Category Archives: Powered By The Middle Finger

DIY RPG Productions Rules Development Notes- Starting at the Beginning

Ok…  let’s start at the beginning-

When I started looking at developing my own rules the first thing I looked at was roll under or roll over. I LOVE the simplicity of The Black Hack and Into the Odd and I got to experience the joy of watching players who normally never grok or care about the rules learning them and having fun!

That was definitely an amazing thing.

On the flip side, I noticed that players either succeeded everything (with just a simple roll under mechanic without modifiers/Target Numbers and high stats the challenge can become minimal) or they had low stats and became frustrated at the constant failure.

Finally- without skills in the game, I’d watch the Wizard with the 16 Wisdom do the tracking and shit while the Ranger with the 10 Wisdom sat and picked their nose. I know that this can happen in roll over/TN based games as well, but it was more pronounced to me here. There have been several hacks, houserules, etc. that have come out in the Into the Odd (ItO) and The Black Hack (TBH) communities to attempt to resolve this- and many of them are damned good.

I’ve been running Death is the New Pink (which uses Into the Odd) and Barbarians of the Ruined Earth (or other Black Hack games) for over a year now, so I’ve gotten to see where issues/etc. for my players come up and what seems fun (mechanically) and what doesn’t.

In the end, I decided to move towards a TN/Roll equal to or over mechanic. 1- I enjoy the fuck out of rolling a 20 and the thrill/dread or rolling a 1.

2- I feel (and this is totally my opinion here) that a game with small range of modifiers has a wider berth for long term play, and as my goal was to attempt to create something I’d want to run for one shots, con play, and long term- this sat right with me.

3- Those modifiers help to facilitate an easy mechanic for skills that help flush out characters to feel interesting/varied.

After that I needed to decided on the whole gambit of modifiers, etc.. but more on that later:) #diy_productions_rules_dev_notes

First post in this series.

Designing DIY RPG Productions Ruleset

Over the past few months I’ve been debating back and forth about whether  I wanted to dive into the deep end of the pool and create my own rules.  There are so many great rulesets out there that I love and am inspired by; why do I need to create a whole new ruleset?  The more I pondered and tried to fight of the muse to do so, the more I thought about it.  I really started examining all this over the year of playtesting Going Medieval on Yo’ Ass and seeing the niggles in the system/issues my players were having…  

Needless to say- I am creating a DIY RPG Rules system.  This system will truly be Powered by the Middle Finger.  

I started a thing of Dev Notes on my MeWe DIY RPG Productions community page.  Come feel free to join the community.  Also feel free to hit me up for a friend request on MeWe now that G+ is shitting the bed.  I’ve decided to move the posts to a blog format as MeWe doesn’t put the posts in chronological order, so if someone comments on an older post, it puts it right back up and the top and that’s annoying.  I’m still going to post ideas, thoughts, and chat (if people are interested), but the bulk of stuff will be here.  

The first few posts will be me putting the stuff that’s already been on MeWe on the blog.  

Thoughts on Designing

Several key components have been at the forefront of my brain when I’ve been pondering/working on DIY RPG Productions rules.

It must be:

  1. Rules-lite.
  2. Accessible to new players.
    2a) Enticing for casual gamers who don’t want to learn stuff.
  3. OSR(ish).
  4. Hackable.
  5. Exciting for veteran players.
  6. Great for one shots, Con games, and long term play.
    6a) For long term play, not suffer from massive bloat.
  7. Be able to handle a wide range of genres for my books (from DitNP all the way to BotRE to an eventual Cyberpunk game).
  8. Forever be DIY!

I love Into the Odd and The Black Hack. They are fantastic systems created by great designers, and from their games I’ve learned quite a bit of what I want as a designer and a GM.

When Chris and David both announced they were working on new projects, Electric Bastionland and The Black Hack 2e, respectively, I almost immediately started getting messages and emails asking when I was going to update my rules to the new editions… and the honest answer was, “fuck if I know.”

I have Barbarians of the Ruined Earth, Orcs (a 3rd level Hubris adventure), High Noon: A Gritty Western for White Box, Going Medieval on Yo’ Ass (Fantasy DitNP), and The Forever Dungeon all in stages of development- I don’t want to start thinking about new editions of stuff…

And that’s when I really pondered what I wanted from my groups. I’ve been running DitNP (Into the Odd system) and Barbarians of the Ruined Earth (uses TBH) or other TBH stuff for two years now- so at this point I have a pretty damned good idea on what I want from a rules-lite system… What feedback I got from groups from hours and hours of playing, etc.

I want these rules to run through many of my projects (same mechanics, barring setting/house rules) for ease of use for those who enjoy them. And with the goal of being hackable- if you don’t like my rules, you can say fuck all to them and use whatever system you enjoy.

I’ll post more about the mechanics and decisions soon.

Aside: I have no plans on rewriting Hubris: A World of Visceral Adventure to these rules currently. I love DCC and feel that Hubris fits the system perfectly.