Role playing games (RPGs) are a great way to build your fantasy universe and explore it through your own character creations. With a homemade RPG, you don't have to worry about wasting money buying guidebooks or online subscriptions. However, to create your own RPG, you need a set of mechanics that summarizes how the game is played, and the setting in which the game is played.
Part 1 of 3: Developing Key Mechanisms
Step 1. Select the type of RPG to create
You have many RPG variations to choose from. Common versions include tabletop (played at a table), or live action role-playing aka LARP (played live). You need to decide on this before going any further into creating an RPG.
- Tabletop games are mostly, if not entirely, text-based. The game may require additional equipment, such as maps or pictures, but relies heavily on written text and spoken descriptions to run the game. Tabletop RPGs typically involve a game leader, usually named a dungeon master aka DM, who designs the scenarios the player faces and sometimes mediates the rules.
- In LARP, players play as if they were living an adventure in real life. Players adopt character personas to complete tasks in the game.
Step 2. Identify the main stats
The player's character stats provide a basis for the character's abilities and how he acts. Common statistics include strength (strength), intelligence (intelligence), wisdom (wisdom), charisma (charisma), and dexterity (dexterity). The effect of statistics on characters for example characters with high strength but low charisma will be very strong in battle but weak in diplomacy.
- In many RPGs, the game starts with the player creating a character and distributing a certain number of points over various stats. At the start of the game, you can ask each player to channel 20 points into various statistical categories as they see fit.
- Some popular RPGs use 10 as the basis for all stats. The number 10 represents the average human ability in the related statistical category. So, the strength of 10 is the strength of the average human, and the intelligence of 10 produces the intelligence of the average human, and so on.
- Additional stat points are usually awarded to characters as experience increases, through in-game events, or through combat. Experience is usually awarded in points, and if a player reaches a certain amount of experience, he or she will "level up" (level up), and his stats will increase.
- Make sure the stats provided match the character's description. For example, a ranger class character will be more cunning and good at sneaking so they have high agility stats. On the other hand, wizards rely on their sorcery so they usually have high intelligence stats.
Step 3. Plan the mechanism for using statistics
Now that the main stats have been established, decide how they will be used in players. Some games use a stat-limit check, i.e. certain tasks have a ranking requirement that the character must meet or beat in order to perform. Other games use numbers to represent the difficulty level of a task, dice rolls that reflect the character's attempt to perform an action, and statistics to provide bonus modifiers to rolls of the dice.
- Dice roll mechanics/stats modifiers are very common in tabletop RPGs. For example, say a player is required to climb a rope. This challenge can have a dice rank of 10 from a 20-sided die. This means that players must roll 10 or more numbers in order to climb the rope. Since climbing the rope requires dexterity, players with high agility stats can earn bonus points on this roll of the dice.
- Some games use statistics as a way of determining the pool of points that can be "spent" on actions. For example, each player can get a bonus of 4 HP points (health points aka “blood” in the game) for each strength point. This usually reduces the damage taken from an opponent's attack or increases the effect of a healing item, such as a potion, on the character.
- There are other statistical mechanics that can be applied to self-created RPGs. You can also combine 2 commonly used mechanisms, such as the stats limit mechanism and the dice roll/statistical modifier.
Step 4. Design a character class
Class refers to a character's occupation or specialization in an RPG. Common classes in RPGs include warrior (warrior), knight (paladin), thief (thief), bandit (rogue), hunter (hunter), priest (priest), wizard (wizard), and so on. Classes are usually also given bonuses for activities related to the class. For example, soldiers will get bonuses for combat maneuvers.
- The bonus is usually added to the roll of the dice to increase the chances of the desired outcome. If the soldier needs a roll of 10 or more dice than a 20-sided die, he can get an additional 2 points on this roll.
- You can create your own classes for various scenarios in the RPG. For example, if you play an RPG with a futuristic setting with fantasy elements, create a class like "Technomage" that uses technology and magic.
- Some games involve various races which sometimes have special race attributes. Some of the common races in RPGs are elves, gnomes, dwarfs, humans, orcs, fairies/feys, halflings, and so on.
Step 5. Create a growth scheme
Most RPGs use experience as a character growth mechanism. That is, the character earns “experience” points for each opponent he defeats. Once a certain number of experience points are accumulated, the character will level up and be awarded additional stat points for each level reached. This reflects the development of character abilities over time.
- You can also create character developments based on significant events in your RPG. For example, you can reward level ups and stats points for big fights on your adventure.
- You can also give stat points to characters who have completed certain quests or objectives.
Step 6. Decide on your playing style
Play style refers to the structure of the game in RPGs. Most RPGs use a turn based structure, where each player takes turns taking actions. You can also use the time-limited “free phase” style, where each player is free to do whatever they want for a certain amount of time.
- You can determine your turn with 20-sided dice. Have each player roll the dice. The player with the largest number gets the first turn, and the second largest number gets the second, and so on.
- Complete a draw by rolling the dice. When two players get the same number, have them both roll the dice again. This time, the player with the highest number gets the first turn.
Step 7. Determine the mechanics for the player's movement
Characters in the RPG will have to move in the game environment. Thus, you need to determine how. Many games divide movement into two phases: combat and overworld. You can use this two-phase system or build your own system.
- Combat usually uses a turn system, with each player and non-player character (NPC) each having a turn. Each character can usually move a certain distance and perform actions on each turn. Movements and actions can depend on various things such as class, equipment weight, and character's race.
- Players usually prefer the world-exploring style of movement for long-distance travel. To do this, players use figurines to move over a map or blueprint. In this phase, usually the players move according to the desired distance in turns.
- Character movements are usually determined by their weight and class. For example, a character wearing heavy armor will naturally move slower. Physically weaker classes such as priests and mages usually move slower than physically strong characters such as wanderers, warriors, and barbarians.
Step 8. Determine the economy for your RPG
Although not all RPGs have an economy, characters usually earn or find some kind of "money" after defeating opponents or completing quests. This money can be exchanged for goods or services through NPCs.
- Giving too much money to a character can sometimes break the balance of the game. Keep this in mind when creating an RPG economy.
- The "currencies" commonly found in RPGs are gold, diamonds, precious minerals, and coins.
Step 9. Write down the main mechanism
Sometimes it's easy to miss a step or forget to apply a penalty or bonus modifier. By having a clear written description of how to play, disputes between players can be prevented and clear guidelines for playing can be established.
We recommend that you print out a copy of the game mechanics to give to each player. That way, players can read it again if needed
Part 2 of 3: Considering Character Conditions
Step 1. List the status effects in the game
As the game progresses, characters can fall ill or get attacks that affect their physical abilities. Common status effects in RPGs include poison, paralysis, death, blindness, and unconsciousness.
- Usually there are some magic that have a status effect. It's a good idea to make a list of magic that affects your character's physical condition.
- Players can also be affected by status effects through poison or purge weapons.
Step 2. Determine the level of damage and duration of the effect, if possible
Not all status effects do damage, although most will wear off over time. For example the paralyzed status effect, players can be forced to lose 1-2 turns until this effect wears off. On the other hand, deadly poisons can continue to exist and cause damage over time.
- You can set the basis for damage from certain effects. For example, for poison you can specify that a weak poison deals 2 points of damage per turn, 5 points for a moderate poison, and 10 points for a lethal poison.
- You can also determine the damage by rolling the dice. Let's go back to using poison as an example; The player may have to roll a four-sided die each turn to determine the damage the poison does.
- Status effect duration can be timed or dice roll specified. If the poison is determined to last for 1-6 turns, roll the 6-sided dice to determine the duration of the effect.
Step 3. Recover dead characters by reviving them
After spending time and effort creating an RPG character, players can get discouraged if the character dies and can't come back again. Many games use special restore items to prevent this from happening. Two common items commonly used to bring characters to life are ankh and phoenix feathers.
To make character death a more serious condition, you can define the punishment for the character who dies. Characters that have been revived can revive in a weak state and can only move half the normal distance
Step 4. Create drugs for players to use
While some status effects cannot be healed, in most RPGs there are medicines such as herbs and magical potions that can heal characters. Rare conditions, such as ancient diseases, usually required special quest items in order to make the cure.
- You can include medicine making into the adventure section. For example, you can ask your characters to look for rare medicinal components before they are made.
- Common drugs are usually sold in town shops, or obtained from killing monsters as the game progresses.
Part 3 of 3: Perfecting your RPG
Step 1. Determine the conflicts in your RPG
Many RPGs use bad guys aka antagonists so players have clear enemies. However, conflicts in RPGs can be completely different, for example a natural disaster or a deadly plague. Either way, the conflict will help motivate the character to act during the game.
Conflict can be either active or passive. An example of an active conflict would be a chancellor trying to overthrow a king, while a passive conflict could be a dam that weakens over time and endangers a city
Step 2. Draw a map to aid visualization
It may be difficult to imagine a setting without references. Even if your drawing is ugly, a simple sketch showing the dimensions of the setting will help players orient themselves. Many RPG creators divide maps into two types: world maps and instance maps.
- A world map is a map that depicts the entire game universe. This map can consist of only one city and its surrounding area, but it can also be a map of a single continent or even the entire world.
- An instance map usually sets limits on certain player events, such as battles or puzzle rooms to solve.
- If you're not good at drawing, try drawing simple shapes like squares, circles, and triangles to mark objects and background boundaries.
Step 3. Summarize the story behind the game
In RPGs, the story usually refers to background information about the game, such as mythology, history, religion, and culture. These things can add depth to the RPG and help you define how NPCs, such as townspeople, interact with the player character.
- Stories can also be useful for developing conflict in RPGs. For example, there might be an uprising that messes up the city in the game.
- It's a good idea to take notes about the story in the RPG to help straighten out the details while role-playing.
- For the general knowledge that each player character needs to know, write it down on a separate sheet and share it with the players.
Step 4. Monitor character info to maintain player honesty
The temptation to cheat can be strong at times, especially if you only need 10 gold to buy new gear. To keep players honest, it's a good idea to delegate a central person, such as a game coordinator, to keep track of players and items during the game.
This type of in-game bookkeeping is also great for keeping the game realistic. If a player has more things than he should be able to carry, prepare a penalty for him
- There are many character creation sheets available online to help you create your character and stats.
- For beginners, it's best to create a mechanism based on an existing game, such as Dungeons and Dragons.
- Try to make players more immersed in the game by voice acting while playing the NPC. It may feel silly at first, but it can help to adjust the atmosphere and differentiate the characters in the game.
- RPG focuses on the role-playing aspect. This means that players can abandon their planned goals and decide to do something else. This is acceptable in RPGs, although it can sometimes be difficult for game planners.