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Creating a Pen and Paper RPG...

ToothyToothy Registered User regular
edited October 2007 in Critical Failures
Ok, so, I've begun creating a pen and paper game after various trials as a kid. But this time I'm actually doing it right, not thinking about how cool it would be if there were dragonmen who wielded two-bladed swords or some stupid crap I used to fantasize about. The real kicker is, I haven't had much experience outside of d20. Thus I have some questions I've been hoping you guys could answer.

I like free-form RPGs that pretty much allow you to do whatever you want within the system, like Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. My main problem is that I like the idea of special moves or spells for characters, but I have no idea how to implement them into a free-form game. I've seen some examples in various threads or the Mutants and Masterminds picking point based things, but I don't want to read something else and say, "I'm going to steal that idea."

The sticking point for me is that if I make special moves (however modular or character created) then it seems like dividing them up between things is just another form of character classes. So you all have a gist of what I'm expecting, these spells and abilities are divided into combat techniques, enhancements, and defenses.

Techniques are the actual spells, enhancements are one-time use bonuses you can apply to a technique, and defenses are the ways your character defends himself. (A character can have only one defense activated at a time, but they're pretty powerful.)

So what I'm asking is, would it be possible for a game to still be free-form even if there are special moves? Second, if they were divided into multiple types, say melee skills requiring adrenaline or focus, would it be easier to just call them classes and be done with it?



TL;DR: I'm making a game for eventual indie publishing. Can classes work in a happy medium with a free-form system?

Toothy on

Posts

  • RendRend Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Yes. You can definitely do all those things with classless advancement! In fact, it's a very fun way to do things sometimes.

    One way to do this might be to restrict the taking of powers to levels in character level, or skill, or statistical point based, things, etc.

    If you want classless advancement, go for it. It's a great system if you can get it down right. Have you played anything with classless advancement other than oblivion?

    Rend on
  • ToothyToothy Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    No, I haven't. I tried Fallout for a little while, but nothing other than looking at the Shadowrun and GURPS books.

    Well, since I got such a quick response, I was thinking about making all these special moves purchasable with experience. I had a very video game-y way of limiting the number a character could use at one time. You essentially had points or slots to equip them with. There would be ways of changing them in combat to adapt to the situation, but the purpose was to create a paradigm of knowing more or using more. I had a whole bunch of classes that worked within the systems laid out, but I got hooked on the idea of putting all the tools into the character's hands. Right now I'm working out exactly how I want the characters to access them, requirements, etc.

    My next question is, would having them pick from abilities that describe characters keep with the classless theme, but divide them well enough for ease of use?

    I have a set of talents that characters can pick to augment their characters that are divided up into types like Strong, Tough, Smart, Scientific, or Occult. I was going to just organize them into little paths of like-minded ones that branch out from the central themes.

    Basically, you can pick modular combat abilities, defensive powers, enhancements that affect anything your character chooses to do, and passive bonuses. Man, just getting this out is helping me organize my thoughts better.

    Toothy on
  • RendRend Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    I liked fallout's system personally, but it didn't leave a whole lot of room, so it probably wouldn't work well for what you're trying to do.

    If you are going to go with talent trees, those are essentially going to be classes, unless you have enough of them so that they each constitude a certain skill. For instance, if your trees are:
    Strong
    Magic
    Healer
    Shady
    ...remind anyone of character classes...? Anyone?

    But if you have enough trees, then they just start to resemble skills, and the improvement of those skills. The different talents in the tree would be like ranks in d20 skills, except glorified and with extra added benefit.
    Also, keep in mind, if you want most characters branching out into several trees or staying in just one, have incentives for that.

    What I'm saying, i suppose, is that if you want to keep it classless, but you still want characters to follow advancement paths, you need to give them room to choose.

    How long were your trees going to be?

    Rend on
  • ToothyToothy Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    Well, I also have skills like Melee Combat, Stealth, Mechanics, Athletics, etc. ad infinitum.

    But to answer your question, I was mostly thinking of making them pretty shallow. I was considering making them 4 to 5 talents per branch, with a couple "common core" talents combining all the branches together.

    An example of the tough problem I'm working on is adrenaline. I want it to play into every character's abilities during combat. So I was going to create extra options characters could do if they got pumped up. Then I thought it'd be cool if there were characters who specialized in it, so I came up with daredevil, stuntmen type characters and combat brutes who use it to do superhuman feats. Which sort of started leaning towards classes again.

    I think what I'm going to end up doing is work a little more on the types of limitations I would want to put on these abilities than the abilities themselves for the time being.

    Toothy on
  • RendRend Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    What about higher tier trees? Like, Adrenaline specialization-- requires x talents from athletics, x talents from combat, etc etc.

    Rend on
  • ToothyToothy Registered User regular
    edited October 2007
    I think I'm going to go with an idea similar to that. The work is going pretty slow, since I'm doing it by myself, but do you want me to PM you a workable version when I get it?

    Toothy on
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