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RPG design ideas......I want to know what you guys think

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sfictre
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Joined: 12/31/1969

hey guys,

I'm making an RPG and have some of the basic things/ideas that I am going to use but that is about were it ends. It is a fantasy (medievil) ect.
I want to know what you guys think are some important things in an RPG.
I have been making board games for roughly 2 years seriously. But have been making games all my life. I have started numerous RPG's and in almost eveyone there is the problem of repition.

-building up your character so your character gets tougher
-the mosters get tougher to match your new skills and ablities

Like in the computer game 'Diablo'. This is very much a problem. Get tougher and so do the monsters.

One solution I have found is to try and disguise the 'repition'.
What you can do is have missions that try and keep you thinking on the task that you need to complete and the reward you get at the end.
For example:
you need to protect a convoy of people and get them through a forest filled with D&D type monsters. ect.

Or you can be assigned to protect a village from numerous attacks from rogues or tribesmen or orcs ect.

But another way is to have things that you need to find. So meanwhile you are getting exp from things that are 'guarding' the thing/s that you need to find for some reason.

The 'repetition' problem is tied in with the 'purpose' problem.
If the idea of the game is just to protect the castle/villa from hundreds of oncomeing monsters then after a while it gets repitive becuase you get better and so do they and there is no purpose.
One way to combat the 'no-purpose' problem is to have teams and you have to combat the other players at intervals so your 'purpose' is to get better then the other players and in that way win.

This way you can help people not to focous on the leveling side of things but on the mission. I'm not saying the leveling side of things is not important. It is the game. But somehow you have to make it not be quite as repetitive. Or seem as repetitive.
Let me know what you guys reckon.

Thanks heaps and heaps
sfictre

Hedge-o-Matic
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RPG design ideas......I want to know what you guys think

This is less of a game problem than a problem of story telling. forget the mechanics of the game, and look at the story.

All stories have a dramatic arc. The situation is presented during the setup, introducing the conflicts to be resolved. Then there's the rising action, where the heros have a number of smaller successes and setbacks, until the climax, wherein the conflict is resolved for better or worse. After that, the rest is falling action, resolving plot points and wrapping things up.

I suggest you follow this format, having the falling action of one story be the setup for the next. Really, the characters are adventurers, not desk jockeys! Their days should never feel the same unless it serves the plot that they do so, and this sort of tedium is best presented as a dramatic montage.

Playing RPGs like this makes them more of an artform, and far more satisfying for all involved.

sfictre
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Joined: 12/31/1969
i see

I have to admit that, while I knew that storylines were important, I never really thought of it that way.....thanks.

sfictre
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RPG design ideas......I want to know what you guys think

also guys,

I just wanted to know what you guys think are some important things that RPGs should include.

thanks again
sfictre

Infernal
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RPG design ideas......I want to know what you guys think

The perception of RPG has been tainted by the Computer RPGs (CRPG) like diablo and such. As a Game Master of over 10 years experence I can say that the "repitition" is not nessesary in the Pen and Paper (PnP) style RPGs and is just due to bad running of the game. I have on many occasions run games that did not use any monsters or combat at all, and still the players had fun dispite the system being more designed for the combat than general role playing (eg Cyberpunk 2020).

With CRPGs the story writer (level designers, etc) are mainly limited by the interface and the code of the game. With a CRPG the player is limited in what option they can choose, as to write code and create an interface for large numbers of options is very diffucult to do. With the PnP gmaes they are only limited by their imaginination and the mechanics of the game, and a game master can make ruleings for situations not covered by the game mechanics.

Board games are like computer games in this respect, as you want the players to choose from a specific set of options. Games like Go and chess might seem at first to have a lot of options that the player can choose, but this is not nessesarily true. In Go you only have the option to place a piece on the board (in fact this is not a choice as you have to do it), but the location you place it has impact within the game space (so the relative placement is the choice but not dictated by the mechanics). In chess you have the choice of which piece you move, and the direction you move it. (the relative position is again not the designer's choice but is determined by the layout of the board).

Most CRPGs come down to a tactical simulation coupled with puzzle solveing. In a PnP rpg you can include social interactions and other hard to simulate (because humans and computers are different) actions.

In the Cyberpunk system there are no "levels" as such, that are found in CRPGs. They use a skill based system where the player improves their skill by spending experience (call Improvement Points). The range that the skill values cover and the mechanics of the game still allow a character with a low level of skill to (verry occasionally) beat a character with a high level of skill. Thus a progression of tougher and tougher set of opponents is not nessesary.

A relitively weak opponent may have the nessesary skills values to stand toe to toe with a more tougher opponent, by specialising in certain skills if the tougher and more experenced character generalises their skills (ofcourse with cyberpunk, your equipment can make a lot of difference to your combat abilities - big guns and tough armor for example).

Because in an RPG the main mission/quest designer is the players, as a designer you should leave it to them to create the missions that suit their gaming group. You should foccus more on the mechanics of the game so as to try and open up the options on how the game can be played, rather than limiting them.

Kreitler
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RPG design ideas......I want to know what you guys think

sfictre wrote:
also guys,

I just wanted to know what you guys think are some important things that RPGs should include.

thanks again
sfictre

I think Hedge-o-matic really hit the nail on the head.
Infernal makes some good points, too -- though I don't think the CRPG situation is as cut-and-dried as he suggests.

As to what a good RPG should include, the answer largely depends on your target audience.

Broadly, RPG groups tend to fall into two groups: people who play primarily for the story and role-playing experience, and people who play for the at-the-table socializing experience. I have a lot of experience running games for the first group. For them, take everything Hedge-o-matic said as gospel. I've also seen a lot of the other kind of groups. These guys often thrive on one-upmanship within the party. You can't expect them to follow a plot you've carefully constructed (for a perfect example of this kind of RPG play, see any "Knights of the Dinner Table" story).
Each group requires a different kind of rule set. For "type I" gamers, "less is more" -- they are there for the story. Keep die rolls low and quick. Give the rule system enough "flex" that the GM can bend it for dramatic effect. Allow for exceptional acts in appropriate situations (e.g., "pushing" in the Hero system).
Type II gamers need much more cut-and-dried rules. When my thief backstabs your fighter, we need to know exactly why I was successful and by how much. Rules flex in this situation will lead to even more inner-party conflict. Ouch. Also, these guys are "min/maxers", meaning they like to optimize their characters and live for feedback telling them how powerful they've become. Games with levels and lots of fiddly options appeal to them.

Arg. I could go on about this forever, but I haven't time and you probably don't want to hear me ramble on. Check my journal -- I have a couple of entries regarding RPG systems that apply to your question.

Good luck developing your system. The longer I run games (going on about 20 years, now), the more I want the system out of the way. However, like Bruce Lee, I believe you have to study form before you're ready for formlessness. I would recommend you look at the 4th edition Hero Rules. These are amazingly complete, very flexible, and wonderfully balanced. The tradeoff is lots of number crunching when creating your characters and a fairly slow dicing system. Still, it contains everything you need to run any kind of game for any audience. If you master it, you'll have a solid foundation from which to branch into your own experiments.

K.

Kreitler
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RPG design ideas......I want to know what you guys think

sfictre wrote:
also guys,

I just wanted to know what you guys think are some important things that RPGs should include.

thanks again
sfictre

OK, I couldn't resist. I dragged out one of my journal entries. There's another one that's less relevant, but you can always look it up if you're interested.

====================
(I'm not sure these thoughts are appropriate for a *board* game journal, as tabletop RPGs don't fall cleanly into that category. I beg the pardon of anyone who thinks they don't belong here...)

=== INTRODUCTION ===
I've been playing tabletop RPGs for more than 20 years -- mostly as a GM. I've run and played under a lot of systems, Hero being my favorite by a long way. If you've played Hero, you know that it's table light and formula heavy, suitable for virtually any genre, and marvelously flexible.

I point this out so people won't think I'm hostile toward complex systems. In fact, I love them, provided the complexity isn't buried in endless charts (*cough* Rolemaster *cough* -- though I admit that I owned the basic Rolemaster set and loved it dearly...).

Last year, I wrapped up a campaign that had run for about 5 years. It started under Hero, and finished under several experimental systems of my own design. They all pretty much sucked, but they all strove for the same goal: reduce the rolls and system overhead to allow focus on the story.

Which brings us to this journal entry: if I was to design the simplest functional RPG system, what would I include?

=== SYSTEM GOALS ===
The system should:

1) Not get bogged down with too many numbers.
In the end, most good GMs assign modifiers to make various maneuvers appropriately difficult ("Oh, you're aiming for the head? Well, that's an additional -4"). If GMs are going to "cook the books" to force an appropriately dramatic roll, why bother with fixed modifiers and skill values at all?

2) Encourage the creation of a character's story, rather than his scores.
When players focus on rolling stats or buying powers, they lose sight of the qualities that make characters interesting -- personality strengths and flaws, existing relationships, etc.

3) Play fast.
This is sort of a corollary to #1 -- if you don't have a bunch of numbers to manipulate, the resolving conflict shouldn't involve too many roles.

4) Provide a clear means of resolving disputes and determining the extent of success or failure (e.g., "You seriously wounded the goblin", "You reprogrammed the ship's computer, but it took a long time").

With those points in mind, let's examine a possible solution (and yes, I'm making this up as I go along...).

=== SYSTEM STRUCTURE ===
Let's refer to the system as the BB RPG ("BB" for "Bare Bones"). In it:

1) You describe your character with words, not numbers.
2) A single die roll resolves each conflict, determining both success and degree of success (i.e., the more by which you make your roll, the more dramatic your success).
3) The more accurately players describe their actions, the less leeway the GM has to interpet the rolls during conflict resolution.

** Some examples **
Character generation:
Grant is a space trader who dabbles in smuggling.
He is a skilled pilot with a quick mind and good reflexes. He is tall and lean, but slightly stronger than his build implies. He's a fair shot and a decent brawler, but prefers to charm his way out of a fight if possible.

(At this point, the GM rules that Grant needs some flaws to balance his resume.)

The son of a gas freighter, Grant lacks higher education. He lacks the training required for advanced computer operations or complex mechanical tasks.

A few smuggling runs gone wrong have earned him a modest bounty on several worlds, and his ship, The Alamo, is marked for detention on Federation registries.

While not particularly fond of people, Grant loves animals -- especially his three-legged dog, Bo. If Grant witnesses animal cruelty, he is likely to repay those responsible with similar treatment. Heaven help the men that lay a hostile finger on Bo...

(The GM approves the writeup, but asks the player to provide details on some of the smuggling runs "gone bad" -- including names and background on the people wronged in those incidents. He then provides a short summary of Grant's significant skills.)

Grant
Tall/thin
Medium strength
Above-average intelligence
Above-average reflexes
Quite charming

Expert pilot
Competent marksman
Competent brawler

Uneducated
Protective of animals
Indifferent towards people

Wanted by the Federation
Wanted by x,y,z (old smuggling enemies)

Notice -- no numbers. It's tempting to quantify things more completely, but let's resist the urge. "Fuzziness" is part of the system's beauty -- it provides the GM with some latitude when telling his story.

Resolving conflicts:
Here, we need some numbers. The entire numerical system for the game rests in 1 chart:

Task difficulty success (on d10)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Can't possibly fail 9, 9, 8-
Sure thing 9, 8-
Laughably easy 9, 5-
Very easy 8-
easy 7-
moderately easy 6-
slightly easy 5-
slightly hard 4-
moderately hard 3-
hard 2-
very hard 1-
extremely hard 0,5-
unbelievably hard 0,1-,
next to impossible 0,0,1-

In this table, read '-' as "or less".

Entries like "9, 5-" mean "if your first roll is anything but a 9, you succeed. If it's a 9, roll again and succeed on a 5 or less" (i.e., dice explode upward).

Entries like "0, 1-" mean "first you have to roll a zero, then you have to roll a 1 or less" (i.e., dice explode downward).

This table isn't meant to be realistic or even very meaningful. It's sole purpose is to give players with a well-defined way to resolve conflicts. In the end, it's up to the GM to define the difficulty of any task, given the various conditions of the moment.

Using the system:
Now, if Grant is trapped behind some boxes in a cargo bay, engaged in a firefight with some Federation thugs, the encounter might go something like this:

GM: you're faster than these guys, but they outnumber you. One guy is laying down suppression fire. You're not sure what the other one is doing.

Grant: Crap. I'll take a quick peak over the crates and see if I can spot the second guy.

GM: Hmm...there's a lot of fire. That's going to be pretty hard, even for you. Roll it.

["pretty hard" requires a roll of 3- for success]

Grant: 4. Did I see anything?

GM: not much -- a quick glimpse of something moving to your left. Then a bolt singes your hair and you duck back down.

[Here, the GM has ruled that the 4 is close enough to give Grant partial information, since '3' would have provided "normal" data.]

Grant: OK -- I can't hang around here. I'm going to fire some blind shots over the crates, then dive for the service duct on my right.

GM: It's pretty unlikely that you'll hit the Fed with any shots, and that duct is small -- not easy to squeeze into quickly. Give me two rolls.

Grant: Let's see...I got a 5 and a 4.

[The GM consults the chart and sees that Grant can probably suppress the Fed with that roll -- he *is* a good shot, after all -- but the 4 isn't quite enough to let him get all the way into the duct.]

GM: OK, the first Fed ducks back behind the door, but the second guy manages to get around the crates and squeeze off a shot as you slide into the crawl space. It's a tough shot (rolls a 3). It burns a hole in the wall next to your hand as you slip inside.

*******

Granted, this is a trivial example -- one the system could hardly fail. The lack of "miniatures rules" might render the system useless. Then again, most people have a strong sense of "what could really happen" within their games, which should allow the GM to assess a reasonable difficulty factor in almost any situation.

I'd like to run a game with just this system as presented and see if it makes for a boring game (not enough meaningful rolls) or an interesting one (quick tempo with the emphasis on detailed action descriptions).

More later, if I get the chance.

K.

Infernal
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RPG design ideas......I want to know what you guys think

I have also toyed with a simple (bare bones) RPG system. I agree that representing stats and skills as words instead of numbers encourages role play. However, I have alwayse seen the "Word" descriptor as the same as writting the word expressof a number (eg "5" can be written as "five").

In my system the players used a set of dice (D4, D6, D8, D10 and D12). Each ability is assigned a word which represents a particular die (Poor=D4, Below Average=D6, Average=D8, Above Average=D10, Excelent=D12).

Skills just applied a modifier to the die roll, but were still represented by words (Unskilled=+0, Poor=+1, Below average=+2, Skilled=+3 Good=+4 and Excelent=+5)

The difficulty system used the same idea. The base difficulty used a description word to represent the die to be rolled and a situational description word was used to give an increase (or decrease) to the difficulty roll.

All rolls were made by rolling the die for the apropreate ability and then adding the apropreate skill against a roll for the apropreate difficulty die and situational modifier. If the skill roll was equal or greater than the difficulty roll then the action was successful.

I hadn't included a degree of success rule but it could be that for every 2 points higher or lower than the target indicated an increased degree of success (or failure).

The system also allowed for "Gifts and Flaws". These work like abilities in that the descriptor word indicates a die that is to be rolled. So if you had the flaw "Price on your head: Average" then when the GM decided (say you walk into a rough tavern) you would make a check by roilling a D8 against the GMs pick as to how likely a bounty hunter might be in there. Success here indicates that there is a bountyhunter in the bar.

Generally dmage is applied to an ability, bat can be applied to Gifts and Flaws as well.

sfictre
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gee....thanks!

thanks heaps guys for all that stuff. I really liked it and you guys have some great ideas.

Just to clarify slightly more.
I'm not saying what Infernal and Kreitler wrote was un-helpful cause it damn well was! But what elements should a good RPG have.
For example, almost all RPGs have both CRPG & PnPRPG have spells. That's sorta given.
Most have weapons that you can either buy or find.
Most have a choice of a couple of characters at the start.....like Diablo.
But some start with a character that you can fully mould. Turn him into a wiz or warrior or rogue. ect like fable and I think elders scolls.

They are some of the elements that make or brake an RPG.

Then you have things like 'mutiple-character' RPG like boulders gate.
You also have things like in the PS2 game monster hunt (I think)
you could combine items and make differant items.
eg. combine a spider web with ivy and you get a net.
combine a piece of meat with a sleep herb and you get drugged meat.
Some are obvoius and some are definatly not!

I would really like to know what elemants make and break an RPG
(more the make side if you know what I mean)
thanks for your help & opinions......to me it is INVALUABLE!
It helps sooooooooooo much
thanks guys
sfictre

Infernal
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RPG design ideas......I want to know what you guys think

Are you making a PnPRPG or a CRPG?

If you are making a CRPG then of course this is not the fourum for that (but I would be willing to help - pm me).

Most of what you seem to be interested in is more in line with setting details rather than mechanics. SOmetimes you need to include certain mechanics to allow for aspects of a setting (the magic rules for D&D for example).

Not all RPGs have spells or magic. An RPG called Cyberpunk 2020 has no spells at all. Spells and magic are part of the setting, as is the equipment and weapons (you are unlikely to have a laser gun in a medieval fantasy setting :D).

As a fantasy setting would indicate, magic would be a part ot it (but not nessesarily). Although not specificly like spells in D&D. Magic could be in the form of charms and curses or even skills (alchemy for potions). D&D 3.X uses several magic systems in their game: Spells/Scrolls/Potions, Special abilities. Items and Monsters. Monsters are included because most of the monsters that the characters encounter are not natural (and can therefore be calsed as magical).

The aspects of an RPG that are essential are:
Encounter - This is not just monsters, but are like scenes in a play, it is where all the "stuff" happens like interacting with a friendly non player character (like a shop keeper, etc) up to the final showdown with the Big-Bad-Evil-Guy.

Non-Playing Characters - these are the "people" of your RPG and also the monsters. Like the name says these characters are not controlled by a player but are controlled by the Game Master (the person running the game).

Mechanics - These are the rules (or guidelines) of the game. These dictate how the game is played (from freeform to rules-heavy games).

Player Characters - This is what the players controll. The players make the decisions as to what the character will attempt (note that it is not what the do. The Game Master and the Rules decide if they can do it or not)

Setting - The setting covers all the "Chrome" (stuff that is not effected by the rules but adds to the style and imagery of the game) and "Content" (Items, spells, types of monsters/opponents, etc). It is realy just a catchall.

All of these categories overlap to some degree and also need to interact with each other.

When designing an RPG I usually start off with wither the setting or the rules (system). But which ever of these two I start with I usually get involved with the other before too long as the do tend to heavily influence each other in the design.

Kreitler
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Re: gee....thanks!

sfictre wrote:

For example, almost all RPGs have both CRPG & PnPRPG have spells. That's sorta given.
Most have weapons that you can either buy or find.
Most have a choice of a couple of characters at the start.....like Diablo.
But some start with a character that you can fully mould. Turn him into a wiz or warrior or rogue. ect like fable and I think elders scolls.

Hey sfictre,

Well...that's not exactly true -- but it illuminates a lot about your questions.

RPGs consist of two distinct parts -- the game system, and the campaign world. The game system is a rule set that allows players and GMs to simulate a particular vision of reality. The campaign world is the specific reality in which the GMs stories will take place.

Early RPGs -- and quite a few current ones -- mix these indiscriminantly: the game system is so tightly bound to the campaign world that you can pretty much play *only* one kind of campaign.

Several "generic" RPGs have come out -- most notably GURPS and the Hero System. Theoretically, these allow you to build *any* kind of campaign world using only one game system (though my experience with GURPS suggests that the system is not really robust enough for this, and each "campaign book" contains many rule fixes for playing a particular genre -- though this may have been fixed in later editions).

More experienced GMs (like Infernal and me) usually grow out of playing a single genre and rarely buy campaign books -- we have our own worlds and stories to tell. That is why we both wrote about game systems.

So, when you ask "what makes or breaks an RPG", you're really asking two questions:

1) What makes or breaks a good RPG system?
2) What makes or breaks a good campaign world?

The answer to #1 varies, and both Infernal and I have given our 2 cents above.

The answer to #2 is harder to quantify, and has a lot in common with the question, "What makes a good book?" In your case, since you're focused primarily on fantasy worlds, you're really asking, "What makes for an interesting fantasy setting?" The truth is that almost *anything* can be interesting -- spells or no spells, fixed character classes or "build-your-own" characters, etc. What matters most is that you have a deep back-story to the world, plausible characters within the world, and ways to involve your players in the world's meaningful events.

Sound vague? That's because it is. Crafting a good campaign world is more art than science. You can't really put together a checklist of levels, dungeon types, and spells and guarantee a good game (if you could, D&D would be universally enjoyable, but never was there a system more dependent on the GM's talents).

If you're basing your designs on CRPGs like Diablo and Final Fantasy, I recommend you get some distance from those. They are more about manipulating your inventory that experiencing a story. Instead, find a used copy of Ico and rent or buy Shadow of the Colossus. You might also snag Tenchu or Mark of Kri. I agree with Infernal the CRPGs are extremely limited hollow. However, I believe there are good interactive story experienced outside of the CRPG genre (in the titles I've just mentioned). They're not perfect, but they'll help you understand how you can create a guided interactive story for your players.

Then you just need to figure out a tabletop game system that delivers a similar experience.

Good luck!

Mark

sfictre
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thankeeee agin and agin......

thanks again,

Yes I am making a PnP-RPG. CRPG isn't quite as good. In a board or Tble Tp you have the imagination side of things. That is important. And the thing about PnP is that you can add in your own things and perfect it to your own taste.
You seem very exp-ed in this area so I'm sure you will understand.
As Kreitler was saying there is 2 kinds of "RPG".
They are basically make your own adventure; and set story lines that may vary according to the game designers commitment to the game and how far in depth you may want to go. The RPG that I'm aiming for......none have been see like it in either CRPG or PnP. If I can achieve it then I will be most happy. It will take a good couple of years but it will reward beyond anything else I have done.

I will give you an idea of how this game will start.....
You start as a 15 year old character that you can mould from the start.
I like this idea better then the 5-char-choices in Diablo II and ect.

You have the oppitunity to train in what skills you want as an apprentice.
Strength (warrior mainly, but you may want your archer-type char to have a strength) Knolege (wiz mainly) ect. So you choose from the start
what you want your char to be. You also get given a randome "star sign" or something simular wich gives you some skill of some sort that you may wish to build on or you may not. You may be given extra strength for eg. but you may want to become a wiz or mage.

After you finish your begining training you are more or less set loose. You will be given a small mision to start with and according to wether or not you complete it will determine as to what your next mission will be.

And so on.
Yes I am focusing mainly on fantasy. That is what I like best.
By the way. I actuall have an Xbox consul so is there any of those type on Xbox?? I would definatly have a look at them.
Thanks for the offer infernal but at the moment I am working on PnP.
But I will definatly keep you in mind when I change from PnP.
I suppose I will have N-PCs but I will have to make a set of rules to govern them. Not easy but possible. Nothing in a PnP game is impossible. If you really want a set of rules to govern your beasts then you can make it. Hard.....yes, but not impossible. I think the monsters and such in my GM will have objecstives and will not just be sitting duck like in DIABLO II. For eg. a mission will be to protect a villa from an on coming hord of only D&D knows what!
And so forth.
Thanks again guys

Infernal
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RPG design ideas......I want to know what you guys think

Quote:
If you really want a set of rules to govern your beasts then you can make it. Hard.....yes, but not impossible. I think the monsters and such in my GM will have objecstives and will not just be sitting duck like in DIABLO II. For eg. a mission will be to protect a villa from an on coming hord of only D&D knows what!

There is no need for a set of rules for NPCs. NPC should be characters run by the game master. They should follow the rules for characters, you just don't need to put in as much detail as with characters. For example:
In a Cyberpunk 2020 game I am running at the moment, I have an NPC call Interloc. Now he is a solo (fighter/mercenary type), and follows the exact smae rules as the player whose character is also a solo. The only differentce is that I didn't put a lot of skills in (only the ones I am going to use for Interloc) and gave him a standard set of equipement and cybernetincs. It can take about 1/2 an hour to an hour to make a full CP2020 character, but it only took me 10 mins to make Interloc.

If another player joined our gaming group, I could, with only a few modifications, (makign sure that the number of points used to make the character is the same as the other PCs so that the game is fair on the other players) allow that new player to play Interloc as a PC. So, although Interloc is an NPC, it is also following the same rules as the PCs. The only real difference between NPCs and PC is that the Game Master controls the NPCs and makes the decisions for them (all of them - it is a big job).

In esscence the Game master is just like a realy powerful "artificial intelegence" program for the roleplaying game ;D.

sfictre
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yess....but.....

True. I agree, but then comes the problem of foul or corrupt play. If you choose a game master, even if you all trust him/her, whats to stop that player from slightly incresing his odd against the others??

Even if it is a co-operative type game, you will still have foul play, even if it's just to stop your allie from dying once or twice so that the game is keeps on going. Or so that they don't loose their powerful items that they may have found. Game master is good in theory, for hard-core-gamers but for those that just want to have fun it isn't quite as good. A set rule guide or randome guide is much better in my opinion.
I HATE FOUL PLAY!!!!!!
There is no point playing if you are just going to cheat your way thru it.
Game master would definatly be alot quicker but still........I dunno.......
It would be alot easier and more fun as well. Because you could give a basic set or rules that the game master would have to follow but after that you could try and simulate it to be as real as you can.

It is a good idea but how to overcome the foul play factor???

Kreitler
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Re: yess....but.....

sfictre wrote:
It is a good idea but how to overcome the foul play factor???

After reading more of your posts, I think we're all miscommunicating a bit. Based off your description of the game you'd like to design, I would *not* classify it as a tabletop RPG. It sounds more like a classic "dungeon crawler". This style of game has much in commong with computer "role playing games" such as Diablo. They typically focus on fighting monsters, collecting treasures, and completing very concrete goals like "retrieve the quest item for NPC 'x'".

Notice: the computer RPG corresponds to the tabletop "dungeon crawler" -- not the tabletop RPG. I would argue that there has never been a true computer version of a tabletop RPG. Even MUDs and MMPORPGs don't qualify -- they are mostly chat rooms attached to huge dungeon crawlers (yes, I know this isn't fair -- there are probably actual RPGs out there on the 'Net somewhere).

It sounds like you want to take the Dungeon Crawl to the next level by providing multiple scenario packs. This is commendable. It also sounds like you would eliminate the GM if you could (more evidence that this is a dungeon crawler and not an RPG).

I'm not criticizing here -- I'm trying to establish your exact question so you get the information you're after.

Regarding foul play, I wouldn't worry about it. You can ruin a good game design trying to engineer around cheating -- and people will just find ways to exploit your work-arounds.

As for supplying AI to run your monsters, check out this thread
http://www.bgdf.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=3388
for a discussion on that.
Once again, you'll find Infernal and me piping up about using your players' brains instead. :-)

Now...if you're question is "what makes a great dungeon crawler", I'd say you've got a good list already:

1) Give players lots of ways to customize their characters.
2) Give players many different scenario packs to keep the game fresh.
3) Provide lots of small ways to advance the characters -- this way they make constant progress without getting tremendously powerful too quickly.
4) Magic is probably a must for a fantasy dungeon crawler, but you should try to find a unique way to present it.
etc -- but these are all things about which you've already thought.

Perhaps most importantly, try to design a system robust enough that it could support multiple genres. Sure, you like magic, but after writing your 50th "slay the orcs and rescue the princess" scenario pack, you might want to do something different -- like a post-holocaust undead western game. Keep that possibility open and make sure your rules can accomodate such a setting.

Good luck!

K.

sfictre
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OK, we really are getting some where...

now just to classify.....and sorry about my nieviety......so to speak; but how do you exactly classify and RPG and a Dungen Crawler??
Is an RPG mostly playing the role of the person and not focousing on the battle and levveling side of things. But instead focousing on the actual decisions made by the char......your char. Hence the role playing.
It could be taken as is acting. You are playing the role of another person.
Is that sort of how it is??
Erego, dungen crawler would be the leveling and attacking side of things.

let me know.

Then, you listed a couple of games for PS2, I have an Xbox and was wondering if there were any that fitted the same cattagory on Xbox.
Thanks again.
The GM that I'm making is *not* TBLE TP by the way. I will use squares to start with anyway, because they are easier and you don't have pointless squabbles over wether or not this player can see that player over a certain obsticle.
I like squares........they seem nice and sqare.....don't know why............

If what I said above is correct then yess, I am making a dungen crawler.

It is nice to know the diff. I can now see what infernal was meaning by "the publice opinion of RPG has been tainted". I agree. I am the only person that I know; among my friends and so forth; that knows the diff.
VERY TAINTED!!

Thanks again
sfictre

Infernal
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All games (except abstract games) have roleplay elements, however I have always calsafied roleplaying games as ogames where the main focus of game play is on playing that role.

sfictre
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Thanks for your opinion....

thanks dude,

I value your opinion.....so thankyou a very lot.

OutsideLime
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Quote:
like a post-holocaust undead western game.

Sure, go ahead, blab my ideas everywhere.

~Josh

Nestalawe
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OutsideLime wrote:
Quote:
like a post-holocaust undead western game.

Sure, go ahead, blab my ideas everywhere.

~Josh

I am fully into undead western themes!!! Throw in some post-holocaustism and its even better!

Very Judge Dreddish. Can't go wrong really.

Would be interesting to see a board game around the theme, not sure how it would work though...

Kreitler
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OutsideLime wrote:
Quote:
like a post-holocaust undead western game.

Sure, go ahead, blab my ideas everywhere.

~Josh

Did I say "post-holocaust undead western game"? I meant "Lovecraftian Yakuza romantic fantasy."

Er...wait...aren't you doing one of those, too?

sfictre wrote:
now just to classify.....and sorry about my nieviety......so to speak; but how do you exactly classify and RPG and a Dungen Crawler??

No need to apologize! You're coming from a computer game background -- the vocab is just a bit different.

But, yes, your classification is good. It's a fuzzy division, though. I tend to think that RPGs emphasize who the characters are and how they interact with the world's story. Dungeon Crawlers emphasize miniatures-rules-like mechanics and emphasize collecting items, leveling up, and killing monsters. Games like D&D have heavy overlap between the two, which confuses the issue a lot.

As for good XBox games with strong story elements...that's a toughy. Really, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus are the best "story games" out there (in terms of hiding the explicity rules and making you feel like part of a natural world).

Games like Jade Empire aren't bad -- but they still have a lot of leveling and character twiddling. I'd say Jade Empire straddles the RPG/Dungeon Crawler genre all right. Tenchu: Return from Darkness has no explicit RPG rules, but allows you to equip your character and play through levels in a pretty free-form fashion. It also has a decent story. Unfortunately for you, it's not western medieval fantasy (but then, neither is Jade Empire). Morrowind is another 1/2 RPG, 1/2 dungeon crawler that isn't bad.

These aren't very good games to emulate if you want to make a dungeon crawler. They lean more toward the RPG side of things. XMen Legends and Balder's Gate, Dark Alliance are better examples of Dungeon Crawler games (though they are quite story heavy, for dungeon crawlers).

I hope that helps.

Mark

sfictre
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yeah it does.....

funny, but I do have boulders gate drk allience II. It is resonably story heavy. Not too much though.

I hardly worry about the story line when I'm playing it though. I just focous on what monsters to kill and which to run away from.....lol.

At least I was right. I am thinking dungen crawler with heavy mission/quest side of things. Plus the story line. That is important, I now see.

Thanks again

Now just reverting to the original theme. No offence. I'm not palming you off for your help. But what are some good elements that you should put in a heavy story, heavy mission Dungen Crawler??
Or some cool ideas that you wouldn't mind giving away for some cool missions.
If you want to keep you ideas, that is fine.

thanks again

~sfictre

larienna
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My definition would be :

RPG: Does not necessarily need a board or a table to play.

Dungeon crawler : Absolutely need a board or other material to play.

Gogolski
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sfictre wrote:

Quote:
But what are some good elements that you should put in a heavy story, heavy mission Dungen Crawler??
Or some cool ideas that you wouldn't mind giving away for some cool missions.
If you want to keep you ideas, that is fine.
I think the question is not so much what we would like, but whay you would like.

I have DM'ed D&D-sessions too (2nd E., 3rd E. and rev. 3rd E.) I quite like world-building, probably because it alows me to create a setting that I realy like.
DMing a tabletop RPG requires you to:
1] know the rules (the game-system) that you're using.
2] create adventures that are fun to play/experience for the players
3] bring the story and the world to your players in a way that they can realy dive into it and be part of it.
Achieving this requires time, experience and 'work'.

That said, I must admit that I have not played many game-systems (mostly d20), but I have read a bunch of them. All campains I have DM'ed had an amount of houserules. (not like revamping the system, but tweaking it to my liking.)

I experimented with a variant-system of the d20 rules to have more character flexibility. I wanted to make D&D classless. I took all the abilities of the core-classes of D&D and gave them requirements and a point cost. The variant system was never thoroughly tested to balance it. (...for those interested: LINK ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THIS PAGE => "CLASSLESS" )

Making a new system from scratch is realy hard. It also will take A LOT of time and many people to test it...

If you want a boardgame, then I think the replayability of some features are nil (puzzles? only maze-type puzzles seem like they may be replayable (read the topic about mazes and tiles!), but most puzzles are quite easy once you know the answer...)

Just a couple of questions for you:
=> What RPG-systems have you played?
=> What RPG-systems have you been a gamemaster for?
=> What did you realy like/dislike in these systems?
=> How much flexibility do you want and in what areas? (how many stats, skills, attacks,... and how much range do you want for these?)
=> Do you want to use a board, cards, character-sheet, dice, miniatures,...?

I think that answers to some of these questions might help us to help you.

Cheese.

Upon quickly glancing over this post, I also think that I'm unable to write a coherent post right now...

Infernal
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In my PnPRPG game I use a plot building method that allows my to rapidly (and systematicly) create plots for games. Now you will not nessesarily be able to use this to create dynamic stories for you game but it might spark some ideas.

Step 1:
Create a series of NPC (and monsters) to fit the following set (more than one NPC can be in each category):
Plot Giver
Villain
Facilitator
Complicator

The plot giver and villain are fairly straight forward, but the villain may not be someone you have to kill, but maybe someone you have to out wit, or convince the to do/think something, etc. The plot giver is the NPC the introduces the characters to the quest.

The facilitator is someone (NPC) that can help the player's overcome certain obstacles in the quest. Also they can be the means that the players can resolve plot twists and such.

The complicator is the NPC or monsters (or even event) that are obstacles in the quest. They can also be the creators of plot twists. They do not always have to be enemies, they can also be allies, or even the facilitator (or any of the above categories).

Step 2:
Once you have your list of NPCs then you need to give them some reason to be involved in the plot, usually by their relationships between other NPCs.

Step 3:
Lay out the roles in a line starting with the plot giver and ending with the villain. The other roles can be laid out in any order you like. This order is the order that you want event to happen in. An example might be: Plot Giver -> Complicator -> Facilitator -> Villain.

This method allows fast plot generation while still allowing good flexability. There is more detail (and steps) that I use, but they would take more space than is good in this forum.

I might one day write up the method properly...

sfictre
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Quote:
Making a new system from scratch is realy hard. It also will take A LOT of time and many people to test it...

If you want a boardgame, then I think the replayability of some features are nil (puzzles? only maze-type puzzles seem like they may be replayable (read the topic about mazes and tiles!), but most puzzles are quite easy once you know the answer...)

Just a couple of questions for you:
=> What RPG-systems have you played?
=> What RPG-systems have you been a gamemaster for?
=> What did you realy like/dislike in these systems?
=> How much flexibility do you want and in what areas? (how many stats, skills, attacks,... and how much range do you want for these?)
=> Do you want to use a board, cards, character-sheet, dice, miniatures,...?

Ok to start with

By system I'm assuming that you BG or TBLE TP/ ect not CRPG.
So, in reality, I have only actually played hero quest.
Plus duel masters the card GM but that's hardly RPG.
But if you add CRPG then the list is widened.

Hero quest:

I didn't like much in this game.
Hardly any varitey in spells and weapons equiptment.
Next to no HP. Monsters were *one-hit-kill*, they only had 1 HP each no matter how much def they had. One hit thru def killed. Pretty crappy. Sorry HQ fans.
I like a lot af variety that you can build up to without know exactly how far you can go. So a sys of somehow not knowing how good the weapons get, would be good. Or a randome weapon gererator. Almost made before. It's not that hard.
I never got to try the map in it though. I got a 3rd-hand $4 copy a couple of years ago and so it didn't have themap of where the traps and monsters and hidden doors are.
Woulda been good to try it though.

Diablo II

didn't like how repetive it got when you get further. Becuase the story line is a bit light on.......it gets boring.
You lvl too slowly when you get to high lvls. As in weeks to lvl when you get right up there! Weeks and weeks to lvl. That is ridicules!!!!!
In BG time, 30 min at most would be exaptable when you get to high lvls.
Even that may be too big.
No one plays all day.

I like the weapons variety that it has. And how you can put gems and stuff like that in them. I like how you can custom design your mercenarys in DIABLO II expansion.
Pets are cool as well.
I like powerful spells. But having to work hard for them. I hate it when you can get a powerful spell without working for it.
I like wiz and mage being more spelly then the dam warrior. I hate it when powerful spells are avaliable to both.

Just for the record I don't think I have ever been a game master.
Sorry. Damn my limited exp!!!!
I'm working on it but it still haunts me!!

I like warroirs to have some spells. But more powerful moves.
Wiz should only require one or two direct hits with a blade to be killed.
But you have to get through their aurors and spells first.

Boulders gate: DRK allience II

nothin really special about this game. OK story line with plenty of missions. If fact there are only missions. No free range. But I like the way you can buy epx. I think that a more practical idea would to pay for training.
Cool chars, slightly too much air controll but that's not what we're talking about.

I like the gianormous troll type creatures that are about twice your size. That's fun!

In diablo, I forgot, but I like the 2 things you get to choose when you lvl.
Stat and ability.

I don't really have time to list any more but just to ans the other Q's

A resonable amout of stats inc. Swimming, jump, Strength, knowlege, mana, health, speed ect. They are some.

I want the option to be up for grabs that you could become a "sprinter" for example. Or a a bit of a kanga.

I want heaps of options and it will be up to the player to decide.

I want guilds that you can join for special stuff for eg. Warriors guild.

Help me to broaden my horizons with more stuff I could and should add in as well.

Gogolski
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My sugestion is that you try the d20 system. I think the high-magic FR D&D should be right up your alley (although I strongly suggest you start with just the D&D core rules...)

I myself never played Forgotten Realms becouse there's waaaaaay too much magic. It's simply not grim and dark enough for my liking. But I've read several FR-resources and used/modified various stuff I found in the sourcebooks...

So, what do you need to get started?
1] The rules.
2] A group or !!DEDICATED!! players.
3] Time.

°° The rules:
The PHB (player's handbook) to get you started cost about 30 US dolars (if I'm not mistaken). You can also use the SRD (= System Reference Document), which is a stripped version of the PHB + some other stuff (leave out psionics, epic and devine for starters; it will be meaty enough without these). The SRD is not very handy to look up rules during play, so I'd advise to buy a PHB.
°° Players:
These might or might not be the hardest thing to get... If you find people that say they want to play this kind of game, make sure that they understand that this game can easily go on for a couple of years (that is if you play regularly...) Also make sure that they are willing to read through the PHB before they even start to play. Try to have a fixed day in the week (or every two weeks) to play, so they have no excuse that they couldn't plan their gaming-session.
°° Time:
The only thing you need now is time. Time to play (=> let's say 4 to 10 hours per session, depending on the group...) and time to prepare adventures (if you are going to be the gamemaster)

...You also need a table and some chairs...

Why start with plain D&D? It's probably the most played system. After trying this, it will be easy to know where to go next. (most people will be able to tell you how a system compares to plain D&D)

Well, that's just what I think you are looking for. I may be wrong, but I feel I'm not. If you want to design a system yourself or make a boardgame that is fairly like a tabletop RPG, it will certainly help you a lot if you tried several systems.

Cheese.

sfictre
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thanks.......first thing is first......

Ok,

firstly, I think that that is a great Idea. But where do you get it??
What shop will have game??

post more later

~sfictre

g2g

OutsideLime
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RPG design ideas......I want to know what you guys think

Sfictre,

Are you making a board game, or a role-playing game, or a computer game, or some combination between them?

A lot of the features you seem interested in including in your game (extensive customization, wide variety of stats that affect character abilities, long-term levelling) are the type of stuff that can usually only be smoothly applied in a computer game or as an intensive RPG featuring a GM. What is the basic project you have in mind?

~Josh

sfictre
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OK......

firstly soz about my last post.

I had to go to bed.........it was pretty late so I didn't have time to write anymore.

Then, it is a PnP (pen and paper) board game. As in yes. a dungen crawler/ with a heavy storyline side of things.
My ideas need editing but I have a basic picture now.

It is a board game. albeit a complex almost hard-core-gamer type RPG though it won't take a year to play.

And just on my last post. Were can you get forgotten realmes??
I think that not how you spell it but anyway.
D&D FR.
If someone can let me know. I live in aust so I am wondering were a Hard-core gamer shop might be. Or were can you order it in??

Thanks

~sfictre

thought is the essence of games

Infernal
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Most game and hobby shops will stock D&D. The Forgotten Realms is a supliment to D&D. You will have to by the Core D&D books (Player's Handbook, Dungeonmaster's Guide and Monster Manual) before you will be able to use the Forgotten Realms Source Books.

If you buy the 3 core books then you will have all the books that you need to play D&D with (you will also need a set of polyhedral dice - D4, D6, D8, D10, D12 and D20).

It is my suggestion that you buy the core books and play a few sessions with them untill you learn the core rules before you start with any supliments to D&D, as ther are quite a few rules to learn, and if you have not played a PnPRPG before then there will be a steep learning curve just to play the basic game.

Where abouts do you live in Australia (I live in Canberra)?

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