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Game Design

Core Mechanics: Hits, Misses, and Armor

Recently I’ve been thinking about attack and damage systems in role-playing games. In Dungeons & Dragons and many other games, there are separate to-hit and damage rolls. This setup allows for easy mechanical distinction between conditions that make an attack more accurate and those that make an attack more damaging. The flip side is that […]

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Game Design

Core Mechanics: Character Advancement

In Dungeons & Dragons, and most other role-playing games, player characters earn experience points as the game progresses and then can spend those points to become more powerful. Levels vs À La Carte Advancement How a character advances varies from game to game with character levels being one of the most common mechanics. Character levels offer […]

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Game Design

Core Mechanics: Mixed Dice Probabilities

I’ve recently purchased both Marvel Heroic Roleplaying and Savage Worlds. One thing those two games have in common is that they both have mechanics where different sizes of dice are rolled against one another. In Savage Worlds this is generally a single die of each size, but for Marvel it is pools of dice of […]

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Game Design

Core Mechanics: Health and Damage

Hit points have long been a core mechanic of Dungeons & Dragons and because of that they have carried over into many other games including both pen & paper and digital games. The mechanic’s simplicity is likely one of the main reasons for its success – each time you take damage, you subtract it from […]

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Game Design

Core Mechanics: Randomization

Almost all role-playing games use dice to determine the outcome of actions. The ways that dice are used varies widely though and can have a large effect on the mathematics of a game system as well as how it feels at the table. Dungeons & Dragons with 2d10 As an example, using 2d10 in place of 1d20 in […]

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Game Design

Core Mechanics: Rounds, Turns, and Phases

Most role-playing games that I’ve played use a similar structure for taking turns in combat. At the beginning of a fight, each character makes an initiative roll to determine what order they act in. Then each character takes turns with a character completing most of their actions on their turn then sitting idle as other characters […]