Seeking help with the design and balancing of a homebrew RPG.
The title pretty much indicates the basic premise of this thread. I'm looking for the input of GitP's experienced gamers for some suggestions on an RPG system I'm working on. Here's what I know for now, though all ideas are open to critique and suggestions for improvement.
1.) 3d6 + modifiers vs. difficulty, defender's advantage base mechanic. Wherever possible, the acting player rolls (so no save vs. spells, etc.). One of the three dice is differentiated, and has additional significance in certain situations (combat critical hit locations and such).
2.) Skill and level-based system, but classless.
3.) Instead of classes, characters receive their choice of two archetypal abilities (berserker rage or two-weapon combat, for example) at character creation, and additional slots as they progress. Each archetype grants a specific, fairly potent ability (either an activated ability like berserking or a unique passive benefit) and access to a category of special tricks (martial techniques, social tricks, spells, whatever). These abilities can be scaled by taking additional ranks, or a character may take other archetypes freely. This differs from a class system mainly in that a character starts with two and not every level grants an archetype slot.
4.) Skills are either primary or secondary for a character. Which skills are primary for a character is a choice made at character generation. Skill ranks cost the same amount to advance regardless of their status, but a primary skill will receive an additional bonus of some sort (looking for suggestions).
5.) Special actions are limited by their cost in terms of tightly restricted resources, which scale by level. Magical and strenuous physical actions (special attacks, spells, movement tricks) draw on a Fatigue pool. Other types of special actions (fast lock-picking, remaining unnoticed in plain sight) draw on a Cunning pool. These actions should always be improvements over the base action, to prevent limiting options. Characters reduce the cost of their special techniques by an amount based on their level, meaning higher-level characters can perform their weakest techniques for little or no cost, while higher level techniques remain slightly less costly.
6.) Magic is risky to those who haven't mastered it. A mage casting a spell significantly more powerful than his level should have a chance of losing control of it and suffering a potentially dangerous miscast. This is partly for sanity, partly to prevent mages from always defaulting to their most powerful spells, and partly to support the "apprentice who tried something too difficult for him" trope.
7.) Combat is potentially lethal, even to powerful characters. Every character has an General Injury track, and each main area of the body has a Critical Injury track. Armor serves as damage reduction, while skills govern both attack and defense.
8.) Characters are not truly superhuman at any point of their career, but they are from good to expert at what they do in comparison to the majority of the population.
Anyway, those are the assumptions I'm working from, for now. I'm defaulting a fantasy setting at the moment, mainly because most of my friends play fantasy RPGs and I want to actually get to playtesting and playing this. Once I have the system smoothed out, I can and likely will adjust for other settings.
Ok, now that I've put forth the assumptions I'm working from, here's a list of some things I would like help on.
1. Total number of levels for the basic game.
2. Archetypal abilities, and advancement for them.
3. Skills, and how to differentiate primary and secondary skills.
4. Combat mechanics: initiative, action types, damage handling
5. Spells, martial techniques, and skill tricks.
6. Anything else you can think of.
As I've said, you're welcome to provide input on anything. I appreciate the help of anyone who takes the time to even bother with helping here. Thanks.
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