View Full Version : Tutorial on How to Make a Roleplaying Game?

2011-10-27, 04:54 AM
I'm curious if there is any way to learn how to make a roleplaying table-top-style game. Certainly, there are things you need to do like playing existing roleplaying games to understand how it works. But... are there books about how to make roleplaying games?

Aside from playing existing P&P RPGs, and planning your own game out for a long time and testing it--is there any way to "learn" how to make a good P&P RPG? You get classes on writing, but I doubt you have anything on how to do this (thought writing skill would help).

2011-10-27, 05:06 AM
I don't think so, as there are just so few people who seriously create RPGs.

However, the first question to answer should be "Why?". If anything is supposed to come out of it, you need to know what the game is going to be for and how it is so much different that it's worth going through the trouble instead of playing another game that already exist.

2011-10-27, 05:12 AM
There's an absolutely stunning variety of roleplaying games out there, with rules in lengths between half a page and dozens of books. Some have no game masters. In some, you control multiple characters, or all players are the same character.

So, basically, they share barely anything in common between them. I'm not sure there's really many shared design principles.

Perhaps look at general game design and game theory?

2011-10-27, 05:25 AM
John Wick, aka LordStrange on Youtube, got several videos about how to design roleplaying games, not a indepth guide, but he got some really good points and things to think about.

He has created several himself which all look amazingly interesting.

EDIT: Actually some of his first videos, search for "Game Design Seminar with John Wick" on youtube and start with ep0

2011-10-27, 01:39 PM
Read, play, and hack.

Read: There's a lot of different games out there, and you have to know the major ones. Besides the big ones (such as World of Darkness and GURPS), there's a lot of smaller ones (FATE, Burning Wheel, etc.) that dip into really interesting concepts that you'll want to borrow from here and there. Seeing how other people have handled RPGs will help you get a handle on it too. 1KM1KT (http://www.1km1kt.net/), if you have the patience to wade through lots and lots of games, some of which are less functional than others, can be a great source for novel ideas.

Play: Pretty straightforward. Theoretical knowledge of games only goes so far. You also have to watch how the core mechanics of the game work in play, how players are encouraged to do this or that by the rules. Also, play some more involved strategy games, like Eurogames. Basically, anything you can't find on the Walmart store shelves. :smallwink: There's a lot of mechanics in higher-tier boardgames that could be very well-leveraged into RPGs, but we're not tapping into that very much.

Hack: Take a system, and homebrew the heck out of it. It'll help you understand the ins and outs of how a specific game system works, and it'll start you off with a particular framework, too. I kinda wish I'd started this way, although at the moment, I actually am working on a hack project under the OGL.

2011-10-27, 02:14 PM
The closest thing I've seen to a tutorial was the panel described at http://kotaku.com/5503107/pax-east-creates-a-game-of-cold+blooded-journalism

Basically we created a theme and figured out how the PCs would fit into that theme.

When we knew what the PCs would be doing we figured out stats. That part was the most interesting to me - instead of trying to model all the functions of a person we came up with statistics for the things that mattered in this particular game and hand waved away the rest.

I don't remember how resolution entered into things. I think we picked something simple and stuck with it. The panel was only an hour long and the speaker didn't want to get into an argument about what the best die type was.

2011-10-27, 02:37 PM
I'll just leave this (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forge/index.php) here.

2011-10-27, 07:32 PM
I'll just leave this (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forge/index.php) here.

Quoting for emphasis.

As a contribution, here (http://independentinsurgency.libsyn.com/) is a good (though sadly now defunct) podcast that interviews some 30ish game publishers, talks about their games, their design choices, and their publishing methods, and so on.

Other than that, game design is mind control. (http://www.thewalkingeye.com/?p=874)

edit: Also Game Mechanics and Mechanism Design (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXdfU2DoF8o&list=FLuS3rKGeSX-exQ8a8t4W1bA&index=22&feature=plpp_video), for if you want to skip past learning about discreet mathematics, and just want to watch an educational youtube =).