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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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74,570 Subscribers


The Effect of Rerolls on D6 Probabilities: A Visual Guide and Discussion

21:09 UTC


Would an RPG centered around hackers/hacking work?

For the most part, this is just a rehash of this post made by u/Diehumancultleader, so go check that out!

So basically my question is as the title says; would an RPG that centers around hackers even work?

For more specifics, I'm defining hacking in a "open a text console and type commands" way, not a "90s cyberpunk, mentally jack-in into a 3D world" way, as the latter already exists. The closer to reality the better, though I understand that most people would find that terribly boring/frustrating, so obviously it shouldn't be a 1-to-1.

The question comes about as I wanted to make an RPG based off of things like Uplink, Hacknet, Mr. Robot, etc., with the main idea being "a cyberpunk RPG that recognizes that we are in the cyberpunk future". In particular, while the focus is on hackers, I don't want hacking to be the only thing players do.

Another thing is that I want is for the focus to be more on the hacker community as a whole, and how hackers interact with each other, rather than heists. That said, if a heist game or anything else would work better than I can happily switch.

System wise, I'm thinking something along the lines of Lasers & Feelings or Forged in the Dark, though I'm willing to learn any system that would work better/if the RPG would work better with some crunch.

This all loops back to my main question though. Would any of this be even feasible? Or better yet, would any of this be fun to play?

Edit: What I what players to be doing is more to your third point, where players use a combination of equipment (hardware/software) and different skills to overcome challenges set by the GM. I do not want there to be a singular hacking role. For example: Need to spoof some enemies to met up in a certain area where you've laid a trap? A player with a more physical skillset would interrogate an enemy into giving their password for the chatroom the enemies use, while another player with a more social skillset would then enter the chatroom pretending to be whoever was interrogated and try to convince everyone to meet at a certain spot.

The vagueness comes from the fact that I don't know whether I should go in a more narrative direction or not, i.e. get rid of skills and have players simply narrate what they're doing.

20:38 UTC


A Medieval/Renaissance Fantasy RPG


A re-imagining of the Celtic Otherworld, except it's not historically bound. This is a fantasy medieval setting confined to an island or archipelago of fae folk, sea dragons the size of mountains, and shrieking war goddesses.

The theme of this place is ordinary humans managed to get trapped there due to being lost at sea or some other reason, and began to build their own tiny kingdom either with or against the native kings and queens

What Players Do

Players will have to navigate a landscape filled with illusions and spatio-temporal pockets which can transport you to other places and times. This allows for games where players sometimes can't make it to the session. Navigation and cartography will be important skills to some players who can then map out those pockets

Some pockets have zero information states, which means no changes can pass through the barrier. So from an outsiders view, you could leave and instantly return none the wiser. Or if you completely screwed up a quest, it could have been in one of these places. Others are probabilistic fields which means your actions can either have no consequences or reshape events in profound ways

Characters can gain magic in this world, but abusing it can make the local area unstable if they create unresolved contradictions

In terms of play agenda, the primary goal would be either to get home or liberate the Otherworld from whatever is causing those dimensional disturbances, whether it be a dragon, a sorceress, a tyrant king, or something else

A campaign setting could thus show every major point on the map players can explore, such as ruins, castles, cairns, mermaid caves, and bandit camps, replete with battle maps for if they want to build combat encounters. With that in mind, the game rests in a liminal state between dungeon crawling sim and limited-scope sandbox exploration


Brute - a brigand, robber-knight, or war-deserter who prefers heavy armor and an axe

Errant - a wandering knight who is able to acquire combat-based magic by performing deeds for fae folk

Polymath - a character with a broad span of knowledge and who is readily able to acquire magic or develop cartography skills. A polymath can either be of low nobility from the mundane world or a druid in the Otherworld

Oddling - a fae who exists as two beings simultaneously, a human-like form and an animal form, usually a red fox or pine marten. Some npc oddlings appear at night and you can follow their paths to avoid running into pockets

Knave - a brigand with a good mix of combat and utility-based skills. Some are natives who perform dangerous jobs by entering pockets

Forester - a character who knows the woods, which includes hunting, stealth, archery, and mimicking animal calls. Fae are generally well-disposed to foresters

Madhoof - a fae who can take the form of a young woman or a flaming horse, or both (some are oddlings). These characters are mercurial in temperament and don't mix well with highly-organized play, but their horse form can travel over water or harsh terrain

Cat Sí - a particularly clever cat. Has the ability to slip in and out of pockets, and may also dual class as oddlings

Feedback Questions

  • What would be your preferred mode of play?
  • What class interests you the most?
  • What do you think would be a fun group composition?
12:17 UTC


In a Sci Fi Bounty Hunting game, why do the PCs need to rely on more standard guns and martial arts

Emulating the world of Cowboy Bebop, I wanted some harder Sci Fi reasons on why a Bounty Hunter doesn't just snipe a Bounty Target with some kind of Taser Gun. They instead use regular guns and often martial arts.

11:26 UTC


Floating HP

What if instead of the clear line between life and death, HP showed the risk?

Let's say I have 120 HP. I can take 20 damage without a problem. But after that, HP showed my chance of survival.

If after the attack I have 75 HP, it means there are 75% chance that I will still be able to stand.

If the next attack lowers them to 50, I have a 50-50 chance to continue fighting.

This idea makes risks non-discrete which is supposed to add more tension. Every hit now could be deadly and a player can't really fight without taking at least minimal risks.

Do you see any problems with this rule?

11:05 UTC


Assymetric information and hidden pvp

To explain: say a player takes an action, another player can choose whether to help or to hinder their action - how could you handle this so that whether they are hindering or helping is hidden from the player acting, and perhaps everyone aside from the gm?

Some ideas I had considered - the players provide dice to the gm, and then the GM rolls behind the screen and explains the result. This way, players could hide whether they are providing help or hindrance dice (different colours)

Is there a way where everyone takes part in the randomizer somehow?

Is there a way to do this where the player doing the action rolls the dice and remains ignorant of whether they were helped or hindered?

As many ideas as possible please. Everything will be considered. Dice, cards, chips, Jenga blocks, anything.

04:11 UTC


How do you make subsystem targeting interesting and engaging in multicrew ship combat?

I'm making a TTRPG. It's hard sci-fi with optional magic. Magic can do some wacky things in ship combat, but since it's optional I don't want magic to be pivotal in making the game interesting and balanced. And all forms of FTL travel are magic, and besides the magic stuff I'm going full hard-scifi. Heat dissipation mechanics, delta-V, relative velocity, no shields, a highly simplified tabletop approximation of real orbital mechanics, and so on.

Anyway, ship combat in this game is typically done with the entire part in one ship as a part of the same crew. I kinda copied the crew roles from Pulsar: Lost Colony because that game is absolutely baller.

  • The captain can put the ship into different stances which each give the crew various bonuses for fighting in a certain way, allowing the captain to set the battle strategy and heavily encouraging cooperation.
  • The pilot controls the ship's movement, determining which armor face is towards the enemy and using the engines to increase evasion chance at the cost of fuel (which is very important to conserve). They can also influence relative velocity and engagement distance. A crew can have multiple pilots, with the others operating strike craft.
  • The gunner controls what weapons to fire and what to point them at. Each weapon is limited by firing arcs. Weapons generally have very limited ammo, high power requirements, and/or a lot of heat production such that "fire all the things" is not always the optimal strategy.
  • The engineer is responsible for managing reactors, making tradeoffs between power production and heat dissipation, and doing damage control. When a subsystem is damaged even a little bit it shuts off entirely, but engineers can bring damaged subsystems back to partial functionality most of the time.
  • The scientist... also exists.

That's the thing, I don't know what to do with the scientist yet. And ordinarily this might be a reason to not have the crew role to begin with, but I also happen to have some very scientist-shaped holes in my combat system, and I just need to figure out how to fit it all together. These holes are:

  • I want players to be able to target specific enemy ship subsystems. Allowing them to just do it outright without a tradeoff is very unbalanced though, everyone ways just aims for the reactor, and it takes away some of the unpredictability of combat. I need a way to target subsystems that's more in-depth and interesting. Maybe something that involves scanning the enemy ship and slowly finding the locations of subsystems. This is ideal for a science officer.
  • I need more interesting things to do with power on a ship in combat. Right now, power is mostly useful to feed some kinds of weapons and engines, and to help the engineer get damaged systems online faster. Adding other sinks of power that serve more utility-oriented functions. Normally this would be where shields come in, but I don't use those. Perhaps signal jamming, rapidly reorienting the ship to allow the location incoming damage to be re-rolled (I'm still not 100% sold on this one), scanning the enemy ship, and/or electronic missile countermeasures.

That's a lot of problems that a science officer can fix. I just don't know how best to implement them. I want to do it in a way where the player playing as the science officer is presented with a lot of interesting decisions. Maybe with some kind of finite depletable resource that only they can use, comparable to how gunners have ammo and pilots have fuel.

Does anyone have any ideas to help get me past my creative block here?

00:46 UTC


What Belongs in a Quickstart Guide

I've heard the sentiment that new players trying a game for the first time can be expected to crack open a main document hundreds of pages and long and make any sense of it, so a short Quickstart Guide is a good way to dip a toe in, so to speak.

But what do you believe goes in that Quickstart Guide? Everything in the full manual has a purpose (hopefully), so what do you cut to get it down to just a few pages? And what are the few essentials that MUST be in there?

22:29 UTC


d6 dice pool with weirdness

Hello all. My current core mechanic is a d6 dice pool with opposed rolls, generally rolling between 3 and 12 dice (no real upper limit), where the sides have the following values:

  • 1 = 1
  • 2 = 2
  • 3 = 3
  • 4 = 0
  • 5 = 0
  • 6 = 0 (Apex)

Where an "Apex" can provide special bennies despite not adding to your tally. (I like that anyone can roll a zero, so there's always hope/fear, though it will be rare.) Each round, players can spend 5 action points (APs) to perform actions in any order, including a "free" movement action.

Apexes can be used to "juice up" an action's effects. Here are some action-specific effects (if your tally is greater than your opponent's) - when you write an action, you must include what an Apex can do for you, if anything:

  • Spinning sword attack that hits three adjacent opponents, plus one per Apex.
  • Arrow range is 100 meters, and you may do +1 damage per Apex or add 1 yard of range. I.e., if a victim is out of range, you can still try for a hail-Mary.

My question is whether or not you think it's a good idea to have a generic, always-available Apex effect: extra action points. APs are not intended to be an amount of time, so the fact that you can perform 5 APs in a 10-second round does not mean that 1 AP = 2 seconds. Creatures will have more or fewer APs to spend on a round, and various effects can speed you up or slow you down. The idea is that if you succeed, an Apex can represent that you simply performed the action faster than normal, minimum 1 AP. You can choose which Apex effect applies after your roll: extra damage/range/APs per Apex.

A) Does that make sense and seem reasonable?

B) Should the extra APs be available even if you fail the roll? "I can do math super fast. Not necessarily correct, but fast!"

18:00 UTC


What Should I Charge For My 24 Page Print Zine?

I've written and printed three 24 page rpg zines (with hopefully many more to come). Two are full color all the way through, the third is currently B&W interior, color cover. I am going to redo the third to be color all the way through (probably just going give away the B&W ones as promo).

My question is how much do you think is reasonable to sell them for? On Itch I am selling the pdfs for a dollar. The color printed zines cost me just shy of 3 bucks each (including the cost of shipping them to me). My initial thought was 8 bucks each, which gives me 5 dollars profit. But, I also considered doing 10 bucks as the base price, and offering a bundle deal to bring the cost down to 8 each if you buy at least three.

Thoughts? Is 10 bucks outrageous for a full color 24 page zine?

17:36 UTC


Need help with a build-a-species system for my "Spacepunk" TTRPG!

Hello, how are you guys doing? :)

I'm currently working on a "rules-mid" setting/game that mixes a bunch of stuff I love, like astronomy, speculative evolution, transhumanism, computer science and optimistic nihilism. I would really appreciate some help figuring out my species creation system.

As the game is supposed to be quite customizable and modular, I hope to standardize the species design process so players could make their own homebrew just as easily as I make up official ones. It would eventually be expanded upon.


The thing about this world is there are no humans, only alien species. And there are some guidelines to this whole thing so it fits with the rest of the project.

  • No magic or supernatural thing-a-majigs involved. Bioengineering is a big yes for me.
  • Convergent evolution. No playable weird aliens that stray too far from something the players could relate to on a semi-humanoid level, although there is all sorts of crazy life elsewhere in the game.
  • And at the same time, no humans with makeup on their head. People be different out there.

The rough idea I have so far is:

  1. Players have a set amount of "biopoints" they can use to buy characteristics from a looong list of useful biological features. Things like, swimming, eagle-eye, exoskeleton, prehensile tail, etc. The more useful the feature, the more expensive it is. There should probably be a limit to how many features you can add up.
  2. Players then choose from a list of negative features to balance out whatever goodies they gained on the last step. This mimics the idea that different species are adapted to different niches and should have strengths and weaknesses, but it's mostly because I find it quite fun. Not too sure about this, though.

I would also like to implement some core stats to each species that should help the player, as well as the Guide, know what kind of habitat that species came from, something about what it needs to live, its size variance, ways of movement, language type, and other stuff like that. No idea if this should be bought or just freely chosen.

Any and all incongruities should be boiled down to biotech and the character's super advanced spacesuit taking care of it. Brain interfaces fabricate a common language that should solve language gaps, though the actual language of the species is thematically important. What happens if the suit is damaged? Well, you got me there. How rules-heavy should that "what it needs to live" part be, how can I simplify it?

So that's basically it. What do you think? How would you improve and streamline this? What sort of core stat should I pay more attention to? Feel free to only answer what you find most interesting. Thanks in advance!

16:19 UTC


Player level ups: what are the best ways to determine when that should happen?

Having player advancement of some kind in a TTRPG makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons. It lets players spread out the character creation process a bit, it can work as a tutorial for new players by starting simple and slowly adding complexity, it keeps things fresh by giving characters new abilities, it gels well with the escalations of threat and tension that action adventure stories typically have, it mimics the real world tendency of people to get better at things when they do them more, and it's just really fun to effortlessly kick the ass of a type of an enemy type that gave you so much headache before. But it's also kind of a pain in the ass sometimes. Separating things into distinct levels makes a lot of sense to avoid too much crunch, and it allows a late-joining player to get their character caught up very easily by putting a simple number to character advancement. But that raises the question: when should players level up? And that's what I'm stuck on right now.

There certainly are a lot of ways I've seen used to determine when a player should level up. Tracking XP, leveling up on story and character milestones, leveling up based on the number of sessions played, just letting the GM decide arbitrarily, and so on. I'm curious what other methods people have come up with though, and if anyone has any less crunchy ways of handling advancement without distinct levels too.

15:17 UTC


[Friendliness and Camaraderie] Some honest questions. And a joke...!

First the joke:

Two donuts are in a singles bar.

One donut says to the other, "Hey baby, what's your sign?"

The other donut says, "I'm a torus."


Now for the honest question(s):

  1. What are you working on right now?
  2. What do you want to do with it?
  3. What's the best thing about it?
  4. What's the worst thing about it?
  5. What's preventing you from finishing it?

The answer to #5 cannot be "real life" because we all deal with that to some degree or another. Some people have it easy, some people have it rough. Some people have it easy but think they have it rough. Some people have kids. Some people are working 2+ jobs. Some people have other hobbies or things that they prioritize first. Some people don't like roleplaying games. So, besides all that stuff — what issue in your game's design, production or publication is preventing you from getting it Out There.*

*Although, refer to question #2... maybe you don't want it Out There, which is entirely fine.

— Jared

12:43 UTC


Hit Probability in d100 System

Hello! I am currently working on making some form of miniwargame/RPG system set in the BattleTech universe.
What started this project was the realization that tabletop BattleTech was very different from the games I've come to love; Mechwarrior and HBS's BattleTech.

My question becomes on the Hit Location side of things. In the PC game, you are given percentages to hit locations, so I thought you could emulate a similar effect via percentile dice.
However, when I started to make some tables, I keep running into either the math not adding up, or the chart favoring one side more than the other.

In game reference numbers :


Which when I'm typing it out, looks kinda like this?

  • 01-01: Head (1%)
  • 02-13: Left Arm (12%)
  • 14-23: Left Leg (10%)
  • 24-40: Left Torso (17%)
  • 41-60: Center Torso (20%)
  • 61-77: Right Torso (17%)
  • 78-87: Right Leg (10%)
  • 88-100: Right Arm (12%)

This is all before we get into side targeting, rear targeting, prone targeting, and then of course the real kicker; Called Shot bonuses.

12:24 UTC


A discussion on swords

This is intended to be a point of reference rather than suggestions for design, but with the number of medieval-based fantasy RPGs out there, I figured this might be useful.

Regarding accuracy, there may be points of contention among medieval enthusiasts, so I'll do my best to support my arguments

Sword Names

Naming conventions are likely not terribly important to many designers. However, if you want to separate your classification style from Dungeons and Dragons (who refer to mail armor/hauberks as "chainmail") and other entertainment media, this explanation may be helpful.

Specific typologies of swords are very scarce in medieval manuscripts, and the most common description of any sword, regardless of geometry, is simply called "sword". And though I have seen names like "longsword" and "bastard sword" used in Early Modern texts (Capulet: "What noise is this? Give me my longsword"), I haven't seen them in medieval texts, though that does not necessarily mean the terms were invented in the 16th century. Overall, I would still say "longsword" is a fair term to use in a RPG

However, swords that classified as a longsword in museums are typically of hand-and-a-half grip, which means they can be effectively used in either one or two hands, much like a bastard sword. As such, there is no consistent historical or academic distinction between the longsword and bastard sword. If you refer to every mid-length sword as a longsword, there is no contradiction here.

The "great sword" is particularly confusing. Again, a modern use refers to large two-handed swords often as a greatsword, and this is not necessarily wrong, but there is some complicated context here. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the Gaels referred to their two-handed swords as "claymore" which translates to "great sword". However, the Tudor dynasty banned Gaelic in the 16th century, and later on, "claymore" was used to refer to Scottish short swords. In medieval manuscripts however, the phrase "great sword of war" referred to a sword with the geometry of a bastard sword (with a grip length of a hand and a half) and it was theorized by Ewart Oakeshott that its intended use was for "ponderous" mail-defeating blows on horseback due to its weight distribution. These swords saw use generally through the 13th and 14th centuries and fell out in favor of more specialized swords such as the longsword proper, which featured tapered designs more suited for defeating plate armor, which emerged as a full plate harness sometime near end of the 14th century


Regarding weights, swords are deceptively light, and it's been reported that historic swords in the Met's gallery have much better balance than modern replicas. Here are some weights listed for various swords:

  • British two-handed sword, 15th century, 5 pounds 3 ounces, total length 4 feet 9 inches

  • Italian two-handed sword, 15-16th centuries, 6 pounds 2 ounces, total length 5 feet 6 inches

  • German hand-and-a-half sword, early 16th century, 4 pounds, total length 4 feet 2 inches

  • German hand-and-a-half sword, early 15th century, 3 pounds 7 ounces, total length 4 feet 1 inch

  • German rapier, late 16th century, 3 pounds 11 ounces, total length 4 feet 6 inches

(The Met appears to have stopped using the term "longsword")


Before the late 14th century, swords typically had flat or lenticular blades and broad tips meant for hewing. Their increasing mass from earlier centuries implies that they were specialized for defeating mail armor. As such, in the 15th and 16th centuries, Irish and Scottish infantry were still wearing mail armor without plate defenses on the body, and their claymores featured broad blades of German construction, supporting the argument for defeating mail. Modern impact tests show that swords do a fantastic job of inflicting grievous injuries through mail armor, even though the sword doesn't actually cut through the links.

As plate armor increased in prevalence, swords with tapered blades, diamond cross sections, and reinforced points proportionate followed suit, and from what I've seen of surviving pieces as well as artwork, tapered swords and "estocs" dominated in presence during the 15th century. Medieval dueling accounts and at least one full contact sparring YouTube channel I've seen (Dequitem) demonstrate that thrusting strikes against gaps in plate armor such as the inner thigh and underneath the aventail or sallet visor are quite accurate and deadly, which contradicts a popular notion that swords were merely backup weapons, nearly useless against plate armor.

Further, those who might not deny the effectiveness of swords may still say that polearms dominated the battlefield, though this claim requires more nuance. Since set-piece, open field battles were often separated by years (3 years between Formigny and Castillon, 10 years between Crecy and Poitiers), many active knights would live without ever seeing a full blown battle! Instead, the most common military engagements were night raids, small scale sieges with ladders, and minor skirmishes and ambushes—all situations where the sword would prevail. Even in open battle, once unit cohesion started to break down, close-quarters combat with swords, axes, and warhammers took center stage, as is famously evident in the Battle of Agincourt 1415

It is also widely believed among medieval enthusiasts that swords are inferior battle weapons to the mace and warhammer, due to their ability to inflict concussive force through plate armor. Medieval fight reenactor "Dequitem" addresses this concept thoroughly in his response video to Matt Easton, where he supports his argument with clips of full contact combat with blunt weapons: https://youtu.be/TbiGZNNs2oI?si=PIPYUDPUsMFYkM2K

To summarize the video:

  • swords have more mass and more rotational force on the swing

  • mace and hammer strikes are only effective against the head (against armor), but don't deal one-hit stopping power

  • maces and hammers have a much smaller width of effective striking contact, and are easier to parry due to the angle of incidence

  • thrusts in the halfsword are both powerful and accurate, and thrusts are more difficult to parry than other strikes

Other Videos

Two-Handed Sword vs. Battleaxe: https://youtu.be/MdgSBRGJ4mA?si=azdnqX4j4hoL98pL

War Flail vs. Billhook: https://youtu.be/8HHcS-XKr3o?si=4K1zLYa63scHsJTF

Pollaxe vs. Pollaxe: https://youtu.be/OAddX--V19w?si=o8ZpkqNWqPT255Ip

11:39 UTC


AP design principles

This is my 5cents about how action effectiveness (or damage) should be related to AP they use.

Costly (AP) actions should do (exponentially) more damage that cheap ones. Attack that cost 3 AP should do at least four or five times the damage of attack that cost 1 AP because there is inherit opportunity cost in it. You have to wait longer for your characters next turn, can do less or can't react to other players. They can do less actions at that's why they should be more impactful.

Healing should should be less effective than damage. If you can heal 4 AP worth of damage with 3 AP, you can just use 3AP to heal and do 1 AP of damage as your opponent deals you 4AP of damage without making any progress. This will just slow the game down and give superior edge to healers.

Damage reduction should be between healing and damage. For same reason as before it can't be stronger than damaging, but because it can only be done when being damaged it has less utility than healing.

Reactionary actions should be less effective than active actions. Making things out of turn order is powerful thing and allows even higher opportunity cost.

Stun should be more effective than damaging. In this case I'm talking about attacks that take AP away from your opponent. I'm not so certain about this but if stun is just elaborate damage reduction or if it's just wasting AP from both you and your opponent making game slower. This is something I really would like some feedback.

Movement should be cheap. While maneuvering is important for weapon ranges and optimal engagement positions, movement should generally be cheap. This is to prevent from doing something like fleeing from melee character, taking a potshot and repeating while melee character cannot do anything else but run after the character.

Is there any principles that I'm missing?

06:12 UTC


AnyDice Probability Help!

I'm making a dice pool system, and it's really easy to calculate the odds of rolling multiples of a single value, but...

I can't figure out how to calculate the probability of rolling multiples in a RANGE of values!

If I'm rolling 5d10, what is the probability of rolling doubles/triples of a value 1-5? Or 6-9?

Any help with this is greatly appreciated 🙏

05:45 UTC


I'm tired of pretending rules-lite is good

Just kidding. I've never hid my hatred of this. The one-shots, the one-pages, the watered down OSRs, the solos, the improv theaters, whatever...

It's a cope for people who don't have the literary, statistical, theoretical, or game mechanics skills (or discipline) to work on a full-fledged game with interlocking and moving parts.

Let me just put it out there that anything well-designed can be good, even great, regardless of format. And there's nothing wrong with liking these types of games or designing them. I like what I like, you like what you like. And even if I hate what you like, I'll never trash your work or make intentionally obtuse or unhelpful comments about it because I know how hard it is to see a creative endeavor to its completion, and I know what it's like to have countless iterations of bad designs of various themes until something eventually clicks and I have something functional

But the loudest voices in the design community swear up and down that rules-lite is the only way to go, that everything else is too tedious and too complex, and will shriek if any design isn't akin to playing House where GM fiat (much like your big sister) rules with an iron fist. They will undoubtedly pop up in the comments below, which I will plainly ignore, because all they know how to do is criticize, yet they create nothing that is remotely innovative or unique.

So if you were one of those people who've been afraid of showing your work because these idiots are trolling the space and making it miserable for everyone else, then I'm here to tell you "fuck em" and that I'll be here supporting you and downvoting them. Team Crunch rise up!

03:38 UTC


How many races should I put in my game?

I am attempting to make my own TTRPG and I am attempting to come up with races to fit the world. I started with your standard humans, elves, dwarves, and gnomes, then I started adding races that would fit with each sort of climate such as fish people for oceans, humanoid polar bears for cold climates, cat people for jungles, two kinds of lizard people for marshes and deserts, amphibious frog people, and physically weak bird-people capable of flight. I am wondering if this is too much and if I should get rid of some of the races such as the frog-people, bird people, and maybe the fish people as well. I don't want to bog down the world with too much, so I tried to make it so that certain races would perform poorly in certain climates as compared to others so there would not be too many varying races to keep track of at one time. I have already made names for all the races and some sub-races for a few of them, but I wanted to get more opinions on if I have made too many or too few.

01:58 UTC


Feedback on a Fallout Inspired AP Sytem mechanic

Hey all i was wondering if i could get some feedback on this system for my TTRPG. Its inspired by old school turn based rpgs like wasteland and fallout. Each charcter has a pool of Action Points (AP) that they can use for actions each turn. Here is a breif description.

Endure Combat System Overview

Basic Mechanics

In Endure, combat uses action points (AP). Each player has a starting AP of 4 plus a fixed amount of AP, determined by the combined bonuses of their class's two primary attributes. For example, a freelancer's AP is the sum of their Fitness and Sense attribute bonus. 

During a player's turn, they can use AP to perform at least two movement actions and any additional actions they can afford with their remaining AP. Certain actions cost more than others, and special moves and abilities may allow free actions.

Hitting the Mark

Three primary factors are considered for an attack: accuracy, the victim's Dodge stat, and their armor. The attacker calculates their accuracy and attempts to meet or exceed the target's Dodge stat.

  • Accuracy: Calculated by adding the weapon's accuracy, relevant skill or ability bonuses, and a d20 roll. 

  • Dodge Stat: Calculated by adding the base Dodge stat, any skills or abilities, and the distance from the attacker (adding +1 for every 20 feet). Cover also increases the Dodge stat based on its type.

If the attack's accuracy is equal to or greater than the target's Dodge stat, it hits. If the accuracy exceeds the critical Dodge, an additional hit die is dealt. If the accuracy is one less than the Dodge stat, the attack is a graze and deals minimum damage. Once the attack lands, the damage is subtracted from the target's armor rating, which combines natural and equipped armor.

Cover and Terrain

Cover and terrain impact accuracy and Dodge stats. Actors in cover receive a flat bonus to their Dodge stat based on the type (cover or concealment) and size (partial or full). Balancing numbers for these stats is ongoing and will be tested during playtests.

Terrain affects accuracy as well. For instance, shooting through brush reduces accuracy, shooting in open terrain has no effect, and shooting from an elevated position increases accuracy.

Any and all feedback is appreciated

20:03 UTC


Playtest and review of the ttrpg Summer Camp Slayers

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 Summer Camp Slayers. This two hour long recording, called “Vested Interest”, demonstrates two players and a Game Master actually playing so you can listen to what it’s like and maybe try it yourself.

About Summer Camp Slayers:

In its own words, “Designed for DriveThruRPG’s PocketQuest game jam, Summer Camp Slayers is a standalone scenario for the Tricube Tales system and is usable as a micro-setting, but it is also a fully self-contained one-page RPG in its own right. You can print it on a single sheet of paper: The first page includes everything you need to play, while an optional second page expands the adventure generator with examples and twists.”

Link: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/en/product/401144/Summer-Camp-Slayers-Tricube-Tales-OnePage-RPG-for-PocketQuest-2022

Oneshot recorded game session, Vested Interest:

Marty, Colette, and Sadie are thrown into a most terrifying retro horror story using Summer Camp Slayers game mechanics. Tag along and see who survives the night, and whose light fizzles out.

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 Summer Camp Slayers after playing it:

Review 1:

“Summer camp slayers. Easy to use. Easy to make a character. Applicable to a wide range of scenarios.”

Review 2:

“This one page game has resolve as your hit points and karma as your spendable resource. You roll a baseline of two dice when attempting challenges. Your goal is to try to get a dice to meet or beat the difficulty rating the game master assigns to what you’ve attempted. For example, roll 2 dice to try to beat a difficulty of 4. Your trait and concept adjust how many dice you’re rolling. Add a dice if your action matches your trait. Remove a dice if your action fails to match your concept. Your quirk and perk adjust the difficulty number you’re rolling against. You can spend a karma and roleplay your perk to reduce the difficulty one lower. If you’re low on resolve and are willing to make the roll one more difficult, you can roleplay how your quirk gets in the way, then roll. If you still succeed even though it was more difficult, you can recover a resolve. Even if you fail, you recover a karma. It’s a pretty simple system that can be summarized in one paragraph like that, but the word categories don’t really match what they describe or the mechanics you use them for, so very few people playing this system for the first time seem comfortable enough to volunteer using the mechanics to try to solve problems.”

Review 3:

“Summer Camp Slayers: Fun rules light system that encourages roleplaying. SInce it's one page I acknowledge there isn't much room for additions but a little more description on what the different roles could do would be nice.”

Plot Summary of Vested Interest:

While at the Firebreathing Kittens Guildhall, Nulisag approaches Colette De Winter with a job where she is requested specifically. Camp Lasumh a summer camp for children, has reported several missing people (children and staff). Because finding the perps requires stealth the client wants the famous Colette. Asking Sadie and Marty for assistance, the trio head off to Camp Lasae in a car provided by the owners of the camp. Sadie is disguised as a counselor, promising to improve children’s skills in making both cheese and beer, Marty disguised as a lifeguard, and Colette as a nurse.

Arriving at the camp, and rescuing a counselor Oliver in the lake, the group asks him some questions. Apparently people had been going missing for the past 2-3 weeks ago. Eventually  the director of the camp takes the trio to their cabin.

There they meet Artemis Copperpenny, the good looking head of the counselors who is well known for wearing a fashionable vest.He tells the Kittens that Plasteck bought the camp a month ago and the surrounding land except for a small cabin owned by Old Man Jefferies. He also tells them that dinner is being served in the main cafeteria.

At the cafeteria along with the kids and the other counselors they find that the food isn’t particularly good and the Kittens find out that the cook Barnibus is also missing. They meet Cousin, Sadie’s cousin there as well. Eventually, dinner wraps up and the Kittens decide to do some more investigations to visit the Old Man Jefferies. Marty suggests they bring a meal with them to make him happy when they ask him some questions. Bringing over some food they find The Old Man Jefferies quite pleasant and friendly. He tells The Kittens that his father created the lake by digging and draining it over 70 years ago. Likewise he’s been in the cabin on the camp grounds for the 50 years that the camp has been around. The new Plasteck corporation has offered him a lot of money to sell but he’s refused due to his family history.

After the Kittens thank the Old Man Jefferies they go to a bonfire being held by the counselors. Interestingly, Artemis is not there. Talking with Oliver the Kittens discover that Artemis is isolated from the other counselors and spends a lot of his time by himself near the stage often writing in notebooks and talking to himself. He’s not popular with the other counselors who mock Artemis behind his back.

After a long day, the Kittens go to their cabin to rest for the night. Unfortunately, a blood curdling scream goes through the camp. Rushing towards the noise, the Kittens encounter a number of dancing lights. Ignoring the lights, they go towards the source of the screaming: The children’s cabin! After getting in, they find all the children not just asleep but totally unconscious amidst many glowing blue lights. They track the source to none other than Marcie! They wake Marcie who says that she had sent the lights to the party as a way to direct them to the source of the terror at the camp: Lake Lasumh.

Taking Marcie with them they make their way with her directions to a part of the lake where a lizard like creature (similar to the Creature of the Black Lagoon) emerges with a collar around its neck. Using his magic, Marty smashes the creature with hammers made of water stunning it. Taking the opportunity, Colette removes the collar revealing that it’s the Old Man Jefferies!

Recovering from his ordeal, The Old Man Jefferies reveals that the master mind of all of this is Artemis. After tracking Artemis down by the stage, they see him in his true form: a moth like man still wearing his signature vest. Thinking on his feet, Marty casts a giant beam of light in the air and, like any moth, Artemis zips into the air to follow it. Quickly, Sadie and Colette whip up a trap as they go to the cafeteria and grab as much honey they can find. Marty brings the moth back to the ground and, covered in honey herself, Colette grabs Artemis. Unable to get away, Artemis puts a collar on top of the one that Artemis already has on.

The unexpected reaction of the double collar turns Artemis into an amorphous shifting mutant. As he falls to the ground a journal falls out of his pocket. Picking it up, Colette discovers the horrifying truth. Plasteck is a company owned by her enemies, Duchess Mary of Placentia and Duke Edward of Teck. They had been using this place as a way to conduct experiments in genetic engineering, amongst other things. They would have gotten away with it too, had it not been their desire for revenge on Colette’s (never proven) theft of their wedding cake from five years prior. They were the ones who hired Colette as a way to trap her.

The Kittens inform the authorities and leak the journal to the press. Plasteck goes belly up not long after but with the powerful Edward and Mary getting away without any sort of legal repercussions. Still, another job well done by the Firebreathing Kittens!

18:53 UTC


d4 vs d6 probability question

Set up:

  • Someone is rolling a dice and picks a d4 or a d6 at random.
  • They are equally likely to pick either.
  • They rolled a 4.

Question: what are the chances that they rolled a d4?

18:13 UTC


What do YOU like?

As fellow game designers, I wanted to ask NOT for advice on what all of you think other people want in a game but what elements you all PERSONALLY like and care about. Is it balance? Small learning curve? Complexity? Simplicity? Etc. First thoughts that come to mind of what things you as a person want in a game?

How do you think that influences the building of your games elements or mechanics? Is there a way to divorce yourself from this when creating?

14:41 UTC


Keep Highest in Damage Rolls

I’m working on an NSR/OSR-game wherein PCs begin as storied heroes. The game aims to combine the core framework of the The Black Sword Hack (d20 roll-under using “the big six” attributes) with the expanded character options of Worlds Without Number.

Like in TBSH, a PC’s HP is equal to their CON (possibly modified by a low static number). CON ranges from 7-18. Unlike TBSH, weapons deal damage based on their “size.” d4 for unarmed. d10 for heavy melee weapons. Currently, armor serves as rolled damage reduction similar to Mörk Borg and Symbaroum. Light armor is d4. Heavy armor is d8. NPCs never roll.

To curb damage while allowing for character options that improve “DPS," I’m considering an approach to damage where PCs keep the best die among those rolled. So, a PC wielding a d8 longsword and a d6 dagger would roll 1d8 and 1d6. If the same PC has a spell that sets their sword aflame for +1d8, they’d roll 2d8 and 1d6. They’d keep only the highest die (no modifiers), so a roll of 2d8 and 1d6 that generates a 2, a 4, and a 6, would result in 6 damage. This way, damage is capped to 12 (barring critical hits and other circumstances).
Armor is similar. If multiple sources of armor dice apply, such as if you’re wearing d8 plate, wielding a d4 shield, and benefitting from a d8 mage armor spell or whatever, you roll all armor dice and keep the highest to reduce damage from an attack. As noted, NPCs don't roll; PCs roll to attack/defend against their own attributes (i.e.: 1d20 < STR to hit) and NPCs have static armor and damage ratings.

I haven’t seen this before, so I’m looking for your thoughts on the notion.


12:30 UTC


Help with choosing (and/or improving) these resolution mechanics.

OK, I have Three dice roll resolution mechanics. And I'm trying to pick the one that has more potential, or plasticity to use as a tool. That Or just refine and Make em better individually just for fun.

Also, I come from World of Darkness background. Also FATE, and The mecha hack.

I mostly run one shots so advancement/growth is not a huge concern, but it would be a plus.

 I have some goals for them:

1 No modifiers, unless it's adding dice, or Advantage.

2 Better represent Attribute and skill levels.

3 Players have to be the highlight, no rolls by Dm if possible. But still having some control over difficulty, or drama crank.

4 Forward action. Something always happens.

5 Intuitive. Or at least easy to understand/learn

The Options are:

1.Wod 5th Original inspiration.

Attribute+Skills dots = Dicepool (d10s)

TN=6   Count successes.

Difficulty ranges from 2-6+ success.


If you equal or surpass you pass with no complication. If you surpass de difficulty by 3+ Something good happens (crit)

If you don't equal or surpass, but have at least a success. You can choose to succeed at a cost.

If you have no successes, Something BAD happens

 Success over Difficulty (Margin) is used in various ways.

2.Wod inspired But its Roll under with 2d10. to simplify rolls.

The sum of Attribute+skills dots (capped at 8) = Target Number

Roll 2d10 (representing attributes+skills)


2 successes is a win (2 1 is a crit, something Very good happens)

1 success is a win at a cost

0 success fail (2 10s is a crit fail, something Very bad happens)

  1. Step dice to better reflect Skill/Attribute level.

Dots in attributes and skills step up the dice.

0=d4 1=d6 2=d8 3=d10 4=d12

TN= 4-7

Pick the corresponding stepdie for Attribute and skill


2 successes. The dice beat the Tn, it's a win (max value on both dice, or high value match, is a crit, something Very good happens).

1 success. is win at a cost.

0 success. fail (2 1s is a crit fail, something Very bad happens).

Thank you in advance. Also English is not my primary language so i'm sorry if the text is wonky. I'll be happy to clarify or further explain anything.

07:24 UTC


SWADE-type damage/deadly combat

I’ve been trying to get away from HP as much as possible. As I never really liked the attrition method of combat. I’ve been out of the loop for a good while and one thing that caught my eye coming back, is Savage Worlds.

I’m not sure how I feel about their system as a whole. But I kind of liked how deadly combat was.

In my recent dabblings with my old (90s) game/setting. I’ve decided that I want to toss a lot of the grit and make something faster paced. I originally came up with a series of wound tiers. It seemed fine, but it was really just HP with extra steps. You still needed to keep track of numbers, and whittle down enemies (though you could take them out with a single powerful blow by reaching the highest tier).

Anyway, back to SWADE. As I understand, you’ve basically got 3 HP as a player and minor enemies have 1 HP. I ran some mental exercises and watched a YouTube demo.

But I had a concern. It really seems like you could basically end up with a party wipe after a round of exploding dice coming from the NPCs.

Now, I’m 100% in with deadly combat. Using cover, suggestive fire, retreating when necessary/possible, is often preferable than a stand up fight in a “realistic” setting. Also, putting an emphasis on not getting hit to begin with (which is another can of worms).

Conversely. It seems like fights between well armored or tough fighters on both sides, could turn into an endless slog of no one getting hurt.

How do real players feel about SWADE combat being deadly/“swingy?”

Am I misinterpreting/missing something or do I have the gist of it?

Do you think that deadly combat is easier to deal with/less time consuming (potentially in a solo play style)?

06:03 UTC


Going out of my medieval comfort zone with modern mechanics

I really like how clean my day zero outline feels, though I haven't run any simulations yet. There are a lot of things going on here, but I think for the amount of complexity firearms generally require, I've managed to get a good blend of specificity and abstraction. What do you think?

Turn Organization

There are two central concepts: Coordination and Initiative.

Coordination is a simple first/second condition in relation to the opposition and is influenced by formation, the manner in which a position is held, and the manner in which an area is approached. This stat affects group behavior.

Initiative is a number based on skill, accuracy, maneuverability, and responsiveness. This value affects all individual behaviors in combat. Further, your Default Initiative is a baseline number that you revert to when you perform recovery actions or remove yourself from certain tactical positions.

Coordination determines the order of action by group until an exchange of fire devolves into a firefight. Technically, these phrases mean the same thing, but I think "exchange of fire" sounds well-ordered and technical, and "firefight" sounds desperate and chaotic. During an exchange, players may devise a coherent strategy on their group turn and use "popcorn initiative". But once a firefight occurs, turn order is determined by character Initiative and only valid in-game tactical commands are allowed.

Examples of shifts from Exchange to Firefight:

  • Going from street maneuvering to holding a small building and its perimeter as a strongpoint, where allies may not be in each others' sight

  • A vehicle or group of vehicles come to a stop and everyone has to get out for a street brawl

  • A breach gets botched

  • Artillery is introduced where artillery isn't welcome

  • You get flanked by enemies on top of buildings while you're in an alley and they have RPGs

On your turn, you spend initiative to act. Certain actions can allow you to spend more initiative for a better effect. When a new round begins, you revert back to your Default Initiative


Your attack roll is called Attack Significance, and the result determines an effect called Suppression, which damages Initiative. If Suppression exceeds Initiative, actual harm is caused, which is treated like a critical hit, and its effect is based on your weapon. For instance, on a critical hit for a flamethrower, you might get a result that reads: "The target is immolated and begins to scream in abject terror. If friendlies do not administer aid within the next round, the victim will die"

Weapons affect initiative, initiative costs, and attack significance. A high rate of fire but a low power/caliber round would have a high attack significance but count as a light weapon in terms of critical progression. A heavy weapon will have a steeper critical progression. And artillery-level damage will flat out kill you. A low rate of fire weapon has a high initiative cost and a low attack significance


Armor is classified as light, heavy, or artillery-class:

Armor is immune to suppression against weapons a class below it, unless if you aim for weak points like the joints, face, or lower legs

If a weapon class exceeds the target's armor, then their armor will not protect them against that attack. For example, if you fire a 7.62 rifle at civilian armor, the armor will do nothing at all, unless if the distance is extreme enough to reduce the attack by a whole class.

If your armor and the attacking weapon are equal in class, then it will block Critical Damage if Suppression Damage does not exceed the armor's threshold value.

Threshold is largely based on the coverage of your armor, and so it's possible to remove peripheral pieces to sacrifice some threshold in order to improve your mobility

Range, Accuracy, Mobility, Armor Penetration

Range governs the maximum distance you can fire your weapon before its damage degrades by class

Accuracy affects your maximum initiative in mid range combat and scoped long range combat.

Mobility affects your Default Initiative in close range combat.

Armor-penetrating ammunition defeats armor of the same class

Positions and Maneuvers

Some tactics are only available during a coordinated turn, such as "Area Suppression" where the players tell the GM they're focusing fire on a single area, which organizes everyone's attack into a single, overpowered roll.

If you take up certain held positions on your turn, you'll be able to react quickly and move to cover or provide interrupting fire. If your character has hand-to-hand skills (and drugs, lots of drugs), they can take up high mobility maneuvers to build excess initiative, "release" it to perform adrenaline attacks (disarms, bodyshields, throws, wall runs and drop attacks, a throwing knife to the neck) or reactively dash out of the line of fire.

Thus, the modes of combat can allow for a more grounded military style or a batman/daredevil style, with a gritty-cinematic feel

04:06 UTC


Do you have a choice?

Part of me regrets this post already. Be gentle.

I’ve been writing and modifying games since I was at least 10 years old. Most of it was shit, but man did we have fun. About 15 years ago I started my current project, it’s morphed and transformed so much it barely resembles what it started as, and I’m delighted for that. However that’s not the point of this post. My world lives in my head, it surprises me, it angers me, it brings me joy. I obviously have control, at least somewhat, but what I don’t really feel I have control over any longer is whether I write it or not. I’ve taken years off as I had kids and changed jobs, but all breaks ended the same way, with an insatiable urge to write. I would get progressively grumpier and more miserable until I did so. It was if it welled up in me and burst forth, denying it only made it worse.

Am I alone? Do you have a choice?

I love it, but I don’t know that I could quit.


03:38 UTC


I found the rarest spell in 5e D&D

I put every spell from the Player’s Handbook, Xanathar’s Guide to Everything, and Tasha’s Cauldron of Everything into categories and organized them by level and frequency. You can find a table of my findings here.

This table led me to discover the most common spell type and the rarest spell in 5e. The most common spell type is a 2nd level utility spell. And the rarest spell type in 5e is a 6th level reaction spell. Therefore, the rarest spell in 5e D&D is, drum roll please… Soul Cage from Xanathar’s Guide to Everything.


Utility Spells: Don’t fit neatly into any category but can still be used in combat.

Ranged Spells: Attack at range and don’t affect an area for more than 1 round

Non-Combat Spells: Explicitly can’t be used in combat, such as one’s with casting times of 1 hour

Protection & Healing Spells: Heal or give resistance, advantage on saves, or some other protection

AoE (Area of Effect) Spells: Control the battlefield for more than 1 round, often by restricting movement

Social Spells: Affect 1 or more creatures’ cognition or ability to communicate

Melee Spells: attack in melee or very close range, such as cones

Movement Spells: Augment the targets movement capabilities

Reaction Spells: Occur in response to another creature’s action


I was suprised to see how few movement spells there were, as they’re some of my favorite spells in the game. But, then again 5e is very combat-focused. Social spells are uncommon for the same reason it seems. But then that begs the question: “What about all these ‘Non-Combat’ spells”. And you’re right, I have to raise my arms in surrender that there are indeed some non-combat spells. Buuuuttt, if you take a good look at what a lot of these spells do you’ll that a good chunk of them are used in preparation or recovery from combat. Once you remove those from the category the numbers fall about in line with social and movement spells.

Overall, I think this list of categories is pretty effective without become too noodley. But it was still hard to determine where certain spells should go.

———Questions & Concerns———

Now some of you might be wondering what this magical list looks like. If you’re curious here’s the link. I can already hear some of you exclaiming ”Hey, that spell shouldn’t be in that category!”. And to you I say, you’re probably right and you can change it. All you have to do is make a copy of the sheet and then you can edit it to your hearts content.

02:07 UTC


TTRPG Online Platform UX Project

01:02 UTC

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