View Full Version : New RPG idea, help wanted

2008-03-07, 07:44 PM
Hi, I've come to ask for advice in an RPG building project. Before I go any further, I have to explain that this RPG will be rather unusual.

This idea first started when I mentioned to my ancient history teacher that it might be a fun project to make up a greek hero based on ourselves. He then said "and then we could face each other in some kind of half-baked game." See where I'm going here? Anyway my mission is to create a game simple enough that reasonably nerdy (though not necessarily RPG oriented) students can play it in conjunction with a school project. Basically it's RPG for dummies.

I have some stuff done, I'll post it up if you want.

Lord Tataraus
2008-03-07, 07:57 PM
Awesome! Count me in, hopefully life and current projects won't get in the way, but if its an easy system it should be that hard*. First off, what kind of system? I assume point-based? d20? d10? d6? d4?? d12??? d3????? (you did say unusual).

* - famous last words :smallamused:

2008-03-07, 08:21 PM
Point based statistics with dots (like White Wolf if you're familiar with them). It would use d6 for combat rolls to make it look more familiar to the non-RPG croud. Weapons would use different sided dice, but I'm trying to keep the different kinds to a minimum. It's mostly combat focused right now but it could be expanded with more role-playing. Each player controls a hero that is at the head of an army.

Here's what I have so far:
A bare-bones character creation system with statistics and an outline of the other stuff

An idea of a basic combat system.

More details to follow, I'm pretty busy at the moment.

2008-03-07, 10:20 PM
Alright, here's what I have so far on character creation. This is presented in outline, not narrative, form. I'm just doing rules now, I'll add in pretty descriptions later. If you can't tell, I work from general to particular, so the specifics aren't always there.

Character creation:
1. Birth
2. Statistics
3. Nationality
4. Fatal Flaw
5. Specialties
6. Divine Favor
7. Equipment
8. Army
9. Background

1. Birth:
You may be either a mortal human or a demi-god with one divine parent. Dependant on the god you select, you get certain bonus's or penalties. Humans have a patron god that gives a small bonus, but are mostly neutral with respect to divine relations.

2. Statistics:
There are physical and mental statistics; pick one to be your top priority. That one gets 7 "points", the other gets 5. All statistics start at one, and can go as high as 5. Each increase costs one point (so going from 1 to 5 costs 4 points). The statistics are as follows:
1. Strength (physical strength and weapon control)-used in attack rolls
2. Speed (dexterity and quickness)-used in defense rolls
3. Stamina (physical endurance)-gives 10 hp per dot
1. Leadership (your presence on the field)-used in army combat
2. Tactics (your skill in fighting)-determines specialties
3. Equipment (what stuff you have access to)-each dot gives access to a tier of equipment

3. Nationality:
These represent your country, they modify statistics
1. Spartan +1Strength, +1Stamina, -1Tactics
Strong and tough, but dumb as dirt
Example: Achilles
2. Athenian +1Equipment, +1Speed, -1Ledership
Good equipment and nimble, but corrupt leadership
Example: Theseus
3. Trojan +1Leaderhip, +1Tactics, -1Stamina
Superb fighters, but lack endurance since they live behind walls
Example: Hector
4. Cretan +1Equipment, +1Strength, -1Speed
The best equipment available, and strong from working on ships, but not that fast
Example: Idomeneus
5. Ionian +1Speed, +1Tactics, -1Strength
Quick and wily, but not the strongest heroes.
Example: Odysseus

4.Fatal flaw:
Each hero has one fatal flaw. This is a major personality trait that generally proves their downfall.
1. Pride- may never refuse a personal challenge (hero-on-hero combat)
2. Hesitation- may never launch an attack (army mode), only defend
3. Wrath- may never retreat from a battle
4. Irreverence- you have no patron god
5. Inhospitality- you do not add your leadership score to rolls in army combat

These are combat tricks that your hero does very well. You get a number of specialties equal to your tactics score. (These are basically d20 feats)

6. Divine Favor:
Each hero has one patron god who gives army benefits. If you are a demi-god, your parent god also gives you a powerful demigod bonus; however any gods who are rivals with your parent god give a bonus to the hero fighting you.

7 Equipment:
You get armor and weapons determined by your equipment score. The higher the score, the better the equipment you can use.

8 Army:
Your army has the following statistics
1. attack (offensive ability)
2. defense (defensive ability)
3. endurance (a general measure of morale and manpower)
4. equipment (equipment allowed access to)
Each of these start at three, except equipment which starts at hero's score -1.

9 Background:
General information about the hero, who he is and what he looks like.

Lord Tataraus
2008-03-07, 10:29 PM
Looks pretty good so far, though why do Spartans get a penalty to tactics? I don't really agree with that, of all of the Greeks, they were the most warlike and best trained (generally). I would argue for a +1 tactics for Spartans, but that does mess up everything else.

I'd like to see your combat system, I must say I am most intrigued. I do understand if you can't get it up too soon, I am very busy as well.

2008-03-07, 10:44 PM
What we've read about Spartans is that they were very good at what they did i.e. man-on-man warfare. However, in nonstandard warfare (sieging and whatnot) they didn't have a clue. It once took a couple thousand Spartans almost a year to successfully siege a small Athenian outpost. I wanted to represent that.

Also, it's a balance thing. They're better at beating people so they get less tools to beat them with.

P.S.I hope this is understood, but a statistic can never go below 1. Also, divine/national bonuses can push a statistic above 5.

Lord Tataraus
2008-03-07, 11:26 PM
What we've read about Spartans is that they were very good at what they did i.e. man-on-man warfare. However, in nonstandard warfare (sieging and whatnot) they didn't have a clue. It once took a couple thousand Spartans almost a year to successfully siege a small Athenian outpost. I wanted to represent that.

Also, it's a balance thing. They're better at beating people so they get less tools to beat them with.

True, they excel in man-to-man fighting, I guess their are many types of tactics, I just assumed it was like special abilities for a hero vs. hero, but if not then that's fine. And I completely understand the balance issue.

P.S.I hope this is understood, but a statistic can never go below 1. Also, divine/national bonuses can push a statistic above 5.
It probably would be best to make a note of it in the official rules, especially with unexperienced players.

2008-03-07, 11:43 PM
I noticed that you don't have an example Creten, and I hope I can help.

Was a mythical king of Crete, son of Zeus and Europa. Minos searched for Daedalus by travelling from city to city asking a riddle. Minos presented a spiral seashell to Daedalus and asked for it to be strung all the way through. When he reached Camicus, Sicily, King Cocalus, knowing Daedalus would be able to solve the riddle, fetched the old man. He tied the string to an ant, which walked through the seashell, stringing it all the way through. Minos then knew Daedalus was in the court of King Cocalus and demanded he be handed over. Cocalus managed to convince him to take a bath first. Cocalus' daughters and Daedalus then killed Minos by burning him with boiling water.

After his death, Minos became a judge of the dead in Hades together with Aeacus and Radamanthus. Radamanthus judged the souls of Asians, Aeacus judged Europeans and Minos had the deciding vote. The Minoan civilization has been named after him, as had the minotaur (the beast Theseus slew).

A Cretan warrior, grandson of Minos, and king of Crete. He led the Cretan armies to the Trojan War and was also one of Helen's suitors. Meriones was his charioteer and brother-in-arms. In the Iliad, he is found among the first rank of the Greek generals, leading his troops and engaging the enemy head-on, and escaping serious injury. Idomeneus was one of Agamemnon's trusted advisors. He was one of the primary defenders when most of the other Danaan heroes were injured, and even fought Hector briefly and repulsed his attack. He was one of the Achaeans to enter the Trojan Horse. Like most of the other leaders of the Greeks he is alive and well as the story comes to a close.

After the war, his ship hit a horrible storm. Idomeneus promised Poseidon that he would sacrifice the first living thing he saw when he returned home if Poseidon would save his ship and crew. The first living thing was his son, whom Idomeneus duly sacrificed. The gods were angry at his murder of his own son and they sent a plague to Crete. The Cretans sent him into exile in Calabria, Italy.

Was an officer, a navarch, in the army of Alexander the Great. A native of Crete, his family settled in Macedonia at some point during Philipís reign, at which point Nearchus was probably a young boy. Nearchus was one of Alexanderís 'mentors,' and he was exiled by Philip as a result of the Pixodarus affair. (There's more, but I don't feel like typing it.)

Hope I helped.

2008-03-08, 04:27 PM
Thanks, Idomeneus would be a great example Cretan.

Now it comes to what we want to work on next. I have a Very brief combat system outline I could put up, or we could flesh out character creation a little.

Lord Tataraus
2008-03-08, 09:50 PM
I think it would be best to finish up the character creation system.

2008-03-09, 05:15 PM
Alright, let's take this from the top.

Birth-Done (abstract concept, no rules in this section)
Statistics-Done (the only thing that might need adjusting is how many points a hero gets to spend)
Nationalities-Done(they look balanced)
Fatal Flaws-Balance testing needed (inhospitality looks a little too penalizing)

Specialties-I need a list of ~15 of these things. Here's some I have so far. They may or may not be balanced, I really don't know.

Intimidating: You can cow your opponent with force of will. At the beginning of a personal challenge, make opposed leadership rolls. If you score highest, the other hero may not act in the first round of combat.

Cheap Shot: At the beginning of any round, you may automatically act first. This ability may be used once per personal challenge.

"Hold the line": During any army combat round when your army would be reduced to 0 endurance, you may take a leadership test (1d6+leadership score). If the result is more than 8, your army remains at 1 endurance.

Crack in the armor: the hero can count the armor value (how much damage it soaks) of his target as 3 points lower than it really is.

Divine Favor- this needs work, badly. Each god needs
1: A patron-god bonus (An army statistic increase or somesuch).
2: A parent-god specialty (something you get if that god's your parent).
3: A miracle (A very rare blessing that can be used once every couple battles).
4: A list of rival gods.

Here's the one example I have so far:
Hephaestus (Greek god of the forge)
Patron bonus: +1 army equipment.
Parent bonus: the hero gains access to "god tech" (fictitiously advanced equipment)
Miracle: Hephaestus lends you a unit of his personal automated servants to fight. For the duration of this battle, your army has endurance 5 and equipment 5.
Rival god: Hera, Zeus's wife hates Hephaestus for his deformity and his ignoble birth.

Equipment- there will be 4 different 'types' of equipment. They are:
1. Melee weapons (divided into pole-arms and handheld weapons)
2. Ranged weapons (dedicated weapons like bows, spears are polearms)
3. Armor (Armor "soaks" a certain number of damage points from each attack)
4. Shields (these give a bonus to defense)
I'm still thinking up rules for determining how much equipment one hero can lug into combat.

Each dot of equipment gives access to a different "tier" of equipment. These range from clubs and thrown rocks (1 dot) up to compound bows and perfectly balanced swords (6+ dots)

Here's the "god-tech" equipment (these just came to me).
Sword: Mercurial longsword. This sword has a large reservoir of quicksilver inside it, making it heavier than normal and exceptionally damaging. This sword would have a very high damage, not sure what yet. We need a baseline.

Pole-arm: Hephaestus's razor. This glave-like weapon has a concealed button that when pushed instantly retracts the shaft, turning it into an ordinary sword. The hero suffers no penalties for fighting in close-quarters with this weapon as they would with a normal pole-arm.

Ranged weapon: Force multiplier. This recurved bow is connected to an intricate set of gears that multiply the force on the arrow. The hero may add his full strength score to damage rolls with this bow (normally ranged attacks don't let you add strength).

Armor: Coalsuit. This fully-enclosed suit of armor has innumerable small pistons that increase the users strength. In addition to its defense bonus (quite high) it adds 2 dots to the users strength.

Shield: Spider shield. This "shield" is actually a small clockwork creature with an armored shell. It can block attacks by skittering over its wearer's body, leaving both the hero's hands free for weapons.

Army- this will basically be done when all the other categories are. The player just decides how to equip the army.

2008-03-09, 08:41 PM
It looks good but I don't think birth is balanced. In moast games, min-maxing is the way to be the most powerful. If you are a human, than you are usless. This is why humans get a skill point bonus. I think that that needs balancing. This looks good otherwise though.

Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll
2008-03-09, 09:26 PM
In the Pre-Greek era, the time of the Cretans, Mycanaeans, and Trojans, armour and weapons looked much different, as, we suppose, tactics. Spears seem to be made for throwing as much as stabbing, even in later times, as evidenced in Homer's Illiad. There also seems to be a set of distinct rules for "Combat of Champions", so as to speak.

2008-03-09, 10:35 PM
What I'll do is stop making monumental posts, and break this down bit by bit. First; birth.

aaron_the_cow: You're absolutely right. One of my first priorities was trying to stop power creep on the demi-god abilities, but I guess it just won't work out; pure humans need some sort of leveler. I could take the D&D route and throw them a couple extra ability points and a bonus specialty, but I'm still not sure that would even it out completely.

P.S. nice to see some more people getting in on this.

2008-03-10, 01:51 PM
What I would suggest as a balancing feature for those not born to divine parents is to give them a "divine favor" that's not god-attributed. For example:

Patron bonus becomes Heroic bonus: army gets +1 bonus in hero's best stat. In event of a tie, hero chooses which one.

Parent bonus becomes Personal bonus: hero gets +1 (or equivalent to getting God Tech) bonus in hero's best stat. In event of a tie, hero chooses which one.

Miracle becomes Tenacity: For the duration of a battle the army has the two highest stats of the hero raised to five each.

Rival god becomes Jealousy: Hero has the rival god of their patron deity. In the instance of a patronless hero, when they defeat another hero, the other hero's patron becomes their rival god for 1d6 battles. After these battles, a new rival god can be decided.

2008-03-11, 08:07 PM
I'm tempted to just remove the rules distinction of human and demi-god and have it be a matter of flavor. I realize that sounds rather simplistic, but for the intended audience, it would probably be alright.

Also, I've reorganized the god's attributes, partly based on batsofchaos's suggestion.

Each god gives a boost to an army statistic, a boost to personal statistics, and a miracle. The rival gods was mostly a balancing tactic for demi-gods, but now that distinction's gone it's just fluff.

As such, the new Hephaestus:
Hephaestus (god of the forge)
Army bonus: +1 army equipment
Personal bonus: +1 equipment
Miracle: the hero has access to "god-tech" for the duration of this battle.

2008-03-14, 02:18 PM
Any opinions on my decision, any at all?

This thread isn't dead already is it :smalleek:

2008-03-14, 09:42 PM
It's probably a good decision if you're going to be teaching this to non-gamers. Simplicity is usually good, and that applies even more in this case.

A quick thought on mortal heroes: if memory serves, Ajax is the only hero in the Illiad without any divine assistance, and he doesn't get injured once in the entire ten years. Just a thought.

2008-03-15, 02:46 PM
This actually looks fairly cool. Couple things you might want to work out soon would be weapon damage (you could just go with d6's for that too; mutiple d6 for better weapons) and how armor works. Also, are you planning to have a system for advancing your character?

2008-03-15, 06:34 PM
Thanks. I suppose getting an idea of weapon damage and armor would be a good next step.

My rough outline is to have each weapon have a damage dice (d4 for ranged weapons, d6 for melee, d8 for pole-arms) and adjust the number of dice based on the equipment level of the hero. This could be a linear progression, level 1 weapons do 1 dice, level 2 do 2, so on. Thus a level three longarm would 3d8 dice of damage. This works great for simplicity, but it makes you roll a lot of dice.

Armor would reduce the amount of damage by a set value (most likely ranging from 1-10 points) dependent on the equipment level. There would also be a piece of equipment called shields that give a bonus to defence. That'd balance out weapons some if I gave a bonus to attack when using swords and bows (polearms do more damage, but are harder to use).

As to advancing the character, I'd love to. The problem is that, as it stands now, there's very little possibility for advancement in this system. This is a non-level-based game; the only things the heroes could possibly get are better statistics and more specialties. One possibility is a sort of advancement system where a hero gains "glory points" for winning battles. These could be traded in between battles for specialties, statistic increases, or better equipment. That would add another layer of complexity, but it might help the players get more attached to their characters.

These are my mad ramblings for the moment. I hope they're usefull. I'll be back a little later with a complete weapon/armor statistic list.

2008-03-17, 08:58 PM
(Long "little later" wasn't it :smallwink: )

Here's what I have so far:

I'm removing statistics from the picture for a second. I figure if a set of equipment is balanced against itself for attack and damage, it'll be balanced when the statistics are added in. Just to let you know: strength is added to melee attack rolls and damage, speed is added to ranged attack rolls and defence. Defense also starts out as 4, like it starts as 10 in D&D.

Here's what I tried to preserve; a sword will always hit an opponent with an equal level shield 50% of the time. A set of armor will always absorb ~50% of the base damage of an equal level sword. This is only a rough outline, any additional bonuses a weapon might posses haven't been decided.

Also, I expect this to be torn apart much more than previous posts. Everything else I had planned out before I posted this topic up. This is the first thing I've figured out without balancing it completely first.

Ranged weapons:

level damage attack bonus
1 1d4 +3
2 2d4 +5
3 3d4 +7
4 4d4 +9
5 5d4 +11


level damage attack bonus
1 1d6 +2
2 2d6 +4
3 3d6 +6
4 4d6 +8
5 5d6 +10

Pole Arms

level damage attack bonus
1 1d8 +1
2 2d8 +3
3 3d8 +5
4 4d8 +7
5 5d8 +9


level defence bonus
1 +2
2 +4
3 +6
4 +8
5 +10


level damage reduction
1 +2
2 +4
3 +6
4 +8
5 +10

Any people who know history, I'd be glad to get some suggestions on what these weapons might be.

2008-03-31, 07:18 PM
I just got back from my spring break (I have it a week later than everyone else). Anyone still interested in this?