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I'm making an rpg

D

Deleted member 7015506

Guest
@Lanliss
So when I get your last post right, your main "problem" is, that you want to tweak/alter classes, their abilities/feats and advancements?
So IMHO a good point would be (perhaps) to write down this kind of alternate character progression system you envision, try it with the rest of the 5E rules (IIRC the system you know best) and get feedback?

For a halfway evaluable kind of playtest, first write/get 3 short/one-shot adventures for different tiers (low, medium and high), generate some chars according to your system and try out each adventure with different people playing different characters. Perhaps a kind of starting point before you go all the way from scratch, since this will certainly give a lot of varying feedback to the part you have in mind atm. All else is then a total different matter.

And a personal comment at this point: Before you don´t have a halfway publishable product, don´t worry about publishing channels, marketing etc. This is your basically last hurdle to take (things like editing, art, proofreading etc. come first and can be a real pain when you are a one-man show).
 

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I'm probably over-stepping what you are asking here (and showing my own biases), but one thing I would say is to question more of your assumptions. In order to get a good understanding of the ranges of approaches RPGs have taken to various elements, you need to be familiar with a wide variety of them. Fortunately there are many free RPGs available, some popular commercial games have SRDs (or equivalent) that you can consult, and even more have free quickstarts to get the gist of what they are doing.

After spending some time getting familiar with varieties of systems, you can ask yourself what general types of mechanics feel right for yours. You might also find out none of them are right, and invent something completely new.

As an example (and relating to my bias), have you seriously considered whether or not to use classes at all, or has it just been "a given" for you that classes are how it is done? You might not want to use them at all after you familiarize yourself with the breadth of available options. Make sure your system choices are giving you what you need for your game, not just giving you what you expect a game to have. Initiative, skills, dice, numbers? There are RPGs that have dispensed with each of those elements (probably not all in the same game). If you just assume all those elements are part of an RPG, well you're definitely in the majority, but you asked for advice, so I'm giving advice to help you excel, not just hit a lowest common denominator. Question your assumptions.

And IMO, for the situation you describe, if you aren't intending on doing anything truly innovative, you may want to consider looking at a bunch of RPGs that are along the lines you are going for, picking the one that is closest to how you want it to work, and then houseruling that. There may be something easier for you to work with than 5e if you're really doing more of an extensive houserules.

That being said, it also depends on how rules heavy you want the system to be, how "perfect" you want it to be, and how skilled you are at making it happen. If it's fairly rules light, you don't care about it being perfect, and you're pretty good at it, you could whip out a complete, functional system pretty quickly. Just don't bother trying to make money on it, because you are unlikely to recuperate in money the time and effort you spend putting it up for sale.
 

Saelorn

Hero
These are great tips, thanks very much. I only ever thought about a "pay what you want" site, I don't know where I'd begin to get actual physical books published...
Print-on-demand through DriveThruRPG works pretty well, for a small game. It was like $10 for me to print a hardcover with ~200 pages, and I was able to pay for that with the credit I'd earned from selling PDF copies.
 

D

Deleted member 7015506

Guest
@Lanliss
Before I state my final word on that matter:

Except for some "obscure" circles like the OSR, there was a nowadays forgotten but to the hobby essential art called "house-ruling" (or does anybody nowadays believe, that the ranger was the brainchild of GG?). And one of the two (probably more - so please don´t quote me on that) "Great Ancient Ones of the Misused Dinner Table" once said (taken from memory): "This is your game. Change it as you see fit, nothing is chiseled in stone." Housruling did and will drive the hobby forward (at least IMHO).

If you think if it´s worth the time, effort and money go ahead and do it. Nobody except for yourself keeps you away from writing and publishing a RPG or other game. There are tons of books, web-sites and blogs out on the net, that can get you to where you want to be or at least be of great help. The only hindrance is embedded in yourself.
So you ask, what if it doesn´t result in what you envision?
Make clear to yourself what you want to have in the end, work out a plan on how to get there and follow it as best as you could. A game designer is in everyone of us, but few admit it and follow that road ahead of them. Get as much help from all kinds of directions and do it.
And if it still doesn´t work out you ask? My answer is, tht try and error are part of life and one "bad" attempt is not the end of the world.

So my advice: Simply start writing down your ideas, test them and rework the beast until you feel satisfied with it. Then start worrying about things like lay-out, editing, art, marketing etc. etc. And unless you haven´t tried, you´ll never know if your vision comes true.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
This way, I will have various generic abilities for classes, such as several melee classes having access to something like a "Vulnerable strike" ability, but some would also have specializations that lean harder into that ability. For example, a rogue type character can invest in the vulnerable strike ability, and later access some assassin based abilities to deal extra damage, or could choose to invest the rest of their time into becoming more scoutlike. Given the number of abilities I'd like to have for people to pick from, it would be more rare for many people to play the same exact type of rogue. some would have invested more heavily in sneaking, while others might have leaned on investigation to get by.
Cool, and I like the reuse of elements.

I have a concern at the "possibly sell" (not at the "your table") level - if there are elements that are force multipliers for each other, people may find that they always need to take them in order to remain competitive, so they aren't real choices but closer to an feature-tax.

For example, if for a warrior type you had a feature that granted an constant attack bonus, another that offered a constant damage bonus, and a third that offered more attacks, missing one even one could greatly reduce the effectiveness,a nd missing out of 2 (or all 3) could nerf it. So these would be considered basically feature taxes. Even if there are interesting and potentially more-powerful-individually features available.

On top of this, I intend to have (limited) multiclassing, meaning that someone would be able to have two classes to pick abilities from, giving more ways to fine tune their build, but not be able to perk into 12 different classes to cherry pick all the best abilities. This means a person could mix some brute fighter abilities into their rogue to get a street gang thug type, or mix some Shadow abilities to become more of a magical assassin type.
A suggestion - with picking features it seems there's little need for the design space currently being used for subclasses. That might be an interesting place to put a multiclassing-like option. Make subclasses that are available to all classes, with access to features from two general classes as well as options that can blend them them together. For example a "Gish" subclass might offer fighter or caster options (whichever you don't have yet because the would probably overlap with on the side you already had), as well as things like the Eldritch Knight's War Casting, and Paladin's Divine Smite, and some features from the War Caster subclass. (As possible options.)
 

Lanliss

Explorer
Here's a summary of the mechanics I will be focusing on as my foundation.

Perks

The classes will come in three varieties, with 2 subcategories in each. The main categories will be Magical, Martial, and Kinetic(working name, actual name tbd). Each class type will come in long and close range varieties. By default, characters will be limited to two classes, restricting their specialization options, but not reducing their general ability too much because of the general perk system described below.

Classes and races will have unique Perks, with tiers of abilities within them. For example, a fire magic user could invest points in the Fireball perk. First level would give, for example sake, a 1st level Fireball ability, doing XdY damage in a 10 foot radius. Further levels would increase range or damage of the spell. A character could invest in as many separate Perks as they like, but will best increase their power by putting more points in perks they have. This will be the difference between "jack of all trades" builds versus mastery builds.

outside of these class specific perks will be numerous General perks that characters can invest in depending on the classes they have chosen. So, a perk for a disarming attack may say it requires a Close range character, meaning any melee fighter of any class type can take this perk for a few points. Likewise, any magical class would be able to invest the ability to make basic magical items, such as a simple enchanted stone that will deal fire damage on a hit. The split between classes means that characters with specific specializations will still be able to feel special and unique, but not locked into their choices in a way that they can't branch out to create more specific archetypes.

Further, in these General perks would be ones with tags such as "Magical, Long range" to create enchanted ammunition. This means a wizard could create fire arrows for the ranger, or a Long range Martial Assassin could make their own enchanted ammo, as an extension of their focus on long range damage.

Training

I intend for different perks to provide different levels of training in skills. Imagine it something like a proficiency bonus, except you can get Trained, Professional, and Expert in a skill. Obviously, an expert tracker will have better bonuses than someone simply trained in it. This will mean that people can invest in skills over the course of their character, mimicking real progression as they choose to train themselves in particular skills.

Stats

Only an early idea, but i'd like for the majority of skill points to come from perks as well. For example ,certain perks would come with a +1 to intelligence or Dexterity, etc. By default, characters would start with only a little bit above average in their skills, though I'm still deciding what average will be, and picking perks which increase these would be the primary form of increasing stats. Those perks would also have less going for them otherwise, and usually be related to the skill they are increasing, so as to prevent picking all the best skills to increase stats, and still getting a bunch of cool powers to go with them.

Survival

I want survival to be a major part of the world. Not necessarily tracking food and water, as those will be in abundance, but navigating terrain, finding places and people. I think that "points of light" is a good description of the setting, in that the majority of the world will be dangerous wilderness, and the adventurers will be traveling from one point of civilization to another. For this, I would need to figure out how to build good survival encounters, and what rules would be essential to this style of play. It's one point I haven't started on yet.

Crafting

I'd like for characters to have the option to increase their power through making better equipment, either crafting themselves or contracting crafters from towns and such. I need to make tiers of equipment, figure out what materials the players would need to collect to achieve these weapons, and set up helpful tips on how to personalize the system for when a player wants a custom weapon. This will range from simple things like crafting a hammer for good bludgeoning damage, to complex things like a quiver that will automatically poison your arrows for a while and needs to be refueled with venom from animals.

These are the majority of my primary goals of design, and should give a bit of an idea of the kind of project I'm working on.
 

Lanliss

Explorer
Cool, and I like the reuse of elements.

I have a concern at the "possibly sell" (not at the "your table") level - if there are elements that are force multipliers for each other, people may find that they always need to take them in order to remain competitive, so they aren't real choices but closer to an feature-tax.

For example, if for a warrior type you had a feature that granted an constant attack bonus, another that offered a constant damage bonus, and a third that offered more attacks, missing one even one could greatly reduce the effectiveness,a nd missing out of 2 (or all 3) could nerf it. So these would be considered basically feature taxes. Even if there are interesting and potentially more-powerful-individually features available.



A suggestion - with picking features it seems there's little need for the design space currently being used for subclasses. That might be an interesting place to put a multiclassing-like option. Make subclasses that are available to all classes, with access to features from two general classes as well as options that can blend them them together. For example a "Gish" subclass might offer fighter or caster options (whichever you don't have yet because the would probably overlap with on the side you already had), as well as things like the Eldritch Knight's War Casting, and Paladin's Divine Smite, and some features from the War Caster subclass. (As possible options.)
I put a post explaining the current direction I'm working in, just above this one, that kind of fills in what I'm working with. The basic idea is that there will be stages of perks, from general being accessible by different classes, to class perks being for specific classes, but still having some bleed with similar classes (such as the magical Rogue class and the martial rogue class both getting sneak/vulnerable attack abilities), and lastly Specializations, which will act as a kind of focused subclass to finalize a specific archetype. While a class will probably have something like 15-20 perks, it will only have maybe 3-5 specializations. Specializations will have a few levels of investment, and a few prerequisite skills depending on the specialization.

That said, I could see doing the same thing but having multiclass specialization options in the general section, such as one that requires specifically "Martial Melee, Magical melee, sneak attack perk", for a more advanced magical/martial combination rogue. This is food for thought
 

Have you taken a look at Pathfinder 2? It's not for me, but with what you described, I think you might really like it. Some of what you described sounds a lot like what they're doing.
 

Lanliss

Explorer
Have you taken a look at Pathfinder 2? It's not for me, but with what you described, I think you might really like it. Some of what you described sounds a lot like what they're doing.
I haven't had a chance to look into it yet, but it is at the top of my list for other RPGs to look into for research. Which things specifically make you think of it?
 

I haven't had a chance to look into it yet, but it is at the top of my list for other RPGs to look into for research. Which things specifically make you think of it?
From what I've read, Pathfinder 2 is basically built on feats. Class feats, race feats, skill feats, etc. When you level up you usually get a certain category feat or feats that you can spend in that category. There are different levels of training similar to what you've mentioned. The general philosophy seems very similar. If I had read what you wrote first, I might have thought you were involved in the design of Pathfinder 2.

The similarity reminds of how similar my ideas of how to make a new edition of D&D were to some of what they actually ended up doing with 5e, before they had even started working on 5e. If I didn't know better I might have thought they had stolen my ideas (but since they were only ever written in a notebook, I consider that rather unlikely). Wow, that's a horrible paragraph. It's late.
 


Any testing you do while being the GM is invalid; you need to put it into others hands to really find out what people think you wrote.

Best is to have a cold read GM run it while you watch, silently.
Getting other people to run your game is an absolute MUST. Anything that the DM or players have questions about during those games is an area that needs improvement and clarification in your rules text.

Also, you should be able to hand your game over to absolute beginners, and have them make characters without outside help.
 

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