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Author Topic: Custom Made Post-Apocalypse/Biopunk RPG  (Read 1111 times)

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Offline Veretrix

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Custom Made Post-Apocalypse/Biopunk RPG
« on: August 10, 2015, 10:09:11 PM »
Hey everyone! I have been thinking lately about making my own custom rules for a post-apocalypse and/or Biopunk RPG totally from scratch. I know this is quite an undertaking (maybe some won't think it is), so that is why I have come here. I'm asking for any advice you may have regarding making your own homebrew RPG from scratch. I'm also not sure if I would want it to be d20 (the only type I've played) or d100 (never used but seems interesting).

These are also some brainstorming ideas I have for the game (if I go with post-apocalypse):
1. There will likely be some sort of "radioactive magic" in that some especially gifted individuals can manipulate various types of radioactive wavelengths and warp them into attacks, temporary boosts, etc. Interestingly, it seems only pure, non-augmented humans (see augmentation below) are able to harness this power.
1.5. Alongside, or instead of (not sure yet), the "radiation magic", there will be people who have awakened the deeper parts of the human mind and have thus unlocked psionic powers, such as telekinesis, telepathy, mental attacks, etc.
2. The apocalypse was caused by alien robots with intelligence surpassing that of humans that arrived on the planet around 200 years ago. While many of them have left for their home or other worlds, some have stayed behind. Regardless, the scar of their initial incursion is still evident, and may never heal.
3. While many people were all for the idea of artificial intelligence a few centuries ago, once the robots attacked, many grew resentment towards any technology that bore anything close to intelligence. Some more progressive people, however, still want to advance human technology to equal that of the old invaders, perhaps even surpass it.
4. Some humans, ever since the invasion, have freely given themselves to what they viewed as the "metal gods". Seeing them as the image of what humans could become if only they would allow their minds to be "enlightened", these cultists have been augmented with technology from the invaders, losing much of their sanity and humanity in the process.

These are some ideas if I go with Biopunk:
1. Psionics will be available pretty much along the same lines as the above type.
2. Biotech implants can be purchased to enhance physical/mental capabilities.
3. Easy-to-carry injections can be used to temporarily grant "magical powers" to the recipient, such as minor mutations, resistance to damage, and superhuman charisma.

I'm not sure yet if I want to build this around just one theme or both of them. If I combined them, then the Biopunk stuff would likely be what existed before the apocalypse, and now the stuff from that era is rare and almost exclusively found via black market or salvaging in ruins.
« Last Edit: August 11, 2015, 12:18:24 AM by Veretrix »

Offline fantomx11

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Re: Custom Made Post-Apocalypse/Biopunk RPG
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2015, 08:50:54 AM »
The first piece of advice I'd give is look at many systems that have already come around. If you've only had familiarity with the d20 system, there is a lot out there that is radically different, and you don't want to make the mistake of inventing a really cool new subsystem for your RPG and then declare that it is new and amazing only to find people that are a bit more metropolitan in their gaming experience say "Yeah, but that is exactly like this thing that has been done in 25% of the RPGs written since 2004" or something like that. Often this is what "fantasy heartbreakers" do, if you are unfamiliar with that term look it up because you want to avoid creating one of those.

Second, much of the more recent hits among new systems are more narrative/rules-light with less focus on tables and tons of crunch. If you haven't looked at any of those yet, you should because they are pretty revolutionary compared to more traditional gamist and simulationist systems.

If you still want to do a crunchy system, I'd recommend looking at Savage Worlds. It's much faster than d20 with a similar level of crunch. I believe it's available for non-commercial projects with no strings attached or for commercial projects with permission from the publisher. If you are thinking with a more narrative bent, take a look at the *World engine (I think it's available under some kind of CC license, but I think there might be some additional restrictions) or Fate Core (this one is available under a cc-by license)

Offline valadaar

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Re: Custom Made Post-Apocalypse/Biopunk RPG
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2015, 11:47:57 AM »
I made this a while back. Might be some useful bits there:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/xem29ppf48ya49r/theraftervjan72015.pdf?dl=0
   
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Offline Veretrix

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Re: Custom Made Post-Apocalypse/Biopunk RPG
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2015, 01:52:48 PM »
The first piece of advice I'd give is look at many systems that have already come around. If you've only had familiarity with the d20 system, there is a lot out there that is radically different, and you don't want to make the mistake of inventing a really cool new subsystem for your RPG and then declare that it is new and amazing only to find people that are a bit more metropolitan in their gaming experience say "Yeah, but that is exactly like this thing that has been done in 25% of the RPGs written since 2004" or something like that. Often this is what "fantasy heartbreakers" do, if you are unfamiliar with that term look it up because you want to avoid creating one of those.

Second, much of the more recent hits among new systems are more narrative/rules-light with less focus on tables and tons of crunch. If you haven't looked at any of those yet, you should because they are pretty revolutionary compared to more traditional gamist and simulationist systems.

If you still want to do a crunchy system, I'd recommend looking at Savage Worlds. It's much faster than d20 with a similar level of crunch. I believe it's available for non-commercial projects with no strings attached or for commercial projects with permission from the publisher. If you are thinking with a more narrative bent, take a look at the *World engine (I think it's available under some kind of CC license, but I think there might be some additional restrictions) or Fate Core (this one is available under a cc-by license)
Thanks for the advice. Other than d20 I am also familiar with systems that use d6 like Dungeon/Apocalypse World (never played, but I understand how it works) and I discovered d100 only a few weeks ago, so I'll look into that more. Are there any other dXXX type systems that may not be as popular but still can work consistently, such as d8 or d12 (if those are even real systems)?
I am definitely wanting the game to be more narrative and less crunch, as I feel that that is what the post-apocalypse scenario should really be focused on, not what kind of weird mutant runs at you next while you wander the wastes.

Offline fantomx11

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Re: Custom Made Post-Apocalypse/Biopunk RPG
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2015, 02:22:03 PM »
Well, as far as dX systems to look at, there is the OpenD6 system. It is the system that powered the old WEG Star Wars game, and is released under the OGL which is the same license as d20. There is a popular version of it called Mini-Six that trims the system down to it's bare minimum. If you want to really go narrative though, then I would suggest looking at Fate, Wushu (the previous edition is licensed CC-BY, if you can track it down, and the current version is CC-BY-NC, I think) or even FU (Freeform Universal, CC-BY licensed). If you really want, I have a mish-mash homebrew system (and completely in my head, nothing written down) that I use that takes the elements of those I like the most and turns them into a single system.

Offline EchoMirage

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Re: Custom Made Post-Apocalypse/Biopunk RPG
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2015, 10:09:21 AM »
There's also systems that don't work purely along the "roll well - succeed, roll badly - fail" mechanic.
> For example, one of my favourite systems allows the player to spend hit points (physical, social, mental) or acquire long term / permanent injuries to buy success when the dice are not complying.
> Arena, a board game, uses dice but you don't roll them. You simply set the number you want (for example for damage), and hide it, with the antagonist guessing what you set on the dice - and preventing damage if they guess correctly.
> Prime Time Adventures uses playing cards to resolve conflicts.
> Check out the Card Hunter game on Kongregate, it uses decks to drive combat.
> You could make a combination of card game and dice game, with the cards utilising your dice somehow.

As for flavor, GURPS Biotech (3rd or 4th edition) provides an excellent source book for ways biotechnology can affect characters and society. Perhaps your technology-wary survivors could be more into biotech. The contrast between cold inimical steel and warm, helpful bio-tools makes for good colour.
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