Updated: May 30
A complete guide on how to design your own TTRPG System in a few steps.
These 6 steps will help you design your own game. The order of the steps might change according to each game. To provide clarity and the best help I can, for each of these steps, I will share my process of creating my latest RPG "Meteor Tales: Age of Grit".
Step #1 - Theme/Niche
Every game possesses its unique essence. When we recall our favorite games, vivid images and emotions immediately come to mind. While popular games like Dungeons & Dragons are commonly associated with broad genres such as sword and sorcery or general fantasy due to their genre-defining nature, they also evoke specific feelings and a distinct ambiance. Personally, when I reminisce about 2nd Edition Dungeons & Dragons, it conjures up visions of Conan the Barbarian or The Lord of the Rings. This particular association doesn't occur with other editions or even different games altogether. On the other hand, more specific role-playing games often have a defining theme that sets them apart. This theme becomes the driving force behind creating an unforgettable experience filled with the desired emotions and atmosphere.
Coming up with a Theme will help you understand WHY you want to create a game in the first place.
What is the image or feeling that you wish to channel to a player's fantasy?
Take, for instance, Meteor Tales: Age of Grit, which boasts its own unique theme: dynamic and cinematic combat. During the game's design process, the foremost idea that sprang to mind was the inclusion of a Game System that enables immersive cinematic combat. This entailed avoiding intricate calculations, utilizing simple dice mechanics, and incorporating dynamic elements in combat that yield effects such as a wounded fighter losing mobility or diminishing damage output over the course of battle. With these objectives in mind, I dedicated myself to brainstorming ways to integrate the necessary elements, the type of dice required, and visualizing how it would feel in practice. As a result, I discovered a captivating theme to build upon—Cinematic Combat.
This initial step serves as a catalyst for further contemplation. If you possess any ideas regarding themes or niches for your own games, I encourage you to jot them down so that we can explore and expand upon them together.