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         This is a collection of essays on role-playing game system design. I have tried to make them fairly general.

RPG Design Glossary
This is a general glossary of RPG design terms, my shot at a common set of terminology even though game companies and games vary in usage.
Dice Mechanics
This is an article which compares and contrasts different ways of rolling dice to obtain a result. It looks strictly at how the dice are read rather than larger issues.
Dice-Rolling Mechanisms in RPGs (Added September 21, 2006)
An essay by Torben Mogensen with more advanced formulas for calculating dice probabilities. He also has a program for dice rolling and calculations, called simply "Roll".
Card Mechanics (Added April 26, 2005)
The following are notes on different types of card mechanics which have been used in RPGs. There is little analysis here yet. Rather, it is documentation of mechanics which have been used before.
Class and Template Mechanics
This is an essay which discusses the purpose and workings of class mechanics (such as used in D&D) along with the relation to template mechanics (such as used in Shadowrun), as well as a host of related mechanics.
Hero Point Mechanics (Added November 18, 2004)
An review of the history of hero points mechanics in RPGs, along with some thoughts on design choices for how they should work in a game.
Nature vs Nurture in RPGs
This is an essay which discusses how RPGs run into the age-old problem of "Nature vs Nurture". It discusses in general the problem of the relation of attributes and skills and options to deal with this.
Wounding Mechanics in RPGs (Added July 16, 2004)
An overview of the different kinds of wounding mechanics used in various RPGs, and some preliminary analysis which compares their features. Also includes a list of links on real-world wounding data and analysis.

RPG Design Links


John H. Kim <jhkim-at-darkshire-dot-net>
Last modified: Sat Aug 20 02:43:01 2011