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Messages - AgentBJ09

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Some of the best play-testing is taking the module/game to a con and running it there. Tickets for games sell out ASAP, and your table will always be full. You have no idea who will show up, but usually, several people know each other. You can gather feedback both by watching how separate groups deal with the challenges presented, and at the end of the session, solicit direct feedback.

I would love to do that.

(The closest event to me is OwlCon, though with Corona-Chan still being a thing and this occurring on a college campus, next year's event might get the axe.)

This could be considered an extension of a thread I created several months back -- -- since the last posts mentioned play-testing and I would prefer not to necro that thread, useful as it was. (I have made a lot of progress since the last post, however unless asked, I'll leave my current project out of this thread.)

In general though, when is a good first time to seek out playtesters?

My personal estimation, based on whom I've spoken to before, is when all of these are true:

#1: When Character Creation can be completed.
#2: When at least one combat scenario is ready.
#3: When at least one series of challenges is ready.

Does anyone have alternative suggestions?

Also, to borrow a quote from Stan Lee, "Every comic is someone's first". In relation to that, is it a good idea to play-test games like these with people who have never played an RPG before?

Design, Development, and Gameplay / New RPGs - Order of Design
« on: March 18, 2020, 10:48:05 PM »
Quote from: Chris24601;1124447
For me the order of design is this...

1) Concept (you've said you've got this worked out).

2) Design a core task resolution system: when a character tries to do something, how do you determine success or failure. dice total vs. difficulty? Opposed rolls? Percentage checks? Success counting dice pool? card draws? trait bidding system?

It doesn't have to be the same for everything, but having the right system can either work with (ex. using playing cards for a Wild West game can be quite thematic) or against (ex. rolling on a table for a LARP-based game) your concept.

Also important at this stage is figuring out odds of success using your system for an average unskilled person, a skilled expert and the best-of-the best as these will help you gauge the values you need for attributes, skills, difficulties, etc.

3) What does a character in your setting need to make checks for?

Make a list of what you think most characters will need to make checks for and, if there's a bunch, rank them in terms of how common those checks are (numeric, stars, whatever works).

Then take your list and start grouping tasks together into similar categories with an eye towards creating three to eight "piles." These are going to the attributes your system needs with individual tasks becoming either skills (for a highly detailed system), parts of a skill (for a less detailed system) or a general task (for a system that doesn't want the detail of skills at all or where you think skill should never apply).

Pay attention to particularly small piles and/or those with many low-ranked tasks and for piles that contain lots of high-ranked tasks. Those could end up as universal "dump stats" or "super stats" respectively. Try moving some tasks around until the piles are fairly even if you want your attributes to be about equally useful.

4) Make your attribute and skill lists and figure out any other traits you're going to need (ex. hit points and damage to measure the success of combat task checks) and how to determine those (ex. From one or more attributes or skills, randomly rolled, set value).

5) Figure out how a character is built. If you've got superstats or dump stats you should look at either random generation (ex. old school D&D) or different costs using build points (ex. HERO System). If reasonably balanced with each other, then a more general point-buy or attribute array system might be where you look (or go completely random since you'll still theoretically get something playable on average).

A Lifepath system can be used in relation to any of those.

Your concept will help a lot here. If campaigns are intended to be short or characters fairly disposable, then random generation can speed up creation by removing a lot of choices from the player. Games where players will expect to be using the same character for a long haul then giving them more control via point buys or arrays will make them more invested in the resulting character.

6) Now start filling in all the supporting details: opponents, allies, terrain, equipment, special abilities, etc. For these sub-systems you just need to run through steps 1-5 within a more focused area (spellcasting for example) to figure out what's needed and then figure out how that attaches to the main system.

At least this is the approach I've followed.

Sounds like a good route to follow; I would be at Step 6 with what I have, so I need to go forward with the newer stuff and refine the existing as needed.

Design, Development, and Gameplay / New RPGs - Order of Design
« on: March 12, 2020, 02:12:51 AM »
Quote from: AgentBJ09;1123650
I'm curious to know, when designing new RPGs, once the basic idea is decided upon, what is a useful design priority to follow.

Here's what I have been trying as an example:
1. Attributes and Skills, or equivilent
2. Derived Attributes and How To Calculate Them
3. Some, not all, Special Systems
4. How to build a character
5. ...

At the moment, I'm stuck trying to figure out if I'm missing something by step 4, or if I need to fully plan step 5 and onwards. (Hopefully what gets posted here can help other designers as well as me.)

Figured I'd give a bit more detailed post to explain my thought process, and what I'm getting at with this thread.

Since all characters in RPGs have a skeleton to them by way of Stats, I would start my design process (Step #1) with the core aspects of a character. D&D 3.5, the edition I started with, began with deciding on a class, rolling 3/4D6 to decide Attributes, and then deciding on Skills based on which Class was chosen. Since my game has no classes, only creature lines similar to Old/New World of Darkness, I'd start by coming up with the Attributes and Skills.

In this case, 7 Attributes and 24 to 28 Skills.

For Step #2, I would decide on what Derived Attributes all characters would have and how to calculate them. In my case, the Derived Attributes are things like Attribute Dice (When rolling 3D6, certain sets of three numbers, like 11, 12, and 13, mean you get a set number of dice to roll when that Stat is tested), Base Skill Points (If your character during creation is aged 18/19, you get only 12 Skill Points, then certain age thresholds from there give more), and Health (Similar to Skill Points, age determines the starting pool). There are other aspects to this that came into play later.

For Step #3, because I now have the basics for a human template, I can begin adding Special Systems directly related to the creatures a player can choose from. These get some basic mechanics as well. Example: Control Shape for Werewolves (New and Young Werewolves begin with a pool of 5 dice, which decreases with age and moon cycles. All dice must roll a certain threshold (5) or higher to cause a shift. Getting slapped or feeling like your life is in peril drops this to 4. If something is making you upset or angry, raise this target to 6.)

Once the basic Special Systems are decided on, I went to Step #4. This is when I started making slight alterations to what was done in Step #2, things like adding extra Skill Points based on the number of Attribute Dice for certain Attributes, and making some refinements to creature specific abilities/stats (more Health and slight instant regeneration for Werewolves after and while changing shape).

This is where I'm at, and why I asked is it better to get the initial four steps as good as I can before moving on, or should I move on and just keep in mind "Edit It Later".

Design, Development, and Gameplay / New RPGs - Order of Design
« on: March 11, 2020, 11:57:00 PM »
Quote from: Slipshot762;1123909
might i recommend the D6 system by west end games, the pdfs for star wars and the later produced fantasy/adventure/scifi are available for free and they are released under the ogl of 3e D&D fame. I'd considered making a fantasy setting for D6 fantasy myself but the more i look at it the more my ambition gets scaled back to just making a companion or supplement for such, since all thats really missing for it IS a setting or a more nailed down companion book that presents things more hardline than the free form toolkit format D6 is presented as. They tried to make it a sort of unisystem fantasy/scifi/adventure ruleset toolkit, and it reads as such, making it hard for many to see its true potential and leaving them full of questions, questions whose answers are "it depends on the game/setting/genre/tone/them you wish to run, it can do anything yo".

I bought those three PDFs on DriveThruRPG a few years ago. They would be a useful reference for system design, and as you pointed out, they're mostly missing a setting/companion book...

I'll look into using those as a basis for what I'm working on, though I'd still like to design something of my own with a D6 basis.

And I know others have done so for other games/settings. Cases in point: Talislanta and GURPS - Werewolf the Apocalypse. The former has three editions, each with the same basic information, but each using different rule sets like 5th Edition OGL or the aforementioned D6 Fantasy. The GURPS version of Werewolf is just that, so if you like GURPS more, have at it.

Quote from: Shrieking Banshee;1123744
As a Jew, I gotta say too many jews throw around antisemitism as a quick way to shut people down. I find it disgusting. Its like using your mother as a human shield.

Agreed, but even though we may find it abhorrent, the fact that, like those other words, it's so useful at killing conversations is all that tends to matter these days.

Quote from: Anon Adderlan;1123649
Even r/KotakuInAction blacklists OAG, and with good reason.

Sorry but the enemy of my enemy is not my friend, and overlooking genuine racism/antisemitism just because someone aligns with you in other areas is a huge part of the problem.

Not my concern frankly. If what gets posted there is too reactionary by your view, then start a similar blog and try to do their job without what you find objectionable. Keep in mind though, even if you try to play neutral, as KIA as found by being on Reddit, you'll always have a target on your back.

Quote from: Spinachcat;1123651
You're right that "enemy of my enemy =/= friend"

But in 2020, words like "racism" and "antisemitism" are nonsense noise. It's just "I don't want that person to speak".

I don't know OAG, but he can't be any more despicable than the clowns the MSM celebrates.

They aren't. The only reason they get that reputation is because, unlike other blogs, they don't censor because someone got their feelings hurt, and Billy tends to fight back instead of stay quiet, which I prefer to see.

Matter of fact, as some have pointed out, OAG is close to the only independent blog that keeps consistent track of the infiltration of SJWs into the anime and gaming spheres, among others.

Quote from: Simon Fiasco;1121483
Greetings and Salutations, Rollers of Dice and Tellers of Tales!

I'm working on a map for a homebrew world, Scryr. Now, understand, I know precious little about geography, and even less about mapmaking, so I'm in need of folks who might take a look at this map and tell me what I've done wrong before I put any more time into finishing it up. The map below has no rivers, cities, or other features, yet, nor have I named any places other than the two continents, Erakadu and Malnivar. I was hoping people would be willing to tell me if the features I've included - mountains, especially - make sense where they are. While I'm not shooting for 100% realism - this is a high-magic fantasy world, after all - some semblance of reality would make me feel better about it. I've left in the equator and the tropics lines, if that helps.

So... let me know where I've gone astray! I'm more than happy to make changes.


Given those equator lines and the size of the map, this world is probably the equivilent of a Small map in Civ IV, so the ice and tundra parts look about right. That desert looking spot on the middle landmass is also in line with what would cause a dry area near a mountain range.

I noticed a volcanic lake on the southern landmass. Could be something you could turn into a story point if it doesn't form a river at some point.

Overall, pretty nice map. Looks like a quality world foundation.

Design, Development, and Gameplay / New RPGs - Order of Design
« on: March 08, 2020, 04:39:22 AM »
Quote from: Spinachcat;1123659
Are you building a new system from scratch?
Or using an existing system?
Or modifying an existing system?

And if you're building from scratch, what systems are you imitating or rejecting? Few things are new under the sun.

Yep. The oWoD STS was initially in my sights given the basic idea, which is three creature lines that can be mixed and matched, but after some thinking I went with a mostly from scratch system that uses a D6 pool style.

It is currently using a similar Attributes system to Fallout and Wasteland 2's SPECIAL/CLASSIC system, which is rolled instead of point bought, and starting skill points/some derived attributes like base Health are determined by how young or old the character is, as well as skill investment maximums. Traits were a favorite part of classic/New Vegas Fallout, so a variant of that came along as well.

I know the STS, like a few others, are Theatre of the Mind kind of games, so deciding between that and GURPS' hex system for movement is a bit of a conflict, but the turn system would function like most: 3 seconds per turn by Initiative order.

That's most of what I've got so far.

Design, Development, and Gameplay / New RPGs - Order of Design
« on: March 07, 2020, 08:40:31 PM »
I'm curious to know, when designing new RPGs, once the basic idea is decided upon, what is a useful design priority to follow.

Here's what I have been trying as an example:
1. Attributes and Skills, or equivilent
2. Derived Attributes and How To Calculate Them
3. Some, not all, Special Systems
4. How to build a character
5. ...

At the moment, I'm stuck trying to figure out if I'm missing something by step 4, or if I need to fully plan step 5 and onwards. (Hopefully what gets posted here can help other designers as well as me.)

Quote from: Spinachcat;1123612
In regards to DnDTwitter, can someone link or post tweets that give us a feel for why its a total dumpster fire?

Outside of meme compilations, everything I've seen on Twitter has been a laughable dumpster fire so I'm unsure what makes the DnDTwitter world even worse.

I can think of one. Ever heard of Zweihander? The guy in charge of the Twitter handle for it is a good indication of how much of a dumpster fire it is. The ones supporting his behavior in the comments below this tweet are much worse.

Also, when OneAngryGamer covered what that company was doing, a bunch of TTRPG hashtag squatters and ZH 'players' came and said more companies should act like this, I.E. outright tell potential customers to get lost and that they don't want their money. (Look for the ones with more Likes on their comments.)

EDIT: I look forward to the moment when these folks attempt to shame Billy and the other commentators on the site itself. They'll run away crying relatively quickly.

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