RPG Workshop

Well here it is, a new page based on an idea me and Sakura had while we were talking. If you’re wondering what this is all about well its simple. It’s about helping the community. This page is dedicated to helping people either with their ideas for a game, or even current games. It’s a place where people can seek help if needed, or get feedback on a game mechanic. Anything from how the game runs to even website troubles.

Now in an attempt to keep things orderly and helpful there are a set of guidelines to follow. They’re not complicated or extreme so don’t worry.

1. Be respectful

2. Criticizing someone’s idea is fine but keep it constuctive

3. Don’t make pointless posts.

I will mostly be keeping the page in order, and make sure the above three guidelines are followed. I will also bring attention to any comments or resources people present as well.

~DarenDF

RPG Webbie Resources

A basic list of resources that a prospective webbie might find useful in setting up and running a game. WEBHOSTING First and foremost one would need a place to host their websites. Below are two recommended hosting companies. The first one is recommended for their free webhosting and the latter for their paid webhosting with …

16 comments

16 pings

Skip to comment form

  1. Unnamed Mech RPG


    Abstract:

    The mechanisms of PBEM (Play By E-Mail) RPGs have not significantly changed over the years, yet the lives of those operating and playing them have done so to large extent. Actions sent in via e-mail, manual updating, and manual writing of battles take an appreciable amount of time to conduct, and many of the members of this community simply do not have the time or desire to devote this resource; those that do do not hold sufficient numbers. In an attempt to better analyze the habits and hopefully open a window to better RPGs in the future, a hypothetical RPG will be discussed and possibly even implemented for testing purposes.


    Theory:

    The RPG in question will be an unholy union of several genres and universes as a matter of convenience only, with a custom tailored universe set in the not too distant future of modern day society. Familiar defense contractors such as Dassault Systemmes, General Dynamics, SAAB, Kongsberg, GIAT, Rheinmetall, and Uralvagonzavod will be referenced where applicable.

    The scope and setting of the actions in this RPG will err on the side of tactical more so than strategic, and at any one time will not encompass more than 50,000 square kilometers. From this localized setting will be an issuance of several missions that each side can undertake to further their own goals and/or hamper those of their adversaries. For example, side A has recently ousted side B from a city and must now decide to either press their attack for further gains, or hold position and defend a supply convoy that will bring defenses for their newly acquired territory. Side B then has the option of attempting to attack and disrupt the supply convoy in an attempt to deny reinforcements for side A.

    The missions themselves will be mostly planned in advance along with the NPCs, so a heavy involvement in setting up and preparing the RPG will be required on the part of the GM.

    Updates will occur only twice a week, but only the latter of those two updates will involve combat against an adversary. The earlier of the two updates will be devoted to auxiliary actions such as scouting, sparring, purchasing, and other non-combat related actions. The combat action will allow for engagements against the enemy and players would also be given the ability to equip their mechs however they wish during this time, but cannot requisition new items.

    Loadouts for mechs will offensive systems (machine guns, sniper rifles, artillery cannons, missiles) and defensive systems (armour, anti-missile systems, radar) which will all have their advantages and disadvantages. Improved systems, for the most part, will not be all around better than less expensive parts, but rather superior in a specific aspect while often sacrificing another area. For example, an improved machine gun may offer a greater rate of fire at the expense of accuracy. The statistics for mobile suits will be used mostly by the battle writer to determine superiority when he or she is writing a portion where two opposing PCs are facing each other in the midst of battle. Much like Ketara’s OYW games, however, this is to be used as a guideline with a level of adherence to be determined at a later time.

    Unlike Gundam RPGs, guided weaponry will be effective in the battlefield (unless someone were to equip a rather powerful ECM module, for example), allowing even infantry soldiers to incapacitate mechs (especially in urban environments). Tanks will be fielding main cannons that can mangle a light mech in one shot, and aircraft will have AGM missiles that can do the same. The agility of the mechs will be comparable to that of OYW era ground mobile suits, though maybe a bit faster depending on the mech type.

    Movement will be based on grid squares and encompass the entirety of the current run’s boundaries, with various sized mechs having different movement points.

    The RPG will run for two months at the most, at which a few weeks hiatus will be given for the preparation of the next theatre of operations involving new missions and whatnot. This has the possibility of people becoming tired of waiting and losing interest, but I find it better to have a reachable stopping point rather than an abrupt indefinite pause to an RPG prior to some sense of closure.
    Oh, and the story will probably be akin to that of Armoured Core minus the whole PMCs controlling the world part. The two sides will likely be PMCs employed by larger states to fight proxy wars (sorta like MGS4). For the sake of simplicity, we’ll start in either Africa or Australia due to its terrain.

    Anyways, this is just a thought experiment, so pick at it!

    1. the 4 day update week definitely is a thing of the past. Travel and repair times are also outmoded, as well as the traditional exp/vp model. SoS is working on a varied version of this but, it’s much the same even though i’m going for a 3 update week.
      The biggest problems for these games is the updates, they take large amounts of precious free time from work or school to do menial things, someone with knowledge of scripts could easily program something to ease this. Finding staff or someone willing to take the time to create a usable program mentioned above is difficult and this set-up needs more detail on how this will be overcome.

      however, I assume in your game damage and the like will be treated much as in many military style games and media, repair what you can, get the machine functional and send it into battle ready or not creating a more gritty, real feel. of course, you could always make all damage be repaired fully by the next combat day but, this would make any damage feel transient.

    2. If anybody remembers the Rob that made Gundam Pilot and Gundam Cataclysm, he also ran one last RPG that was a fantasy based RPG and he designed and implemented a rudimentary database system where individual players were assigned usernames and passwords so they could assess a personal control page that gave them a more detailed rundown on their abilities and statistics, but also the ability to travel, shop, equip, and battle based on their location and proximity to other players. These stats were also mirrored on a public part of the website in a form of a traditional roster page, so updating these things became trivial at best. The battles, of course, were still written; the automation just output a list of battles that would happen for the day.

      If one were able to learn how to construct a database, that would be a great tool for the webmaster and other RPGs in general if one were to share! L2PHP

      Addressing damage, I would be hesitant to put too much emphasis on damage given the fact that each iteration will only have 8 combat updates and I don’t want anybody missing even one mission due to damage. That being said, I don’t want people to be completely obvious to their character’s safety, so I will probably strike a compromise (though it would most likely be closer to that of insta-repair post-battle). Perhaps I would assign a degree of performance reduction based on the traditional “damage” scale, but it would only serve to act as a negative stat modifier to reflect some negligence, and further give an auxiliary option for Maintenance that would remove said modifier.

      Anywho, thanks for the feedback.

        • Ketara on June 17, 2011 at 21:00

        Doing a sort of scenario based RPG in a very limited scope and timeframe, which seems to be what you’re suggesting, is something nobody has ever really done before (at least successfully), and something that could potentially be really cool.

        Scenario based stuff is the lifeblood of board games, but it becomes a little bit more murky when you add a roleplaying factor to it. When somebody is creating and roleplaying a character and telling a story, it’s difficult enough to do it within the confines of a longer, more open ended RPG’s setting. Doing it within something based on a scenario, that is designed to only run for a limited period of time, might turn a lot of people away.

        I’d suggest having the option of players who want to play the game, but don’t want to create and attach themselves to a character who is guaranteed to only be in that world for a month or two, to play the game without roleplaying, or play an existing character from a series or even another RPG.

        Hell, you could make an entire month long RPG scenario based entirely around The Circle from Turn A, or McKinley. Both of those would be fun, and relatively awesome. Take some old characters from those events, post up simple biographies, and let people make their own guy, or pick one of those.

        In regards to damage and update systems etc, I don’t think you should go with conventional norms, because your idea is not conventional. The “5 days damage, can’t fight while damaged” system is designed to prevent people from doing something every day, so that writers and updaters are not overstressed. What you’re trying to do is condense an entire game into a smaller package, so a damage system like that just wouldn’t be productive.

        1. Perhaps in this setting allowing someone control of a unit instead of a singular character would be good, that way they can play the strategy and potentially roleplay with any type of character, even some that are not directly involved (like a war correspondent, a political figure, fry cook etc.). It would let people play bit characters with less fear of them dying or running behind in RPG events.

    3. Updating the site is trivial compared to the main issue. We demand more from our battles and events. How many times has the progress of a RPG been halted in order to catch up on battles or events?

        • Ketara on June 17, 2011 at 22:55

        This is pretty much why I’ve never really cared when people have offered to make update-itself code for me for games.

        Ultimately, it is battle writing that is the biggest hurdle, takes the most time, requires the most effort, and ends up killing the most games.

        OYW5 was probably the biggest, most complicated and difficult game to date update wise, and even that took at most 2 hours to update. Getting a quality event written in 2 hours is a miracle.

        You can always do an update and just post battle results, but that tends to kill the fun and momentum of the game if you do it too much, and once you do it once it becomes okay to do it again and starts becoming a regular occurance.

    4. A more automated system for menial things such as traveling, purchasing, and determining battles would save time and lead to less errors if properly implemented, but, again, this isn’t absolutely necessary. It’s just something that can be improved upon which would bring beneficial and tangible results in my opinion.

      Roleplaying will not be required, as explained by Eld, though I would like to make the individual runs somewhat tied together so that characters (at least the ones that survive) *will* be seen again in the next iteration as a result of their faction’s gains and losses during the previous run. This *might* give incentive to roleplay, but with a sub par history of RPGs actually restarting after a planned hiatus… well, that’ll be iffy.

      As for damage, I’m still tinkering around with it. Giving two auxiliary actions would be a choice (repair + scout/train/etc) but then that’s almost the same as giving a free pass on repairs, so yes, this is up for debate.

      Battles would most likely be written over a few days, or even perhaps in segments to be uploaded each day until a complete battle is all said and done, but with everything else that’s being proposed testing will be required to determine the feasibility of ideas.

      Thanks for the comments guys!

        • Ketara on June 19, 2011 at 14:25

        I won’t comment on automated update systems, because that’s really a different discussion piece altogether.

        In regards to repairs, there’s several different things you can do.

        The traditional Gundam repair system works for 3 reasons. 1, it’s very simple and doesn’t confuse people. 2, it does a good job of keeping people from being in battles repeatedly, which doesn’t overwork writers. Finally, you don’t need to specify what exactly the damage is in that system. Because people cannot fight while damaged, there are no concerns of “Well his bazooka blew up in the last battle so he can’t use the bazooka in this battle.” Stuff like that can create a lot of errors in writing.

        You could opt to do that system, but let people fight while damaged, and just prorate their EXP level based off of how much damage they go into battle with. This way whatever the writer writes is still kosher, and the writer can simply adjust the pilots EXP level rather than having to read previous battles and figure out what exactly the damage is.

        If you want to do a more complicated damage system, you could do something like the following:

        Have seperate status entries for the pilot and the mecha.

        Rather than damage + a number, have a few grades of damage (OK, Light Damage, Moderate Damage, Heavy Damage, etc)

        For pilots, you can prorate their EXP level based off whatever injury grade they are. Perhaps minor injuries is a -10% EXP level, moderate is -50%, and heavy injuries are hospitalized and can’t fight.

        For mecha, you have your overall damage level, then in parenthesis list what specifically the damage is. For example “Moderate Damage (Left Arm Destroyed, minor hull damage)”

        Then you have a repair action, in which each repair action takes you down 1 damage grade. Moderate to Light, Light to OK, etc.

        Basically what this does is gives you the same system as repair days, but allows for more detail in RPing and writing. However, with more detail comes more responsibility on the part of writers to write things correctly, and on updaters to not make mistakes.

    • Ketara on June 17, 2011 at 20:47

    Most of the rules and shop work for OYW6 is done, however, I haven’t spent the months that would be necessary to put it to a website, and don’t really intend to, nor do I intend to run it, at least in the near future.

    But a bunch of people have said they’d like to see what is done, so I made a little forum with all my files pasted on it, more or less.

    http://oywrpg4.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=oyw6

    Feel free to take any information from it for your own game, or just check it out, it might pass boredom for an hour or two.

    • Ketara on August 24, 2011 at 22:51

    A battle writing rant

    I was having this discussion with a friend of mine a couple days ago, and I think it’s something that could help new webmasters understand the qualms of getting people to write.

    First off, it’s important to understand that battle writing is the lifeblood of what makes these RPGs. It’s what makes us different from other online RPG communities (of which there are many), and in my opinion, it’s what makes us better. But it’s also what makes our games more stressful and shorter lived than many others.

    There’s basically two ways webmasters organize battles and issue them to writers. The way that Marcus and I do it/did it, and the way most other people have been doing it recently, which as far as I know was popularized by Berrik with Future Imperfect.

    If you look at statistics of the last bunch of large games the last couple years (OYW4, FI, OYW5, RE and FI2) you’ll find that the OYW games consistently updated earlier, had battles in on time more reliably, and had drastically fewer battles that went unwritten or updates paused due to writing problems. I hate to sound all egotistical (I really don’t), but this analysis is simply true. I think the biggest reason for this difference is the way in which I hand out battles, and I shall explain why.

    The current way most RPGs hand out battles that I’ve seen is to post them on a battle writing message board, and let writers who can write that day take them at their leisure. This seems like a very civilized way to operate and puts very little stress on the writer, but is based on a bad foundation. If you expect somebody to volunteer for something, they won’t do it.

    I’ll draw a parallel. If you take an emergency first aid class, one of the first things they will teach you is to never ask people to volunteer for things. You have to tell them what to do. For example, you never say “Somebody call 911!” Instead you point to somebody and say “You, call 911.” (http://genuinecuriosity.com/genuinecuriosity/2011/7/30/you-call-911.html) Psychological studies show that it is MUCH more likely that 911 will actually end up getting called if you tell a specific person to do it, rather than request it of a larger group. When you request it of a group, what happens is everybody expects that somebody else will do it, and it doesn’t get done.

    The way that I get writers to battles (and the way Marcus used to do it) is to figure out what the battles are, and then assign them to specific writers at a specific time. This ensures that no battles go unclaimed. It also allows you to identify a problem such as too few writers on in a given day early in the evening, and attempt to fix it before it’s too late at night. Both of these things go a long way towards updates being done at a reasonable hour, since battle writing is 90% of the time what holds up an update.

    It also allows you as a webmaster to exert a level of quality control over your battles even if you aren’t writing them. For example, in order to keep things fair in OYW, I tried to as routine assign battles where EF won to Zeon writers, and battles where Zeon won to EF writers. This would generally prevent NPC losses on the losing side from being too dramatic. Additionally, certain PC’s I’d assign to the same writers repeatedly, so they’d not only not have to read new RP threads all the time, but they would know what had happen in a characters previous battles because they had written them. For example, if there are 5 events with Thomas in them over a 2 week period, I might assign them all to Chan.

    Of course, there are problems with this system, which mainly have to do with stress on the writer. If you do it the ‘battle board’ way, then when people don’t want to write they don’t have to. This means that writers tend to not burn out as fast. The assignment way feels more like a job, and even though you’re getting paid in the game, I tend to have a reasonably high turnover rate on writers. If you’ve written for me and aren’t Chan, you’ve quit your writing position at least once. But to me, this is kind of a normal and expected thing. In an ideal world writers would be rotated on a regular schedule so that they aren’t writing for long lengths of time. Our games usually are not ideal, so writers tend to not get ‘rotated’, they tend to quit instead, which causes a scramble to find a new writer who then is magically there where he wasn’t when you didn’t need a new spot. These sorts of things cause drama, but at the end of the day they’re pretty natural and shouldn’t be unexpected.

    Personally, I’d rather have a game where the updates are regular and the writers are rotated than a game where the updates are irregular and the writers stay the same.

    • Nomad on August 25, 2011 at 17:26

    Requiem Echo Superhero RPG


    If you have not heard, I have been considering making superhero RPG as of late. I am still in discussion with Scarth, Flession, and sometimes, Blackmage, on game mechanics, but these are the few details I have been considering for the game. I would like your feedback. These are only the basics, and there will be a lot more features; I just want to make sure to get these out of the way.

    Powers

    There are going to be two options for joining. The first option is the Archetype, which is a character with a designed set of stats with a specific purpose. Archetypes are essentially oddballs that do not fit in the category below. For example: Vigilante (No powers, but fancy technology and gadgets), Alien (Depends on race but do not expect kryptonians jumping around), Jumper (Teleporter), Super Soldier (No powers, but enhanced skills), Covenant (Elemental based magic), Science Experiment (Choice of 1 power from a list, which will be slightly upgraded from the customization option), etc

    The other option is customization. Customization will allow you to pick from two weaker powers from a list (Possibly have to have them be related). With a custom character, powers will upgrade both independently and dependently. For example a character that can fire and absorb energy, would be able to do both and power up the strength of his attacks.

    Stats

    Stats will be something like this:
    Level: Your level determines coincides with the upgrade path of your powers.
    Experience: Once filled, you level up.
    Health: Determines your life and how long you can fight. Once it hits zero, you faint.
    Energy: Determines how much you can use your super powers. Once it hits zero, you are fatigued.
    Armor: Reduces either physical or energy based damage, depending on the equipment.
    Strength: Determines physical damage.
    Intelligence: Determines energy based damage.
    Speed: Determines travel time and rate of attack.
    Agility: Determines evasion.
    Endurance: Determines energy and life.

    Battles, Spars, Duels, etc

    There will be two main options for fights. The PBP method, and the PBEM method. The PBP method is conducted in either the forums or in chat. Stats will have a direct impact on the outcomes. For example, a person A has a speed of 20 is facing person B who has a speed of 10. For every post B gets, A gets 2. The PBEM method is simply having a battle written for a battle. Outcomes will be determined by webmaster, based little on stats and a lot more on luck (Dice rolls).

    Flession suggested that I look into The Risus Companion, Savage Worlds – Necessary Evil, and Superpowers Companion. I have been busy, but I plan on looking into them. So what do you guys think so far?

    1. Yes, you should really look into reading Necessary Evil. I guarentee you that almost everything you’ve suggested to run this IS implemented in Necessary Evil/Superpowers Companion books. All you would need is the core SW book and you can run whatever game you want, in both PbP or PBEM style.

      The only benefit of Risus is that it’s simpler, easier, which is saying something when compared to Savage Worlds, plus it’s a free game.

      As for the style between PbP and PBEM, with this group, they may enjoy PBEM, but can tend to be lazy when doing battles, which would close the game rather quickly, like the last RE.

      Therefore, go with PBEM, with only major battles and events needing a battle writer.

      *shakes his dicebag in front of BM*

      1. Sorry, go with PbP.

        Also, your stamina idea would mesh very well with either setting to ensure no constant battles.

    2. Stats = SPECIAL eh?

      Initiate plans for Harold!

      – – – – –

      All seriousnessingly though, I like this concept, and I’d be willing to throw in my hat to help.

      Question becomes what are the goals? Thracs suffers from too open endedness. Will there be opposing nations at war, with the supes forced to decide soldier vs peacekeepers, or a big-bad? What?

  2. Feedback on Nomad’s game:

    Stats seem a bit much. Trim it down some and I think you would be fine. I just think the number of stats your giving could be a bit overwhelming. Just keep it simple. The only other thing I have looked at is the custom characters. The two powers they are limited to will it be the same for the archetypes? Is it possible to purchase more powers or are you just limited to two?

    Also how will items be handled? For example you mentioned vigilante style character would use gadgets and such, what about characters that are say super soldiers and use weapons(think Deadpool or Captain America) I could rattle off a few more but you get the jist of my question.

Comments have been disabled.