View Full Version : What constitutes a new system?

2007-11-16, 09:19 PM
OK, to avoid confusing people, I'll try to be cut-and-dry. How much does one need to change DND before it can be called a new system? Is it enough to rewrite some skills for the setting, heavily alter the magic system, and use a bunch of new classes and feats? Or does something really fundamental have to change? I have looked at D20 Modern and D20 Star Wars, and they both seem to be DND underneath, with substantial stuff changed, but still working under the same mechanics. I ask because I am sort of planning on creating a Final Fantasy D20 (likely with a good deal of help) under the same sort of premise of those 2, and want to know how much has to change before I can actually call it a new system.

2007-11-16, 09:26 PM
When the game emulates a new genre of gameplay, a style of gameplay with different foci than the game it was based on, it's a new sytem.

2007-11-16, 09:27 PM
In truth all the wizards stuff is one system with many modules over it. creating a new system involves changing almost all the rules, primarily what determines success, so if its D20 its not really a new system.
Edit: Wow you just got 2 diametricly opposed responses rather quickly.

2007-11-16, 09:35 PM
Well, I suppose if that's the definition of a different module, and not a different system, then I guess module is the word I was going for. I am no-where near talented enough to create a whole new set of rules and mechanics, but I like to think that maybe I am good enough for a new module. And it would have quite a few things different: new classes, skills, and feats, a different magic system (perhaps based on the Spell Points variant), new monsters, and more then likely variant settings (The world of FFVI is distinctly different in terms of technology and macguffins then FFVII, for example)

2007-11-16, 10:20 PM
New System: Introduction of new variables, removal of certain DND variables, theme, equipment, and alteration of progression

Not New System: Introduction of new variables that function off of the basic DND rules.

IE: New system uses the d10 as its major die, and is focused on racing. Uses a 5-Atribute point buy for abilities.

Not New System uses new classes like "PRC A" and "PRC B", and introducing "Monster A and Monster B". Also gives rules on a new weather type and new equipment.

2007-11-16, 10:33 PM
So is it bad if I made a "not-new system"? Or is it acceptable if I don't want to make it too complicated for me or prospective players? 'cause the examples frankly make "not-new systems" look fairly... dry.

2007-11-16, 10:35 PM
So is it bad if I made a "not-new system"? Or is it acceptable if I don't want to make it too complicated for me or prospective players? 'cause the examples frankly make "not-new systems" look fairly... dry.

its not bad at all. in fact now a days its fairly standard.

2007-11-16, 10:46 PM
Good, good. That's... that really helps my resolve, thank you. Now I just have to start working on the darn thing. And try to figure out a working system for spellcasting off Magicite, if I ever want to do an FFVI campaign. Hmm... *mutter, mutter* perhaps it would be best to have each non-casting class have spell points they can use if they have magicite... *mutter, mutter*

2007-11-17, 01:42 AM
One suggestion though. You might want to make sure that a system like the one you're trying to make doesn't exist yet. FFRPG link (http://www.returnergames.com/).

2007-11-17, 09:19 AM
Oh, um, heh. Oops. Well, that's embarrassing. Thanks for the link, though.

2007-11-18, 10:57 PM
The fine details of what consist of a new system vs a variant of an existing system are somewhat complicated. The terms used by Wizards themselves are that DnD, d20 Modern, and Start Wars all use the d20 system. (Athough Saga Edition Star Wars could be considered an exception.)

There are differences in the rule sets of these and other (third party) d20 games, but the core of the system is the same. While not truely a "univeral" or "genra free" system, the basics of d20 are quite adaptable and can be put to use for a number of different game types.

On the other tentacle, to be considered a different system, even if originally d20 based, a system would need to be so far changed that it didn't use the same basic mechanics as d20. Examples would be White Wolf's Storyteller System, GURPS, BESM, Fudge and the many other non-d20 systems out there.

These systems all use different stats and abilities. Different character creation rules. And, most importantly, different "conflict resolution systems". The conflict resolution system is the core of an RPG system. In d20, it consists of rolling a d20, adding some modifiers, and attempting to achive a target number. Many games use a similar system, but others are completely different.

As for your specific goals, I don't think d20 is a good fit for emulating Final Fantasy as an RPG. The reason I say this is becaus of the conflict resolution system. In d20, the main componant of combat is whether you hit or miss your target. Damage, except for crits, tends to be a fairly low range and is less important than the "to hit" roll in most cases.

In Final Fantasy on the other hand, attacks almost always hit. Misses occure, but they are fairly rare and usually don't play a major roll in the outcome of combat. Far more important is the rate at which one damages the enemy relative to the rate at which they damage you.

Furthermore, equipment in FF alters a character in vastly different ways than it does in DnD. I'll spare you the details, but it's a very signifigant difference.

On the other tentacle, if you think d20 is "good enough" for what you want out of your FF RPG, then go ahead and use it. It's much easier to adapt an existing system you're already familiar with than to create a new one.

In either case, I've done some fairly deep investigations into how FF's combat system works at it's core and could provide some advice as to how to impliment similar results in either d20 or another system.

Best of luck and keep up the good work.