View Full Version : Does anyone else have problems with indecision?

2013-03-01, 05:06 PM
I know this technically isnt about making an rpg, but it is related to homebrewing.

For years I've suffered from indecision, and constant revising. Though i've been working on my homebrew(s) (i was working on a generic system for a while, but i abandoned that a while ago) for years, I still have nothing to show for it. I've downloaded several free rpgs, and even bought a few books (including both editions of bash, and DC adventures), but not one of them appeal to me at all. I've abandoned homebrewing now and then believing i had finnally found a system that i liked, only to lose interest in it and go back to making my own rpg, even though its been obvious for years that my only hope of getting an rpg that appeals to me perfectly, is to simply make it myself, though sometimes i think there is nothing that would make me happy.

I constantly revise my systems, and by revise i mean completely scrap them and go in a completely different direction. If i had actually followed through on every single project i started, i'd easily have tens of different rpgs by this point. Granted some of my earliest ones weren't even playable, but i've learned over the years and i do have some idea of the do's and dont's. Like dont make a system with d4 dicepools that can easily have tens of dice (yeah, no idea why i didnt realize my mistake sooner, infact i actually got quite far with taht system, even got to the point of making a list of powers, heck that thing might have actually been playable to some extent if it wasnt for the 30d4 dice pools).

And as for why neither bash nor dc adventures appeal to me? Different reasons, I like the simplicity and ease of bash, but the lack of granuality in the attributes always bugged me (1 is human and 5 is superman, wtf?) and it wasnt customizable enough for me, though the ultimate edition did help with that quite a bit. As for DC adventures, I love its customizability, but its far too damned complicated. Sersiously, every singly power in the book takes at least a paragraph (if not an entire page) to explain, and that's not counted the tens of pages it takes just to describe how to make a character (and even after reading through that section two or three times i still cant remember anything, hell i read the entire book front to back shortly after i got it, and i didnt learn a damned thing). Obviously, something like HERO is completely out of the question. Another thing i didnt like is that despite the fact that M&M claims to be able to make 'virtually any power imaginable', i cant think of one instance where i thought up a power that it could do. The only character i ever made with it was a joke character (a yeti, who had magic powers and the ability to turn invisible AND 'hide in plain sight', yeah having both was redudant, but it was supposed to be a joke). Oh, and i didnt like how free-form dc adventures is. There is clearly no attempt at all to balance things, power descripters are completely free-form and easy to abuse, and the 'complications' are also free-form, though at least those are somewhat self-balancing, but i still prefer the relatively pre-set 'weaknesses' of BASH. Long story short, DC adventures is unusable to me bc of its complexity, and BASH lacks the versatility I want, and ironnically DCA doesnt have quite the versatility I'm after either. I'm guessing the only way to solve that conundrum is to make my own rpg, with a list of powers of my own choosing, i can just have an rpg with exactly the list of powers that i want, rather than dishing out tens of dollars for a pdf that does nothing but take up memory space. I dont even have anyone in my community to play with for crying out loud. My local comic/rpg/TCG shop was supposed to have a game every two weeks, but after wasting an entire day sitting around waiting for the guy to show up, i found out that he didnt come in regularly as advertised, infact he only came in whenever he felt like it, even if it wasnt a friday, or the time that the game was supposed to take place. I never went back.

But that was all years ago (i got DCA shortly after it came out, i would've bought second edition if it wasnt for the fact that DCA was due in like a couple months). I still suffer from indecision, and I still havent finished an rpg purely bc i cant decide what i want, or the damned thing comes out unplayable. Ironnically, a recurring problem with me is i tend to make the game overly complicated just trying to get the versatility i want. Like i've said before, I once tried to make an rpg with over 20 attributes. It didnt go beyond a list of attributes though, bc seeing that long list itself was enough to make me abandon it.

Does anyone else suffer from the daunting problems I have? My main problem is, I'm a huge perfectionist, to a fault. If it isnt absolutely perfect, it is completely unacceptable and belongs in the garbage, literally. And I cant stop myself, if I dont have a system that is exactly to my liking I cant stand it. I used to play DnD (or more accurately NWN on an online rpg server), but i lost interest in it years and years ago, mostly bc i found the way the system worked to be wierd and completely nonsensical (like the way wizards work, the wierd list of attributes, but mostly it was the highly religious setting and lack of flexibility most other servers have, the one i played on was very very liberal, even allowing good drow, kobolds and goblins as PCs). I've tried to pick it up again, but to no avail. I actually tried to pick up pathfinder a while ago, but despite my familiarity with 3rd edition (i learned how the game worked so i could play battle of the dragons better), pathfinder to me is dauntingly complicated, i mean each class takes like a book to explain, its ****ing rediculous. Only thing i like about it is the ability to create custom races, and its not free-form either (mostly anyway).

And here i am ranting again, lets just end this. Can i ever actually finish this project despite how much time has passed without me making any real progress? Could i ever be satisfied? Does anyone else suffer from this? How long does it take normal homebrewers to get their own custom system off the ground and playable. most of time i'm lucky if i even get to making attributes, for years i was pondering various bizarre dice mechanics, only to discover years later that all the math i had been using was faulty, every equation that i had relied to to determine probability was completely wrong, joy.

2013-03-01, 05:39 PM
Lots of amateur designers develop their own games, trash them, and restart them ad nauseam. For years, even. It's not all that unusual. Just look around. Occasionally, someone will offhandedly mention the system they've been developing for years. Sometimes, they might even release it.

2013-03-02, 07:52 AM
Just how common is it for these people to actually finish, and by finish I mean get to a playable game? Most of mine never got to the point of being playable. And every single system i've made, I thought i finnally had it and i would finnally have the system of my dreams. I've been wrong tens of times now.

2013-03-02, 09:54 AM
I think anyone whose goal is quality creative work has this problem. You will always be your harshest critic. I don't know how it could be done without encountering bias, but I think having a reliable critic around just to point out what truly is trash worthy so you don't throw hard work away.

One thing I did was stop throwing stuff away. Keep EVERYTHING, even what you perceive to be crap. You may come back to it and see a way to spin it into something good, even if you can't see it now. Doing this actually got me bring two campaigns to the table, even I STILL don't think they are perfect.

Which brings me to the other thing you must do. Accept for as long as you live all of your work will have to be considered a work in progress to you. Tell yourself that when you bring it to the table, it is for a playtest. I have read that Tolkien was never satisfied with much of his legendarium, which is why we only saw much of it after he passed. Novels undergo revisions sometimes for new editions. RPG systems undergo revisions and editions.

The short version is simply this: You have to let it be played/experienced, even if it might suck. There is a chance it might be less than perfect but better than anything else out there.

On the subject of a system that might fit your needs, I didn't see you mention GURPS. Maybe you could use the concept as a starting point. It may give you a foundation.

2013-03-02, 10:36 AM
I know about gurps, trust me, I have tens of rpgs in my little folder here. I only have a free pdf of it though (for the fourth edition), and it makes no mention at all about powers or magic or anything. Besides, I hear gurps sucks for superhero rpgs, supposedly bc its too good at simulating reality, thus fantastical settings dont work too well, and supers are about as fantastical as they come.

I rarely write down my rpgs, I used to but I got sick of it bc I was abandoning most of them rather quickly, really writing them down was just a waste of time. That doesn't mean I dont forget about them though, and I do reconsider some of them from time-to-time. Probably the most notable is one with a very odd die mechanic. Skills are rated 1 to 5, with the number representing the number of d20s. When you do a skill check, you have to roll under the associated attribute, the number of d20s that roll under count as 'hits'. You could also get free 'hits' if your attribute was over 20. For example, if you had an attribute of 30, you would automatically get 1 free hit per die rolled, plus you would get to roll for extra hits as if your attribute was 10 (30-20 simply). It was interesting, though i came up with it mostly bc it would be easy to calculate the chance of success for each roll. It wasnt really intended to be a game in all honesty, it was intended to give me a way to represent a character's capabilities in a story, to give me a firm concrete idea as to what they could and couldn't do.

The system I'm thinking up now is of course a supers rpg. I intend to keep the attribute list small (strength, agility, intellect, power, and maybe charisma). These are supposed to represent normal human capabilities, and infact have a cap on how high they can go. To force them higher, you have to purchase powers or invent somesort of battlesuit (the power attribute deterines how many points you have to invest in powers). On an interesting note, none of the attributes have a single power that increases them, everything they modify is increased by seperate powers. For example, strength determines how hard you hit, how heavy of an object you can throw, your resistance to knockback, and your hit points. There is no power that increases all of these, just four seperate ones that increase each aspect individually. Note that normal strength will cost less than purchasing all four of these together, the drawback being that if you put a lot of points in strength you wont have too many left to put into power, which is necessary to purchase other powers. Btw, I'm thinking of having the power attribute generate 2 'power points' per rank, just to try and keep things balanced. And superheroes don't need power, infact its the only attribute that can be 0 (0 strength means you're incorporal, 0 agility means you cant move or physically do anything, and 0 intellect means of course you're an inanimate object that can't think). I'm still working out the quirks btw, so assuming I follow this one through to the end, the end result may very different math.

2013-03-02, 12:20 PM
BlackWolf, are you throwing systems out because they don't measure up? If so, where is the bar set? What's your measure of success?

If you don't have a measure of success, maybe that's the problem? How do you know you've achieved perfection (which, almost by definition, is unachievable)?

I'm designing an RPG (and I'm openly accepting help). I've set a starting point and a goal:
Start: d20. Great system, very flexible, has some flaws.
End: Fundamental elements of d20. Revisions as necessary, but a new system that is a piece-of-cake to use, and just as easy to add rules as desired.

My challenge is that a simple system introduces more gray areas, so I have to accept those gray areas and make them useful and interesting, instead of seeking perfection.

2013-03-02, 05:47 PM
This is very common. We are always our worst critics and cannot settle on an idea. As soon as we do have a great idea, start working on it, and then we find out somewhere it breaks down. Instead of rethinking or looking at things as necessary evils we scrap the system. I've worked on some Homebrew systems, and just don't follow through.

Created a functional Fantasy RPG n a homebrewed world. Got through one session and some players tried to break it, the thought of Munkin proofing turned me off. Wish I still had it.

Created a Functional Space Combat Game, was in the middle of playtesting it when I got busy. Currently on hold.

Currently working on my 3.5 overhaul, playtesting preliminarily now.

2013-03-02, 06:04 PM
Created a Functional Space Combat Game, was in the middle of playtesting it when I got busy. Currently on hold.

As in ship to ship?

2013-03-02, 06:21 PM
As in ship to ship?

Yes, worked from ship to battle groups. 6-10 ships per side was pretty smooth and around an hour game.

Each ship was a grid, rows and columns. Depending where you took damage determined what capabilities the ship would lose. Used a dry erase marker to dmark damage. A single lucky shot could take out an escort by destroying its reactor or it could take a beating, losing weapons, engines, etc. Worked well at representing battle damage, especially as larger ships had two reactors. Losing one crippled a ship, but wouldn't take it out.

Alternating ship based initiative.

Ships had power points to fuel movement and weapons firing. Ships couldn't fire every weapon each turn, damaged ships had to pick and choose, etc.

Attacker Rolled to hit(d20 per weapon equal to vessel defense value +- accuracy of weapon - Range). Vessel Defense was was reduced by engine damage. Small belles had much higher base defense.

Defender rolled for Shiled Activation(ie 8+ on d20, Success subtracted Shield Strength from Weapon Strength, remainder struck hull.)

Attack rolled for Damage location, then subtracted Hull Armor Value, remainder crossed out boxes. Anything damaged was lost. Larger vessels had much better shield and armor values as well as many more hull points(damage boxes).

Damaged ships would eventually have to break off an attack run(turning another facing to enemy ship) or risk being disabled.

I had five races, each with a different feel and technologies. Got to play testing and balancing.

It was more fun that Battlefleet Gothic or Babylon 5, etc and was more of a Space Combat Simulator as tactics were crucial and battles could swing easily.

2013-03-02, 07:26 PM
My advice: Don't delete your old systems, instead just put them aside (save what you've got as a text file or something), and then later on you might find use from them, letting you avoid starting from scratch when you have an idea how to make one of them work better.