WARNING: This is a long post which goes into detail about my new roleplay system. Not to be read while driving or operating heavy machinery. lol
I was pleased to see the title of this thread as I am in the (Slow) process of designing a pen-and-paper roleplaying game set in a generic fantasy setting.
It's designed for younger children, with very basic rules to start with, but expands as the child gets older/wiser/more used to playing.
Basically, the younger child (Say 6 years old) has a very simple character with only two stats (Skill and Health), a simple selection of skills, and all skill combat rolls are resolved by rolling one die. Magic is based on a simple scroll system. If you've got a scroll you can cast the spell written on it once - then it crumbles to dust.
When the child is ready for more complexity, the number of stats rise to six (Skill, Health, Mind, Body, Charm and Power). He/she starts to roll two dice, which indicate success or failure and outcome (Degree of success or failure - or damage in combat). There is an increased number of skills. Scrolls can still be used, but magic is introduced as a skill, and the player can learn Spells.
The third and final level of complexity introduces a third dice, which represents experience in Skill Rolls, and Hit Location in Combat Rolls.
The interesting thing about these multi-dice rolls is that the player chooses which die represents what.
For example - in combat, a player may roll 2,4 and 6. The player can choose which dice is the Combat Skill roll, which is the Damage roll and which is the Hit Location roll.
As an example, let's take a simple character, a fighter with a sword:
Sword Skill 1
Sword Damage from 1 to 3 (1=1 Dam, 2=1 Damage, 3=2 Damage, 4=2 Damage, 5=3 Damage, 6=3 Damage)
Three options for this player who has rolled the above dice (2,4,and 6))would be:
Combat Skill roll 2 - add Sword skill 1 = 3
Damage Roll 4 = 2 Damage
Hit Location roll 6 = Strike to the Head
The player might miss (Or be parried by the opponent's higher skill roll, but if the attack succeeds, it results in a good blow to the head.
Combat Skill roll 6 - add Sword skill 1 = 7
Damage Roll 2 = 1 Damage
Hit Location roll 4 = Strike to the Left Arm
The player has a better change of hitting the opponent, but has not put a lot of force into the blow, and hasn't targeted a critical area (Ie head or torso). He/she will probably hit the monster and might make it drop it's weapon.
Combat Skill roll 4 - add Sword skill 1 = 5
Damage Roll 6 = 3 Damage
Hit Location roll 2 = Strike to the Left Leg
The player has a medium change of hitting the opponent, but has put a lot of force into the blow without targeting a critical area He/she will probably hit the monster and might cripple it.
The point about this system is that the player decides how to fight. It's not just a matter of rolling dice and seeing what's happened. The player can play aggressively by using high dice for damage, defensively by using high dice for skill, or strategically by using high dice to target head and chest. (Or even lower dice to disarm or cripple enemies without killing them.)
(When using two dice, the player chooses between skill and damage.)
Non-combat skill rolls which use multiple dice:
A three dice Skill roll is divided between Skill, Outcome, Experience.
For example, a player with a Mind Skill rating of 2 and Pick Lock bonus of 1 has a Pick Lock skill of 3. He or she is trying to pick a lock and rolls 2,4,6. (Let's say that the difficulty rating for this particular lock is 7 - which the player doesn't know.)
Skill roll 2 - add Pick Lock skill 3= 5
Outcome Roll 4 - add Pick Lock Skill 3= Outcome 7
Experience roll 6
The player has failed to pick the lock, but with an Outcome of 7 has not failed too badly, by which I mean he/she hasn't broken the lock-pick or made a lot of noise, but might have scratched the lock. (A really bad failure might damage the lock so it can't be picked again, or snap the lock pick with enough noise to alert the bad guys.)
With an Experience roll of 6 - which is higher than the players Pick Lock Skill of 3 - the player has learnt from the experience and collects an Experience point for that skill. A player can learn from mistakes as well as successes. (When he/she has collected enough Experience points, Pick Lock skill goes up to 3.)
Skill roll 4 - add Pick Lock skill 3 = 7
Outcome Roll 6 - add Pick Lock Skill 3 = Outcome 9
Experience roll 2
The player has successfully picked the lock (7 is equal to 7), and with an Outcome of has 9 succeeded very well, and the lock turns silently without a scratch.
With an Experience roll of 2 - which is lower than the players Pick Lock Skill of 3 - the player has not learnt from the experience - in fact, it was probably a fluke.
This system means a player can choose how much effort to put into picking a lock, how careful they are, and whether they want to take time to learn from the experience. All in one roll.
A players choice of dice in a Jump skill roll might mean the difference between landing safely, or twisting an ankle, or falling over. In a Bribe Skill roll, a poor outcome might mean upsetting the target of the bribe or making them ask for more money. A good outcome might mean a lower bribe is needed or extra help is given.
It is up to the GM to chose the actual outcomes and will require imagination and quick thinking.
(The Games Master keeps track of Combat experience, so it is possible to advance in weapon skills. Also, note that the higher your skill, the more difficult it is to learn.)
In both the combat and skill rolls, the player has to decide immediately which roll is which - no sitting and working it out.
Another point I'd like to make is that players can play at whichever level of complexity they want - so a young child could be rolling one die while an older child is rolling three dice at the same game table.
Well, I've spoken too long about the basic mechanics of the game and you've probably given up or fallen asleep by now. I have written more about the presentation of the game in my Introductory post - so have a look at that if you're interested.
I would welcome any feedback about this system. In fact I would welcome any feedback at all.
You will notice that I created a new thread for your post as it was going way off topic on the other thread. Concerning your thoughts and system I think it is a good idea, and is actually similar to Rune Quest where players have more choice in effort placed in doing something. but doesn't it still fall under the realm of dice stats which is what I thought you wanted to get away from.
Here is one idea of simplicity that I used to be involved in years ago and I thought it might be something that you were heading for: RPG Novels. Basically you have simple stats and you read and then it gives you a choice at the end of the passage for somewhere else in the book. You follow through the story by making choices mostly and a few, but limited combat rounds as concentration is more on choices than random results which for me is better for kids. Have you heard of these kinds of books before?
Thanks for your reply.
I am familiar with the type of books you're talking about. In the UK, there was a series called Fighting Fantasy which was very popular about twenty years ago. They have recently started re-issuing them.
My motivation for creating this game is to play with my grand-children. I want it to be a social and educational exercise - not just a game. For example, I will produce handouts and leaflets for the players to help them understand the historical concepts behind the game. If I use a minotaur as a monster in the game, the player will later get a handout about Perseus and Greek legend. If I use a mummy, they'll get a handout about Ancient Egypt and the pyramids. If the adventure is set in a castle, they will learn how castles were built, and so on.
Having said that I do intend to produce a solo game-book as an introduction to my game, but that is not top priority.
Although I have written at length about the Combat and Skill systems, my intention is that generally the game will be moderated by the GM, using dice only when essential.
I have only just made my mind up about the details of the system, and I hope to produce a basic rule-book soon, with maps, paper miniatures, item cards, etc. Then I'll be looking for play testers. (Any volunteers?)
My major problem at the moment is producing the artwork. I can create good battlemaps and floor-plans, I can find enough copyright free artwork to illustrate the cards and books, etc. What I can't find is good artwork to use for the paper miniatures. There is a website belonging to a miniatures manufacturer with loads of great photos of their painted miniatures, and when I've got the game in a presentable state I will ask if can use their photos, and promote their company at the same time. I can also turn the photos into black-and-white outline drawings so the kids can colour-in their own character portraits and miniatures if they wish. That's possibly a way of introducing them to miniature painting.
Anyway, that's some time in the future.
Sorry if I've gone off-topic again. :-/
Well you seem to know what you are doing and where you are heading. The idea of having a historical handout is a great idea and one that I thought of doing for 'The World of Medieval' (more of a glossary of terms and a link to it when first used in the story line), but being solo does not make that progress any. For kids that will be fabulous, are you planning to sell this item later or just as a personal project that you will tell about online? If so, be careful, there are lots of lurkers out there, we have had many come here and try to steal our stuff.
As for artwork, there are sites available where artists who are actually versed in medieval fantasy will do the work for you for free so long as you give them credit. A search in google should bring results.
[off topic]You are not offtopic because this is your thread and your subject matter. It is only when you take a thread with one subject and try to turn it into a different topic does it become off topic, but you can read all about that in the FAQ. There is a thread there dealing specifically about this and it shows you how to make the offtopic tags as I am doing here.[/offtopic]
At the moment I intend to distribute the game for free. Perhaps I'll charge a small amount for additional adventure modules and accessories. I'm not sure yet. It may depend on the quality of the final product -whether I can justify asking someone to pay for it.
I was intrigued by your suggestion that artists may produce graphics for me in exchange for just a credit. I will look into that. You mentioned Google. Can you suggest any specific sites?
Can you advise me - if I wanted to post a few PDF files of rules and adventure modules for members of this forum to comment on, can I do that? And where would the best place to do it?
Also - and this is a question for everyone - have you any ideas for a catchy, original name for the game that will appeal to kids and their elders. All the best ones seem to be taken. My best idea so far is "The World of the Imagi Nation". You see the game would be set in a nation called Imagi. Get it? Yes, I know it's rubbish. :-/
Edited: mikejonesuk on 11th Jun, 2005 - 9:44am
|Can you suggest any specific sites?|
Don't you have a web site? Simply upload them to there and then ask members to review the direct link to the PDF. If you do not have that then upgrade to at least a PLUS account and then I can do it here for you.
I like the idea of a website. I had intended to create a website when I had a completed product, but you've made me realise that it would be useful as an aid in development. I'll have to get my old HTML book out.
You can easily get a free website with your Yahoo! account, through Geocities. You don't even have to brush up on your HTML, as they provide a halfway decent HTML program. However, it is only halfway decent!