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Aurvandil

RPG Stats Concept Game Design

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I am currently working on a battle/stats/item/weapon/etc system for a possible CRPG. I am looking at doing a paper & pen RPG type system (see Knights of the Old Republic). I got to thinking and every Final Fantasy game (to my knowledge) has a unique stats, level, skills system. I was curious as to any ideas new and old that y'all may have. At the moment I was going to use a variation on the popular d20 system...

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IMO the d20 system is the most over-used and horribly designed rule system there is. If I were you I would design a unique system that steers clear of the problems of d20.

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I think its not a bad place to start out... it is fairly simplistic, but i do agree with DrEvil in that I do think you should consider expanding on it and creating a system that is your own.

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DrEvil, why do you think D20 is horribly designed? I'm not being a smart ass here I am actually curious. I've only been playing DnD for the past few months and haven’t run into anything particularly bad about the system. Aurvandil is looking for ideas after all.

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I'd be really interested in an RPG that doesn't use stats/skills/etc for a change.

Can you be truly different?

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I just personally hate how pretty much the entire system works, but on the other hand I'm not a big fan of level/class based systems in general. They haven't got a single ounce of realism or believability involved in their design. I suppose in a fantasy world it may be acceptable for some, but I hate the fact that a level 9 whatever can stand there and do nothing and a "newbie" character can swing at them all day long and never have any effect. Many systems are like this. I prefer the idea that the character will always be in danger. You may have the skills to easily take Orc X now, but should you encounter them in packs there should still be great risk, not like in D&D and Everquest where you can stand in a newbie zone all day with 20-30 creatures on you and never get a scratch. The rule system we're using for our RPG is skill based, with no classes or "experience" involved. It's just a matter of getting good at the skills you use. It's much more realistic and flexible. I do understand however that realism is not fun in many cases, so there are certain deviations from realism that can safely be made in the spirit of fun gameplay, like the "hitpoint" system, cuz nobody wants to die with 1 sword swipe, but I think the whole idea that some magical level number somehow makes you untouchable by lower level creatures. We have computers now that can do die rolling for us, so we need to take advantage of this and go beyond what D20 and similar systems offer us and attempt to add some extra levels into the simulations that one could expect to see in any believable world. Just my opinions, if D20 meets your needs by all means use it.

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Alright, before you start designing an rpg stat system, you have to ask "what do I need?" Start making a list of all of the things that will happen in your RPG and ask which ones must there be a chance at the player failing at? Next, ask whats the simplest way to do this? For example, just checking the player's level and not letting them to climb this rock wall if it's below 7 would be the easiest idea. Finally, you ask if the same type of events ever happen twice or more and thats when you finally may need a Skill and Stat associated.

If you never have a need for a associated non-combat skill, you don't need to develop an d20 like RPG stat system.

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Original post by catch
I'd be really interested in an RPG that doesn't use stats/skills/etc for a change.

Can you be truly different?


Curious, IMO the definition of an rpg is a game in which you can further an alternate self in some way. I dont see how you could do that without stats of some kind.

Good call Inmate, I think I would have thought of that eventually :/ but thats why I made this forum :)

Edit:
If you are reading this for info, there is another thread geared towards MMORPG's in this forum called "The WuXia Project - A Theoretical MMORPG Design Discussion" just FYI

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well, for my opinion on the d20:

the class/level system is outdated, at least as far as computers go. The computer can take all kinds of wierd calculations. Go ahead and make skills advance through use. That introduces a whole host of problems, but I find the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

Stat-wise, there will always be a need for attributes (at least as far as I see) without them, it's impossible to show character growth. Without them, it remains the skill of the guy behind the keyboard--which is really important, but an RPG is not a FPS. To have character advancement story-wise, you have to advance statistically.

The basic list that D&D uses is an excellent place to start.
Strength
Dexterity (also known as Agility--a better name IMO)
Constitution
Intelligence
Wisdom
Charisma
Tweak that to fit your game, but 5-7 stats is probably the best range--any more and it hurts the players' heads, any less, and you'll be hard put to apply any shadings.

Combat-wise, D&D gets the basic concepts, but not the numbers. Again, computers can do it, make the thing reflect the characters better. A random range of 20 is pitiful if we're talking a computer. Especially for an MMO.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with D&D, but it's not universal. Take it and run with it.

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Curious, IMO the definition of an rpg is a game in which you can further an alternate self in some way. I dont see how you could do that without stats of some kind.


So typical. What does role playing have to do with dexterity or strength?

It iffs me how people think "ROLE PLAYING" means levels, attributes, and skills. If that's the case, then diablo 2 is a role playing game! HAH.

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If you're talking "real" role-playing, then any combat skills the character has are merely a small portion of their charactewr. However in a combat based game, those combat skills are what define a character. What good is knitting skill if you win by killing things?

tj963

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Catch, what would you prefer the Role Playing Game to be? Since you are the one who says that it shouldn't be based on Stats, Levels, and Attributes. I'm curious since the only way I see your idea of a Role Playing Game lacking in the above working is if it were like a massive chat room with graphics.

The one game I can think of that is anywhere close to allowing you to do basically anything without really any level concept would be Eve Online. But there are stats and abilities. So I am at somewhat of a loss as to what you would prefer.

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good points all around. Diablo wasn't an RPG; but you need stats to show a character. Attributes define the character you play. If you find another way to do that, you've just struck a goldmine.

d20 also carries liscensing issues though.

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Catch, what would you prefer the Role Playing Game to be? Since you are the one who says that it shouldn't be based on Stats, Levels, and Attributes. I'm curious since the only way I see your idea of a Role Playing Game lacking in the above working is if it were like a massive chat room with graphics.

The one game I can think of that is anywhere close to allowing you to do basically anything without really any level concept would be Eve Online. But there are stats and abilities. So I am at somewhat of a loss as to what you would prefer.


Well, the point is, there are a lot of possibilities. Someone says RPG and you get wizards, levels, and edged weapon skill ideas in your mind. Because of it, no one can end up inventing anything better, unqiue, or different.

He's going to just design another combative-based "role playing" game, with a Strength stat that does something 0.1% different than any other "role playing" game's strength attribute. People have tried hard to invent different stats and combat, but it all ends up a similar thing. Chance to hit, Health, etc.

My only point is, if you are designing a combat engine, why is it a ROLE PLAYING game? WHAT ARE WE ROLE PLAYING?

I hate how the genre has been rag dolled by marketing.

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You want to role play a character. Okay I can understand that, I don't necessarily disagree (I used to LARP, would still do it if it hadn't been shut down [lawsuit]). There is only one problem. You really can't force people to Role Play. It is something that they have to do willingly.

Also the big thing is that even with LARPing you have skills and abilities. You can't have a role playing game without those due to the fact that you are supposed to be playing a character who is developing. Its supposed to be like creating an alternate persona. That alternate persona should have his/her own set of skills just like you have your own set of skills. Otherwise it isn't an RPG anymore. Its a suped up adventure game.

Dealing with you problem with the combat system. The chance to hit is simulating real life. Throw a ball at a target. Get a bullseye. Now do it again, and again. Its more than likely that you aren't able to do that. There will always be the chance that you cannot perform a skill to perfection.

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Original post by catch
Quote:

Catch, what would you prefer the Role Playing Game to be? Since you are the one who says that it shouldn't be based on Stats, Levels, and Attributes. I'm curious since the only way I see your idea of a Role Playing Game lacking in the above working is if it were like a massive chat room with graphics.

The one game I can think of that is anywhere close to allowing you to do basically anything without really any level concept would be Eve Online. But there are stats and abilities. So I am at somewhat of a loss as to what you would prefer.


Well, the point is, there are a lot of possibilities. Someone says RPG and you get wizards, levels, and edged weapon skill ideas in your mind. Because of it, no one can end up inventing anything better, unqiue, or different.

He's going to just design another combative-based "role playing" game, with a Strength stat that does something 0.1% different than any other "role playing" game's strength attribute. People have tried hard to invent different stats and combat, but it all ends up a similar thing. Chance to hit, Health, etc.

My only point is, if you are designing a combat engine, why is it a ROLE PLAYING game? WHAT ARE WE ROLE PLAYING?

I hate how the genre has been rag dolled by marketing.


You're role playing, say, a warrior in medieval times that excels at swordfighting. Does all role playing have to be thought-provoking and pseudointellectual to be classified as such?

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You're role playing, say, a warrior in medieval times that excels at swordfighting. Does all role playing have to be thought-provoking and pseudointellectual to be classified as such?


It doesn't have to be psuedo intellectual or thought provoking. It just has to BE there?

To also reply to the other fellow,

Quote:
There is only one problem. You really can't force people to Role Play. It is something that they have to do willingly.


Right, but most games don't even cater to role playing to begin with. If I have no means of role playing other than my own free will, it becomes a big work load trying to know everything about the history of the world, my race, my class, etc. Emotes are about as advanced as some games get unfortunately.

Quote:
Also the big thing is that even with LARPing you have skills and abilities. You can't have a role playing game without those due to the fact that you are supposed to be playing a character who is developing. Its supposed to be like creating an alternate persona. That alternate persona should have his/her own set of skills just like you have your own set of skills. Otherwise it isn't an RPG anymore. Its a suped up adventure game.


There's nothing wrong with stats, skills, and abilities. They were invented in the first place to give the feel of a "game." The thing is, these things were implemented in a paper and pen day when computers weren't very advanced. It hasn't changed a whole lot since then, has it? Not to say people who make role playing games are uninspired, but the entire industry deviates very little from old game design ideas (they are safe and make money).

Quote:
Dealing with you problem with the combat system. The chance to hit is simulating real life. Throw a ball at a target. Get a bullseye. Now do it again, and again. Its more than likely that you aren't able to do that. There will always be the chance that you cannot perform a skill to perfection.


I don't object to adding an element of randomness to the lives of people playing games. We could go into a great deal of unrealistic RPG behavior, specifically the d20 system, THAC0 and others.

All I was saying was I'd be interested in seeing a game that focuses on role playing over combat. Everyone does nice combat systems and abilities. Those do not have to be absent in a role playing game! Don't take me the wrong way, fighting dragons is great fun. But where's the role playing incoporated into the game?

It's always just left up to the player. You don't have to force anyone to role play their character, but you could put systems in place that emphasize it, don't you think?


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That could be something that would be interesting to see. Especially how someone would achieve that. I think I'll go think on that. I'll post my idea once I come up with it =P.

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That could be something that would be interesting to see. Especially how someone would achieve that. I think I'll go think on that. I'll post my idea once I come up with it =P.


Awesome. I'm sure a lot of people in the big biz have thought of some stuff (heck - maybe not), the ideas have more than likely been suggested, but I doubt anyone trying to make a pretty penny would include stuff like that, just because they don't want to break the chain of bling bling.

I know I'm such a conspiracy theory hippy. Forgive me =(

I've recently been working on fusing the fun of attributes, skills, levels, etc, with in depth role playing elements. Trying to make them as transparent and "fun and interesting" as possible. Maybe one day I'll realize I can't ever do it myself and post the work.

Until then, it remains in my HORDE. Muahahahahahaahahahahahaha.

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I've been writing a story for either book/comic/game for about 3 years now (its a big universe =P). So I understand where your coming from.

One of the things that I always thought would be better is that everything you do has an impact on how your character develops (one of the reasons I like the Fable system).

As for the role playing elements, with MMOs there are servers that are role playing servers where I'm pretty sure everything is done in character. But I think maybe what you have to do is make it more that you have to converse with NPCs in order to get quests or obtain items. Mind you that would lead to some advanced AI in that you'd have to get the NPCs to recognize what the character is saying.

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I see what you are saying catch and I do agree. An RPG should be much more than a battle system with stats. Personally I think the best RPG that really lets you roleplay ie make your own decisions (Albeit they be black and white or dark and light as the case may be) is Knights of the Old Republic.

I think that it would be a great idea to implement the type of Role Playing you are talking about, but in a single player (ie non MMO) CRPG, I just dont see that kind of system being implemented. The Idea is great, the implementation...thats another story. It seems that, like terlenth said, we would need to have some advances in AI first. It is something to think about though, no doubt about that.

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I think that it would be a great idea to implement the type of Role Playing you are talking about, but in a single player (ie non MMO) CRPG, I just dont see that kind of system being implemented.


I think you're rather right about that, at least for now. The stuff I'm talking about is unquestionably geared toward multiplayer.

Anyone read about Chris Crawford's story telling system? I really don't know if he's still working on it, but from a designer point of view, it's pretty extraordinary.

Then again, any would be designer should take a browse through his library.

Clicky

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I agree with DrEvil on the D20 point.

** Warning I'm long winded here **

Popularity does not equal quality.
Popularity is based on marketing.
Successful marketing does not make something good.
"Mark Hughes"

Does everyone remember Daikatana?

The big reason why other people say that D&D/D20 is bad AND pushes it on people, is becuase they don't want to see someone using a inferior system when there are superior systems out there, and some are for FREE. And then you also get jerks.
D20 is NOT a computer, it DOES NOT need as much work for another
system to work. THERE IS NO waiting times in pen & papers games to develope new equipment.
What would people rather use Microsoft or Linux(if Linux had just as much software support)

If your looking for a similiar rule system check out Fusion from http://www.talsorian.com/. It's FREE the core rule system is based on the same premise. But the stat base is lower there are no classes or levels. And if you do like those then there easy to implement. Both systems work off a linear advancement. But everything past the basics are different. Fusion differes in advacement and experience gaining. They don't focus on just combat in there rules. D20 big problems is that it's orientation towards "role playing" is barely more than Diablo2. Everthing about advancment is about killing things better.

BUT, I'm going on the assumption that you want to make a combat rpg. So no more on this part of the subject. On to alternatives.

Here are my suggestions

1. Stat should NOT be linear.
Pro: You don't need stat increasing alot if at all.
Players tend to do better in there givin attribute.
Con: It's not as showy and feels less rewarding.
Attributes have little effect on small increases.
Example: Using linear values is absurd, people attributes
don't range in such drastic manner. Diablo and such games
are horrid examples of this. They do this becuase it generaly
replaces skills. D20 fails becuase the attributes are worthless
at later levels.
Personal: While my favorite system uses 10 primary and 5 derived, I found that 5 is suitable.
Body: Stringth, Stamina, Size
Alertness: Dexterity, Agility, Perception
Mind: Knowledge, Intelligence
Charisma: Creativity(Wits), Influence, Appearance
Spirit Willpower, Chi/Ki

2. I'm Conan why can't I sneak(The Class Restriction Rule)
While this is easily avoided, the old D&D had this problem
and many crpg still are stuck on this.

They make no sence except in the idea of restricted linear
advancment. BUT people like to show off there class level and here the WOW effect. Best thing you could do is a Final Fantasy Tactics approach. Classes are open to you. Once you level up you
choose the class with no restriction or penalty. D20 does penalize you for to many classes, it's enforced becuase of the 1st level class bonuses. If you want to do class tree like needing Thief for certain skills then open other class tree Ninja or Assasin go for it. But don't block the root classes. These are just abstract roleplaying to RULE playing concepts. Theoreticly all skills are open, and if it's a secret skill it's blocked becuase your not affiliated with teachers. Anyone can sneak, but can everyone learn Ninjustsu(The art of Stealh) no becuase it's a clan secret, if you can join you can learn it.


3.Pound Me Again Rule(HitPoints) or
I show my awsomeness by shooting myself in the Head
There design flaw assumes that you will be hitting and getting hit very often. That is realy stupid. If you want to make combat intense throw it out. Use a wounding threshold, or a preset HP level that applies to everything. All things can only take 20 damage. Allow potential modifers to that. Armour to soak and have the ability to evade.
Armour reduces sucsfell Hit Damage, while Evading reduces damage to the area. a Heart Strike instead hits the side of the arm.

Unless you want to do Dragon Ball Z fights, fiction is based on smart use of ones talents, and combat talents deal with NOT getting hit. My suggestion is to read Taltos or anything with Melee combat. No one has the ability to be struck solidly by a Broadsword and laugh it off. Even in DBZ if Goku said just hit be with your Long Sword Trunks, he would still be seriously hospitlized if he lived. Weapons are lethal, linear HP advancment spoils this. This also leads to the My sword is Better thatn your sword. If you realy want to do this make magical weapons special by giving them extra effects, don't jsut increase there innate stats in a linear fashion. All you want to tdo is, Rusty, Normal, Masterwork. If you want some Metal differences go ahead.

4. My Attack was perfection but it bounced off his hair
(Margin of Success determination.)
D20 has taken the Binary route. Success or Fail.
Some systems link your performance to how well you roll
In combat terms Binary generaly takes the stance of an attack roll then a damage roll.
Where as the other idea, if you attack well you do more damage.
The difficulty is determined by either there parry or dodge.
This then leads to point 5.
It's also dealt in one roll.
Example: Longsword x8. If I hit you for 3 Mos then I do 24. If your using threshold compare, if you use HP then reduce.


5. To be Hit or Not to be Hit(Armour vs Dodging)
This realtes to 4. People in heavy armour don't dodge as well. So
the theory is that they will take more hits, just less damage. Where as the Dodger will evade the hits. Both reduce damage just in differnt ways. While this is ok to abstract weaponary effects
fall apart. What if the weapon has a enchament of touch or poison.
D20 fails becuase of the abstraction of the hit, it assumes may have hit even if the roll failed, the hit just didnt do enough damage. Where as the other way you actualy know if you
connect or not and apply the effect or not.


6. How to Make Heroes
The Zelda and all it's clones and City of heroes

Well with all the stuff i've mentioned the players are also put on the lethal ground. This isnt exactly fun for them. If there getting killed just as fast as the npc's they fight. Here are two solutions(there are more but I can only think of 2).

1. Survival/Combat/Emergency Pool. This pool is generated by doing certain actions. Quests, community participation or combat, what ever. Whenever a player is going to get seriously injured some of the points are spent to stop making the situation as bad.
A fail is still a fail, but a Fumble is now just a fail. Once this pool runs out they fall under the same rules as the npc's.
Once the pool runds dry it's time to leave and refill it some way.
Personal Note: I thought of this rule as a derived rule from spending xp/kharma/Emerency so ect. In a computer game though players will find a way to abuse it, so my idea for my rpg was that the only way to get them wre to do community activity, doing a job, or going around using Trade Skills. This was to slow down
the raw combat of the game and get everyone to the aspect of building a home, based on a Apocolyptic world.

2. Inspiration(The Zelda and City of Heroes Rule)
As players defeat enemies they gain a quick bonus, either in the way of increased health, magic, stamina, defence, attack or even extra actions/speed.

Both offer to make gameplay more action orientated and not as slow.

"The crulest dream, reality"
The Offspring

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d20 as a system isn't all that bad. It's just hard to role-play with, unless you're playing with a good group. If you have a good group who understands where the rules can be bent or changed to make the game more fun, then d20 is an excellent way to start, because it's so easy to use. I haven't checked out the site you posted, but I intend to. Different ideas are always nice.

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True anyone can roleplay with any system. Stage actors do this all the time, and they don't use dice. Depending on the group, GM, and setting you can do heavy role playing with Hero Quest from Milton Bradley. What it comes down to is how much the troupe want to use the dice. Role Master was all about Dice. I like to mix and match, if they act well they get a bonus(Based on personal acting experiance and effort).


D20 is ok if you want straight drawn out fights, but it's not supportive to imaganitive combat. If your mixing role & rule playing. And almost if not all the FEATS are orientated straight towards the combat adventure. I don't recall any social, mnechanical, or various such FEATS. I have seen a attempt at it with Star Wars. But a good rule system doesnt havent to make "Exception Rules" to be able to perform basic stuff. Why should the Thief be the only one to do more damage based on Sneaking. By common sence and a MOS based system as long as the character can strike with the victim not knowing, it's a powerfull strike. It's just only those with the Sneak Skill will do it well. And opened based system don't restrict you.

So it is a fine system if you want to bend or expect certain things from it. But when you want to merge them, D20 still fails.

But I won't mention anymore on it. I gave some sugestions in my post above for rpg ideas and stats.

"I have a Big Mouth"
Bugs Bunny?

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