Brewing my own homebrew RPG

Legend By Legend, 18th Oct 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Essays

I discuss the shortcomings of classic role playing games and the way I set out to design a solution for me and my players

Classic Dungeons and Dragons

My experience with many of the more classic role playing games such as dungeons and dragons and advanced dungeons and dragons is that the rules place far to much emphasis on combat and treasure. I'm not saying that fights aren't exciting and that finding treasure isn't cool. Just that the emphasis on these is so great that it diminishes from the plot. If you think about classic stories which we enjoy reading so much, the heroes fight 3 or 4 major battles and that's all. If you consider treasure, storytellers rarely discuss the coppers looted from every corpse killed by the protagonists. These details tend to bog down the storytelling. As an example, I can cite an adventure module I used once called 'Skarda's Mirror'. The first time I ran this adventure, I did it by the book. My players were very disappointed. The story line the module and the plot line were great but the combat and treasure were sadly lacking so that at the end of the adventure my players had earned very little experience points or cash. In contrast, I can cite some adventure modules which end up being simply a gauntlet of monster fights that the adventurers are forced through under the pretext of a story line just so that rewards of experience and treasure can be heaped on the surviving characters. The players like this sort of adventure since it gives them what they want but role playing is sadly kept at a minimum, usually with one or two riddles thrown in for good measure.

Other types of RPG games

I realized that I wanted something more story and plot oriented. When I read the first edition rules for Amber Diceless, I immediately realized that those rules were far closer to what I had in mind. The problem with the game based on the series of novels written by Roger Zelazny, is that the setting is a multiverse there is too much power simply lying around and adventures tend to alternate between saving the world, destroying the world and rebuilding it again. I continued to look at other options and tried several other systems. I also spent quite a bit of time perusing a wide variety of RPG systems available online. For a while I was quite taken with SHERPA, but my players didn't connect with it (I couldn't get the system to balance well).

Designing a homebrew solution

This led me to the understanding that the game me and my players wanted to play should be one where character creation and development are emphasized and role playing needs to be combined with creativity. Luck should be cut down to a minimum and combat should be something to be avoided, not actively sought out. Character creation should be as minimal as possible. The result of this understanding was the game I called 'Heroic Deeds'. The game is a 'rules-lite' RPG which can be handled diceless and can handle any genre or combination thereof. Balance between characters is also maintained so that, for example, Batman and Superman can have an adventure together without Batman feeling like a useless sidekick. My playtesters enjoyed the concept and we tried several variations of the game with great success. Because the concept of the game revolved around having players posses a certain amount of heroic actions they can preform, I called the game "Heroic Deeds".


Dungeons And Dragons, Heroic Deeds, Homebrew, Rpg, Rpg System

Meet the author

author avatar Legend
I am a practicing physician. I have spent 5 years in Yeshiva studying religion. I published a card game on wikinut and I am in a process of getting divorced

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