View Full Version : another ********** huge project- making a new wargame

10-10-2005, 14:55
first off, this is a real, serious project, and id like some help and feedback on it.

i want to create a wargame. generic fantasy setting, with a sort of steampunk twist (ok, not so much steam, but guns, and things) maybe some new bitz, and peices, using a new ruleset. somewhere between D&D, fnatasy, inquisitor, and lotr (purely for the scale of games im after)

i have some basic ideas for this, including some basis for a statline, but its going to work a little mroe realisticly than games like fantasy's hit-wound-save system, a little more avdanced. i cant really rant on about it right now, as i need to think through it some mroe, but some ideas for races and such, and tech level/civilisation level would be definatly appreciated.

i can say, that humans, will be almost your basic medieval style, somewhere between empire and brettonia (for a reference), with various littel add ons.

halflings! halflings are cool. im thinking about 3.5 foot of woodland scout

Orcs! generic bad guys. im thinking thed be similar to the dragonrune orc bodyguard in looks. nasty as hell, and generaly rathe huge.

goblins! this is where part of the sort of steampunk twist comes in. they woudl be the equivilent of warhammers skaven. crazy, but helluva unreliable stuff...

elves- your traditional poncy race of utter ******s. apart from the fact there are very few left (theyre an ACTUAL dying race. not one with a whole island. im talking a forest, and about 100 in this world).

half elves! the engineers of the world. blackpowder stuff, and generaly reckless. a little shunned because of thisthough, but generaly kicked out by elves, and welcomed by the (slightly) primitive humans.

Dwarves! a little more dark and barbaric. think vikings, and times it by 10. were talking nasty uncivilised buggers, that would kill your kids and rape your wife (well, maybe not that far) but theyre bloody irritable!

apart form this, i want another few new races. i need a real evil (what wargames complete withouht evil things?!)

anyway, comment are welcome. call me a loser with no idea what im doing, or say its brilliant and you want to help. its a spur of the moment idea that came to me in a (cheese induced) dream

10-10-2005, 15:12
Think carefully about how it's going to be different from WHFB. The background sounds very similar (generally similar races, with different characters). Of course, it's not as if GW can lay claim to these things as original ideas, but as far as a Fantasy game goes you're going to be reinventing the wheel a bit here. I'd say either base the background on WHFB or make it really different. But then that's just taste I guess.

somewhere between D&D, fnatasy, inquisitor, and lotr (purely for the scale of games im after)

Riiiiiiight. So, somewhere between highly detailed single character roleplaying and large scale battles? Care to narrow that one down a tad ol' chap? ;)

Again, the fantasy battles thing has been done, so maybe if you want to do more detail you could go for smaller skirmish games. I'm not sure how well a Fantasy version of Inquisitor would work, but then we already have WH skirmish and Mordheim.

10-10-2005, 15:32
well, i was thinking of doing small scale, almost fantasy inquisitor, dumbed down a bit, so it can be played with more models. say, instead of 3, maybe 4 to a side, almost 10-20 is possible within a few hours...

10-10-2005, 17:05
OK, so you're saying more like between Inquisitor and Mordheim. That helps...

So what's the background for these small battles going to be? It doesn't really work with the LOTR style heroic warband, because they need lots of enemies. The Mordheim style hunting-for-loot warband might work better, or alternatively there is the Scenario-based WH Skirmish system where the objective is not to kill the opposition, but something more specific - then your warband/army could be a sort of medieval kill-team. I think that would work nicely, as I always thought that the Skirmish scenarios were good, but the game needed filling out. I think that could also so leave you more open for a different setting, as there don't seem to be so many commando types in the WH world.

10-10-2005, 17:36
sounds good mcmullet... im gonna grab some dice and bases later and try some ideas out, and then post if anything works well...

and yeh, i was thinking skirmish style. i spose the treasure hunting/looting may work for a basics.... thaks guysm i can start thinking now!

10-10-2005, 18:19
sounds intresting. For a new race how aboutsome kind of technologicaly advanced humansd for the evil race. They would have all kinds of seige machines, cannons and a large iron city of evil full of tourture machines etc...

11-10-2005, 09:56
That sounds a bit like Chaos Dwarfs to me...

Humanoid... yes
Technology... yes
Torturing... I think so
Iron City... no idea, but stone cities are pretty close
Evil... ish

Much as I like the classic fantasy setting, I really think it's worth coming up with something completely different if you're going to the trouble of making your own game. Of course that leaves the problem of where to get minis from, but then Mr. nurgle_boy seems to like sculpting.

11-10-2005, 15:01
What about a race of snake people? I mean, you could have the cold, calculating logic of the snake, give them some kick ass magic and away you go.

11-10-2005, 15:29
That's interesting. Maybe a general sentient animals theme could work?

12-10-2005, 16:00
haha... Kiss my duck-billed-platypus ****! hehe...

Seriously now.

Kind of smurf like evil things - like evil ants. They are about eighteen inches tall, and work together, to further their world domination. They have (relatively) high tech levels and stuff.


12-10-2005, 16:13
That's interesting. Maybe a general sentient animals theme could work?

I was thinking more along the lines of the snakemen from the Alansia/Khul Fighting Fantasy games created by steve jackson (Is there a game he isnt responsible for?)

Imagine it: You could have this ancient culture of powerful wizards,who have enslaved the rest of the snake race into seperate castes, like a warrior caste, a breeding caste etc... They would live in the desert and only an exceptional few would be found in the outside world. They are obcessed with astronomy and alchemy and have an unerring ability to predict the future.

The empire waxes and wanes with the coming year. As the planet moves closer to the sun, they expand their territories from the equatorial belt, taking prisoners, slaughtering etc, as the year ends, their empire contracts and they take the spoils of war back to their homes.

Just an idea

Commissar von Toussaint
13-10-2005, 23:35
Not to throw a big ol' bucket of ice water on this, but what system are you going to use?

I don't mean d20 vs WHFB, but how do you want the guys to fight?

Once you figure that out, then you can start getting into the details.

I'm not saying put rules before the fluff, far from it. Ideally, they go hand in hand. As you decide how the world works, you design a game to reflect that.

If the rules contradict the fluff, go back to the drawing board (unless you're GW :p ).

Will it use dice? What kind? How should battles flow? Who should win?

Okay, enough questions, here's some advice.

Pick a rules set that you really like. I don't mean fluff-wise or anything, I mean you like the way they are laid out and think they are very clear.

Now copy them. Use the same format for yours and start writing.

You can change some of the terms, make improvements where you feel they are needed, but don't try to reinvent the wheel.

Go with what you already know works.

14-10-2005, 03:30
I have my own game system, although it is skirmish based and is equally viable as a heroquest/warhammer quest/diablo style game (which is the only way it has been run for the past two years).

The first things I thought of were the rather abstract things that had nothing to do with the races/classes of troops or whatever.

How is combat going to occur? How much will a difference in someone's skill in melee matter? In Fantasy there isn't a huge difference between a 1 and a 10 in WS when it comes down to it. This is also going to depend on if you use D10s, D6s, or whatever range your dice allow.

Once a hit is scored, is there going to be a roll for an armor save? Are armor and "toughness" combined into one stat? Are they seperate? Does "toughness" just plain not exist? HeroClix has you roll to hit versus your opponent's defensive value and if you hit then you go immediately to damage, will you do this?

For ranged combat, will there be range increments (short, medium, long, far, etc.,)? What makes it harder to hit someone? Easier? How much protection will cover give? How many types of cover will there be? Is cover going to make you harder to it like in fantasy, or provide some sort of save like in 40k?

Will you be having regiments of models, or just "regiments"? What I mean is, am I going to have a regiment of 12 spearmen, or "just" a regiment of spearmen with no real number attached to them for starting strength (all regiments are assumed to be of equal size when starting)? Are regiments/units going to be ranked up or will they all be skirmished?

Is it going to use an "I go, You go" system like Fantasy where one player gets to do everything with all of his troops and then the other does the same? Are players going to use one regiment then have their opponent use another regiment? Is there going to be a pool of "points" that you spend that let you do various things per turn, like "spend X points move a regiment", "spend Y points shoot with a regiment", etc.,?

Once you have all of this down, then you can start thinking about various races and specific troops. You can then decide what makes each troop/race truely unique on the battlefield.

Furthermore, concentrate on one or two forces/armies at most and have only basic things in the armies (nothing fancy). Play some tests with those in small games to make sure your system actually works. There is no point in coming up with lots of rules for specific forces if no one actually thinks the system works. I invented a Mordheim like game for 40k years ago (http://40kskirmishproject.150m.com, haven't updated in ages, don't know if it is still there, the game has been abandoned for a long time, has absolutely nothing in common with my current game at all). I started with three small warbands based on what I had and what the person who I knew would be testing first would have (this ended up being Harlequins, Dark Eldar, and Chaos Marines). Ask whoever you think will help you test what they want to play in general (something fast and sneaky, something brutish and smashy, etc.). Develop the style of force they want and develop the style of force you want, then test (and switch sides as well).

There are alot of questions you need to ask yourself :)

Good luck.

Easy E
14-10-2005, 04:58
Mechanics first and background later. Once the mechanics are smooth you can add just about anything into it. Check out other free rulesets online for some ideas.

Just something I would like to see, let's make elves the heavies. Youknow the all powerful, evil conquering race that everyone else must unite to defeat or is a diabolical minion of. Turn the elf stereotypes on their heads. In fact, turn all the traditional fantasy stereotypes on their heads.

Bubble Ghost
14-10-2005, 13:50
Mechanics first and background later. Once the mechanics are smooth you can add just about anything into it.

Not necessarily; the background can influence the mechanics. A good example is Warhammer's current magic system, which reflects the nature of the setting's background on magic. Even things as subtle as whether high rolls are good or bad can be influenced by setting. Systems with multiple dice thrown at once have more bluster that single die systems. D10s are more metric and modern while D6s feel more rustic. All depends what tone you want for the thing.

Just to complicate things still further.:D

de Selby
14-10-2005, 22:04
Unless your head is already buzzing with ideas for rules AND background, it's probably not worth pursuing the project.

Confrontation now has snake-people I think. Check out that rules system, I don't like it much but it is about the scale (number of figs) you're talking about.

Bubble Ghost
15-10-2005, 07:21
That's me told then.

Bubble Ghost
15-10-2005, 15:54
I'm not sure why you thought what I said there deserved dismissal like this as opposed to proper post, but anyway: my opinion is that mechanics can contribute to a setting. That's what you were saying was ********, unless I've misunderstood. So why? Let me know what I should be thinking instead.

This isn't a stroppy challenge of some sort. I genuinely want to know, for reasons of personal development and all that jazz, what else I should be considering here. Feed my brain.

Bubble Ghost
15-10-2005, 22:46
Angry drunkage actually. I apologize.

No problem, been there. It's why I don't post on forums without delete functions.:D

Perhaps my emphasis was a little off. What I meant was that a game can be stronger overall if the mechanics support the background and feel of a game when the opportunity comes up. If you get your background first, you can create a more coherent product. There are some games, such as In Nomine with its D666 rolls, whose mechanics are heavily based on the setting or tone of the game they drive, and while I'm hardly saying that it's necessary to such a great extent, you should make sure the rules don't get in the way (unless the entire point of the endeavour is as an exercise in rule creation, in which case hey, go crazy). I also think that it's a little simplistic to imply that the way the semiotics of rules are interpreted is so subjective, and varies so wildly from person to person, that the style or features of the rules can't or shouldn't be used as another medium for imparting the feel of a game world.

Anyway, the point of my initial post was that it almost always pays to have a direction for your setting before you get the calculator out.

Commissar von Toussaint
18-10-2005, 02:07
My first reaction was similar to that of Nurglitch: mechanics first, fluff later.

However, I've come to realize that Nurglitch has it completely backwards: without fluff, there can be no mechanics.

Take any sci-fi/heroic game. Without the fluff, there's no point in even making rules.

Battletech is a case in point. The mechanics were built around the idea of massive robots slugging it out.

On the face of it, they're pretty stupid. Why make a target that big? How does the thing even stand up? A 100 ton footprint like that would sink ankle-deep into even concret, much less anything else.

But people have been playing it for decades because they love the end result: Big robots shooting at each other.

RPGs are very simliar. Dungeons and Dragons is still an industry leader - indeed it basically made the industry. Yet at its core is the notion that you can design a human warrior who can take more quantifiable damage than an elephant.

It's ludicrous, but it sells.

Historical gamers go through a similar process. They decide what really matters; how best to reflect the reality that they percieve. Do you emphasize combined arms? Training? Armor or artillery?

If you look at a lot of battles, you can see whose theories were wrong and whose were right. To put it another way, if you change the rules for tanks and make them move slowly and not hit so hard, the French and Poles actually do pretty well in World War II.

The problem there was that the "fluff" wasn't reflected in the mechanics.

As a fantasy/sci-fi designer, you don't have to worry about that kind of sitution. People can rip on you for using swords and axes in a high-tech universe, but so long as it seems consistent, they'll pony up the cash and enjoy the experience.

Thus my advice is to ignore utterly what Nurglitch has posted and instead do this:

1. Decide on how you think the battles should go.
2. Design a system that makes them go that way.

The single biggest problem 40k faces is that this coupling was broken in 3rd edition. Since 1998, the gap between the fluff and the rules has only widened, and people don't like it.

That's the big thing you have to look out for. Once you have a basic design, hand it to some of your cheatier friends and ask them to take a spin with it.

If the end result is something that you don't even recognize, give the rules another look.

But if their high-end, min-maxed armies look the way you think they should, you are on the right track.

18-10-2005, 03:54
Also, before you start to decide on exact mechanics, as a game designer what you need to do is sit down with a pencil and paper (or MS-Word) and make a list of the sorts of things that you want people to be able to do in your game.

For example: Should models be penalized for trying to move away from enemies that are engaged?

Can you move, shoot, move in one turn?

Abstract concepts that don't rely on the specifics of your mechanics, but don't rely on specifics of your background material completely either. Race X is known for pulling maneuvers such as A, B, and C, is about how specific you need to get for your background while in the "Abstraction Phase".

With abstract concepts in hand, it becomes alot easier to make your mechanics and your background material.

I forgot one small abstract concept in my skirmish game and have just recently put it in (yet to be tested) but it required alot of re-writing of the game documents to implement it. You don't want this to happen.

Commissar von Toussaint
19-10-2005, 01:38
In many ways, this resembles the old "realism" vs "playablity" debates that used to bedevil the wargaming community.

Yes, the system should be playable, no question there. But conceptually, you need to know what you're doing before you streamline it.

It's possible to graft a new concept onto a proven design. I took the basic engine for Shogun (I think they call it "Samurai Swords" now) and adapted it to a couple of different environments. It worked great and my friends had a lot of fun playing various designs (which may yet see the light of day, who knows?).

But the big thing was that I knew what I wanted to do (march armies around a map) and then I devised rules to allow that to happen.

Now it's true that not all designs work, or that they suit everyone equally.

I found Heavy Gear kind of boring and preferred classic Battletech to it.

Part of that is that the fluff for Battletech was more interesting, which in turn made me more interested in playing. (It didn't help that DP9 changed the scale, either).

Anyhow, keep in mind that one man's treasure is another man's trash.

People still like 40k and play it, even though the fluff and rules don't work together.

For me, it's a train wreck, which is why I still play 2nd edition. But to each his own.

As long as the game does what you want, who can complain?

21-10-2005, 18:11
ok, ive been thinking about it, but mainly its all a bit of a blur of what i want... mi thinking of background, and will probebly make a new thread for that, but as for mechanics, i have a few rough ideas.

basically turn based, 40k/fantasy style, not lotr, so-
P1 assault (P2 counter charges, though still not sure of this idea)
End phase(explained in a minute)
P2assault (P1 counter charges, as above, still not sure)
End phase.

basically, different races have different movement, and im not sure if i should work in CM (gives a wider variety of movement possibilities, slower to work out on tape measures i find) or inches (old school, and esier on a tape measure. not much variety though unless you go into half inches). im thinking Cm though.

as for dice, im thinking maybe a D10 D6 hybrid (mostly D10 though).
makes the game a little slower, but for a general skirmish-y game, with 15+ models, it shouldnt slow it up too much. maybe stats on a 1-20. more variety.
as for statlines, im thinking the following.

MV- how fast you move!
FS- fighting skill. sort of a hybrid of WS and I stat from warhammer. I doent play a big enough role in warhammer games. if you can fight well, but are too slow, someone faster could easily take you out!
SS- shooting skill. weapons giving modifiers, as well as range, cover, whatever.
STR- strength. simple!
T- toughness. again, simple. used for wounding.
HN- hardiness. a seperate stat for poisons, or damage. used mainly for characters, or multi wound things.
WND- wounds. more wounds, but things cause more damage. weapons become more sophistcated.
LD- leadership. mainly characters again. characters and champions, as well as inspiring things. boosts stats of those nearby maybe? if a little useless, i can always work it into...
CL- cool value. do you run, or do you stay and fight? characters will have around 14 at the worst, going up to 18. very powerull characters having 20.
AV- your armour value. gives you a save, and can deflect missles likecover, so heavyer armour can reduce SS. also may affect movement, or other stats. itll probebly be a throw off between lighter armour, that doesnt afect anything, or heavyer armour,that protects, but slows down.

as for sample statlines, here goes!
Name- human peasant.
MV- 12cm (our jimmy the peasant here isnt too fast. a little slowr than a space marine... an elf would be about 15-16, maybe more, and cavalry being able too zoom off at up to 30cm! maybe mroe!
FS-6 (capable to defend, but not too offensive)
SS-6(the innate ability to fire a bow. hardly effective, but in numbers...)
STR- 6-8 (the average human strength. the equiv of S3 in WH, 10 being S4.ot sure which though...)
T- 6-8 (same as str really.. not perfectly sure yet...)
HN- 4 (generally woundlt be used much... cant take the pain much. not a gritty dude is a peasant)
WND- 2(a human has 2-4. theyre still pink and fleshy, just some less puny than normal! a champion would have 5-6, a character having anything from 7-20, depending on who, or what they are!)
LD- 0 (maybe a bit more if hes well known around the bars. not particularly inspiring, and the stat would most likely not be used, exept on characters, or especially nasty things)
CL-2-4 (if he gets freaked, he'd leg it! not used to nasty things y'see. a fighter would have around 4-6, and brave things going over 10, and up to 20)
AV- 2 (maybe 3, if he's wearing some tough clothes. after all, human skin is armour in it own right! (even if it bleeds a bit). a breastplate would give a +4 if its metal, mail giving a good +6, half plates giving about a +8-10, and full plate puching up waaaay over 10, and up to +12. magic could give anything up to +16!)

as for weapons, well, i'll thing about it... a finely balenced weapon may give STR, and FS bonus. as well as possible AV mods for parrying.

a two handed weapon may give horrible bonus to STR, but it is clumsy, and reduces FS, and AV.

something like a sword. medium length, would give maybe a parry +1 AV, but nought else. nothing to special. a knife giving maybe no bonus, or maybe a single stab attack per combat round, giving -1 AV.

well, more positng in a bit, but for now, my fingers nedd to relax, and i need to think some rmoe...

EDIT- forgot movement. adding now.

21-10-2005, 21:29
well, im gonna start some playtesting now to see if any of this works out.
i have a handfull of D10's, and am jst whipping up some basic statlines.

Name-human swordsman.
M-12 cm (standard human)
FS-12 (over average due to extensive training)
SS- 8 (trained, nothing special though)
STR-6 (trained, so muscular and strong)
T-6 (tough and trained)
HN- 5 (tought how to take damage. training really)
ATT- 2 (forgot to include attacks. one for our peasant, 2 for this guy, as hes trained to fight!)
WND- 3 (nothing special)
CL- 6 (trained, but not too brave. something vould freak him)
AV- 2+4+2 (skin and leather clothes, with a metal breastplate, and wooden sheild)

gear- light armour (breastplate, +4 AV) sword (short. +1 parry av in combat), wooden shield (+1AV).

Orc barbaric fighter (a standard orc warrior. big and nasty. background written, but think WH black orc. huouge greenie, who is mean. now a black orc in this would be like an ogre!)
M-10 cm (slower, due to greater mass)
FS- 8-2 (clumsy and slow, but makes up qwith feral cunning)
SS- 4 (not dextrous at all. cant shoot for much!)
STR- 10 +1 (strong!)
T- 10 (tough as leather!)
HN- 10 (damage rolls off like water on a greasy tramp being hosed down!)
ATT- 4+1 (brutal!)
WND- 5 (as a said, tough!)
CL- 7 (doesnt get scared, but has the sense to flee)
AV- 3+1 (leathery skin, and hardened leather plates)

2 axes (+1 str, +1 ATT, -2FS), scraps of hardened leather (+1 AV)

the orc is a lot tougher, so i will have 2 human swordsmen. maybe increase to 3. if the system works, i can work out points!

to testing!

err... wait.. i need some tables and that, how to hit, wound, and the like...

right, to hit, im thinking humand hit on the equivilent of3s, and the orc, on 4-5's in this situation.
same for wounding (but reversed)

for saving yourself, im thniking AV+HN, -str of attack, so the orc would get 4+10 14, -6=8 and have to roll under that on 2D10. the equivilent of a 4.5-5+ save. an under average chance. hard to save, but the orcs high wounds (for a basic fighter) make up for lack of armour. as for the human, they would get-
8+6=14 -10= under 4. this represents the orcs sheer strength. actually, on reflection, i may reduce the orcs strength, up the points, or take more 'oomies...

im not sure, but i think this may make for a more realistic system. also, a tough, heavily armoured orc boss, would be hardly effected (save some very lucky rolling) by something like a puny human fighter. you need to gang up, or get something in thats a bit harder. an orc boss, say, in mail armour, would get-

HN-15 ... AV5+6

so against a human he would get- 26-6. only a natural double 0 (0 being 10 on a D10) would take him down a wound. against a human with a greatsword, or other double handed weapon (+2str) he would get under 18. a chanc to fail, but hes stall ard!
a human elite unit, with higher STR (8) and magical greatswords (+3str) it would be 15. with a few of 'em, hes got a good chance of taking damage. a human character, with a fire enchanted greatsword or killy doon (+5STR) and an str of 10, hes down to 11! maybe rules for burning attacks against the orcs leathery skin. maybe knock that off, leaving him with only an under 4! he can be beaten, its just hard to do so...

man, im getting quite down into this.. im thinking that if you get the charge, maybe a double of FSTo see who goes first (highest FS). if the human were to charge, his FS would go to 24, so no doubt striking first against all but the elite orcs, due to their slow and clumsy nature. and even if the orc were to charge, the human is still quick enough so as not to be hit before he can strike. the fight is resolved simultainiously!

i think this may work...

22-10-2005, 09:53
ok, thinking about it, hardiness isnt going to work... it means saves would have to be done on 2D10, slowing the game down a lot.

if i were to drop it, and introduce hardiness as natural armour maybe, but then theres save modifiers.

maybe for saves, the AV- attackers STR/2
so the human would have to roll a 1 to save himself, wheras the orc would have to roll a.. wait, he wouldnt get a save... well, thats what comes from wearing no armour but your skin, although the orc has more wounds, so can take more hits.

a natural 10 would always be a fail,so a character with an AV of 18, would need something very strong to take him down... i may reduce the armour that things give. leather gives +1, hardened leather +2, studded +3 breastplate gives+4, mail gives+5, halfplate+6, and full plate+7. a dwarven forged full plate would give +8. orc mainly use sraps of armour, mail at the most. but rely on their leathery skin, which a basic orc gets 3 for. a larger, brownskinned orc (see fluff) would have 5, and a boss would have 8 or so. and with mail armour, he would have an AV of 13. a human with a greatsword could knowck him down to AV9, and with a dwarven forged greatsword, down to 8.

maybe hardiness counts towards wounds... i dont knowyet... more playtesting..