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Dungeon Crawl RPG Design Discussion

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    Dungeon Crawl RPG Design Discussion

    I am considering designing a simplistic, but add-on plug-in capable rpg that focuses on old school dungeon crawl type games. The idea being crunchy play without getting bogged down simplicity that rewards decision making and tactics with limited RNG interference. However, my personal level of mechanical interest is apparently quite high compared to the community here. The goal being to run games here to support the site means a tear down and rebuild with a new setup that fits the comfort level of folks here seems ideal.

    If my goal is to run exploration and a commando style combat scenario where like in decades past, there was a player drawn map based on DM description with customizable classless character creation and a flexible magic system is there a wish list of the *community* of features to have for me to consider before I move past the brainstorming phase? The end result of my classless hack of PF1e has a bunch of experimental stuff in it that is very niche and starting over with a more flexible and generic system would be the goal.

    Things like:

    D20 or something else?
    If something else, is the cost/reward worth me dumping the skills/feats and losing the depth of PF's core system material to move on without it in say, a d100 system here?

    Replacing combat staples like BAB and AC and DR and Saves with a percentile Accuracy, Dodge and alternative damage mitigation option, is that desired?
    Are folks happy with BAB, roll 20 for action chances and keeping the raw system here for KISS?

    Are folks interested in a new action economy system here? Maybe an Action Point system being instituted with "Action pips" purchased via XP with a cap instead of the Round (Move+Standard+Swift/Immediate) action breakdown?

    Do folks want a simpler option for magic than a "Create your own spell on the fly" system like I've created? An alternative suggestion here?

    Do I want a Battlebrothers/Darkest Dungeon/Xcom type wound and recovery system here in addition to HP? Something that brings in a factor of players adapting to temporary adversity from broken limbs and needing a priest to restore the eye they lost from taking an arrow to the face? Is this site interested in such gritty play? Is that a "no way!" here?

    Is there an attribute that folks just have interest in adding, or reworking that they would like to bring up? Edge for example exists in Shadowrun that can be used to fudge rolls, AP/Hero Points in PF are an example that correlates. Things like "fame" or "Honor" or "Morale" are things that exists in other systems, or houserules that have been added which could be integrated with effects that allow player decision making to create a reward/penalty for PC's within the game. Are these, or other new concepts things folks are interested in?

    A new interaction of some kind that folks find interesting and would like to share for inclusion?

    I am in the phase of just throwing ideas at the wall and have yet to lock in anything concrete. Decision making will be based on my above goal of game style it is made to fit running, and the basic time+Effort cost>Reward dividend assessments I need to make in terms of me processing and creating things. Some things inherently will take up an absurd amount of time and doing this on my own, may be tossed for sanity sake to be replaced with time saving alternatives as this process goes on. Shaking up the "meta" and creating new interactions to run games here to support the site is my goal. So if folks are interested in playing something new in that style and have input, this is your place to toss it my way while I am in the early dev stages. This thread will then transition into the discussion of how to hone and assess whether ideas are compatible or not.

    Thanks for reading, and if you do contribute, your contribution. Even ideas that get tossed can spawn a new interaction, or new design direction and momentum shift so all are appreciated.

    P.S: Thanks for staff for considering what I mentioned to Blackfox on his server regarding a sub tier for DM's to have a workshop area when he gets a chance to bring it up to you folks. :)
    Designing systems on no sleep. Classed games are boring af.

    Initial concept rundown

    Option 1:

    Utterly unique startup with a raw, limited option array menu design. Settle on a handful of core attributes necessary to run the system off of with a handful of abilities to purchase and a barebones weapon and magic system. Design some core races with an invest XP into upgrading your genetic lottery you inherent essentially. This has far less options and variety than other options due to it's unique and organic setup being high in time/effort requisite to generate everything. It allows for freedom from other systems as the upside, and a long term community investment that creates a unique RPG system that expands along the way.

    Option 2: Strip down of my classless hack of PF1e to pull Defense and the ArP/ArD mechanics out of it as not everyone favors this niche trial I ran. This would revert things to AC and require a lot of nitty gritty changes across the equipment and martial path tabs to retconn back. It would revert back to the days where tanks simply couldn't be hit short of critical hits builds. This would hold onto the rest of what my hack entails however, along with all of the skills and feats that PF offers to draw from.

    Option 3: Dedicated DX focus because folks clamor for a specific dice preference because the community likes cursing horrible dice bot rng for some reason? IDK as I am for less RNG but some folks love rolling buckets of dice like an Exalted game or something which if that's desired could be factored in with an X pops of Y or greater in order to succeed type setup.

    Option 2 is the least work for me, with a retconn focus of already existing material and modifying the new material added with the Defense setup in mind being converted. Option 1 is the most rewarding and I have something in mind as one route to go about it.

    An organic system that could flex between dungeon crawls and empire building has been a goal of mine for a while and I could pull a lot of ideas I've enjoyed from a variety of sources into a cohesive system that can flex between a handful of heroes fighting in ancient ruins, dungeons and sieging or defending holds to players investing into settlements to generate long term benefits from doing so as they expand and build a small empire. Setting up a "Capital" would generate better yields as your lone capital, while establishing smaller expands for a variety of purposes would allow specialized or generic settlements which grant bonuses like resource production, healing benefits when resting in them, recruitment of underlings, wealth generation, crafting options for players. This would involve "buildings" and "Building slots" with tiered settlement upgrades which expand the level of buildings and slots which can hold buildings within a settlement. Economic management would be a thing here, and establishing defended self sustaining settlements which provide things for the party would be possible here. Establishing a trade network, and having the option to drop the dungeon crawl goal for a while to negotiate for resources and trade with neighbors has appeal.

    I could manage a rundown of attributes such as:

    Physical: Agility, Attractiveness, Brawn, Vitality
    Mental: Intelligence, Perceptiveness, Personality, Willpower

    This allows me to simulate how fast a person can react, whether they are pretty or not, how strong they are, how healthy they are, how well they process data, how alert and responsive they are to stimuli, how they interact with social issues, and how well they can concentrate and fend off intrusions in 8 distinct attributes. These distinct attributes can be invested in by spending XP and upgraded to customize your character. Some, like the physical range are very handy in combat and dungeon crawling basics like climbing and leaping. Others, like how attractive and personable your PC are will carry more weight when managing a settlement, or negotiating with folks you encounter while exploring.

    I could institute things that are derived from this like:

    Damage Modifier
    Carry Capacity
    Skill Modifiers

    All of the things that would be needed basics for combat and exploration. I have the ability to roll Ability checks in place of saves to KISS here, or generate Saves that folks can invest XP in which are boosted by attributes. I have the ability to set Armor as DR here, or treat Armor as a boost to "Dodge" as long as the armor survives by absorbing blows that aren't actually dodged, but strike the armor and retain a "Durability" factor to armor before it is damaged and the pseudo "Dodge" bonus is lost. How I manage things like that is up for discussion and brainstorming.

    We could roll d100 percentile checks for Accuracy or roll d20. We could skip the roll and just check raw Accuracy of attack vs Dodge of defender as an X vs Y. I could roll with this in any way I wish with an organic system. Just tossing out some broad examples to ponder.

    Is there a preference by the community at large here before I get to cranking out basics to test?
    Designing systems on no sleep. Classed games are boring af.


      Continuing my creative process gets wordy to explain, but here we go. Bouncing ideas off the wall to see if they stick and there's interest.

      An idea of what I'd like to provide is a challenging endeavor that allows organic characters to fit the concepts the players want to play. This endeavor will involve challenges and combat, negotiation and economic decision making in tandem with social and logistical dilemmas. This generates Experience which is allocated or spent in order to improve the character the player utilizes as their vehicle within the game world I provide in order to be active in this endeavor.

      This is the basic concept that I am working off of to stay true to. It's a simple thing, but how to achieve it in an interesting, flexible, adaptable manner is disagreed upon with varying responses by the tabletop RPG community. Personal preferences span a wide range on myriad topics, as seen by the many various RPG systems out there, and editions that show these systems evolve over the years as well. The fact that I feel the need and desire to do this is a prime example as if I were happy with one of the existing systems, I would simply run using those.

      Some systems are very mechanic heavy, Shadowrun 4e is a great example of a very crunchy system that is truly rule heavy. My classless hack of pathfinder is another, creating depth the vanilla PF1e lacks in a number of ways. Others are very narrative driven and rules light. I hear Fate is one such system that is quite popular nowadays for play by post gaming. My comfort level leans towards a crunchy system which rewards decision making and utilizing the right tool for the task at hand with a customizable character creation system as the manner in which to provide the framework for creating challenges. A goal of mine is to provide a basic setup that is later added to with plug-ins that provides unique challenges and experiences which cannot be gotten playing other games. Creatures you have faced before, societies working in new manners before, new ways to operate archetypical character concepts to allow for fun in the hobby of tabletop RPG's online. This simple goal drives me to provide something fun and interesting for people.

      I like running goal driven campaigns that create a Need and Conclusion. Go to X to exert change of Y type simple clear cut goals that a player can set their mind to accomplishing a task. Along the way, I like to provide challenges and introduce risk/reward scenarios which allow players to utilize teamwork and role play the interparty decision making. This provides windows in each challenge and obstacle the players face to showcasing the motivation, code of honor, morals, personality, goals, hopes and dreams of their character if they choose to take it. This window is system independent and can be a part of any game, any system, which is the great thing about role playing games. No matter the system, no matter where the party is, whether they are fighting orcs or in a castle sneaking around following a maid for gossip, a party has decisions to make and can discuss them as RP. It's often overlooked, and I feel the way I need to change that, is to tie XP to it in order to encourage it. Why do this?

      Encouraging a group of people who tend to be antisocial compared to folks who sing or play sports for example to just engage with each other by roleplaying out of the norm conversations and theoretical decisions to overcome challenges is what role playing is, right? So my plan is to introduce a minor XP gain for when a group RP's their decision making process as a team without devolving into a hostile/toxic argument. This can be in character commentary about how to kill a bad guy, helping out a teammate by using skills to identify a weakness and sharing it in character in the midst of combat. It can be the back and forth in whether you travel across a continent on horseback, or by ship on the open sea with a danger and cost assessment while sitting in a tavern. This is a kind of engagement which I have seen to be lacking in games I have played in and run in the last decade which I wish to reintroduce. This engagement can create the kind of game that people will look forward to posting a quip or an insight or a chance to showcase the moral dilemma their character has no matter the location or situation the party is in.

      One of the only recent games I've had a chance to play in was a mistake on my part, signing up for a game that occurred too early for me to make every week with a group playing from Europe which put simply, reinvigorated my desire to run games allowing more player creativity. A 2nd Edition DnD Dark Sun game where I was a Thri-Kreen psychic who was poisoned, tied up and starved for 3 days at the start of the game scenario. I was irked at my situation, and the bias imposed on my character which the others in the party, a human and a half elf lacked. We were all in a cage, but I was the only one bound and debilitated. Yet, these conditions forced a bond between the players, discussion and role play that just seems to be lacking in a lot of instances where I have been gaming online for years. A playstyle that just doesn't seem to fly nowadays. Hours of puzzling out how to break free of a wooden box using ingenuity, communication and patience that just doesn't seem to exist with younger gamers. I had to bow out of this game due to family commitments not allowing me to join them weekly, but the DM occasionally updates me, as the party refused to let my Thri-Kreen die despite my absence. A bond was formed, and the character was family from that session. This is the kind of interaction which I want to encourage with my games.

      On the flip side, I am an old school gamer and DM. I learned to play in the days when you had a folder with your character sheet, his backups sheet in case he died, spare paper in case *he died* and an eraser and pencil, a compass and a ruler. In case I needed to make graph paper and map as the group cartographer because someone had to do it. I feel like the "party cartographer" aspect is needed for a part of that party bond, the discussion about what was seen and where things were. The bard remembering something wrong, and the wizards snarky correction. By removing this, and providing maps for my players, I have increased my work load which generates DM stress and restricts the amount of games I run. All while removing an aspect of gaming which creates party interactions that create a bond within the party via cooperation and role playing outside of rolling Dice A to check vs B in order to produce C. I want to introduce things of this nature as a staple for running games moving forward. As such, assigning party XP for keeping a reasonably updated map of some kind might be in order. It being a time consuming endeavor warrants some game interaction, and the XP going directly to the group Cartographer for this is something that seems productive in generating a niche for the party to have one.

      This leads to PC death being a thing. My early DM's didn't let me *play* unless I had a backup character sheet ready to go. I would be made to sit and make one before I could take any actions or interact with the party. Character death was a thing doing heroic and daring deeds in dank tunnels fighting cave trolls while the wizard flung stones from the back holding their precious few spells in reserve. The wizard might survive, but the party fighter got crunched because the priest got knocked down and unconscious standing toe to toe with the fearsome beast. I do not run with the "My character is precious and I bring it to every game I play regardless of system and I will be irate if my character dies, it shouldn't ever happen!" mindset in my games. I am not running games where your PC knits in a cozy home where the biggest concern is whether a fox gets your chicken. I am running games where dragons tribute a tribe of fire giants which causes them to raid the border towns of a medieval feudal empire where unemployed ambitious individuals take coin from the local Lady to hunt down the giant raiders terrorizing the region because his armsmen are with their Lord on the Southern Border fighting ogre necromancers who are sending zombies across the river to kill fisherman. Fighting giants and necromancers is dangerous business and characters die doing dramatic and dangerous activities. Because pretending to knit in a cottage is not as fun and rewarding as swinging a sword at a fire giant while enlarged by your wizard friend.

      This brings us to: Lethality Level

      Not everyone has the time to run through a crunchy system and build a character with organic decision making in a classless system regularly. It's prohibitively time consuming for some. The simple time investment lost because of a dead character can be upsetting, just like the time investment for my DM work is upsetting when a game ends for no good reason that I invested a great deal of time into. It's a different level of time investment, a singular character to a campaign prepped for months on end, but the basic reaction of time feeling wasted occurs in both interactions. Often people who play lack the time to DM. Bad decisions in life or death situations should lead to death, or injury depending on severity. PC's generally are mortal and vulnerable until buffed and swaddled in high end magical gear at high levels and care needs to be taken to keep a character alive. Sometimes a critical strike happens and just the wizards head just goes like a smashed pumpkin from the barbed arrow fired by an orc hunter. If you run and jump off of a cliff and fail your jump check to make the other side, then fail your grab for the ledge which would keep from falling you likely die going *splat*. These things should happen in the game. I feel like a session 0 discussion should happen for groups on whether you fall into the "Life is crazy, I can't do more than one of these" category with a replacement for "dying" in my games.

      A *knockout* and *amnesia* factor could be implemented as a replacement. If the goal is to avoid time consuming work load of generating characters with opening this option then "losing a level/XP" is counter productive. This means perhaps a decreased amount of XP for a period of time as a similar effect, slowing progression or soaking X amount of XP as "lost" going forward perhaps. This doesn't force a player to make changes which for the casual person who is not intimately familiar with my system could be significant reading and weighing options of what to cut. So a goal of creating a non-lethal alternative that allows people to pay with future XP in order to retain their PC and not be forced to build a new one is needed here. Even *I* turn off lethality when I play Roguetech or the attrition gets godawful while learning the game or desperately trying to core the heavy mech with my poor VTOL. Which will be a thing as playtesting occurs with a new system and new players in any sort of scenario like this one. New system means learning curve and "oh crap, lemme patch that!" moments. I'll ponder this some more as a setting that can be turned on for my game to be implemented.

      Slottable Equipment:

      I enjoy the decision making that allows for adjustable equipment in games I play. This allows a different way of creating depth for variability for equipment. Instead of an extensive list of types of different weapons with only 1 kind of depth like a list, you can create a Y Axis that interacts with the X (list) adding depth with a slot. A simple "Dagger" that can have an enchanted gem slotted that gives it the Vampiric quality and storage slot in the hilt which can hide poison gives the option of using a Dagger depth beyond just a regular dagger. A standardized item slot will allow crafty players to come up with neat augmentations for gear along the way. An interaction not all will use, but an interaction that could be really rewarding for martials that depend on equipment to keep them alive. For the barbarian who wants to carve up his greatsword so it whistles and add weight to the tip to increase damage while distracting the enemy after he hooks that bearskin to his armor that protects him from cold. I feel like leaving this a bit of "Rule of Cool" with just adding to it as seems reasonable along the way. Augmentable equipment that allows player creativity to allow for expression seems fun.

      Wife aggro. >.< I'll be back. If folks have input, lemme know, and thanks for reading. :)
      Designing systems on no sleep. Classed games are boring af.


        I caught this thread while posting a link on r/rpg to this thread and it brings up a mechanic that I've been wanting to introduce for years, but just has been low on the list of priorities to work in for my hack of PF. Being reminded of it, I am putting it at the top of my que to cover tonight in a broad sense.

        With a focus on tactical play and teamwork being my goal, and "Bond" system makes sense. I first encountered something of this sort playing Shining Force 3 back in the day and I would synergize a warrior with a knight on the front line as they protected each other fighting baddies as an example. That was with a 12 man team, and in the games I run I like to have 5-6 people. So there's less opportunities for diversity with half the units fielded both in allies to bond with, and the unique interactions of different types of units pairing. If I institute something like this, the goal will be rewarding tactical decision making and RP between two characters working together to overcome adversity. A representation of the bond forged in a trial of fires of combat and navigating dangerous terrain together. The trust that blooms when an ally dives and grabs your hand to keep you from falling off of a cliff, or steps forward and takes an arrow to the gut to protect you in a self-sacrificing risky situation. These kinds of things would elevate trust and appreciation between two PC's and is the type of scenarios I want to reward. A mechanical bump for teamwork activities in game for good RP, essentially.

        I feel like a codified "You get X for Y scenario with Z person" chart would be obnoxious and limiting and force certain actions to provoke gaining a set ability for a particular build. I want to avoid that. This may be a "DM designs to fit the situation" rule of cool type feature. Providing a boon of some kind when performing actions with your bonded ally that is suitable for your campaign and represents their bond hand wave things might be how I run from now on? If the idea is an organic experience that varies from mainstream systems and settings, organically generating the rewards of playing seems ideal. A log of what is generated, with a "guide line" example of the strength/depth of options would occur via playtesting to have a brief guide with examples down the road.

        An example might be if Rogue ends up often fighting alone, being supported by the rapid fire sniping shots of the groups Bard from downtown on a regular basis to stay alive. The pair might gain a "Distracting Shot" teamwork boon which grants a +2 to hit for the Bard and a +2 to Dodge for the Rogue if they are targeting the same target after working in tandem in this manner of ranged support of the forward scout without fighting beside the cleric or fighter. Something of this nature rewarding a risky behavior that can be gained via utilizing decision making to keep an ally alive and encouraging daring acts and an assertive presence from the Rogue. Interactions like this I am in support of in my games. A "rule of cool" interaction based on the way my players play together and I can log the ones that are used as examples and possibilities.

        If the Druid likes to attack with wind blasts the same target that is being set on fire with a blast of flame round to round, the two might get a boon which generates a damage boost for feeding the flames of the mage when the Druid attacks the same target in the same round. A simple dice roll on top here could be appropriate if the system we decide upon utilize dice rolls here.

        I am attempting to avoid settling on mechanical ways to enact my concepts in order to allow folks to toss input in before hard settling on a path forward so I'll take a break to avoid from rambling. Cheers, and if you have input, lemme know before I need to push forward which will come soon.
        Designing systems on no sleep. Classed games are boring af.


          Inspiration waits for no one and with no outside input which I've been waiting on I am finding myself drawn to a stripped down "Rule of Cool" method of organically handing out stuff to players without the big charts and spreadsheets to navigate like has been a prohibitive thing for folks interested in my games for years. Put simply, like my setting info, I can generate what is needed when inspired to do so by my players actions along the way organically. This reduces the need for clunky scrolling through lists of options which bogs people down and frustrates them when attempting to learn my system. So, insomnia leads me to wonder "What would this look like?"

          One of the big things when I asked on my discord server of "What ability would you like me to convert to my hack that isn't on there" was the Warpriests scaling damage that replaces the damage of your weapon equipped to a flat rating that you get as a class feature. Perhaps this is a way to go for just tossing out the weapon chart. An ability which one invests XP into to take whatever weapon you want to use *for flavor* and make it instantly viable via a feature you invest XP into to make it better. This would streamline the weapons so it's a personal flavor choice for damage allowing you to pick "suboptimal weapons" that usually underperform in other mainstream systems. I'd add modifiers for 1 handed, 2 handed, Light, and keep a Range and Durability feature. Obviously a Longspear would have more range than a shortsword granting reach still, and a greatsword would be more durable than a club being make with steel instead of wood. If we go a route where I just scrub the *damage* factor from this gear however, the choice of which non-reach weapon is a matter of flavor, and this seems ideal. Am I wrong here? Please let me know if so.

          If I go this route, do I do the same with armor and shields? Do I hand wave the gritty +X with a cap of Y Agility Mod and -Z to physical skills chart here? Do I just list abilities you invest XP into to get "Shield Bearer" which you scale up to gain the ability to knock aside blows better and with less restrictions on movement? Do I make "Armor Proficiency" into a "If you wear armor you get X to avoid HP damage based on XP investment level and if its Light, Medium or Heavy armor. The heavier the armor, the more limited your movement is" setup here? Just wave the massive chart and scale it on XP? This kind of setup really just wipes two massive charts of info to scroll through off of my setup and a lot of scrolling up and down, side to side to navigate gear choices with these two options. You get the choice of "Unarmored" or "Armored" and three levels of "Light, Medium or Heavy" which affects the amount of movement and an increased defensive bonus for sacrificing movement just like increased damage for gripping a bigger weapon with two hands compared to a light one. However it's handwaved to a simplistic category choice and XP investment level where the difference between Chainmail and Banded Mail or Hide are aesthetic here all being medium armors. Your choice of aesthetic within this category of "Medium" has no bearing with this setup. Am I crazy for going in this direction? Let me know.

          If I were to do this *and* add the Slotted gear and customizable add-on things like a Whistling blade augment and a "Poison vial in Hilt" Slot mentioned above in this thread hrm. This allows some creative player agency in customizing their character without getting hung up on digging through endless web pages and charts. It's a sit down with the DM and chat about what your concept for your PC is and interact in order to find a reasonable benefit for cost invested setup. Small charts for the cost and durability of weapon and armor categories by material type that are easily managed and navigated, even by people using a mobile phone *gasp*. Something my classless hack of PF1e just was prohibitive for a lot of folks who play with a mobile phone as it was designed to be navigated with a 4k display and a multimonitor setup to boot.

          Food for thought that I needed to get down, thanks for reading and if you have input, hit me with it.
          Designing systems on no sleep. Classed games are boring af.


            Camp Followers?

            Some of the more enjoyable aspects of games and stories are supporting characters that assist in the day to day of the hero or villains lives. Colorful niche specialists who dress up and flesh out the scenes between and in the major plot hooks that are anchor points for the story overall. Some of the niche things that players try to squeeze into their characters build for the party could become things for a Camp Follower to do. These can be a semi-permanent NPC member of the party that travels with them. Alternatively, someone that exists in the region the party is in for a time and has a friendly bond with the party while they remain nearby. The mountain man who knows how to navigate harsh terrain and how to speak with giants and track orcs. The blacksmith that speeds up repairs on equipment. The herbalist who can identify any kind of foliage on a quest to find new plant life healing ills in exchange for protection in strange places. The squire who is learning to be a knight protecting your parties camp and the horses. The young orphan found driving orcs out of a village who becomes your parties fletcher.

            If I am running a game in the fashion I hope to, there are some campaigns that put simply do not interact with towns and villages. Introducing followers in this aspect would create a tiny floating village of non-hostiles that rely on the protection of the party and provide benefit to the party in some fashion. Allowing interactions and exchanges of services for gains. This seems to be a quality of life ideal to introduce in scenarios where the party is cut off from the surface and stuck underground or teleported to a strange foreign and distant land doing a commando strike for the king on an enemy nation.

            Introducing a nearby friendly that hovers the party allows basic things that a lot of players feel entitled to in campaigns since the advent of fleshed out and populated equipment lists have been at the end of a click of a web search, put simply. A bridge between "My last dm let me buy anything off of pathfinders equipment list anywhere, anytime" and "you are cut off from civilization and have not seen an intelligent creature in days. You have not seen anything remotely looking like a store" experiences as it were. This allows for a survival aspect to be applied to a campaign with a Blacksmith follower who allows characters using armor to get repairs without towns around for instance. Keeping the gritty survival tone while allowing for a hand wave follower to allow basic functional survival aspects to continue and if need be, someone to inject plot devices into a storyline if a party seems lost in the darkness. This frees up interesting one shot concepts like traveling through the desert to meet a sage and picking up a nomad who can secure water and guide the party through sandstorms for a chapter of the campaign.

            Sleep deprived inspiration. This is ending up a stream of thought brainstorming thread with me going it solo but lets go.

            Race Conceptualization

            I am still avoiding tackling mechanics, but I need to consider how I handle races for this. I am really tempted to just lift the race builder from my hack, tweak it and recost things and utilize it to populate my world and allow players to choose one of the setting races I've generated or generate their own. My players over the years really enjoyed building unique variants and tweaking things for originality. If it's enjoyable and used the majority of the time, it seems silly to toss it and use something else. So a reshuffling, addition, subtraction, refit for the new system mechanics, but a race builder will be a part of this system, however we end up I think. It's useful to me for campaign design, and it's fun for players so a win/win even with a high time investment. Race Builder inclusion is necessary here.

            I will be ditching "RP" and the conversion with the lock out factor here. The player confusion on why they can't just whenever they want purchase RP with my classless hack just is tedious to continually justify to new players. If we are rolling with a rule of cool simplicity, ditching both for a straight "Spend XP get stuff" setup.

            Attempting to pick at concepts I can outline my thought process on without getting into mechanics and find a sort of focus to work with as I narrow things down. It is seeming like I am going to end up with a "Create a character and choose some options to invest XP into then run amok and I'll rule of cool run for you" playtest coming soon though. Polar hunt for the season or something.
            Designing systems on no sleep. Classed games are boring af.


              Why Attractiveness and Personality, wouldn't simply reusing Charisma be better and easier?

              Something I have considered, and wanted to put down as I sort my thoughts for record.

              1st: It makes an even number of Physical to Mental stats as I laid them out in my initial rundown above. That balance helps in streamlining things. I'd need to force a 4 physical that would get awkward otherwise, or pull one of the mentals to balance things. Altogether awkward IMO.

              2nd: It allows a player or NPC to be either super attractive *or* personable or choice of investing into *both* or dumping both for a variety of options. I like options for players to tinker with, it allows for replayability and decision making in the character creation process to impact how the game plays out.

              3rd: Have you ever engaged a person you wanted to date who was a "10" and "out of your league" and realized they had absolutely no "game"? Just because someone is a hottie with a body doesn't mean they are kind, compassionate, sociable, funny, etc. They could be abusive and toxic people who get their way simply due to looks. This split allows representation of things like this with a mechanical backbone.

              3's my lucky number, and good enough reasoning here.

              Why is Perceptiveness an *attribute* instead of a *skill*?

              Another consideration I made and this fits where my thought processes have been leaning.

              1st: It's something that is independent of wisdom, or someone having iron will or someone having incredible memory for detail. This is both the quality of your senses being represented here, and your ability to utilize them to gather information which is important. As a nearsighted person with hearing loss and issues of vertigo, extreme light sensitivity and the sort I can appreciate the nuance and differences in my ability to perceive things compared to others. Needing to move my brothers couch and coffee table so I can read what is on his big screen tv by moving up a meter across the room is a prime example of a "low perception" rating.

              2nd: I am not certain I want to generate and implement a "skill list" like exists in DnD/PF for this game. I could utilize the Attributes and then have modifiers that are accumulated like Perks or Boons which you apply. Say a "Sharp Sighted" perk that adds +2 to rolls when checking things via Vision on the party Rogue who is consistently sneaking forward to look out for danger might be gained. On the flip side, a potent explosion right in the face of someone may lead to them gaining the "Near-sighted" or "Light Blind" Drawback with a similar penalty to visual checks. I eliminate a big tab on a spreadsheet that requires a good bit of micromanagement over the course of a characters career by operating this way.

              3rd: When race building, I can simply tack on extra default Perceptiveness for races that have better vision or hearing here instead of leaving a subset note of a racial trait that takes up space. Throwing a +5 or +10 on an attribute falls in line with the basic character creation outline without taking up lines of space which streamlines the notes for critters.

              Do we *need* Hit Points?

              Call me crazy, but if we are generating a brand new RPG system, we may not need them *at all*. I could introduce Vitality as a hybrid HP/Con Score/Wound setup here. Taking hits to the body dropping your Vitality Score and it regenerating over time allows it to act like HP and wounds which hamper your stamina via pain and being winded. Your speed via a limp. By tying it all together, I can enact a hybrid setup with a single attribute. Introducing regeneration even at a slow daily, or hourly recovery rate allows players to feel the pain of taking Wounds that impair them, with the promise that it gets better through rest and recovery over time. Eventually your stab wound stops bleeding and healing begins.

              This would mean needing to make Wound thresholds and implement penalties to other attributes as Wound points were hit. It also means I likely need to implement a "Called Shot" mechanic where the players can target areas of the body of their target.

              It *also* means my damage scaling needs to take in account the Attribute cap and scaling. Damage per attack and spell shrinks and those big shots from two handed weapon crits really will be felt. This impacts Lethality and the playstyle but it would be a neat change. Throwing skills and HP and other modifiers other systems rely upon and utilizing torn down and streamlined alternatives that actually generates flavorful depth is something I can get behind.

              I'm curious if folks have opinions on what I am thinking so far and will continue to ramble so if you have input, let me have it. If not, thanks for reading and I'll be back when inspired again. :)
              Last edited by Magrus; 02-20-2021, 10:40 PM.
              Designing systems on no sleep. Classed games are boring af.


                As I wait for a dead community offered a chance to get a hand crafted RPG to support the site to respond in any way, shape or form, let's continue the brainstorming. I am considering various options, picking around the edges of a stripped down RPG where creativity and decision making are rewarded waiting to settle on the raw mechanical aspects in an attempt to allow some feedback from the community here. I will need to abandon this stance and move forward at some point soon however. With this in mind, my goal is to as inspired, push out as much in the way of processing information that will support that central mechanical aspect with flavor and direction and formed concepts. Having a formed goal and flavor and style in mind when the time comes to slot in the mechanics is the goal.

                This stance is foreign to me, as using the mechanics as the central piece has been the way I have navigated in previous ventures. It has been an interesting and invigorating journey so far, even if doing it solo and blind. I have navigated into a territory foreign to me, but one which I think could be truly rewarding in terms of speeding up my DM prep, the character creation of players interested and allowing more freedom of organic character and NPC concepts. There's still a long way to go here, but the operating theme currently is:

                *A split 4/4 Physical and Mental Attribute lineup which are used with modifiers applied to processes basic fundamentals that normally would be Skill checks, Saves, Ability checks and the like in DnD/PF.
                *A Wound and Recovery system with Called Shot mechanic to target an area of the body to have a say if you accurately hit in order to have a say in Wound type.
                *A Perks and Drawbacks system that allows for player decisions and RP to garner DM granted abilities and modifiers which affect the PC's ability to engage the world. These are earned in play by doing things, similar to the levelup of Morrowind.
                *A reworked Race Builder where you can choose to create your own species for your PC on the fly as needed.
                *An XP buy classless character creation with the ability to improve upon your character as you accumulate XP in tandem with earning Perks through RP and actions in the game world for a tandem level up system of DM handout and player agency.
                *A stripped down gear setup that relies on XP purchased abilities and equipment categories in order to generate combat benefits. This is to allow for flavor to shine in spite of combat benefits instead of mechanical benefits shoving subpar flavor options into the back seat.
                *A malleable, manipulatable, and slottable equipment system to allow for player agency in tinkering and customizing their gear for personal touch add-ons.
                *A organic magic system of Spend XP to learn/unlock casting ability and purchase SP, then spend Action+SP to cast spells, details TBD.

                With this in mind, is there input from this dead community at all?
                Designing systems on no sleep. Classed games are boring af.


                  I, for one, have always been partial to the second edition of Big Eyes, Small Mouth d6. Just in terms of what they were onto at the time. I think Guardians of Order, with their Tri-Stat system, were playing with something that had huge potential and they cast it aside to churn out new versions that changed too much. Gameplay was very simple while staying crunchy without getting bogged down, it rewarded decision making and tactics, and there was limited RNG interference. Yeah, it had problems but they could have been easily fixed with an errata instead of a completely new edition that went in a totally different direction. I believe that if it wasn't for the fact that it was a system made by anime fanatics to run anime-themed games, it could have done so much more. If it were stripped down to its bones and re-fleshed as a D&D-type system, that would be epic.


                    Hey, just got back from a short trip to handle family stuff, and thanks for the response. I have heard of BESM, but I avoid all things anime so haven't looked into it. IE: You absolutely have a point that making it so anime focused probably hurt it, just like, my stance of avoid anime has hurt my stock on the flip side. Any exclusivity limits interest drawn.

                    I like the idea of a skeleton framework that gives depth, with a limited array of customization for the player to look through with a small manual type thing that I could setup directly here on the forum with the thing I discussed with BlackFox on his server in a sub tier that gives indie system designers and DM's an option for their own forum and sub forums. So a system that could easily be laid out in post and thread format here on the site unique RPG essentially is the goal. This means avoiding spreadsheets and using a limited, list based menu format which drastically limits the array of options listed. This reduces the crunch to scroll through in terms of options with me chucking skills and massive equipment lists and feats. I haven't seen these systems you mention though for perspective in how it compares to what I listed above in terms of concept.

                    Did you have key pointers on what you enjoyed from that system for someone who has never played it that I should look into?

                    The interaction type that I am looking for is something like this:

                    Generic Archetypical Party of:
                    Rogue/Scout: Basic Human melee centric roaming scout that can trap find and backstab concept
                    Tank: Dwarf similar heavily armored stand and beat back the enemy with a zone of control to punish the enemy around him concept
                    Critter: Create your own floating furball that can sling enchantment and buff spells for unique interactions concept
                    Mage: Create your own small biped that can manipulate the elements

                    Enters a small populated region with a goal in mind. "Clear out this tomb and return the *insert quest item*" or "Navigate the docks and sewers of this city and find out what is stealing goods from the harbor and killing people in the night" type scenarios with a clear cut goal for the party to unify and build characters suited to the task. This is something needed with a classless setup, a goal and concept the players can hold in their minds and be tasked with finding something fun for them to attack the problem with as their PC. This could lead to new scenarios for the party, or a complete new concept so foreign that new characters are needed, either way at the end of this concept.

                    Interacts with a custom critter I design for my game world, a four legged beast that pounces on the Scout when he is searching ahead, say 100' forward of the party. The critter, being a predator and attacking a similar sized creature from behind Attacks >Called Shot on the Scouts leg. I apply a penalty modifier to the Accuracy roll which if this hits vs the Dodge of the target strikes the leg. If it bypasses the Armor and deals damage, however we work out AC/Defense here, there's a "Wound Threshold" where if you take a percentage of your "HP" which will likely be "Vitality" to KISS you incur some wound. In this case, if the pouncing critter hits its bite on the lightly armored Scout, he takes a wound to his calf and his speed drops to half here. When his wounds have healed up above the threshold, he regains his speed lost from this injury.

                    The furball Critter slings a light armor spell onto the Scout due to the long distance and limited level, but it grants a bit of protection as the party moves forward to save him. This interaction is noted and similar interactions of this type will generate a unique bond that grants a trait over time between the two. A trait to reduce the cost of ranged protective spells when targeting the Scout further than 100' feet away for instance as a part of the bond from using this tactic regularly.

                    In this situation, engaged and injured, the Scout is in a fight for his life against a predator that has already gotten the drop on him. Knowing he cannot survive a drawn out fight against something that is right on top of him, he targets the creatures eye. It's a hard to hit shot and takes a massive penalty, but if he hits it, the fight is likely over. So he'll roll with a penalty that is at least x4 the penalty the critter made to attack his leg, as a general conceptual marker, but if he manages to stab the critter in the eye, it drops dead like a critical hit. Giving the player the option to make the risky move to save himself from terrible injury or death in this situation.

                    These are the kinds of things I want to inject into the system. How I tackle the RNG and the numbers is something I am holding off on as my personal taste is different from a lot of folks. If I can get these kind of interactions, and players doing fun things engaging with my world, that's my goal running games. The what we roll and stuff I'm flexible on here. If folks have opinions, I'm holding off looking for what to inject here. This could be a d100 system or a d6 or a d10 system instead of a d20 system, or scorn dice and be a straight X-Y=Z equation where if your X beats target Y you succeed KISS streamlining. There's options, and goal being to generate games for the userbase, the userbase can suggest something for discussion here.
                    Last edited by Magrus; 02-26-2021, 04:21 AM.
                    Designing systems on no sleep. Classed games are boring af.


                      Yeah, a lot of that is already there or practically there in the revised 2nd Ed. BESM system, which at this point is a technically-still-unfinished, long-abandoned system that no one is even using anymore. I was lucky enough to play it many years ago under a GM who wasn't looking to play an anime game per se but was looking to have the game contain anime-style action and move crazy fast. And I'll tell ya, once we had all learned how the system worked (which didn't take long at all thanks to its simplicity) it definitely delivered some lightning-fast RL gameplay. Obviously a PbP version of a game would be a lot slower but it would still be way faster and more simple than, say, a PbP Pathfinder game.


                        Alright, I have *briefly scanned categories* and my quick takeaway so rundown time for comparison of linked above system and what I have in mind:


                        3 stat option: No differentiation between things like Health, Strength, Agility, Willpower, Memory, etc. Requires skills and an array of combat sub-stats.
                        8 stat option: Differentiation between the above mentioned. Does not require as many sub-stats in the statblock. Does not require a skills system.


                        BESM method: Stack everything not a Skill, Attribute or Drawback into a catch-all category, pay points to grab the things you want out of the grab-bag of all the things. Simplistic pay per level of investment setup. Must paw through entire bucket of stuff to find anything.
                        Concept 1: Break down of Race, Magic, Abilities to invest in to differentiate things like gene hacking your PC to custom tailor what you want. Picking up the ability to use plate mail and a broadsword. Picking up the ability to throw fireballs and heal as a battlemage.

                        BESM: Item chart with flat damage, a quality like "Inaccurate" or "Melee" or "Short range". Incredibly simplistic here.
                        Concept 1: Customizable, slottable gear that allows for RP flavor of minor tweaking a character may do around a camp fire and powerful slottable abilities. Remove the variable damage and armor aspects of the gear, instead introduce a categorical (Light/Heavy) and a proficiency (Scaling damage paid for via XP) system.

                        BESM: Flat Damage of Weapon - Armor/Force Field rating= Net Damage
                        Concept 1: Option to roll damage or do flat X-Y=Z on the table. I like a Armor as DR setup similar of however you process damage, take as X subtract Armor value as Y to get Z as Net damage. I'm open to flat damage ratings or rolled dice here.

                        Opposed Checks:

                        BESM: Simplistic system of check if capable, if yes apply bonus, if no apply malus. Greater result beats lower result. Roll as needed based on situation.
                        Concept 1: Similar, but with set modifiers added onto one of the 8 attributes, or a similar stat necessary for function. Depending on "DX" choice here, this will either involve the Attribute+Modifiers (D100) or a modifier of the attribute such as 1/10th or 1/2 of the attribute or some such thing. Accuracy vs Dodge to hit is the bread and butter for combat here.

                        Similar but I intend to go a bit more crunchy here I think.

                        With this in mind, and without rambling endlessly with comparisons on my as yet decided conceptualization. Is there a basic mechanical chassis the user base would like to see games run on this site with here?

                        Do folks want to roll big dice and go d100 similar to Morrowind's setup?
                        Do folks want to roll d6's and check Hit/Miss based on a target # per die like in Shadowrun?
                        Do folks *really love* d20?
                        Do folks want a KISS X-Y=Z for tactical decisions being rewarded here and removing RNG *d*uckery?

                        Lemme know.
                        Designing systems on no sleep. Classed games are boring af.


                          I think maybe a BESM style would work on a lot of points. I don't have any particular problems with either stat approach, since both make sense in their own way. Seems like a BESM vs. Palladium setup on stats. For base mechanics, I think maybe keeping it at a d20 would expand your player options quite a bit, since people here play a lot of D&D5e and Pathfinder 1e. But if you want a point buy system, I think converting parts of BESM to d20 makes a lot of sense since that pb is pretty simple.

                          Something I'd like to see, considering its a pb system. A good bonded weapon ability. Most rpg's focus on the loot to power up. I would like a system, different than Pathfinders class abilities that grant item abilities, to make my weapon more powerful as I go along with level up points since it's such a critical part of my build. Maybe take inspiration from the Armorists bound weapons and armor feature from Spheres of Power. Then mages can bound staves, dps people can bound weapons, and maybe tanks can bound armor, and maybe later do a bit of everything.

                          Last edited by natural19; 03-02-2021, 03:17 PM.


                            Originally posted by natural19 View Post
                            I think maybe a BESM style would work on a lot of points. I don't have any particular problems with either stat approach, since both make sense in their own way. Seems like a BESM vs. Palladium setup on stats. For base mechanics, I think maybe keeping it at a d20 would expand your player options quite a bit, since people here play a lot of D&D5e and Pathfinder 1e. But if you want a point buy system, I think converting parts of BESM to d20 makes a lot of sense since that pb is pretty simple.

                            Something I'd like to see, considering its a pb system. A good bonded weapon ability. Most rpg's focus on the loot to power up. I would like a system, different than Pathfinders class abilities that grant item abilities, to make my weapon more powerful as I go along with level up points since it's such a critical part of my build. Maybe take inspiration from the Armorists bound weapons and armor feature from Spheres of Power. Then mages can bound staves, dps people can bound weapons, and maybe tanks can bound armor, and maybe later do a bit of everything.
                            The d20 argument is a solid one. The "market" is just saturated with folks who think it's the only way to game.

                            A bonded weapon thing I can do. Invest XP into gear for gains is definitely something I can add here. Maybe a setup where you invest XP to get a Soul Forger tree opened up, and you invest a portion of your Soul Points into your gear for gains. Making a deeply personal connection between your character and the weapon and armor?
                            Designing systems on no sleep. Classed games are boring af.


                              Something like that would be great.