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thirdkingdom
02-11-2009, 10:22 AM
Hi everyone,
I'm new to this board and just wanted to introduce the game I am currently working on. The Third Kingdom is an fantasy role-playing game that has been in the works for the past two years. As of now I have about 270 pages (before formatting for printing -- it will shrink in size) of the Player's Handbook written and hope to be finished by the middle of March.
The most recent update of the Player's Handbook can be downloaded at thirdkingdomgame.com. Like the Player's Handbook, the website is not complete. If anyone has some spare time (hah!) I would love some constructive advice of what I have so far. Keep in mind that it is incomplete chapterwise as well as a whole and I still need to edit and reconcile changes. In other words, no one chapter is complete and all are in need of revision (minor in most cases) and final editing
The following are some features of the mechanics I think work well:
1) Each character is defined by eight Primary Attributes. These Attributes define the core of the character and also serve as the basis for any conflict resolution that takes place in the game. As characters gain experience they are able to increase Attribute scores; in fact, level advancement is based in part upon having a certain Attribute total.
2) The Attribute Rank determines the die roll used in an active Challenge. The system uses only d10s. Average characters have a Rank die of d10. Less than average scores used d5, above average scores use d10 + d5 or better. The die roll (referred to as the Rank Die) is added, along with other modifiers, to get a Challenge total. Many aspects of conflict other than the Challenge are not determined by rolling but rather by the Challenge difference. For instance, the greater the difference between an attack and a defensive Challenge the greater the damage inflicted.
3) Character creation involves a point-buy system and there are no classes. Instead, there are over 100 skills and about the same number of Talents (special abilities/qualities the character can purchase). For a minor cost characters can also purchase "Background templates" that add a total 0f +5 to two or more skills. These templates are open to all characters regardless of their skills or abilities.
4) Conflicts are resolved with Challenges. An attempt to hit a target would look as follows: Warfare + Rank Die + Character level + Weapon Proficiency skill Rank. An attempt to block the attack would look like this: Warfare + Rank Dice + Character level + Weapon Proficiency skill Rank. This format is applied to all conflict resolution and is either made with two active scores (i.e. one character attacking and the other defending) or a passive score (i.e. attacking a stationary object, climbing a wall, etc.)
5) The magic system allows characters to cast spells they know and have practiced or to spontaneously create spells to meet certain situations (Challenge dependent for success). Magical energy suffuses the world of the Third Kingdom in the form of plasm and all characters have magical energy and the potential to use such energy through the purchase of Talents; the Spellweaving or Wild Magic to cast spells or other Talents that allow the character to change shape, see in the dark, telepathically communicate with others, etc

There's more but I've got to get back to work.

Thanks,

Todd
e-mail me at thirdkingdom@yahoo.com
the web address is thirdkingdomgame.com

MortonStromgal
02-11-2009, 12:11 PM
So I read the mechanics, what does your system offer that the unisystem does not?

thirdkingdom
02-11-2009, 12:57 PM
I actually have no idea what the "unisystem" is. Sorry. I am aware that there are a multitude of systems and homebrews out there but am not that familiar with any of them. I actually haven't played much since the 80s and 90s but got reintroduced a few years back when my stepson got in D&D 3.5. The Third Kingdom started out as a little present for him but has turned into something that I feel has some real potential. In a way I think my lack of knowledge of other systems is beneficial -- I'm sure there are other systems that work in a similar manner but I have not read them.

Todd

nijineko
02-11-2009, 04:12 PM
it occurs to me that the possibility of looking up and adding four things in the midst of gameplay might be daunting to some. others might find it interferes or interrupts too much the flow of the game.

thirdkingdom
02-11-2009, 04:51 PM
"it occurs to me that the possibility of looking up and adding four things in the midst of gameplay might be daunting to some. others might find it interferes or interrupts too much the flow of the game."

That was a concern I had. However, I don't feel that there are any more modifiers than other games, especially D&D (any version). Once someone becomes familiar with as system a lot of the rules are instinctive, so it is not so much a matter of "looking something up". And anyway, the character sheet is designed so relevant skills and modifiers are presented right with each Attribute. So, all Agility related skills are in the same "box" as the character's Agility score, which also contains the relevant Rank Die (which will be d10 for most characters anyway).

Todd

Edward
02-11-2009, 05:46 PM
The Third Kingdom is an fantasy role-playing game that has been in the works for the past two years.

I'd suggest making it generic rather than strictly fantasy. When you get right down to it, there's no reason to have a separate system for each genre.


As of now I have about 270 pages (before formatting for printing -- it will shrink in size) of the Player's Handbook written and hope to be finished by the middle of March. I would encourage you to include all the rules in a single PDF. Going back and forth between a bunch of PDF's (or even a bunch of physical books) can be a real pain.


The magic system allows characters to cast spells they know and have practiced or to spontaneously create spells to meet certain situations (Challenge dependent for success). Magical energy suffuses the world of the Third Kingdom in the form of plasm and all characters have magical energy and the potential to use such energy through the purchase of Talents; the Spellweaving or Wild Magic to cast spells or other Talents that allow the character to change shape, see in the dark, telepathically communicate with others, etcPeople who use your system will want to be able to do so with different worlds, some of which will have different magic systems. I would suggest separating world-specific elements such as magic, monsters, and culture from the ruleset itself.

jade von delioch
02-11-2009, 09:33 PM
in todays market, try to make it stand out from the rest. As to that i will have to say that you should disregard what Edward has suggested since this would only cause the game to recede to the background since their are 4 or 5 other systems that can be used for anything at this time on the market.

Edward
02-12-2009, 12:03 AM
their are 4 or 5 other systems that can be used for anything at this time on the market.

True, but there are also a number of systems specifically for fantasy RPG's. The bottom line is that the market is saturated. A new game is more likely to stand out if the ruleset and the world can be used independently.

Some people are interested in trying a new system; more are interested in trying a new campaign setting. If your ruleset and world are tied too closely together, you're limiting your market to those who want to try both a new ruleset and a new setting.

MortonStromgal
02-12-2009, 10:10 AM
It hard to sell a system these days, there are so many good ones out there. I would really suggest keep on working on your world and put the mechanics on a back burner. Go out and buy the latest versions of major system, read them and playtest them with your world. Now go back and look at your mechanics and build to flavor your world. The mechanics need to offer me something that enhances your world flavor over the other systems out there or I'll only be intrested in the world and combinding too much rules with the world may make me spend my money on something else

Major Systems
D&D
BRP (Call of Cthuhlu)
GURPS
Hero
Unisystem (All Flesh Must Be Eaten, Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
World of Darkness
Savage Worlds
Shadowrun
ORE (Godlike)

I'm probably missing some but thats what I could think of off the top of my head. You don't have to buy them all but you should at leased go play a one shot with them to see what they offer.

There is a saying among a few of my game designer friends (yes I have friends who get paid to design games) "If the mechanics don't offer you something better than GURPS, use GURPS"

boulet
02-12-2009, 10:22 AM
Some people are interested in trying a new system; more are interested in trying a new campaign setting. If your ruleset and world are tied too closely together, you're limiting your market to those who want to try both a new ruleset and a new setting.
That's an adequate way to approach game systems and settings. It promotes re-usability of material and flexibility in general. But some settings really get an extra value by having specific mechanics or a whole system reflect what is at the core of their theme/gameplay. If it was such a simple picture, generic systems would be far more played and dominate the scene which isn't exactly the case.

thirdkingdom
02-12-2009, 03:05 PM
Thanks to everyone who has responded so far. I have to say that I've know everything that people have written so far, about the saturation of the market, the pros and cons to doing a system versus a setting, etc. At this point I have invested almost no money and only free time in my project and have no plans on quitting my day job even in the best case scenario. As someone wrote in another post, every game had to start at the local, homebrew level, and who knows what the next big thing (or even a moderately successful thing) will be. I guess my posted question was more directed at people who would be interested in downloading what I have written so far, taking a look at it at their leisure, and responding with their thoughts on the actual system/setting instead of general replies about the hardships and follies of game design. Feedback of the former nature would be greatly appreciated -- I'm also hoping for a form of early marketing. All it takes (especially with the Internet) is a few people to say "This system has promise" for interest to improve.

Thanks again,

Todd

MortonStromgal
02-13-2009, 10:05 AM
responding with their thoughts on the actual system/setting

The system does not interest me. It fails my GURPS test and I would probably run the world with the Unisystem or some such thing. Thats why I wanted to know what your system does thats better than the rest of them out there because I am not seeing it, but it being a rough draft I may have missed the awesome that is your system. I am still going through the world and character creation so until I'm done I wont comment. Seeing how you don't know the Unisystem I give a quick run down

attribute+skill+1d10 vs a target number or it can be an opposed test of attribute+skill+1d10 vs attribute+skill+1d10. Either way however much you beat it by consult a chart similar to this
0-5 normal success
6-10 good success
11-15 awesome success
16+ critical success

Your system seams similar with more fiddly bits, which isnt a bad system I'm just not finding what makes it better. Maybe you can tell me or perhaps when I'm done with the world it will make more sense.

[edit] For your final product I suggest having 5-10 mostly build characters in there for new players. Some people can't wrap there heads around point buy systems and if you say build 80pts worth of a Man at Arms and leave 20pts for them to spend, most people can add to a template.

Don't be disheartend if I come off harsh. I'm hard on game designers in general, even my friends. Its because I want you to succeed and someones going to tear it apart even if its perfect.

gdmcbride
02-13-2009, 11:23 AM
Hey, are you planning to sell this product?

I would be careful at using the name 'Eternia' (which is used on page one). That is a copyrighted name owned by Mattel, a company famous for defending their IPs.

Gary

thirdkingdom
02-13-2009, 04:04 PM
Seeing how you don't know the Unisystem I give a quick run down

attribute+skill+1d10 vs a target number or it can be an opposed test of attribute+skill+1d10 vs attribute+skill+1d10. Either way however much you beat it by consult a chart similar to this
0-5 normal success
6-10 good success
11-15 awesome success
16+ critical success

I honestly have never even heard of the Unisystem before; I guess it is a case of a bunch of monkeys typing on a bunch of keyboards and coming up with a similar product. I was inspired for my version partly by FASA's Earthdawn.


[edit] For your final product I suggest having 5-10 mostly build characters in there for new players. Some people can't wrap there heads around point buy systems and if you say build 80pts worth of a Man at Arms and leave 20pts for them to spend, most people can add to a template.

I am planning on including five pre-built characters, and actually showing those characters twice. Once at 0-level creation and again upon reaching 1st level. The background templates in the Extras Chapter should also help provide a framework, although I'm trying to avoid standard class tropes as much as possible.

Don't be disheartend if I come off harsh. I'm hard on game designers in general, even my friends. Its because I want you to succeed and someones going to tear it apart even if its perfect.[/QUOTE]

Actually, it's good to hear criticism of this sort. Although I have played a number of games extensively both as player and GM it has been almost 15 years since I played seriously and I'm just not that aware of what is out there.

Todd

PS. In response to the previous post, what is the context for the copyright of Eternia? I am unaware of the usage, and the word just sort of popped into my head.

jade von delioch
02-13-2009, 10:25 PM
its the name of the homeworld/ setting for the masters of the universe (He-man).
How weird is that, i didn't even know it had a name.

thirdkingdom
02-14-2009, 03:08 PM
Probably one of the most useful things I get out of posts like these (which have been great, by the way) is the way they focus me on specifics but also provide motivation. This game has been two plus years in the making and I need to just buckle down and finish. Fielding questions and replies helps me do that.
One of the things I changed today was with the skill system. Skills are important to the game and early on I decided I wanted to Rank skills, with the skill Rank being applied to the applicable Challenge. As it is now the maximum skill Rank in any skill is equal to half a character's Aptitude. I had already introduced three ways of gaining skill "bonuses": ethnic backgrounds, fighting styles, and background templates. These had provided simple bonuses to the Challenge, not to the skill Rank. This morning while on the way to pick up materials for my project du jour at home I had a thought. I decided to, instead of the above three categories providing a bonus to the skill Challenge allowing them to apply the bonus to the skill's maximum Rank. Helps out 0-level characters so they can have skills higher than the 0-level maximum (3) and helps out higher level characters that have maxed out their skill Ranks normally. Plus, it forces the player to invest DP towards skills as opposed to taking a bonus for minimal cost.
In addition, the skill Rank is often important for determining opposing Challenges. Allowing characters to exceed their maximum skill Rank was a neat way (I think) to provide more diversity.

Thanks again,

Todd

tesral
02-15-2009, 05:23 PM
Disclaimer: I haven't looked at it yet.

Why a d5? Yes, I know that is half of ten, but there isn't one. This means you have to add a step of dividing a d10 roll by 2 before proceeding. Extra fiddly bits that do not add play value.

Unless d5 was a typo and you meant d6.


I personally am not looking for a new fantasy system. I would play a system other than d20 under someone I know, but I'm not planing to GM any games in new systems.

LAST CRUSADER
02-15-2009, 05:57 PM
Dude
I checked it out. That is to say, I tried to, but the table of contents made me go blind. have you ever consideredsomething a bit simpler ? I prefer my challenge to come from the adventure not the rules.
check out my system at the link in my signiture

nijineko
02-15-2009, 06:13 PM
i don't know how you'd feel about a possibly added layer of complexity, but something in what you said and how you phrased it reminded me of a concept in rolemaster that i was always very fond of and quite taken with. when rolling stats, there was two sets of rolls for each stat. one set became the stats, the other set became the potentials. there was this chart (there's always a chart in rolemaster... ^^) that you referenced the two rolls on, and the final result was your current stat, and your individual character's potential maximum.

so over the course of that character's career, they could spend points to boost their stats, but only up to the potential max. after that only magic or somesuch could boost it beyond that.

thirdkingdom
02-15-2009, 07:47 PM
Disclaimer: I haven't looked at it yet.

Why a d5? Yes, I know that is half of ten, but there isn't one. This means you have to add a step of dividing a d10 roll by 2 before proceeding. Extra fiddly bits that do not add play value.

Unless d5 was a typo and you meant d6.

No, I meant d5. Actually rolling d5 will probably only occur 5-10% of the time in play, and that mostly at either the extreme low or high levels. But I don't think rolling a d10 and assigning 1-2 as 1, 3-4 as 2, etc. is any more complicated than any other die mechanism. I think dice pools are much more complicated and require large amounts of dice. How about some of the rolls in D&D? 7d6 for damage? Or 5d4? Even rolling percentiles the old way, before the came out with fancy new dice and you had to designate one the tens and one the ones was arguably as complicated if not more.

Todd
--- Merged from Double Post ---
[quote=LAST CRUSADER;62187]Dude
I checked it out. That is to say, I tried to, but the table of contents made me go blind. have you ever consideredsomething a bit simpler ? I prefer my challenge to come from the adventure not the rules.
check out my system at the link in my signiture

Thanks for your comments. I did take a look at your game and thought you did quite a nice job capturing the comic book feel . . . which is not quite what I am going for. Perhaps the Table of Contents is a bit long, but at this stage, prior to editing or even playtesting, it is invaluable for helping me stay organized. I assure you the regardless of the "intimidating" table of contents the rules are by no means confusing or complicated. Maybe more so than many games, but much less so than others. I guess it must be especially intimidating to those used to reading comic books.

One thing I have learned from these and previous posts is that these and other similar forums are not my ideal targets. The people here (myself included) are too opinionated (in a good way), too sure of what they like. After all, we make the effort to seek out these forums. The most receptive audience (and the best one to find playtesters) will be at the local hobby store or my stepson's school (I have to say that he has been reading what I have so far and at sixth grade has not found it complicated. Bu than again, he was introduced with D&D 3.5). That being said, there is no harm in asking around here. I have been self-employed since I was 22, almost nine years agao, and one of the major lessons I have learned is that advertising is all word of mouth. The more exposure one gets on boards like these, the more people you become exposed to. Not everyone will agree with you, but some will.

Thanks,

Todd

thirdkingdom
02-16-2009, 04:40 PM
"i don't know how you'd feel about a possibly added layer of complexity, but something in what you said and how you phrased it reminded me of a concept in rolemaster that i was always very fond of and quite taken with. when rolling stats, there was two sets of rolls for each stat. one set became the stats, the other set became the potentials. there was this chart (there's always a chart in rolemaster... ^^) that you referenced the two rolls on, and the final result was your current stat, and your individual character's potential maximum.

so over the course of that character's career, they could spend points to boost their stats, but only up to the potential max. after that only magic or somesuch could boost it beyond that."

Despite what some people seem to think, one of my objectives has been to maintain a simple a system as possible, mechanically, while providing a great level of detail to other aspects. While I see how your suggestion would work well with other games, I feel it would add an extra level of complication (I am also trying to minimize the number of charts and tables) and also not fit with the feel of the game. The intent has been to allow players to, within a set rubric, design and build characters as they see fit. I would view what you described as an randomization of the character creation process, which I am avoiding. There are, of course, limits to human Attributes beyond which PCs cannot advance.

Thanks for the suggestion, though.

Todd

Edward
02-16-2009, 05:00 PM
i don't know how you'd feel about a possibly added layer of complexity, but something in what you said and how you phrased it reminded me of a concept in rolemaster that i was always very fond of and quite taken with. when rolling stats, there was two sets of rolls for each stat. one set became the stats, the other set became the potentials. there was this chart (there's always a chart in rolemaster... ^^) that you referenced the two rolls on, and the final result was your current stat, and your individual character's potential maximum.

so over the course of that character's career, they could spend points to boost their stats, but only up to the potential max. after that only magic or somesuch could boost it beyond that.

I always liked the idea of being able to change stats, but I think Rolemaster's solution was too complex and not sufficiently flexible. Stats should change throughout a character's career, just like skills. Take strength, for example. You can increase it by working out, or decrease it by being a couch potato. Your strength certainly isn't going to remain the same throughout your life.
--- Merged from Double Post ---

The most receptive audience (and the best one to find playtesters) will be at the local hobby store or my stepson's school

Depends on your objective. If you want other people to run your system, then your target audience is GM's, most of whom have used a number of different systems and have definite opinions. If you're just designing a system that you'll enjoy and don't care if anyone else plays it, then your target audience is your own gaming group. It's not particularly difficult to find players for any system if you're a good GM and you're running it yourself.

LAST CRUSADER
02-16-2009, 08:38 PM
The changes to the table of contents made it much easier to read but I think that with so many RPGs out there it's really important to start out by telling us what is special about yours. If you don't do that, then who's going to want to read a 300 page book in hopes that there will be something different in it ? what you said at the beginning of this thread is good but it should be in the book, prominently, at the beginning. perhaps in a section clalled something like what's special about this game ?

jade von delioch
02-17-2009, 02:21 AM
In rolemaster the two sets of stats is kind of nice because every level you go up you have a possible chance of increasing your main stat, or decreasing it if you roll bad enough. Basically what you do is roll 1D100 and tell the Gm the number you rolled and the number of your potential stat and he compares this to a chart. You do this for each stat that has a potential, which is every single one except appereance. I play rolemaster on sundays.

thirdkingdom
02-17-2009, 08:21 AM
Depends on your objective. If you want other people to run your system, then your target audience is GM's, most of whom have used a number of different systems and have definite opinions. If you're just designing a system that you'll enjoy and don't care if anyone else plays it, then your target audience is your own gaming group. It's not particularly difficult to find players for any system if you're a good GM and you're running it yourself.[/quote]

I guess the point I was trying to make was that members of this site and others like it are a relatively small minority of the gaming public. I think, but am not sure, that the majority of gamers will not have been exposed to such a wide array of games and gaming styles.

Todd

nijineko
02-17-2009, 09:50 AM
I always liked the idea of being able to change stats, but I think Rolemaster's solution was too complex and not sufficiently flexible. Stats should change throughout a character's career, just like skills. Take strength, for example. You can increase it by working out, or decrease it by being a couch potato. Your strength certainly isn't going to remain the same throughout your life.

that's exactly what the rolemaster system did, was to allow for improvement. the potential max was not where you started, it was where your physical organism could not exceed without outside aid.

in any case, too much complexity for the system at hand.

thirdkingdom
02-18-2009, 12:42 PM
I have just added a sample character to the website http://www.thirdkingdomgame.com. This file can be downloaded separately from the Player's Handbook -- I have not yet added the character to the actual handbook. Just thought it might help to show how all the information works together.

Todd