Delver’s Legacy Goals

In my recent lurkings around the rpg.net boards I’ve seen interesting postings for a couple 4e retro-clone projects. Right now the top two are Magic Sword and D&D4.5. This has gotten my own creative juices flowing, so I’ve been taking a closer look at my own Delver’s Legacy posts. If I do go ahead and follow suit, I’d have the following goals for the system.

  • Gameplay: Inspired by D&D, especially 4E.
    • Automated Balance: The system should take care of as much character balancing behind the scenes as it can.  Players should be able to pick options without worrying about being underpowered.  Any “taxes” to be on par with expected values should be folded into existing features instead of being presented as choices.
    • Tactical Focus: The core rules should focus primarily on overcoming immediate challenges with the tools at hand.  Strategic concerns such as supplies and long term resource management should largely be treated more as add-ons that can be used as needed.
    • Versatile Heroes: Each PC should be able to participate in a variety of challenges.  While being specialized in a certain field should be supported, PCs should still be able to do interesting things outside of a single speciality. This likely means putting options in bins.
    • Party Oriented: Each PC should be more effective as part of team than they are individually.  I’m planning on intentionally leaving a certain amount of design space for supporting party member synergy, such as improved effects for following up on an ally’s actions.  When combined with the automated balance and versatile heroes, this should lead to an emphasis on optimizing the party over optimizing the character.
    • DM Friendly: The system should have tools for making it easy to run the game and come up with new material on the fly.
    • Few Restrictions: Characters should not need to jump through a lot of hoops to get access to new options.  The amount of preplanning a character needs to expand in a new direction should be kept to a minimum.
    • Stunt Friendly: Improvised actions should be well supported and kept fairly on par with normal actions.
  • Mechanics: Rebuilt from the ground up.
    • Trimmed Down: The amount of core content should be kept low, both to make it easier for new players to pick up and to reduce my own workload.  This will most likely mean toolkit systems in the core book with flesh out examples provided in supplements.
    • Diverse Origins: Rule sources will not be limited to D&D.  I will pick freely from mechanics in other sources, including a few original ideas.  The focus will be on replicating the experience over copying the rules.  Likely alternate sources include Fantasy Craft, True20, Old School Hack, and possibly FATE.  Other suggestions are welcome.
    • Transparency: I will likely “show my work” for the game’s math and mechanics, either in posts or in a supplement.
  • Legal:
    • Open Source: I’m not interested in keeping a tight legal reign on the system.  The core system will likely use OGL or a similarly flexible license.

I’m planning on fleshing out some of these ideas over the next couple weeks. At worst, it will clear my head and get me back into practice with my games designs. Who knows, I might even get a full game out of it. I’m not particularly attached with tying this to the identity of 4E, so it’s likely this will end up having a similar relation to the above retro clones as Gamma World does to 4th edition D&D.

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Published in: on July 9, 2012 at 9:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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