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unedited concept material from HDD

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years ago

Game Design Document

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Community Related Topics

It must be moddable, for community involvement and development of the game. Character, item, level models. New race abilities and characteristics. Adventures and stories. Have various levels of modding: tweaking (sets of tools, sliders, and point systems that allow characters to create minor changes in the games. Things like basic weapon and spell mods, regional variation of physical characteristics), toolsets (for mapping areas) but also allow for importing of coding and custom model, map, items, etc. I suppose there would need to be some sort of filecheck system to verify which have been modified. Anti-cheat software will need to be either built-in, or with heavy support from the production crew.

There could be an approval method so that items do not become too unbalancing. Could even justify these factors with the conservative technological approach of the Shashnimyn. If items get worn and require maintenance, then too-powerful items could become ones that cannot be serviced, therefore would become extremely rare (held only by those individuals who could service them) perhaps achieving a legendary status.

Servers have customizable laws and rules. Laws can be codes of conduct, economics, social systems (voting etc), forums, etc.

Provide the option to have customizable content on servers. If the custom content is rated by level then you could also restrict it to: free (anything goes, even power gamers and ridiculous combos), balanced (restricted modifications and combos not available), common (an upgrade of items that meet the minimal requirements of balanced but are also used by a threshold number of players worldwide, or look and play well), approved (officially approved mods), and official (only the content that comes from the production). And each of these could have a ‘custom’ filter to limit some things, e.g. Non-thematic items and everything allowed in a Free (custom) server, but trying to stay away from some munchkin items.

Characters could enter any server, but any content that they possessed would not be accessible when on a server that it was disallowed. The content would still take up space and burden. Unusable items can still be traded in areas where they cannot be used. However, they may not be repaired or altered and, if they are left, the items permanently die. When connecting to a server, players should be warned of the changes.

Having restricted items may help to eliminate cheaters on some servers. Rather than confronting cheating head on, let them play on their own servers and not bother those who want to be true.

Certain items should grow with the players; they should form a kind of spiritual bond, so that they gain a legendary status and a history. Perhaps items of high level that are created can be unique and gain experience over time, as well as tracking some stats about its history.

Server variables can be used to decrease the amount of PKing, or prevent it altogether. However, it would be interesting to use it as a way to develop player villains.


The level editor and story editor should be accessible to beginners. Complexity arises through trees and evolution of small factors. Let the modelers and the artists create, and the storytellers weave the fabric of fantasy.

So, if the story would be improved by the creation of a unique monster, let the story teller merely do so with a symbolic change: a different coloured existing monster type carrying an atypical weapon or with an atypical aura, ability, whatever. It might look sucky, but if it is good enough, a modeler may come along and improve it. Credit should be given as often as possible to encourage recognition (which many amateurs want, or need if they intend to go further).

Tilesets are good, and so is push/pull terrain editing. Modular tiles would be awesome, allowing for even more flexibility. Hex tiles of course. Also, a random generation system for misc dungeon crawls and unexplored landscape areas would be nice as well. That way, players could warp out into random wilderness (perhaps defined by a set of parameters such as in the dot hack series) and play areas suited to their level.

Areas can only be kept consistent if they are hosted by someone. If a player runs a server, they get to control the server variables as well as keep a constant map. They can also host their home areas. Ie, the insides of their homes if they are in urban, or a small patch of wilderness. These areas would only be available while that player is online.

To make it open for contribution may be tough, as you don’t want to give away your engine for free (bad business decision) but you do want to maximize flexibility for growth, evolution and replay-ability. I’d like to see a game where the updates are frequent and the versions are difficult to call distinct a constant change model.

A wiseman called

Tempered on Bioware forums, in

a thread about Dragon Age dev tools regarding where priorities lie in

terms of customization and modding development:

"VTM: Redemption (the original pc game) came with a level editor and a GM client for multiplayer adventures. It came out a year or two before NWN. The graphics were far superior to NWN. The very long OC story line was superior to NWN. The item editor was superior (imho) to what NWN has. Textures were very easy to import for areas, no tools required, just take a tiff image and slap it in place. The level editing was more time consuming than NWN, but still within the grasp of the average person, yet flexible enough to create any landscape or building you imagined. Personally, I think the game was superior in almost every way imaginable to NWN. But it never had more than a few die hard modders and the modding community for it stagnated rapidly.


Because it’s not so much about the modding community as it is about basic game play. VTM: Redemption had one fatal flaw. Many people simply didn’t enjoy the mechanics of the game. Why make a mod for a game that you don’t enjoy playing, even if it has all the other features you want?

As much as it pains me to say it, I think bioware is right to place their emphasis elsewhere. If people enjoy the game mechanics, people will mod the game. You will lose many of the occasional modders without tile set simplicity, but I think the quality will rise.”



rpg theory


his RPG index.


some forge links to rpg theory

Rule System considerations

Priorities lie in gameplay.

Game mechanics should be simple and fun. Consider silhouette.

Consider the threefold model of RPGs:

-Narrative: cater to the development of story

-Gamist: allow for interesting action and adventure

-Simulationist: have flexible rules to cover conceivable situations, allow GM intervention for areas where the constraints of a computer program cannot work. Free servers could be a haven for the ridiculous, where players can indulge in the over-powered

With events, scripting and story creation by GMs, should help to aid the story progress. Including nonlethal challenges (simulated DM matches) and random fields/dungeons for meaningless action and leveling up to cater to the gamist.

Adventures could have a scaling factor to expand the breadth of levels that would work, numbers of monsters or strengths can be scaled to combined group level, trap damage, spell effect, etc.

My job is to create and inspire. Think for the idealistic system and work with those who are capable of making it happen. Concessions will need to be made in order to improve gameplay or coding, work with it, but keep ideals in mind.

It would be nice to allow the characters to select some background history, and attach these to pre-existing NPCs in their home server. To flesh out the world a bit and provide attachment. Since the Shashnimyn have large familial units and are grouped by age classes, many individuals can have the same NPCs for the same things. Also, they are long-lived, so you can offset them by time.

Point-based character creation for semi-fixed and fixed attributes.(Physical)and then have equipment and some other things that can be made up in gameplay easily as randomly determined. I really like having dice pools and being able to manage amounts of expenditures to vary one’s abilities dependent on the direness of the situation.

Travelling distance should be able to be skipped, it’s no fun gameplay wise to have to walk every which way and romp endlessly when nothing happens. Also, it’s not so realistic to have everything lumped together. If the maps are set up so that they have ‘clumps’, areas of small action and interest and then the rest is symbolized by a fast moving clock. So, for a trade caravan escort mission, you’d do most of it in fast-time and enter some randomly generated road stretches for the wandering monster encounters, a few could be duds or ones that could be snuck by (for suspense’s sake) and then however many DM-made stretches for the planned adventures. I would like to have a time-based system, where players are roughly synchronized with each other. But it would happen that you could do things that did not require other players independent of constant time. So, using the above caravan example, those people guarding it can pass a long stretch of time in travel and reach night quite quickly before many players have started their day, but they would not be able to go through multiple days of travel if they were going to interact with other players. Conversely, bandit-type characters who wanted to raid a caravan, would also require that they take time from their day to do so. If both a guarding caravan group and a bandit-raiding group decided to play at the same time, it could be synchronized. If a caravan was traveling through a bandit-controlled area, the bandits could be notified so that those players online could join the raid.

Having expendable pools to increase dice I like. Also, the idea of modification of the target number is something that I think is more realistic. The change of the TN simulates a character trying harder, or slacking off, when the full amount of skill is not needed. If all skill use costs points (that recharge or are earned easily. Fatigue?) then the characters have greater incentive to manage themselves. I describe this also in the green notebook. A ramped cost so that it is harder to buy out further and further from the starting TN?

I like the principle of balance and self-management/control as a main theme in the rules design. The rules should reflect values and somehow be setup to be both fun, efficient and cater to a playing style that teaches good life living. (how? Dunno, but maybe if kept in mind).

I like bell curve distributions more than even spread between 1-20 (for example), I think it’s more realistic.  Made by multiple dice.

Having a Tarot like system might be cool as well. Based upon your sign and some other roaming variables (one-three, to keep it fairly simple) you can receive cards, omens, signs, whatever (depending on the player types. Mages are more likely to see atronomical signs and readings, diviners and hand game players (dice, cards and board games) use cards or dice readings, body-based characters using energy cycles, naturalists seeing omens in nature. Those are just colour, each of them would have similar effects to each other if appearing from different sources. The effects of these could be a temporary increase or decrease in an attribute, skill class or vulnerability/immunity. If the number of variables were few, many characters would experience this effect at the same time; hopefully leading to an increased ‘sharedness’ of experience. Of course there would be a large possibility of nothing happening, I dunno almost half to 2/3 of the moon cycle nothing happens?

Are the character creation rules going to apply to all species? I think so, Shashnimyn would start with a base set of points and have default characteristics. Although there is no need to get as nit picky as gurps or tmnt was in some respects. An extra set of limbs will have an effect, but the amount of animalness to your claws doesn’t matter, only what they’re good for: ie, skills, restrictions and bonuses.

Character Templates

These templates refer more to the physical characteristics of the characters as opposed to the classes. E.g. you can have a healer, herbalist, alchemist, brawler, archer, combat mage, diviner, etc in all template races.  (Note, due to high genetic variance, these are actually closer to the true definition of races than anything in humans.  They can all interbreed easily.)

These are by no means exclusive categories, just for people who want to choose a preset rather than wade through an expanse of character generation options.  The character generation options could have player-made presets as well, but each and every preset should be accessible by manually tweakage.  With enough variables; mesh deformation and pasted on models (for ears, eyes, hands, hair/spike patterns, etc) I can easily see characters being all sorts of appearance, from lizard-like to cat-like to gnomish to elvish.


Able to tolerate and work in thin atmospheres, characterized by barrel chests and fairly short stature.  A natural aptitude for acrobatics and meditation.  They are known by many to be a very silly, whimsical bunch, fond of elaborate ridiculousness.


Characterized best by the word “Gothic”, these are maily folk who dress themselves in dark, renaissance-style glitz and look something in between vampires and dark elves.  They are tall and thin frail of body but strong of mind.   They have natural aptitudes towards math and speechcraft, but generally shun the light of day.  They riddle administration departments of cities, walking through dark archives in their spectacles and robes. They prefer formality and eloquence.


These folk live and look like mountains.  They are incredibly hardy and can withstand almost any environmental condition, from cold and musty caverns, to blowing dry gales, to the oppressive humid heat near volcanoes.  They are thick and heavy, be them tall or short.  They are of stout personality, affection is shown through hearty thumps (which they often have to restrain in the presence of the ‘frailer’ folk).


Forest folk, they range in height, have a natural aptitude for the arts incorporating the living creature (plants and animals).  They are also either excellent climbers or runners.  They are typically like the faerie folk of old, fond of tricks and riddles, ever in jest and always a very happy bunch.


Live in oceans, lakes, underwater cities, floating cities, or on boat communities.  Can swim well, hold their breath for a long time and an innate sense of direction (not disadvantaged by the complete absence of navigational reference).  Many have somewhat lizard-like or aquatic features and there skin is tolerant of immersion.


These Shashnimyn are the vestige of the clans that decided not to enforce such strict selection policies and were thus driven to areas where they could thrive without the competition to other Shashnimyn.  That period was not sufficiently long enough to create a reproductively incompatible species, and they have somewhat rejoined the culture since.  They have well developed night-vision and large upper bodies (perfect for operating their various digging/tunneling tools).  They are economically very important due to the metals that they are able to extract from underground.  Physically they look kinda creepy, like naked mole rat people.  Although they are treated with reverence for both their value to society and the way they rejoined society after separation.  Their tools and amount of technology allowed them to wage quite a guerilla war, which was guided by a power-hungry orator.  The people eventually overthrew him, primarily due to a few couples of ‘forbidden love’.  He was lynched and the Tunnelled gave about half of their accumulated resource and openly shared all its knowledge to the above-ground peoples.  This was quite significant and could’ve crippled the Tunnelled, but the rest of the Shashnimyn recognized them as brothers and returned the favor.  Technological advancements and anything to do with metal jumped ahead quickly as a result.


These are desert people, they live in portable camps and are fiercely independent.  They have natural water conservation systems and can also fast for long periods of time.  With stasis spells, they can almost survive indefinitely.  They are some of the boldest hunters, since they work alone and many desert beasts are stupidly big and can see them coming.  They were also the first peoples into space, which they said was “cold and awe-inspiring, but not worth living there”


These people are like the Inuit, only more extreme.  They are a very mystical bunch, with the highest proportion of divination in the world.   Some think that this is a result of living directly opposite from the Demon Gate.  There is a minor invasion that occurs at this pole due to portal spells that use the axis of the world as a mirror, and these folk are excellent demon hunters, with a natural sense of their presence.  They are generally fury, but this varies from an almost transparent silk fuzz to shaggy manes.  They have traveled widely and the fur although believed to have originated in their areas, has since spread to nearly everywhere.


Live in the plains, the “average” character, they begin with a few more points overall, but no specific aptitudes.  Hybrids of the above races appear to be plainsfolk, who have the highest variation in form of any race.

Mission Statement and Strategy

What is the purpose for this game?  To


a commmunity in the world that can use simulation to refelct their real

lives. to teach them what can be seen as wonderful (all) and to

encourage love and cooperation.  What is the purpose of the

story?  To explore my reasons for wanting to love everything, a

motiviation story of sorts, allegorical, and letting the characters

(and through them the readers) experience what can be the best reality

for them.  It is all here, waiting for them.

If you have written something together in a planning document and then you move it later, ensure that you attach a link to the source before you remove the content.

The main goal of the system is to be fun. Fun in a computer setting allows for some fairly complex calculations, but the principles should be simple.

Consider publishing the ruleset and a brief pamphlet for the RPG, if necessary to bundle with a small program or web resource for mechanics. The ultimate design is intended for web-based RPGing, but if it’s useable in a hybrid pnp form, why not.

Upon reading a nice article on independent RPG publishing linked to from the Forge, at the moment the best steps appear to be:

  • A. write the RPG,
  • B. publish samples and the Shashnimyn encyclopedia on the web,
  • C. put the major themes and sections into pdf pamphlets available for order,
  • D. password protect the core rules, mechanics and related programs for access to members only.  Also, password the ability to DL pdfs of any section (pricing could be an initial buy-in of $15-20 and then a cheaper monthly fee that can be stopped and started.) Paper publishing is not really my goal at this point.

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