September 23, 2008

All We Ever Need Is A Homebrewing System

This is my first time participating in a blog carnival and I have decided to unleash my thoughts on this. So this is (hopefully) one of my many entries to the 2nd RPG Blog Carnival; Hombrew.

So I managed to flip through the Adventurer's Vault and the Forgotten Realms Player's Guide and I came to a realization. WoTC has been printing and publishing book after book over the years that is just filled with more feats, equipments, magic items, powers (spells), classes and races. I mean that's what the Adventurer's Vault essentially is; a book just filled with equipment and magic items stats.

This is something they've been doing since 3.x and it is just a good way for publishers to make money as players want to get the coolest and latest rules and gadgets for their characters. They can only play with what they have until the latest expansion comes out.

By the way, how many of us can actually find the time and campaign to use every single item or class option that is listed in every book?

DMs and players are going to have to wait until the next book comes out that is just filled with stats and more stats of things that can played in their campaigns.

Then I had an idea. It's not a profitable business plan but something that makes some sense.

Imagine a game system with a rulebook which only tells you how the core mechanic of resolution works. It only tells the players the combat rules, how spells work, how skills are checked and other basics. There are no classes, races, feats, skills or spells to choose from.

Then for the DM's book, it has all the secrets of how spells, feats, classes, races should work within those rules. There are no pre-made races, classes, spells, monsters, equipment, magic items etc. Instead, the book just tells you how to design everything and anything that you need with just some heavy design notes. They just give a you guideline on how to make a balanced feat or race etc. As long as you follow along these design criterias, your homebrew should work well with the game system.

Can you imagine the freedom that it gives to players and DM to play whatever they want and they get to design them based on those rules without having to rely on the latest expansion with the latest stats for X?

Get the idea?

It's sorta works like how Savage Species and some of the Monster Manuals with creation rules in them. Maybe a few examples will be needed just to show DMs how to design them and balancing them against the rules but leave the rest up to the DM.

All we ever need is a homebrewing system, not having everything homebrewed for us.

What do you think?


Jonathan Jacobs said...

I like it, but isn't that what GURPS was sort of for?

And yeah.. not profitable. people often forget the fact that WotC has a #1 priority to sell the things that make them money - whether its a good or bad product.

As far as 4E is concerned, as long as you are willing to recast whatever you want - you would never need to buy another book ever. But, who has the time to make up every monster, item, feat or class imaginable? not me. I'll shemp/recast a few of them - to suit my needs - but the mainstay will be the core books and the other expansions.

As far as the expansion books, take adventurers vault for example. It a huge $30 catalog. Save the cash and download it from RPGNow and get the searchable PDF (or use BitTorrent and get it for free). While I have no doubt the book was hard to put together - I would wonder how much of it is truly new and how much of it is simply rehashed from previous editions. Anyone know?

Unknown said...

Basically, a rules system. Add whatever parts you want/need/decree/imagine and then see what happens.

Brent said...

No offense, but I don't really have *time* to homebrew every weapon, piece of armor, and magical item in my game. I'd much rather use a source book, at least as inspiration.

Scott said...

Sounds like HERO, except for the separate books part.

Actually, any "generic" system works on something similar to this concept. GURPS, Fudge, Tri-Stat.

It could be done in d20, too, I'm sure. I'm fairly certain one of the d20 publishers put out a "how to design a balanced class" booklet for 3.5...

Anonymous said...

*cough* Microlite20 *cough*

But then, I am biased :D

Questing GM said...

Hey, Jonathan!

Oddly enough, I consider recasting as one way of homebrewing but maybe our definitions differ.

That's what I was getting at about the Adventurer's Vault. It's so filled with stuff that anyone can homebrew if they just told us the rules of alchemcy or vehicles instead of giving us a chokefull of them in boxes and numbers.

So if I'm ever getting the book, I think I will only be perusing the rules section.

Greetings elmer! Welcome to the blog!

I'll admit that I have no pre-knowledge of any system that works something similar to this when I was writing the post. It just came so sudden that I had to write about it.

I'll definately look into the system you mentioned so thanks for the point in the right direction!

None taken, brent! And thanks for chiming in for the first time!

It's true that it's definately not a good idea for people (like myself) who are having less time to homebrew everything which I think deters people from homebrewing in the first place.

However, I still belive that homebrewing is another, just as important, aspect of fun to be had while playing RPGs and it is the spirit which keeps the hobby alive.

Of course the sourcebooks are handy to have as a comprehensive list but with this idea, it allows DMs to just create whatever they need when they need them.

That would be nice, scott!

After posting up this entry, I did smack myself at the head and telling myself that's what the SRD was for. But it would still be cool if some 3pp designers actually came forward and revealed how they approached in using the d20 system to design their own games.

Thanks too for the pointing out other systems. I'm starting to notice that they like to be in caps.

Yes, you are, greywulf.

I never knew that microlite20 distilled the game design rules as well.

Unknown said...

This is something I'm working on at 6d6 Fireball.

Rather than requiring everyone to homebrew their own stuff, we are building a system that allows you to use other peoples homebrew.

Writing an adventure that needs a 5th level Orc warrior? Look through what is already in the system and grab what you need. The original author will get kudos / credit / karma for creating the orc, you get the NPC you want with no effort.

It is early day for this project but I hope to have something working, a least for testing, in a months time. I've written a bit more on my idea here: Free D&D Tavern Settings