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You are here: Home --> Forum Home --> General Forum --> Common Room --> I'll make my own RPG, with blackjack, and hookers!
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Icelanders! Roll Out
Karma: 102/11
1514 Posts

I'll make my own RPG, with blackjack, and hookers!

So I've had this idea since last Christmas that I could make my very own RPG. I'm not just talking about a setting or slightly modifying well known systems, but to actually create a new system with a new setting.

And about a month ago, I got an idea how the main mechanics would be while listening to my girlfriend playing with her two smaller brothers in a made up RPG. Basically, it involves a number of d6 and a difficulty which those dice need to equal or exceed. I doubt I am the first to think of it, but I have never seen it used like this, but I'm gonna use it.

So, why am I making this thread then? Eventually, I want to get this published in one way or the other. Thing is, I have never gotten anything published yet, have never tried, and I don't know much about writing a gaming manual.

I'm not going to do this alone. I'm going to get some of my friends from the University to help out with a thing or two, get some playtesters and some artists maybe (or just give a monkey some crayons), and do this rather professionally.

Which brings me to my request: How am I supposed to get this done? Where do I start? In what order should I do this? Has anyone of you participated in a project like this before and how did you do it? Any insanely bright ideas regarding anything?

Posted on 2009-09-16 at 16:28:57.

Icelanders! Roll Out
Karma: 102/11
1514 Posts


For those of you who don't get my reference in the title, I'm not actually going to include blackjack or hookers. Also, watch more Futurama.

Just in case it needed to be said

Posted on 2009-09-17 at 09:54:47.
Edited on 2009-09-17 at 09:54:58 by Skari-dono

Chaotic Hungry
Karma: 38/6
406 Posts

Hmm... so, no blackjack... or hookers?

Basically, it involves a number of d6 and a difficulty which those dice need to equal or exceed. I doubt I am the first to think of it, but I have never seen it used like this, but I'm gonna use it.
The mechanic you’ve just described sounds close to West End Games’ old D6 system. That might be something to look into before you invest masses of time into this.

Which brings me to my request: How am I supposed to get this done? Where do I start? In what order should I do this? Has anyone of you participated in a project like this before and how did you do it? Any insanely bright ideas regarding anything?
This might be a good place to start, since it’s frequented by a fair number of published game designers who could probably tell you more than most of us here.

It’s probably also fair to say that the RPG market is massively saturated, but you probably knew that already. Selling a PDF might be a better way to go, to save yourself the costs of printing, but I’m really just speculating here.

Otherwise, best of luck. Keep us informed of how it turns out if you decide to take this one any further.

Posted on 2009-09-17 at 12:51:11.
Edited on 2009-09-17 at 12:51:32 by Vorrioch

Vote Grugg
Karma: 42/10
117 Posts

My thoughts

Speaking of Futurama, wouldn't it be cool to play a Futurama RPG? I would love to see the stats for El Chupanibre!

My advice is that you plan out the rule system in its entirety before doing anything else like art or layout—or even writing. When you're done (or even while you're still planning), playtest it and see what's good and what's bad about it. After this, you should have a solid foundation for putting an actual book together (or rethinking the entire project if the playtests don't turn out well).

Finally, start considering publishing only after you've completed the game and made sure it's well-written and fun to play. When and if you get a chance to actually get this thing in wider circulation, that's a good time to focus on purely presentational aspects such as layout and art.

I have never published a book myself, but I do have personal experience of beginning work on all aspects of a project only to find that the core concepts of it are simply bad ideas that sorely need to be improved or even completely replaced.

Posted on 2009-09-17 at 15:14:49.
Edited on 2009-09-17 at 15:17:51 by Scarab

Icelanders! Roll Out
Karma: 102/11
1514 Posts


Thanks for the tips, I will certainly keep them in mind

I intend for this thing to be entirely written in Icelandic, making this to be effectively the second all Icelandic role-playing game (the first one was kinda bad since their focus was on Norse mythology but borrowed creatures from others, such as the Medusa and vampires). This might become a problem because the role-playing market is rather small here in Iceland, which is also the reason why I want to make it in Icelandic and using d6 because it will become much more accessable for non-role-players.

The base-system so far is close to D&D. You roll d6 and compare it with a target number, but instead of adding a Skill modifier your skill determines how many dice you roll. The Skills are also much fewer, I have written down 9 Skills which I think will cover most of the actions possible. This is of course subject to change, but I don't think the number will go much higher than maybe 12.

There are Attributes, but I'm not sure how they will interact with the Skills, if they will interact with them at all.

I've also given thought to a Skill that doesn't actually work like the other Skills (and technically isn't a Skill), called Luck. It advances like Skills, and counts as Skill at character creation, but it a set number of bonus dice you can spend on other rolls per story.

I've also brainstormed on other things, such as how you can fumble, but that's just an base idea as of yet. I've also given some thought to combat, but still not solid ideas.

Posted on 2009-09-17 at 15:59:43.

Fun is Mandatory
RDI Staff
Karma: 365/54
6858 Posts


An early thing you want to think about is whether or not you will use classes (warrior, mage, etc) in your game, or if you will allow a player to pick from an ala carte menu to build whatever they want. Also, if you have magic, how will it work?

Posted on 2009-09-17 at 16:22:08.

Icelanders! Roll Out
Karma: 102/11
1514 Posts


There will be magic but no classes. I prefer the freedom of character advancement which I feel classes hamper.

I'm not entirely sure how magic will work, but I'm thinking of tying it in with a Skill. It won't be easy and even the most basic spell requires more than a single d6 can achieve.

I'm thinking about having certain spells which you can learn by spending XP, and these spells will be divided into different groups. Rune magic is different from Nature magic, or what have you.

I have a thought of building spells using several aspects, including duration, range, area and damage. How it will tie together and what effect it will have, I'm not sure yet, but that's about all the thought I've given this.

Posted on 2009-09-17 at 16:58:35.

Fun is Mandatory
RDI Staff
Karma: 365/54
6858 Posts

I gotcha

I like this idea so far. So you can be an excellent swordsman if you focus on that, an excellent nature mage if you focus on that, or a swordsman who can do a little healing if you split your focus?

Will there be mana or similar rstrictions to govern the number of spells? Or will you be able to cast at will, assuming you make the skill checks?

Posted on 2009-09-17 at 17:02:28.

Icelanders! Roll Out
Karma: 102/11
1514 Posts


I haven't thought of that yet, but some restriction might be needed. Example, there might be a spell that could allow you to burn down an area to black crisp, or one that allows you to bring a city to its ruins. Such powerful spells should be difficult to perform and should not be easy to repeat multiple times, although I find no reason not to include them.

Perhaps spells would be taxing on your body (or mind, depending on the group of spells) and requires that you make a roll involving your Stamina or the like against a certain DC to see if it makes you exhausted or even damages you.

Paradox might be another possible solution, with spells building up paradox that will strike back at you.

I think I would rather go with plan A though.

Posted on 2009-09-17 at 17:30:35.

Extreme Exclaimator!
Karma: 90/24
4114 Posts

A Consideration

Since your dream (goal) is to introduce a new game to Iceland for the people there to get turned on to RPG you might consider play testing your concept with some of us English speakers who understand what your goal is.

Then when you get the bugs ironed out and the feedback from the playtesting you can convert the English to Icelandic language.

Just a thought.

Posted on 2009-09-18 at 03:25:42.

Resident Finn
RDI Staff
Karma: 74/3
1103 Posts


Sounds a lot like the game a buddy of mine designed some er... 16-18 years ago, but never even tried to get it published. There were different races, but no classes. As usual, the races had bonuses or reductions on different abilities, which in turn effected skills.

Skills were the central part of the game's engine. Everything was based on a skill, including magic and combat skills. Sounds a lot like a number of games out there, but there were differences even though I cannot really remember them anymore.

One major aspect the game had was however, the complete lack of written spells. Magic was a skill/power used to generate effects, to accomplish something. Therefore in combat situation a character skilled in the art of magic would not simply throw a few magic missiles at the attackers. He might instead decide to try and create magical arrows from the energies around him and launch them at the attacker.

What made things difficult, was that my friend wanted vocal components for the spell-like effects ie. we had to come with incantations every time we wanted to use magic. I think it was possible to do magic tricks without them, but the chances of success were far lower. Not that the odds were too good to start with.

Posted on 2009-09-18 at 09:59:21.

The Tired
RDI Staff
Karma: 291/33
6340 Posts


Still looking for the blackjack and the hookers

Posted on 2009-09-18 at 10:19:26.

Icelanders! Roll Out
Karma: 102/11
1514 Posts


Hammer: I doubt I will make a full translation since translating is hard work. I might introduce it here though with a very rough translation, but most of my written stuff has been in Icelandic so far so I'm sticking to it.

Raven: That's actually very much like my idea. Skills will be central, characters use Combat and Magic skills, and the idea of improvised spells did cross my mind.

In line with the theme I want for this game (Icelandic sagas) it will include other forms of "combat", such as poetry dueling. It has happened in occasional stories, that two characters each create a poem or limrick on the spot and whoever tells the better poem wins. So, a fitting Skill will cover that specifically, I think.

The Skills I have so far:
-Animal Husbandry
-Land Husbandry (more like Landknowing, which combines geography, farming and others)
-Luck (although technically not a Skill, but it still is)

Posted on 2009-09-18 at 11:00:12.
Edited on 2009-09-18 at 11:01:39 by Skari-dono

Icelanders! Roll Out
Karma: 102/11
1514 Posts


So I added some Skills, such as Heal, Stealth and Finance. That last one is basically a combined skill of managing your finances, skill of haggling, and your general financial status. The way I think it, if you want to buy something, your GM sets a DC for it and you roll your Finance Skill. The problem is representing the loss of money, but I have an idea which is somewhat borrowed from Burning Wheel:

If the roll fails it can either mean that you can't afford the item which you want to buy or that it will lower your Finance Skill. If the latter, you get what you were shopping for, but your Skill is lowered by 1. Increasing the Skill again costs XP, and is represented by hard work and labor.

I have also spent much of the morning writing down some combat rules, but drifted from that into writing down some magic rules.
Magic is a Skill by itself, but I am having some difficulty with the magical paths (Rune, Nature, Dark, etc.). I have few ideas:

1) The paths serve as specialties (+1 die) for the Magid Skill and are prerequisite for any spell from that path. So you can't learn Runic spells without the Rune specialty.

2)Each path is a Skill by itself, and Magic is really just the name of the grouped Skills. Therefore, Runemagic is a completely seperate Skill from Naturemagic or Darkmagic. Magic by itself is therefor not a Skill.

3) Both 1 and 2 combined. Each path is a subskill under Magic. Each rank you get in the Magic Skill opens one of the subskills with 1 rank. The Magic skill would represent general knowledge of spells and magics while the subskills would be required to learn the actual spells.

The problem with the last one is whether both Magic and subskill would be used to cast spells of that subskill or not. If both are combined, that could create a lot of firepower, but it would also allow the removal of the Magic skill from improvised spells. If not, and in the other two ideas, improvised spells would just have a higher DC.

What do you think?

Posted on 2009-09-21 at 15:43:22.

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