View Full Version : Brewing Up a Fresh System

2009-06-17, 12:54 PM
So I'm thinking about, as a side project to do this summer, tossing together the framework for a tabletop system. The thing is, I'm not sure yet on the setting, mode of play, or anything like that. I was talking to the people playing in my campaign, and mentioned I was pondering some scifi captaincy-based tabletop (which, I know, has been done to death, but I need some raw systems homebrew to keep my mind from whining at me), which some of them seemed to like. I also asked if they had any game settings they wanted to see with tabletop systems, like Castlevania or what have you.

The reason I'm putting this up here is just collating data, as they say. Was wondering if any of you guys had any particular setting or play concepts you'd like to see put on paper. If enough people are interested, I can pop it up here once I've got some work done on it.

FYI, I know it's a lot of work. This wouldn't be the first system I 'brewed from scratch, although the last one was before I knew what I was doing. A d6 Star Wars system back before I knew one existed. It was kind of terrible. Still, I love playing with this kind of stuff, and thought it might be good to see where interest was.

2009-06-17, 08:13 PM
Why? I mean, if you're looking at a system, I can think of three right of hand (d20 Future, Star Wars, Shadowrun) which can fit into the "Sci-Fi" there. I really wouldn't recommend trying to merge them, although you can become inspired by (ie. steal blatantly) from each what you'd like.

In the other hand, the system could be just about anything - as evidenced by the variety above. Heck, I could see the system with Mouse Guard RPG (Burning Wheel, isn't it?) working just fine.

It sounds like you're asking for some help with ideas and interesting angles - in which case, you might want to pique other people's interest. It's not a "Let's Fix 3.5e!" thread, which is good, but gives other people less reason to check in.

A couple of questions, then. What RPs have you played? What systems are you familiar with? What do you like and dislike in a system, and what direction are you planning on taking this system? Combat, diplomancy, spacefighting, interstellar empire management?

2009-06-18, 01:30 AM
Tabletop RPGs I've played include 3.5 and my old homebrewed SW d6. Only recently hit college, and I couldn't get an RP group running back at my high school.

I've familiarized myself with, of course, 3.5 (been DMing a campaign basically since I started college), D20 Modern, and Risus (as crunchy as THAT is), as well as picked over a bit of Shadowrun, read through some 4E, and studied builds and mechanics in countless PC and console RPGs.

Clarity is a good thing in a system, as is flexibility. With a tabletop game, piling up the dependent or derived stats can make a system too crunchy in some ways, and doesn't allow for a hell of a lot of distinction. With a non-tabletop, all you really need is customizability--it can be as crunchy as you like, since the player isn't going to see or do most of the math, while tabletops have to balance customization with crunch.

The less preparation required on the part of the GM and the players, the better--that campaign I've been running I've basically been improvising, and I think it's been a lot more fun for all involved because of the unpredictability. One of the things I improvised was a siege combat system to run right before finals this year, because my players decided to help out a few cities under assault--and it worked out alright, kept things moving, and kept their decisions relevant.

Out of what ways I'm thinking of taking the system--the only one that really doesn't sit well with me is 'interstellar empire management' out of the ones you listed. I'm basically keeping my options open. I want to make sure that whatever I get working out, the players can basically say, 'we want to do this', and the GM can go, 'okay, here's what happens'--no matter what they say.

I've been running off of player input for a while in the campaign I've been running, too--they're romping on the planes. As soon as they gained the ability to go to basically any plane they wanted, I asked them, "where do you guys want to go?" One of them is a big fan of Skies of Arcadia, so he suggested that. I said, "Okay," and 'brewed up a bunch of 3.5 stuff for SoA--partly during my psychology class, I'll admit, but I never take notes anyway. Then they decided to hit Golden Sun, so I figured out some stuff for djinn, a more open psynergy, and psynergetic creatures. Then they went to Redwall (which, handily enough, you guys had already tackled) and fought a blackmailed Robotnik--oh, yeah, I should probably mention I had integrated each of the worlds into the plot in turn and they weren't the only people running rampant.

In a way, I'm asking for the next 'world' for them to visit (although they've assured me they're done looking for new planes and are actually going to proceed with the plot I planned almost 2 years ago)--but the end result needn't be some 3.5 stat blocks or adapted rules, and they won't be going there with this crazy party.

It should also allow for a good bit of leeway on the silly side. One of the plots my players hatched for the siege involved taking a Celestial Dire Wolf (large), enlarging it (huge), making it a psynergetic creature by pressing psynergy stones into its skin, then roboticizing it (which drove it up another couple of size categories (Gargantuan, Colossal)--I was working from the games' mechanics for roboticization) to override the insanity from making it a psynergetic creature and make it take their orders.

Granted, I'm pretty sure regardless of what I give them for a situation, they will find some way to make it absolutely ridiculous in some way.

As to your initial question--why homebrew up a fresh system when there are perfectly serviceable ones that already exist that could be adapted to basically any chosen purpose--well, it's something I do. Every once in a while, I basically need to brew game stuff, and the creative period on the game project I'm working on right now is coming to an end, so I'm looking for new stuff to ponder.