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Thread: Creating Your Own RPG System

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    Creating Your Own RPG System

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    Has anyone ever tried to create their own RPG? Either for publication or personal use?

    I mean rules, setting, etc. The whole nine yards.

    If so how did you go about doing it?

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    You'll get as many different answers as there are game designers out there... Making a system is a complicated process and it's very rare that a designer successfully manages to lay down a step-by-step list to do it. They may make a list of general stuff they want to accomplish, but there's a very large amount of editing and revising that goes on in most of the non-simple games. Perfectionism rules the craft, it appears.

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    I've tried. With all the good systems that do exist you have a very hard time not reinventing the wheel.

    I highly recommend that anyone considering the move to a lot of research into what does exist so you don't reinvent someone else's wheel. People can get testy over that kind of thing.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
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    A game from whole cloth? No. I create settings all the time, though. It can be fun. Many times I start with an existing setting and play a "what if?" game. Take a modern setting for example. What if the Catholic church (and mind you, I'm just picking something at random and have nothing against Catholicism) was and had always been matriarchal? How would that have changed the world we live in? What if you lived in a society where teachers were venerated instead of business executives or doctors or lawyers? What if Humans weren't the only sentient race on the planet? There are a lot of places to go with any given setting and, depending on what you change, it can become a totally different place.
    Games: Exalted 2e pre-errata (hiatus), Recruiting for a Sci-Fi/Fantasy game (System TBD) in SF south bay area
    The Dolling Blogs (1, 2, 3 & 4)

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    Yes, I have the mechanics mostly figured out and I have 2 settings I am working on slowly. I plan on publishing the rules for free pdf download and the worlds will be light on rules but cost some cash. Also I plan on having it OGL or something similar so you don't have to worry about stealing my rules for your game at all.

    To pimp my own system
    The basics are this you have 6 attributes falling laterally an even path of physical mental and social and vertically on power and mobility (little joke Knowledge=Power). 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. For combat a pair would give you a +2 damage.

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

    Knowledge Skills are also not rolled as long as you have access to your library or computer 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. If a defender won the stages he/she gets would be a bonus for a counter attack on the defenders next attack action. However much you win by divide that number by two (round down) and this is your bonus either to your next attack (defender) or damage for the attack (attacker).

    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. Base target number is 15 for each meter squared in distance add +1 to the target number. So 9 meters away would be +3 to the target number. I still don't have the effects worked out yet.

    As for settings I have one thats a mythic europe and one thats kinda arcanum/eberron/fallout/iron kingdoms/steampunk.
    Last edited by MortonStromgal; 02-18-2009 at 12:20 PM.
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    Yep. Personal use. I was a teenager at the time. It was an overly complicated hunk of mechanics that worked for a setting I called Ecto (supernatural world gone wild). All the rules were in a hand written spiral notebook and on character sheets. Most of the rules revolved around character development. We had many sessions and a lot of fun playing in that world. Great for solo adventures.

    And "Dream Realm", my attempt at adventures in the dreamscape. Unbalanced character types where the rules were so open ended that even I had a hard time wrapping my head around it during play testing. It needed a major rewrite, scrapped for a fresh rebuild.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ronpyatt View Post
    ...(supernatural world gone wild)...
    *Whew!*

    You had me worried there for a second! I almost thought I read that as something *else*...
    HARRY DRESDEN WIZARD
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    Yes, and I think everyone should give it a shot. It can be very frustrating and time consuming though. Plus you will most likely fail to make anything that will ever get published (but maybe you will, don't let me pee on your parade ), but it is ultimately a very educational experience. One that I don't regret.

    Step one, decide on a genre?
    It's as if there are people who play RPGs that don't have computers or something. Seriously, people need to upgrade to 1994 already. - - -TheRedRobedWizard

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    Quote Originally Posted by kirksmithicus View Post
    Yes, and I think everyone should give it a shot. It can be very frustrating and time consuming though. Plus you will most likely fail to make anything that will ever get published (but maybe you will, don't let me pee on your parade ), but it is ultimately a very educational experience. One that I don't regret.

    Step one, decide on a genre?
    Or decide on not a genre. However universal system do tend to get a bit on the large side.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
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    I am finishing up on one now. we have it about 80-90% tested and it will be going out by fall for external playtesting. For the most part all i need to do is to sit down and write up everything for the setting.
    When creating a game system (from scratch) don't rush it, but at least have a goal in mind. My goal was to create a system inspired by such great books as David Eddings "The Belgariad" or L.E. Modesitt Jr's "the magic of recluse".


    So as for steps to take:
    Step one: "make something that you want to play". theres no point in making something that you don't like or have a passion for.
    Step Twoevelop some goals that you wish to achieve in the rules and setting. Theses goals will help you when it comes to balance and what you need rules for and what you do not need rules for.
    Step Three: Decide on what type of system you want- Diceless, D6, D10, use of all types of dice. This is where you figure out the frame work that everything is built upon. How many attributes, what is an attribute (a list of names that represent physical and mental aspects of the character or parts or a character's personality or psychotic process), how modifiers work, is this a resource resolution system or a more luck based one, is it a story game or a more D&D styled game, etc.
    Step Four: At this point you can choose a genre. It not always important to choose one though, however, if you do plan to sell the game after it is completed then it is. In this light, when choosing the genre/setting make sure that it is one that will have something to offer your audience that they can not get from some other game.
    Step five: Mechanics. I suggest that you get several note pads and designate each one for different aspects of the game- one for races, one for magic, and so on. This will give you alot of room to work with. When working on my game at the begining i had something like 10 note pads all over my desk (3 just for magic) that i wrote stuff down in. When you start to have something conceret thenm you should start to put it together in a word program. Do not expext everything to work the first time. and always carry a note pad on your person, you never know when inspiration may hit you.
    Step Six: Playtest- 2-5 sessions should work for now. this will help you see where the larger holes are at. the througher along you get the more testing there is required.
    Step Seven:Repeat steps Five and Six until the game does both work and achieve your primary goals.
    Last edited by jade von delioch; 02-18-2009 at 05:22 PM.
    I do not play them here or there, I do not play them anywhere, I do not play them with a fox. I do not mash that button box. I do not like MMO games. In the end ther're all the same.
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    I am currently in the process of putting a D&D face on the Star Wars Saga Edition rules.

    Intense!

    First I started by brainstorming the things I like and the things I don't like.

    From there I thought about how I would change things.

    And then I have started to organize everything into sections and will start tackling them one by one!

    In fact here is the thread I started here discussing it:

    http://www.penandpapergames.com/foru...ead.php?t=8363
    Last edited by Inquisitor Tremayne; 02-18-2009 at 05:46 PM.
    "I'm afraid it is you who are mistaken. About a great, many things."

    "It is not the rules that make or break a game, it's the GM and the players."


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    Star wars saga edition is D&D, unless you mean 4th edition D&D...


    A game from whole cloth? No. I create settings all the time, though. It can be fun. Many times I start with an existing setting and play a "what if?" game. Take a modern setting for example. What if the Catholic church (and mind you, I'm just picking something at random and have nothing against Catholicism) was and had always been matriarchal? How would that have changed the world we live in? What if you lived in a society where teachers were venerated instead of business executives or doctors or lawyers? What if Humans weren't the only sentient race on the planet? There are a lot of places to go with any given setting and, depending on what you change, it can become a totally different place.
    I don't see any point in this. First off when it comes to mechanics it is not copy right that you have to worry about, its a Patent that you would have to worry about and no one patents the mechanics of their game. Even Wotc. The thing with them though is that that when you pay for OGL or what not its the copy right that you pay for which has nothing to do with the mechanics of the game. look it up some time.
    When working from whole cloth just make what feels natural- its a good idea to have a wide knowledge of different rpg systems, but more for inspirational reasons than anything else.
    I do not play them here or there, I do not play them anywhere, I do not play them with a fox. I do not mash that button box. I do not like MMO games. In the end ther're all the same.
    -Tesral

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    Quote Originally Posted by jade von delioch View Post
    Star wars saga edition is D&D, unless you mean 4th edition D&D...
    What?

    First of all, Saga is nothing like D&D in any of its incarnations, current or otherwise. It is based on a re-imagining of the d20 system and was loosely a playtest for some ideas for 4e. But it is nothing like 4e, 3.5, 3.0, 2nd, or 1st, it is its own unique beast. If anything it would more closely resemble d20 modern.

    Second, I much prefer Saga's game mechanics over 4e or 3.5 or the RCR version of the SWRPG, thus I am trying to make a fantasy version of Saga edition.

    Third, I can be a little bit defense over my Saga edition, please forgive me!
    "I'm afraid it is you who are mistaken. About a great, many things."

    "It is not the rules that make or break a game, it's the GM and the players."


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    Arch Lich Thoth-Amon is offline Cursed by the Gods
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    I have a design in mind. Perhaps, when i have the time and money, i will complete it. Best of luck to the rest of you in all your endeavors.
    Thoth-Amon, Lord of the Underworld and the Undead
    Once you know what the magician knows, it's not magick. It's a 'tool of Creation'. -Archmagus H.H.
    The first step to expanding your reality is to discard the tendency to exclude things from possibility. - Meridjet

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    D20 -> D&D 3.5: same boat, same problem.
    I do not play them here or there, I do not play them anywhere, I do not play them with a fox. I do not mash that button box. I do not like MMO games. In the end ther're all the same.
    -Tesral

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