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thedarkstone
2011-12-29, 05:26 PM
Yes, I am interested in building, quite probably from the ground up, a new roleplaying game, possibly using some OGL materials. I will need quite a bit of help with this, however, so I'll need more people!

I'll need 4-5 more designers to work on design with me.

I'll need (eventually) an artist (or more) to visually present all of the races, monsters, and to spice up the pages of the book.

I'll need someone who knows what they're doing around pdf files. This is probably never going to actually be printed on paper, so even if we do decide to distribute it in any way, someone who can put it all together in pdf files--and make the pages look all snazzy--would be awesome.

I have some baseline ideas for class systems, but I will need a lot of help with all of it. It's probably better to use OGL systems to build things, but perhaps it'll be decided along the way that it would be better not to.

Now, those of you who made it past my introduction intact, the premise is this: leveling system with freedom. What this means is while you'll chose the base class idea you want, you'll grow in strength in the areas you WANT to grow in strength in. Not just that; you'll thematically choose how you want to gain power. It's something similar to the simple class variant system in UA, taken a step farther.

So, I need help. Anyone up for helping me? (The artist and stuff is extra in case we want to make a pretty pdf, and would be nice, but I mostly need designers to help me right now. I can design well enough, but I need more than me)

Domriso
2011-12-29, 05:47 PM
I'm intrigued, but I have some questions. Are you looking to make a new game based on the d20 system, or something wholly new? Also, are you looking for something primarily fantasy oriented, or do you want to include other genres into the mix?

thedarkstone
2011-12-29, 05:49 PM
Good questions. I am primarily focusing on what I know best, fantasy, but I want to leave it open to people of any tastes. I want to put rules and guides in place to build abilities, so they aren't that difficult to make for a player or GM.

However, as for whether it is d20 or not...depends on how it goes, I guess. I know d20 systems better than any other, but if it builds into something else, that doesn't devastate me.

Shyftir
2011-12-29, 06:58 PM
I'm interested. I want to get my feet wet in the realm of game design and this project would be a good start.

TheKoalaNxtDoor
2011-12-29, 07:30 PM
I'm down for art, if that's cool. Recently got a graphics tablet for Christmas, so uploading stuff will be a breeze.

Tebryn
2011-12-29, 07:31 PM
You'll want to focus on a skill based set up if you want a class free system. Grant skill points for deeds and let people "level" up freely when they want. Putting classes in the game or anything like that muddles the issue. The skills, what they do, matter more than the class name especially if you're letting them come up with it.

Yitzi
2011-12-29, 07:47 PM
You'll want to focus on a skill based set up if you want a class free system. Grant skill points for deeds and let people "level" up freely when they want. Putting classes in the game or anything like that muddles the issue. The skills, what they do, matter more than the class name especially if you're letting them come up with it.

I'd say it depends just how much freedom you want to give. If you want total freedom in terms of levelling, then an XP-buy or point-buy system works very well. If you want some choices to be naturally linked, though, then you probably want to have some classes, but make them more along the lines of "spend X points on a level of a class, whose features would, if bought individually, cost substantially more". (e.g. weapon mastery costs 2 points, armor mastery costs 2 points, and a combat feat costs 2 points, but you can get them all by buying a level in fighter for 4 points.)

thedarkstone
2011-12-29, 07:49 PM
You'll want to focus on a skill based set up if you want a class free system. Grant skill points for deeds and let people "level" up freely when they want. Putting classes in the game or anything like that muddles the issue. The skills, what they do, matter more than the class name especially if you're letting them come up with it.
Ah, but I want a compromise between GURPS and D&D, not a GURPS ripoff. I do want the classes in the game, as a general proficiency sort of thing. I mean, you've got your general physical fighter type, your general magicker, and so on. There's still room to maneuver, easily. The thing that lets you make it your own is the abilities within the class itself.

And Shyftir, Koala, I'd be glad to have the both of you!

Yitzi
2011-12-29, 07:49 PM
You'll want to focus on a skill based set up if you want a class free system. Grant skill points for deeds and let people "level" up freely when they want. Putting classes in the game or anything like that muddles the issue. The skills, what they do, matter more than the class name especially if you're letting them come up with it.

Overall that's definitely the right idea, but whether to go totally classless depends just how much freedom you want to give. If you want total freedom in terms of levelling, then an XP-buy or point-buy system works very well. If you want some choices to be naturally linked, though, then you probably want to have some classes, but make them more along the lines of "spend X points on a level of a class, whose features would, if bought individually, cost substantially more". (e.g. weapon mastery costs 2 points, armor mastery costs 2 points, and a combat feat costs 2 points, but you can get them all by buying a level in fighter for 4 points.)

Djinn_in_Tonic
2011-12-29, 07:51 PM
I would recommend against a base class concept if you want leveling freedom. Base classes are restrictive: while this works well in something like 3.5, you have issues with the restrictions that base classes give if you want anything more modular than the rigid 3.5 structure.

My main concern with this is that we have seen nothing of your ideas, your brainstorming, or anything concrete (or even ethereal glimmers of something that could become concrete). I do a very large amount of RPG design, in both completely homebrew and already-existing systems, and so this is the sort of project that appeals to both my homebrew spark and my RPG design philosophy side, but I don't see enough here to be able to figure out whether what you're proposing is interesting enough to garner my attention.

For the record, I'm a very experienced homebrewer with a firm grasp of both RPG design theory and practice, and I've minored in graphic design (largely focused in logos and layout). I'm proficient in Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign.

In short, it sounds like I'm the sort of guy you're looking for. So...can you sell me on the project? 'cause at the moment I don't see enough information to make an informed decision.

thedarkstone
2011-12-29, 08:01 PM
I would recommend against a base class concept if you want leveling freedom. Base classes are restrictive: while this works well in something like 3.5, you have issues with the restrictions that base classes give if you want anything more modular than the rigid 3.5 structure.

My main concern with this is that we have seen nothing of your ideas, your brainstorming, or anything concrete (or even ethereal glimmers of something that could become concrete). I do a very large amount of RPG design, in both completely homebrew and already-existing systems, and so this is the sort of project that appeals to both my homebrew spark and my RPG design philosophy side, but I don't see enough here to be able to figure out whether what you're proposing is interesting enough to garner my attention.

For the record, I'm a very experienced homebrewer with a firm grasp of both RPG design theory and practice, and I've minored in graphic design (largely focused in logos and layout). I'm proficient in Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign.

In short, it sounds like I'm the sort of guy you're looking for. So...can you sell me on the project? 'cause at the moment I don't see enough information to make an informed decision.
We'll see on that. The idea is this: the 'classes' aren't classes in the strict D&D sense. You have a base...say...umbrella of abilities you fall under. Whether you are a berserker, a meat shield, or a paladin, you fall under the Physical Warrior category. Being an elementalist, a 'traditional' wizard, or even a warlock, you fall under the Magical Combatant category. Things like this.

Now, within these categories, you create a niche for yourself. Perhaps you are a Physical Warrior, but you blend steel with the powers of the elements; this is then the style of abilities you buy or create. You could even have a Magical Combatant who uses physical weaponry to channel their magical might; they would buy abilities that reflected their physical prowess, tied with their magic.

The entirety of the system is yet to be made; which is the main reason I need help. But those are my main ideas, as of yet. I want larger Categories to be chosen at "1st level", with the ability to choose your own path to using those abilities under that larger umbrella of a Category.

Even races might have something similar, or at least alternate features like Pathfinder gives.

Wyntonian
2011-12-29, 08:08 PM
I'd be willing to take a peek at this. I'll be watching this take shape, and help where I can.

thedarkstone
2011-12-29, 08:12 PM
I'd be willing to take a peek at this. I'll be watching this take shape, and help where I can.
Thank you kindly!

Tebryn
2011-12-29, 08:16 PM
Ah, but I want a compromise between GURPS and D&D, not a GURPS ripoff. I do want the classes in the game, as a general proficiency sort of thing. I mean, you've got your general physical fighter type, your general magicker, and so on. There's still room to maneuver, easily. The thing that lets you make it your own is the abilities within the class itself.

And Shyftir, Koala, I'd be glad to have the both of you!

When you're making your own system you should strive to be your own thing, not a cross between other games. At least that's my gaming philosophy. As for base classes it seems Djinn and I are on the same page...makes me feel good to know another old timer and I think alike. After all, you said you want a "New Kind" of Roleplaying game. Slapping two separate wheel parts and calling it new isn't.

If you want a "class" then just say "Here are the skills to take for this class." and be done with it. If you want a free class system placing "archtypes" isn't the way to go. It never has been. Why can't the Paladin be a ragaholic? Why do they need "umbrellas" to be put under. Let the players make the niche, all you're doing is setting up a situation where people are going to want to min/max. If that's what you want then sure, you've got the right idea. But again, you said you want a new kind of game which isn't where you're headed on the outset. You're getting an old game with some extra bells and whistles with the weaknesses of both and none of the benefits.

thedarkstone
2011-12-29, 08:19 PM
When you're making your own system you should strive to be your own thing, not a cross between other games. At least that's my gaming philosophy. As for base classes it seems Djinn and I are on the same page...makes me feel good to know another old timer and I think alike. After all, you said you want a "New Kind" of Roleplaying game. Slapping two separate wheel parts and calling it new isn't.

If you want a "class" then just say "Here are the skills to take for this class." and be done with it. If you want a free class system placing "archtypes" isn't the way to go. It never has been. Why can't the Paladin be a ragaholic? Why do they need "umbrellas" to be put under. Let the players make the niche, all you're doing is setting up a situation where people are going to want to min/max. If that's what you want then sure, you've got the right idea. But again, you said you want a new kind of game which isn't where you're headed on the outset. You're getting an old game with some extra bells and whistles with the weaknesses of both and none of the benefits.
I don't think you and I both have the same idea of umbrellas. You can have a Paladin be a Physical Warrior, or anything else, really. You make the concept, and use the tools there to suit you. The Category does not exist to define you; that is reserved for the abilities. What the Category does is just, very simply, state what your base idea is, so when you take it further, you aren't adrift in a sea of abilities with no idea what you're doing.

Djinn_in_Tonic
2011-12-29, 08:28 PM
I'm just uncertain of the need for the categories. Sorry if this comes off as confrontational, but consider it more brainstorming from others interested in system design.

What is the purpose of the archetypes? Why do you feel they are necessary, if the rest of the system is so utterly modular?

In short, if I can be a Physical Combatant with Divine abilities or a Divine Combatant with Physical combat abilities, doesn't it effectively come down to the same thing? It seems that you're creating another, redundant design space that will only serve to make one approach to a character the mechanically superior one: that increases system mastery, but in my opinion the idea of "you're better at this system means you can make a better character" isn't a good design concept.

So what is the justification for the added level of archetyping? In short, if complete leveling freedom is your goal, why am I limited by a restrictive initial concept?

It seems you're afraid that players will get confused in a sea of options, but I'd be more afraid that players will feel limited and restricted in a system that seems to encourage maximum player choice.

thedarkstone
2011-12-29, 08:31 PM
I'm just uncertain of the need for the categories. Sorry if this comes off as confrontational, but consider it more brainstorming from others interested in system design.

What is the purpose of the archetypes? Why do you feel they are necessary, if the rest of the system is so utterly modular?

In short, if I can be a Physical Combatant with Divine abilities or a Divine Combatant with Physical combat abilities, doesn't it effectively come down to the same thing? It seems that you're creating another, redundant design space that will only serve to make one approach to a character the mechanically superior one: that increases system mastery, but in my opinion the idea of "you're better at this system means you can make a better character" isn't a good design concept.

So what is the justification for the added level of archetyping? In short, if complete leveling freedom is your goal, why am I limited by a restrictive initial concept?
I understand, but if you check my response to Tebryn, the Categories are more of an aid to beginner players. Having them decide the basic Category to which they belong will help in the long run, I would think. Advanced players wouldn't necessarily need the Category label, but I think it helps for the distinction.

If you think it would be best without the Categories altogether, then I'm not too attached to them. But I think it would be a good newbie aid.

Tebryn
2011-12-29, 08:34 PM
I just don't see why you can't make beginner "packages" of skills that fit standard categories like the "Mage" and such. Wouldn't that be just as easy and do away with the need for "Archtypes"

thedarkstone
2011-12-29, 08:37 PM
I just don't see why you can't make beginner "packages" of skills that fit standard categories like the "Mage" and such. Wouldn't that be just as easy and do away with the need for "Archtypes"
Point, but that takes away the creation from the player. I don't want that.

Tebryn
2011-12-29, 08:50 PM
How does that take creation away from the player? They're not forced to take the whole package. And isn't it taking creation out of the hands of the player to impose arbitrary "Archtypes" just so new players won't be confused? At least with a package the new player can say "Oh hey...I don't want skill X. Can I take something else?" and then the DM can go "Ya sure, let me help you with what you want to take." That's what DM is for after all, helping the newbies as well as setting up the game. In the end, the player gets a lot more freedom if they're allowed to pick and choose outside a set up package made to help them out. They see the structure and how the character is made and can go from there. It actually makes things easier on the new player. I just think players and people in general are smart enough to look at a set up design with an open class based system.

thedarkstone
2011-12-29, 09:06 PM
How does that take creation away from the player? They're not forced to take the whole package. And isn't it taking creation out of the hands of the player to impose arbitrary "Archtypes" just so new players won't be confused? At least with a package the new player can say "Oh hey...I don't want skill X. Can I take something else?" and then the DM can go "Ya sure, let me help you with what you want to take." That's what DM is for after all, helping the newbies as well as setting up the game. In the end, the player gets a lot more freedom if they're allowed to pick and choose outside a set up package made to help them out. They see the structure and how the character is made and can go from there. It actually makes things easier on the new player. I just think players and people in general are smart enough to look at a set up design with an open class based system.
Obviously, you have more faith in people than I do. I'm not "imposing arbitrary archetypes", I'm using an umbrella of possibilities to make it easier for beginner players to choose what they want to do. When I ask players what they want to make, usually they tell me a certain category (like, "a fighter" or "a mage" or sometimes "someone who uses fire"). So, categorizing it will make it easier, I think.

And in most cases, a DM/GM will show new players a character sheet from a game already being used, or one manufactured themselves. I know that because I do, and I know two others who do. So, there's that.

I don't make things for the general; I want everyone who wants to be able to learn this, able to learn this. I want to make it as painless as possible. GURPS' point system is wonderful, but difficult to learn (I think). D&D is restrictive, quite so. Other systems are great for what they do, but they aren't what I'm going for. I'm looking for an ideological blend of the two, the goal they try to achieve, not the systems.

A blend of the idea of pure optimization of GURPS, and the idea of leveling and heroes of D&D. Those two concepts I want to keep; as you gain experience, you level, allowing you to gain more abilities and progress in a path of your choosing. That is the ideal I want. Optimization within a level-based system.

Djinn_in_Tonic
2011-12-29, 09:23 PM
I don't make things for the general; I want everyone who wants to be able to learn this, able to learn this. I want to make it as painless as possible. GURPS' point system is wonderful, but difficult to learn (I think). D&D is restrictive, quite so. Other systems are great for what they do, but they aren't what I'm going for. I'm looking for an ideological blend of the two, the goal they try to achieve, not the systems.

A blend of the idea of pure optimization of GURPS, and the idea of leveling and heroes of D&D. Those two concepts I want to keep; as you gain experience, you level, allowing you to gain more abilities and progress in a path of your choosing. That is the ideal I want. Optimization within a level-based system.

Fair enough. I must therefore respectfully withdraw interest in this particular project, as I think our design philosophies are do different for me to really be of help within the confines of the ideas you've laid out thus far.

If you'd like a design philosophy discussion at any point, let me know...I really love discussing this stuff, but I don't want to derail your thread by turning this into a debate of design theory.

Eldest
2011-12-29, 09:25 PM
But the problem is that you won't be able to create new archetypes for every players needs. So you will need to A) create an archetype for literally everything, with enough detail under each (which could run into the problem of too general archetypes, as with the paladin), or B) accept not everything would have an archetype (which would have the obvious problem that some ideas would be unplayable), or C) give the ability to design their own archetypes to the players or the DM, which would be one step away from ditching the archetype idea and just having a totally modular system. I recommend the totally modular system. Instead of having the Paladin have to chose between being primarily magic and primarily might, he/she could buy as much of either as they wished.

thedarkstone
2011-12-29, 09:25 PM
Fair enough. I must therefore respectfully withdraw interest in this particular project, as I think our design philosophies are do different for me to really be of help within the confines of the ideas you've laid out thus far.

If you'd like a design philosophy discussion at any point, let me know...I really love discussing this stuff, but I don't want to derail your thread by turning this into a debate of design theory.
All right, I'll do so sometime. Thanks anyways!

thedarkstone
2011-12-29, 09:31 PM
But the problem is that you won't be able to create new archetypes for every players needs. So you will need to A) create an archetype for literally everything, with enough detail under each (which could run into the problem of too general archetypes, as with the paladin), or B) accept not everything would have an archetype (which would have the obvious problem that some ideas would be unplayable), or C) give the ability to design their own archetypes to the players or the DM, which would be one step away from ditching the archetype idea and just having a totally modular system. I recommend the totally modular system. Instead of having the Paladin have to chose between being primarily magic and primarily might, he/she could buy as much of either as they wished.
Well, I already said I can ditch the categories if need be, but that will occur in the actual system-building portion. Right now, this is just turning into a huge argument over whether or not to do one small thing. Seriously. NOT why I created this thread.

Now, if we could be more constructive; rather than saying why I can't do this, or what my options are for changing one of my basic ideas, why don't we try and come up with new ones for the other features of the system, and then it can be decided logically whether we will need them or not?

EDIT: My apologies on the double post, I wanted to make sure everyone saw this.

Djinn_in_Tonic
2011-12-29, 09:34 PM
Now, if we could be more constructive; rather than saying why I can't do this, or what my options are for changing one of my basic ideas, why don't we try and come up with new ones for the other features of the system, and then it can be decided logically whether we will need them or not?


To actually be helpful: a large part of the reason this thread turned out the way it did is because we were discussing the merits (or lack thereof) of the only concrete part of the system you'd presented. Building a system entirely from scratch is a difficult and time-consuming project, and it's probably good to have some idea of what structure and mechanics you're looking for, so there's a common ground to work with.

For example...a number of people like d20, a number like dice pools, and any number like any number of differing systems, all with their respective merits and flaws. Certain mechanics only work in certain systems, so it's very difficult to work together in a group without having some common ground to work with.

thedarkstone
2011-12-29, 09:37 PM
To actually be helpful: a large part of the reason this thread turned out the way it did is because we were discussing the merits (or lack thereof) of the only concrete part of the system you'd presented. Building a system entirely from scratch is a difficult and time-consuming project, and it's probably good to have some idea of what structure and mechanics you're looking for, so there's a common ground to work with.

For example...a number of people like d20, a number like dice pools, and any number like any number of differing systems, all with their respective merits and flaws. Certain mechanics only work in certain systems, so it's very difficult to work together in a group without having some common ground to work with.
Good point. So, I know and am most familiar with d20; does anyone else have alternative preferences?

Eldest
2011-12-29, 09:45 PM
Yeah, no problem. I think you are allowed to double post when it's your homebrew thread, actually.
Perhaps divide the abilities up into various packages, which have point costs for each. So you could buy basic magic (divine [if you chose to make divine magic separate from arcane]), the advanced martial power package, and maybe minor healing abilities if that was your idea of a paladin. I could buy elemental manipulation and advanced/master magic if I wanted to be a magician of some sort. So it wouldn't be skill based (which you said you didn't want to do), but it would be modular.

thedarkstone
2011-12-29, 09:48 PM
Yeah, no problem. I think you are allowed to double post when it's your homebrew thread, actually.
Perhaps divide the abilities up into various packages, which have point costs for each. So you could buy basic magic (divine [if you chose to make divine magic separate from arcane]), the advanced martial power package, and maybe minor healing abilities if that was your idea of a paladin. I could buy elemental manipulation and advanced/master magic if I wanted to be a magician of some sort. So it wouldn't be skill based (which you said you didn't want to do), but it would be modular.
See, a series of multiple packages might work. But I'm a little against point-costs; I'd much rather have a tiering ability power system, so you can have (at each level) so many of each tier, which can be traded up and down. Or, even better, all abilities be equal power, or grant equal power gains. The latter isn't likely, but I can always hope.

Eldest
2011-12-29, 09:55 PM
That sounds like Legend, is that what you meant by the tier thing?

thedarkstone
2011-12-29, 09:59 PM
Haven't looked through much of legend, so I have no clue. I mean, say, you can obtain 1 tier three, 1 tier two, and 2 tier one abilities on creation. You trade the tier three ability down for 2 tier two abilities, or for 3 tier one abilities. That sort of thing. Tiering power levels.

Eldest
2011-12-29, 10:02 PM
Not quite, Legend's thing is different. So could you trade in the three tier 1s for a tier 3? I would really suggest that it not work. In fact, I would suggest that the trading down thing be discouraged, although offered. Variety does not make someone more powerful.

thedarkstone
2011-12-29, 10:07 PM
Hmm. All right. I still would prefer to have only one level of power, though, if possible. Maybe just have differing types of abilities that can't be intertraded among, all of equal and different power. Less types, more...groups. Certain groups of abilities.

Eldest
2011-12-29, 10:11 PM
So then there would be the magical "group" in which there are the powers fire/water/wind/earth/other element manipulation, arcana, counterspelling, transmutation, etc?
I would suggest having some sort of upgrades for specific abilities, so there is somewhere to grow and you don't feel like you are just expanding your power outward and not just upward.

thedarkstone
2011-12-29, 10:15 PM
And then give them X amount of abilities selected at first level, and the ability to easily make their own.

erikun
2011-12-29, 10:20 PM
Now, those of you who made it past my introduction intact, the premise is this: leveling system with freedom. What this means is while you'll chose the base class idea you want, you'll grow in strength in the areas you WANT to grow in strength in. Not just that; you'll thematically choose how you want to gain power. It's something similar to the simple class variant system in UA, taken a step farther.
This sounds like the concept behind Mutants and Masterminds.


We'll see on that. The idea is this: the 'classes' aren't classes in the strict D&D sense. You have a base...say...umbrella of abilities you fall under. Whether you are a berserker, a meat shield, or a paladin, you fall under the Physical Warrior category. Being an elementalist, a 'traditional' wizard, or even a warlock, you fall under the Magical Combatant category. Things like this.
This sounds more like D&D 4th edition, though.

I'll agree with what others have said: that having a design concept for the system would give you a better idea of what you want to focus on and what you don't. Right now I'm only seeing a generic Gurpsy-D&D classes idea and not much else. How were you seeing a game of this system playing out as?

I'm not quite sure how the class-archtypes will work. Do you mean everyone starts out as a 1st level fighter/1st level rogue/etc and then picks up abilities (e.g. feats) relating to how they want their character to progress? Or do you mean the archtype is a starting point, and then add abilities to create a 1st level character from there?

thedarkstone
2011-12-29, 10:27 PM
This sounds like the concept behind Mutants and Masterminds.


This sounds more like D&D 4th edition, though.

I'll agree with what others have said: that having a design concept for the system would give you a better idea of what you want to focus on and what you don't. Right now I'm only seeing a generic Gurpsy-D&D classes idea and not much else. How were you seeing a game of this system playing out as?

I'm not quite sure how the class-archtypes will work. Do you mean everyone starts out as a 1st level fighter/1st level rogue/etc and then picks up abilities (e.g. feats) relating to how they want their character to progress? Or do you mean the archtype is a starting point, and then add abilities to create a 1st level character from there?
The categories would be a base idea; somewhere to build from. You choose a certain Category to build from. Less like 'taking a level in fighter' more like 'I want to make a meleeist who can X, but he's a meleeist so I'll go with this Category'. They won't have a mechanical effect, beyond helping beginner players figure out what they want to do with their character; or shouldn't, at least, depends on how the system works out. We might not use them. All depends.

Eldest
2011-12-29, 10:28 PM
But how would they get higher level powers? Would they be able to buy them for far more points? Would the basic packages become more powerful as you level up?

thedarkstone
2011-12-29, 10:35 PM
But how would they get higher level powers? Would they be able to buy them for far more points? Would the basic packages become more powerful as you level up?
Abilities would build upon each other; they would be a progression based series, with several different progressions, and alternate paths. X ability leads to Y, but so does B and Q. They all lead to, say, two or three different abilities, and you can traverse several paths at once. These paths improve upon the earlier abilities in different ways. Or, that's one option, at least. I'm open to suggestions.

Zeta Kai
2011-12-29, 10:45 PM
I believe what Djinn is getting at is a fundamental question that has yet to be answered to my satisfaction:

What does the OP (thedarkstone) plan to bring to the table? What are you really offering in terms of creative output? Why should anyone flock to your banner?

Like Djinn, I don't wish to be confrontational, but these questions demand answers. Good answers. This forum has no shortage of high-quality homebrewers, but we have seen some fly-by-night cons before, & no one here is interested in being exploited. Occasionally, someone will post a thread soliciting homebrew, sometimes even disguised as some sort of half-baked contest. Other times, it is like this thread, which has an MC ready to cherry-pick ideas, organize materials, & take credit for the results of what is essentially someone else's creative labor. This is a forum for artists, & artists do not need managers, or agents, or MCs. We need more art, & more artists, & a place to share our craft, without some lordly figure waving a thumb up or down & pretending like their judgment is a creative act.

I'm not accusing the OP of any ill intent, & I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt, but nothing I've seen so far puts these questions to bed. So tell us OP, what do you got? You want a half-dozen artists to pitch in, so why do they need you?

erikun
2011-12-29, 10:49 PM
Perhaps building some of these progressive abilities would help give the system some structure, or at least see how the rest of it would form.

However, the big problem I see is that it goes against your earlier design concept of piecing together archtypes to form a character concept. For example, you may design a fighter-type with ranger abilities or paladin abilities or barbarian abilities, and allow swaping between them. However, what if you want a fighter-type that can heal like a cleric? You (or rather, the GM) would need to build an entirely new ability-progression. If you want a fighter-type that is based around throwing shields, or using arrow trick-shots, then it would be an entirely new progression.

That seems like it would be against the idea of easily swapping out progression paths for a GM or player.

thedarkstone
2011-12-29, 11:23 PM
Why should they flock to my banner? Because I need help. xD. I don't give a damn about credit, pardon my language. I just would really like to see this system made. This is a system I would want to play in. Also, Zeta, I have seen your work and I would just like to say I an admirer. You do wonderful work.

Why should anyone want to help me? Maybe because the system should be made. I would love for people to work with me on this, because I know for a fact I can't do it alone. I envision this project creation a system in which players can easily go through the character creation process. Where, legitimately, you can have almost everything available, any concept you envision. And it grows in power over a series of levels.

I don't blame any of you for any skepticism. I wasn't expecting it, but, then again, I tend to be na´ve. What do I have? Hmm. I have several years' DMing experience, but that doesn't really prove creative talent directly. I've been considering posting some of my homebrew classes here for a while, but I usually underplay my own efforts, so, hasn't happened yet.

As for those abilities...hrm...

A Swordsman's Mettle
One of the first abilities of a Swordsman tier. This ability grants bonuses to hit and damage to one who wields a sword; it also improves their ability to defend while wielding a sword. (because of the undecided nature of the system, I can't list dice and what have you, or what bonuses it might give. +1? +2? Or will they aim low? -1? -2? More? Depends on balance)

The Fires Within
Some are born with fires in their hearts. This ability allows them to use this connection to the fire to summon bolts of fire and throw globs of flame.(Again, damage is undecided; however, in this case, there is also the problem of a lack of ideas on what else to give the starter elemental ability)

Might and Magic
Tiered to through either a beginner magic ability or a beginner weapon ability, this ability allows the user to imbue their weapon with magical energy. This adds weapon and magic damage together upon a successful hit. If both a beginner magic and beginner weapon ability are owned, this ability becomes more useful, allowing a ranged magic attack through the sword, dealing damage as if used in melee through this ability.

Those are samples, and may not even be used. But they are the kind of thing I am thinking of.

Shield-throwing fighters? Sure, we could make abilities for that. But there should also be rules made to allow easily made abilities and their tiering systems for players and DM/GMs alike. It shouldn't always be necessary, but it should be there to be used.

And now, I'm back to Zeta (who I am still shocked came all the way to little old me! Wow, I feel honored). I didn't fully answer your questions, partially because I'm not entirely certain what is expected of me. Anything you need me to do, I can do, kind of. I just suck at art, and visual presentations of any kind, and I am absolutely horrid at sticking to a project unless I'm working with others. I am likely to get frustrated with it without others' perspectives. Plus, you guys know what you are doing with this stuff.

That's why I came to you guys. You know how to do it. You've built systems, or seen others do it. You can tell me what NOT to do, so I don't do it. And you can help me temper this basic idea of one of the aspects of an entire system, and build it into a masterpiece. Not my masterpiece, since I'm not going to be the only contributor, and probably not the major contributor once this gets under way. If it does, at least. I want it to happen, and I'm willing to spend some of my time and creative energy building abilities (when we get there), working on systems, stats (I have some ideas there, already), and the works.

So...I mostly want to know, Zeta; what do you want from me? I can list off the stats I'm thinking of, but really we need to build systems to use them before we know what we'll need. So...what do you need from me?

Djinn_in_Tonic
2011-12-29, 11:55 PM
So...I mostly want to know, Zeta; what do you want from me? I can list off the stats I'm thinking of, but really we need to build systems to use them before we know what we'll need. So...what do you need from me?

Alright. *cracks knuckles*

So here's the thing. A project lead for a homebrew project needs to have some idea of what the project is. Not just conceptually, as there are a number of varied ways to make any "style" or RPG, and we'd each go about making such a system in a different way.

As evidenced by this thread, we can get into endless discussions about any specific point in the process, so a project lead needs to have some conceptualization of the core mechanics, or enough knowledge of RPG design to be able to patch something together from suggestions, even if just as a starting point. Hence why most systems are either based on existing ones, or designed as one-man projects and then have others come aboard once the core is in place, however shaky it might be.

Further, your concept is lacking conceptually, since you don't tell us what sort of system you want. If you want a tight, detailed system you gain a lot of mechanical depth, but lose out on some character customization (if there's an ability to do X, Y, and Z and I want to do X, Y, and Z but don't have the points/level/etc, I feel annoyed, especially if Z is something like throwing my shield, which I should logically be able to do...i.e. having a specific ability for something makes it seem like people WITHOUT that ability CAN'T do the action. This is a problem with 4e). In contrast, a more ambiguous system obviously isn't as mechanically robust, but can give players a lot more freedom with their actions and characters. It sounds like you want the former, but you haven't told us.

In short, there are many incredibly skilled homebrewers and system designers on these forums, but we don't work well together in a vacuum. You have to offer us enough to sink our teeth into, and then we can work together to find the flaws of the system, the successes of the system, and how to make it better. Without ideas, however, we'll just butt heads all day long, since each of us would approach system design differently, and to different ends.

Take the guys who designed Legend, and put them next to myself, for example. I love what I've seen of Legend, and it's a beautiful bit of system revision/design (it sort of blurs the line between 3.5 and a new system). However, if you put it next to my assorted ideas of a 3.5 revision, you end up with two entirely different things. If I had tried to work with them, we would have had some serious issues without someone coming in and saying "Alright. This is what we've got to work with...what can you do?"

Yitzi
2011-12-30, 08:07 AM
I understand, but if you check my response to Tebryn, the Categories are more of an aid to beginner players. Having them decide the basic Category to which they belong will help in the long run, I would think. Advanced players wouldn't necessarily need the Category label, but I think it helps for the distinction.

If you think it would be best without the Categories altogether, then I'm not too attached to them. But I think it would be a good newbie aid.

For what you want, I'd say the best approach is not to pick a category at first level, but rather to assign a category (or more than one, if it can be used by more than one) to each ability, with no mechanical significance. Then you still get your newbie aid, but no restrictions on freedom.

TheKoalaNxtDoor
2011-12-30, 03:24 PM
I have a question. Is the game going to have lots of levels and tiers, with a big focus on the character that you start with, who will grow and become more powerful who the player gets attached to, with death being, in general, a rare thing that is counteracted by rituals and spells? Or are we looking at something more like gamma world or rouge trader, with max levels being low, combat being short and brutal, and death being a commonplace thing that is completely final? Dnd tends to lean towards the former, with the completion of a campaigne being an epic thing that took a year or two of playing. Other systems make the end of things more simple, with perhaps a climactic final mission but nothing ridiculously grand. Are players to become epic jerks and gods at the end, who are worshiped and inscribed into the anneals of history, for the next campaign players to hear about, like in dnd? Or is it, again, more like gamma world, with the players being just run-of-the-mill explorers and mercenaries, with little real effect on the outcome of nations and worlds. I guess what I'm asking is, will this game be a casual, rainy day activity, with short and brutal combat where each individual character is generally unimportant, or a large-scale project of a game, with constant meets and adventures of epic proportions, with characters being powerful and difficult to kill?

thedarkstone
2011-12-30, 07:00 PM
Alright. *cracks knuckles*

So here's the thing. A project lead for a homebrew project needs to have some idea of what the project is. Not just conceptually, as there are a number of varied ways to make any "style" or RPG, and we'd each go about making such a system in a different way.

As evidenced by this thread, we can get into endless discussions about any specific point in the process, so a project lead needs to have some conceptualization of the core mechanics, or enough knowledge of RPG design to be able to patch something together from suggestions, even if just as a starting point. Hence why most systems are either based on existing ones, or designed as one-man projects and then have others come aboard once the core is in place, however shaky it might be.

Further, your concept is lacking conceptually, since you don't tell us what sort of system you want. If you want a tight, detailed system you gain a lot of mechanical depth, but lose out on some character customization (if there's an ability to do X, Y, and Z and I want to do X, Y, and Z but don't have the points/level/etc, I feel annoyed, especially if Z is something like throwing my shield, which I should logically be able to do...i.e. having a specific ability for something makes it seem like people WITHOUT that ability CAN'T do the action. This is a problem with 4e). In contrast, a more ambiguous system obviously isn't as mechanically robust, but can give players a lot more freedom with their actions and characters. It sounds like you want the former, but you haven't told us.

In short, there are many incredibly skilled homebrewers and system designers on these forums, but we don't work well together in a vacuum. You have to offer us enough to sink our teeth into, and then we can work together to find the flaws of the system, the successes of the system, and how to make it better. Without ideas, however, we'll just butt heads all day long, since each of us would approach system design differently, and to different ends.

Take the guys who designed Legend, and put them next to myself, for example. I love what I've seen of Legend, and it's a beautiful bit of system revision/design (it sort of blurs the line between 3.5 and a new system). However, if you put it next to my assorted ideas of a 3.5 revision, you end up with two entirely different things. If I had tried to work with them, we would have had some serious issues without someone coming in and saying "Alright. This is what we've got to work with...what can you do?"
Well said. All right, I am looking for something more like system B (freedom!), but, as you said, I sound more like the first; mostly because that is what I know best. I know D&D best, as a tight, detailed system is easiest to think of ways to make things for to me. But I would, most definitely, want to work to build a more free system, with the abilities enhancing what you can do and giving you options the normal person wouldn't have. Shield-throwing may not be common place, but even a common man can throw one. It takes dedication to learn it as a 'talent', though.

For mechanics...I'd like to just say it'll be based on d20, and start delving into statistics and what have you, but I don't want to lose out on creative talent. The reason I haven't put my foot down is because the more specific it gets, the less people it will appeal to. What if by the time I lay down all I want, there's no one left who wants to help? Then where am I left? Unlikely scenario, but possible nonetheless.

Feh, I'm going off topic. Regardless, I had the idea and wanted to see it through to completion; even if the project wasn't actually mine. So, if I can't pull the project through, I'm fine with stepping aside, partially or completely; I just would really like to see the system made. To use it to create characters in, to DM/GM in. But if I can, I'd like to do what I can, where I can, to build this system. So, if I wanted to go about making this free system, rather than a tight, detailed one, where should I start? What should I do first? Tell me this, and I'll do it. I may need to ask questions on certain points, but I can do it. I just need to know what I need to do.


For what you want, I'd say the best approach is not to pick a category at first level, but rather to assign a category (or more than one, if it can be used by more than one) to each ability, with no mechanical significance. Then you still get your newbie aid, but no restrictions on freedom.
I think that's a better idea than my own. Enough said.


I have a question. Is the game going to have lots of levels and tiers, with a big focus on the character that you start with, who will grow and become more powerful who the player gets attached to, with death being, in general, a rare thing that is counteracted by rituals and spells? Or are we looking at something more like gamma world or rouge trader, with max levels being low, combat being short and brutal, and death being a commonplace thing that is completely final? Dnd tends to lean towards the former, with the completion of a campaigne being an epic thing that took a year or two of playing. Other systems make the end of things more simple, with perhaps a climactic final mission but nothing ridiculously grand. Are players to become epic jerks and gods at the end, who are worshiped and inscribed into the anneals of history, for the next campaign players to hear about, like in dnd? Or is it, again, more like gamma world, with the players being just run-of-the-mill explorers and mercenaries, with little real effect on the outcome of nations and worlds. I guess what I'm asking is, will this game be a casual, rainy day activity, with short and brutal combat where each individual character is generally unimportant, or a large-scale project of a game, with constant meets and adventures of epic proportions, with characters being powerful and difficult to kill?
Less gamma world, more epic and powerful heroes; they still may be lesser heroes, and death may even be common, depending on the DM/GM, but in the average world, heroes will triumph, eventually. Or some of them will, at least. I'm thinking of lots of levels, tiers, abilities; you progress and become progressively better at what you do, whatever that is.

Djinn_in_Tonic
2011-12-31, 02:17 AM
NOTE FOR THOSE SKIMMING: THE FIRST PART OF THIS POST CONTINUES ON THE SUBJECT OF THE VAGUE IDEA. ACTUAL SYSTEM DESIGN IS INCLUDED, JUST LATER ON.


For mechanics...I'd like to just say it'll be based on d20, and start delving into statistics and what have you, but I don't want to lose out on creative talent. The reason I haven't put my foot down is because the more specific it gets, the less people it will appeal to. What if by the time I lay down all I want, there's no one left who wants to help? Then where am I left? Unlikely scenario, but possible nonetheless.

Not to sound confrontational, but you'd be in probably a better part than saying to the open air "I'd like to make a system: help me" and not having any truly solid ideas or even a starting point to go off of. I could begin making the system you seem to be proposing in any number of ways, each with their own ups and downs, and honestly would have no idea where to have a design team even begin. Creative talent needs something to hold it together, otherwise it runs off in different directions. Less so in a board room where everyone is forced to focus on the task on hand until it is resolved, but on the internet it's very easy to lose group focus, especially when no idea has really solidified into a stage where it can be really worked with on an individual level.


Feh, I'm going off topic. Regardless, I had the idea and wanted to see it through to completion; even if the project wasn't actually mine. So, if I can't pull the project through, I'm fine with stepping aside, partially or completely; I just would really like to see the system made.

It may be some indication of the issue at hand that I'm still not sure what system you'd like to see made. I'm not sure what makes it different from others: not certain exactly what qualities it has that make it stand out. Many systems have modularity (GURPS, White Wolf to some extent, d20 Modern to some extent, the generic class variants in D&D, and a host of others to numerous to name), so I'm still trying to see what the "core" idea behind this is.


NOW ON TO THE ACTUAL SYSTEM DESIGN PORTION


So, if I wanted to go about making this free system, rather than a tight, detailed one, where should I start? What should I do first? Tell me this, and I'll do it. I may need to ask questions on certain points, but I can do it. I just need to know what I need to do.

*Cracks knuckles again*

Alright. Most P&PRPGS fall along a spectrum of playstyles, which can be (by one theory) reduced to three major conventions: Gamist, Narrativist, or Simulationist. Let's take a look.

Gamist: Focuses on the RPG as a game first and foremost. Realism and storytelling are secondary to strong gameplay. D&D 4e is a strong example of this: the rules are often nonsensical from a realism standpoint, but serve the purpose of making the gameplay itself clear, simple, and effective.

Narrativist: Story and narrative take precedence. Such games often feature stunt dice and/or some sort of fate mechanic to allow players to control the action, or are incredibly freeform and reduce rules to a handful of die rolls at GM discretion, allowing the story to rise to the forefront of the gaming experience. Wushu, Dharma 6 (http://www.ruleofcool.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/dharma.pdf) (by the makers of Legend (http://www.ruleofcool.com/), and The Window are some good examples of Narrativist, rules-light games. There are probably also a few rules-heavy narrativist games, but the names elude me. Spirit of the Century might be one, but I'm a bit shaky on those rules.

Simulationist: Attempts to recreate "reality" in an RPG. Has a lot of rules for as many situations as can be thought up: the idea is that if something occurs, there's a rule for it. 3.5e borders on this, GURPS is often fairly simulationist, and, at the far end of the extreme, we have the much-maligned (and for good reason) FATAL, which you really shouldn't look up (Ever. Trust me on this one).

Back to our original subject: you can, in theory, build a game anywhere on this tri-spectrum, but you can't place all three equally (or, rather, such a game would be all but impossible to design). A good starting point is figuring out what order you value these three elements within your concept, and then you're able to determine roughly the direction your game design should go in: in a simulationist/gamist RPG, for example, rules are rules are rules. In a narrativist/gamist RPG, however, you might have a mechanic that allows a player to spend points to retell part of the story or undo a failure if the story he tells convinces the group.

I'd also consider freedom of flavor: that is, allowing a player to dictate exactly how a given ability works. Rather than categorize everything as Martial, Magical, Divine, Physical, or whatever (like you suggested), consider something like my friend Lord_Gareth and I were tossing around for our ongoing Paradigm Project. In the current iteration of that system, you might have an ability that reads something like this:

Massive Weapon
You can wield a weapon many times larger than you would otherwise be able to wield. Damage you deal increases by +2 dice, and damage to non-creatures is increased by +10 dice.

Note that it doesn't say how this works. You could be a powerful telekinetic, wielding a massive sword. You could be immensely strong. You could manifest a giant hammer out of physic or magical energy. You could just hit really damn hard. That sort of ambiguity--not of rules, but of flavor--gives players a lot of freedom to feel like they're customizing a character.

...more to come later, but it's late, and I'm tired. Specific questions are, by the by, easier to answer than general ones, so if you're curious about anything in particular please let me know!

TheKoalaNxtDoor
2011-12-31, 09:01 AM
What you have been describing reminds me of mutants and masterminds, with options to make almost any character you can think of, without many rules problems at all. Or, it could be vaugly similar to the Munchkin games (rules-wise, not humor/atmosphere wise) with classes being more of little booster packs at the beginning, that provide a few interesting bonuses and allow you to use a few items that others can't, or prevent you from using things others can. Your class would have little effect on what you wanted your character to be like, with a bigger focus on rewards from creatures, and general feat/utility power sort of effects. Perhaps, as you up a few more levels, like, every three or four, you gain some new class feature with good effects, but it wouldn't really dictate your playstyle or the way you want your character to act. Those things would be govers ed by the feat/utility powers you CHOSE to take every other level.

IcemanJRC
2011-12-31, 01:18 PM
I just read through the thread and it's peaked my interest. The concept I'm getting from thedarkstone sounds good. Something modular, expansive and scaling. Very interesting.

In response to Djinn_in_Tonic, what I've gathered from my reading is a rough estimate of how I'd place the proposed system. I believe the thedarkstone is attempting to place Narrativist first, wanting to mold the rules around the ability to make your desired characters and the ability to create compelling and often epic stories. Then Gamist, rules seem to be important for facilitating these stories and characters. Simulationist seems to be very unimportant, providing a strong Simulationist element would restrict freedom.

The Massive Weapon "perk" seems to be just inline with what the system sounds like. I believe that is the intent of the design.

So that's what I've gathered and my brief impressions, by no means a definitive answer to anything, and I can't speak for anybody else. I just felt my contributions would be helpful.

Also, tangent, do you happen to have a link to the Paradigm Project you're working on Djinn_in_Tonic? It sounds interesting and I'd like to puruse and perhaps contribute if you're looking for that. If not I understand.

Djinn_in_Tonic
2011-12-31, 01:33 PM
Also, tangent, do you happen to have a link to the Paradigm Project you're working on Djinn_in_Tonic? It sounds interesting and I'd lik to puruse and perhaps contribute if you're looking for that. If not I understand.

There is no functional link to the current design musings...we have a class built on a 3.5 framework that started out thoughts, but at the moment we're tossing out design theory ideas while trying to hammer down a core system both strong and modular enough to support...well, infinite variety.

This has been several years in the brainstorming phase, and I think I'm close to producing a dice-pool system that allows multiple levels of character "strength" to function within a set game world, with each increasing level granting quadratically scaling powers, allowing you to go from pulpy action-adventure to, for example, galaxy-wide combat.

In short, the design concept of the Paradigm Project is that any given character should be able to be modeled, and no abilities should be off-limit to a player who can properly justify his or her character having such a power. All character abilities beyond basic ones scale into the supernatural: fighters should, when paired with world-altering mages, be able to do things like slice bits of reality off, move mountains, or, like the figures of legends, re-route rivers with their bare hands or fight off a thousand mortal men without a scratch.

Basically, the Paradigm Project is Lord_Gareth and my own attempt to approach the same sort of system proposed by this thread...but we're having trouble hammering out a core system both indepth, flexible, and easy to run.

The Paradigm Project, by the way, is probably Narrativist/Gamist hand in hand (with a slight emphasis on Narrativist), with Simulationist running a distant third.

IcemanJRC
2011-12-31, 01:44 PM
It sounds very interesting, if you ever feel the need for some assitance I'd love to have a go, not that familiar with Homebrew and my repitoire of systems is not particularly large, but sometimes it just helps to have a fresh mind. More in line with this thread though, do you think you maybe have some musings from your Paradigm Project that may help set up this one? They seem remarkably similar in intent.

Djinn_in_Tonic
2011-12-31, 03:41 PM
IcemanJRC, consider yourself added to the list of people I'll let know when and if the Paradigm Project becomes even remotely presentable. :smallbiggrin:


More in line with this thread though, do you think you maybe have some musings from your Paradigm Project that may help set up this one? They seem remarkably similar in intent.

Firstly, I'd avoid standard leveling systems unless you have very good reason to do so. A leveling systems means that there's both a maximum and minimum number of abilities your character will have, and obvious power differentials, both of which can hurt a game which wants maximum freedom. It also means that XP is in danger of becoming an expected part of the system, which removes GM control over the flow of the game and the power level.

Secondly, consider your abilities scores carefully: if you have powers keyed of Strength, for example, characters with weak Strength can't take them, even if they seem appropriate. Either have other ways to approach such abilities, or find a way around it (Paradigm Project: At the current state, for example, the Paradigm Project has a Storytelleresque division of ability scores, so a "great strength" ability would trigger off Power, which could be physical strength, mental strength, or any other sort of representation of raw power, regardless of actual form. You'd merely use the best of your Power stats for the related ability).

Hm...general advice is actually rather hard to give. :smallfrown:

It will be easier to field thoughts on specific topics and/or questions, honestly.

thedarkstone
2011-12-31, 03:53 PM
NOTE FOR THOSE SKIMMING: THE FIRST PART OF THIS POST CONTINUES ON THE SUBJECT OF THE VAGUE IDEA. ACTUAL SYSTEM DESIGN IS INCLUDED, JUST LATER ON.



Not to sound confrontational, but you'd be in probably a better part than saying to the open air "I'd like to make a system: help me" and not having any truly solid ideas or even a starting point to go off of. I could begin making the system you seem to be proposing in any number of ways, each with their own ups and downs, and honestly would have no idea where to have a design team even begin. Creative talent needs something to hold it together, otherwise it runs off in different directions. Less so in a board room where everyone is forced to focus on the task on hand until it is resolved, but on the internet it's very easy to lose group focus, especially when no idea has really solidified into a stage where it can be really worked with on an individual level.



It may be some indication of the issue at hand that I'm still not sure what system you'd like to see made. I'm not sure what makes it different from others: not certain exactly what qualities it has that make it stand out. Many systems have modularity (GURPS, White Wolf to some extent, d20 Modern to some extent, the generic class variants in D&D, and a host of others to numerous to name), so I'm still trying to see what the "core" idea behind this is.


NOW ON TO THE ACTUAL SYSTEM DESIGN PORTION



*Cracks knuckles again*

Alright. Most P&PRPGS fall along a spectrum of playstyles, which can be (by one theory) reduced to three major conventions: Gamist, Narrativist, or Simulationist. Let's take a look.

Gamist: Focuses on the RPG as a game first and foremost. Realism and storytelling are secondary to strong gameplay. D&D 4e is a strong example of this: the rules are often nonsensical from a realism standpoint, but serve the purpose of making the gameplay itself clear, simple, and effective.

Narrativist: Story and narrative take precedence. Such games often feature stunt dice and/or some sort of fate mechanic to allow players to control the action, or are incredibly freeform and reduce rules to a handful of die rolls at GM discretion, allowing the story to rise to the forefront of the gaming experience. Wushu, Dharma 6 (http://www.ruleofcool.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/dharma.pdf) (by the makers of Legend (http://www.ruleofcool.com/), and The Window are some good examples of Narrativist, rules-light games. There are probably also a few rules-heavy narrativist games, but the names elude me. Spirit of the Century might be one, but I'm a bit shaky on those rules.

Simulationist: Attempts to recreate "reality" in an RPG. Has a lot of rules for as many situations as can be thought up: the idea is that if something occurs, there's a rule for it. 3.5e borders on this, GURPS is often fairly simulationist, and, at the far end of the extreme, we have the much-maligned (and for good reason) FATAL, which you really shouldn't look up (Ever. Trust me on this one).

Back to our original subject: you can, in theory, build a game anywhere on this tri-spectrum, but you can't place all three equally (or, rather, such a game would be all but impossible to design). A good starting point is figuring out what order you value these three elements within your concept, and then you're able to determine roughly the direction your game design should go in: in a simulationist/gamist RPG, for example, rules are rules are rules. In a narrativist/gamist RPG, however, you might have a mechanic that allows a player to spend points to retell part of the story or undo a failure if the story he tells convinces the group.

I'd also consider freedom of flavor: that is, allowing a player to dictate exactly how a given ability works. Rather than categorize everything as Martial, Magical, Divine, Physical, or whatever (like you suggested), consider something like my friend Lord_Gareth and I were tossing around for our ongoing Paradigm Project. In the current iteration of that system, you might have an ability that reads something like this:

Massive Weapon
You can wield a weapon many times larger than you would otherwise be able to wield. Damage you deal increases by +2 dice, and damage to non-creatures is increased by +10 dice.

Note that it doesn't say how this works. You could be a powerful telekinetic, wielding a massive sword. You could be immensely strong. You could manifest a giant hammer out of physic or magical energy. You could just hit really damn hard. That sort of ambiguity--not of rules, but of flavor--gives players a lot of freedom to feel like they're customizing a character.

...more to come later, but it's late, and I'm tired. Specific questions are, by the by, easier to answer than general ones, so if you're curious about anything in particular please let me know!
When you say "not to sound confrontational," you actually don't sound confrontational. Just helpful. Well, we got there eventually, but the type I'm going for is...well, Iceman stole my thunder, but yeah. I'm going for a Narrative/Gamist; perhaps a little more focused on Gamist than it might otherwise be, building the characters to facilitate the story (again, thunder=stolen by Iceman), but that's the general blend.

As for what sets it apart...well, GURPS has wonderful abilities that you can choose from, but if you think of something they don't include, it is pretty difficult to make that new ability unless you intimately know the system. White Wolf's Wold of Darkness and all of their other games are wonderful, and have storytelling freedom, but I'm looking for something with more mechanic; not less story, just more mechanic. I can't say anything for d20 Modern, but the Generic Class variants from UA aren't quite there on the fundamental level; they have classes that still dictate what types of powers you are allowed. That's not what I'm going for, either.

So, to close, if you were to want to know certain specific things about this, what specific things would you need to have a better idea of what this needs?


I just read through the thread and it's peaked my interest. The concept I'm getting from thedarkstone sounds good. Something modular, expansive and scaling. Very interesting.

In response to Djinn_in_Tonic, what I've gathered from my reading is a rough estimate of how I'd place the proposed system. I believe the thedarkstone is attempting to place Narrativist first, wanting to mold the rules around the ability to make your desired characters and the ability to create compelling and often epic stories. Then Gamist, rules seem to be important for facilitating these stories and characters. Simulationist seems to be very unimportant, providing a strong Simulationist element would restrict freedom.

The Massive Weapon "perk" seems to be just inline with what the system sounds like. I believe that is the intent of the design.

So that's what I've gathered and my brief impressions, by no means a definitive answer to anything, and I can't speak for anybody else. I just felt my contributions would be helpful.

Also, tangent, do you happen to have a link to the Paradigm Project you're working on Djinn_in_Tonic? It sounds interesting and I'd like to puruse and perhaps contribute if you're looking for that. If not I understand.
Now, for you. I think I need your help more than most because without me saying anything more, you understood what I was going for. That is a very useful ability you have. I'd be glad to work with you.

IcemanJRC
2011-12-31, 03:56 PM
I understand, so what we're looking at right now is trying to develop a core of play. Correct? So from my experience an important part of the core is the ultimate decision making mechanic. What will that be? d20 vs target number, percentile die, brief debate and collaboration, sumo wrestling? I feel that in order to develop the modular additions that we'd like we need the base of a decision maker.

Also, thank you Djinn_in_Tonic, I look forward to it.

EDIT: And thedarkstone, thank you very much. I am glad to work with you all. It's an admirable attempt and I feel if we can complete this system it will be a quality one.

Chauncymancer
2012-01-01, 03:40 AM
I'm in, two catches
1. This sounds like a ground up construction: Forums are bad for that, wiki's are good for that. People interested in this project should have somewhere non-thread to post/review what's on paper.
2. It's 3am in my timezone and the second page of this thread got wordy, so I skimmed a bit. I can't imagine any bizzare time bombs when I read this tomorrow, but I reserve guilt-free outs if I find any.

Jzadek
2012-01-06, 10:26 PM
Ok, having looked over this count me in as very interested. Like Chauncymancer, it's 3am here, so I've not read every single word, but from what I can tell this sounds like something that I'd love to be involved in.

I have a couple of questions:
1. What is the balance going to be between socialising and combat, and how deep should each system be?
2. Are we going for complexity, and thus depth, or simplicity, and thus ease of use?
3. Is this going to be designed for a particular type of setting (like D&D is for fantasy, Call of Cthulhu is for cosmic horror, etc) or a universal system? Generally, a the former allows for much more specific systems, while the latter requires a certain level of vagueness, or a large amount of work (which I would be on for).

And finally, on more specific terms:
4. Is there going to be magic, and if so, what kind? I've been in the process of designing a freeform system for d20 (which is hard). I'd like to try and adapt the basic pillars to this system, if possible.

So, yeah, if you'll have me, this is something I'd very much like to do.

EDIT: I'd also like to see a system which bears PbP in mind during design. While most existing systems are great, they do sometimes suffer when played over a forum.

Xechon
2012-01-08, 11:11 AM
You can count me in if your still counting. I've actually tried something similar to this before (on my own, so I eventually just stopped), and it requires much less work than hand-crafting a system. At http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/Class_Construction_System_(DnD_Guideline)
There is a system for creating balanced 3.5 classes. You could use this, and then make the players leave a few points on each level left over for use on anything they want. You'd have your archetypes, your freedom within the archetypes, and advanced players might make their own archetypes.

Otherwise, I've seen this "umbrella" system many times on some random iPod games, and I think I know what your going for. I. Agree a wiki should be made for storing permanent ideas, but using this forum for idea production is not a bad idea, in my mind. I am currently starting my own system creation, but its simulation/storytelling, and ideas don't always come smoothly.

thedarkstone
2012-01-08, 09:02 PM
Ok, having looked over this count me in as very interested. Like Chauncymancer, it's 3am here, so I've not read every single word, but from what I can tell this sounds like something that I'd love to be involved in.

I have a couple of questions:
1. What is the balance going to be between socialising and combat, and how deep should each system be?
2. Are we going for complexity, and thus depth, or simplicity, and thus ease of use?
3. Is this going to be designed for a particular type of setting (like D&D is for fantasy, Call of Cthulhu is for cosmic horror, etc) or a universal system? Generally, a the former allows for much more specific systems, while the latter requires a certain level of vagueness, or a large amount of work (which I would be on for).

And finally, on more specific terms:
4. Is there going to be magic, and if so, what kind? I've been in the process of designing a freeform system for d20 (which is hard). I'd like to try and adapt the basic pillars to this system, if possible.

So, yeah, if you'll have me, this is something I'd very much like to do.

EDIT: I'd also like to see a system which bears PbP in mind during design. While most existing systems are great, they do sometimes suffer when played over a forum.
1. I want as near a perfect balance as possible, focus-wise. The combat system will probably be deeper, mostly because conversations, negotiations, interrogations, and the like should be more realistically designed; less a roll, more a roleplaying experience. That doesn't mean we shouldn't facilitate it, of course. And I can always be contradicted if it would work better a different way; don't take almost anything I say as set in stone. If I were the only one whose opinion I was concerned about, I would not have brought this here. In fact, I can't make it without help; so my opinion isn't as important as you might think.

2. Hmm. Good question. I want the complexity to exist in certain areas (such as abilities and the like, which I think needs some complexity to work properly), but I also want to have it simple enough for any beginner to follow along. So, perhaps not less-complex, perhaps just have it explained better than most systems. (Not saying systems aren't explained well generally, just saying that I know some people who would like to do a P&P RPG, if they could only figure out how they worked...)

3. I want to design it--or rather, help design it--to be universal and specific. Of course, that may be only idealism, and I may not be able to have that universal aspect. So, I at least want to encompass fantasy. That is almost always my personal focus, but I know others prefer other genres, hence why I want it to be universal. If it turns out to be impossible, perhaps just fantasy. We could always make add-ons for other genres if need be (speaking of waaaaay into the future here).

4. Yes magic, but I would rather it be ability-based, less...formally structured? I suppose that's the word I'm looking for. However, I would love to see if we can use the tenets of your freeform system!


You can count me in if your still counting. I've actually tried something similar to this before (on my own, so I eventually just stopped), and it requires much less work than hand-crafting a system. At http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/Class_Construction_System_(DnD_Guideline)
There is a system for creating balanced 3.5 classes. You could use this, and then make the players leave a few points on each level left over for use on anything they want. You'd have your archetypes, your freedom within the archetypes, and advanced players might make their own archetypes.

Otherwise, I've seen this "umbrella" system many times on some random iPod games, and I think I know what your going for. I. Agree a wiki should be made for storing permanent ideas, but using this forum for idea production is not a bad idea, in my mind. I am currently starting my own system creation, but its simulation/storytelling, and ideas don't always come smoothly.
One, your link doesn't work; you forgot to close the parentheses. Or it didn't copy. Either way, it doesn't work unless you add the parenthesis.

See, but that system isn't as...open as I was hoping for. It is still D&D, regardless of the openness of the class system. I want to have a different system entirely. But thank you anyways; it was a very interesting link.

I can make a wiki; but so far, we haven't even decided where we're going with this. Until we actually reach the building phase, I don't know as a wiki will help us. I could stand corrected, though, were someone to disprove me.

Drynwyn
2012-01-08, 10:25 PM
Hmm.... This interests me. I can be counted in if you want me, and I have a fair (though not inexhaustible) amount of free time on my hands.
I really like the idea of payers being able to create new abilities within the game rules.
What I envision is this: Abilities might be divided into a number of groups. Each "group" would have a flowchart of conditions (Damage done, Does it need an attack roll equivalent, can it be resisted somehow, does it apply a debuff effect to the target, does it deal it's damage all at once or over time, does it drain (Spellcasting Resource), etc.). Fluff would be left almost completely to the player, and different modifications to the abilities would cost different amounts.
What's more, wealth could be abstracted as part of this system. "magic items" simply become powers fluffed as such, (or with a specific modifier stating that they are dependent on an item the character posseses) and "wealth" could translate into powers not items by that wealth beng magical scrolls, or potions that permanently increase the drinker's x, or whatever.


Obviously, one would need to go into considerable detail fora abilities that have special effects, e.g., creating a light, making an object float in water, altering something's density, etc., and even then, The Dev Team Cannot Think Of Everything- But we can certainly try.


Obviously, the above is just speculation, and could be vastly altered by the time the project is through.

thedarkstone
2012-01-08, 11:00 PM
Hmm.... This interests me. I can be counted in if you want me, and I have a fair (though not inexhaustible) amount of free time on my hands.
I really like the idea of payers being able to create new abilities within the game rules.
What I envision is this: Abilities might be divided into a number of groups. Each "group" would have a flowchart of conditions (Damage done, Does it need an attack roll equivalent, can it be resisted somehow, does it apply a debuff effect to the target, does it deal it's damage all at once or over time, does it drain (Spellcasting Resource), etc.). Fluff would be left almost completely to the player, and different modifications to the abilities would cost different amounts.
What's more, wealth could be abstracted as part of this system. "magic items" simply become powers fluffed as such, (or with a specific modifier stating that they are dependent on an item the character posseses) and "wealth" could translate into powers not items by that wealth beng magical scrolls, or potions that permanently increase the drinker's x, or whatever.


Obviously, one would need to go into considerable detail fora abilities that have special effects, e.g., creating a light, making an object float in water, altering something's density, etc., and even then, The Dev Team Cannot Think Of Everything- But we can certainly try.


Obviously, the above is just speculation, and could be vastly altered by the time the project is through.
I like you. Your ideas are sound, your logic good; I would be glad to have you on the project.

Everyone who wants to help; I'll create a wiki for us to start putting things up on tomorrow. Then, we can actually start the development process.

As a side note, I'm not that great at using wikis to make things look all spiffy, but I know them well enough to use them. So, if someone wants to make it look nicer when it goes up, go ahead. Until then, I'd love to have more creative minds!

Jzadek
2012-01-20, 11:28 AM
So, is this still happening?

thedarkstone
2012-01-20, 11:58 AM
So, is this still happening?
Simple answer? Yes, if people are up for it. I just didn't garner any responses before, so I was waiting for someone to come back to it.

playswithfire
2012-01-21, 12:03 AM
So, I don't know how helpful this is, but it has been bouncing around in my head for a while and I think it might be a useful mechanic.

I realize one doesn't really need a name for a mechanic and most are simply referred to be the dice used (d20, 3d6, 4dF), but I think of this one as either "Practice Makes Perfect" or, for reasons that should become apparent "Snake Eyes."

Obviously, it's not fully fleshed out and is subject to any number of tweaks, but the version that first occurred to me is that the roll would be
22-2dX+ATTR* where
ATTR is the bonus the character has for the skill's associated ability score
X is determined by the level of training the character has in the skill
{table=head]Training|Die Size|Average roll (0 ATTR)
Untrained|d12|9
Novice|d10|11
Advanced Beginner|d8|13
Competent|d6|15
Proficient|d4|17
Expert|d3|18[/table]
So, the maximum possible roll is 20+ATTR (whenever the player rolls 1-1), which, assuming the range of values for ATTR are also capped, this creates a "peak human performance" and allows all players to theoretically reach it, though training makes the player increasingly more likely to do so and will result in a player of a higher degree of skill to generally defeat a player of a lower degree, but, with an appropriate flanking and/or gang-up mechanism, multiple less-skilled opponents should be able to take down, or at least seriously challenge, a more-skilled character.
I like that, with this mechanic, your natural ability/attribute determine the limits of what you can do and training makes you more likely to reach those limits.

It can easily be expanded into 10 levels instead of 5 (untrained not counting as a level) by decreasing the size of one die at a time instead of both at once (2d12 -> d12, d10 -> 2d10 -> d10, d8 etc) and one could create a number of skills and/or skill sets which players can use some sort of "points" to increase their level in various skills/skill sets, the latter group probably including things like magic, if it exists, and close quarters combat.

As I'm thinking of it now, a skill set would be distinct from a skill in that: increasing a skill by one level of training would cost 1 point, while increasing a skill set to a new level costs a number of points equal to the new level.
Various feats or other abilities could also be assigned point values and be chosen instead of increasing skills/skill sets.
Characters could either accumulate points as they adventure (possibly with restricted usage based on how they earned them; e.g. points earned by fighting can bot be used to increase their proficiency in understanding a new language) or there can be "levels" in "classes" with associated skills/skill sets and trying to increase a skill/skill set other than one of those would cost double its normal cost (or something).

*Yes, I know that subtracting a dice roll is the same as adding that dice roll to a different number (22-2d12 = 2d12-4, 22-2d8 = 2d8+4), but, with the subtraction, nothing has to change and 1-1 is always the best possible roll.

Drynwyn
2012-02-04, 12:28 PM
Seems to me like it is unnecessarily complex, and, more importantly, means the Maximum possible roll is a 20 before attributes that doesn't allow a lot of difficulty variance.

playswithfire
2012-02-04, 01:33 PM
Seems to me like it is unnecessarily complex, and, more importantly, means the Maximum possible roll is a 20 before attributes that doesn't allow a lot of difficulty variance.

It may be a bit too complicated. It was sort of the end result of me trying to combine d20 with FUDGE/FATE/4dF, though I haven't played a game using the latter and my understanding of it comes from looking at wikipedia and the FATE SRD. There would indeed be a somewhat limited range of target values, but 4dF has an even more limited range of values.

Like I said, it's just been rattling around in my head and I wanted to get it written down.

celtois
2012-02-04, 02:41 PM
I'm just curious, have you poked True 20 by green Ronin at all? What you're proposing reminds me of what they've done.

They've created a multi-genre, generic system for d20. With three base classes and a sort of kit, build your own game sort of feel. The base classes then get abilities by taking feats, if you freed up the feat system a little bit and wrote some tiered feats, it might actually be right up you alley. (Magic is done through a quasi-feat system as well making it easy for you to make characters with a bit of magic, which is cool, and casters are more balanced compared to d&d)

d20, highly customizable, loose and flexible character gen.
reading your ideas, I thought of it. Maybe give it a look?

thedarkstone
2012-02-04, 03:00 PM
I'm just curious, have you poked True 20 by green Ronin at all? What you're purposing reminds me of what they've done.

They've created a multi-genre, generic system for d20. With three base classes and a sort of kit, build your own game sort of feel. The base classes then get abilities by taking feats, if you freed up the feat system a little bit and wrote some tiered feats, it might actually be right up you alley. (Magic is done through a quasi-feat system as well making it easy for you to make characters with a bit of magic, which is cool, and casters are more balanced compared to d&d)

d20, highly customizable, loose and flexible character gen.
reading your ideas, I thought of it. Maybe give it a look?
Interesting. I'll have to check that out.

celtois
2012-02-04, 03:13 PM
If you do go looking, try and make sure you look through a copy of the revised edition. It has a section on role creation, that basically allows players to make their own 'class' based on assigning points to various things like save, attack bonus, feat progression and the like.

It's good stuff.