View Full Version : Unlimited Customization

2007-02-16, 09:59 PM
So I've been working for a long time on a new RPG system, with the aim of providing players with the opportunity for unlimited character and genre customization. How does that differ from other RPGs? Well, because all the rules you need are in one book. Also, if I've done my job right, there are far fewer balance issues than you might find in other role playing games; less opportunity for blatant power playing and whatnot. Basically, the aim is, it distills things down to the stats, and then lets the players fluff them out as much or as little as they want.

Just to be clear, I'm not saying that it's based on a few stats and then the rest is kinda determined by the players. Quite the opposite, really. I've tried to get all the major themes of RPGs in there with concise rules; it's just the descriptions that will vary. So a wizard, a cleric, and an explosive-toting robot will all use the same general rules for, say, large area attacks. It's just the details that differ. The aim being, making sure the game remains balanced.

I'm going to briefly go over some of the character creation details to kind of give a feel for how the game works.

Rather than use a race/class system, I go with preferences, groups of skills or abilities. Characters can raise a few preferences very high, or more preferences to smaller degrees. There are three groups of preferences: attributes (which basically fulfill the roles of ability scores and skills); stats; and abilities. Each group has ten preferences.

So the point here is largely statistical customization; even if each character in the group focuses on three stat preferences, there's 720 combinations. That's before minor modifications to lesser preferences, or how the character focuses on attributes and abilities, and so on. And one preference can change a lot. An offense/defense/tactics character is going to be quite a bit different than an offense/defense/damage character.

It's also about descriptive customization. There aren't set races and classes, so you can choose any stats (or attributes or abilities) that suit your character. Want a rogue who can teleport? A wizard who has a lot of stamina? A fighter who wins with wits rather than strength? All possible.

The three groups are also kept predominantly separate from each other, and the cost for each is set for the game by the group. So if you want a low-magic or no-magic game, you set abilities down to a low scale. If you want to play angels, giants, dragons, and other superhuman characters, you'll probably want attributes at a high scale (not to mention stats and probably starting level). There are options for raising a group's scale at the cost of others as well, just incase someone wants to play a magic-dead fighter in a high-ability-scale game, for example. Other than that, though, the three don't affect each other, and you have a separate pool of points to spend on each, so there's no balance issue of comparing, to use D&D as an example, skills, spells, and combat stats.

Anyway, I don't want to get too deep into it, but I'm interested in any suggestions, feedback, or questions people may have. I think I'll add a poll to the thread, too, just to see how that turns out.

2007-02-16, 10:18 PM
Have you checked out things like GURPS? It's another universal and compact (only two core books, about 600 pages between them) system that works, thematically, a lot like you describe: it can emulate any sort of setting, race, class, etc or any abilities in general. It's point based and probably the most customizable game in existance. There are a few others like BESM which attempt more or less the same thing.

I'm saying this not to claim your idea has been done before or that it's not worth doing, but just to suggest you look at your 'competition' and also see what they may have done right and what they may have done wrong.

2007-02-16, 10:21 PM
Might have heard of it once or twice, didn't know quite what it was though. And yeah, I'd be interested in learning other systems that function similarly, see their take on things. I'll look GURPS up. Thanks!

2007-02-16, 10:27 PM
http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/ <<---this is the website for the game

And this http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/lite/ is a 'lite' version of the system (it's a free download), it doesn't cover nearly the scale of the full system but it does give a good mechanical view of things to start out with.

EDIT: if nothing else GURPS and games like it show that what you're talking about is certainly not impossible.

2007-02-16, 10:28 PM
Awesome, thanks!

Roland St. Jude
2007-02-16, 10:32 PM
Another system in this vein is the HERO System. It's worth looking into. It's basically as you describe, a mechanical system which can be used to underlie everything from fantasy medieval to futuristic cyberpunk to superheroes. Which, as oriong says, doesn't mean your version isn't worthwhile, just that its worth knowing what else is out there like it already. (Might nick some fun ideas :smallwink: )

2007-02-17, 08:54 AM
Hmm I'd almost make the opposite recommendation: flesh out the basics of your system before looking at GURPS. That way, you can create something truly new before your head is filled with GURPSology, which is a pretty addictive substance :)

That said, another rpg to look at is Fudge (http://www.fudgerpg.com/fudge.html), which aims for simplicity instead of detail.

2007-02-17, 01:34 PM
Don't worry, I've been working on, testing, and revising this system for years. Actually, just going by your description and what I saw on the GURPS page, I'd assume mine is a lot more like Fudge than GURPS. I found that the massive ability lists didn't work too well for what I was aiming for; too many balance issues, and also the chance that you'd forget some kinda important but basic ability in the chaos of all the cool combat powers. It can be a cool way to do a system (everyone likes having lots and lots of abilities to choose from, after all) but it wasn't what I was going for. I'm more like Fudge I suppose; versatility through simplicity. I'll check it out. Thanks!

2007-02-17, 03:27 PM
actualy, in my country there IS an "almost" full customizable d20 game. try looking for Primeira Aventura, it's goes up until 5th level, but you can get the picture. Altough it's much like 'Unerted Arcana', or whatever it's called, acording to authors.

2007-02-17, 03:30 PM
If you're Fudge-like then another system to check out is PDQ ( http://atomicsockmonkey.com/ ) the core rules are free and available in the Freebies section. PDQ is a 'do it yourself' universal system which I believe Fudge is too.