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opinions on what works in a game...
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spiro



Joined: 03 Aug 2006
Posts: 66
Location: Wellington

PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 5:48 pm    Post subject: opinions on what works in a game... Reply with quote

I'd like to get some opinions on what mechanics you think work and don't work in an RPG. I'm writing my own, but have put more effort into the fluff at the moment. I have a basic system, but I'm not much of a promiscuous gamer, so haven't been exposed to a wide variety of game systems.

I'd like to hear from roleplayers and ruleplayers alike... I define a ruleplaying game as something like RoleMaster; ie; a game in which you spend most of your time playing the system, not the game. (some people like that)

There are valid arguments for things on each end of the mechanics scale, and I'd like to find a good balance. And I don't think there's a better way of doing that than learning from the collective experience..

So what do you love? What bugs you?

Do you like level systems? Attributes/skills/feats/specialties?

What do you think of magic/force powers or any similar thing enabling characters to be extraordinary?

What's your favourite system and why?

What dice system(s) do you prefer or hate? The simplicity of one die, or the variety enabled by many dice? Do you have a favourite die?

Feel free to go into as much or as little detail as you like. I'm not going to make any judgements as your opinions are your own, but I'd like to use that information to help me better design my system.

My game is sci-fi, but the rules system will probably be generic to a point, enabling me to convert a fantasy game I wrote many years ago.

Another thing I've not had any experience with in an RPG is space battles. Done them in tabletop wargames, but not in RPGs... so any insight into that would be great to hear (um, read) too..

thanks
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Highwayman



Joined: 24 Jan 2006
Posts: 787
Location: Wellington

PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally? I think level-based advancement is too coarse, so I prefer skill-advancement or things along those lines.

I like mechanics to be fairly simple in general, number and kind of dice aren't important to me. Basically I'm good with anything that doesn't get in the way of a story.

Cheers
Grant
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MikeSands



Joined: 19 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're missing a critically important thing that will allow you to get useful feedback - what is this game supposed to be? If you don't focus the discussion somewhat, you're going to get, at best, a big pile of unconnected opinions.

As a starter, these are three basic focus questions to think about:

1. What is your game about?
2. What is it in your game that makes it about that?
3. What do the players do?

The answers need to be more specific than 'scifi but generic enough for fantasy', because that doesn't tell us anything about your rules.

You may also want to think about what makes your rules a better choice than using something like GURPS Lite. The things that make it different from another reference system are clues to what you want out of the game.
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spiro



Joined: 03 Aug 2006
Posts: 66
Location: Wellington

PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks grant.

Mike, my game isn't what I'd like responses to be focused on. I'd like to know what people think works and don't work in games they've played.

I want a big pile of unconnected opinions of your experience.

cheers
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MikeSands



Joined: 19 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But different things work for different games!
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Highwayman



Joined: 24 Jan 2006
Posts: 787
Location: Wellington

PostPosted: Wed Nov 19, 2008 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, yeah, then you should point that out Smile

I agree with Mike that focussing the rules and theme of the game together is something that usually works. I'm willing to learn different systems and portability isn't a big thing to me, so using the rules to help guide the main thrust of the game is good.

Cheers
Grant
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Anarchangel



Joined: 25 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 4:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like games in which the system reflects the colour of the setting.
In trad games this is best exemplified by the original Deadlands.

I love all dice, especially d12s which don't get enough love.

I'm skeptical but convince-able of magic powers in Sci-Fi games.

From a playing the the rules perspective, feats (or similar) are pretty cool.
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MikeSands



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spiro,

It took me a while to work out the best analogy, but I think I finally did.

Your question seems to me to be the same as:

"I want to build a thing. Tell me which tools and materials you have found useful."

No answer is going to be any good until we know what you are trying to build. If you want to build a car, the answers about what was good when building a house aren't gonna illuminate anything for you.
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Masada



Joined: 26 Jan 2008
Posts: 107

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well with no discussion of the "type" of game it is, I would assume that only generic roleplay tools were useful. But I would need to know what your design goals were... for example
  • Is the game controled by a Ref/GM/DM or is the game flow shared between players?
  • Will the game have an emphasis on realistic combat?
  • Will the game have an emphasis on social roleplay/interaction?
  • Will characters advance in levels, point buy system, or other?
  • How long should character creation take (5 minutes? 4 hours?)
  • How long should a typical play session last?
  • Will there be special effects (spells, psionics, supernatural powers)?
  • Will there be a need for detailed vehicle combat rules (ships, planes, space craft, tanks, etc)?
  • Will there be a a need for detailed vehicle construction mechanics?
  • What happens when a character dies?
  • How will players be rewarded?
  • Will there be detailed mechanics for nearly all "actions"?
  • Will there be a need for large scale battles mechanics?
  • How will you handle money?


Once you have goals, then suggesting mechanics to support the goals becomes easier.
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spiro



Joined: 03 Aug 2006
Posts: 66
Location: Wellington

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MikeSands wrote:
"I want to build a thing. Tell me which tools and materials you have found useful."


I think I've misrepresented myself.

My question is:

"In your playing of other games, what mechanics have you liked and hated, and why?"
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spiro



Joined: 03 Aug 2006
Posts: 66
Location: Wellington

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

^masada,

my point is that I would like to know your answer to these questions based on games you have played. This is not about my game. Forget that I am making a game as that is irrelevant for the purposes of my question.

for example, to pick a few from your list:

do you like or dislike realistic combat? Do you like separate hit locations, or just generic hit points? Do you think that combat should just be simple like a wargame; ie; roll to hit, roll armour, roll damage?

do you like quick or long character creation? do you like the idea of rolling for careers and skills? do you like games like Traveller in which your character may die before it it finished? Do you like optional archetype templates for even more simplicity?

what sort of player reward systems do you like and dislike? XP? force/heroic/plot points?

I want to know about YOU and games YOU'VE played.
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MikeSands



Joined: 19 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, you haven't misrepresented yourself. I think you're missing my point, which is that mechanics do not exist in a vacuum. They can only be good or bad in the context of game play. Without any idea what sort of game play you are after, any 'I liked this mechanic' comments can't give you any reason to pick that sort of mechanic for your game.
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duck



Joined: 19 Jan 2006
Posts: 338
Location: Hamilton

PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MikeSands wrote:
Spiro,
No answer is going to be any good until we know what you are trying to build. If you want to build a car, the answers about what was good when building a house aren't gonna illuminate anything for you.


That doesn't always work. In fact, I'd argue that you could end up limiting your view by your previous experiences and only thinking inside the box.

You could say that knowing how to build a plane is pointless if you're going to build a computer. And you'd be working for some-nameless-PC-company.

Meanwhile, Apple looks at methods used in building planes, and builds a laptop in ways that the industry hadn't looked at.
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Luke
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Joined: 24 Jan 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiro wrote:
^masada,

my point is that I would like to know your answer to these questions based on games you have played. This is not about my game. Forget that I am making a game as that is irrelevant for the purposes of my question.

for example, to pick a few from your list:

do you like or dislike realistic combat? Do you like separate hit locations, or just generic hit points? Do you think that combat should just be simple like a wargame; ie; roll to hit, roll armour, roll damage?

do you like quick or long character creation? do you like the idea of rolling for careers and skills? do you like games like Traveller in which your character may die before it it finished? Do you like optional archetype templates for even more simplicity?

what sort of player reward systems do you like and dislike? XP? force/heroic/plot points?

I want to know about YOU and games YOU'VE played.


Not to join the choir here, but I can't think of an answer to any question you pose, spiro, that doesn't first start with the kind of game I was playing.

For example, how realistic I like combat depends on what kind of game I am in. Same goes for character creation and reward systems.

So I certainly have preferences as to what type of games I like but each one gives me different answers to those questions.
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MikeSands



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PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2008 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Duck,

I don't know how you read my answer as squishing creativity. All I'm saying is that there needs to be an objective in mind before this is likely to lead to anything useful.

In your example, Apple knew they wanted to improve the design of their laptops. This leads to interesting realms of inquiry, as you point out. If they had nothing particular in mind, this would have been a much more costly and less useful endeavour.
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