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themime

Basic Elements of an RPG System

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Basic Elements of an RPG System I am trying to break down the most basic elements, which I believe to be killing monsters, getting more and better loot, and killing bigger monsters, etc. One could argue there are things about the excitement of discovering a new location or uncovering a plot, but I am trying to stick to just the system for now. I am doing this for a variety of reasons, two of which are: 1)setting up groups of things that can be used for creating abilities and possibly, setting up player classes based on those and 2) game balancing Alright, so here are the breakdowns I have so far; what I want is input on my structure; is it completely off, or do you have more to add? Also, any general comments. Note: I almost included things like potions, but I'm going to try to stick to just the player, although I realize equipment has a MAJOR impact (especially in MMOs) Killing Monsters ------------------ Living Longer -More Health -Reduce Damage - (dmg reduc, resists,remove source (stun,mez, etc) -Avoidance - (dodge,armor,parry) -Gain Health - Healing spells/skills Damage Output -increase accuracy (ie "to hit") -increase frequency (related to accuracy, but more inc. # of attacks -increase damage of a given attack Some observations: Killing Monsters - it's what its all about, doing enough damage to kill it without dying first Living Longer - it's not just about doing extra damage, if you're dead, you can get that last hit in! The longer you live, the longer you'll be able to do damage PS: I've used this site for a year or two, this is my first post, I hope I did alright >.<

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I'd have to say, you basically got the idea of a very generic main-stream RPG. If you wanted to try some new things in your system, I'd say try scrapping the bigger and better loot idea.

This might allow you to think outside the box in trying to make the character advance and might also allow you to change the monster just becoming bigger and badder.

Otherwise, if you are just looking at making a run of the mill RPG then I'd say you've pretty much got it, in terms of the generic idea.

--Ter'Lenth

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Yeah, that's a pretty complete setup for a Health Bar Racing Game where you kill monsters so that you can kill bigger monsters so that you can kill even bigger monsters etc. You could add things like affinities for elements, maybe.. where one monster may be strong against Fire and weak against Water.. or make armor types vulnerable or strong against certain types of weapons.

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Nice job on the first post! [grin]

I like to take this sort of thing and break out specific stats separately so that you can really see their impact. This helps to identify ancillary things that aren't directly a part of combat but related.

For example, take movement: Accelerated (haste), deceleration (slowed), negated (entangled), etc. You can even break movement down further: Is it movement of the upper body, and hence most actions, or the feet (physical movement).

You can do the same thing with perception, or speech, etc.

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Wavinator! I'm a big fan of your posts, I'm honored to have a reply from you!
About your reply: You have a good point, I forgot about non-combat related things such as delayed or enhanced movement (like kiting and such). What other sort of elements related to non direct combat are there? I was asking around in the gamedev irc channel and someone mentioned something like a "intuition", about knowing how well you would fair against a given target, but I think elements like that don't add to a games system, because I think one needs to assume the player has access to the internet and can find out exactly what the monsters weakness' are. Even an intution/luck skill would still contribute to the main points I have.

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I've said it before, and I'll say it again. If you have only one resource to draw from, most strategies will fail. If health is the only way to beat your enemy, then everything is about doing more damage, gaining more life, resisting damage of all kinds. Bidding has partially solved this, but not by much. You need more than one thing to work against you in order for things to stay interesting for a while. Would the Sims be as interesting as people say it is if hunger was the only stat that mattered?

Other than that, yeah... you have the just of it. The only thing I didn't see was countering in some way, if possible. Maybe some maladictions to reduce your enemies effectiveness.

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Very good points...
The maledictions ("debuffs") is a good point, I suppose instead of Living Longer -> Reduce Damage, it should include Reduce Damage Output. Eitherway, I think debuffing basically falls into all the other catagories, but maybe its just different enough to have its own.

EDIT: Your other point lead me to create this thread:
http://www.gamedev.net/community/forums/topic.asp?topic_id=336504

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Quote:
Original post by themime
Wavinator! I'm a big fan of your posts, I'm honored to have a reply from you!


Hey, stop that! My head's swollen enough, this doesn't help! [grin]

Quote:

What other sort of elements related to non direct combat are there?


To get a sense of this I try to think not only of the revealed stats that the player can see, but all of the hidden stats that go into resolving conflict from the viewpoint of the game's engine: Things like jump height and distance; knockback distance when hit by another character / weapon / object; whther or not a collision imparts momentum, etc.

If you get really geeky about looking at the internals of your rules system, I think you can often pull out unusual factors that can then be turned into nifty power-ups, or monster/enemy attacks, or special abilities. But you have to know your system well enough first. (Physics, for instance, is a self-consistent system, and it helps to know about things like momentum in order to tease out a cool effect like having enemies get knocked back-- even if you don't use real physics).


Quote:
Original post by KingRuss
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. If you have only one resource to draw from, most strategies will fail. If health is the only way to beat your enemy, then everything is about doing more damage, gaining more life, resisting damage of all kinds. Bidding has partially solved this, but not by much. You need more than one thing to work against you in order for things to stay interesting for a while. Would the Sims be as interesting as people say it is if hunger was the only stat that mattered?


Great point. The complexity in the Sims partially comes from having several resource meters that are always dropping, with this creating a kind of pacing and 2D positional strategy (get to charge location in time, preferrably somewhere equidistant to your next lowest stat).

Combat handles the pacing part pretty well, but one challenge to creating alternatives is that violence usually does solve everything. You'd have to decide this wan't the case to vary that dynamic significantly. You could, for instance, create an ability to lure enemies to sleep with magical music, or create illusions to terrorize them.

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Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
You could, for instance, create an ability to lure enemies to sleep with magical music, or create illusions to terrorize them.


I would agree with you here, but I would put this under

Quote:
Original post by themime
Killing Monsters
------------------
Living Longer
-Reduce Damage - (dmg reduc, resists,remove source (stun,mez, etc)


If you remove the source by putting them to sleep or distracting them somehow, you are effectively reducing damage.
Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
Combat handles the pacing part pretty well, but one challenge to creating alternatives is that violence usually does solve everything. You'd have to decide this wan't the case to vary that dynamic significantly. You could, for instance, create an ability to lure enemies to sleep with magical music, or create illusions to terrorize them.


However, I do see what you are trying to say; if you look at the up coming Dungeon and Dragon Online (DDO), its an MMO, but you don't gain ANY experience for killing monsters; its ALL quest based. This allows for that sneaky rogue to stealth past most of it, or that bard to lull have of them too sleep and run.

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Quote:
Original post by themime
if you look at the up coming Dungeon and Dragon Online (DDO), its an MMO, but you don't gain ANY experience for killing monsters; its ALL quest based. This allows for that sneaky rogue to stealth past most of it, or that bard to lull have of them too sleep and run.


Now if they make the quests sufficiently complex and numerous (and I don't see how they couldn't, since this would be the meat of the game) THIS would be an MMO I'd actually play. It's perfect because it potentially makes monsters secondary sources of income and equipment, which other non-combat players would be capable of getting elsewhere (a thief raiding a chest, or mage penetrating a magical barrier).

If monsters simply carry different items than can be found elsewhere, it would also encourage team gameplay.

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Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
Quote:
Original post by themime
if you look at the up coming Dungeon and Dragon Online (DDO), its an MMO, but you don't gain ANY experience for killing monsters; its ALL quest based. This allows for that sneaky rogue to stealth past most of it, or that bard to lull have of them too sleep and run.


Now if they make the quests sufficiently complex and numerous (and I don't see how they couldn't, since this would be the meat of the game) THIS would be an MMO I'd actually play. It's perfect because it potentially makes monsters secondary sources of income and equipment, which other non-combat players would be capable of getting elsewhere (a thief raiding a chest, or mage penetrating a magical barrier).

If monsters simply carry different items than can be found elsewhere, it would also encourage team gameplay.


No experience for killing monsters? Thats even worse than FF9 when you didn't get any experience for beating bosses. You only get very little AP (more than regular monsters, but still very little.)

If you only get experience for finishing quests, then you better give a lot of quests or a lot of experience for each quest.

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Hmm... I guess I'd give some exp from killing monsters, but not too much. One way to balance this is to also give exp for picking locks, sneaking past enemies, successfull spellcasting etc. etc. Now you should balance this, so people don't end up JUST killing monsters. How about a fair amount exp for tricking/killing/casting a spell on an enemy the first time you encounter that type/race, and less the other time around and even less after that.. This will reflect how things work in real life and it will make people not just hang around and kill the same monsters (to level up before encountering other monsters). People learn more the first times they encounter a problem and less thereafter. Perhaps a critical success at something also gives extra exp - reflecting how one can suddenly find a whole new way to solve a problem.

When it comes to experience and leveling up - how about having different "types" of experience? killing monsters doesn't make you more charismatic, so being able to level up charisma after a big bad battle doesn't really seem right.

When it comes to basic elements of an RPG I would say that a very important part is NPC interaction. Skills related to this should also be important to not just make another hack'n'slash (unless that is what you want - those are cool too ;). Alignment, intelligence, wisdom and charisma are some of the stats that might control this. How about adding a social engineering skill? Giving a player the ability to manipulate other people as a skill. This could for instance give you a few extra sentences to select from (colored differently to distinguish them). These alternatives don't necessarily succeed. They have a chance of success related to your social engineering skill and intelligence for instance.

Some different skills related to NPC's
-Sense alignment
-Social engineering
-Charm
-Intimidate
-Read thoughts
-Barter

I'll put up some more later :)

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Quote:
Original post by e-u-l-o-g-y
Hmm... I guess I'd give some exp from killing monsters, but not too much. One way to balance this is to also give exp for picking locks, sneaking past enemies, successfull spellcasting etc. etc. Now you should balance this, so people don't end up JUST killing monsters. How about a fair amount exp for tricking/killing/casting a spell on an enemy the first time you encounter that type/race, and less the other time around and even less after that.. This will reflect how things work in real life and it will make people not just hang around and kill the same monsters (to level up before encountering other monsters). People learn more the first times they encounter a problem and less thereafter. Perhaps a critical success at something also gives extra exp - reflecting how one can suddenly find a whole new way to solve a problem.

When it comes to experience and leveling up - how about having different "types" of experience? killing monsters doesn't make you more charismatic, so being able to level up charisma after a big bad battle doesn't really seem right.


Interesting point. Maybe battling should give weapon-use experience and strategy/tactical experience.. lock picking could give pilfering experience and avoiding enemies in a stealthy manner could give Stealth experience. Even something like Party experience could be earned while teaming up with a certain amount of people, giving you the ability to learn certain party-related skills.. and similarly with Solo experience. While this would make a large impact on gameplay in that you would want to do more than fight the same monster over and over to improve your character, the battle system remains the same when viewed at the highest level, in that characters would inevitably be modeled after the best of what deals enough damage to defeat their enemies before their enemies defeat them.

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That's where the "mental abilities" come into play. With manipulation you could actually manipulate others to do the fighting for you. With barter/trade you can get better items without having to battle larger enemies. People with much social skills might become leaders which again means they don't actually have to be strong because they don't necessarily have to fight at all.

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About DND... since third edition they have encouraged people to give experience for "overcoming a challenge". If a rogue were to sneak by a guard that was trying to stop people from entering a building, he earns half of the experience he would get from killing him. I think they are only giving you experience for quests because they don't want people to kill goblins all day... they want them to explore dungeons and clear out camps.

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Quote:
Original post by KingRuss
I think they are only giving you experience for quests because they don't want people to kill goblins all day... they want them to explore dungeons and clear out camps.


Yeah, but don't you think that that should be my decision?

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