Tips for Creating your own Role Playing Game

In a time before gaming systems that relied on stacks of tomes of information, shop bought scenarios and hundreds of supplements, there was a more innocent and less commercial gaming world. In those days games were pretty much invented by the referees and players. Some of those went on to become the big commercial systems we know and love today, many did not. There are however many good reasons for shunning the tried and tested systems and writing your own rule book. I’m sure we have all had times when we have thought, I love Dungeons and Dragons but the level system is a bit rigid. Or, the combat system for Warhammer is great but the magic system leaves a lot to be desired. If you find yourself asking these sort of questions then the time is right to build your own gaming system.

Basically, all you need to do is make a note of the things you like about various systems and blend those ideas together. Obviously you can’t just steal wholesale as the game mechanisms are not designed to work outside their system, but you can blend the ideas. Here are some main pointers.

Characters.
Do you like the rigidity of being in a class and rising through the various levels. Do you prefer a skill based system where people can learn which skills they like and mix and match abilities in unique ways. Isn’t it logical that people come and go through a number of professions or careers gaining skills as they go. Dungeons and Dragons has a very rigid approach but the likes of Runequest have a very fluid approach, which one works for you?

Combat.
The main difference in combat systems really is detail. Characters could have a number of hit points that governs their well being, or they may have those points distributed to certain areas of the body so that certain parts of the body can get put out of action without the whole ceasing to function. Skill based games derive the characters combat ability from their skill level (often in terms of %) at using a weapon or defending themselves. Other more fixed systems will determine combat ability by the characters level. Similarly armour can either reduce the chance of a blow striking or maybe a system whereby it absorbs some of the damage may be created.

Magic.
Magic is one of the areas where you can be very unique. Is magic something that can be created by scientific mages with a knowledge of the laws of physics or is it divinely given and wielded only by religious types. The type of magic may be only in keeping with the deity concerned. Some may give powers to heal, some to harm, magic may be elemental, is it not logical that a sea god would only confer magic that works within his realm. Is magic available to all through training, via career choice, allowed only to exceptional players determined by a character score such as Intellect or Piety. Maybe magic is based purely on psychic ability. Its up to you.

Those are the major areas dealt with but there is so much more that can be added, but need only be created as the game requires it. Using this approach you will hopefully end up with a game that ticks all of the boxes of you gaming experience. It also has the benefit of defeating the rules lawyers, after all if the system is of your making they are going to know nothing about the way the world works and allows for that wide eyed innocence and wonder that all good game sessions should have. Try going it your own way, you may find that it offers you the freedom that you have been longing for.