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Subject: My son wrote an RPG and is looking for feedback rss

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James Ryan
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Hey all,

My son is 9. He wrote some rules for a role playing game and is looking for help. If anyone wants to take a look and give some advice/direction, I'll pass it on to him.

Here's the link to the text:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1shJFHbfX1zV60oAtaOZY35Jb...

Thanks,
James
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B C Z
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I believe you might find more traction on the RPG section of the site as opposed to the Boardgame section.
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James Ryan
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byronczimmer wrote:
I believe you might find more traction on the RPG section of the site as opposed to the Boardgame section.


Yep. Good point. I'll do that right now.
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Nate K
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Brain doesn't appear to be as useful as Strength or Weapon.
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Just call me Erik
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williamj35 wrote:
byronczimmer wrote:
I believe you might find more traction on the RPG section of the site as opposed to the Boardgame section.


Yep. Good point. I'll do that right now.


Please post the link to the RPG section thread, so that those of us who come here will know where to go to post suggestions
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Sturv Tafvherd
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williamj35 wrote:
Hey all,

My son is 9. He wrote some rules for a role playing game and is looking for help. If anyone wants to take a look and give some advice/direction, I'll pass it on to him.

Here's the link to the text:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1shJFHbfX1zV60oAtaOZY35Jb...

Thanks,
James


This isn't really a "roleplaying game", so I doubt the RPG folks would be any better than what we can offer here. It does have elements of a roleplaying game (abilities, powers, races, and rolling d20) ... but I don't see much more "roleplay" going on beyond a massive slug-fest.

That "call" action seems unnecessary at best, and may result in collusion at worst. It almost seems to be a way to break the game if you can fool/convince enough people to vote for your "call." But If the game wants to include a reality-show-style, then I guess it would be a good fit.

The various success ranges also seem ... well, crazy. The wizard, for example, would only succeed 5%. He has a brain of 8 and a success ranging from 12-18. The only way his d20-brain would fall in that range is if he rolls a 20.

The 15+ "races" or... ummm... characters ... well, I feel that it is too much to work with. Start with 5-7 different characters first. Make sure they are somewhat balanced. Refine the rest of the game ... meaning you playtest a lot with just those 5-7 characters. After that, you can try adding more.

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Wim van Gruisen
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Quote:
the object of the game is to try to destroy the other players

That is hardly ever the object of an RPG.
I miss setting information, character abilities that aren't related to fighting, and lots more.

If your son really wants to create an RPG, first play a couple of RPGs with him and his friends. You could be the GM. That way, both of you understand what an RPG is. Second, let him develop the setting for his game.
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Does it have more than 3900 race/class combinations?
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Brook Gentlestream
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It's primitive, unpolished, and not very RPG-like, I'll give you that... but there's something here I kind of like. I'm not sure what it is.

It's not quite an RPG and not quite a board game, but it has a narrative element in its "deal" system, that allows you to use narrative role-playing to make in-game changes. I like that part of it, and as a core concept, it's a pretty decent one.

So there's potential.

This isn't really a game though or not much of one. It's just notes. It needs polish and re-working, and some actual paragraphs written in to describe the concepts. It's not even a simple rulebook draft in its current form. But as notes on a product, well, I've had notes that are worse written than this about ideas that had far less potential.

I like the idea of a game that has a hard fixed system, but where groups can potentially deal/trade for mutual benefit to make changes to themselves or the environment.

Due to its competitive nature, the deal system may be improved if there was more of an emphasis on losses rather than gains. "I want to move across the board. If I do, I'll lose 2 health." "Okay, but I gain the two health." "Wait a minute, guys, I want in on some of this action." "Okay, let us make this deal and you can make one extra attack next turn for free."

Obviously, there are problems and stuff to be worked out. But as the pre-draft brainstorming idea stages of a game go, I definitely see some potential.

When I was about 13 years old, my first game was a spaceship dueling game that involved star trek micro-machine minis on a chess board, with poker chips as counters. A friend and I had fun with it and I typed up the rules. All and all, I think that game had far less originality and substance than this does.
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Vladimir Lehotai
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Whymme wrote:
Quote:
the object of the game is to try to destroy the other players

That is hardly ever the object of an RPG.
I miss setting information, character abilities that aren't related to fighting, and lots more.


I agree, though setting informations are not vital, because it could have no setting on purpose. In that case I would expect a lot of text about creating your setting, albeit that is too much of work for his son now.

Also the fact that is combat oriented may be because his son probably played RPGs on PC (or what passes for RPGs) and his vision of RPG is a bit distorted. For example my friend told me about one action hack & slash game that it is an RPG, despite the fact that it had no RP, just combat.
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James Ryan
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Thanks for all the responses and insight.

Here's the link to the RPG forum thread, for those that asked:
http://rpggeek.com/thread/862435/my-son-wrote-an-rpg-and-is-...

Jonah agrees that his game is not really like a Role Playing Game, since it doesn't involve much roleplaying. He's now calling it a RAG a "Roll Attacking Game." I guess I'd classify it as a pencil-and-paper combat game with negotiation elements.

He says that he'll change the success ratings, which is something that has come up in our playtesting as well. Because at least one success is required before you can win, the game as-is is sometimes impossible to win. So he's working on that.

He also has a "boss" expansion that he's working into the main game...not sure what that's going to look like yet. But it sounds interesting, like teams of players working together to beat a boss monster before the other team.
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Joe Mucchiello
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Tzer wrote:
Does it have more than 3900 race/class combinations?

Easy on the inside jokes. The OP seems sincere and doesn't deserve that kind of sarcasm.
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Liam
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You've got to love this community, even a 9 year old's design gets (affectionately) put over the coals

"RAG a Roll Attacking Game"
Awesome! - excellent bit of thinking. There are folk on 40k that got there by coming up with little more than acronyms.

I'd get him to play through a couple of the characters selecting the weakest and strongest. Hopefully finding and solving problems while polishing the game as he goes.

All in all I'd say its a very impressive feat and many designers have started with less/worse.

Can characters level up? If so how does this work?
Is there treasure? If so how does it work?
Can he develop a back story/scenario - eg why are these individuals fighting? Could this be used to create a mechanic of tiered fights, saving harder charters for later on?

You should check out some of funkdonut excellent contributions. She teaches game design to gifted children, of which your lad sounds like one.
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James Ryan
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Interesting playtesting session tonight, our first with a third player and it changed things dramatically.

With only two players, the die roll and your characters stats decide the game.

With three players, negotiation is everything. In our session tonight, the "call" became all important, far more important than the randomness of a d20.

All things in this game are negotiable, including the stats. So characters can "level up" by making an arrangement with other players during a call. This means any liabilities of a character can be overcome through successful negotiation. If my character isn't strong, I can make a deal for him/her to become more powerful. If my success range is narrow, I can make a deal to widen it so I'll have more successes in the future. If I'm about to die, I can make a deal to gain life. And so on.

In fact, even the basic mechanics of the game are negotiable, although we didn't get much into redefining the game. But in theory, on one player's turn, a player could cut a deal and gain a weapon level of 100 only to have other players agree on a later turn that weapons no longer factor in to the damage assigned during combat.

In our previous sessions with only 2 players, negotiations were tame and rarely did we agree on anything.

During our game tonight we were much more engaged in dealmaking. We gradually realized that there were no real limits to the call mechanism as written, and so two of us would team up to make a deal that benefitted us and not the other player, and we increasingly leveled up. We played up to bedtime with no end in sight. Each of us kept gaining enough life to continue living and enough power and weapons ratings to make the next round more deadly.

One thing Jonah decided was that deals cannot be made that deprive another player of something without their consent. In other words, two of us can't agree and vote on a call that makes another player's life total zero. Or reduces their strength, etc.

I have a few concerns, like player elimination as a win condition. And the fact that the game can potentially go on forever. And that eventually, we'll all end up with weapon scores and strength values in the billions. Even so, a whole new layer to the gameplay was revealed.
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James Ryan
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@Joe: Good lookin' out.

@ Liam: Thanks for the thoughts and questions. I'll ask them to Jonah in the morning and see what he thinks. I check out funkdonut's thread showing her kid's designs. What a cool class. Jonah would LOVE IT! Too bad she's so far from us...
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Mr Pavone
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if he's going with the RAG idea, he may want to turn this into a card game. Characters are drawn from a deck of cards and each player works with his team to defeat a Foozle in the center of the players, or they try to defeat the other players and/or the Foozle.

They may try to bribe other player's teammates to join their side. They could try to sow discord amongst the members of an opposing team so that team becomes ineffective for a turn. They might form single turn alliances with other teams to further their goals.

As it is, it reminds me of a similar thing my friends and I did with Car Wars. We eliminated to board all together and just played man-to-man or team-on-team pedestrian combats abstractly. That's a word now, abstractly.
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Kay Lee
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This is pretty cool!
I like how you can negotiate to increase your level and get better weapons.
Gonna play this on long trips when all i have is paper and pencil
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Abdul Rahman Ibrahim
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The core concepts can easily be ported into a rad board/card game. A minimum 3 player requirement would really make Call and Deal shine.
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Flying Arrow
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The call mechanic is pretty neat. Take a look at 1000 Blank White Cards if you haven't seen it before. I do think rules on negotiation need to be more clearly defined though:

* What is negotiable? What is being traded?
* To prevent the game from going on forever, don't allow calls or deals to increase anyone's life. Limit life increases to inherent special abilities.
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Sturv Tafvherd
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almond55 wrote:
The core concepts can easily be ported into a rad board/card game. A minimum 3 player requirement would really make Call and Deal shine.


I still don't know why anyone would agree to a Call. Since having at least 1 successful Call is required to win, it seems to me that the best way of preventing my opponent(s) from winning is to reject all Calls.

So the first thing I'd change is to remove the Call requirement from the victory conditions.

Aside from that, I'd agree with Flying Arrow's suggestion to put more structure into what can be part of a Call. Usually, I would expect that the call would only affect in-game values. I would also expect it to be some kind of zero-sum transaction, although 1:1 conversions between in-game commodities can be reasonable.

As it is, I could make a Call like "I'll pay you $5 in real cash if you give me xxxxx."
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Wow. I must say, I'm really impressed at what your son has come up with, especially given his age. Very creative and innovative with the 'call' mechanic, as mentioned before. Great thing about being young and inexperienced, is you aren't held back by assumptions about the way things "should be". Other posters have encouraged him to look at "other RPG's" to see what it "should be"; personally I'm glad he didn't.
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