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Author Topic: My new Game  (Read 1779 times)
Dr. Pizza
Registree

Posts: 3


« on: March 11, 2006, 05:38:00 PM »

I am new here, and this is my first post, so I belive the best way to start it is by saying: greetings to everyone!

I have no knowedge about game design, aside what little I gained from seeing various rpg systems around. Still, I wished to design my own system. So, as I began to undertake this task, I began to think about my many options about how to handle this system. The game I want to design is generic, not tied to a setting, so this isnīt a worry (at least for now). I am posting here in the hopes that some of the more experienced users can help me in the decision making process.

First and foremost, I wanted to represent the character's abilities by attributes, skills and advantages. Of these, attributes and skills would share a common scale. My idea was to make this scaleexponential in nature, with each point representing roughly 1.15 times more than the last one. So a character with strength 5 would be two times as strong as a character with strength 0. 0 would be the default for each attribute, with negative values allowed.

The system would use a character point system, not unlike that of gurps. Each character that wanted to buy a skill would need to buy two separate things: level and utility. Level determines how good you are at the skill, and uses the same scale as attributes. Level costs are multiplied by a factor that would somehow be determined from utility. Utility is an approximated estimation of how useful the skill is, and has a cost by itself, besides increasing the cost of each level in the skill. So a character might buy the stealth skill, wich would have a certain utility. Another, however, might buy a special shadow dancing skill that not only has all the utility of stealth, but also is capable of creating illusions. Obviously, the later would have a much higher utility.

Another point I am considering for my system is that all skill checks are Made by choosing the relevant attributes for the task and multiplying them by a certain percentile. So, if a character wanted to write a new book that was very innovative, the master might determine that it would be 60% creativity and 40% reasoning. Then the same is determined to wich skills are used (more than one skill might be used in the same task). So in the previous example, it might be 80% writing and 20% editing. Then, after determining the two values (let's call them attribute rating and skill rating), the character might decide how to best use them. He might emphasis talent over skill, using, maybe, 66% attribute rating and 33% skill rating to determine his final rating. There might be various ways, with different percentages, to use skills. Depending on the one you choose, the results may vary. By emphasizing talent, for example, the character might end up with a book that lack a bit of technique, but has an awesome story (supposing the character was successful). These different use modes might even form a kind of rock scissors paper advantage over one another on contested rolls. Finnally, when the final rating is determined, the character rolls a set amount of dice and adds it to his rating. If it is greater than the difficulty of the task, the character succeeds.

There are other facets of my rpg that I want to discuss, but I will leave this to another time. If you have anything to say about these rules, please post. I really look forward discussing them with you.
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Jason Morningstar
Member

Posts: 1428


WWW
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2006, 06:06:38 PM »

Welcome to the Forge, Dr. Pizza!  Don't sweat a lack of "game design" knowledge - if you've played a bunch of games and thought about them, that's the best training available. 

You've stated that you want to design a generic system.  Can you explain what you want it to do that current systems don't?  That might be a good place to kick off a discussion. 
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Dr. Pizza
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Posts: 3


« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2006, 06:25:18 PM »

Yes, that is probably where I should have started.

My main objective would be to create a system that works well for all levels of play, from very low levels to very high levels. Ideally, it would be able to represent all kinds of creatures, from a lowly bug to a huge dinosaur, without sacrificing play at any level.

Another objective would be that the system should be very modular, being based on premises that can be adapted to any setting without the addition of much special rules.

Finally, I think that my third most objective would be to make a system that is fun to play with any kind of character. Even if your character has no combat abilities, and lacks any social grace, he should have fund during the game. There are other objectives I want, but I would need to list them before posting, and they have a lower priority.

Well, thanks Jason, and thanks to anyone who reads this. I hope to hear from you soon!
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Jason Morningstar
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Posts: 1428


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« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2006, 07:12:51 PM »

What do you mean by levels of play? 

How do you imagine players interacting with the mechanics you envision? 

Do you have a real name I can call you (grin)?
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Justin Marx
Member

Posts: 88


« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2006, 10:42:11 PM »

Minor quibble: is it neccessary to have a base stat of 0? If chance of success is equal to (stat) x (GM set multiple), what happens with a stat of 0? Sorry, I'm a little bit confused as to the mechanic you presented, but that's probably just me. Getting dice probabilities right can be tricky, so if you were genuinely wanting to keep exponential gradients of stat/skil development, maybe karma resolution (diceless) would work a little better? As in 5 will beat a 3 everytime, without dice rolling, and will do the job twice as good to boot. Apart from stuff like strength/lifting tables, exponential relationships in stat values will be defined by the final result of the die roll probabilities - so if you are keeping a fortune resolution system, then a 5 should have twice the probability of success as a 3, for instance (if that is the ratio).

It seems that this trait value relationship ties in very strongly with the breadth of your design - you want everything from insects to demigods - and this scale is good for that. However, as I said before, I'm a bit confused by the general dice mechanic that you presented with the percentile ratios - are these all made up by the GM on the fly? How much of these probabilities would be in the game rules? On a case-by-case basis? Obviously, with the generic and broad breadth of play that you desire, the simpler and easiest scaled mechanic you can come up with the better, but I like the fact that you are trying to pull out as much detail from a few task rolls (instead of being just a succeed/fail situation, you seem to want to say how the success was). I'd like to hear more.

But I think I'm butting with number-stuff when others are interested in the overall premise. As Jason said, how do you see actual gameplay progressing?

Justin
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Anders Larsen
Member

Posts: 270


« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2006, 04:59:27 AM »

Quote
Another objective would be that the system should be very modular, being based on premises that can be adapted to any setting without the addition of much special rules.

You should be careful with this one. It is not to hard to make a system that support different types of settings, but it is nearly impossible to make a system that support any type of story in any type of setting. I normally think about system as having a certain feeling or style they support. Examples of styles could be: Mysteries, horror, romance, super hero, action, adventure etc.. And you see, an action game does not really support mysteries or romance very well, and a romance game will properly not be the best for doing horror or super hero stories.

The problem is, if you try to much to do everything, you will end up doing nothing at all. So it is important to keep a focus.

From what I can see, your game is of the style adventure/exploration. But actually, I would like you to tell me. And you don't have to use just one word.


A little note on your system:

I am not exactly sure how your system works (can you give an example?), but it seems to me to be somewhat math heavy. Be careful with this, you risk that people use more time on calculates than on your game. On the other hand, the idea that the skills/attributes you combine to performing a task will be part of the result, is very cool.


 - Anders

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Dr. Pizza
Registree

Posts: 3


« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2006, 11:08:45 AM »

Thanks to all who have replied. I will try to answer all the posts, so what I had in mind will be clearer.

Quote
What do you mean by levels of play? 
I actually meant to write levels of power. I want a game system that can represent equally well characters of very little power, such as small animals, and characters like super-heroes and gigantic monsters. I have seem some systems that managed to represent both kinds of character well, but almost always, there is some change in the paradigm previously used. For example, in a system with advantages and skills, whereas a normal hero might put much more importance in skills, a super-hero would put emphasis on advantages.

Quote
How do you imagine players interacting with the mechanics you envision? 
Besides not being finished, the system I am creating is very open, so it could (theorically) be used with any kind of campaign. This, however, also means that much of each campaign's specific material would need to be created, such as which skills would be available. I, howeve, believe that this material could, in part, be put under the care of players, who could actually help the master with some of his duties. For example, if a player wanted to be part of a certain organization in a campaign, the master might allow the player to define the details of that organization and later go over it for some details.
So a player wouldn't define exactly what each skill his character has means, unless the master allowed that. After all, that should be defined by the setting.
By the way, I am not sure if this is what you meant. If your doubt isn't answered, please, just ask again.
Quote
Do you have a real name I can call you (grin)?
Sure! Call me Alex.

Quote
Minor quibble: is it neccessary to have a base stat of 0? If chance of success is equal to (stat) x (GM set multiple), what happens with a stat of 0?...
I am sorry. I wasn't very clear when explaining how skills and attributes would work. Usually,
when players roll something, they will have a base value that is, somehow, determined from their skills and attributes. This value is any could be any integer, including negative numbers. Once this value is determined, it would be added to a roll result, and compared to the difficulty of the task. Altough it might be possible to only use attributes, I first envisioned a system where attributes would rarely be used 'naked' on rolls.
An example: Zack is trying to leap over a hole. Having no skill in leaping (which would default to 0 in the campaign) and no skill in running (also defaulting to 0). The campaign also determines that strength and dexterity affect equally the jumping ability, but since Zack is more concerned with jumping distance than with precision, the master determines that 60% of the attribute rating is determined by strength and the rest by dexterity. Zack has str 6 and dx 4, so his attribute rating for this text is 5.2. His skill rating is 0. Zack obviously prefers to emphasize his attributes, so his final rating is 3.4, which is rounded down to 3. The difficulty of the jump is 4, and the master is using 3d4 - 7 rolls. So, if the player rolls 8 or more on the 3 dice, the character will manage to leap, even if not very graciously. This neednīt to be the end of it. If the master wanted to be really detailed, he might determine that since  the character had skill values smaller than the difficulty of the jump, he would need to roll again, this time using 33% attribute and 66% skill. If Zack failed this roll, a misshap, such as a sprained ankle might happen.
I know this was a very lengthy, very detailed example. However, in normal games, the player would probably have all the ratings for all the common uses of his skills already marked on the sheet. About your suggestions, I will certainly consider them. I actually liked this karma system, but I am not sure if a higher stat should always trump a smaller one.
About the exponential thing, I am dealing it more or less like this: if a character with a certain stat manages to do something half of the time, then a character with double that amount (which currently is a value 5 points higher) would be able to do something twice as difficult half of the time, but not necessarily be able to do what the previous one did all the time.

Quote
It seems that this trait value relationship ties in very strongly with the breadth of your design - you want everything from insects to demigods - and this scale is good for that. However, as I said before, I'm a bit confused by the general dice mechanic that you presented with the percentile ratios - are these all made up by the GM on the fly? How much of these probabilities would be in the game rules? On a case-by-case basis? Obviously, with the generic and broad breadth of play that you desire, the simpler and easiest scaled mechanic you can come up with the better, but I like the fact that you are trying to pull out as much detail from a few task rolls (instead of being just a succeed/fail situation, you seem to want to say how the success was). I'd like to hear more.
Altough some situations might require that the percentiles to be changed on the fly, I would expect that, in order to speed up the game, the most common uses of each skill in a campaign already have their values calculled up and the character should have it written down in his sheet. I believe that a roll should only receive special attention if it is of much importance to the game, the ones with dramatic importance.
I guess that this actually brings me to another objective I have. I want that how successful a character is in a roll also come into play whenever it is important. Also, I want that the difficulties of each task to play an important role.

Quote
But I think I'm butting with number-stuff when others are interested in the overall premise. As Jason said, how do you see actual gameplay progressing?
I would imagine that  tests shouldn't take much of gameplay. Mostly, the characters would act without needing to roll. If the character did something that would normally require a roll, but there wasn't much doubt of success or failure, and there wasn't much importance keyed to the roll, he would succeed automatically. When rolls did come into play, it would be a critic moment. Each decision the characters made would need to have repercussions, such as trying to emphasize attributes or skills, or trying to put more importance to this or that skill, making the players actually feel that each character build has pros and cons.

Quote
I am not exactly sure how your system works (can you give an example?), but it seems to me to be somewhat math heavy. Be careful with this, you risk that people use more time on calculates than on your game. On the other hand, the idea that the skills/attributes you combine to performing a task will be part of the result, is very cool.
See back in my post for an example of a skill roll.
About my system being math heavy, I know. And that is exactly one of the points that I am trying to counteract right now. In my post, I wrote some ideas I had that could speed up a bit gameplay. However, I am still not happy with the way it is now. I really want to keep the detail level there, even if it isn't always used.

I haven't finished answering to Anders, and I wished I could have given some more time to my other answers but, unfortunately, I need to log out now. I thank you for reading this, and I am sorry for being so verbose. I hope this post is clear enough to do not lead to misunderstandings.
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Calithena
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 336

aka Sean


« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2006, 01:03:23 PM »

Dr. Pizza -

I feel kind of silly asking this, but, um, are you familiar with the HERO system? It has exactly the 5 points = double ability stat scale (or at least old Champions did for Strength) that you're looking for, and it's a point buy system, scales OK (the killing attacks might be a little bit of an exception, though I haven't played the thing for 15 years), is multi-genre-adaptable (and adapted), and does have skills, though they tend to take a back seat to powers in a lot of implementations. Anyway, just thought I'd ask.
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Jason Morningstar
Member

Posts: 1428


WWW
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2006, 01:30:48 PM »

Cool Alex, that helps.

I think it is important to figure out what you are trying to do that currently available games either don't do, or do in a way that you find unsatisfying.  When I think of generic systems I think of GURPS, which gets a little shaky out toward the edges - you can play rabbits, for example, but to do it right you need to adjust the rules a bit and re-focus (not that I don't have a bushel of love for GURPS Bunnies and Burrows, because I do).  It sounds like you want to be able to play a rabbit, a regular dude, and a sentient planet all at the same time, without tweaking the rules.  Accurate or not?

Which leads to another theoretical question if true - what's your motivation for designing a generic system in the first place, and why must it handle this range with ease and equanimity?

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billvolk
Member

Posts: 39


« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2006, 07:48:36 PM »

I like systems that try to fairly handle anything that can be thrown at them.
Because of the elaborate number-crunching involved in this system, have you considered publishing it as a computer program? When a GM writes an adventure, he could list the probable tasks involved and what ratios of stats govern them, then, when players try to do things during play, the program could compare the players' character sheets to the difficulty of the task, and the GM can give a quick answer instead of spending time crunching.
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