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RPG Mechanics

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Hello. While researching this topic, I came across the following image:

 

rpg_mechanics_chart.gif

 

Does that sum up RPG mechanics I should add to my game? My goal is to create a very standard, single-player turn-based RPG. But even though I've played many, I don't really know where to start. Well, I have started, but I'm not sure how much I need to add to finish it. In any case, I'll get straight to the game design portion. Any feedback would be appreciated!

 

Story

 

Although I'm not a huge fan of fetch-quests, this is what the story currently entails. There is an annual, worldwide competition between the seven countries of the world (each based on a particular element). 35 coins are hidden throughout the seven nations, and the player's goal is to form a party and collect the most coins within 90 days. The purpose of the competition is to demonstrate the strategic abilities of each nation through a sort of Olympic-type game. The party can have between 3 and 5 members (including the player), and the NPCs can be from any of the aforementioned seven nations. One interval of time passes after so many actions (morning events, noon events, night events). The player can choose a combat, stealth, or diplomatic playing style.

 

*This story is subject to change.

 

Experience Points

 

No level system; however, the player can gain experience in various areas. For example, if the player wants to use a bow instead of a sword, then the bow's experience can be increased with use. If the sword is not in regular use, sword experience will lower.

 

Classes

 

Classes determine beginning stats and cap the experience gained in certain other areas. So if a mage wants to use a sword (or a fighter wants to use magic), he or she can. The only thing is, the experience will have a lower cap. Here's what it might look like:

  1. Mage Sword Experience >>> 30/60
  2. Mage Magic Experience >>> 50/120
  3. Fighter Sword Experience >>> 30/120
  4. Fighter Magic Experience >>> 50/60

Classes include the Mage (high magic cap), Fighter (high sword cap), Rogue (high agility cap), Ranger (high bow cap), etc.

 

Each character class will have more than one exp cap associated with it. One is the type of weapon they can gain the most experience with. That way, any class can use any skill effectively (but not as effectively as a class with that specialty).

 

Acting

 

I want to try something different in this game. The coins I mentioned earlier can be obtained in many different ways: quests, challenging another party for their coins in a battle, finding them in various locations, and more. But I'd really like to incorporate strategy into the acquisition of the coins. What I mean is, what if I used gambits as means of role-playing (in addition to the standard dialogue trees)? That could be interesting.

 

A gambit here would have a particular alignment, or combination of them: stealth (secretly taking the coin from an area or character), combat (using turn-based combat to challenge another team), or diplomacy (talking to/persuading other characters with a dialogue tree). Should each character have an experience cap for these as well?

 

Exploration

 

I think the story calls for this. More specifically, below are the nations the player can explore, in no particular order. It will be an open-world game, but not exactly a pure sandbox.

 

1) Pyro Nation - Known for the fire element

2) Terra Nation - Known for the earth element

3) Aqua Nation - Known for the water element

4) Gale Nation - Known for the wind element

5) Current Nation - Known for the lightning element

6) Ore Nation - Known for the metal element

7) Frigid Nation - Known for the ice element

 

Turn-Based Battles

 

The battles system in this game is divided into two turns: offensive and defensive. I wanted to incorporate strategy into the turn-based battles, and after researching the fencing sport, I thought about using this system. Dragonball Z Legendary Super Warriors, a TCG on the GBC, uses a similar battle system.

 

o Offensive Turn >>>

o Attack   - Use a targeted attack to land a hit on the opponent

o Feint - Use a mock attack to distract the opponent from guarding another area

o Lunge - Forcefully attack by propelling one's entire body forward (lowers guard)

 

o Defensive Turn >>>

o Defend - Block a targeted attack to prevent a hit from the opponent

o Parry - Deflect an attack away from oneself to lower the opponent's guard

o Counter- Use an evasive maneuver to land a hit on the opponent (lowers guard)

 

The battle would end when an opponent's HP reaches 20%. There's no death/fainting/respawning. After losing a battle, the player might lose a coin or item, but these can be obtained again.

 

Items

 

I did a bit of research and compiled a short list of possible weapons that can be purchased/crafted. I still need to add equipment (such as gloves or armor) and items (ex. potions) to my list. If you have suggestions for these, I'd be happy to see them.

 

Kris

Wooden Sword

Iron Sword

Rapier

Saber

Long Sword

Hook Sword

Katana

Broad Sword

Claymore

Tonfa

Maul

Javelin (Light Spear)

Spear

Lance (Heavy Spear)

Halberd

Glaive

Bow

Long Bow

Light Crossbow

 

Crafting

 

This is a feature that I want to include, but I'm not really sure how I should do it. I might eventually add this to the game.

 

What do you think? Thanks for reading this post.

 

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You're jumping to the specifics much too quickly.

Before delving in the sort of weapons the player can purchase, you should know more about your setting (and more than just "each nation corresponds to an element" a ton of games do that, but they do it differently).

Before any of this, you should know how the game should look and feel, and what brands it apart from other games. Why it should be fun.

 

I like to start every major project by listing "tenets", or simple one-liners of what we'll do and what we won't do such as this:

 

- The world is split in 7 elements:

Each area hint subtly at its core element (through colored tones, etc.)

Each area has a few very specific landmarks that make the tie to the element much less subtle (lava cave in the fire domain, etc.)

 

I also like to think that RPGs, in general, are better designed top-down: define the feeling you seek to attain, and then determine what features lead you to it (which may very well be counter-intuitive to most designers).

 

How you split experience for classes seems like it could fall out of hands from a balancing standpoint very quickly.

I'm assuming this would be a multiplayer environment (based on your above graph) given as how WoW can only truly be a relevant reference if you intend for this to be multiplayer. Even as a single player experience however, balance could be an issue as it would effectively diminish the value of certain classes.

I would advise taking a look at Pillars of Eternity to determine how to balance different classes. They've made a good job at making generally mundane classes more appealing (the "Chanter" which is essentially a balanced Bard, the "Cipher" which is essentially a spellcaster from Dark Sun, etc. Anything except the much too powerful cleric!)

 

Best of luck!

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It's interesting to see RPG's differences and similarities like that. The one thing listed that they all have in common is loot?!

 

Another common quality in RPGs is an interactive story and/or interactive dialogue.

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Does that sum up RPG mechanics I should add to my game?

 

That (incomplete) chart sums up a few of the RPG mechanics some other RPGs added to their games because it fit well with their designs.

 

There's no checklist of mechanics that should be added to your game (sad.png) - you have to ask yourself and figure out whether X or Y mechanic enhances your game and goes well with all the other mechanics in your design.

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You're jumping to the specifics much too quickly.
Before delving in the sort of weapons the player can purchase, you should know more about your setting (and more than just "each nation corresponds to an element" a ton of games do that, but they do it differently).
Before any of this, you should know how the game should look and feel, and what brands it apart from other games. Why it should be fun.
 
I like to start every major project by listing "tenets", or simple one-liners of what we'll do and what we won't do such as this:
 
- The world is split in 7 elements:
Each area hint subtly at its core element (through colored tones, etc.)
Each area has a few very specific landmarks that make the tie to the element much less subtle (lava cave in the fire domain, etc.)

 

I figured it would be a good idea to plan out the specifics first. Doing it as I go along hasn't really worked out for me in the past, so for this game I'd like to have a clear idea of what my end result will be. I don't think it's ever too early to make a plan. I agree that a developer should know the setting. My initial idea was to map each nation to a particular biome. I haven't finished world building, so there's a lot more I have to define for sure. In any case, I still want to make a general list of items that I might include.

 

Why should my game be fun? I don't really have an answer for that. Those are subjective questions, so it really depends on the player. Defining fun in words can be difficult. If you have suggestions for features you find fun or entertaining, I'm open to them.

 

 

 


How you split experience for classes seems like it could fall out of hands from a balancing standpoint very quickly.
I'm assuming this would be a multiplayer environment (based on your above graph) given as how WoW can only truly be a relevant reference if you intend for this to be multiplayer. Even as a single player experience however, balance could be an issue as it would effectively diminish the value of certain classes.

 

How would it be an issue? Here's an example of how the balancing would work:

  • Sword Wielding Experience -> Fighter 100 Mage 25 Ranger 25
  • Bow Wielding Experience -> Fighter 50 Mage 50 Ranger 100
  • Magic User Experience -> Fighter 25 Mage 100 Ranger 50

 

 


It's interesting to see RPG's differences and similarities like that. The one thing listed that they all have in common is loot?!
 
Another common quality in RPGs is an interactive story and/or interactive dialogue.

 

I found that interesting too. I'll work towards making the story and dialogue interactive.

 

 

 

Does that sum up RPG mechanics I should add to my game?

 

That (incomplete) chart sums up a few of the RPG mechanics some other RPGs added to their games because it fit well with their designs.

 

There's no checklist of mechanics that should be added to your game (sad.png) - you have to ask yourself and figure out whether X or Y mechanic enhances your game and goes well with all the other mechanics in your design.

 

 

At the moment, I feel like I've been dropped in the middle of a vast desert without a map. That's essentially the experience of trying to make a game for a particular genre without prior experience in that area, and without guidance. The reason why games, music, movies, art, etc. have been classified with different genres is because they share many features. They're different, of course, but they do have similar attributes. Romanic comedies tend to have romance and comedy. Heavy metal music usually includes guitars with distortion. I was only looking for a bit of guidance finding the general features that compose an RPG.

 

Edit: Fixed typos

Edited by On Rye

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I figured it would be a good idea to plan out the specifics first. Doing it as I go along hasn't really worked out for me in the past, so for this game I'd like to have a clear idea of what my end result will be. I don't think it's ever too early to make a plan.

 

This is not a plan, it's jumping the gun. By the time you're done with the basics, everything listed above risks being irrelevant because it is no longer part of the true experience.

The risk then is to "stick to the plan" and end up with a project that is incoherent and simply not a fun experience for the end-user, or "scrap it" and you'll have lost the time spent this early thinking about the nitty gritty.

 

One means to achieve this more efficiently is to picture a specific scene you think would be part of your experience and build is as a vertical slice. That way, you don't need to do everything, and you can quickly jump to a mock of the end result and verify that what you had in mind works.

 


Why should my game be fun? I don't really have an answer for that. Those are subjective questions, so it really depends on the player. Defining fun in words can be difficult. If you have suggestions for features you find fun or entertaining, I'm open to them.

 

Subjective, but not undefined. Games have demonstrated various fun mechanics that work through prototyping. Core is to prototype your simplest idea devoid of all its complexity and determine whether it is fun through trial and error (and peer testing).

 


How would it be an issue? Here's an example of how the balancing would work:
Sword Wielding Experience -> Fighter 100 Mage 25 Ranger 25
Bow Wielding Experience -> Fighter 50 Mage 50 Ranger 100
Magic User Experience -> Fighter 25 Mage 100 Ranger 50

 

Trust me, you'll figure it out before long when you actually implement this kind of idea.

Also, when thinking of balancing this way, have the player in mind. Why would the magic-user even try to use a sword then? If the intent is to discourage them from using it anyway, better altogether remove support.

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Orymus3

 

You didn't really answer any of my questions. huh.png If you're not going to explain to me why I'm doing something wrong, then how am I supposed to correct the behavior? Please don't raise an issue if you're not going to offer a means of ameliorating it, or at least explain your point of view so that I can better understand it.

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I was only looking for a bit of guidance finding the general features that compose an RPG.

I would say that a video-game RPG requires only that there be some means of shaping one's character, and especially that character's abilities, over the course of the game, and that doing so be a major part of the game. RPGs do tend to have other features in common, but that doesn't mean that those features are necessary for the game to be an RPG, just that current RPGs have them.

 

In many games this means an XP-and-levels system, and indeed, this is a fairly straightforward way of going about it. However, you could also have a non-levelling point-assignment system, or some means of acquiring mutually-exclusive skills directly in the game-world (think of the augmentations in the original Deus Ex, for example), or some other mechanic entirely.

 

An RPG needn't be combat-focussed, either; you could, theoretically, have an RPG based entirely around diplomacy and subterfuge, with the a set of stats along the lines of intelligence, charisma, lying and negotiation, allowing the player to level as an honest, intelligent diplomat; or a schemer who relies on charm rather than intellect; or one of a variety of other builds.

 

(I specify "video-game RPG" above because table-top or forum RPGs are different things, I believe; I'm less familiar with them, but as I understand it the core there is, well, role-playing: coming up with a character and acting within that character's personality and abilities.)

 


The reason why games, music, movies, art, etc. have been classified with different genres is because they share many features.

I would like to add a note on this point: beware of letting yourself be straight-jacketed by a genre's list of features; genres are descriptive, not prescriptive. Unless you have a particular reason to stick to a genre--a competition requirement, client brief, personal whim, or whatever--I'm inclined to suggest just making the game that you want to make, and worry about its genre later.

 

(Indeed, I'm inclined to think that adhering overly to genres limits the medium by virtue of discouraging expansion beyond the current state of things.)

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I was only looking for a bit of guidance finding the general features that compose an RPG.

I would say that a video-game RPG requires only that there be some means of shaping one's character, and especially that character's abilities, over the course of the game, and that doing so be a major part of the game. RPGs do tend to have other features in common, but that doesn't mean that those features are necessary for the game to be an RPG, just that current RPGs have them.

 

In many games this means an XP-and-levels system, and indeed, this is a fairly straightforward way of going about it. However, you could also have a non-levelling point-assignment system, or some means of acquiring mutually-exclusive skills directly in the game-world (think of the augmentations in the original Deus Ex, for example), or some other mechanic entirely.

 

An RPG needn't be combat-focussed, either; you could, theoretically, have an RPG based entirely around diplomacy and subterfuge, with the a set of stats along the lines of intelligence, charisma, lying and negotiation, allowing the player to level as an honest, intelligent diplomat; or a schemer who relies on charm rather than intellect; or one of a variety of other builds.

 

(I specify "video-game RPG" above because table-top or forum RPGs are different things, I believe; I'm less familiar with them, but as I understand it the core there is, well, role-playing: coming up with a character and acting within that character's personality and abilities.)

 

 


The reason why games, music, movies, art, etc. have been classified with different genres is because they share many features.

I would like to add a note on this point: beware of letting yourself be straight-jacketed by a genre's list of features; genres are descriptive, not prescriptive. Unless you have a particular reason to stick to a genre--a competition requirement, client brief, personal whim, or whatever--I'm inclined to suggest just making the game that you want to make, and worry about its genre later.

 

(Indeed, I'm inclined to think that adhering overly to genres limits the medium by virtue of discouraging expansion beyond the current state of things.)

 


Why would the magic-user even try to use a sword then?

I second this question.

 

What, precisely, is your intent with the sword/bow/magic -XP system? How do envision players building their characters? At a guess, do you want to encourage a form of multi-classing, or provide characters with "backup" abilities?

 

Come to that, how does the XP system work? Is damage dealt by a particular means (swords, magic, arrows, etc.) automatically siphoned into the relevant XP-pool (in which case it might be particularly important for a character to avoid using weapons outside of their class, in order to avoid "losing" XP in their main class), or is it manually assigned?

 

I like the idea that, for example, a mage can use a sword; but given that a mage will, under this system, never equal a warrior, why would they attempt to do so?

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Orymus3, on 15 Apr 2015 - 08:18 AM, said:

Why would the magic-user even try to use a sword then?
I second this question.
 
What, precisely, is your intent with the sword/bow/magic -XP system? How do envision players building their characters? At a guess, do you want to encourage a form of multi-classing, or provide characters with "backup" abilities?
 
Come to that, how does the XP system work? Is damage dealt by a particular means (swords, magic, arrows, etc.) automatically siphoned into the relevant XP-pool (in which case it might be particularly important for a character to avoid using weapons outside of their class, in order to avoid "losing" XP in their main class), or is it manually assigned?
 
I like the idea that, for example, a mage can use a sword; but given that a mage will, under this system, never equal a warrior, why would they attempt to do so?

 

Back-up abilities. In a battle situation, if you're battling an opponent that has a high magic defense, but is vulnerable to physical attacks, then it would make sense to use a sword with the mage so that you're not doing 6 DMG every turn. It wouldn't really matter that the experience cap is lower than a fighter's because the mage would get a damage multiplier (for using a physical attack against an opponent that's weak to physical attacks). Not as powerful as the fighter, but still relevant in the battle.

 


That way, any class can use any skill effectively (but not as effectively as a class with that specialty).

 

Stats could be used to interact with the world as well. Say a coin is locked inside a random room in a building. In order to open one door, you have to hit a target with an arrow. Well, unfortunately, you only have a fighter, a cleric, and a mage in your party. It wouldn't really be believable for a fighter to suddenly pick up a bow and shoot with 100% accuracy. But, if you bought a bow and your bow experience is above a certain threshold, then you'll be able to hit the target successfully without a ranger. It's just an example but, in short, the character's stats aren't necessarily for battle situations only.

 

As far as the XP system goes, I'll probably take out the use-based experience and just let the player max out everyone's stats to the aforementioned experience caps. That would be a lot simpler. 

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