I'm making a tabletop role-playing game, looking for feedback and suggestions.

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spilledmilkfactory

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Hey duders,

So as the title says, I've recently announced that I'm making a tabletop role-playing game. This game is different from a lot of other RPGs because of the way it's structured - "Quest" cards give your party their objectives, and it's up to you to improvise your way through them. Think of each Quest card sort of like a quest line in The Witcher or Skyrim: You have a base story with objectives associated with it, but the way you make your way through those objectives is completely up to you and your party. In this case, there's even more variance than in a video game because you can literally try any solution you can dream up.

The game is targeted towards people who like the storytelling aspect of RPGs more than the dice-rolling aspect, as well as people who are intimidated by the long rulebooks and lengthy character/quest creation processes that tend to be associated with these games.

So, my point in all this is... I was wondering how many of you out there have tried getting into role-playing games before. What was that experience like? Successful/unsuccessful? Were there any areas that posed stumbling blocks when you were learning the rules or making your character? Any feedback you have would be great as we are currently in the process of playtesting and finalizing our rules.

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For anyone interested, the game is called Firelight and features some really great artwork from folks like Michelle Czajkowski (Ava's Demonwebcomic), Loika (The Weight After Water book), Caitlin Scannell (The Adventure Zine, a spinoff from the McElroy-filled The Adventure Zone podcast) and more. Our website (totally Squarespace'd, thanks Beastcast) has more info.

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Dr_Unorthadox

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Hey, i dont play roleplaying games but i do play tabletop board games and often have to learn/teach rules to new players. If there is a video tutorial on you tube tube i will always watch this over reading the rules. These are normally provided by other board game players rather than the publisher themselves. I would suggest making one with perhaps a qr code on the rules book people can link to. Also quick cheat sheet with the flow of a turn or actions that can be taken are always useful to have on hand for the players and stops reference to the rule book. If i think of anything else will let you know...

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spilledmilkfactory

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@dr_unorthadox: Thanks duder, the QR code thing is great advice! Especially since we're looking at trying to have as short of a rulebook as possible. Would be a great way to link to sample games, etc. as well.

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Brackstone

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I've never tried a pnp rpg, but Adventure Zone has been making me want to maybe try one, so you namedropping that is certainly getting my attention.

Anyway, since I'm not into those games much, the best advice I can give is for your kickstarter is to get a full gameplay video and a rulebook up day one. It's the #1 thing I see board game kickstarters do wrong.

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spilledmilkfactory

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@brackstone: Thanks! The whole concept was actually inspired by The Adventure Zone. I first came up with it on the episode of Crystal Kingdom where Merle loses his arm. I just like the way they make empathetic and inclusive stories in general, but don't lose the humor of it. That's something I'm hoping to get in Firelight, as well.

We're working on having some podcasts play the game before the Kickstarter, but yes you're right, video stuff seems like it tends to be very important. Cue rush to make sure the art is mostly in place by then

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Zelyre

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@spilledmilkfactory: Have you ever played Gloom? It's a card based, story telling game. Depending on the group, it's either the dullest of games, or the greatest of games as much of the fun comes from how creative and expressive the players are.

I've played D&D maybe twice in my life, and played a few games of Rifts in high school. Both D&D games I was like 10. Campaign? Story? Nope. I rolled a mage and I somehow managed to get my hands on a floating castle. I simply stood at the edge and threw fireballs on every town we flew over.

There wasn't a lot of dice rolling in the games of Rift we played. Mostly for skill checks, but that's it. We probably spent more time making characters than actually playing. My Glitter Boy Armor survived being dropped out of the Death's Head Transport we stole. My pilot inside? Not so much...

If you're going to do a kickstarter video about your game, I'd perhaps take a look at Will Wheaton's tabletop series to see how they present the games they play. I always feel like, after watching an episode, I could comfortably pick up that game and start playing it then and there.

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spilledmilkfactory

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@zelyre: Never played Gloom before, though I've had it pitched in a very similar way. I think I never pulled the trigger on buying it because it sounds like it's very reliant on having a group that's willing to dive into the more optional storytelling elements, and I wasn't sure if enough people in my group at the time would do that. Still think it sounds neat, though. One friend and I in particular love screwing each other over in tabletop games so casting misfortunes on each other sounds right up our alley.

Your Rift experience is a little more in line with where we're headed right now - in the basic prototype you roll dice both for skill checks and to determine combat damage, but the battles tend to go by pretty quickly and there's a focus more on finding creative ways around conflict, if that's your thing, anyway. There are also options for beating on enemies outside of combat for some Adventurer classes, to spare dice rolls.

Your video advice is great, thanks! We will definitely be doing a video of some sort or another, and I used to love watching Will do his thing back in the day. Never made the connection though, thanks.

PS, your 10-year-old self sounds like someone I'd roll with in D&D. Similarly, one of our earliest test sessions for Firelight got derailed when a player decided they no longer wanted to participate in the story, and went off to build a log cabin in the woods while everyone else continued the adventure. He essentially "failed" the Quest by refusing to participate in it, but later due to another player's actions the forest caught fire and he ended up burning up.

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As a guy who primarily played DnD and then got introduced to Shadowrun I thoroughly enjoyed rolling a whole bunch of D6's instead of just 1D20 all the time. Rolling a bunch of dice is super fun.