View Full Version : [other] d10 system design and world-building

2006-08-07, 12:39 AM
Hey, folks - I have no idea if this is the right place to post this, but I don't really know where *else* would be the right place... so, without further ado:

Some friends and I have been playing the White-Wolf Publishing's New World of Darkness d10 storyteller system game, and we enjoy the elegant simplicity of the system... but the setting is just too gothic-horror for our tastes. So, on a whim, I've decided to develop a medieval action/fantasy setting using the d10 system as outlined in the New World of Darkness game series. I am creating a world *and* developing new systems to support it, so it isn't exactly what you'd call a light undertaking. I'm hoping to get some constructive criticism, advice, and brainstorming help from anyone who's interested to help, although familiarity with the base system would be great.

The game will be slightly less battle-oriented than the "typical" DnD campaign, with more of a focus on storytelling and character development.

So, without further ado:

The World:

Thus far, all I've really created for the world are the four playable races (don't want to deal with oodles of confusing races here) and a pantheon.

The races:
Humans - willful, flexible, and everchanging, humans were created by the goddess of Air, who also exemplifies these traits. There are few descriptions which can cover the whole of humanity accurately. Their skintones can range from a nearly-white paleness to nearly ebony tones, and their hair has variety to match.

Elves - The long-lived Elves were created by the goddess of the waters, and have inherited her grace, poise, and quickness of thought. Elves have about the same range of heights and weights as humans, although they are generally taller and thinner. Obesity among elves is nearly unknown. Elven culture values music and art, archery, and the arts of medicine.

Dwarves - Created by the god of earth and stone, Dwarves are stubborn, steadfast, and as tough as the rocks themselves. They stand nearly a head shorter than most humans, but make up for this in sheer stockiness. Dwarves have long memories, and a dwarf with a grudge can cause trouble for several generations of a human family. The friendship of a dwarf, however, is as lasting as his hatred - many a human has found himself rescued in a hard time by a dwarf who knew his grandfather (or great-grandfather). Dwarves are reknowned craftsmen and brawlers, and a glare from an angry dwarf can cause even the stoutest heart to quail.

Fuqi (the only homemade race) - Gregarious, brash, and intelligent, Fuqi are the children of the god of Fire. They are thin and slight, about half a head shorter than humans and thinner, but with a surprising strength. Fuqi are nearly as changeable as humans; a single Fuqi will probably try at least three to five different vocations during his long life, and will generally apply his knowledge of each to the workings of the others; in this way, Fuqi have been responsible for many of the greatest advancements in technology and magic over the last many years. The Fuqi hold many games and competitions amongst themselves; these games are nearly as famous as the parties they hold afterward.

More to come

2006-08-07, 04:52 AM
Are you planning to have classes or just skill selection? What sort of magical systems are you planning to use? Are spell casters rare or common? Are players characters normal people or near-super-hero in status?
This sort of thing makes a big difference to how your world will look and feel.

A really good investment is the Magical Medieval Society (http://www.rpgnow.com/product_info.php?products_id=711&) books - some of the extra material is free (http://www.rpgnow.com/product_info.php?products_id=1678&)to download. It's written for d20, but most of it still applies - you can end up with an amazingly real-feeling world that's full of magic and monsters, but still seems believable.

I don't know how much experience you've got between you and your players, but I always gind it's best to start with big vague ideas of general theme for a world, then home in on one area to do the detail and make sure the player's characters stay there until you're ready with a new place. Let the players create background details of the places their characters are from, too, it all helps.

2006-08-08, 03:26 AM
"Classes" don't really apply in the d10 system, as such. There might be some class-like organizations which grant mechanical benefits, but really, there's nothing much there.

The magic system is accessed by purchasing a Merit which basically adds a template to the character. Priests of the good deities (the Host) gain one template, priests of the evil deities (the Rabble) gain a different one, and arcane magicians (if I use them) gain a third. These templates are NOT stackable.

Magic is organized into "paths" of spells; these are groups of 5 spells which follow a similar theme, and are arranged from less powerful to more powerful. Spells can be purchased out-of-order, but if you know the less powerful spells of a path you get an XP break when purchasing more powerful spells.
Spellcasters are rare, but not extremely so; at the very least, every major temple has at least one spellcasting Priest presiding.

PCs begin as slightly-above-average members of their race and society. Through the storyline, they'll gain in Experience (and thus be able to purchase higher skills, more merits, and greater Attributes) and become more powerful.

2006-08-08, 03:30 AM
The Deities

there are 12 major deities in this universe. I'm toying with the possibility of minor deities, most owing allegiance to one of the twelve, but haven't entirely decided.

The Deities used to be a single pantheon of twelve, working together to run the universe. When Drite decided to create the mortal races to steward the world, the deities who would become the Rabble did not wish to share the world with lesser creatures. They revolted against the Host, raising weapons against the others. The Host were stronger, however, and cast the Rabble down into the Underworld. There, the Rabble plots still, using deluded mortal worshippers as pawns against the forces of the Host.

The Host

Drite (God of Light, Hope, Mercy, and Life) – The lord of the Gods is wise beyond the knowledge of mortals, and few even of the other Deities can divine his thoughts. He rarely takes a physical form, appearing most often as a shining orb as bright as the sun.

Ajer (Goddess of Air, Creativity, Freedom, and Joy) – The deity who created the Humans, Ajer is much like them in temperament – ever changeable and willful. She appears as a beautiful, willowy young human woman in a flowing dress, her hair always moving as though in a breeze.

Zjarr (God of Fire, Passion, Inspiration, and Wonder) – The creater of the Fuqi is an ardent learner and an equally powerful fighter. He appears as a wiry Fuqi in the prime of his life, bare to the waist and with a reddish glow to his skin

Toke (God of Earth, Steadfastness, Honor, and Duty) – The Dwarven creator is steadfast, nearly stubborn in his defense of others. He appears to be a hale but venerable Dwarf with craggy features, hair as dark as rich soil, and slate-grey eyes.

Uje (Goddess of Water, Serenity, Wisdom, and Mystery) – The Elves sprang from Uje, serene as a calm lake and lithe as a swift river. She appears as an Elven beauty with long, gleaming hair, her sapphire-blue dress shimmering in the sun.

The Rabble

Krenari (God of Pride, Tyranny, Darkness)
Krenari claims the position of leadership of the Rabble. He is tall and handsome, although his good looks have a disturbing, nearly demonic cast. He wears black velvet robes with an onyx crown, and bears a black-headed scepter which doubles as a mace in battle.

Zemerim (God of Wrath, Hatred, War)
Zemerim is a tall and broad man, perpetually encased in a suit of razor-edged armor. The eyes behind his visor burn with an unholy light, and his sword perpetually drips with blood. His battle-cry can rip walls from their foundations.

Uri (God of Gluttony, Famine,)
Uri is a morbidly obese man in stained clothing, constantly eating. He is carried upon a litter by four wretchedly gaunt, nearly skeletal figures in rags, each of which is chained to his place. Despite his girth, Uri can wield the morningstar he carries at his side with deadly accuracy and speed

Babezi (God of Greed, Pestilence,)
Babezi appears, at first, to be a pale, handsome man in beautiful clothing, bearing wondrous jewelry. The scimitar sheathed at his waist has a golden hilt with many precious stones set in it. His skin constantly twitches, roils, and writhes due to the many vermin which crawl beneath it, and any time he opens his mouth, maggots escape with his speech.

Zili (Goddess of Envy, Decay,)
Zili resembles the rotting corpse of a formerly-lovely woman in tattered clothing, carrying a rusted battle-axe. A horrific stench follows her everywhere, and where her wounds drip the ground becomes lifeless and cracked. She and Babezi are consorts and constant companions, each despising (and desiring) the other.

Epsh (Goddess of Lust, Pain)
Epsh is a beautiful woman, usually clad in tight and revealing outfits of blood-red. Her lips are the same shade of red, as are her eyes, which burn with an animal light. Her whip, barbed with bone and metal, constantly writhes and coils as though alive

Dembelizem (God of Sloth, Death, Secrets)
Dembelizem has no physical form, whether by choice or by nature is unknown. It appears as a shadowy figure, vaguely human-shaped but without a defined form. Its touch pulls heat, light, and life directly away from its victim, deadly despite its insubstantial nature.

2006-08-09, 11:07 AM
Stats for races:

Dwarf –
Dwarves are shorter than human average, generally between four and five feet tall. They are broad and hard-packed, however, so that a dwarf does not generally weigh less than a human of his gender or age. All Dwarves grow thick facial hair, although it is fashionable for female dwarves to shave it. Dwarven men are proud of their beards, and often braid them into fantastic patterns.
Dwarven Traits:
Bonus attribute – Physical or Resistance. Dwarves are stubborn, tough, and mentally resilient, and usually show great physical prowess.
Favored Skills – Craft, Brawl, Intimidate. Dwarven smiths are legendary, as are Dwarven barfights. An angry dwarf can easily cow less resolved creatures.
+1 Defense – Dwarves have tough skin and good reflexes, helping them to dodge blows in combat.

Elf –
The elves are truly beautiful creatures. They are slightly taller and thinner than baseline humans, with ears that come to a delicate point. Elven hair is worn long, and often interwoven with ribbons or (for more affluent Elves) spirals of silver or white gold.
Elven Traits:
Bonus Attribute – Social or Finesse. Elves are gracious creatures with great personal charisma, and are also often lithe and quick-witted.
Bonus Skills – Healing, Archery, Expression. Elves are skilled in the ways of healing, and are renowned archers. Elven performances are works of breathtaking beauty, whether sung, acted, or played upon musical instruments.
+2 initiative – Elven grace and insight ensure that very few Elves are ever caught by surprise in a fight.

Fuqi –
If one word describes the Fuqi, it is “passion.” Fuqi are slight (a little taller than dwarves) but wiry, usually with well-defined muscles and clear, loud voices. The eyes of a Fuqi are always a deep black color, and their hair (which is often curly or wavy) a bronzed red color.
Fuqi Traits:
Bonus Attribute – Mental or Power. Fuqi are known for their powerful and quick-working minds, and they often have strong bodies and forceful personalities.
Bonus Skills – Science, Athletics, Socialize. Fuqi have discovered (or created) nearly as many great advancements in science and technology as humans have. They are famous for their athletic prowess, and also for their wondrous parties.
+2 Speed – The Fuqi are capable of moving at incredible speeds, when needed.

Human –
Humans are, as a whole, more widespread, varied, and versatile than any other race. Two humans, if compared to one another, will be much more different than any two elves or dwarves would be.
Human traits:
Bonus attribute – any. Humans are truly a varied race, and no two have precisely the same strengths or weaknesses. Unlike other races, a human’s bonus dot in an attribute cannot bring his total dots in that attribute above 5.
Favored Skills – One from each category, of the player’s choice.
+1 Willpower. Humans are strong-willed, and are often seen to push themselves beyond their limits.

2006-08-09, 01:40 PM
Oh nice, some good stuff there.

Have you checked out White Wolf's other d10 systems though? I'd suggest looking into Exalted just to get some ideas.

But I like the path your going on here.

2006-08-10, 09:52 PM
Magic System

OK, this is the area I've been having the hardest time with. I know for a fact that there will be divine spellcasters who draw their power from the Host, and divine spellcasters who draw their power from the Rabble (Rabble casters will be generally evil, Host casters, generally good; there might be the occasional exception, however). I'm debating the existance of separate arcane magic in this world. Magic is gained via the purchase of a 3-dot Merit; this purchase grants you a magical template.

Each magical template has a "power stat" indicating the caster's magical ability: Devotion for worshippers of the Host (hereafter known as Priests) and Corruption for worshippers of the Rabble (hereby known as Acolytes). This statistic affects how many total dots of spells the caster can learn (more on this later). This statistic also affects how much Essence (my name for the Mana-esque stuff) the caster can access and use.

Essence is spent to cast most spells - a beginning caster can hold 10 Essence and expend one per round. At higher powers, casters might be able to hold up to 20 or more Essence, and to use more Essence per round. Divine casters gain Essence via prayer; Priests roll their Morality, and Acolytes roll (11-morality), and the number of successes indicates the amount of Essence granted by the Gods.

Spells are divided into Paths, which are groups of five thematically linked spells. I know for a fact that there will be elemental-based Paths (Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, and possibly Light as well). Other intended Paths include a healing path (Priests only), a path of sickness and death (Acolytes only), Glamours and illusions, Mental magic (mind- and emotion-control), Divination, shapeshifting, and possibly an animal-control path. Anything I've missed?

Each of the Elemental paths (which are fairly basic, especially for Priests) will have one spell of physical improvement. The Fire path will increase Strength, the Water path will improve dexterity, the Earth path will improve stamina, and the Air path will improve speed. Other elemental-path spells will include some form of direct attack, some form of protection or shielding spell, and (if applicable) a utility or movement based spell.

For example, the spells of Ether (or the Air Path) would include:
Speed of the Wind (the speed increase)
Bolts of the Heavens (call lightning, direct attack)
Invisible Wings (flight)
Shield of Air (grants some form of armor, or defends against suffocation and gaseous poisons, hadn't decided)

and one more I haven't come up with yet.

My main difficulty in this arena is to balance magic-users against other characters. Mages have the capability of outstripping pretty much all other characters just by the fact that magic is so powerful; to counteract this I'm going to make spells fairly expensive (six XP multiplied by the dot number of the spell). Do you think I'll need to have some form of drawback to magic, to serve as another balance vs. mundane characters? Should I try to boost nonmagical characters to match, or rein back magical power?