Any advice for making a TTRPG?

#1
I want to make a TTRPG. I have some mechanics and lore written down, but I don't really know what I'm doing. I've played a lot of RPGs and a little bit of DnD, but I don't really know if what I'm doing is making any sense. Has enough here ever dabbled in making TTRPGs? Does anyone here like TTRPGs? If so, what do you look for in a TTRPG? Does anyone here like alternate history in their TTRPGs? 

The quick rundown of my idea (without revealing too much) is that I had an idea for an alternate history setting. It was something that was stupid, but fun to explore, like Guns of the South by Harry Turtledove. I wanted to write a story based in this world, but every idea I came up with felt too much like a video game and I was too busy thinking about the minutia and little details. I wanted to just make the world and let other people make a story in it; make some toys and see if other people wanted to play with them. So, I decided to try to make this TTRPG and see if anyone was interested in playing. 

Re: Any advice for making a TTRPG?

#2
I've dabbled a bit in gamemaking, though not in tabletops (or even RPG's lol). Still, the absolute king of all gamemaking advice is this: have a core feature, stick to it, and only once you have it, should you expand towards other features. Trust me, you'll save yourself sooooo much time if you stick with this. Games can get very big and messy very quickly otherwise. 

Like the classic Super Mario. The core mechanic is jumping on things and moving to the right and that's it. In D&D, the core mechanic is a simple game of Higher or Lower. The game hinges on comparing four numbers (an attack stat and an HP stat of two characters/creatures that are fighting in-game), throw in a random variable, and the higher number wins. That's it. That is playable on its own, which is how you know you have a core mechanic. Things like levels, all the other stats, character sheets, currency, spells, skills, equipment and saving throws are not playable on their own and are not core gameplay. No number of additional mechanics will save a poorly designed (or worse - lacking) core mechanic. It can be simple, but you really want it to be playable and hopefully at least somewhat enjoyable before you continue with more elaborate features. 

Good luck, it's a huge undertaking but I hope you'll have fun and succeed! 

Re: Any advice for making a TTRPG?

#3
Hello,

I can help with that. But it would too long to explain in a single message so I'm going to make bullet point and we can further discuss it point by point if you are interested.

#1: Market Research

Your idea might be good but you should make sure there is an audience for it. You might take the risk anyway. But better make a calculated risk than going truly in the blind.

From what I read, your idea seem to be an alternative history setting or uchronia. However, since it lack details, I have no idea what kind of audience you might have. If you just have an idea about the universe, you should just share it. Mysterious wannabe game maker jealously protecting their idea just won't make it. If you want to recruit or make an audience, you need to tease everyone as much as they can. Give them just right enough to make them craving for more. And you are on royal road. You might consider make it a short novel.

Do you want to make a D&D copycat and build your own universe upon it? Then, you might consider buying a license when the project got advanced enough. D&D approved contents are just doing better because they already have an outstanding player base.

Do you want to make your own system for scratch? Then, you should study the current state of the art. D&D, Pathfinder, Mutants & Masterminds, Call of Cthullu, Warhammer, Cyberpunk. You should also study the new TTRPG which are somehow successful : https://www.syfy.com/syfy-wire/ttrpgs-board-games-rpgs-quiet-year-roleplaying-recommendations.

#2: Make a proof of concept and keep it simple.

Creating a TTRPG from scratch is truly overwhelming and you will soon find out that it is impossible to do it alone. But to convince people to join you, you need a proof of concept. Let's say: a hour long adventure for four people is optimal. If you want to see how it's done with the simplistic adventure and game mechanics possible, look at Mice and Mystics. Probably the best entry-level TTRPG for children.

#3: Build your dream team

Once you have the backbone of a TTRPG working, it is time to expand on it. Meaning that even if you are the heart and soul of the project, you are going to need game designers, writers, and beta testers. At this stage, your goal should be to have small one-shot adventures.

#4: Advertise and get backers

Even if it is a passion project and you don't aim to make money. Creating a TTRPG is going to be time consuming. If you want to ensure the work is done, paying people for the job is the way to go, because passion project will only get you so far. At this point you should build an audience. Stream a session of your proof of concept on youtube or something. You might even give out the rules for your proof of concept adventure for free. Then make a crowdfunding and seriously get to work. And an important point: advertising will always be a part of your budget but never spent more than 30% on marketing.

#5: The first (finished product) publication

There are two things you need to be aware of: first, TTRPG is really niche. Influencer are going to make or break your game. The question that need to be answered for them is simple: why should I play your game rather than the hundreds of similar titles that are buried every years.

If you screw your first publication, then, it's done for you. No matter how good the idea was, you should rather try to make another game than invest in a sinking ship. On the other hand, if you are spending too much time carefully building your game, chances are that the game will never make it. At some point, you need to take the gamble.

As Haust already said, one core feature is all it take to make the difference. If you have the right idea, then go for it.

For example:

Pathfinder invested everything in wordbuilding. There is only one coherent universe with a lot of contents.

Mutants & Masterminds is all about freedom. This is the system which gave the most agency to their player, creating the characters they wants.

Call of Cthullu: the edgelord of TTRPG.

Cyberpunk: Everything is in the title of the game ~

Mice and Mystics: the most children friendly TTRPG. (targeting a specific audience is always a good idea)

#6: Player driven community

On consistent thing in all tabletop rpg is that they are all player driven community. Other games can work on different business model but TTRPG at their core are multi-player games and unlike video games, there is no infrastructure in place to help them meet and find other player.

That's means you have to make it yourself, providing it for free and somewhat balance it with your sells.

That's also means that you need to make your game community friendly and if your players are asking for something, you need to answer, even if it is to politely say "Nope. Not going to happen." If you get that far and your community is not abandoning you, then you probably don't need advice anymore (but you should have hundreds of them every day anyway from your player base)

#7: Bonus Advice.

Don't lose yourself and never give up. You would already have my respect if you make it in one piece to #5. Everyone fail, repeatedly. Best case scenario, for every successful game you make, about five will be bury and forgotten year one.

Re: Any advice for making a TTRPG?

#4
Okay. Now that I have a better understanding of your setting, I would be easier to make a educated guess about your potential audience.

WW2 Uchronia are extremely popular and so are superheroes (and supervillains).

You really should read the core rule book of mutants & masterminds for inspiration. (And maybe Star Wars, the rpg if you want to go heavy an science-fiction firearms) You could definitely make a mutants and mastermind campaign entirely on your setting. However, since it is an extremely popular universe, the thing you need the most is either a true distinctive core mechanics and/or a really well written campaign scenario and world building.

As for your proof of concept prototype, here is my advice:

-Four preset character which are archetypes of the game you want to make, as you intend it to be played. (This is important because a lot of hardcore gamer are going to try finding exploit and min-maxing your game as soon they learned about your rules. Good foundations are important for a clearer vision and better rules.)

-A really small, one-shot adventure which is selling your concept without saying too much at first.  I can see your universe has depth. But this is something the player will like to discover over the course of several campaigns.

-A basic set of rules, be it D&D, D20, Mutants and Masterminds or something of your own making. Keep it simple at first as you don't want to make a final product yet.

To give you an idea, your proof of concept should not make more than 50 pages long (about 25 pages adventures, 25 pages rules) on word (including tables, pictures and credits) so you should be able to make it in about two weeks.

(Why is there no spoilers on the forum? They are really useful to hide/show block of texts that would be otherwise unreadable)

Re: Any advice for making a TTRPG?

#5

Miss Wrote: Okay. Now that I have a better understanding of your setting, I would be easier to make a educated guess about your potential audience.

WW2 Uchronia are extremely popular and so are superheroes (and supervillains).

You really should read the core rule book of mutants & masterminds for inspiration. (And maybe Star Wars, the rpg if you want to go heavy an science-fiction firearms) You could definitely make a mutants and mastermind campaign entirely on your setting. However, since it is an extremely popular universe, the thing you need the most is either a true distinctive core mechanics and/or a really well written campaign scenario and world building.

As for your proof of concept prototype, here is my advice:

-Four preset character which are archetypes of the game you want to make, as you intend it to be played. (This is important because a lot of hardcore gamer are going to try finding exploit and min-maxing your game as soon they learned about your rules. Good foundations are important for a clearer vision and better rules.)

-A really small, one-shot adventure which is selling your concept without saying too much at first.  I can see your universe has depth. But this is something the player will like to discover over the course of several campaigns.

-A basic set of rules, be it D&D, D20, Mutants and Masterminds or something of your own making. Keep it simple at first as you don't want to make a final product yet.

To give you an idea, your proof of concept should not make more than 50 pages long (about 25 pages adventures, 25 pages rules) on word (including tables, pictures and credits) so you should be able to make it in about two weeks.

(Why is there no spoilers on the forum? They are really useful to hide/show block of texts that would be otherwise unreadable)
Hello.


Allow me to continue what I was talking about before and properly reply to your post. 

Okay, so I should probably elaborate on my idea:

As I said before, the gameplay is going to be similar to games like X-Com and Hard West (it revolves around shooting from cover and flanking your enemy). I would like for it to take place on a 300x300 grid (a lot of logistical problems with this, I know) where individual tiles are defined as being either high or low cover (walls or chest-high walls). The combat is going to be very focused on guns. I decided this for a couple of reasons. First, there was a time where I wanted to backtrack on the whole superhero thing, because I thought it might alienate some people and because I had no clue how to make a customizable superpower-focused combat system (I didn't know about MnM and I already had some good ideas about how to make a gun-based system). For awhile I wanted to just cut superheroes out and focus more on somewhat realistic depictions of period weapons and the alt-history part of it (as I've been told that the idea kinda holds up on its own without superheroes). Then I remembered that, even if I couldn't make a balanced system where players are actually able to play as superheroes, I could just add them as 'bosses' for players to fight. Furthermore, there was a lot of superhero-adjacent stuff that would be fun to fight (think of any monster or minion from the golden or silver age of comics plus the sort of stuff you would find on the History Channel at 3 AM). I decided that the best way to deal with this is just to make a modular system where 'unrealistic' stuff could be included or excluded based on what the players want (I mean, if I'm building a good gun-based fighting system and then putting this superhero stuff on top of it, then it's not really hard to just offer the former without the latter). I also want to create simple and more complex 'realistic' mechanics that players could choose to play with. One example of this is firearms. I have a simple list of weapons that is highly accessible to people who don't care much about guns (in this list different types of guns and ammo are simplified; representing a  a particular type of gun is rather than any individual model) and I have a 'realistic' list that contains every single firearm that could be in the setting (meaning any firearm used by the military of any of the countries who are backing a faction in the second American civil war, any firearm in use by the US military prior to 1942, and any firearm that was sold in or commonly found in America during the 1930s (except muzzle loaders and cap and ball revolvers, because I ain't got time for that shit). 

I will read about MnM so that I can figure out how to make superheroes work in the game, but right now I'm focusing on non-powered people fighting soldiers, partisans, bandits, weird comic-book monsters, and superheroes. 

Now, as for 'character archetypes', I have a bit of a problem. I decided to not have any character classes and just have characters get better at using weapons the more they use them. The idea is that, with every new type of weapon you use, you start off basically being an 'infomercial person' who is almost incapable of doing anything (reduced accuracy, manually operated firearms take longer to cycle), but then you slowly receive accuracy bonuses and reductions to the amount of action points it costs to reload a gun or cycle its action (I'm not sounding like a weirdo saying 'action points' here, right?). I never really put much thought into character progression or specialization beyond what type of gun they are good at using. I do want to add some non-combat skills repair and medicine, but I'm not there yet. 

I don't have enough work done on the rules to make a campaign. I still need to figure out some stuff involving max character carry weight (based on 1-20 scale), how melee weapons and explosives work, and some other smaller stuff. Once that is done, the simplified version the game should be in a playable state.... or mostly playable...

Still, I do want to make a short adventure to play test this. I think that's a good idea and, while I don't feel like I can make a good full-size campaign right now, I do have some ideas that are good enough for something that you described. Finding people will be a challenge though. I think I can get it to 75 pages, maybe 60. I got 37 pages on rules and I will probably need at least 40 (though, a big part of this is due to formatting, I could probably save some space if I didn't make everything one list of bullet points and sub-bullet points or made charts that didn't look terrible). 

I don't know if I said this before, but a lot of what you said is for later down the road. I still need to get a working version of the game up and running. Still, this does look like very useful advice. Thank you. 

Re: Any advice for making a TTRPG?

#6
So I have yet another idea that might give you food for thought based on what you said:

You want a class-less character-progression and maybe even a level-less, since you want skills for every type of weapon to rise individually based on use.

That's a wet dream of a lot of player and it fit Albion Online and its skill tree progression.

However, for a ttrpg, what it means is that it is going to be token-heavy to keep track of progression.

You might found out that Mice and Mistics skill token exchange is both elegant and practical for your purpose of "level up your skills by using them"

You might also consider adopting a skill-tree if you want your player to specialize without the constraints of a class.

But unlike Albion Online, you don't want to go overboard with branching, or you are going to burn out quickly. Only one branching for the prototype would be okay as you just want to give a feel of what you future game might be.


Just for some out of the box thinking: you might reward your player later on for being especially good at doing one type of action with a weapon, like faster reload, better aiming accuracy...

I can also advise you on tools to get it done.

Re: Any advice for making a TTRPG?

#7
Creating my own dice based ttrpg
I love the d&d 5e system, simple and elegant. But for reasons I want to create my own ttrpg. I know the flavor I’d like for the system, but I could use tips on what to include in the mechanics as well as fun ideas for how the mechanics could work. Anyone have experience or ideas on how to design from the ground up?
If interested, I plan on funneling everything through four basic stats with 0 as a baseline. The stat itself will become the modifier. I plan on running 4 extremely barebones classes with very fleshed out subclasses, and possibly even branches out from those archetypes.
I appreciate any advice or ideas!

Re: Any advice for making a TTRPG?

#8
Hello shyam,

Glad to see this threat attracting new people. My first message is the generic advice I would give everyone without knowing their project.

So if you want me to help, either to make some matchmaking with existing system or helping making a system from the ground up, you need to ask yourself a lot of questions.

What kind of story do you want to tell?

Classic Era, Xanxia, Medieval Fantasy, Victorian Steampunk, Modern, WW1&2, Post-Modern, Space Opera SF.... or something else entirely.

What kind of TTRPG do you want to make?

Dice, token, cards, maps, character sheets, timers.... do you want any of those tools or do you want to play full theater of the mind? (which I would advice against)

What kind skills do you want to bring to your TTRPG?

My best advice on the subject is that you don't want to start with you dream TTRPG (or the TTRPG you would like to play).

Make a bullet point sheet of pros and cons. What you are good at. What you can feed to your project without burning out.

I will use myself as an example:

Pros:
-I'm curious.
-I like reverse-engineering and modding any kind of gaming system for fun.
-I like game-mastering.
-I know the rules of my favorite TTRPG good enough to make convincing new rules on the fly.
-I like to give my player freedom and mostly gamemaster northmarch.
-I like statistics and game theory.

Cons:
-I'm more of a fanfiction writer than an accomplished novelist.
-I'm not much of a planner. Yet, if I want to get anything done, I need to have clear objectives.
-I like to work solo but I need people to keep me motivated.

Result:
I worked as 'engineer' and playtest gamemaster of a lot of projects. Only three got published (an amateur werewolf extension, a smartphone cardgame based on the original ttrpg and a popular campaign that got republished to fit the current set of rules). People like to work with me because I know my part and I like to exchange idea and make their game come alive with simple tools and mechanics.

My dream project would be:

To make a class-less, level-less, deckbuilder version of pathfinder (my favorite universe), turning the current archetypes into cards to played and discarded to build a character. Level would not be necessary as they would be replaced by intrinsic reward of reaching one's goal. The novel I'm trying to write on RoyalRoad is based on that wild idea that I might never get to completion. Main issue of the project is the loss of consistent character progression (which is the drawback of giving up on level)

Back-on-track:

So if you want help, I willing to help out a bit for free and give some pointers. But you need to flesh-out what you want to make.

So far, my key-words are:
-D&D 5e
-Four basics stats with 0 as baseline
-Barebone classes + fleshout subclasses

By one that, what I would have to say is:

Go back to the roots!

Take the first four classes of D&D: Fighter, Priest, Mage and Scout. From those four, you can recreate the entire history of D&D classes and you could say that a druid is a very fleshout subclasses of Priest (or Cleric)

As for the four basic stats, I don't know which one. But there is a reason most ttrpg kept the "holy six": strength, dexterity, constitution, wisdom, intelligence and charisma.

The only one that would make somewhat sense to put together are wisdom, intelligence and charisma.

That's exactly what Mice and Mystics did: Swords for melee attack, Bow for ranged (or special) attacks, Hearts for life and Quill for lore (or knowledge).

As for how you want to make it fit into D&D 5e...

What you want to make is clearly a new game for the ground-up.

From what I'm reading, what I would advise you is to take the perfectly working system of Mice&Mystics and adapt it for the more mature universe of D&D, which already had been done by plaid hat games after the success of aforementioned game.

Re: Any advice for making a TTRPG?

#9

Miss Wrote: So I have yet another idea that might give you food for thought based on what you said:

You want a class-less character-progression and maybe even a level-less, since you want skills for every type of weapon to rise individually based on use.

That's a wet dream of a lot of player and it fit Albion Online and its skill tree progression.

However, for a ttrpg, what it means is that it is going to be token-heavy to keep track of progression.

You might found out that Mice and Mistics skill token exchange is both elegant and practical for your purpose of "level up your skills by using them"

You might also consider adopting a skill-tree if you want your player to specialize without the constraints of a class.

But unlike Albion Online, you don't want to go overboard with branching, or you are going to burn out quickly. Only one branching for the prototype would be okay as you just want to give a feel of what you future game might be.


Just for some out of the box thinking: you might reward your player later on for being especially good at doing one type of action with a weapon, like faster reload, better aiming accuracy...

I can also advise you on tools to get it done.
Hello,


Once again I think I should respond and elaborate further on what I am doing. 

I'm not entirely sure about what you mean when you say tokens. My plan for tracking progress was just by putting tally marks for weapon types on character sheets. 

My plan (and I admit this is crude and I'm open to changing it) is this: Every weapon has a base-level accuracy and a base-level action point cost for every possible action that can be performed with the weapon. Everytime a character survives a combat encounter using a weapon of that particular type, that is recorded. Once a character has survived a certain number of battles using a particular type of weapon, they move up into a new 'familiarity level' (I should rename this to 'skill level' or something). Each familiarity level has modifiers that either reduce the action point cost for particular actions or increase accuracy and these modifiers stack every time a character moves up to a new familiarity level. 

Now, I will show you how this would work with a particular weapon, but first let me just explain action points. There is one character stat called 'agility and dexterity'. This is a number between 1 and 20 that is generated upon character creation through the rolling of a 20-sided dice.  This means that 20 action points per turn, in most cases, the maximum number of action points a character could have. 

Now, let me show you how this would work with a bolt action battle rifle. Contrary to what video games and movies would have you believe, the most commonly-used weapon during WW2 was not a submachine gun or a semi-automatic battle rifle (with the exception of the Americans), but a bolt action rifle. Now, there are plenty of exceptions to what I'm about to say here, but generally they are hard-hitting rifles that fire powerful thirty caliber projectiles. To put things in some sort of perspective, these rifles fire larger and faster projectiles than modern assault rifles. They use a non-detachable box-magazine and as a result of that they can only be reloaded via two methods: through use of a stripper clip (a piece of brass that holds 5-6 rounds together so that the user has an easy time pushing them into the magazine all at once) or by loading each bullet individually. The former process is much faster than the latter. In order to operate the weapon, the user must first open the action (this requires the guns 'bolt' to be rotated and then pulled back), load their cartridges, close the action (this means pushing the bolt forward and rotating it back into it's original position), and the firing the rifle. If they user wishes to fire again, they must open and close the bolt for each individual shot until the magazine is empty. 

Now, the important thing to take away from this is that the rifle is very powerful, has a long range, but has a slow rate of fire due to the need to manually cycle the action for each individual shot. The base stats for a bolt action battle rifle are (as far as action points are concerned) 1 AP to fire the rifle, 8 AP to cycle the bolt, 6 AP to load a single cartridge, and 8 AP to load 5 cartridges at once using a stripper clip. 

I have 5 (technically 6 if you include using the weapon with it's base states) possible levels of experience for this type of weapon (there are other bolt action rifles, such as an AT rifle and a .22LR target rifle, but they basically work the same way). Every time a character survives 5 fights while using a bolt action rifle they advance to the next level. Here is what happens every time a character advances up a level (and keep in mind these bonuses stack):

Level 1: -1 ‘cycle action’ action point cost,  -1 ‘load single cartridge’ action point cost,  -1 ‘load stripper clip’ action point cost
Level 2: -1 ‘cycle action’ action point cost,  -1 ‘load single cartridge’ action point cost,  -1 ‘load stripper clip’ action point cost
Level 3: -1 ‘cycle action’ action point cost,  -1 ‘load single cartridge’ action point cost,  -2 ‘load stripper clip’ action point cost
Level 4: -1 ‘cycle action’ action point cost,  -1 ‘load single cartridge’ action point cost,  -2 ‘load stripper clip’ action point cost,  +5 to accuracy throw
Level 5:  -1 ‘cycle action’ action point cost,  +15 to accuracy throw

I probably should find a better way to distribute gains to accuracy, but I think I did a good job showing how someone who can barely use a bolt action rifle slowly turns into a badass. 


Adding a skill tree to this does sound like a good idea (because then I could give the player the option to choose if they want to operate the weapon more quickly or shoot more accurately, but I don't know how I would implement that without creating a massive mess. Also, I don't really know if I can make a tree by having just those two ways of improving. 

I would be interested in learning about any tools that could help me out. 


 

Re: Any advice for making a TTRPG?

#10
Creating my own dice based ttrpg
I love the d&d 5e system, simple and elegant. But for reasons I want to create my own ttrpg. I know the flavor I’d like for the system, but I could use tips on what to include in the mechanics as well as fun ideas for how the mechanics could work. Anyone have experience or ideas on how to design from the ground up?
If interested, I plan on funneling everything through four basic stats with 0 as a baseline. The stat itself will become the modifier. I plan on running 4 extremely barebones classes with very fleshed out subclasses, and possibly even branches out from those archetypes.
I appreciate any advice or ideas!

Re: Any advice for making a TTRPG?

#11
ravik

Can a mods do something about trolling? I'm pretty sure posting the same message twice with two different alias while there is already an answer is abusive.

YoshikageKiraStan13

Quote:I'm not entirely sure about what you mean when you say tokens. My plan for tracking progress was just by putting tally marks for weapon types on character sheets. 


A token is a physical remainder of something. Like, if you need to do 10 times the same actions to level up a certain skill for a certain weapon, you might want a way to keep track. Or in my example : in mice & mystics, token is a piece of cheese. Once you have the entire cheese = 6 tokens, you can spent it to get a new skill.

Character sheet are good but if you want to keep track of everything, especially kind of data like "do something to get that", tokens are betters. Given the theme of your game, tokens can be money or bullets, for example.


Quote:My plan (and I admit this is crude and I'm open to changing it) is this: Every weapon has a base-level accuracy and a base-level action point cost for every possible action that can be performed with the weapon. Everytime a character survives a combat encounter using a weapon of that particular type, that is recorded. Once a character has survived a certain number of battles using a particular type of weapon, they move up into a new 'familiarity level' (I should rename this to 'skill level' or something). Each familiarity level has modifiers that either reduce the action point cost for particular actions or increase accuracy and these modifiers stack every time a character moves up to a new familiarity level. 


I think I understand your familiarity level idea and it is good. However, I have to ask: should I assume your player are only use one weapon or several?

If there is more that one weapon at a time that you might use, or even, more than one weapon used in a single combat, you might want a way to physically track your progress so your character sheet do not become twenty pages long.

Otherwise, it is reasonable to a unified "familiarity" data for everything related to said weapon. Especially if you are using a lot of those. You might however want to make weapon unlock different effect based on familiarity. For example, a sniper want accuracy and this is a really good thing to have. But a skirmisher would have different needs. And so would the frontliners holding a position and just wanting the enemy to slow down or back-off.

Just a little thing to consider: a single number can be used on several different things if you want to give your weapons "flavor".


Quote:Now, I will show you how this would work with a particular weapon, but first let me just explain action points. There is one character stat called 'agility and dexterity'. This is a number between 1 and 20 that is generated upon character creation through the rolling of a 20-sided dice.  This means that 20 action points per turn, in most cases, the maximum number of action points a character could have. 


20 actions per turn is ridiculous, even accounting for the fact they are going to spend 3 actions per shoots. Even if you used a D12 instead of a D20, 12 actions per turn ~ 4 shots per turn (if they are doing nothing else) is a lot.

What I means is: How long your turns are?

For example, Pathfinder follow the pretty standard rule of 1 turn = 6 seconds, 10 turns = 1 minute. With 1 turn = 6 seconds, they determined that 3 actions of your choice per turn is okay. The longer your turn is, the more passive your players are while this is not their turn, so the shorter, the better.

I don't know about WW2, but I googled the time it took for a current gun to be reload, and it told me the fasted was 3 to 5 seconds. So your action economy might make sense if your turn is a whole minute. But damn! A minute is extremely long for a player in battle.


Quote:
Now, let me show you how this would work with a bolt action battle rifle. Contrary to what video games and movies would have you believe, the most commonly-used weapon during WW2 was not a submachine gun or a semi-automatic battle rifle (with the exception of the Americans), but a bolt action rifle. Now, there are plenty of exceptions to what I'm about to say here, but generally they are hard-hitting rifles that fire powerful thirty caliber projectiles. To put things in some sort of perspective, these rifles fire larger and faster projectiles than modern assault rifles. They use a non-detachable box-magazine and as a result of that they can only be reloaded via two methods: through use of a stripper clip (a piece of brass that holds 5-6 rounds together so that the user has an easy time pushing them into the magazine all at once) or by loading each bullet individually. The former process is much faster than the latter. In order to operate the weapon, the user must first open the action (this requires the guns 'bolt' to be rotated and then pulled back), load their cartridges, close the action (this means pushing the bolt forward and rotating it back into it's original position), and the firing the rifle. If they user wishes to fire again, they must open and close the bolt for each individual shot until the magazine is empty. 

Now, the important thing to take away from this is that the rifle is very powerful, has a long range, but has a slow rate of fire due to the need to manually cycle the action for each individual shot. The base stats for a bolt action battle rifle are (as far as action points are concerned) 1 AP to fire the rifle, 8 AP to cycle the bolt, 6 AP to load a single cartridge, and 8 AP to load 5 cartridges at once using a stripper clip. 

I have 5 (technically 6 if you include using the weapon with it's base states) possible levels of experience for this type of weapon (there are other bolt action rifles, such as an AT rifle and a .22LR target rifle, but they basically work the same way). Every time a character survives 5 fights while using a bolt action rifle they advance to the next level. Here is what happens every time a character advances up a level (and keep in mind these bonuses stack):

Level 1: -1 ‘cycle action’ action point cost,  -1 ‘load single cartridge’ action point cost,  -1 ‘load stripper clip’ action point cost
Level 2: -1 ‘cycle action’ action point cost,  -1 ‘load single cartridge’ action point cost,  -1 ‘load stripper clip’ action point cost
Level 3: -1 ‘cycle action’ action point cost,  -1 ‘load single cartridge’ action point cost,  -2 ‘load stripper clip’ action point cost
Level 4: -1 ‘cycle action’ action point cost,  -1 ‘load single cartridge’ action point cost,  -2 ‘load stripper clip’ action point cost,  +5 to accuracy throw
Level 5:  -1 ‘cycle action’ action point cost,  +15 to accuracy throw

I probably should find a better way to distribute gains to accuracy, but I think I did a good job showing how someone who can barely use a bolt action rifle slowly turns into a badass. 


I must admit you lost me on this one. I understand what you are saying make perfect sense but my mind don't comprehend it. I guess I would only understand it if I could watch you play.

However, if that is not just me, consider breaking the information piece by piece and explain each part. Picture trying to explain your game to a 8 years old who blissfully never saw a gun in his life. (Even if a 8 years old would obviously not be your target audience, that's a good exercise to ensure you can be understood by anyone.) And if you don't have anyone, programmer like using the rubber duck debugging method, sometimes literally. (I'm queer so of course I have a rubber duck ;) )


Quote:Adding a skill tree to this does sound like a good idea (because then I could give the player the option to choose if they want to operate the weapon more quickly or shoot more accurately, but I don't know how I would implement that without creating a massive mess. Also, I don't really know if I can make a tree by having just those two ways of improving. 


Skill tree are always a huge mess. But most conditional skill in ttrpg are made that way, somewhat adding up to four conditions to unlock a skill.

What you want is just a scratch at first. I do not know much about gun, mostly because I play medieval fantasy but here is what I think about:

What that weapon is good for? Who is using it? And for what purpose?

Guns have different ammo, right? Bullets have different calibers, weight, velocity and doing different type of damage. People getting familiar with a weapon would get faster at reloading, faster and/or more accurate at aiming, more steady to increase accuracy and would get better at handling the recoil.

There is also the tactical use of some weapon. You can say that a rookee should have little to no battle sense while a senior would know how to make the most of each shot. Depending on what you are aiming to do (kill an enemy, defend a position, try to by time for your allies to take cover or even stealthy take a shot to not bust your cover...) one would probably not shoot the same way.

All those things are things you might want to think about for a skill tree, especially if you really want to make a TTRPG from scratch. Of course, you can't respond all those questions on your own. That's the reason why you only want to make the backbone of a skill tree first, so your team and future community could build upon.


Quote:I would be interested in learning about any tools that could help me out. 


Googling "skill tree tool" will get you a lot a free and paid option to make your life easier.

My personal tip is that tools used for visual novels (the descendant of "You are the hero" books) also work best for skill tree and conveniently, there are a lot of decent and free options in those (I literally learned coding with Twine and Ren'py eons ago. Gameflow is apparently good too, especially for massive tree with multiple conditions. I would also advise you some writer tools for brainstorming. There are app to help with your creative thinking. Even if nothing can help you quite as much as having a team to brainstorm with)

I also advise you to have some good app to take notes (I use Evernote and never paid for premium). I notice that I have a lot of idea that came up while walking or just being busy doing something else. Taking some quick notes here and there is life-changing. You gain a lot of time just by letting your mind wandering. Literally, that advice apply to everything. You have an idea, especially at the wrong time, wrong place: take notes, come back to it later.

Finally, you need a good editor. Especially if you want to make a rule book with pictures. Word is decent. But the formatting to make anything fancy take forever in word. Especially tables: tables in words make me crazy. There are tools like calibre (freeware) made edit, merge, publish and convert your files into pdf, epub and more. A lot of books that end up on kindle are produce that way, using word for text, excel for table, photoshop for pictures, merging files with an editor for a clean final product. Again, everything that can make you gain some time is your friend. And if you find something that work for you for free, even better, I guess?

Re: Any advice for making a TTRPG?

#12

Miss Wrote: ravik

Can a mods do something about trolling? I'm pretty sure posting the same message twice with two different alias while there is already an answer is abusive.

YoshikageKiraStan13

Quote:I'm not entirely sure about what you mean when you say tokens. My plan for tracking progress was just by putting tally marks for weapon types on character sheets. 


A token is a physical remainder of something. Like, if you need to do 10 times the same actions to level up a certain skill for a certain weapon, you might want a way to keep track. Or in my example : in mice & mystics, token is a piece of cheese. Once you have the entire cheese = 6 tokens, you can spent it to get a new skill.

Character sheet are good but if you want to keep track of everything, especially kind of data like "do something to get that", tokens are betters. Given the theme of your game, tokens can be money or bullets, for example.


Quote:My plan (and I admit this is crude and I'm open to changing it) is this: Every weapon has a base-level accuracy and a base-level action point cost for every possible action that can be performed with the weapon. Everytime a character survives a combat encounter using a weapon of that particular type, that is recorded. Once a character has survived a certain number of battles using a particular type of weapon, they move up into a new 'familiarity level' (I should rename this to 'skill level' or something). Each familiarity level has modifiers that either reduce the action point cost for particular actions or increase accuracy and these modifiers stack every time a character moves up to a new familiarity level. 


I think I understand your familiarity level idea and it is good. However, I have to ask: should I assume your player are only use one weapon or several?

If there is more that one weapon at a time that you might use, or even, more than one weapon used in a single combat, you might want a way to physically track your progress so your character sheet do not become twenty pages long.

Otherwise, it is reasonable to a unified "familiarity" data for everything related to said weapon. Especially if you are using a lot of those. You might however want to make weapon unlock different effect based on familiarity. For example, a sniper want accuracy and this is a really good thing to have. But a skirmisher would have different needs. And so would the frontliners holding a position and just wanting the enemy to slow down or back-off.

Just a little thing to consider: a single number can be used on several different things if you want to give your weapons "flavor".


Quote:Now, I will show you how this would work with a particular weapon, but first let me just explain action points. There is one character stat called 'agility and dexterity'. This is a number between 1 and 20 that is generated upon character creation through the rolling of a 20-sided dice.  This means that 20 action points per turn, in most cases, the maximum number of action points a character could have. 


20 actions per turn is ridiculous, even accounting for the fact they are going to spend 3 actions per shoots. Even if you used a D12 instead of a D20, 12 actions per turn ~ 4 shots per turn (if they are doing nothing else) is a lot.

What I means is: How long your turns are?

For example, Pathfinder follow the pretty standard rule of 1 turn = 6 seconds, 10 turns = 1 minute. With 1 turn = 6 seconds, they determined that 3 actions of your choice per turn is okay. The longer your turn is, the more passive your players are while this is not their turn, so the shorter, the better.

I don't know about WW2, but I googled the time it took for a current gun to be reload, and it told me the fasted was 3 to 5 seconds. So your action economy might make sense if your turn is a whole minute. But damn! A minute is extremely long for a player in battle.


Quote:
Now, let me show you how this would work with a bolt action battle rifle. Contrary to what video games and movies would have you believe, the most commonly-used weapon during WW2 was not a submachine gun or a semi-automatic battle rifle (with the exception of the Americans), but a bolt action rifle. Now, there are plenty of exceptions to what I'm about to say here, but generally they are hard-hitting rifles that fire powerful thirty caliber projectiles. To put things in some sort of perspective, these rifles fire larger and faster projectiles than modern assault rifles. They use a non-detachable box-magazine and as a result of that they can only be reloaded via two methods: through use of a stripper clip (a piece of brass that holds 5-6 rounds together so that the user has an easy time pushing them into the magazine all at once) or by loading each bullet individually. The former process is much faster than the latter. In order to operate the weapon, the user must first open the action (this requires the guns 'bolt' to be rotated and then pulled back), load their cartridges, close the action (this means pushing the bolt forward and rotating it back into it's original position), and the firing the rifle. If they user wishes to fire again, they must open and close the bolt for each individual shot until the magazine is empty. 

Now, the important thing to take away from this is that the rifle is very powerful, has a long range, but has a slow rate of fire due to the need to manually cycle the action for each individual shot. The base stats for a bolt action battle rifle are (as far as action points are concerned) 1 AP to fire the rifle, 8 AP to cycle the bolt, 6 AP to load a single cartridge, and 8 AP to load 5 cartridges at once using a stripper clip. 

I have 5 (technically 6 if you include using the weapon with it's base states) possible levels of experience for this type of weapon (there are other bolt action rifles, such as an AT rifle and a .22LR target rifle, but they basically work the same way). Every time a character survives 5 fights while using a bolt action rifle they advance to the next level. Here is what happens every time a character advances up a level (and keep in mind these bonuses stack):

Level 1: -1 ‘cycle action’ action point cost,  -1 ‘load single cartridge’ action point cost,  -1 ‘load stripper clip’ action point cost
Level 2: -1 ‘cycle action’ action point cost,  -1 ‘load single cartridge’ action point cost,  -1 ‘load stripper clip’ action point cost
Level 3: -1 ‘cycle action’ action point cost,  -1 ‘load single cartridge’ action point cost,  -2 ‘load stripper clip’ action point cost
Level 4: -1 ‘cycle action’ action point cost,  -1 ‘load single cartridge’ action point cost,  -2 ‘load stripper clip’ action point cost,  +5 to accuracy throw
Level 5:  -1 ‘cycle action’ action point cost,  +15 to accuracy throw

I probably should find a better way to distribute gains to accuracy, but I think I did a good job showing how someone who can barely use a bolt action rifle slowly turns into a badass. 


I must admit you lost me on this one. I understand what you are saying make perfect sense but my mind don't comprehend it. I guess I would only understand it if I could watch you play.

However, if that is not just me, consider breaking the information piece by piece and explain each part. Picture trying to explain your game to a 8 years old who blissfully never saw a gun in his life. (Even if a 8 years old would obviously not be your target audience, that's a good exercise to ensure you can be understood by anyone.) And if you don't have anyone, programmer like using the rubber duck debugging method, sometimes literally. (I'm queer so of course I have a rubber duck ;) )


Quote:Adding a skill tree to this does sound like a good idea (because then I could give the player the option to choose if they want to operate the weapon more quickly or shoot more accurately, but I don't know how I would implement that without creating a massive mess. Also, I don't really know if I can make a tree by having just those two ways of improving. 


Skill tree are always a huge mess. But most conditional skill in ttrpg are made that way, somewhat adding up to four conditions to unlock a skill.

What you want is just a scratch at first. I do not know much about gun, mostly because I play medieval fantasy but here is what I think about:

What that weapon is good for? Who is using it? And for what purpose?

Guns have different ammo, right? Bullets have different calibers, weight, velocity and doing different type of damage. People getting familiar with a weapon would get faster at reloading, faster and/or more accurate at aiming, more steady to increase accuracy and would get better at handling the recoil.

There is also the tactical use of some weapon. You can say that a rookee should have little to no battle sense while a senior would know how to make the most of each shot. Depending on what you are aiming to do (kill an enemy, defend a position, try to by time for your allies to take cover or even stealthy take a shot to not bust your cover...) one would probably not shoot the same way.

All those things are things you might want to think about for a skill tree, especially if you really want to make a TTRPG from scratch. Of course, you can't respond all those questions on your own. That's the reason why you only want to make the backbone of a skill tree first, so your team and future community could build upon.


Quote:I would be interested in learning about any tools that could help me out. 


Googling "skill tree tool" will get you a lot a free and paid option to make your life easier.

My personal tip is that tools used for visual novels (the descendant of "You are the hero" books) also work best for skill tree and conveniently, there are a lot of decent and free options in those (I literally learned coding with Twine and Ren'py eons ago. Gameflow is apparently good too, especially for massive tree with multiple conditions. I would also advise you some writer tools for brainstorming. There are app to help with your creative thinking. Even if nothing can help you quite as much as having a team to brainstorm with)

I also advise you to have some good app to take notes (I use Evernote and never paid for premium). I notice that I have a lot of idea that came up while walking or just being busy doing something else. Taking some quick notes here and there is life-changing. You gain a lot of time just by letting your mind wandering. Literally, that advice apply to everything. You have an idea, especially at the wrong time, wrong place: take notes, come back to it later.

Finally, you need a good editor. Especially if you want to make a rule book with pictures. Word is decent. But the formatting to make anything fancy take forever in word. Especially tables: tables in words make me crazy. There are tools like calibre (freeware) made edit, merge, publish and convert your files into pdf, epub and more. A lot of books that end up on kindle are produce that way, using word for text, excel for table, photoshop for pictures, merging files with an editor for a clean final product. Again, everything that can make you gain some time is your friend. And if you find something that work for you for free, even better, I guess?
Okay, it just occurred to me that the average TTRPG player might not know as much about guns as I do. Also, I might have messed up the explanation. Here is a three and a half minute long video about how a bolt action rifle (Mauser K98k) works (only the first two and a half minutes are relevant): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igNcDEEl5to 


Basically by 'cycling the action' I was referring to the process of moving that cylindrical metal with a handle on it thing back and forth. You need to do this every time you want to fire the gun. 

20 AP does sound like a lot, but I intend to balance this in a number of ways. Bolt action battle rifles have high damage, but they need to be cycled after every shot. Light machine guns have high damage and are fully automatic, but they have high recoil (which lowers accuracy). You can mitigate this by using a bipod, but that takes time and restricts you to a fixed position. Submachine guns have a high rate of fire, but deal less damage, have a shorter range, and lots of recoil.

Now, to go back to the bolt action rifle, you gotta remember that you have to cycle the action after each shot (if you want to fire again). Because cycling the action requires 8 AP, that means you would spend 1 point firing the rifle, 8 points cycling the action, and 1 more point firing again. this comes out to total 11 AP points. Cycling the action again would bring that up to 19. This means that, assuming that the character has a total of 20 AP (the maximum), is on the lowest level of weapon familiarity, and isn't doing anything else that turn, they can fire 3 times.  At the maximum level of weapon familiarity they can fire 4 times (1+4+1+4+1+4+1+4).

Okay, actually, while writing this out I think I might have messed up the math here, since I think I meant for a maximum of 2 shots (assuming nothing else is being done and 20 AP) per turn at the lowest level of weapon familiarity, but I think you get the point. I did also make this thinking that the player usually have one other thing that they would have to worry about during every turn (such as moving or reloading) and that most players wouldn't have 20 AP (with 14-16 being far more likely). 

Still, that thing you said about players not being engaged when it's not their turn does sound like a problem, so maybe I should take that into account. 

When it comes down to time, I haven't put much thought into what you had said. I never thought about how long a turn is. All I thought about is how pulling a trigger is probably the simplest action a person could do, so it should be represented by the smallest possible division of a single turn. Every other action is supposed to be relative to a trigger pull (to an extent). I also just imagined that everything would play out like X-Com. The team that wins the initiative roll has all of their characters take a turn and then the other side takes their turn. 

Now, as for weapon familiarity, a character can use several weapons per combat encounter and (as the rules are now) as long as a weapon is used at least once during that combat encounter, it counts for weapon familiarity. This isn't an elegant system, and I'd be willing to ditch it for something better, but that's what I got at the moment. 

I don't think that this would take up too much space on a character sheet, since every type of weapon would be one small space for tally marks. Also, I am rolling multiple weapons into the same weapon type. For instance, I have mouseguns (25 ACP vest pistols), semi-automatic target pistols (22LR pistols for target shooting) sub-caliber semi-automatic pistols (32 ACP straight-blowback pistols), and semi-automatic service pistols (full-sized military sidearms chambered in 9mm or 45 ACP) all share the same class of semi-automatic pistols even thought they deal different amounts of damage and use different ammo. 

I'm not sure how I can implement different weapons coming with different 'abilities' (other than this one idea I had that involved suppressive fire and machine guns), but maybe I think of something.

As for tools, I think I'm just going to bite the bullet and put all of the charts I've made into Google Sheets (I have most of what I have planned out in a Google Doc). I'm using charts in there and you're right. It's some pretty brain-melting shit and I should stop doing it. I'll also give this Evernote stuff a try. This calibre stuff is going to be a use a little more in the future, when I actually have something that works, but I should be able to get some use out of it when I have to cross that bridge. 

Thanks for everything you've said so far. It's all pretty good, except for that part about tokens. I think that if I tried to make tokens represent bullets then the entirety of what is visible on the table top would just be bullets (https://www.battleorder.org/post/us-ammo-load-ww2). 

Edit: (2/24/2022) I moved two of the biggest charts I had into a separate google sheets file. I thought it would be really difficult, but it was actually really easy and both my charts and document are much more readable now.