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Tequila Sunrise
2009-05-23, 07:14 PM
Iím looking for a website to discuss homebrew game systems, because I forget the address. I think itís hosted by some D&D designer or other. If you know it, Iíd be obliged. The rest of this post is just the why behind my request, so if youíre not interested in my ramblings stop reading here.

Iíve been playing D&D since I was about ten years old. I like it, but itís not quite the game I want to GM, and likely never will be. Maybe a published game exists that is exactly what I want to GM, but I doubt it. Iíve been tinkering with my own game system for years now, but have yet to finish it. But Iím living in Korea now without my D&D paraphernalia, so Iíve been brainstorming more about my game. I have no intention of ever publishing a game, these thoughts are purely for my own satisfaction:

Setting. I like all of D&Dís settings, to varying degrees, but Iím going to try a new one just to be all special and artistic-like. I like the idea of an eternally PoL sandbox world, so Iím imagining small pockets of civilization scattered throughout an endless wilderness. Iíve always liked the idea of a faerie realm, so the wilderness will be somewhat dreamlike. Some faerie creatures are mere pranksters, while others are malicious. The civ pockets will be protected from all manner of wandering monsters by magical standing stones created by the gods. That creates a stable status quo: civilizations are protected, but canít expand very often due to all the dangerous monsters and faerie courts. Enter the adventurers.

Balance. Pre-4e, D&D has stuff that breaks game balance by its very existence. No, I donít think casters are inherently better than non-casters, but certain options like 3e Rope Trick blatantly disrupt the assumptions which are supposed to balance the game. 4e is so fixated on balance that it strains credibility. I just canít take limited use martial powers seriously; rationalize them however you want, but the simulationist in me just doesnít like them. Classes do not all have to follow the same rigid structure in order to maintain game balance.

Stats. In my game, +5 is the layman stat. Why, you ask? Compare the 3e layman to the 3e flat-footed layman. PC stats range from +4 to +8, adjustable by point buy. PCs do not get stat boosts as they level up, because it strains the game math, but players can adjust their stats via the point buy numbers even after character creation.

Classes and Levels. I like classes and levels; they provide a yardstick for players and DMs to describe and balance the game. But pre-4e D&D canít seem to decide what exactly classes areóspecific in-game organizations (paladins and wizards) or metagame rules for gaining hp, skills, feats and so on (fighters, rogues)? In this case I like 4eís approach to classesótheyíre mostly metagame rules for gaining powers with a bit of optional fluff tacked on. Though 4e still has class skills, which I hate. In my game level 1-2 are Apprentice levels, 3-4 are Journeyman, 5-6 are Master, 7-8 are Grand Master and 9-10 are Legendary. When you hit ninth level you become a lord of some kind and you start gaining maneuvers and powers that deal with large scale battles, politics and followers.

Experience Points. Experience points are convenient player rewards, but I donít like how D&D handles them. I donít like handing them out after the bad guys are dead, or after any other specific type of action, so in my game XP is handed out after the PCs accomplish in-game goals. Exactly how many and how often in up to the GM. I also donít like the sheer numbers involved with XP, so in my game you need 10 XP to get to each new level. GMs should generally hand out 1-2 XP at a time. There, nice and simple and you donít need a degree in math to run XP properly.

Alignment. I like alignment, but D&D just canít seem to use it without f%*@ing it up somehow. Pre-4e, it interacted with too many other mechanics. 4e has alignment, but it doesnít truly interact with anything, and so doesnít mean anything. Iíll have one or two Good-themed classes in my game, but itíll be a simple deal: you follow my clear and concise guidelines for being Good, and in return you can hurt Evil stuff extra bad.

Hit Points. I just donít like increasing hit points. Call me a lazy narrator, but describing lost hit points often feelsÖforced. Even ignoring hits other than the first one, the last one and criticals, I sometimes feel strained saying ďYou nick his arm,Ē ďYour blade comes a mere inch from his throat,Ē ďHe barely dodges your spellÖbut somehow takes ongoing fire damage,Ē or ďYou fall into the river of lavaÖbut land on a small bit of surviving rock and leap away before it melts into the molten flame.Ē No, I donít want GURPs-level simulation, but I do want hit point less to mean an actual hit. In my game, hit points and damage do not increase with level and remain mostly static. Falling damage increases exponentially, so tripping into a ditch wonít kill even a first level character but falling off a high cliff will likely kill even a high level character. And some things are just instant death, like lava rivers.

Races. I donít like races with dozens of abilities, most of which have to be looked up mid-adventure, when theyíre even remembered. Iíve also recently decided that I just donít like racial stat bonuses because they do very little to actually define a character and his/her race, but they create a major mental block for most players that gets in the way of interesting race/class combos. I like all the D&D races, well except for half-dorks, but Iím going to try something new with my game. Iím thinking of using a few human sub-races with Greek god themes. For example, Athenians tend to be dark haired and society-focused while Aresians tend to be tall and aggressive. Athenians might get an extra feat or skill, while Aresians might get a bonus to resist certain combat maneuvers.

Small Races. Maybe other games handle them better, but D&D canít seem to get past Small Lite. In my game, Small creatures have a shorter reach than Mediums and all the other logical drawbacks of their size. I donít know if Iíll include actual Small PC races, but if I do they wonít just be Medium creatures that do a little less damage. Theyíll have the major drawbacks of their size, but also cool racial advantages. And on the topic of sizes in general, larger creatures have DR but penalties to many combat/skill rolls while smaller creatures have negative DR (they take extra damage with each hit), but get bonuses to combat/skill rolls.

Combat. I like D&Dís basic round structure and action economy because they make combat easy to balance. But because hit points and damage are static in my game, Iíll use 2d10 instead of 1d20 to reduce the probability of spontaneous character death. Fights will still be somewhat unpredictable but not so much that players will avoid them at all costs. (Yes, I want dungeon crawls to be a totally viable option.) All characters have the basic STAB IT! attack option, and martial-type classes gain access to rider-effects too. All mundane attacks are modified by Dexterity because Strength just doesnít make sense. A natural 20 is an auto-hit and a critical unless the total isnít enough to hit normally, in which case itís just a hit. A critical allows you to roll two damage dice instead of one and take the best of the two. Two important things about combat in my game: to reflect blood loss, most creatures lose hit points each round after losing a certain number of hit points, and creatures take penalties on 2d10 rolls after losing a certain number of Stamina Points. Stamina Points of course represent endurance and are spent every time a character swings a sword, runs or performs a strenuous activity. When you reach 0 SP you faint. When you reach 0 HP you die. Mana Points are spent to cast spells.

Equipment and Wealth. I donít like the bookkeeping that D&Dís equipment and wealth system require, so my game is very abstract in this regard. Weapons come in categories like Small Shield, Two Handed Weapon, Polearm, Bow, etc. so that players can describe their stuff however they want, without those vague parameters. Each weapon grants a certain bonus to attack rolls and defense, and deals a single die of damage on a hit. Armor comes in three categories: Light, Heavy and Super Heavy. All armor creates a cap on your Dex bonus, based on your Str. For example a high Dex duelist can wear Heavy armor but his Str would be too low to take full advantage of his high Dex. SH is overly restrictive and mostly intended for NPCs. There are three levels of wealth: Adventurerís, Masterís and Lordís. The GM tells you which level of wealth you have, but generally you start with A at first level, then get M at fifth level and then get L at ninth level. A allows you to buy any mundane item, within reason. No tracking arrows or food, unless an adventure takes the characters away from civilization for a long stretch of time. M allows you to buy two masterwork items. Mwk weapons crit on 19-20, while Mwk armor has reduced penalties. L allows you to own land, a castle/palace/whatever and any non-magical item within reason.

Magical Items. I hate that D&D characters are still dependant on magical junk after four editions. In my game, magical items never grant bonuses to hit or defense and they are always coolóbut they are never necessary.

Djinn_in_Tonic
2009-05-23, 09:21 PM
Well, the rant was interesting (and I agree with much of it), but I'm afraid I can't answer the initial question. That said, what's wrong with posting your game on these forums? I believe there are enough of us with enough experience in game balance/game design to assist you in creating or perfecting this idea without having to turn to a dedicated forum for such things.

Although (my own diseased ramblings here) I'd love to get enough of the good homebrewers here and on the WotC boards (and any others that are around) into a centralized homebrew site, so that we'd all be centrally located and better able to help each other. If we could build a site around the concept of homebrewing for all systems, existing or new, and populate it with strong homebrewers and a large group of beginners who are interested in the idea...

zeruslord
2009-05-23, 10:22 PM
You have an account on the Gaming Den (tgdmb.com), which is where I take this sort of stuff.

Tequila Sunrise
2009-05-24, 06:10 AM
Well, the rant was interesting (and I agree with much of it), but I'm afraid I can't answer the initial question. That said, what's wrong with posting your game on these forums?
Nothing wrong with that at all! In fact I can use all the creative help I can get with this project, because while I have a solid outline of the game I want to make I often get lost in the details. For example, this is my list of races:

Athenian (Athena): The race for high brow players.
Hadesian (Hades): The race for angsty players.
Poseidon: The race for magical & mysterious players.
Aresian (Ares): The race for tough guy players.
Artemian (Artemis): The race for hippy tree-hugger players.
Aphroditian (Aphrodite): The race for princess players.
Hephaestian (Hephaestus): The race for stoic players.

But I don't have many ideas for racial abilities. Like I said in my rant, I don't want any racial stat mods, and I don't want any abilities that make any one race clearly the best for any given class.


You have an account on the Gaming Den, which is where I take this sort of stuff.
The Den can be amusing, but I don't think it's the best place for good game design. I might drop by if I want to get a worst-case-reaction to my game though.





PS: The site I was looking for is The Forge (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php), which is dedicated to game design.

Djinn_in_Tonic
2009-05-24, 12:11 PM
Athenian (Athena): The race for high brow players.
Hadesian (Hades): The race for angsty players.
Poseidon: The race for magical & mysterious players.
Aresian (Ares): The race for tough guy players.
Artemian (Artemis): The race for hippy tree-hugger players.
Aphroditian (Aphrodite): The race for princess players.
Hephaestian (Hephaestus): The race for stoic players.

And at what point where you planning on telling the Classics major that the world you're creating is heavily (I assume) influenced by ancient Greek culture and religion? :smallbiggrin:

Writer's Note: Oops...looking back, you did. I just missed it. :smallredface:

Anyway, some ideas, thrown out in just a few seconds.

Hadesian: Hadesian characters find NPCs treated as one degree more hostile under normal circumstance, but have a chance to recover from death when slain. They resist negative energy and cold better than most other races.
Poseidon: Poseidon characters are as confident and capable in the water as out of it. They can heal or strength themselves simply by drinking pure water.
Aresian: Aresian characters gain additional Hit Points at character creation, and also gain bonuses to Intimidation. They heal faster than most other races.
Artemina: Artemina characters will not be attacked by natural creatures unless they initiate the combat. They can speak to plants and animals at will.
Aphroditian: Aphroditian characters find NPCs treated as one degree more favorable under normal circumstances. Creatures sexually attracted to the Aphroditian's gender suffer a penalty to attack and damage against the Aphroditian.
Hephaestian: Hephaestian characters are difficult to target with mind-affecting attacks. They can craft items in half the time it takes a normal being.

Tequila Sunrise
2009-05-24, 05:23 PM
Thanks so much, this is just the kind of stuff I need!