, but honestly, they are not as good as marketed systems. This is one of the reasons I push for players to endorse new market systems or editions (like d&d 4e). It encourages the manufacturers to improve and better their systems.

Sturgeon's Law -- 90% of everything is crap."

That applies to mass market systems as well. I have a few that need to be kept in sealed containers or every loose object in the room gets stuck to them. Many home brews at the cons are building something they are looking to improve. Theory never made a good game, you have to play the thing. D&D in the first incarnation STANK! The idea was wonderful and sold like hotcakes. But, if you put 0 Edition D&D on the market today it would tank. It would deserve to tank, the genre has improved that much, but 36 years ago D&D was the start, and there were no other games of the type.

Give homebrewer some respect, the next mass market game success is being built in someone's basement right now.

upidstay
10-25-2008, 02:12 PM
I came up with my own a binch of years ago. Worked really hard on it. It stunk. My old roommate came up with one. Spent hours and hours writing, rewriting, and playtesting. It stunk too. Played a few at cons over the years. They all stunk. I'm beginning to detect a pattern here...

frank634
10-25-2008, 06:29 PM
Sturgeon's Law -- 90% of everything is crap."

...

Give homebrewer some respect, the next mass market game success is being built in someone's basement right now.

I believe me, I respect all game builders out there. In fact, even though i HATE home brewed games, I will probably continue to try them. Like you said, the next mass market game may be being built right now.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
10-25-2008, 09:59 PM
I believe me, I respect all game builders out there. In fact, even though i HATE home brewed games, I will probably continue to try them. Like you said, the next mass market game may be being built right now.
...wouldnt that be nice. In fact it wouldnt surprise me.

Grimwell
10-26-2008, 01:33 PM
I'm all for giving homebrew folks respect for having the time, patience, and desire to push through and make a game happen. It's not easy and involves a great amount of work.

That said, it takes a very dedicated and focused player to enjoy the test/revise/test/revise cycle. I'm not that guy at this point in my life. I don't enjoy it and don't have time for anything I don't enjoy.

I don't have time to sift out the 90% on my own, so I'm content waiting for the one that becomes a market success and trying it at that point.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
10-26-2008, 01:47 PM
What grimwell said. :amen: brother.

:rolleyes:I both love and respect homebrew and have made my own particular version/s which would encompass what's best in gaming rules... kinda my version of Jeet Kune Do (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeet_Kune_Do ), but with gaming rules.

:spider:

Webhead
10-26-2008, 11:18 PM
Ah, the Tao of Jeet Kune Do. Very fascinating book. I need to reacquire a copy.

Edward
10-27-2008, 12:36 AM
I've played mostly homebrew and indie games in the last few years. My experience is that choosing an RPG is sort of like buying a computer. If you go with the big national brands, you're very likely to get a product that's mediocre. It's not going to be great, but it's not going to be terrible, either. If you build your own or go with a small local shop, you may get terrible service, or you may get great service, but you probably won't get mediocre service.

The problem with D&D is that it has so much history and such a large installed base. Game design has come a long way in the last thirty years, but D&D can't take advantage of most of that experience. There's a lot of pressure to maintain backward compatibility; you can't throw it all out and start from scratch. And, of course, any large publisher has to focus on profit. Their primary goal is to make money, not to design a good game. There's nothing wrong with wanting a profit (I'd like some myself), but it does lead to poor design decisions at times.

None of that is why I started playing homebrew, though. When 3rd Edition came out, I sat down and got ready to revise my house rules. After a few hours, I realized I was going to end up with a completely different system which would be a weird hybrid of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Editions. After thinking it over, I decided that if I was going to write a new game system, I might as well do it from scratch instead of basing it on D&D.

And that's the point, really. Outside of tournaments, I've never played in a campaign that used "standard" rules. Everyone has house rules, and most GM's have a lot of them. It's not a problem because they're easy to learn -- unless they're really bad, which is just another way of saying the GM is bad. And if the GM is bad, it doesn't matter what system is being used.

nijineko
10-27-2008, 02:33 AM
The problem with D&D is that it has so much history...

that is also it's greatest strength.

here on these forums, you can meet the guy who can say that, "i was the person who surprised gary gygax by beating his player killer adventure in a way he'd not thought of previously...." with a homebrew, you can claim whatever you want, and everybody but those that were there are going to say, "who?".

without history, there would be no dread gazebo. without history, there would be no b2-keep on the borderlands. without history, there would be no against the giants. without history, there would be no bargle.

there is nothing wrong with history. the smart dm or player can and will change the rules to be whatever they need it to be, but no one has yet learned how to change history. the smart individual will read the history and realize that the one rule that has never changed throughout d&d history is that "it's your game, do with it what you will."

it is not a system/game/item/rule/class/whatever that's broken, it is only players or dms who are broken.



having said all that however, i think that it is awesome that you took the time to study the problem out, and made the decision that was best for you. i also think that there is nothing wrong with homebrew. ^^ or with choosing homebrew over d&d. i'd play more homebrewed games myself, if i ever found any that really grabbed me.

Edward
10-27-2008, 03:49 AM
that is also it's greatest strength.

True enough. And the large installed base can be a strength in some contexts, particularly tournaments.


without history, there would be no dread gazebo. without history, there would be no b2-keep on the borderlands. without history, there would be no against the giants. without history, there would be no bargle. Mystara and Greyhawk are two of my favorite campaign worlds; I just don't run them under D&D anymore. (Speaking of history, my absolute favorite campaign world is Middle-earth . . . .)


the smart individual will read the history and realize that the one rule that has never changed throughout d&d history is that "it's your game, do with it what you will." Yes, that's the key to any RPG. One of the disadvantages of customizing a commercial game, though, is that you can't publish your version.


it is not a system/game/item/rule/class/whatever that's broken, it is only players or dms who are broken.It's true that the people are the key. Though in most cases I'd say inexperienced rather than broken. When I think back on some of the things I did when I was starting out . . . .


i'd play more homebrewed games myself, if i ever found any that really grabbed me.If you prefer rules-light, you might want to try Yags (http://yags.glendale.org.uk). It's a well-balanced system.

nijineko
10-27-2008, 08:03 AM
Mystara and Greyhawk are two of my favorite campaign worlds; I just don't run them under D&D anymore. (Speaking of history, my absolute favorite campaign world is Middle-earth . . . .)

right there with you on greyhawk.


Yes, that's the key to any RPG. One of the disadvantages of customizing a commercial game, though, is that you can't publish your version.

actually, with d&d 3.x, you can. that's what the srd and ogl were all about.


It's true that the people are the key. Though in most cases I'd say inexperienced rather than broken. When I think back on some of the things I did when I was starting out . . . .

i can absolutely agree with that. correction accepted. i guess i just kinda over-react these days to the unceasing and incessant cries of "it's broken" when what they really mean is that they haven't a clue of what they are doing, because they can't be bothered to think it out and adjust. (in some cases only, and present company excepted. =D ) or even if it sounds like a comment is heading in that direction. over sensitive, i guess. *^^*


If you prefer rules-light, you might want to try Yags (http://yags.glendale.org.uk). It's a well-balanced system.

hmmmm. thanks for the link! i'll check it out.

tesral
10-27-2008, 09:14 AM
i can absolutely agree with that. correction accepted. i guess i just kinda over-react these days to the unceasing and incessant cries of "it's broken" when what they really mean is that they haven't a clue of what they are doing, because they can't be bothered to think it out and adjust. (in some cases only, and present company excepted. =D ) or even if it sounds like a comment is heading in that direction. over sensitive, i guess..

It most certainly can be broken, and I don't have to name a game system, There hasn't been a game invented that cannot be broken and abused. Perfect and uncheatable is not a shape that any game comes in.

I am of the opinion that too many want too much from the system itself. In RPGs the system is not the game. The game is created by the GM and the players, the system just helps it along. Over concentration on system can get in the way of enjoying your game. We do stuff and roll the dice. We have fun. 90% of my tweeks are to infuse the system with the game, to inject my campaign world into the game rules in a meaningful way. To strip out the complication we don't use and to firm up the parts we do.

Webhead
10-27-2008, 09:49 AM
Some of the most inspiring RPGs that I've found are essentially homebrews. They are the design concepts cooked up by an individual designer, given shape and then released to the devouring masses. Of course, over the years, as players have gotten to wrestle with those games, pick them apart and slap their own ideas on them, they have grown and evolved into a greater "whole", but the original "homebrewed" cores of those games remain unchanged. Now, they are "homebrews" with slick PDFs and optional, fan-inspired widgets tacked on to them.

I am a "I'll try anything once" type of gamer. Got a homebrew system? I'll try it and I will give you honest feedback about the strengths and weaknesses I perceive. If the games weaknesses overbear its strengths, I will pass. If its weaknesses are forgivable in light of what the game excels at, I will continue to play as long as the game remains fun.

Just like any game system, player or GM, homebrewing can be very good or very bad and it all depends on the who, what, when, where and why.

Even the best games can be ruined when played poorly and the best players can be dragged down by a bad game (assuming, of course, that the player continue to stick to the game and not abandon it for its failings...anyone can play a game and ignore what they don't like, certainly).

ChaunceyK
10-27-2008, 09:57 AM
There hasn't been a game invented that cannot be broken and abused. Perfect and uncheatable is not a shape that any game comes in.

This reminds of when my old group came up with an instant-kill "cheat" of sorts in the almighty D&D, of all games....

Use the spell Polymorph Self. Turn into a gnat & fly into someone's ear or nose or mouth, then (since you could continuously change forms for as long as the spell is active, don't know if its since been altered) turn into a gelatinous cube (which, if memory serves, is 10ftx10ftx10ft)...head/face instantly explodes, with no damage to the spellcaster since he's just a blob.

Who's gonna survive that?! :eek:

Our DM banned it after we used it a couple of times. Even as a player, I thought the ban was fitting...it was just too powerful & foolproof.

Webhead
10-27-2008, 10:19 AM
This reminds of when my old group came up with an instant-kill "cheat" of sorts in the almighty D&D, of all games....

Use the spell Polymorph Self. Turn into a gnat & fly into someone's ear or nose or mouth, then (since you could continuously change forms for as long as the spell is active, don't know if its since been altered) turn into a gelatinous cube (which, if memory serves, is 10ftx10ftx10ft)...head/face instantly explodes, with no damage to the spellcaster since he's just a blob.

Who's gonna survive that?! :eek:

Our DM banned it after we used it a couple of times. Even as a player, I thought the ban was fitting...it was just too powerful & foolproof.

Yes, I have not met a game yet that couldn't be broken by a player determined to break it. And that's why the GM is given discretionary power. When something like this starts to crop up in the game, that's when the GM has to stand up and say, "We'll have no more of that, thank you very much".

This is why, though completely possible within the "rules", I would not allow an invisible, intangible, energy absorbing, mind controlling, time-travelling teleporter in an M&M game. There is nothing wrong with any individual power in that suite, but combining them in such a way is just an exercise in power-gaming. Sometimes, the GM just has to say "No".

It's not that the character would be "unbeatable"...in fact there are many ways that such a character could be bested...but it's the simple fact that the character would likely exist solely for the purpose of making "killer combos" and ruins the suspension of disbelief because of how contrived it is and how contrived the opposition would have to be to effectively oppose the character.

MortonStromgal
10-27-2008, 11:09 AM
it is not a system/game/item/rule/class/whatever that's broken, it is only players or dms who are broken.



I respectfully disagree. There are plenty of systems/mechanics that have been published over the last 30 years that make games less fun or balance.

D&D can fit this mold because its a simple system with lots of exceptions. Any system where exception > rule can fall into the guy with the newer book wins.

However balance != fun but having character way more powerful than other characters can make the weaker characters feel useless and why bother playing if your useless.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
10-27-2008, 11:20 AM
This reminds of when my old group came up with an instant-kill "cheat" of sorts in the almighty D&D, of all games....

Use the spell Polymorph Self. Turn into a gnat & fly into someone's ear or nose or mouth, then (since you could continuously change forms for as long as the spell is active, don't know if its since been altered) turn into a gelatinous cube (which, if memory serves, is 10ftx10ftx10ft)...head/face instantly explodes, with no damage to the spellcaster since he's just a blob.

Who's gonna survive that?! :eek:

Our DM banned it after we used it a couple of times. Even as a player, I thought the ban was fitting...it was just too powerful & foolproof.
We made it conditional that when using polymorph, characters could change into something of similar size. This worked out well. There were some other restrictions too, but this covered the almighty gnat scenario.

Edward
10-27-2008, 02:56 PM
actually, with d&d 3.x, you can. that's what the srd and ogl were all about.

You were allowed to modify it and then redistribute your modified version, but only to an extent; there were pretty sharp limitations. For example, you couldn't incorporate any part of it into a computer program, not even a simple game aid like a dice roller or character generator. (At least that was Wizards' interpretation, and I wasn't prepared to argue with their lawyers about it.)


Got a homebrew system? I'll try it and I will give you honest feedback about the strengths and weaknesses I perceive.

I may take you up on that at some point. I never finished putting my rules into publishable form, because I got distracted tinkering with computer aids (combat managers and the like). (I admit it; I love to tinker.) Eventually I decided to develop my game as a computer-assisted role-playing game (CARP) instead of a straight paper-and-pencil RPG. I may drop you a line once it's ready to publish to see if you're interested in trying it out. That will be a while, though.


This reminds of when my old group came up with an instant-kill "cheat" of sorts in the almighty D&D, of all games....

I never tried an instant-kill cheat. I tend to prefer shortcuts that solve those little nagging problems. For example, I once commissioned an amulet that would detect secret doors with no chance of failure. I don't think it was particularly unbalancing, but the GM got tired of it in just a few weeks. Oh, well.

Webhead
10-27-2008, 03:22 PM
...I may take you up on that at some point. I never finished putting my rules into publishable form, because I got distracted tinkering with computer aids (combat managers and the like). (I admit it; I love to tinker.) Eventually I decided to develop my game as a computer-assisted role-playing game (CARP) instead of a straight paper-and-pencil RPG. I may drop you a line once it's ready to publish to see if you're interested in trying it out. That will be a while, though...

If you did, I could look it over. Actually getting it in front of live players would be more difficult as my group is picky about their games and doesn't like to change systems often. We also don't use computers at our game table, so any mandatory digital elements to the game would be difficult to implement.


...I never tried an instant-kill cheat. I tend to prefer shortcuts that solve those little nagging problems. For example, I once commissioned an amulet that would detect secret doors with no chance of failure. I don't think it was particularly unbalancing, but the GM got tired of it in just a few weeks. Oh, well.

I could see why the DM would grow tired of it. An item like that kind of defeats the point of having "secret" doors in the first place. I probably wouldn't allow such an item in my games or, if I did, it would have some element of counterbalance to it (like requiring concentration to activate and having a limited number of charges or "automatically" locating secret doors at the expense of hindering the character's other senses).

Edward
10-27-2008, 04:09 PM
If you did, I could look it over. Actually getting it in front of live players would be more difficult as my group is picky about their games and doesn't like to change systems often. We also don't use computers at our game table, so any mandatory digital elements to the game would be difficult to implement.

Sure, any feedback is useful. Thanks.


I could see why the DM would grow tired of it. An item like that kind of defeats the point of having "secret" doors in the first place. I probably wouldn't allow such an item in my games or, if I did, it would have some element of counterbalance to it (like requiring concentration to activate and having a limited number of charges or "automatically" locating secret doors at the expense of hindering the character's other senses).I suppose it depends on your philosophy as a GM. Personally, I don't try to maintain game balance; I just try to keep things realistic. For example, when I place secret doors, I don't see them as having a point; I place them because that's how the builder would have built things, or because the current owner would have installed them. If the NPC wants to be very careful, he can combine a particular secret door with a null-magic area. The players won't realize the secret door detector isn't working and will miss the secret door. In other words, I see secret doors as serving the purposes of the NPC's, not the purpose of the GM or the game. So I don't mind if players find a way to get around them, as long as it's realistic. But then, it doesn't bother me if the players manage to kill the villain at the very beginning of the module, either. (I didn't like the original Dragonlance modules because they didn't allow that. I had to modify them pretty heavily to make them fit my campaign.)

My thinking is that a well-designed game world will balance itself. If the players find an ultra-powerful artifact, it won't be unbalancing because everyone under the sun will try to take it away from them. They have to sleep sometime . . . . Wise players won't even try to keep it; they'll give it to a powerful sponsor (typically a government, temple, or guild) in return for lots of brownie points. And if the players are powerful enough that they're able to keep it with even governments after it, then it probably isn't that much more powerful than the items they already have. It all depends on the flavor of the campaign, though.

nijineko
10-27-2008, 04:26 PM
considering the length of time it takes to shift from one form to another, blowing up someone's head is absolutely impossible. ^^ besides, once you reach the size of the "room", nasal cavity in this case, you stop growing. so you might stuff up their nose... but that's it (oh and the damage). and even if you allow them to expand out of the nose, that would count as an enveloping attack which would grant a save versus it. i imagine that if they made their save, it would be the farmer's napkin for the aspiring gelatinous cube.

it's all in how you apply the rules.


i agree that some systems are more disposed and less disposed towards rules abuse... but who is it that abuses the rules? the system? no. only players or dms can abuse a system.

thank you tesral, you make my point perfectly. you said it yourself, there isn't a game or system that can BE broken. and whom does the breaking? the players or dm, not the system itself.

and you as well, webhead. thank you for supporting my point. you are correct in that there is no system that is safe from a player or dm. the system itself didn't do anything.

the point is that if the player and/or dm is balanced within themselves, then no rule or combo can unbalance them.

who needs a computer version? this is pen and paper games. look at mutants and masterminds if you want an example of a more radical variation. d20 variants can be even more radical.

exceptions are only as powerful as the dm allows them to be. the artful dm uses rp-aiki-jutsu to take an apparent strength that a rule or combo grants a player and uses their own energy against them. if they push, you pull and step aside and watch them fall. if they pull you push and disengage. and so forth. for every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction. player has super power combo? somewhere there is an equal and opposite weakness.

recently a friend described a problem with a monk who has maximized his movement and grapple, plus anti-spellcasting options. if he is anywhere within 250 feet of a spellcaster he can see, he has enough options to take a double move and still get in a single attack to grapple. after some thinking, we came up with some options that would effectively counter his strengths. poor monk in the next combat. ^^

i bring all this up, because if firmly believe that there is no rule or combo that is invincible -with the proper application of another rule, rules, or roleplaying. so far i've been able to come up with appropriate counters for every situation i've ever seen posted here as an example of "brokenness". i even found an invalidation of the rules upon which the "puni", infinite stats, and other optimization abuses were based on over at the wotc forums. (which probably was part of what turned certain members against me, come to think of it....)

having been able to prove the "grand masters of brokenness" on the wotc forums wrong has perhaps gone to my head. ^^ it's entirely possible that someone somewhere will be able to prove me wrong, but unless and until it happens, i don't believe that there is any rules abuse that cannot be countered via an in-game context.

most of us have played for a long time. and even those who haven't are intelligent and witty. with as much talent as we collectively have here on these forums, there should be no abuse that we together cannot find a cunning and crafty solution for.

Webhead
10-27-2008, 04:56 PM
...I suppose it depends on your philosophy as a GM. Personally, I don't try to maintain game balance; I just try to keep things realistic. For example, when I place secret doors, I don't see them as having a point; I place them because that's how the builder would have built things, or because the current owner would have installed them. If the NPC wants to be very careful, he can combine a particular secret door with a null-magic area. The players won't realize the secret door detector isn't working and will miss the secret door. In other words, I see secret doors as serving the purposes of the NPC's, not the purpose of the GM or the game. So I don't mind if players find a way to get around them, as long as it's realistic. But then, it doesn't bother me if the players manage to kill the villain at the very beginning of the module, either. (I didn't like the original Dragonlance modules because they didn't allow that. I had to modify them pretty heavily to make them fit my campaign.)

My thinking is that a well-designed game world will balance itself. If the players find an ultra-powerful artifact, it won't be unbalancing because everyone under the sun will try to take it away from them. They have to sleep sometime . . . . Wise players won't even try to keep it; they'll give it to a powerful sponsor (typically a government, temple, or guild) in return for lots of brownie points. And if the players are powerful enough that they're able to keep it with even governments after it, then it probably isn't that much more powerful than the items they already have. It all depends on the flavor of the campaign, though.

You're probably right in that the item itself isn't very unbalancing. For me, regarding an item like a "Secret Door Detector" isn't so much about keeping the game balanced as keeping it fun. I don't like things (especially magic) to become too comfortable or predictable. For example, if the party has such an item, it's no longer viable to use cleverly placed (by the inhabitants of Location X) secret doors to surprise the party because they'll already know about it. Sure, there are ways around that, like adding an anti-magic field, but that begins to enter the realm of "one-upsmanship" that disrupts the suspension of disbelief.

It's kind of a "kryptonite syndrome". How many times have unimaginative writers thrown kryptonite into their Superman stories because they couldn't think of another way to challenge him? Look out! A tank is running rampant through downtown! Never fear, Superman is here! Uh oh...the tank is lined with kryptonite! What will he do now? About the 2nd or 3rd time his enemy brandishes kryptonite against him, it starts to become clear that the scenario is contrived. Same goes for an anti-magic field secret door. The 2nd or 3rd time the party encounters one, the illusion will begin to wear thin.

I don't like to design things specifically to "counter" the PCs (unless that is the agenda of the enemies involved and they have sufficient knowledge to do so). I like encounters to feel more "organic" as though they could exist regardless of the presence of the PCs. Thus, giving my PCs access to a "Secret Door Detector" would really only serve to do one thing for the game: remove secret doors as an unpredictable and potentially exciting plot twist. Instead, secret doors would become predictable and boring.

That said, I almost never used secret doors in my D&D campaigns, so a magic item like that wouldn't really have seen much use and thus wouldn't be unbalancing. Secret doors themselves are rather contrived except under certain rare circumstances, so I avoided them unless it truly made sense for one to exist in a given location.

Webhead
10-27-2008, 05:12 PM
...*snippity*...

Very well put and with many excellent points. I completely agree.

That is exactly why an RPG requires a Game Master, because words on a page require interpretation and somebody has to have the final say when two interpretations disagree or when one interpretation is acting against the spirit and enjoyment of the game as felt by those playing it.

No "super mega undefeatable rules combo" is ever truly invincible, but more importantly, the game should never be allowed to reach the point where "counter-gaming" is necessary. If a game does get to that point, it's often better to address the problem directly and work out solutions than to try to "out-play" another player. That only tends to lead to resentment.

RPGs aren't about "winning" anyway. A "win" in a role playing game is when everyone walks away saying, "That was really cool!" and can't wait to play again.

There are some systems that I feel work with me in that regard and some that work against me, but ultimately it is my choice whether or not to play those games and thus my responsibility to keep things from getting out of hand if I choose to do so.

nijineko
10-27-2008, 07:36 PM
=D excellent points, yourself.

Edward
10-28-2008, 10:57 PM
I don't like things (especially magic) to become too comfortable or predictable.

Yes, I agree. One thing I liked about Rolemaster was the unique and downright odd magic items.


Sure, there are ways around that, like adding an anti-magic field, but that begins to enter the realm of "one-upsmanship" that disrupts the suspension of disbelief.It probably depends on the type of campaign you're running. If you allow magical research, then magic will advance just like technology, and different nations and organizations are likely to compete to develop new and better spells (a magical arms race). On the other hand, if magic was inherited from an elder race and isn't well-understood, then research may not be possible and magic will be static (similarly to a post-holocaust world where barbarians use advanced technology which they don't understand). Or perhaps magic was handed down by the gods, and only gods can introduce new spells.


Same goes for an anti-magic field secret door. The 2nd or 3rd time the party encounters one, the illusion will begin to wear thin.Anti-magic secret doors would no longer be a surprise, it's true. Still, once the mystery wears off, they would represent the "most difficult" category of secret doors. Players will know that the secret door detector will miss them, but will have to judge when to spend the time to search manually. In my campaigns, players generally need to move pretty quickly and can't search every room or corridor, so they often try to come up with easier ways to find things. (I agree that secret doors tend to be overused -- sort of like lightsabers.)


I don't like to design things specifically to "counter" the PCs (unless that is the agenda of the enemies involved and they have sufficient knowledge to do so). I like encounters to feel more "organic" as though they could exist regardless of the presence of the PCs.Excellent point. It's very easy to let the campaign world revolve around the PC's. I try to avoid this, too, especially if they're not extremely high level. On the other hand, it's good to have the effects of the party's actions ripple through the world -- as long as the ripples aren't larger than they should be. So if the players invent a new spell, NPC's will eventually come up with a counter, but they shouldn't do so too quickly, and knowledge of the new spell and counterspell shouldn't spread too quickly.

Hmm. I seem to have gotten pretty far off topic. To try to get back on-topic, one of the things I like about homebrew and indie games is that they tend to have worlds that aren't stereotypical. In fact, I experiment more with homebrew worlds than I do with homebrew rules systems. If I hadn't wanted to create my own rules system, I probably would have looked around until I found one I liked, and then stuck with it; but I definitely would have experimented with homebrew worlds anyway. Even if a world turns out not to be very good, it could still be useful when the players decide to go planar travelling.

ChaunceyK
11-02-2008, 10:30 AM
So, getting...

:focus:

...sorry, just always wanted a reason to use that icon, hehe. :lol:

But seriously, I think the most valid point made here was along the lines that the mechanics of gameplay isn't necessarily the most important aspect & that role-playing adds just as much. A game could have the best conflict/resolution mechanics in the world, but without an imaginative group of players (including the GM), what good is it?

While I do think that there could be better mechanics (on different levels) than the almighty D&D, I don't think any game system will ever pose a serious threat to Wizards without one other very important aspect...a good number of original adventures to be played with it. Wizards has the market pretty well-cornered in that aspect.

Most game systems (I'd suspect) are the product of a single individual or very small group of individuals, and I just can't imagine anyone coming up with nearly enough adventures on their own to take away any mildly significant portion of Wizards' business.

tesral
11-02-2008, 10:46 AM
While I do think that there could be better mechanics (on different levels) than the almighty D&D, I don't think any game system will ever pose a serious threat to Wizards without one other very important aspect...a good number of original adventures to be played with it. Wizards has the market pretty well-cornered in that aspect.



You can't go back to 1973. However encouraging and supporting those people that do fiddle with system is a good thing. D&D might be the big dog, but i like cats too. It is not the best system for the feel of every genre. I don't like d20 for anything but Heroic Fantasy. Frankly, had I not started with D&D I wouldn't like it for that either. It is chunky in many respects.

So I support the homebrewers. They might come up with a better game system.

ChaunceyK
11-16-2008, 06:07 PM
Well Tesral, I certainly respect your opinions, so I'm glad to see that you support what could be "the next big thing"...or at the very least, fun alternatives to the big names. Here's a re-post of my latest comment from another thread...


Interesting perspective, Talmek. I played with D&D 3rd Revision (not 3rd Edition), so I've never even seen 1e.

imo, 4e is definitely more complicated than what I played. But I can believe 1e was just as (if not more) complicated. It was the first attempt, and I'm sure quite unpolished.

I've got to be honest...I've also got a homebrew thread thread on here http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7809 and I was kinda putting out some feelers with it. I believe I can come up with something that's easier to learn, but still realistic enough to make it fun. While I admit I haven't played every game available (homebrew and/or commercial), I do feel my ideas are unique but fair.


...you can see why I re-posted it here. :)

My focus is to make a game system that is "Classless, Levelless...Limitless". Yes, I've already chosen a tag line for the game. :biggrin: I'm putting some focus on any PC being capable of attempting anything, rather than "Well, you're a Fighter, so you can't cast spells...period!" If a Fighter-type puts some focus into learning spells, well then he can learn them...although his Fighter skills will stop advancing so quickly. Basically, whatever a PC uses is what he'll advance in. Focus on one set of skills & you'll advance them quickly, but be weak in everything else...focus on several & you'll advance them all a little more slowly, but be more well-rounded.

Another thing I'm focusing on is an easy-to-learn combat system, completely different from D&D. I think players will look at it & say "Well duh, why didn't someone think of that yet?!"

And yet another focus of mine is a completely different (from D&D) Proficiency system...not just for weapons, but for everything a character may do. I have to admit, when it comes to my system, I am totally in love with my Weapons Proficiency mechanics. The other proficiencies...I'm working on them.

My primary goal is to make 2 versions of a game: one rules-lite, the other rules-medium/heavy. Neither is actually related to the other in terms of mechanics...there may be slight similarities, but its not intended for players to "graduate" from the -lite to the -medium/heavy at any point. Simply a matter of "Which do you prefer in a game? Lite rules or heavier?" And my secondary goal is to make games that uses more logical rules that are easy to understand...the more common sense they are, the easier it will be to memorize the rules, am I right?

Edward
11-16-2008, 08:29 PM
My focus is to make a game system that is "Classless, Levelless...Limitless".

I prefer systems without classes or levels, too. It's a good idea to have templates, though, so players can role up a character very quickly if desired.


Yes, I've already chosen a tag line for the game. I'm putting some focus on any PC being capable of attempting anything, rather than "Well, you're a Fighter, so you can't cast spells...period!" If a Fighter-type puts some focus into learning spells, well then he can learn them...although his Fighter skills will stop advancing so quickly.Spellcasting seems like a world-specific issue rather than a core part of the system. Personally, I would leave magic out of the system altogether, because it isn't appropriate in many genres (modern, historical, sci-fi) and will vary from world to world in fantasy settings. For example, in some worlds you may need a certain gene in order to cast spells.

I would suggest making your system generic (completely separate from the setting) and universal (suitable for any genre) in order to keep the design as clean and simple as possible.

Are you going to release your rule system as open source? Doing so would make it more competitive. There are so many free homebrew systems available (many open source, others free as in beer) that proprietary games have a hard time attracting attention unless they're backed by a major publisher. It's not likely you'll be able to sell your rule system in any case; they're a dime a dozen. (Actually, you can get a lot more than a dozen for a lot less than a dime . . . .)


Basically, whatever a PC uses is what he'll advance in. Focus on one set of skills & you'll advance them quickly, but be weak in everything else...focus on several & you'll advance them all a little more slowly, but be more well-rounded.Sounds reasonable. It should be possible for a character to shift focus, as well (perhaps initially focusing on a certain skill set, then becoming more of a generalist, and later focusing on a different area altogether), though it might be more difficult to learn skills you haven't been practicing recently.


Another thing I'm focusing on is an easy-to-learn combat system, completely different from D&D. I think players will look at it & say "Well duh, why didn't someone think of that yet?!"Sounds like a good idea, both because the D&D mechanic isn't very good and for legal reasons. Personally, I avoid anything too similar to D&D because I don't want to be vulnerable to a lawsuit if my system ever does become wildly successful. (Granted that's not likely, but I might as well plan for success . . . .)

Of course, it's entirely possible that someone has already thought of something similar to the mechanic you have in mind. I would suggest reviewing a variety of open-source games before you get too deep into designing your system; you may find something that will work even better. Here are a few sites that list or discuss various open-source RPG's. (But be aware that you can't mix games that are under different licenses unless the licenses are compatible.)

http://www.freeroleplay.org

http://www.darkshire.net/~jhkim/rpg/freerpgs/bykeyword/open-license.html (http://www.darkshire.net/%7Ejhkim/rpg/freerpgs/bykeyword/open-license.html)

http://www.ogmiosproject.org/Schrodinger/Schrodinger4.htm

http://thefreerpgblog.blogspot.com/

For a more specific example, Yags (http://www.glendale.org.uk) is a rules-light system which I've found to work very well.


And yet another focus of mine is a completely different (from D&D) Proficiency system...not just for weapons, but for everything a character may do. I have to admit, when it comes to my system, I am totally in love with my Weapons Proficiency mechanics. The other proficiencies...I'm working on them.If you have a good mechanic for weapons skills, why not use it for other skills as well? When you get right down to it, a skill is a skill; there's no reason to handle weapons skills differently from other types of skills. The human brain learns the same way regardless of whether it's learning the scimitar or the yo-yo.


My primary goal is to make 2 versions of a game: one rules-lite, the other rules-medium/heavy. Neither is actually related to the other in terms of mechanics...there may be slight similarities, but its not intended for players to "graduate" from the -lite to the -medium/heavy at any point. Simply a matter of "Which do you prefer in a game? Lite rules or heavier?" What if a GM wants to start with the lite version and move up to the advanced version once they've mastered the core mechanics? Wouldn't it be better to use the same mechanics for both? For that matter, why have only two versions? You could make it modular and allow GM's to start with the core and add whatever modules they like. Some may want to use all the advanced modules, while others may just use one or two.


And my secondary goal is to make games that uses more logical rules that are easy to understand...the more common sense they are, the easier it will be to memorize the rules, am I right?You're right. Making the system realistic also helps with suspension of disbelief. It's a lot easier to maintain the suspension of disbelief in the setting if you don't also have to suspend disbelief in the system.

If you're interested in realism, you might want consider making computerized playing aids availabe. Some referees don't like them, of course, but some do. Combat managers are particularly useful.

Also, you might want to subscribe to the FreeRoleplay mailing list (http://lists.freeroleplay.org/mailman/listinfo/discussion). The people there have experience in game design, so you can bounce ideas off them. And it's a low-volume list, so you won't get swamped with messages.

mrken
11-17-2008, 07:58 AM
Back twenty years ago I dropped alignment. About ten years ago I started to use the same rule set for fantasy as I had been using for Sci-fi. About five years ago I stopped using classes. There is, however, a limit to the skills by virtue of the 95% rule of 100, but the characters can always learn new skills, which has kept anyone from ever getting to 95%.

MortonStromgal
11-18-2008, 10:21 AM
I'm really tempted to post my homebrew system somewhere. Its all in my head ;) though I made a character sheet for it once :D

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
11-18-2008, 03:26 PM
I'm really tempted to post my homebrew system somewhere. Its all in my head ;) though I made a character sheet for it once :D
I think you should. I've love to take a gander at it. Yep, 'gander' seems to be my word of the week. Dunno why.

Chi
11-18-2008, 03:56 PM
I have just started playing home brewed games and I think they are a lot of fun!!

ronpyatt
11-19-2008, 02:15 PM
I'm really tempted to post my homebrew system somewhere. Its all in my head ;) though I made a character sheet for it once :D

That's the hard part. How many pages to you think you're homebrew would be? 20, 100, 300 pages?

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
11-19-2008, 02:26 PM
Just pdf it. I'd download the whole thing, no matter how large, and love spending the day just perusing it.

tesral
11-19-2008, 02:27 PM
That's the hard part. How many pages to you think you're homebrew would be? 20, 100, 300 pages?

It should have enough pages to finish it.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
11-19-2008, 02:39 PM
It should have enough pages to finish it.
Well, there is that. :lol:

tesral
11-19-2008, 06:40 PM
Well, there is that. :lol:

Seriously, if you fixate on a page count you will either end up padding the game or shorting it when it runs over. Write all the pages you need to finish it and not a page more.

darelf
11-20-2008, 10:25 AM
Seriously, if you fixate on a page count you will either end up padding the game or shorting it when it runs over. Write all the pages you need to finish it and not a page more.

Yeah, that's what artwork is for....

MortonStromgal
11-20-2008, 03:08 PM
That's the hard part. How many pages to you think you're homebrew would be? 20, 100, 300 pages?

Well Currently its only a character sheet lol!

The basics are this you have 6 attributes falling laterally an even path of physical mental and social and vertically on power and mobility. So like

Body Knowledge Charisma
Agility Wits Manipulation

These have scores of 1-5 for humans

Active Skills are rated 1-10 and are linked to attributes

Active Skills examples are Firearms, Bows, Melee Weapons, Brawl, Stealth

To make a Active Skill Test you would take the skill+attribute+2d10 and try to hit a target number. "Pairs" give you a bonus long as you hit the target number as well.

Language Skills are rated per ILR scale (1-5) and not rolled in any manner
http://www.sil.org/lingualinks/languagelearning/mangngyrlngglrnngprgrm/TheILRFSIProficiencyScale.htm

Knowledge Skills are also not rolled but compared to a score 1-5 vs the obscure nature of the information. If your score is as high as the target number you gain the information if not you cant recall anything about that particular topic.

Combat will be a single vs roll, with staging for damage level, no details yet. If a defender won the stages he/she gets would be a bonus for a counter attack on the defenders next attack action.

Magic/PSI/Powers will be some sort of "school" skill check, the drain would equal high die minus low die. So if you got a 7 and 4 your drain would be 3. Pairs would of course be 0 drain. You would take drain even if you don't successfully cast the spell/psi/power. Spells/PSI/Powers would be improvised with difficulties based on a variety factors.

[edit] ready and waiting for comments (please say why it sucks as opposed to just saying it sucks)

mrken
12-03-2008, 10:34 AM
I like the way you do the Language and Knowledge skills. No die rolls needed. This allows for more rapid results and less disruption.

Your combat with only one roll, again, fast and easy.

I also like the way you do magic, opposed rolls. Will stop things as the mental math is done, but it is fast and simple.

Only 199 pages to go. lol

jk

Edward
12-03-2008, 03:05 PM
To make a Active Skill Test you would take the skill+attribute+2d10 and try to hit a target number. "Pairs" give you a bonus long as you hit the target number as well.

Is this for unopposed skills (such as First Aid)?


Language Skills are rated per ILR scale (1-5) and not rolled in any manner
http://www.sil.org/lingualinks/languagelearning/mangngyrlngglrnngprgrm/TheILRFSIProficiencyScale.htmI use the ILR scale, too. It works well.


Knowledge Skills are also not rolled but compared to a score 1-5 vs the obscure nature of the information. If your score is as high as the target number you gain the information if not you cant recall anything about that particular topic.

Combat will be a single vs roll, with staging for damage level, no details yet. If a defender won the stages he/she gets would be a bonus for a counter attack on the defenders next attack action.Do all opposed skill checks (e.g. Stalking vs. Perception) work the same way as combat?


Magic/PSI/Powers will be some sort of "school" skill check, the drain would equal high die minus low die. So if you got a 7 and 4 your drain would be 3. Pairs would of course be 0 drain. You would take drain even if you don't successfully cast the spell/psi/power. Spells/PSI/Powers would be improvised with difficulties based on a variety factors.Interesting. I like that you treat different types of special powers (magic, psi, superpowers) the same way. That allows for types you didn't anticipate.


I like the way you do the Language and Knowledge skills. No die rolls needed. This allows for more rapid results and less disruption.

I like not rolling for language, but I would roll for Knowledge. No matter how high the skill rank, there's always the possibility the character may remember something wrong. And it wouldn't slow things down much, since it's just one roll in a non-combat situation.


Your combat with only one roll, again, fast and easy.Yes, I agree. Quick resolution is important.

My suggestion would be to try to keep the basic mechanics simple and consistent. Ideally you could use a single mechanic throughout, with variations when needed. It sounds like you may be doing that.

I would definitely suggest writing it out as a PDF. You don't have to do it all at once; you can put down the core rules first, then gradually expand it as rules come up in play. You could post it online for your players (and others) to download and review; it's always useful to have a central location for campaign information and discussions anyway.

It would be great if you made your game open source, so that other homebrewers could use parts of your rules and you could use theirs.

MortonStromgal
12-04-2008, 12:15 AM
Is this for unopposed skills (such as First Aid)?


Do all opposed skill checks (e.g. Stalking vs. Perception) work the same way as combat?


It would be great if you made your game open source, so that other homebrewers could use parts of your rules and you could use theirs.

#1 yes
#2 yes
#3 yes

For knowledge skills I may add a roll option if you don't have your research tools available. but if your a chemist and you have your books/internet I cant see needing to roll.

Honestly if I ever finish it I plan on putting it up as a webpage with downloadable open office format and pdf format.

After words I may do some cheap setting pdfs a Fantasy & Sci-Fi world of my own creation for example but mechanics and stat blocks will always be free. I'm not wanting to buy a house with it but if I get a beer out of it that would be awesome.

Edward
12-04-2008, 12:46 AM
Honestly if I ever finish it I plan on putting it up as a webpage with downloadable open office format and pdf format.

Sounds like a good option. If you need a free hosting service, I've used AtSpace.com (http://www.atspace.com) in the past and found them satisfactory. The only disadvantage I found was that (at least at the time) you couldn't change your MX records and they didn't forward email, so all email sent to that domain name had to be downloaded to one computer (POP access only).


After words I may do some cheap setting pdfs a Fantasy & Sci-Fi world of my own creation for example but mechanics and stat blocks will always be free. I'm not wanting to buy a house with it but if I get a beer out of it that would be awesome.In that case, I would suggest using LGPL or a more permissive license, rather than GPL.

If you make your settings generic, they may also be of interest to people using other game systems. And keeping the setting separate from the rules makes for a cleaner design anyway.

Soft Serve
12-07-2008, 10:18 PM
Wow. I think people dislike homebrew systems for the complication it adds to games by distracting from what players are used to.

I go the opposite route and try to make them simpler.

It's hard to do with dnd though....But yeah. I feel your pain. :lol:

Edward
12-08-2008, 02:27 AM
A good rules system should be transparent to the players; they should notice it as little as possible. Only the GM should need to learn the ins and outs. When you find yourself taking time from the session to discuss the rules instead of playing the game, that tells you something is seriously wrong.

One of the most common reasons people play homebrew games is because they're looking for a rules system that will get out of the way.

Webhead
12-08-2008, 08:53 AM
...One of the most common reasons people play homebrew games is because they're looking for a rules system that will get out of the way.

The opposite can also be true, though. People who haven't found a game that meets the right angle and level of "crunch" that they want and thus set about creating it for themselves. Random Nosehair Density tables. The rolled value on nosehair density applies a modifier on both the "Regional Physical Attractiveness" table and the "Respiration Volume/Frequency" table which consequently affects your "Situational Lung Capacity" stat.

GoddessGood
12-08-2008, 09:18 AM
The opposite can also be true, though. People who haven't found a game that meets the right angle and level of "crunch" that they want and thus set about creating it for themselves. Random Nosehair Density tables. The rolled value on nosehair density applies a modifier on both the "Regional Physical Attractiveness" table and the "Respiration Volume/Frequency" table which consequently affects your "Situational Lung Capacity" stat.

*pulls hair out* stuff like this kills my soul.

Seriously, I don't want to have to roll to cross the street and I don't need to know if my spit velocity is great enough to make it into the eye of my enemy from all the way over here.

I believe part of the task of being a GM is to have the rules as part of your toolset. The only times the players should need the rulebook is when they're making a character. Am I that good with the rules yet? No, not even with my favorite game (c'mon, it's a 400 page book). I'm getting there though, and I've got tolerant players who like knowing the rules themselves for the purpose of character building strategy.

The good part of it being a 400 page book is that they never really know what it is I will throw at them without ever having to look at another book versus tipping my hand by picking up a book of sorcery or a book about a certain enemy type.

mrken
12-08-2008, 09:20 AM
A good rules system should be transparent to the players; they should notice it as little as possible. Only the GM should need to learn the ins and outs. When you find yourself taking time from the session to discuss the rules instead of playing the game, that tells you something is seriously wrong.

One of the most common reasons people play homebrew games is because they're looking for a rules system that will get out of the way.


The opposite can also be true, though. People who haven't found a game that meets the right angle and level of "crunch" that they want and thus set about creating it for themselves. Random Nosehair Density tables. The rolled value on nosehair density applies a modifier on both the "Regional Physical Attractiveness" table and the "Respiration Volume/Frequency" table which consequently affects your "Situational Lung Capacity" stat.


Both of you are right I think. Opposite views I think, but both totally correct. Take me for example. I needed a system that I perceived to be invisible to the players so I could encourage rp. In my past experience the players would not do anything without consulting the rules. Every move they made was made to deliberately maximize the rules, and their enjoyment of the game.

I really enjoy it when the players will just rp their characters and not act constrained by rules. Some can do it so easily and well, some can't even to the smallest degree. They want to know, "What can I do now." Or as I once saw Tesral mention a character wanted to know if he woke up in the morning. Some people do not want a role playing game, they want a roll playing game. It is a left brain right brain conflict I think.

The only reason I finally wrote down the rules of my game was because I had people who couldn't grasp the idea that they could try to do anything. They needed to know exactly how much damage they would take if they jumped off the cliff so they could determine if they would still live if they jumped. Where any normal person would say that they would attempt to climb down or find some other way, rather than doing the math, "Well, if I jump, I will still have at least one hit point left if I jump." I don't want the players to be able to tell the future mathematically. I prefer role playing your character and dealing with the results of his or her actions, just like in real life. If you do the math and take the most advantageous action according to the rules, it doesn't look like rp to me it looks more like a min maxer powergaming munchkin. Some will still think I am an overbearing powergrubbing dictator. The difference is total, passionate, and unexplainable I think.

Edward
12-08-2008, 09:08 PM
The opposite can also be true, though. People who haven't found a game that meets the right angle and level of "crunch" that they want and thus set about creating it for themselves. Random Nosehair Density tables. The rolled value on nosehair density applies a modifier on both the "Regional Physical Attractiveness" table and the "Respiration Volume/Frequency" table which consequently affects your "Situational Lung Capacity" stat.

Sure, and there's nothing wrong with that. I prefer rules-heavy systems myself. But whether a system is rules-heavy or rules-light should not have much effect on the players; they shouldn't need to know most of the rules. They should describe what they're doing, and perhaps make a few rolls, and the GM should tell them what happens. How the GM determines what happens is not particularly relevant; in a storytelling game, the GM may simply make it up.

The players only need to know a lot of rules if the system is clunky and cumbersome, or if they don't trust the GM. If the players don't trust the GM, the game is about over anyway.

Of course, some players enjoy knowing the rules and interacting with the system "close to the metal." That's fine, too, as long as the whole group enjoys that gaming style. But most players only get deep into the rules because they feel that they have no choice.


I don't need to know if my spit velocity is great enough to make it into the eye of my enemy from all the way over here.

But I sort of like to calculate it. ;)


I believe part of the task of being a GM is to have the rules as part of your toolset. The only times the players should need the rulebook is when they're making a character.I agree completely.


The good part of it being a 400 page book is that they never really know what it is I will throw at them without ever having to look at another book versus tipping my hand by picking up a book of sorcery or a book about a certain enemy type.I would say magic and creatures are part of the game world, rather than part of the ruleset (because they vary from world to world, but the rules remain the same). So your ruleset doesn't actually take up 400 pages (which is good, if you like rules-light).


I really enjoy it when the players will just rp their characters and not act constrained by rules.

So do I. They should be able to assume that if they could do it in real life, they can do it in the game.


Or as I once saw Tesral mention a character wanted to know if he woke up in the morning.In some settings this may be a valid question . . . .


Some will still think I am an overbearing powergrubbing dictator. The difference is total, passionate, and unexplainable I think.The bottom line is that some playing styles are incompatible. Everyone has their own style, and that's fine; but some playing styles just aren't a good fit in a group with a radically different style.

Webhead
12-08-2008, 10:48 PM
...The bottom line is that some playing styles are incompatible. Everyone has their own style, and that's fine; but some playing styles just aren't a good fit in a group with a radically different style.

Very true. Hence why there are a thousand different game systems for role playing "sword-and-sorcery" fantasy. Different players and game masters define their experience with a game in different ways based upon how they want it to be played and go looking for "compatible" games accordingly (or create their own if they can't reach satisfaction).

Nothing wrong with that and nothing wrong with player diversity (in fact, it helps keep things fresh and interesting), but there are certain clashes that can become abrasive to the point of disruption if players are not mindful.

lomifeh
01-01-2009, 05:39 PM
New here, so hi ;)

I've done both. When I GM I tend to prefer worlds I've come up with simply because it's easier to control though I've done published stuff too. Regarding game systems, it's whatever works imho. As long as I can have fun and things are consistent I am happy.

I am actually working on a new world now. I tend to write it all down though with maps otherwise I'd never be able to manage it.

jade von delioch
01-01-2009, 09:59 PM
As with any game system, it depends on the game. D&D 3.5 and 4th edition are mass market games and they suck. Games like fusion started out as homebrewed and is definitely better than D&D.

Soft Serve
01-02-2009, 07:52 AM
I do live the d20 system, and the way I learned it was through dnd. The more and more games I hear about and play the more I agree that 3.5 is a terrible thing to throw new RP'ers into.

Think of it as a rite of passage...You can't say you play RPG's until you've experienced the 3.5 system. It's like being 35 without having ever owned a pellet gun and accidentally shot yourself with it.

d6 is becoming my favorite ever slowly though...I'm already using it for spells and such.

tesral
01-02-2009, 10:45 AM
I never shot myself. I take gun safety seriously.

With the exception of Harnmaster I have yet to encounter a system that was so rules heavy as to be unplayable. 3.5 included. After all you don't have ot use every single rule created for the game. Don't worry, Forry has already passed the 3.5 volume count over time. It will only get worse.

Rules can flavor the game, Forry is a perfect example of that. As stated I only draw the line at systems that shoulder their way to the front and interfere with the game. Homebrew or pro, it doesn't matter.

I mainly judge a system on elegance. How well do the rules mesh with play to the point you don't realize you have rules? D&D 3.5 can certainly fail that test. Can, it doesn't have to. In 3.5 it is a matter of player education. Know the rules that apply to your PC, please. Speeds things up immensely. I grind teeth when the books come out in the middle of a situation.

So I don't judge a system by the polish of the product, but by the elegance of the system. If you try a lot of systems you will, by Sturgeon's Law, shovel a lot of crap and kiss a lot of frogs. And the polish of the finished product will have less to do with what is good and what is bad than almost any other factor.

Soft Serve
01-02-2009, 04:51 PM
I second the motion that players should learn rules to whatever their playing to the point that everything is second nature, but it takes time to get there no matter what system your using. House rules, system changes, and infrequent situations call the books out of hiding every now and again and it's unavoidable.

Edward
01-04-2009, 12:45 AM
In 3.5 it is a matter of player education. Know the rules that apply to your PC, please. Speeds things up immensely. I grind teeth when the books come out in the middle of a situation.

True, but that reinforces Soft Serve's point that it isn't a good system for newbies. Personally, I would consider any system that requires players to learn rules to be badly flawed. Players should be able to learn the game by osmosis, simply by playing a session or two.


House rules, system changes, and infrequent situations call the books out of hiding every now and again and it's unavoidable.

I wouldn't consider it unavoidable, at least for players. The GM will probably have to refer to the rules every once in a while, though hopefully no more than once or twice in a session. The players should never need to look at the books, though, either during or outside the session.

Of course, some people enjoy the occasional pause to consult the rules. That's fine if it's what you enjoy, but you should never be forced to stop and dive into the books because of the system you're using.


I am actually working on a new world now. I tend to write it all down though with maps otherwise I'd never be able to manage it.

Interesting. What sort of world are you designing?

tesral
01-04-2009, 12:53 AM
True, but that reinforces Soft Serve's point that it isn't a good system for newbies. Personally, I would consider any system that requires players to learn rules to be badly flawed. Players should be able to learn the game by osmosis, simply by playing a session or two.


Basic d20 does meet that criteria. It's only when you add the small library of extra stuff you have problems. Complexity is a matter of viewpoint. I agree that D&D is overly complex in some regards, but not too complex for newbies. I see newbies get into and enjoy the system at once.

Ben is a good example. He has never role played until he joined the Friday group. Yea, his brother has to read things to him, he needs someone else to roll the dice but the guy is having a blast.

Soft Serve
01-04-2009, 03:40 AM
DND was just perfect for me when I first started because I was ready for the numbers and all the time I would spend on building maps, worlds, and one-timers.

It gives you a great handle on the d20 system, how things work in almost any RPG, and it's fun for a good while. It got too complicated for my group though, and I was really tired of having people drop out all the time so I had to switch to simpler rules for myself and my group. So DND is good for new players if they're ready to spend an hour and a half making a character with the DM and a few days adjusting. But Rules Light is good for anybody who's never played very much, doesn't have the same open ended time as everyone else, and really loves the feeling that everything ISN'T under control and can have different consequences from the last time it happened, which you don't get from DND because everything has it's own series of numbers and rolls of dice.

jade von delioch
01-04-2009, 12:43 PM
Player should not have to know all the rules to play a game. I agree with this, However, i believe it is the GMs fault that players would feel otherwise in a game.
For instance, i am currently running a 3rd edition shadowrun game where a few of the players have never played before. Since these players have never played before i took it slow by running a simple mission first that would in turn teach the players the basic rules of the game as we went along. I the GM dictated the rules to them when the situation for said rule came into play. This does not mean i read the rule out load verbatim. I merly said that if you use partial cover you will be hampered when it comes to attack or some such thing.
Now i should say that i believe that every player should sooner or later learn the basic rules for the system they are playing. Not so they can know the stats on monsters or how to mim-max their characters, but so that they know what their options are during any or most situations. I would never expect this from a new player and have told new players in the past something along those lines. I also will point out that just making the character during character creation should tell the player much of how a game system works. This way the player understands what makes a character strong in one place and not in another.

lomifeh
01-04-2009, 12:58 PM
True, but that reinforces Soft Serve's point that it isn't a good system for newbies. Personally, I would consider any system that requires players to learn rules to be badly flawed. Players should be able to learn the game by osmosis, simply by playing a session or two.



I wouldn't consider it unavoidable, at least for players. The GM will probably have to refer to the rules every once in a while, though hopefully no more than once or twice in a session. The players should never need to look at the books, though, either during or outside the session.

Of course, some people enjoy the occasional pause to consult the rules. That's fine if it's what you enjoy, but you should never be forced to stop and dive into the books because of the system you're using.



Interesting. What sort of world are you designing?

Well it is a fantasy world but the idea being what would happen if said world approached the mid 1800's a la Victorian era england. I don't want to call it Steampunk since the premise is not exactly the same thing. The idea really hit me while reading some of the Dungeon series a few years back but I did nothing with it other than make some notes. If you want to know more PM me.

I do agree no rules system should be so complex that it interferes with gameplay. Rules are meant to define, and facilitate gameplay. They should be a framework to allow the players to well, have fun.

Edward
01-06-2009, 03:23 AM
Since these players have never played before i took it slow by running a simple mission first that would in turn teach the players the basic rules of the game as we went along. I the GM dictated the rules to them when the situation for said rule came into play. This does not mean i read the rule out load verbatim. I merly said that if you use partial cover you will be hampered when it comes to attack or some such thing.
Now i should say that i believe that every player should sooner or later learn the basic rules for the system they are playing. Not so they can know the stats on monsters or how to mim-max their characters, but so that they know what their options are during any or most situations. I would never expect this from a new player and have told new players in the past something along those lines. I also will point out that just making the character during character creation should tell the player much of how a game system works. This way the player understands what makes a character strong in one place and not in another.

This is a viable approach. Personally, though, I prefer systems that don't restrict what players can do. I don't want my players to think in terms of what options the rules give them; I want them to think about what would be possible in the real world. For example, they shouldn't consider whether they're allowed to tackle an opponent, or whether they have enough initiative points to pursue a retreating combatant. I want them to consider whether they could realistically do it, given their skills and the tactical situation. I also try to avoid game terms such as hit points and level.


I do agree no rules system should be so complex that it interferes with gameplay. Rules are meant to define, and facilitate gameplay. They should be a framework to allow the players to well, have fun.

I agree, but I don't think complexity is always a problem. You could have a clumsy, simple system which gets in the way of gameplay, or an elegant, complex system which stays in the background. The key is that the complexity should be seen by the GM, not by the players. I like rules-heavy systems myself, but only if they're elegant enough that they don't slow down play. Whether a system is rules-light or rules-heavy shouldn't matter to the players if it's elegant and well-designed.


Well it is a fantasy world but the idea being what would happen if said world approached the mid 1800's a la Victorian era england. I don't want to call it Steampunk since the premise is not exactly the same thing.That's an interesting idea, although it's a bit difficult to implement well. If it's pure fantasy (rather than a mix of magic and technology), the laws of physics would be different than in our world, and there shouldn't be any heat engines (steam engines, combustion engines, etc.) or explosives. Instead, technology which does work would have been refined much more than in our world; for example, they might have very advanced bows and steel-hulled sailing ships. Most of their research and development efforts would focus on magic; even if it's a low-fantasy world, magic would be highly refined and would be continuing to advance. One critical question is whether plane travel is possible. Personally, I would disallow it to prevent introduction of knowledge from other universes -- at least for the first world you build on this model.

Webhead
01-06-2009, 09:57 AM
This is a viable approach. Personally, though, I prefer systems that don't restrict what players can do. I don't want my players to think in terms of what options the rules give them; I want them to think about what would be possible in the real world. For example, they shouldn't consider whether they're allowed to tackle an opponent, or whether they have enough initiative points to pursue a retreating combatant. I want them to consider whether they could realistically do it, given their skills and the tactical situation. I also try to avoid game terms such as hit points and level...

Exactly what I strive for, which is why I tend to prefer more minimalist or "broad scope" systems when possible. Choose your actions based upon what is sensical within the context of your character, the game world and the current situation. I don't want to have to say in a game, "Sorry, you can't do a jump kick because you don't have the [Jump Kick] Feat". ;)


...I agree, but I don't think complexity is always a problem. You could have a clumsy, simple system which gets in the way of gameplay, or an elegant, complex system which stays in the background. The key is that the complexity should be seen by the GM, not by the players. I like rules-heavy systems myself, but only if they're elegant enough that they don't slow down play. Whether a system is rules-light or rules-heavy shouldn't matter to the players if it's elegant and well-designed...

True. The GM also has to consider the level of complexity that the he or she wishes to shoulder both pre-game and at the table. Elegant in execution as it may be, complexity still necessitates time. So the GM must be sure they are comfortable with the amount of time and degree of attention they will have to spend to effectively wield a game system at their table for maximum player enjoyment. Again, a reason I tend to be happier with more minimalist systems. The less time I have to spend considering rules implications on my end of the screen, the more time I have to consider the thoughts, emotions, goals, perceptions and conclusions of the PCs and NPCs.

jade von delioch
01-06-2009, 01:33 PM
This is a viable approach. Personally, though, I prefer systems that don't restrict what players can do.

I was not saying that this would restrict the players from doing what they think is possible, i was think that it would help the players see what potentially they could come up with; help to inspire them to think outside the box.



However, I would like to say that House rules are an obvious sign that something is wrong with the system that you are using. And when i say that i do not mean the house rules that cover situational things that they did not cover in the game book, like what type of damage a character would suffer if they fell down a 20 flights of stairs. I mean the ones that changes the core rules of the game or augment them in anyway. The end result being- you should find something else.

hueloovoo
01-06-2009, 02:28 PM
Personally, I have not really seen much to suggest one system over another, homebrew or mass market. Except Synnibarr, that system was terrible. But for the most part, what makes any system good is the people playing it. Sometimes you need a simpler system for ease of play, others you need a more robust system for more variety and detail. No one is better than another in my opinion, once you get used to them. As long as you have a good GM and players, whatever system you play will work for you.

MortonStromgal
01-06-2009, 02:32 PM
However, I would like to say that House rules are an obvious sign that something is wrong with the system that you are using. And when i say that i do not mean the house rules that cover situational things that they did not cover in the game book, like what type of damage a character would suffer if they fell down a 20 flights of stairs. I mean the ones that changes the core rules of the game or augment them in anyway. The end result being- you should find something else.

I'm not sure what your saying a house rule is then. My house rules include for nWOD mortals wound penalties are -1, -1, -2, -2, -5, INC. Rather than the -1, -2 -3, because I don't feel the wounds kick in soon enough to simulate horror. They work just fine for Vampire/Werewolf/etc. Its a minor tweak but its changing a core rule. I love most of the rest of the system. SR4 I would up the karma cost for attributes. Again this is a core change. I can't think of any RPG system I wouldn't tweak. Most of the games I run I play due to setting and not system. I'll use the system if it has an advantage GURPS does not otherwise I'll use GURPS. Either way I figure I may have to tweek some stuff.

[edit] I'm not that fond of GURPS either it just the milestone I judge a system by. If the system is more work than me creating templates and such for GURPS then I may as well use GURPS.

I've posted earlier in this thread my own system I've been developing and even that is far from perfect (honestly I like dice pools but I understand some people dont so I have developed it around 2d10)

Edward
01-06-2009, 03:40 PM
I was not saying that this would restrict the players from doing what they think is possible, i was think that it would help the players see what potentially they could come up with; help to inspire them to think outside the box.

That makes sense. It all comes down to how the GM runs the game. With some systems, this approach can require a lot of customizing, though.


However, I would like to say that House rules are an obvious sign that something is wrong with the system that you are using. And when i say that i do not mean the house rules that cover situational things that they did not cover in the game book, like what type of damage a character would suffer if they fell down a 20 flights of stairs. I mean the ones that changes the core rules of the game or augment them in anyway. The end result being- you should find something else.I agree. If you just have a few house rules, you're only tweaking the system; but if you have a lot, it's really a new game.


Personally, I have not really seen much to suggest one system over another, homebrew or mass market. Except Synnibarr, that system was terrible. But for the most part, what makes any system good is the people playing it. Sometimes you need a simpler system for ease of play, others you need a more robust system for more variety and detail. No one is better than another in my opinion, once you get used to them. As long as you have a good GM and players, whatever system you play will work for you.

A good GM and players can make any system work, but with some, it takes a lot of time and effort. At a certain point, you have to conclude that you would have done better to use a different system, rather than putting all that time into fixing a broken system.

I would consider the number of house rules to be the key metric. If you just have a few, the system is probably pretty good. If you have a lot, then why did you use that system in the first place? Why not use something closer to what you want?


Its a minor tweak but its changing a core rule. I love most of the rest of the system. SR4 I would up the karma cost for attributes. Again this is a core change. I can't think of any RPG system I wouldn't tweak. Most of the games I run I play due to setting and not system. I'll use the system if it has an advantage GURPS does not otherwise I'll use GURPS. Either way I figure I may have to tweek some stuff.

Sure, but you probably change some systems a lot more than others. How much work would it be to write down all your house rules, for the benefit of new players? If you immediately think, "That would take way too long," then you probably changed the game so much that it's really a different game.

Also, if your tweaks to different systems have a common theme, that probably tells you a lot about the system you really want.


I'm not that fond of GURPS either it just the milestone I judge a system by. If the system is more work than me creating templates and such for GURPS then I may as well use GURPS.

I've posted earlier in this thread my own system I've been developing and even that is far from perfect (honestly I like dice pools but I understand some people dont so I have developed it around 2d10)No homebrew system is very good or very complete when it's just getting started. Playtesting is crucial. The more time you spend playing it, the better it will be. And if you're going to have to tweak the system anyway, why not just work on your own? Eventually it will be just the way you like it and will be able to handle any setting.

One big advantage of using your own system is that you own the rights to it; you can make copies to give to friends and players, and no one in your game has to spend money buying books. Even if they want to print it, printing isn't very expensive.

Of course, if you want to modify an existing system rather than build one from scratch, you can modify an open-source RPG and get many of the same benefits. I just can't see any reason to spend a lot of time modifying a proprietary game when I won't even be able to legally publish or distribute my customized version.

Webhead
01-06-2009, 03:44 PM
...I mean the ones that changes the core rules of the game or augment them in anyway. The end result being- you should find something else.

I both agree and disagree. I suppose it depends on how much of the rest of the system you like and how much work the house rule requires.

For me, house ruling most often occurs where logic and/or sensibility contradict the rules. Fall off of a mountain in D&D? The rules say you take a maximum of 20d6 damage. So, your 14th level Fighter stands an absurdly good chance of not only surviving the fall, but of not even falling unconcious! Thus, house rule: if you fall off a mountain and have no means of rescue, you die. No hit points, no save...just death. If your cleric wants to resurrect you later, that's fine. You're still dead.

I don't mind making those kinds of judgements and continuing to use the system.

But yes, at a certain point, when you've house ruled so much, you really cease to play the original game and are now playing something that is really your own creation. Honestly, I think that's where a lot of homebrew games begin. Tinkering and tweaking away until it becomes something new.
--- Merged from Double Post ---

Personally, I have not really seen much to suggest one system over another, homebrew or mass market. Except Synnibarr, that system was terrible. But for the most part, what makes any system good is the people playing it. Sometimes you need a simpler system for ease of play, others you need a more robust system for more variety and detail. No one is better than another in my opinion, once you get used to them. As long as you have a good GM and players, whatever system you play will work for you.

Absolutely. The key is that the GM and players should play whatever is fun and works for them. Some people can make even obnoxious systems support awesome games (a la Synnibarr which was strange as hell but our GM made it a blast) and some people can take simple, elegant and inspirational systems and completely flub them if they're not familiar, comfortable or interested in what they are doing.

And honestly, there's nothing that says a person can't like both "simple" and "complex" systems for different games, genres, campaigns or themes. Different games excel at different things. M&M and Wushu are two of my favorite systems and they couldn't be more conceptually different in terms of design if they tried.

jade von delioch
01-06-2009, 05:35 PM
I'm not sure what your saying a house rule is then. My house rules include for nWOD mortals wound penalties are -1, -1, -2, -2, -5, INC. Rather than the -1, -2 -3, because I don't feel the wounds kick in soon enough to simulate horror. They work just fine for Vampire/Werewolf/etc. Its a minor tweak but its changing a core rule. I love most of the rest of the system. SR4 I would up the karma cost for attributes. Again this is a core change. I can't think of any RPG system I wouldn't tweak.


That seems like White wolf didn't think about that at all. But personally, and logic would suggest that any necessary augmentation to something would suggest that there was something wrong/broken with it.
But i'm a little bias since i think 4th edition shadowrun is broken anyway.



For me, house ruling most often occurs where logic and/or sensibility contradict the rules. Fall off of a mountain in D&D? The rules say you take a maximum of 20d6 damage. So, your 14th level Fighter stands an absurdly good chance of not only surviving the fall, but of not even falling unconcious! Thus, house rule: if you fall off a mountain and have no means of rescue, you die. No hit points, no save...just death. If your cleric wants to resurrect you later, that's fine. You're still dead.

Which D&D is this? If its fourth edition, then i'm not surprised since that is another system that is played for every few logically good reasons.
Tri-stat system was good about stuff like that, they even had rules for how much damage the earth would have to suffer to be destroyed by a meteorite.
This and many other such things is what i had to address in my own game system, which is still in the playtest stages. I hope within the next year to broden the range of playtesting by having other groups test them out for me.

Webhead
01-06-2009, 09:30 PM
...Which D&D is this? If its fourth edition, then i'm not surprised since that is another system that is played for every few logically good reasons...

It was a rule from 3e and, consequently, the d20 system in general (not sure if it was changed at all in 3.5).

Falling damage rules stated that you took 1d6 damage for every 10 feet of distance fallen, up to a maximum of 20d6 when you reach terminal velocity. The system in itself is not terribly realistic (and that probably wasn't its goal) but besides that, for those who want to go "by the book" it allows for the aforementioned mountain jumpers.

As I said, that's where I tend to allow sensiblity to take over and thus where house rules are born.

tesral
01-06-2009, 11:19 PM
It was a rule from 3e and, consequently, the d20 system in general (not sure if it was changed at all in 3.5).

It goes way back to AD&D.

Now, as we know no one can survive a fall of that distance. However normal people have survived unrealistically high falls in absurd conditions. Example When a Yugoslav DC9 exploded in mid air, as a suspected result of a terrorist bombing, Vesna Vulovic (http://www.avsec.com/interviews/vesna-vulovic.htm) plummeted over 33,000 feet to land on a snowy slope. Vesna Vulovic was paralyzed from the waist down, but later recovered and was able to walk. She was the only survivor and holds the record for the longest fall. Now; this is proof that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has an obligation to be believable.

If a PC takes a real long fall I have a fort save at some awful high DC, and if you make it, then you take the 20d6 damage.

People put in house rules for different reasons. The majority of my changes for example were to make the game more campaign specific. I have made minimal changes from that version to the standard d20 D&D. At this point it is all but a custom game. Did I consider the system broken? Not really, but I wanted my version of it.

Syxth
02-12-2009, 10:52 PM
I have tried at least 40 dif game systems over the years and I would try just about any homebrew system that pops up. Well as long as it seems interesting and like the system actually functions well.

kkriegg
02-17-2009, 07:38 PM
I used to exclusively run homebrews. Making the system was almost as fun as playing it. One of the best times I had roleplaying was working with a buddy on his own homebrew system. We'd have a session, then sit down afterward brainstorming new mechanics or ways of handling what happened. It was a blast. It was like playing two different games at once.

I also liked the total knowledge you'd have of the system. You wouldn't have to spend time reading through all these other people's words in order to feel confident about making a call, nomatter where the game went (and since I hate railroady or even "over-planned" games, this was great).

On the minus side, its quite difficult to find players. One or two people will happen along and you'll all have the time of your lives. But for the most part, it's "Aw, I don't want to read all this crap. Let's just do D&D."

Edward
02-17-2009, 08:09 PM
On the minus side, its quite difficult to find players. One or two people will happen along and you'll all have the time of your lives. But for the most part, it's "Aw, I don't want to read all this crap. Let's just do D&D."

The players shouldn't have to read anything; they should be able to learn the game by playing a session or two. If you're having trouble finding or keeping players, that probably means your system is too complicated. You don't necessarily need to make it lighter; you just need to make sure that complexity affects only the GM and is transparent to the players.

kkriegg
02-18-2009, 08:47 PM
Naw, it wasn't that complex and they didn't have to read anything. I was referring to people's natural tendancy not to change gears. I can't blame them, really. There's no promise a homebrewed game is going to be as good as the comercial game they've been playing for 10 years.

Edward
02-18-2009, 09:38 PM
I haven't had that problem. I encourage people to just jump in, though. Maybe you're explaining too much before the game starts. People don't want to listen to explanations; they just want to play.

Farfignooghen
11-30-2009, 12:00 PM
I dont care for the homebrewed games much. I agree with what an above poster said regarding their general propensity for bias.

I have had lots of success running in homebrew worlds over the years though. That can be exceptionally fun.

bigironvault
12-07-2009, 07:59 AM
The only difference that I see between mass market stuff and homebrew projects is the polish. With enough time investment and of course money - it can be done.

I personally like new ideas and twists on established genres. But I'm also a stickler for polish and production value.

Homebrew games also lack a level of playtesting - which is needed. We ran a local playtest and we nailed a list of "bugs" about 2 pages long. We're continuing to playtest each occupation in combination with each species - so far so good.

But I agree randomly throwing ideas together often does not lend itself to a decent game at all.

Not to slam the anti-homebrewers here but for any comment here about mass-market being better than homebrew because of "x" - I can come up with a mass-market product that contradicts that.

The reality is that unless you're working for Games Workshop, White Wolf or WOTC, you're pratically writing RPGs as a secondary job. But then again that's my opinion.


With the exception of Harnmaster I have yet to encounter a system that was so rules heavy as to be unplayable.

3.5 is a joke when compared to the complexity of Aces & Eights. That game is way too intimidating rules wise but still cool enough for me to buy it! Then how about 2nd Edition D&D that game was hellauva complex too.

In the end of the day - this is a discussion that will probably have no end. There's tons of ways to play a TRPG, even more CRPG and then you have LARP. Role-playing is role-playing - to each their own! :D

tesral
12-07-2009, 09:41 AM
Well I played,and play both. Rules heavy yes, but the basic system is not. So while rules heavy it's not too rules heavy to play.

bigironvault
12-07-2009, 11:29 AM
I really consider Aces & Eights more of a simulation than a RPG if all the optional rules were used.

Swordnboard
12-09-2009, 10:54 AM
Back in high school a friend of mine made a homebrew system (d10) for a group of us loosely based on Final Fantasy -- and it worked, for him (especially because he would do a lot of work preparing for each session and wrote great stories). Unfortunately, when you use a homebrew there's not much utility outside of it, so once that campaign stopped everything died. Additionally, it made it so only one person could GM -- and that led to a lot of pull-you-along storylines (where you feel like you're reading a script or playing a videogame and not living in a world).

As a result, I prefer established systems. But, like many posters above, I also prefer a homebrew world. That way there's no meeting Drizzt or anything like that (though I admit, the familiarity with Faerun for example can be nice at times).

WhiteTiger
12-09-2009, 12:31 PM
I have played some homebrew. Some were good and some were poor but I like them just the same because they are cheap. :biggrin:

Sometimes, I even discover something cool that I can adapt to another game.

tesral
12-09-2009, 05:00 PM
As a result, I prefer established systems. But, like many posters above, I also prefer a homebrew world. That way there's no meeting Drizzt or anything like that (though I admit, the familiarity with Faerun for example can be nice at times).

I know a fellow that did a radical realignment of the whole Star Wars Universe to avoid the obsessive fan boy problem. My son (Sir Not Playing in that Game) hated the idea, but he is an obsessive fan boy, at least for Star Wars.

Very familiar settings like Farum get the same problem. You have gamers that have every Farun book memorized and love the setting, until you do something with it.

I've said and will say again, setting matters not, once you start the game it's a homebrew setting and anything you don't own has to apply for membership in your world. You cannot play a setting without leaving you footprints all over it.

The first thing that would happen is the PCs would find Drizzle flat dead in a giant footprint, pre-looted. One problem solved.

Dytrrnikl
12-10-2009, 04:23 AM
Let's not forget MERPS for rules complexity. I still get a bit of a headache when I think about that system. Absolutely ridiculous.

tesral
12-10-2009, 08:49 AM
Let's not forget MERPS for rules complexity. I still get a bit of a headache when I think about that system. Absolutely ridiculous.

I've got that one, but I never looked under the cover. Read the fluff and glossed over the crunch.

bigironvault
12-10-2009, 06:03 PM
Played the PC game once... that was slow as heck. It had nothing on the gold box games.

Syxth
12-11-2009, 12:54 PM
Let me start off with my game history. I started playing D&D when I was 7 years old. My older brother and his friend needed a fill in player so they tossed me a pre made character and told me have at it. Pretty much from that point on I was hooked. At first I mainly played D&D and eventually progressed to trying out countless other games, honestly at least 20 systems. Over the years I have found that there is no perfect game system period. There is always a rule or method of play that just doesnt seem logical or productive for a game. This is where the DM or GM needs to adapt and modify or even exclude rules to make the game flow freely and fun for everyone. So to me any mainstream game system becomes at least half homebrew. I was never angry about unusual rules or anything from games. I just felt that some areas lacked detail where as other ares in games had to much detail when not needed. An exmaple is most games armor systems. You can have one of the 6 or so kinds of armor and there you go. I felt that a bit more detail with armor, armor types and so forth would enhance the game but it still needed to be simple to understand. So I would simply adapt it my way for the games I played. It isnt that I didnt like what was in the books. I personally just wanted more than they offered. Most people would agree that you give up more play time if you have more detail to a system. I on the other hand disagree, as long as you can apply the detail in an understable and effective manner it will not drag things out. I have always called that my common sense approach or I would say K.I.S.S. it (Keep It Simplisticly Simply). Thats what eventually led me to try my hand at creating a system of my own.

So several years ago I to started my own game system, like many people have. My goal was to come as close to perfect as possible with the function, system, flow, ease of play and all of that. I have spent countless hours altering my ideas, adapting my ideas, formulating my ideas, play testing my ideas and most importantly getting feedback from the people who have playtested it with me. I wanted to make my game system as unique as possible but also keep it simple, understandable and relatable to 95% of whats out there. I felt that a game that was to unique would make people feel less inclined to even try it out and it would end up to complex. Lets face it though. Pretty much every game out there has similarities, races (elves), Attributes (Strength), Hit points of some sort even if under a diferent name and so on.

Now several years later I have my system. After many changes I feel its about as perfect as it will get. Initially when I started creating I ended up with a complex monster of a game. The character sheet had so much information crammed in it. It was pretty much its own book on a 2 sided paper. After playing it with others. The stuff that added to the time to play or just made stuff draw out got cut out of it. Now its a streamlined masterful system in my opinion.

I read thru many of the posts in here. I would certainly agree that most if not all homebrewers that push their games have some kind of ego. In reality though, I think you need to have that drive and determination to push your ideas to some extent and get it out there for others to see and use. Thats my goal for my creation! I dont down talk other systems though but I have certainly seen my fair share of games that make absolutely no sense at all even when creator of it says its the next best thing. So with that said the creators personal opinion will always be bias towards their own ideas, even mine im sure. I just dont push my system like its crack onto people. They will either like it or not like it. Either way its progress for me!

I do plan to self publish my game system soon and I do not expect to get rich for doing so. I will be honest though. It would be nice if the game took off enough as to where I could live nicely off the proceeds and then continue the game as my career, that is my dream. But I am grounded in relaity and just to have people enjoy playing it. That would truly be enough for me to keep it going.

So in all... Its starts at a homebrew system and can end up mainstream for anyone. Every single game out there started off as an idea from someone while sitting on the toilet. Not all succeed but if one is unwilling to even atempt to share the ideas they have come up with. I feel that the games currently out there will not ever progress. Anyone remember first edition D&D? Compare that to 4th Ed and theres a ton more stuff. Thats progress! Not all of it is good or fun, but at times a diamond pops out of it all changing play for the better.

Wow I am done rambling on. lol

Mark

bigironvault
12-11-2009, 05:28 PM
I agree with the above poster. You have to share your ideas, everyone starts of being really possessive of them and of course defensive (with obvious justification for that).

This is a comment to those that are afraid of someone stealing your idea its really a good idea to make something of of your idea, why?:

1. Keep your ideas to yourself - someone "unnamed corporation" steals them and you're screwed.

or

2. Try to publish it, market it to the community, it doesn't fly but someone steals the idea and hopefully the community goes "Wait a minute. I think we saw this before." at least you have a beam of light of a chance to get something from it.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
12-11-2009, 05:39 PM
This is why i can be r e a l l y vague on my world idea. I do plan to publish, and it *is* a great idea. So, yes i love homebrew gaming systems, even having one of my own i sooo wish i could share more about. What i will share is that it is extremely dark and gritty and based in alternate history. Actually, so is my future game, come to think of it.

Calsapher
12-11-2009, 10:10 PM
Depends on the Homebrew. Some are good but thats because they cover every angle, it also depends on how flawless their combat system is. Im not saying i like combat based games im just saying i like to glide threw the combat to get to the RP'ing. Also if your going to home brew pre-write some diolog for your NPC's dont just make stuff up willy nilly, at least have some guide lines lol.

Over all in my mind its worth a shot to try any system, give it a cupple hours of reading and a game session and see if it sticks.

bigironvault
12-12-2009, 09:49 PM
I think a part of the problem is that the younger generation tends to gravitate towards cool and shiny things, versus looking at the core of the game. I know that a more than a few of us here are really more interested in the mechanics, flow, sensibility and probably some grognard-ness. However, we probably make up like 10% of the D&D 4ed market.

Now its not my place to say how D&D should be, but its really far from how Gygax and Arneson envisioned it (hence why Gygax started working with the folks from Troll Lord Games in his later years on a "homebrew type" system called Castles and Crusades that borrows elements from d20 but has nothing really in common.

C&C is also a game I've ran since the 1st printing. Awesome game. Never would have discovered it and Gygax's latest works (as a homage to his past) if I was closed off to homebrew systems.

tesral
12-12-2009, 11:07 PM
It can be kissing frogs. As in "You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find the beautiful princess." But you have to kiss some frogs, and Sturgeon's Law applies. .Last I looked it didn't kill anyone.

As I said before, shiny and high production value is no assurance of quality. Lack of production values is no indication of its lack. Or as the sage once said, "You can't tell a book by its cover."

Enough proverbing. If you are open to new game systems, don't restrict yourself to the shiny books.

bigironvault
12-13-2009, 07:33 AM
Enough proverbing. If you are open to new game systems, don't restrict yourself to the shiny books.

100% agreed.

Calsapher
12-21-2009, 11:44 AM
I think a part of the problem is that the younger generation tends to gravitate towards cool and shiny things, versus looking at the core of the game. I know that a more than a few of us here are really more interested in the mechanics, flow, sensibility and probably some grognard-ness. However, we probably make up like 10% of the D&D 4ed market.

Now its not my place to say how D&D should be, but its really far from how Gygax and Arneson envisioned it (hence why Gygax started working with the folks from Troll Lord Games in his later years on a "homebrew type" system called Castles and Crusades that borrows elements from d20 but has nothing really in common.

C&C is also a game I've ran since the 1st printing. Awesome game. Never would have discovered it and Gygax's latest works (as a homage to his past) if I was closed off to homebrew systems.

Sure allot of young players like new and shiny things but Iím a relatively young player and I hate 4.0e. Itís to combat based and it doesn't allow too much character customization. Unlike its older brothers, 1e-3.5e, 4.0e is a pitiful excuse of an RPG in my opinion; it is more of a board game. THe world of warcraft board game honestly did a tad bit better. Oh and by the way for any one who doesn't care that WoW is over marketed, check out the WoW board game if you want a short RPG that you can play in one session. For me a home brew must above all else do a good job on the mechanics of the system and allow a vast range of possibilities while creating characters.

Frobozz
12-22-2009, 03:21 PM
I tend to hate homebrew game systems for all the reasons grimwell stated above (good job, couldn't have said it better myself). The system I'm playing in now is still 98% D&D 3.5 rules, but has a fair amount of hacking onto it to get it to work well with things like guns and technology. I wouldn't consider it "homebrew" though. You still roll a d20 and add your base attack bonus, any feat and equipment bonuses and announce the AC you hit.

Homebrew campaigns though, I wouldn't do anything but at this point. Me and my players have gotten comfortable with playing in fresh-untouched worlds. The thing I hate most about every pre-made campaign out there is the "heroes". It seems anything epic and worth doing has already been done. Your characters can be very cool, but they'll never ever be quite as cool as Elminster, Han Solo, Raistlin, Drizzt, Frodo or any one of a thousand other over-mimicked "heroes" of pre-made campaigns.

It's the unknown world that you can carve your own fate through without being compared to someone else's idea of a hero that attracts me to those.

Lucifer_Draconus
01-06-2010, 02:23 PM
I'd give them a try if it wasn't a diceless game. Jade's Paragon system was the first & only 'homebrew' system I've played. It's fun but I'm not big on his setting but the rules are fun. Would I use them for my games , I doubt it but would be willing to play in a game using them.