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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone else out there trying to get an RPG put together? (a pen & paper one) Come forth and share your experiences.

Writing an RPG, I've found, is akin to trying to create logical rules to all of existence. It's like trying to design the universe in terms of rules and dice, or perhaps similar to writing a law book with a heavy slant based on your own experiences. I know I'm not the only one trying to piece one together.
 

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I was first introduced to tabletop role-playing through Dungeons & Dragons. I've run and played many games since then with a large variety in themes. Most are typical sword and sorcery fantasy stories. But I've also done a supernatural setting in the 1940's, and a superhero game.

I think it's a lot of fun creating a world, and a cast of characters for your players to interact with. You can't really prepare for any situation that your players can put you in. A certain ability to improv is necessary. But at the same time, it's good to build as much detail into the world in advance as you can.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Agreed. I've taken the much harder road of writing the base system, too, though. It's not necessarily about writing the story, it's writing the total rules system, everything from how a character swings a sword to how a game master manages the gameplay. It's quite arduous.

I could have simply used the d20 (D&D) rules, but I wanted to create something different than that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Chad Winters (#102) said:
Rocket Propelled Grenade?
oh....wrong thread :)

I can imagine its harder than it looks to make it interesting and balanced
Oh, it definitely is. Let's say:

Character A shoots a gun. Well, there is need for a rule system that allows for accuracy. Then, there's a rule to provide for damage. Does Character A need a certain amount of strength to actually hold and shoot the gun? Does he need a skill to shoot it? What environmental factors might change the way he shoots? Is he tired, and does the fact that he's tired change anything about shooting the gun? Does the gun have any enhancements that give the character bonuses? Is the gun in bad condition which might cause it to shoot less accurately? Is the target moving? How big is the target, and how far apart are they?

It can be mind boggling at times, and the above doesn't even skirt the surface.
 

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Not working on an RPG myself, but it seems like a very specific subset of world-building, which anyone writing fantasy or science fiction has to do with every work.
 

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I created a bunch when I was younger, some of which were rules-systems for worlds, others rules-systems without worlds.  Mostly dice-based, one was card-based (never got it finished, but it was fun), and one was more of a storytelling system with 'agreed rules' (it used a coin-toss to settle disagreements).  And I created wargames, boardgames, computer games, anything with rules.

Then last year I discovered 7th Sea which is pretty much my perfect system, I kind of regret I never got to play in it.  Beautifully elegant balance between storytelling and system, with lots of room for 'flourishes' and everything about it encourages strong roleplaying (rather than rollplaying).  Puts all my efforts to shame :)
 

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I designed one when I was younger. It was a survival horror and I hadn't heard of the D20 system so I based everything on rolling 3d6. Stats were strength, stamina, accuracy, and luck. We only played it once and it was not easy.

It was fun to make all the monsters though. My player made a roll to see which survivors he found and he got the psychic dog.
 

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I think the hardest part of developing an rpg system right now is choice number 1: do I use the D20 system or create a system that does not resemble it in any way?

I have heard of games getting sued for using systems similar enough to d20 because the system is technically copyrighted. You can use it under free use, but only if you do not modify it too much. The big issue with this is that people tend to find the d20 system the most balanced. Balanced games get played. Unbalanced games drive people nuts.

Speaking of d20 systems, anybody lay Gamma World? You create your character by rolling to d20 then looking at a chart. My wife played as a flock of finches and my cousin was a cactus that controlled gravity. True story.
 

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Yes. But if I mention it here that would be self promotion and probably frowned upon.

In any case, in many ways it's still a work in progress (hence cheap and I'm not promoting it). I basically wanted to throw some ideas out there and get away from "ruleplay" and massive tombs that add little to the experience. The other thing that ticks me off about RPG's is massive amounts of time developing a Character before you begin the game and have any idea what kind of character would be cool in that game setting/time-and-place/overall situation or whatever. So, I developed a structure where characters are created during play, as events unfold, as the player gets a feel for the situations and style of the referee/GM/whatever.

You can probably see my "inner nerd" emerging as I type. :)

My rule-of-thumb is "any rule you have to look up should be ignored." For some RPG's that's basically the whole book of rules out the window. Principles can be remembered easily and applied in an add hock, off the cuff way. "If in doubt, make it up; you know how things work here." So, principles, not rules; roleplay, not ruleplay.
 

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Will always be a fan of the original D&D. Good old TSR Games in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. I remember driving through there once upon a time thinking: hey, this is where D&D came from! Of course then it was sold off to WOTC but in the 80s TSR was doing some exciting things. I'm also a fan of the lesser-known and appreciated RPGs like Boot Hill, Top Secret and Gamma World. Played one called Bushido one time that was fun.
 

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I spent the 90's evolving my own set of RPG rules. These days, I just use GURPS 4e or Hero 5e.

I will admit to being tempted to publish a campaign setting or two as ebooks/POD, but I haven't pursued it yet.

-David
 

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I used to write for GURPS 15 or 20 years ago. Recently I had a chance to look through the old Dinky Dungeons RPG and was inspired to resurrect the simple system I designed some years back. Don't know what I'll do with it, but the tinkering was fun.
 

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I played D&D forever it seems.. and then, I was *nice* enough to introduce it to my children... captive game night every Friday night for 3 years.

Did you know there is a "rule set" for sexual encounters and the possible consequences? I found it using google about 5 or 6 years ago after being told about it.
 

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Wow, when I saw this thread title I thought you were talking about a video game. As it is I'm pretty in awe of anybody who can put together even a "pen and paper" RPG.
 

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Cool stuff. Funnily enough, I recently got commissioned for a cover of an RPG eBook. I don't know much about tabletop games, but I'm thrilled for this job.
 

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Dara England said:
Wow, when I saw this thread title I thought you were talking about a video game. As it is I'm pretty in awe of anybody who can put together even a "pen and paper" RPG.
I thought you meant the RPG Maker program, too! I made a few games with it. But yes, nothing beats good old-fashioned PnP RPGs. I'm a D&D freak. I prefer the 3.5 system above the rest. Playing D&D is a perfect way to draw upon inspirations and new story ideas. I love it!
 
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JRLeckman said:
I have heard of games getting sued for using systems similar enough to d20 because the system is technically copyrighted. You can use it under free use, but only if you do not modify it too much. The big issue with this is that people tend to find the d20 system the most balanced. Balanced games get played. Unbalanced games drive people nuts.
RULES cannot be protected by copyright. Only the presentation of the rules. WoTC went around suing people who used the d20 system for years because they could. They had deeper pockets ans scarier lawyers. (+30 intimidate check). But eventually some publishers called their bluff and you CAN use the d20 system without problem. You just can't use WoTC IP or trade dress. So you can say your game is "Compatible with the world's most popular system" but you can't slap the d20 logo on it.

I've been publishing 3.5 compatible stuff for almost a decade now. WoTC isn't as scary as they use to be. ;)
 

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BrianKittrell said:
Agreed. I've taken the much harder road of writing the base system, too, though. It's not necessarily about writing the story, it's writing the total rules system, everything from how a character swings a sword to how a game master manages the gameplay. It's quite arduous.

I could have simply used the d20 (D&D) rules, but I wanted to create something different than that.
There are so many systems out there. I've never felt the need to create something new. My favorite systems are Savage Worlds and BESM. They can work with pretty much any campaign, and almost any character concept.
 
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