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    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2012

    Default Making tabletop RPGs easier and quicker to play...

    I'm designing a web app to make RPGs easier and more accessible. I've been introducing a lot of people to Whitewolf (fairly simple system), but even so people are intimidated by the time it takes to create a character and the books full of rules.

    Any suggestions for things that could be made easier? The basic concept so far is:

    *An online character sheet that comes with a built in wizard/tutorial (like starting a video game), and where you can click on stats for the appropriate rolls (so you don't have to memorize them).

    *A story app for designing and saving story assets (characters, locations, maps, pictures, etc). Eventually, I'd also like to set up a resource-sharing site where GMs can give, trade, or sell story assets they've developed.

    *A game session, which loads the characters and the story, allows for private messages, GM requested rolls, automated combat (and other) rolls, and applying effects (bonuses, penalties, etc).

    The idea is that, unlike Virtual Tabletops, you wouldn't need to memorize books because in-context helps built into the character sheet or story assets would contain all the info you need for game mechanics. These apps could be used to play games over the internet, or just as an aid to reduce set-up and chart-examining in live games.

    Any additional RPG pet-peeves or rough spots I should address in the app?

    (If you like the idea so far, vote for it here, and I can win $5,000 to develop the app!)

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Gensh's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Tennessee
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    Male

    Default Re: Making tabletop RPGs easier and quicker to play...

    Quote Originally Posted by Appify View Post
    I'm designing a web app to make RPGs easier and more accessible. I've been introducing a lot of people to Whitewolf (fairly simple system), but even so people are intimidated by the time it takes to create a character and the books full of rules.

    Any suggestions for things that could be made easier? The basic concept so far is:

    *An online character sheet that comes with a built in wizard/tutorial (like starting a video game), and where you can click on stats for the appropriate rolls (so you don't have to memorize them).

    *A story app for designing and saving story assets (characters, locations, maps, pictures, etc). Eventually, I'd also like to set up a resource-sharing site where GMs can give, trade, or sell story assets they've developed.

    *A game session, which loads the characters and the story, allows for private messages, GM requested rolls, automated combat (and other) rolls, and applying effects (bonuses, penalties, etc).

    The idea is that, unlike Virtual Tabletops, you wouldn't need to memorize books because in-context helps built into the character sheet or story assets would contain all the info you need for game mechanics. These apps could be used to play games over the internet, or just as an aid to reduce set-up and chart-examining in live games.

    Any additional RPG pet-peeves or rough spots I should address in the app?

    (If you like the idea so far, vote for it here, and I can win $5,000 to develop the app!)
    Build characters story-wise. Are you familiar with the earlier Elder Scrolls games? Present a choice at character creation: manual, quick, or story-based. The manual button leads experienced players directly to their character sheet, quick leads inexperienced or not-so-serious (or lazy) players to a menu of pre-built characters, while the story button leads less-experienced (or particularly enthused) players to a short series of questions to answer in-character.

    As for the actual character builder, if you're familiar with the White Wolf game Exalted, the Anathema character builder is about as simple as you can get, though the campaign builder part of it is rather spartan.

    But as far as a lot of those features you want, virtual tabletops really do already have that covered. Back when I was running Exalted on Maptool, I wrote out a comprehensive set of macros that did away with most of the calculating. The players just had to click a button to attack or click a button and select two items from drop-down menus to make most other rolls.
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    CarpeGuitarrem's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Making tabletop RPGs easier and quicker to play...

    First bit of advice: pick a system to embrace, and run with it. (I'd suggest an OGL game like FATE.)

    Now, here's a feature that I think could benefit well from such a treatment: "moves". In Apocalypse World (and its many spinoffs), character actions are crystallized into "moves". When a character does something, you find the move that applies. You roll 2d6 and add your stat, and it would go something like this...

    Suss Out the Situation
    When you examine the situation to see what the odds are, roll +Sharp
    10+: Choose three of the following: you see a threat coming in time to be ready, you take +1 forward to your next Sharp move, an ally takes +1 forward to their next move, the MC cannot make a hard move to respond to your next move.
    7-9: Choose two.
    6 or less: Choose one: either the MC threatens you with unseen danger, or you take -1 ongoing until you successfully Suss Out the Situation.

    (Terminology that may be confusing: a "hard move" means any time that the GM hurts the characters--it can't be avoided, so it's to be used sparingly...thus..."hard move". Also, the GM is called the "MC", because their job is to make the characters shine. Finally, +1 forward is a bonus to a future move, and -1 ongoing is a penalty to all moves until the condition is met.)

    I would love to see a game that broke actions down like this. For instance, you could have buttons labeled like this...

    Search the room to find a clue(Wits + Investigation)
    Break something down (Strength + Resolve)
    Run for dear life (Dexterity + Stamina)

    The GM could use various "tags" and filters to limit which options were visible to players, and if they click on it, it opens a macro that automatically takes the action. That way, the player doesn't have to start thinking on a rules level; they can think on the "I want to do this, how do I do that?" level.
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