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A gathering place for anyone, either casually or professionally, designing, hacking, or otherwise working with the mechanics of pen-and-paper tabletop role-playing games.


A gathering place for anyone, either casually or professionally, hacking, designing, or otherwise developing/publishing pen-and-paper tabletop RPGs.

RPG Design

Is for discussing Role Playing Game Design and Development:

  • Homebrew game mechanics
  • Design, layout, and other production aspects of RPGs
  • Asking for advice about your system/setting
  • Recruiting assistance with game design and development
  • Mechanics and design of existing, published RPGs
  • Other elements of RPG production and publication

Is not for...

  • Video game RPGs, including MMOs
  • Tabletop boardgame design
  • Flaming professional or amateur game designers

Before you Post:

  1. Check out the WIKI! The WIKI contains resources for designing and reviewing your game, as well as a section to list your project.

  2. See these posts for commonly asked questions on licensing, dice probabilities, and asking for and giving feedback.

General Rules

  • Be civil - the person you're critiquing now, may be reviewing your work tomorrow.
  • No personal attacks, even if the designer isn't a member of the subreddit.
  • Limit requests for editors, writers, artists, etc. to one post.
  • Do not link to, request, or otherwise encourage piracy.
  • Crowdfunding and promotional posts are limited to Member Projects, with moderator approval (see Crowd Funding and Promotion Rules in the wiki).
  • Keep all criticism constructive.
  • If someone took the time to offer feedback for your project, it is good manners to offer feedback for their project in return. After leaving feedback, if you want reciprocal feedback for your own project, you must provide your own separate thread / location for feedback; do not derail other member's feedback thread.
  • Also see our subreddit rules.

Special Initiatives

  • Member's Twitter: We now have a Twitter Share list for mutual social media promotion. See it here.

  • Activity Thread: We have weekly, pre-planned discussions about mechanics, game design examples from published games, and aspects of the games we are designing. Listing of these Activity Threads (2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019) is maintained in the wiki.

  • Projects Index: We are building an index of projects from /r/RPGDesign members. If you are an active contributor to this sub, contact the Mods to have your project added to the index.

  • Late Beta / Published Game Review: See the aforementioned WIKI for information on how to request and submit reviews.

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75,244 Subscribers


Looking for a book cover designer

I'm looking for a reasonably-priced book cover designer for my indie TTRPG. Someone comfortable with effective graphic design, but also lettering and fonts. Someone who can work with my rather amorphous and vague design ideas and intuit from there.

This is a tall order, I know, but I need to start somewhere. Until the realities of the marketplace slap me upside the head.

00:32 UTC


DnD 5e Design Retrospective

It's been the elephant in the room for years. DnD's 5th edition has ballooned the popularity of TTRPGs, and has dominated the scene for a decade. Like it or not, it's shaped how a generation of players are approaching TTRPGs. It's persistence and longevity suggests that the game itself is doing something right for these players, who much to many's chagrin, continue to play it for years at a time and in large numbers.

As the sun sets on 5e and DnD's next iteration (whatever you want to call it) is currently at press, it felt like a good time to ask the community what they think worked, what lessons you've taken from it, and if you've changed your approach to design in response to it's dominant presence in the TTRPG experience.

Things I've taken away:

Design for tables, not specific players- Network effects are huge for TTRPGs. The experience generally (or at least the player expectation is) improves once some critical mass of players is reached. A game is more likely to actually be played if it's easier to find and reach that critical mass of players. I think there's been an over-emphasis in design on designing to a specific player type with the assumption they will be playing with others of the same, when in truth a game's potential audience (like say people want to play a space exploration TTRPG) may actually include a wide variety of player types, and most willing to compromise on certain aspects of emphasis in order to play with their friend who has different preferences. I don't think we give players enough credit in their ability to work through these issues. I understand that to many that broader focus is "bad" design, but my counter is that it's hard to classify a game nobody can get a group together for as broadly "good" either (though honestly I kinda hate those terms in subjective media). Obviously solo games and games as art are valid approaches and this isn't really applicable to them. But I'm assuming most people designing games actually want them to be played, and I think this is a big lesson from 5e to that end.

The circle is now complete- DnD's role as a sort of lingua franca of TTRPGs has been reinforced by the video games that adopted its abstractions like stat blocks, AC, hit points, build theory, etc. Video games, and the ubiquity of games that use these mechanics that have perpetuated them to this day have created an audience with a tacit understanding of those abstractions, which makes some hurdles to the game like jargon easier to overcome. Like it or not, 5e is framed in ways that are part of the broader culture now. The problems associated with these kinds of abstractions are less common issues with players than they used to be.

Most players like the idea of the long-form campaign and progression- Perhaps an element of the above, but 5e really leans into "zero to hero," and the dream of a multi year 1-20 campaign with their friends. People love the aspirational aspects of getting to do cool things in game and maintaining their group that long, even if it doesn't happen most of the time. Level ups etc not only serve as rewards but long term goals as well. A side effect is also growing complexity over time during play, which keeps players engaged in the meantime. The nature of that aspiration is what keeps them coming back in 5e, and it's a very powerful desire in my observation.

I say all that to kick off a well-meaning discussion, one a search of the sub suggested hasn't really come up. So what can we look back on and say worked for 5e, and how has it impacted how you approach the audience you're designing for?

23:48 UTC


Is this narrative-first design lazy?

I might be applying the term "narrative-first design" incorrectly. Hopefully I'm not too far off the mark.

I'm working on a pokémon ttrpg in which the player characters are teens and pre-teens. One of my high-level design goals is to keep the mechanical complexity on the pokémon, and away from the human characters. Pokémon have pretty typical ttrpg stats, but currently the kids do not. I'm trying to figure out what a PC consists of, then, on a mechanics and systems level. If they don't have stats, how do the players and GM adjudicate what they can do and how good they are at doing it?

One (kinda cutesy) idea I had was that during character creation you'd choose your parents' vocations, and that would go a long way toward informing what your character knew/was good at. For example, if your dad is the town auto mechanic, your character might get a bonus to rolls that could reasonably be tied back to what you'd picked up working on cars with your dad -- fixing engines, hot-wiring cars, that sort of thing.

The hope would be that, rather than having a bunch of abilities and rules spelled out for some laundry list of jobs, players and GM would figure out on the fly what made sense to them from a fiction-first POV. In other words, if you could make a case that some piece of knowledge or ability could be reasonably tied back to one of your parents' jobs, you'd get a bonus to your roll.

I know there are other games that have similar design philosophies, and obviously no shade to those games and the people who made them or play them. But part of me feels like this just...isn't a game? But rather a loose framework for storytelling? I'm concerned that using a similar framework for my game will ask too much of the GM and players. I want to hand people a game they can play, not a framework for them to make a game out of at runtime.

Curious to hear insights about this sort of descriptive, narrative-first design, as opposed to creating a set of well-defined abilities players can point to.

20:52 UTC


I need advice ..how systems makes them self wacky?

For context im making a game style Helldivers/starship troopers/ xcom/imperial guard experience

You play disposable grunts whit cool weapons and tools.but you are still disposable

My question is . How systems makes them self wacky? I want my game to be wacky i want to players to die on horrible and hilarious ways. I want the players to laugh all night.

So what mechanics halp it happene?

19:53 UTC


Non-humanoid Races in a Rulesy Game

Hey just wondering if there were any games out there that people know of that allow players to play non-humanoid races without greatly abstracting things like equipment. I've known of some games that allow players to be non-humanoid but typically the game is very theater of mind, rule things as they come, or otherwise abstract. I'm thinking about how to best handle a more rules-defined game that can support creatures of various body types while maintaining balance. In my head it's getting muddy pretty quickly but I also think that I'm overthinking it.

As an example I'm thinking about equipment. Say we have 3 playable species here: a human, a quadruped that stands as tall as a human, and a blob creature that is a similar size. Assuming they all had some kind of prehensile appendices, they could probably all fire a gun, but the way the gun must be held and reloaded would probably be different for all of them. If they find a cool gun but it's configured for human hands, maybe there could be a mechanic for taking it to a gunsmith to adapt it for a different species? Is that too much? Is that too little?

On a different level, say the game is designed for dungeon crawling. If everyone is a human then it's easy enough to design a dungeon with corridors, rooms, and traps designed for a human body shape. If there's a lot of different bodies though I'd imagine it could be harder. Say you're trying to design a narrow corridor that a person can barely fit down, well maybe a slightly larger creature simply cannot fit down it and now someone is excluded from the exploration due to their species choice. Again, maybe I'm overthinking it here but it's a concern that I do have.

Anyone with experience designing something like this or know of a game that pulls it off well?

18:20 UTC


Rpg stat question

I want to make an rpg but I get stuck on stats. Like setting player starting stats (hp, mp, Def, atk, spd, like, etc.) And setting starting enemy stats so the game isn't too easy or too hard. Also how should I handle lvl scaling for player and enemy? Any insight into this would be much appreciated, thanks!

15:53 UTC


Games where you roleplay abstract concepts/mechanics?

I'm looking for games that involve players roleplaying something more abstract than a standard character.

I'm especially interested in any that leverage it as a mechanic. For example, a "fate" character who influences odds or a "darkness" character who influences the negative effects of rolls. It could be a temporary role, shared role, or something else.

I see it as a way for mechanics to have personality and "eyes" in the game, allowing them to adjust based on the situation.

15:13 UTC


OTGH: a free, rules-light rpg for on-the-go one-shots!

Hello everyone! I recently fell in love with the concept of minimalist DM kits: a small box you can carry anywhere, to play with people that don't have time for long campaigns, but kinda wish to join this hobby.

I had friends that wanted exactly that, but were intimidated by the rules. So i created a rpg that is as quick and easy as possible, that makes character creation a breeze and rewards narrative, without being a pain to run and oversimplifying things:

OTGH's characters have only 3 stats, but it keeps the depth of other rpgs by rolling different dice, depending on how "in character" the action they do is.

The fun twist is that each stat has a different set of HPs, and different types of attacks hurt different aspects of the character: an orc charging a barbarian isn't as scary as the same orc charging a mage. Vice versa, a bunch of cultists might easily break a warrior's MIND, while a trained wizard could resist and counter their curses. This mechanic forces the team to work together and to adapt on the spot, to exploit the current enemy's weaknesess: an ogre might be easier to trick rather than to fight. Maybe the warlock had enough of their SOUL attacks missing, and equips a pair of bone knuckles to deal the final hit of BODY damage?

The system is free on DriveThruRpg. Right now it contains the core rules, a DM guide and a tome of pregenerated monsters. I might also make an easy to run adventure in the future, who knows?

If you try it, please tell me how it goes! If you don't want to make an account, contact me and i can send you the pdfs directly. Have fun!

13:56 UTC


Skill checks basked off any ability score

I'm making a game similar to Pathfinder, Dnd, D20, ect but I don't like a most of the mechanics leading me here. I've been doing some research and have decided I want the out of combat to be more enjoyable and creative. Some of the rules are similar but many are completely different like this one.

So basically the way I'm imagining this working is:

Player: I want to do an action.

GM: Ok that is a "specific" skill check.

Player: chooses any of their ability scores and says how they use it to try and achieve the skill check.

GM: Sets the dc by how likely it is to succeed or says it's impossible that way.

Player: rolls with their chosen ability score and any skill advancements.

To be clear I don't mean rules like the one in Dnd where the Gm chooses the ability score, the player would choose the ability score.

So what games have a system like this and what other mechanics could work like this? Any help would be appreciated.

12:45 UTC


21-Lux - Black Jack with polyhedral dice

I ran my first playtest of my cyberpunk game, Dark All Day last night. As part of the adventure, the crew went to a casino. I thought it would be good to prep a few casino games for the players in case they decided to play a game.

These are the rules for 21-Lux, a version of Black Jack that uses a set of polyhedral dice and works for 2 or more players. You will need some betting counters or chips and a full set of polyhedral dice (omitting the percentile), so a D4, a D6, a D8, a D10, a D12 and a D20.

  • The buy-in is 1 chip (the GM should also play).
  • The idea is to get as close to 21 without going bust.
  • Line up a full set of Polyhedral dice (omitting the percentile d10).
  • Each player rolls any 2 of their dice, adding up the total.

e.g. Roll a D12 and a D20 and get a 5 and a 12, totalling 17.

  • Place the dice to the side.
  • You then choose to ‘Stick’ or roll one of your remaining dice for an additional chip.

eg. The player chooses to roll a D4 for an additional chip. They roll a 3 and their total becomes 20. They choose to stick.

  • Rounds continue until someone scores exactly 21 or until everyone has either gone bust, run out of dice or chosen to stick.
  • The player closest to 21 takes the pot. If multiple players have the same result, they split the pot and leave any loose chips in for the next round.
11:11 UTC


Last night I ran the first playtest of my game, Dark All Day.

TL:DR - it went well and I learnt that dice mechanics aren’t what makes a good game.

I started writing this game last year, in August. It began as a cyberpunk Forged in the Dark game but as I changed the names of abilities and tweaked rules, it became less and less like a Forged in the Dark game and became its own thing. I brought in ideas from other games I liked and removed rules I didn’t like.

We started the session with the players creating their characters. The character creation rules are pretty straightforward and I thought it was going to take about 30 minutes but it ended up taking almost 90 minutes. But it was worth it - we ended up with an ex-bouncer, an aristocratic playboy, a con-woman/influencer, a hacker drug addict and an investigative reporter with 300,000 subscribers to his channel. I think spending the time to create the characters at the table really helped the players feel a connection to what they had made, as well as the world. I’m glad we did it rather than using pregenerated characters.

Then we jumped into a short adventure—a friend of the crew had gotten into debt with a local casino and was being held until the money was paid.

The gang immediately went into action and using the game mechanics discovered where the casino was and headed that way.

I had considered adding a short combat encounter on the way - the world is filled with mutants so I thought it would introduce the players to the combat rules… but as we had spent so much time creating characters I decided to skip the encounter - until one of the players rolled snake eyes trying to find the entrance to the hidden casino! A critical failure! I decided that the mutants would appear and chase them but instead of running a combat encounter the crew were saved by the doorman of the casino.

Inside the casino the crew split up - I had prepped a few casino games to play (one of which I called 21-Lux and is a polyhedral dice version of Black Jack which I am going to share elsewhere on this group) and one player lost a bit of money to the casino (I rolled really well - the idea of the game is to roll a number of dice and try and get as close to 21 without busting - I rolled exactly 21 twice in a row!). Some of the other characters tried to pickpocket an NPC who turned out to be a plain-clothes policeman!

Through luck and some good dice rolls, the characters managed to raise the money needed to free their friend and despite some distractions they managed to complete the adventure.

The players got the hang of the basic mechanics pretty fast - so from that point it was more down to the players interacting with the world - which led to my biggest takeaway from the session which was the realisation that game mechanics are such a small part of an RPG. The players just need to have compelling characters with clear motives and the world needs to feel logical. The game mechanics are just there to settle any ambiguities when it comes to situations that have an uncertain outcome. And for that I think any system would have worked. When the players look back on the session, they’re not going to be remembering the dice mechanics or the rules - the moment they used a special ability or when they got an extra dice by using a Fortune slot. They’re going to remember the narrative moments; when Mina tasered the plain clothes police officer in the middle of the casino, or when the rock star handed over a bunch of money to the crew, or when the influencer flashed the security guards.

11:00 UTC


Help in naming a skill

In my game, I want to have a skill that detects lying. My current naming convetion is single word verbs, like empathise, deduce, persuade, etc.

However I cant find such a word for noticing when you are being lied to.

Does such a word exist in english, or am i going to have to change/break my naming convention.

10:39 UTC


Regenerating Shields In A TTRPG

So I had an idea a while back that I'm considering bringing back. In simple, game-related terms, think of the regenerating shields in Halo, Destiny, and Mass Effect.

In more detail, how it would work is fairly simple: in my game, HP is split into 4 sections as a simple way of referring to chunks of health being lost or gained and effect that rely on being below a certain threshold. Now, each player has health and "aura", aka the shield (overall hp will be tuned down for this to ensure lethality ratios stay relatively similar, don't worry). Damage take applies first to aura, then to health after aura is depleted (some special abilities and damage types can bypass aura, but are relatively rare and only do so partially). At the top of each round, each player rolls w/e their aura die is (most likely a D4 or D6 based on the health range I'm considering) and regenerates that much aura.

What do you guys think of this system and do you have any alternatives I should try/consider/look into?

03:55 UTC


Cutting Skills From Quick Start Guide?

Basically as the title. I'm currently building out my Quick Start Guide (I've already tapped the brain trust a couple times about it) and I've gotten to the skills section.

As not every skill will be relevant for the free Quick Start adventure, I'm considering cutting their full rules from the Quick Start. Basically just list their general description but totally cut out the crunch, but with a note that since none of the pre-generated characters have the skill, please see the Core Rulebook for further details.

Now - for the Quick Start purely as a demo for the system I think it's a positive. It trims down the system to be more manageable when everyone is figuring it out and makes it easier to find the skills actually used in the session.

However - I'm worried that it makes the Quick Guide feel cheap - like I'm trying to force people to buy the Core Rulebook - especially if the GM got one and is relying on everyone else using the Quick Guide to understand the mechanics. While I'd certainly appreciate the purchases, I'm mainly trying to keep the Quick Guide lean and digestible. I know that Space Dogs is crunchier than most indie TTRPGs (which lean lite and/or narrative based) so I want to make that first hook session require as little work as possible.

Notably I was planning to cut out the rules for Demolitions (the pre-gens aren't carrying explosives), Piloting (the short adventure won't include any), Research (this is basically for out-of-combat investigation - while the adventure is action-packed), and the Psychic skills, since I'm not including pre-gens for the two psychic classes (which are the most complex classes and interact with a whole sub-system I don't plan to include).

To sum up - should I trim the skills not being used from the Quick Guide to only have descriptions? Or include all of their mechanics even though it's irrelevant to the starter adventure?

03:31 UTC


In your opinion would a packet managing individual characters be overwhelming for a player if so what is one way to mitigate this

Right now I’m working on a ttrpg with light strategy mechanics with players at middle to high levels being able to have small retinues of npc like player controlled entities, I’ve been thinking these could be easily managed with a small packet or a collection of tiny sheets that has stats and a way to track their hp and ammo count and other such things

02:44 UTC


How do I stop jumping around from setting to setting and stick to one idea?

This is probably a pretty novice question, so cut me some slack.

When I first started working on an RPG of my own, it was mostly because I was playing D&D a lot at the time, and my ideas for how to fix minor issues evolved into a whole new thing.

And then my more general concepts shifted from a fantasy setting to a low sci-fi... then to a semi-modern one. I have multiple core, general ideas for systems where the setting doesn't matter, but the actual setting keeps changing just because I keep getting new ideas, and I've gotten to a point where the setting does matter (can't very well have a hacker class and a rune wizard in the same game).

My current best idea is for a medieval game with a focus on horseback combat, but I'm scared to commit because for all I know I'll have a "better" idea tomorrow, or next week, or eventually.

Is there some problem with my creating mindset? Or do I just need to commit to one thing and ignore other ideas? I know that it's not smart to continue without having a plan, but I am passionate about this hobby and want to continue.

00:57 UTC


Multi square occupancy

This is something I haven't seen a lot of systems do, so I wanted to throw it out for review to get some thoughts.

There's an important side rule here to this:
Characters have their actions refunded at the end of their turn, allowing them to use actions against their next turn for various reactions such as defensive maneuvers, opportunity attacks, etc. Squares are 5x5'.

Dual/Multi Square Occupancy
Requires: Two or more allies end their movement on the same square or 2 or more opposing characters are engaged in a current grapple.

When one character ends their movement and/or turn on the same square as another character they must declare what shape this takes.

Select from one of the following options: Engaged Grapple, Side by Side, Back to Back, Crowded Occupancy

Engaged Grapple: When you successfully grapple an opponent you occupy the same space they do when you finish your attack.  See grappling rules for how to manage this. Characters engaged in grapples do not prevent others from moving through the square but instead add +1 to difficult terrain to those attempting to pass through.

Side by Side: Side by side allows that the characters are attempting to create a choke point in a specific direction to prevent others from being able to pass through.  Other characters may not pass through the square freely without either leaping or flying over the characters, or using Move Slide with +1 difficult terrain, or otherwise going around.

Back to Back: Characters that are fighting back to back in single square occupancy no longer can be flanked as they protect each others flanks, and cannot be snuck up on and targeted by rear attacks. Ranged attacks and AoE attacks on the square however, target first the target facing the attack angle, and if they avoid the attack and it is not deflected, absorbed or otherwise stopped then this allows the attack roll to be applied to the target facing away from the attack angle, which they will suffer as a rear attack with the current attack roll. Ranged attacks made from exactly the horizontal side of the occupied square can only target one of the characters.

Crowded Occupancy: A square can accommodate up to 4 standing or horizontally stacked/laid bodies if necessitated.

Crowded occupancy prevents horizontal movement through the square and qualifies for this starting at 3 standard sized persons, however all targets will be subject to AoE and ranged attacks within this square as noted in back to back, though any who are not grappled may freely leave the square in the direction they entered it.

Crowded Occupancy does present vulnerability to AoE attacks and range attacks as noted in back to back but also presents certain benefits for defense from use of back to back in that it provides more actions for the group to be divided to defend against incoming attacks, most specifically melee attacks.

22:56 UTC


The Great Hack

Hello! I would like to share with you my own little OSR ruleset I have been working on called "The Great Hack" (name based on my love of great axes). Happy to hear any and all feedback!

Design Notes

Character Creation

The character creation process is heavy influenced by Knave, with just the core abilities scores and a lack of classes. There is also a slot based inventory system that has become quite common these days.

With the advancement system I expanded it to 15 and used the gold for XP method of gaining XP. Mine is slightly different in that the players actually trade the gold in for XP directly, as opposed to just being rewarded XP for returning the treasure back to a safe haven. It is what works for my party, feel free to change to your liking.

Core Rules

  • Uses the advantage/disadvantage system
  • DC for any check is always 15
  • A character only dies when they reach negative HP equal to their level. They are conscious and still able to act during when making 'death saves'
  • The players roll to avoid taking damage, as opposed to the monsters rolling to hit. Allows for more player interaction during a monsters turn.
  • Consolidated weapons and armor into groupings
  • Two action point combat economy. Should encourage a more interesting turn than just "I Attack"


I am using a "roll to keep" system as opposed to roll to cast like in Shadowdark or Knave. Each spell takes one slot of inventory, and when you go to cast the spell you make an INT check. On a success the spell is cast and the spell can be used again the next day. On a failure the spell is cast, but the spellbook is destroyed. On a nat 1 you must reduce your Wisdom score by 1.

The goal here is to promote that magic is dangerous and unreliable, driving many of its users insane. I also wanted to freely give my party spellbooks, and if I handed out something a little too powerful I could feel safe in the knowledge that they would eventually fail on their spellcasting check and I could give them a less powerful version the next time around.

For magic items I really think of these as replacing the 'class abilities' you would find. A dagger that lets you backstab or a great axe that allows you to do a CON check to stay at 1 HP.

21:59 UTC


How do you get your project known by people, to develop a community?

I'm in the process of designing my own system, and I'm wanting to try and get some traction early on into the process and develop a community around it. I love the idea of community testing for my game, so I can get as many thoughts, ideas and opinions to make it as great as possible. Seeing what Darrington Press are doing with Daggerheart makes me yearn for what they have, albeit on a smaller scale.

Livestreams of dev process, Tik Toks, Devlog update YouTube videos, and generally being part of communities feels like how you'd have to go about it. I've already done 3 live streams, a Tik Tok and I am writing a script for a video about it.

I'm very interested in learning what others have found useful around this process. I have a small community already of like, 10-12 friends and friends of friends, but wanna build it into something bigger.

Love you all xx

19:53 UTC


Looking to create a simple & easy to learn narrative driven Sci-Fi Horror game for my players. I'd like some help & advice!

So I've been looking for an easy to learn system to fit in an idea I had for a space campaign. My idea, based loosely off an audio drama I watched called Wolf 359, is that my players are tasked with observing a blue colored star. Their goal is to observe it, take down notes, and report back all their findings. But when they wake up, 3 years after they left Earth, they find that all communication with Earth is gone. Their only message from the planet being "Observe the Star" and then wacky weird stuff begins to happen!

A lot of people suggested Mothership and the Alien RPG and as well designed as they are they really weren't what I was looking for. As a really busy GM that also writes other campaigns on the side, I wanted something super simple that gives me all the narrative freedom I need to tell my Players' story. I'm looking for something can possibly be highly lethal but really isn't mean for combat. And...I think making an RPG sounds really fun, even if it's just for my table. So...down below are the rules I've made so far, if you're interested in helping me out I'd greatly appreciate it. Any advice or ideas is welcome!

The Dice: I love the idea of narrative dice. You roll to see if you succeed but also is something good or bad happens as well. But I don't like the huge pool of dice you have to roll in games like the Star Wars Forces of Destiny RPG. So...2 Dice. 2 D20s that are, preferably, different colors. For this example I'll use Blue and Red. The Blue dice you roll to see if you succeed or fail in whatever you're trying to do. The Red dice you roll to see if you succeed up or down or if you fail up or down. Of course the GM will set the difficulty of the challenge. Your class will give you pluses or minuses to the Blue Dice Roll. The Red Dice, I imagine, never changes. If it's under a 10, something bad happens, if it's a 10 or over something good happens. Of course there's criticals for both rolls, Nat 1s and 20s are exciting and create drama. So 2 dice...easy enough to understand for new players.

Occupations: This is what I'm calling Classes. There'll be 5 in total. Captain, Engineering, Soldier, Communications Officer, and the Doctor. Each of them specializes in a specific field aside from the Captain that is sort of a 'bard of all trades'. The Captain is somewhat good at everything but GREAT at nothing. Meanwhile the Engineer, for example, is amazing at fixing wiring but awful at giving stitches. Your occupation dictates the plus or minus you get to your roles, depending on the task you're trying to do, and it also gives you a list of items made for your character to use.

Sanity: I like the idea of sanity more than something like fear, because fear to me is the game trying to dictate how you should feel about something even if you don't think your character should be afraid of that thing. Meaning Sanity is a little different. In my game it's like something is happening to you. The more you fail, the more you build up sanity. The more sanity you build up, you begin to see weird things that may or may not be there. You start to go slower...and eventually...it may kill you. I'm thinking if you fail you gain a sanity point. Gain 10 and...you die. Your brain just shuts out. I also like the idea of using sanity as a resource. Perhaps in exchange for taking a point of sanity, you can get a plus to your roll? Something to think about.

Combat & Death: As I said before I want little combat in this game. Aliens are rare, most sessions will be time based puzzles the players have to solve to fix something in the ship. Or something weird is happening and you have to solve it. But, eventually, there will be aliens. In that situation the player will most likely want to run away. I feel like instead of combat, we'll play the game like normal. The player tells the GM what they want to do, the GM sets the difficulty, and so on. Instead of HP we'll do something simpler. Wounds. If you get wounded a certain number of times, you die. It could be 5 if you're an Engineer but 10 if you're a Doctor, for example. Easy to track, easy to remember...and low enough to worry you in case an Alien shows up. You can also wrack up wounds anywhere in the ship, doesn't have to be in combat. You can aquire a wound when trying to fix the ship, or running through the halls, or messing with a weird plant you've never seen before.

This is all the stuff I came up with...in a day of working on it. I'm sure a lot of it may sound bad. I'm getting ready for the eventual "This game does exactly what you're describing" comment and in which case I might delete this post. But I'm having fun with it. And I think these ideas are pretty sound. Tell me what you think!

18:54 UTC


I need to get this idea out of my head, so sharing here.

In a recent thread about weird mechanics, something someone said spurred an idea, and I am dropping it here, in case it helps someone.

Each player has a deck of cards. As you play, you alter the cards, tearing them, writing on them, altering them for different effects. Like, you can increase the damage of a spell by tearing a number off a played card, but that makes it weaker going forward, or you can write the name of a monster on a card to make any time you draw that card increase your influence on that monster. Could even have advanced rules for, like, gluing pieces from a magic card onto the playing card to help things-

Again, I don't have a setting or anything, I just wanted to put this idea into the ether for someone who might have an idea for it.

18:32 UTC


When do I stop

I'm working on a sci-fi fantasy ttrpg I got like 20 backgrounds 25 perks maybe 12 magical forms (ie werewolves various vampire types etc) meanwhile I only got like 12 cybernetic most of which are combat focused and I only have maybe 12 spells of mid variety like I know some areas need more work then others but what do yall use go determine when enough is enough for certain parts of your wip

13:14 UTC


Playtest and review of the ttrpg Community Radio

We are Firebreathing Kittens, a podcast that records ourselves playing a different tabletop roleplaying game (TTRPG) every week. This week we have a free actual play podcast of Community Radio. This two hour long recording, called “Niqamui Frequency”, demonstrates players and a Game Master actually playing so you can listen to what it’s like and maybe try it yourself.

About Community Radio:

In its own words, "Your town has deep secrets, terrifying monsters, unspeakable evils, a clandestine city council making strange decrees...and a public radio station! In Community Radio, a group of 3 - 10 people gather to improvise scenes that show what life is like in this town, with accompanying public radio broadcasts. It's a game of dark humor and fast thinking that can entertain for 1-2 hours. All you need is a copy of the game, some index cards and two dice to start. If you like Welcome to Nightvale, this is the game for you!"

Link: https://thoughtcrimegames.itch.io/community-radio

Oneshot recorded game session, Niqamui Frequency:

Welcome back listeners! Today, Fennis, Mervon and Sadie are playing "Community Radio". In this episode, we draw back a bit, instead of following a single adventure, Niqamui itself is the focus, more specifically- the local radio station's coverage of some of the supernatural events that take place in Niqamui's casual day-to-day. Breaking Council Decrees! Cult politics! 24hr coverage of the slow encroachment of ominous fog! All this and more are coming up, so don't touch that dial!

About us, Firebreathing Kittens podcast:

Firebreathing Kittens plays a different TTRPG every week. Four of the rotation of cast members will bring you a story that has a beginning and end. Every episode is a standalone plot in the season long anthology. There’s no need to catch up on past adventures or listen to every single release; hop in to any tale that sounds fun. Join as they explore the world, solve mysteries, attempt comedic banter, and enjoy friendship.

If you’d like to play with us, please visit FirebreathingKittensPodcast dot com and read the new members tab.

If you’d like us to play a completed tabletop roleplaying game you designed, please email us at FirebreathingKittensPodcast at gmail dot com. We reply to all emails within three days, so if we haven’t replied, then we haven’t seen your email, send it again.

Our reviews of Community Radio after playing it:

Review 1:

“I had a lot of fun with community radio, it relies heavily on improv, which might make things difficult if you have little experience with that, but it could be a great exercise for getting better with that.”

Review 2:

“Community Radio: If you're a fan of Welcome to Night Vale, you'll love this TTRPG. Community Radio is less of a rule-set and more of a loose framework for structured improvisation. It is tremendously fun, and encourages a complete open and creative structure to let your imagination run. This platform really allows players to be as involved as they like. Three players and the GM is about the minimum you can do this with, as the amount of quick-thinking and improvisation can be challenging for some players. With a group of 5 to 8, I can see hours of ridiculousness and fun. ABSOLUTELY would encourage everyone to try this game.”

Review 3:

“Community Radio is an eleven page role playing game where one person plays the radio host who is reporting on the town, and the other players are people acting out quick improv skits. It's sort of like if Saturday Night Live met Welcome To Nightvale. There isn't any dice rolling. It's a simple framework for short improv skits. Getting a chance to be a bit musical was fun, acting out the improv scenes was exciting, and overall the whole experience was wonderful.”

Review 4:

“Community Radio is a great game for telling the story of a community, rather than individual heroes or parties. It gives voice to a community as a whole, alternating between improvisational slice of life scenes and "radio scenes" where the GM/DJ provides commentary and little skits called bumpers to add context. There are "mandates" from the mysterious council that give the whole thing a Welcome to Night Vale vibe, but you could easily skip them or soften them to PSAs if you wanted to make the experience less surreal horror and more mundane. In fact, with Community Radio, you can turn a number of dials to shift the tone in many directions. (For example, you could easily tune it towards a sci fi bend just by limiting all the "innocent person" suggestions to characters from your favorite science fiction series.) This is one of my favorite games to play and run, and I'm definitely looking forward to the 2nd edition that's coming out soon.”

Plot Summary of Niqamui Frequency:

Fennis, Mervon, and Sadie find themselves in a Niqamui that is different that they are used to, darker and more sinister. We see this new Niqamui through the eyes of a public radio broadcast that is hosted by Collet Helerie. We get this through a mixture of slices of life scenes, original songs, bumpers, reports, and decrees from the local council.

Slice of Life Scene 1: Our trio find themselves in Miyu’s Mizus, where the encounter Murveius Lightwall (& Kyger…who is silent), who has found the Pentacle of Retskcirt’s Heart, a goblet that emits beams of polymorph that turns everything it touches (animate or inanimate) into a goblin. After ducking for cover behind a counter-turned-goblin to avoid the beams. After recognizing the inherent threat of an indiscriminate goblin-beam shooting goblet (world becomes a giant goblin sphere?!?!?), Mervon propels himself toward the goblet, securing in his armpit to block the beams. However, he turns into a Rubenesque goblin (at least temporarily) in the process.

Musical Interlude 1: The Creature by Danylo

Bumper/Report 1: Collet tells of the formation and subsequent failure a mere 36 hours later of the first goblin labor union in 49,380. Turns out a single shiny gemstone was the downfall. Collet reports and editorializes on the goblin shenanigans from SOL 1.

Decree 1: Places which have undergone supernatural transformation must be sterilized.

Slice of Life Scene 2: We find our trio at the FBK guildhall. They comment on the Ever-Encroaching Fog, that while at first seeming like an ominous event, appears to be quite amiable. Fennis waves to the fog and receives a hardy and friendly wave back. Sadie offers a bowl of scallop potatoes the fog, which appears to reject them, but we find out later was actually just the fog returning the bowl with mashed potatoes, likely a friendly gift to the team. Mervon attempts to discuss the Fog only to be interrupted by Blanche the Svelte, in points out his unconscious speciesism and genderism. Blanch consumes the bowl of potatoes, returning the bowl to Sadie. The Fog is left to continue it’s ever-encroachment.

Musical Interlude 2: The Maid by John Maynard

Bumper/Report 2: Collet cold reads an ad for magical fog kites that can be used to play with the Fog. Collet reports and editorializes on the Fog interactions and community concerns.

Decree 2: Due to recent events, all goblets are outlawed....goblins are still questionable, but begrudgingly accepted.

Slice of Life Scene 3: Sadie, Fennis, and Mervon arrive at the La Petite Vi nightclub. They comment on how things just feel uneasy, but they are not sure why. Is it the Fog? Is it the council? Who knows? Upon entering, the trio find Gervasio Flamini expertly examining the Humming Green Portal (destination unknown) that recently appeared. As Gervasio works, he can’t help but notice that Sadie seems different, but he can’t put his finger on what it is. It’s like she’s a different person. While working, his speed and technique is questioned by Mervon, resulting in a strained interaction of age and wisdom versus youth and speed. Unfortunately, nothing is learned about the portal.

Musical Interlude 3: Song of Unknown Origin & John Wilbye's Madrigals

Bumper/Report 3: Ominous and threatening traffic report from Collet indicating an army of revenants pulling the little red wagon of the apocalypse on their way to Pinedrake is causing a traffic jam on the southbound road the Summerfell. Collet reflects on the overwhelming malaise, suggesting maybe related to Fog? Deep introspection on personal sadness and ways to enjoy life an Niqamui. Unfortunately, everyone is feeling it, making life in Niqamui just a little bit more of downer.

Decree 3: All citizens must remain indoors during the next full moon. Anyone caught outside will be invited to the Council’s Midnight Luncheon. Please bring your own condiments and sense of impending doom.

Slice of Life Scene 4: Sadie and Fennis visit at the Leroux Theatre to investigate reports of a cult that has formed and taken up residence there. As they are beginning to look around, they are met by an unnamed initiate hopeful. We learn that quite a few things about the cult: 1) Make sure you bring enough gum for everyone! 47 pieces is not enough! 2) Death for cult members is only 90% certain. 3) The cult definitely centers around the goblet and MIGHT be unwittingly Fog related also. 4) Lyle Canopy has an inflated self-worth and is fan of Applebee’s.

Musical Interlude 4a: Lava Manus by the Sinister Sanctus

Bumper/Report 4: Collet reports soap shortage due to compulsory handwashing. Collet waxes poetically on gum chewing. She reveals a council decree has required them to continue chewing the same gum for 15 years. We learn that it is definitely leading to physical and emotional discomfort for Collet.

Decree 4: There is a new popcorn stall near the Leroux Theater. No popcorn will be sold at the popcorn stall. Do not buy anything from the popcorn stall.

Musical Interlude 4b: My Mind To Me A Kingdom by William Byrd

Slice of Life Scene 5: At the radio station, Collet posits that we are cereal (definitely NOT serial) killers before transitioning to a discussion on the Fog, noticing it’s entering ominously over Collet’s shoulder in the studio during an interview with Sadie, Fennis, and Mervon. While attempting to attempting to communicate with the Fog, the trio discovers that the Fog is a fan of charades and can only make an ominous rubber chicken noise to communicate audibly. After a series of probing, hard-hitting questions, we discover that the bowl returned to Sadie previously did indeed contain mashed potatoes and not the original scalloped potatoes as once suggested.

Musical Interlude 5a: Council Life by Moderate Concern…At the Bistro

Decree 5a: To promote environmental sustainability, recycling bins will now accept unwanted thoughts and half-remembered nightmares. Please separate your anxiety from your paranoia before disposing of them.

Bumper/Report 5: Collet reflects on the Fog/FBK interview. She praises all involved, particularly the professionalism of the Sadie, Fennis, and Mervon while reminding the listeners of the open honesty and playfulness of the Fog.

Decree 5b: Effective immediately, all town clocks will run backward on Wednesdays. This will ensure everyone gets more time to contemplate their inevitable descent into madness. Synchronize your watches accordingly.

12:33 UTC


What the right number of monsters

I'm working on a sci-fi fantasy ttrpg rulebook and I'm having a hard time knowing when is an appropriate number of enemies cause I don't want to over do it bit I also want future players to have good variety

10:39 UTC


Paperclips, erasers, maltesers, dice - When does tracking impede gameplay and what is fair to expect?

Hi all,

So after playing quite a lot of Marvel Midnight Suns, and seeing an excuse to play about with the V&V 2e character creation rules once again, I was noodling about with a few ideas on how I could take some of that cinematic, tactical play and make some fun TTRPG system around it. I've got the basics in place, hacked up the V&V 2e roll tables, got a meaningful resolution mechanic, and given myself plenty of design space to give the characters and GM fun things to do that will feel like a superhero brawl (in the way I found MMS really fun). However, I'm now running into those key questions I suspect many designers hit when slotting together their core mechanics:

  • how much combat gameplay to systemise
  • how much resource tracking to cut
  • how to judge the balance of resource tracking vs system crunch
  • what is a fair solution to expect players to adopt

[Feel free to skip if you don't care........]
So right now combat looks roughly like this - each player has 2 base actions they can use to perform an action their power set allows (punch, throw explosive playing card, glue a thug to the floor with sticky saliva), and at least 1 power point that can fuel additional actions (throw car, utilise powers that need them, suplex eldritch horror into a vat of chemicals), and Repositions based on their speed (normal actions include movement). So that's a liquid resource. Then you have Health (which will be on the higher end due to the dice mechanic I'm working with at the moment), and then Block (Temp HP basically), and some standard status effects. If you've played MMS you'll see how this can be pretty simple to play - punch baddies, throw them into walls, use powers (using movement as a tactical layer to maximise effectiveness) to build up your liquid Power Points to do even more cool stuff.

Then I got to how to represent attacking and defending. I'm quite happy with my roll mechanic, but it utilises a liquid currency again. A character has a defence value, offensive actions have a number and size of dice, roll and sum any dice above the Defence value, and any rolls below lower the defence value as they are staggered. Start of turn, tick up defence where appropriate. I like this; it has a nice fail forward system, opportunity for fun powers, and fun interactions with dice size and team synergy (e.g. rolling 4d4s against a defence 7 does no damage, but lowers it to 3 meaning your big guy with the D12 is more likely to hulk smash).

And lets face it - with the size of this play space, certain powers will also have some relative resources as well I'm sure.

[......skip to here]

As a framework, it's a nice start - I've ditched some things, combined others, simplified some ideas - now I have to address cognitive load. I've got 5-6 resources to track here and I've got suggestions to track them that will make it easy for players (I play a lot of board games, so I know the value of well designed tracking tools):

  • Health - should mostly only go down, so record on Char Sheet
  • Block - More liquid that health, but smaller numbers. Char sheet as well.
  • Power - In-turn resource that's highly liquid, so 3-5 tokens should be enough
  • Actions - starts at 2, probably go up 1 or 2 to show high level, track with a paper clip on side of char sheet (or not at all for most people I suspect)
  • Moves - Shouldn't be more than 3, probably 0 or 1 unless you have a power that matches. Same as actions
  • Power specific resources - can't imagine this would be higher than 2-3
  • Defence - Pretty liquid in the 3-10 range, put a dice next to the character and spin up or down as required.

Here the questions are a) what resources are worth considering in cognitive load, b) does the quantity of potential resource management match the level of system complexity, and c) is it fair to assume the suggested solutions for tracking will be used?

To use 5e as an example, you have HP, Temp HP, class resources, adv/dis, spell slots, and any floating perks (inspiration)....and it's probably a medium crunch system (ignoring how rules interact) and it's all assumed to be on the character sheet, or remembered by the players. But Fate Accelerated you only have Stress, FP, and Aspects to track on the char sheet....but that's a low crunch game. Sentinels of the Multiverse utilises dice to track enemy health, and Daggerheart looks like it's going to lean heavily into tokens and printable trackers.

So how would you go about evaluating the feasability of resource tracking, what is fair to ask of the players to implement for more liquid resources, and what you would consider a resource worth tracking? What's the sort of table experience you are permiting yourself to work with before you start designing outside core systems?

Thanks in advance!

10:23 UTC


Tiny Magic Mechanic

Is this anything?

Characters have two stats, Spellcraft and Spell Resistance, each a number between 1-6.

Every spell has two effects, a moderate but good effect and an out-of-control, big, flashy effect that has some drawbacks for the caster.

When caster attempts to cast a spell, they roll 1d6. Roll under their spellcraft stat and they get the moderate effect; roll over their stat and they “lose control” of the spell (they get the latter effect).

If the spell targets another creature, the caster’s roll is compared to the target’s Spell Resistance. If the casting check is under or equal to the target’s Spell Resistance, the target resists the spell and it fails. Over the target’s Spell Resistance and it succeeds.

If the target rolls exactly their Spellcraft stat, it automatically succeeds, regardless of target’s Spell Resistance. (Magic is unpredictable, even an apprentice mage might accidentally release that perfect spell and punch through the veteran sorcerer’s defenses)

Obviously a lot of the real design work comes with actually writing the spells. But what do we think of this little framework?

05:59 UTC


I have made some mechanics, and I would like some opinions.

The idea that spawned these mechanics was an idea for a one shot adventure. a time loop adventure where the players make their way through randomized places and people from throughout the preceding campaign but that detail is not that important.

What is important is that as such I want to simplify encounters to increase the amount of things that can be seen, so the system being used is not particularly good at that (at least definitely when we are using it).

Design goal: Fairly leathal Roguelite gameplay

The core game element is that everyone rolls a pool of dice at the start of a round, between 2-4 d10 for players depending on character stats and abilities. these are then selected from and used to perform actions. the round ends when all players are out of action dice.

The primary actions:

  • Attack, the dice chosen by the player and the first die of the target are compared. The lower value one takes damage. nothing on tie.
  • Interact. An action to change the behavior of the target. If the target is against the action, compare dice values similar to attack
  • Boost, An action designed to set up a boost for another action. Explain what is being done, use up the die to add a bonus to another action. their own or another players.
  • Player movement is handled as they move to where they need to do an action, players are left near whatever they were last performing an action on.

The player stats and abilities

  • HP: the number of hits a player can take. Baseline:2 Average:3.5
  • Dice: The number of dice in their pool Baseline:2 maximum:5
  • Attack: The number of dice that can be used on attack actions. Baseline:1
  • Defence: the minimum value rolled to do damage. Range: 1-4
  • Action Points: special points for special actions. range, 2-5
  • Special Traits and abilities, Each player character has up to 5 special traits that can do things to manipulate the actions or stats of the character. like spend an action point to re-roll a die. or to have 2 more defense then otherwise would have. (For my current plan these are custom made for the characters, but if made into a more complete system there would be a list to pull from in character creation)


  • Most enemy actions are more in response to player actions. but If an enemy still has attack stat to spare in the round if particularly aggressive it will continue to attack nearby players.
  • Some "enemies" may be neutral and may not need to be defeated, if interacted with may grant a bonus, but may become hostile if failed.

The Map/Game loop

There is the starting area that the players will find themselves in repeatedly. then each room after that is randomly generated, a room tile and what is found within. The party can not proceed to the next room with an aggressive opponent in the room. Every few rooms is a special Boss room, basically the same as a normal room just using a special table for what is inside the room.

At the end of a room the players regain an action point.

at the end of a run the party gets to select a permanent upgrade, for example, regain an additional action point on room completion, or Players deal damage on tied attacks. (as I currently have it there is a fairly big exploit, that as upgrades are just granted on failure, the party could speedrun by just getting themselves killed in the first room to get the upgrades quickly. just currently unsure on how I want to go about removing or at minimum decreasing that exploit)

Question: So does this sound at all interesting to play?

04:38 UTC


MANA draft 2. looking for feedback


I want to thank everyone for the feedback you gave me last draft I posted.

this draft is technically playable, though I expect none of you to try because it's missing quite a bit still. I just want to know if I'm on the right track?

specifically though I want feedback on the formatting of the monster sheet and if the 'tutorial' approach for the storytellers creating new content is ok or not. any other feedback is welcome and wanted of course but I'm feeling uncertain about these two aspects.

thank you so much!

03:21 UTC


D&D 5e Army Unit recruitment

Hey there,

I wanted to make a simple Army Unit recruitment system. The idea is to make an "Army Unit" composed of around 100 humanoid individuals with a simple system to characterize HP and the attack potential, It is a system meant to make large scale army warfare compatible with the 6 second turn blow by blow PC combat.

Here's my method applied using the example of the dnd 5e Guard NPC.

Step 1. Multiply the Hit die number and CON bonus by 100. Keep all other Stats, skill proficiency and Saves the same. (Use average dice values)

Step 2. Size of the Army Unit is Gargantuan. 30x30 ft.

Step 3. Reduce Speed of the entire Army Unit by 5ft (It's hard to move in formation).

Step 4. The Army Unit gains the Following Traits:

  • Advantage on Strength & CON Checks and Saves when not below Half HP.

  • Disadvantage on DEX checks and Saves.

  • Advantage on Perception and Intimidation Checks.

  • Resistance to Damage from Single Target Attacks and Advantage on such saves affecting single targets. (This does not apply to Attacks from other Army Units)

  • Vulnerability to Damage from AoE attacks and Saves from effects targeting multiple targets.

  • Cannot Regain Hit points in combat. At the end of Combat the Unit may expend Hit Die to see how much HP is regained as the wounded and routed return and recuperate, of if they desert or die.

  • Morale: When this Unit becomes frightened, or when it takes damage while below half health, the unit makes a DC 10 Wisdom save. On failure, the unit takes damage equal to twice the HP of an individual in that Unit as they run away and rout. Every time this Unit makes this Wisdom Save, the DC increases by 1 until the end of the battle.

  • Unit deals half damage when below half of its HP

  • The Unit is a swarm of medium humanoid creatures

Weapon Damage:

The Damage Die number is multiplied by 25. The Bonus damage from the Attack Modifier is also multiplied by 25.

Attack Modifier is the same as that of the Average of the Unit.

Army Unit of Guards (Gargantuan Swarm of humanoids 30x30ft)

AC 16(Chain Armor and Shield)

HP 1100 (200d8 + 200)

Speed 25 ft.

STR 13 (+1) | DEX 12 (+1) | CON 12 (+1) | INT 10 (+0) | WIS 11 (+0) | CHA 10 (+0)

  • Skills Perception +2, Intimidation +2
  • Senses passive Perception 12
  • Languages Any One Language (Usually Common)
  • Challenge 22
  • Army Unit Traits (See Above)


Spear Flurry Attack +2 to hit, 25d6 + 25 Piercing (113)

While this does seem a bit OP compared to the standard Adventuring Party, they are not meant to fight straight up. In addition, the 25 x modifier for damage is sorta to reflect the amount of people facing a certain direction and attacking all at once, since individuals in the back of the Unit can't reach. In addition, the vulnerability to AoE damage makes certain Player classes well suited to dealing with these large clumped up individuals (I recommend adding the Cleave Optional Rule for Martial Characters).

Considering how morale might work, I want it to make it important without having to make another HP bar and call it the "Morale Bar". I imaging placing charismatic NPCs or PCs, like Paladins, as commanders can help them with these wisdom saves, or even substitute these saves with Persuasion or Intimidation checks to avoid routing.

I am considering reducing the amount of people in a company to 50 (and maybe 20x20ft in size) in order to keep things manageable and bring things more in line with actual Medieval Armies. I am trying to make it so that Each player could control 1-3 Army Units of around 50-100 individuals, using their Actions to give orders to these Units on a wide battlefield. This could be able to make battles of around 200-500 soldiers.

Example with 50 individuals

Army Unit of Guards (Gargantuan Swarm of humanoids 20x20ft)

AC 16(Chain Armor and Shield)

HP 550 (100d8 + 50)

Speed 25 ft.

STR 13 (+1) | DEX 12 (+1) | CON 12 (+1) | INT 10 (+0) | WIS 11 (+0) | CHA 10 (+0)

  • Skills Perception +2, Intimidation +2
  • Senses passive Perception 12
  • Languages Any One Language (Usually Common)
  • Challenge 17
  • Army Unit Traits (See Above)


Spear Flurry Attack +2 to hit, 12d6 + 12 Piercing (54)

This system kinda breaks down when we start to add individuals of CR higher than 3. The Knight Creature is CR3, and brings to the table features like Multi-attack and their Leadership Trait, which needs some hand-waving to translate to a larger Unit. Do I make these elite units Smaller to account for their difficulty in equipping and recruitment. This also doesn't really work when I add in spellcasting. How do I account for multiple people casting the same spell? How do I keep track of Spell slots and prepared spells

I also wanted to combine this with a system where you can take an Individual NPC with the Stats of a Commoner, and progressively train them to grant them weapon and Armor proficiency, maybe even ASIs. Maybe feats could be used to represent things like mages and clerics, by taking either the Magic Initiate Feat or the Healer feat. Spellcasting and more complex features are hard to parse

In conclusion, I need help. I need advice on how to keep the general idea intact to take a normal individual NPC Statblock and turn it into a swarm of creatures. I need this to be simple and manageable in order to be able to allow players to control this in combat. I want to be able to integrate this with other systems I am making, such as a Kingdom building system, and a travel/supply system. I want to know if 100 is too much and if 50 is too little (I guess the damage multiplier is now x 12 as 50/4 = 12.5 and I then can divide it to 6 when the unit is at half HP). I want to know how to incorporate mounted combatants, and how to manage spellcasting Army Units.

And also, if you have any ideas on how to make a "tiered" training system that can give me different qualities of Units (From Commoner to trained knights) I would appreciate it.

23:37 UTC


How do you determine that a combatant is in cover relative to another combatant in your game?

I've found plenty of posts discussing the effects of cover in various games but none focusing on how cover is arbitrated. Please include the following:

1: How do you determine position and movement in your game? Do you use range bands, zones, a hex grid, a square grid, a ruler/banana, etc?

2: How do you determine a combatant is in cover relative to another combatant? Is it an action, GM fiat, geometry, etc? Do you account for if someone is using a vertical column as cover vs the classic waist high wall?

3: Do you have varying degrees of cover? Do you differentiate cover from concealment? If so how do you determine the different levels of cover/ concealment?

4: (edited) Do you have any rules for line of sight based on positioning in your game? How do they affect combat in your game?

22:49 UTC

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