View Full Version : Original System Interesting mechanics from various games

2017-06-08, 03:14 AM
Hello playground,

For some time now I have been working on an original system from the ground up, since I want a high-fantasy system that is simpler than 3.5e yet more conscise than the "here's a core mechanic, now you can decide how everything works" mentality of 5e. I have tried various other systems, each with its own advantages. Yet I request your aid now, because I can't try every system out there. What are some mechanics that you find absolutely brilliant? Some systems I gotta take a look at? I'm looking for some inspiration here.

Some details on what I'm working on:

- No hp per levels, and indeed no leveling gains aside from points which you use to buy features, level is more of an abstract measurement of character power
- No classes, you purchase features and skills with points you get by level
- Armor provides damage reduction, agility provides with dodge, to make the soaking blows mentality more distinct than the dodging them
- A consise magic system were there are spell families along with schools and various options regarding resources

The major goal is to have a modular system in which anyone can plug in a set of features and adjust to any playstyle. The features are designed from the ground up as packages that you can fit together depending on the kind of game you want to play.

2017-06-08, 08:57 AM
I dont know any that fit what you described, but I am in the process of playtesting my own creation that is very similiar, so maybe we could exchange ideas.

Mine is based on the concept that there are no experience points or levels. In sumamry
1. No classes or levels.
2. Characters get one trait that helps define them. Each trait confers a small bonus off the start and offers other benefits as you increase in rank.
3. System is largely based off dnd rules and action economy and uses the weapons and items found in the dnd 5e players handbook.
4. Race has no mechanical benefit by default so if you want to be an elf or a dwarf or a human just write it in your description. If you want something really bizarre or want a mechanical benefit from a race than see the trait 'Supernatural Appearance'
5. Starting hp is 10. When rolling the rest of the stats roll a d10 for each and roll an extra d10 and drop the lowest. Then multiply all of those numbers by 5
* Strength: Used for attacking with any melee weapons (ie quarterstaff, longsowrd, battleaxe etc)
* Accuracy: Used for attacking with ranged weapons and finesse melee weapons(finesse comes from dnd 5e)
* Defense: Used for defending. (When attacked can choose to evade or defend) Defending subtracts your defense modifier from the damage but the attack automatically hits.
* Evasion: Used for evading. Your evasion will equal 50+rolled number. When you evade they roll to hit but you take full damage on a hit and none on a miss.
* Magic: Used for determining how effective your spells are.
* Resistance: How good you are at defending against spells cast on you.
* Move: how many feet you can move on your turn. Each increment increases it by 5.
* Speed: Used for determining order in combat and how many turns you get in a round
6. When rolling skills use the same method but no drop lowest mechanic.
* Athleticism: Climbing, swimming, jumping etc
* Awareness: How aware you are of your surroundings. Spot things, Hear things, dicern if people are telling the truth.
* Knowledge: Recalling facts about history, races, monsters, rituals etc.
* Infiltration: Basically used for breaking into places. ie Unlocking doors, being stealthy, finding traps.
* Performance: Putting on a show, playing an instrument, doing a elaborate bow etc
* Way with words: How good you are at persuading, intimidating, charming etc.
7. Rank is used in place of levels or exp
* Each comabt encounter gives you one combat rank. Each skill encounter gives one skill rank.
* Each point in combat rank can be spent on one of the tracks in either stats or combat talents
* They must be spent in order from left to right
* For stats each point spent increases the base stat by the amount indicated in the circle with one exception. There is a typo on the character sheet. Each point in move should increase by 5 ft. Speed should increase as the other stats do. And each point in hp you add 1d8 plus the amount specified.
* Abilities are can be unlocked by spending enough rank in the track to reach a bottom circle. Any rank after you have reached or passed a bottom circle may instead be spent unlocking that ability. You can choose to never unlock specific abilities. It doesn't prevent you from getting later ones in the same stat.
* Each point in skill rank is similarly spent in skills and they work just like stats.

Morphic tide
2017-06-08, 12:49 PM
Well, my own pet concept pile is essentially taking the d20 system and building a fully 3.5 compatible point buy system out of it, with everything being arranged as 3.5 does, but having a section detailing the point buy components on every single thing. Essentially, a system that is point buy in its foundations to create a guide for game balance of a typical d20 system game. My own game design sense screams at actually making point buy systems with a heavy focus on modularity, because they become functionally impossible to balance unless you dig deeply into implications.

Now, let's take a look at your details and try to map them to the d20 system, because making systems from scratch gets silly, fast:

- No hp per levels, and indeed no leveling gains aside from points which you use to buy features, level is more of an abstract measurement of character power
Purchase hit dice? Maybe a per-HP cost... Constitution discounting HP purchases, or giving free purchases based on level, would be a good way to do it...

- No classes, you purchase features and skills with points you get by level
Getting points by level is... odd. But having levels makes a lot of mechanics simpler. Personally, I'd have the purchases be by XP, with levels being milestones of XP that give you a way to pin a lot of mechanics to a concrete number. Like Constitution HP increases.

- Armor provides damage reduction, agility provides with dodge, to make the soaking blows mentality more distinct than the dodging them
Doing this in a meaningful fashion is close to impossible in any d20 based system. The best way I've seen of doing it in any system is having armor reduce damage by the hardness value of what it's made out of, with modifiers based on the type of armor, and having the armor take damage instead, so you have to actively repair armor, which gets expensive as hell in the long run.

- A consise magic system were there are spell families along with schools and various options regarding resources
I'm... not sure what you are getting at, there. The best way to do it I can think of is to have Schools and Families have different available options for applying point-buy to. To use 3.5 as an example, the Necromancy school might be the only place to get Negative Energy dice, with the use of Families giving you ways to apply the things gotten. I'm... not sure how to structure this, but it does work wonders for 3.5 compatibility. Provided you put together every core 3.5 spell as something in your system, anyway.

As for resources... Point cost reduction for HP costs, XP costs, GP value of material or focus components, casting time and so on all qualify as resources.

Generally, instead of making a system from scratch, look for systems that have features you want and then adjust them to your liking. It saves a lot of ground work in deciding the foundation. The d20 system, in particular, is great because it's extremely flexible. The groundwork covers a lot of stuff, the system has a lot of content to base stuff on and it's basically free to use thanks to the OGL. You could base it on GURPS or Mutants and Masterminds, or the Storyteller system, used in the World/Chronicle of Darkness and Exalted series, which are all point-buy systems already.

2017-06-09, 02:55 AM
The closest thing that I can suggest is Custom Characters: http://www.easydamus.com/CustomCharacters.html

In essence, it's a system that the creator took every class in the Player's Handbook (and that can basically be translated into the Core Rulebook) and took each Special Ability, made them classless as all classes are now under Skills as Profession (Class). Each Special ability, Skill point, Feat, Hit Point, and virtually everything else can be purchased using Experience that is acrued as usual as the currency.

I usually have my players start off, in essence, as 1st level Commoner with 6 + Con mod HP, 90 Ability Points to distribute how they please (with no ability above 18 before racial mods, and no less than 6 after racial modifiers and a Human can average 15 on all 6 if they want). They also start off with 8 + Int Mod skill points to distribute, Simple Weapon proficiency, a Club, 3 torches, a backpack, a bedroll, a blanket, 50' of rope, 3 days of trail rations and 1d10 copper.

Their first adventure, they usually face 6 or so goblins or kobolds, and a traped chest (yes, at this point they can't detect traps having not been able to buy Trapfinding Special Ability yet). If they survive, they gain experience and treasure. They can use that treasure to pay teachers to teach them whatever they are wanting to learn. To learn more advanced things requires going where the knowledge is. Anyone can learn virtually anything given enough time and patience.

I calculated up everything someone could purchase at 1st level (in my personal version that I've advanced since I found Custom Characters with a LOT of D&D and Pathfinder as they are easily included in this system) to be ~35,000 experience (limiting feats to 10, and Crafts, Professions and Perform skills to 3 types each). This lets a human character to have a point (using Pathfinder rules) in each skill (virtually), 25 in each ability score (my homebrew rules, so mostly disregard, subtract ~10,000 experience if you decide to, but most wont bother to increase it them all that high... The rules given in Custom Characters state that ability scores can be increased by 1 point at the appropriate level for the same experience cost as a Feat), 19 HP (6 from character creation, +6 for character expending experience purchasing them, and +7 from a 25 Constitution), 16 + bonus points for high mental modifier (if tied, player's choice but cannot be changed thereafter) Mana (Spell Points instead of a Spells Per Day system, though that's available too) and Power Points, +1 BAB, the ability to use Psionics, and Magic (Magic in my system uses points, and each school of magic is a "skill" under Spellcraft, as is Psycraft and it's associated disciplines), proficiency with virtually any weapon they want, Proficiency with Armor, +9 in each Save (+2 purchased in each, and +7 from 25 in each stat), and probably a weapon they want to specialize in... and unlikely they have any magic items other than potions and maybe a few wands.

The trade-off for all this skill and power, is of course, that by the time you finish acquiring all that, your fellow teammates have hit 'level' 6 because they specialized in a few things, and "built" their own class how they wanted using the story and adventure to help explain where and why they learned something and from who. It's Role-play for those that want it, and simple mechanics for those that just want to fiddle with mechanics.

This allows for some stupendous optimization, but also for utter role play to take over verses being shoehorned into a pigeonhole no matter how you try and be unique.

I posted the first 5 levels of Special Abilities that can be purchased a while back... if you're interested, it should still be here.

2017-06-09, 08:25 AM
Ummm... GURPS? What you're describing sounds a lot like GURPS.