NearbyGamers

An Adaptable Character Management System

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NearbyGamers General
RPGing since '84, and still loving it!
2008-12-19 19:49:40

Hey All,

Being that I'm a Gamer (and systems designer) who hates all the paperwork needed to generate and maintain my characters and also all the PCs that I DM for, I've automated many of our games using a combination of excel and VB (hey it was easy and fast to do). I have at least half a dozen or so of these custom, home grown, character generators, the most advanced ones being for AD&D 2ed. and CP2020.

So what the hell is this post of mine about?

Well, I recently decided to update a few of these things and also need to create some for a few new games that we're trying out... anyway, I've decided instead of creating and editing something like a dozen different generators, I'd spend my efforts designing a single generator/maintainer program that can be customized to handle all these various RPGs.

I know what kind of stuff needs to be in it for the systems that I mainly use, which are level/XP-based systems (like AD&D 2nd Ed. and StarWars/SE d20) and skill-based systems (like CP2020 and the WEG Star Wars).

What I'd like to know, and I'm hoping that you can help me with, is how do other RPG systems out there run differently in style from the above 2 styles of system mentioned above? (I've got a ton of RPGs, and all of them can be place into one of the 2, but I know I don't have every type of RPG)

I've got plenty of other questions, but this one needs answering before I continue, as the base of this program needs to have a strong core. Ya, I could just use the 2 types of systems that I use, but the systems designer in me want to make a better "mousetrap" :)

Who knows, if it goes well, I may just decide to release it or put it out on the web for everyone to use.

— Leva, Älska, Spel! / Live, Love, Game! / Degero, Amor, Venatus!

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The gamer that runs this site
2008-12-19 21:22:07

I've seen a few point-based systems, like Witchraft/Unisystem, GURPS, and World of Darkness.

I know there are one or two game systems based on drawing cards from a deck, but I can't remember their names. Anyone? Bueller?

RPGing since '84, and still loving it!
2008-12-19 22:54:40

What do you mean by "points based"? what are the points used to do again, is it similar to CP2020s IP system? (It's been forever since I played GURPS, so long ago that I don't even recall the system.)

Do the card based games have character development rules basd on the cards you pull?

See this is the kind of thing I need to know before I start... that way I can include these systems or at least tell people that it won't handle them! ;)

— Leva, Älska, Spel! / Live, Love, Game! / Degero, Amor, Venatus!
GAMEMASTER AND PLAYER ELITE
2008-12-20 00:51:22

yes they do..

Point based means that it relies on points being spent during the character generation.

you should also take into consideration that not all systems use Levels to improve characters as the gain xp. this too could be a point based system in a way.

RPGing since '84, and still loving it!
2008-12-20 21:26:59

Cool!

I'm planning to develop it using programmable "tables". Since most RPG companies don't like you putting their stuff into a program, it'll be an empty database, that the user will have to load with their system requirements and info.

The tables will be programed with an "if used" condition, so that when you load a system that, say, uses points but not levels, then it'll ignore anything that wants to use levels, with the combo requirement of points and levels, I'm going to have to have each "table" be aware of what it needs to look at, it'll make it a bit more difficult but nothing I shouldn't be able to work with ;)

To start it'll gen the PC and export it to Excel, which is what I mainly use, and after that work on txt/rtf files.

Here's a bit of a teaser of what I'm thinking to include, it's my rough draft so don't expect much :)

Character Maintanance System.

    - Name
    - Description
    - Image
    - Physical Attributes         (Table)
    - Method Of Advancement       (Table)
      - Current Level
      - Current Points
    - Class List                  (Table)
    - Race                        (Table)
    - Alignment                   (Table)
    - Stats List                  (Table)
      - Stats Total
      - Available Slots / Points / Dice
    - Skills List                 (Table)
      - Skills Total
      - Available Slots / Points / Dice
    - Powers List                 (Table)
      - Powers Total
      - Available Slots / Points / Dice
    - Weapon/Offensive List       (Table)
    - Armour/Defensive List       (Table)
    - Gear List                   (Table)

— Leva, Älska, Spel! / Live, Love, Game! / Degero, Amor, Venatus!
Long time gamer
2009-01-07 16:53:36

Metacreator is a character generator that tries to do the same thing that your program tries to do. You can buy some templates that support various game systems. The problem with this approach is that you end up spending all of your time writing templates, and I'm not sure if there really is any savings over writing a custom program yourself.

Just look at the core systems you are going to try and support...for D&D 3.5, how will you handle a Cleric, Sword Sage, Incarnum, and Psionic character? How do you keep track of the differences between the Cleric from 3.5 and from Pathfinder? What about D&D 4e? Just dealing with the differences between D&D versions is going to be enough of a challenge, much less adding radically different game systems.

What about the storytelling (Indy) game systems that might use a completely different mechanic, lets say assigning a die type to a PC characteristic? I'm thinking of Dogs in the Vineyards that might assign a 2d6 relationship to your brother, or a 1d8 to a big knife (along with dice for stats). Or something like Burning Wheel where you record the number of dice you roll (called exponent in that system) and what constitutes a success (called shade) - on a d6 whether you need 4 or better, 3 or better, or 2 or better for a success. Some systems also need things besides PC being created, such as star ships in Traveller, a franchise in InSpectre, or a Covenant in Ars Magica.

This is a very challenging undertaking, and I will look forward to seeing how your implementation addresses the differences between the various game systems.

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