designing A game system part 1

Greetings  and salutations my dear readers.

this will be the first in a series on designing an RPG system. Note I am not a pro, but i did play one in a game once lol. seriously though in a prior post I talked about how all dice based systems boil down to roll randomizer add or subtract modifier and try to beat a number. taking that basics and the knowledge of some basic statistics lets see if we can design a complete albeit rules light system.

the first question is what kind of genre do we want to go with. do we want fantasy, sci-fi, horror, maybe even universal? i think for this we will go fantasy as that is basic and there a ton of fantasy rpg’s to draw inspiration from.

the second question is what dice to use and how many. different dice obviously give you different levels of variance.  roll 3D6 and you get number 3-18 with the average being 9.5. use 1D20 and you have a 1-20 range and no average. i think I am going to borrow on from apocalypse engine and big eyes small mouth and use 2D6. this will give us a 2-12 range and an average roll of about 7.


as you can see from the above chart I ripped from google images *if you created this graph let me know so I can credit you* the distribution of 2D6 is not a bell curve but rather a triangular curve and seven is the most common number at 16%.

the next question to ask ourselves is how high of a modifier to we want to go and do we want to be additive or subtractive with regards to dice. in other words do we want high or low to be good. I think most people like adding so we will go with high therefore + is good – is bad in regards to modifiers. now how high of a constant do we want to use? anything beyond +12 will give the modifier more power then the dice that is of course the issue the DBZ rpg had. so I think we will limit the modifiers to +7 this will when using the max mod give a range from 9-19.

the next question will be how do core stats and skills interact if at all. i think for this game we will go with stats that range from -2 to +2 not unlike travaller i believe. as for skills they will go from -1 to +5. this will allow a maxed pc with a +2 stat and +5 skill to achieve the +7 limit.

for core stats lets go with hmm Strength, agility, intelligence, willpower and presence. or maybe lets make this system super lean and only go with physical and mental stats. yeah lets do that. if we decide later to add more then we can go with the above five.

for skills lets go simple and do combat, knowledge, survival, perception, healing, athletics, stealth and thievery.  that sounds like a good starting set.

to determine stats as the numbers go from -2 to +2 and there are only two lets start them at -1 and give 2 points to spend on them. we will also allow for a stat to go to -2 for an extra point. that way you could start with one stat at -2 and the other at +2 or have one at +1 and one at 0. note if we decide to use five stats we will not times the starting points by five rather times three as we are only actually adding three stats not five.

for skills they will start at -1 also and start with ten skill points  and make sure that at the start you can only have at most +2 in a stat. each stat will be either a physical skill or a mental. Combat, athletics, stealth and thievery will be Physical and knowledge, survival, perception and healing  are mental.

so an example pc at this point will have a physical of +1 and a mental of 0, as for skills they are combat oriented so combat +2 (3p) athletics +2 (3p) survival +1 (2p) and perception +1 (2p). when combined this will give them a combat of +3, athletics +3, survival +1 and perception of +1 .

well that is it for this section please comment and tell me what you think. note this is going to be a rough simple system for demonstration purposes and will have many ear marks from other systems. also this system reminds me of another one a lot I want to say travller, but i just cannot put my finger one it.

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