Complete tool for game masters

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markwittens
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Complete tool for game masters

Post Sun Sep 17, 2017 2:46 pm

I've played a few RPG's in the past years (D&D, Middle Earth Role Playing and Shadowrun) and I always thought it might be fun to host a game some time. The problem is, there's just so to many rules and there is too much stuff to look up during the game to run the game smoothly.

A few days ago I came across Basic Fantasy RPG and I read the book, I find it quite interesting and easy to understand but for a GM there is still much to keep track of and/or look up during the game (like everyones abilities, hit tables, what reach has a spell X, how many items does player Y carry and how much do they weight, does everyone still have enough food and water, money, etc. etc.).

I can't help thinking more people must feel this way and I've been wondering if nobody ever created an app or website or something that helps keep track of everything (semi-automatically) and make it easy to (for example) see what dice should be rolled at what time for every possible action and stuff like that. I found some character sheet generators, monster generators and map creators but nothing complete.

Do you know if something like this already exists for Basic Fantasy or possibly another game system?

If nothing (good) like this exists I'm possibly interested in building something that makes it so easy to play this game so you don't even have to read the book to play or even host a game. Also, it would be easy to extend the game with adventures, equipment and spells and stuff like that.

I'm very curious about your thoughts on this!
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Solomoriah
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Re: Complete tool for game masters

Post Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:00 pm

I'm not sure I'd ever use something like that, but I'd be curious to see it. I don't think anyone has ever done such a program.
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Metroknight
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Re: Complete tool for game masters

Post Sun Sep 17, 2017 5:53 pm

It all depends on where you play BFRPG at. The character sheet on roll20 is semi-automated for somethings and I'm mulling over what direction I should take it for the next version or even if I should. Elsewhere not sure if I would use it since I tend to run my games with houserules that are specific to my games.
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chiisu81
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Re: Complete tool for game masters

Post Mon Sep 18, 2017 11:01 am

markwittens wrote:The problem is, there's just so to many rules and there is too much stuff to look up during the game to run the game smoothly.
The complexity of the rules, whether on their own or compared to other RPGs, will elicit a very wide range of opinions. For me, BFRPG is far simpler than any other RPG, and I don't have to reference that much during play.
markwittens wrote:A few days ago I came across Basic Fantasy RPG and I read the book, I find it quite interesting and easy to understand but for a GM there is still much to keep track of and/or look up during the game (like everyones abilities, hit tables, what reach has a spell X, how many items does player Y carry and how much do they weight, does everyone still have enough food and water, money, etc. etc.).
This will also net a wide range of opinions. A lot of these things are hand-waved by GMs, or only checked once in a long while. Alot of these things can also be checked using a good GM screen along with copies of the player's character sheets.
markwittens wrote:I can't help thinking more people must feel this way and I've been wondering if nobody ever created an app or website or something that helps keep track of everything (semi-automatically) and make it easy to (for example) see what dice should be rolled at what time for every possible action and stuff like that. I found some character sheet generators, monster generators and map creators but nothing complete.

I don't know if there's THAT many people that feel the same, but I'm sure there's at least a few. I don't use any online or even electronic items during my games (for a true old-school experience!), but I'm sure many others do and would welcome any additional resource/tool.
markwittens wrote:If nothing (good) like this exists I'm possibly interested in building something that makes it so easy to play this game so you don't even have to read the book to play or even host a game. Also, it would be easy to extend the game with adventures, equipment and spells and stuff like that.
For me nothing will replace the Core Rules document/book. I've personally memorized quite a few of the rules, but I've never had difficulty looking something up if and when needed. If it's something truly complex or taking up too much time at the table, then I'll make a ruling and either keep doing it that way or look it up afterwards. As far as extending this tool/resource, there's a LOT of supplemental material; not just on this site, but on Dragonsfoot, RPGnet, and countless blogs. There's no way you could cover it all, and there would always be something missing for someone who doesn't play strictly by the Core Rules alone as I do.

I hope none of that comes off at pessimism, but just being realistic. I do encourage you to build something and share it here, and hopefully it will become a popular and well-like resource.
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kerc
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Re: Complete tool for game masters

Post Mon Sep 18, 2017 9:42 pm

I've thought about developing a free Basic Rulebook app for Android. I haven't developed for Android before, but with Xamarin it opens it up for me, since I can use Microsoft.NET.
BusterBluth
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Re: Complete tool for game masters

Post Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:44 pm

Yes, yes, yes ... I have thought of this a lot and have built one (sort of) in Excel. It has lots of features, and I'm continually adding/expanding the functionality. I originally built the tool for Pathfinder, got tired of that game, and am in the process of converting it to BFRPG.

So, the main tab tracks Time. The GM can select from a range of buttons to advance the time (a round, an hour, a month, etc). Months and days of the week can have customized names and the updated name will appear in this tab ("it is the 5th of Aprallos in the year 3792"). It's even got logic to display the current phase of the moon, depending on how those are defined by the GM. Another selection on this tab is the party's current location.

As time advances, events can happen. Events range from a torch being consumed, a flask of oil burned up in a lantern, a day's food gone, a random encounter for that location, a change in weather, etc. In the case of supplies, these get taken out of the PCs' supplies.

There's also an equipment tab, where supplies can be stored in various containers and carried by PCs or in vehicles or on mounts. I can run a report and get an update immediately on who's carrying too much or how slow the party is.

Another tab is used to define random encounters for a selected location. I've made it where an encounter can be a group of monsters (goblins on wargs, for example) or the encounter can simply be a group of 1 type of monster. When a random encounter appears in an event, you're told the monster, the quantity, a recommended distance, their initial disposition and a possible motivation.

I've got another tab for random treasure generation. The idea behind this is that I can generate a hoard, assign it to a location, then if the PCs find the treasure, it's easy enough to transfer it to them (or as much as they can carry).

I want to make it where this thing will also track PC dominion income & expenses, their armies, and will handle mass combat. That's a ways off though ... I'm hoping to finish all this next year.
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Blazeguard
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Re: Complete tool for game masters

Post Sat Mar 24, 2018 4:23 pm

I hope you get around to finishing your spreadsheet. Would love to see that once you have it completed.
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orobouros
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Re: Complete tool for game masters

Post Sun Mar 25, 2018 8:48 am

There's a general problem with any sort of modeling. For a given amount of effort you can model a lot of things okay, or certain things very well. This is why in racing games you often don't have cars flipping over or anything; at that point the game is outside it's modeling range and the hand of god steps in to just put you back on track. But those same games have a surprising amount of detail in tire and aerodynamics modeling while racing. Tabletop RPGs tend to abstract away most of the details of combat into a pair of dice rolls in order to better model the tempo of a battle. Even so, adding in all stat bonuses and such can be a bit laborious; it's not uncommon for a player to spend a minute just to roll a d20 and go, "well, that failed."

The BFRPG player sheet on roll20 helps a lot with this, as mentioned. It's not meant to be a complete tool, though. It fills a particular role that speeds up certain aspects of the game. Roll20 has a simple system that handles HP, too. What makes these useful is that they're still very flexible. They're not meant to handle every situation. They're far from complete. But they work better for many use cases.

So instead of a top-down approach, you may find a far better return on your time investment by looking for an aspect that isn't well automated. GP and XP tallying, for example. Or time tracking; that should be fairly simple to implement but I've not seen it done. Sure, they're easy enough to do that any GM can do them on their own, but that's reinventing the wheel, so to speak, every time.
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Hywaywolf
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Re: Complete tool for game masters

Post Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:54 pm

markwittens wrote: Sun Sep 17, 2017 2:46 pm I've played a few RPG's in the past years (D&D, Middle Earth Role Playing and Shadowrun) and I always thought it might be fun to host a game some time. The problem is, there's just so to many rules and there is too much stuff to look up during the game to run the game smoothly.
Not sure if the OP is still reading these since he only has this one post here, but I just wanted to mention the most overlooked part of old school style gaming. The GM is right even if he/she isn't at the time. Although it is best to have a good grip on the rules and have the tables handy, you don't need to waste a lot of ingame time hunting down information. If its taking to long to figure something out, just make a ruling and move the game along.

It won't break the game to get a call wrong every so often. In basketball no one shoots 100% at the free throw line even though they should. Professional bowlers don't roll 300 games every night.
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teluria
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Re: Complete tool for game masters

Post Tue Apr 03, 2018 10:32 pm

Hey Hiway! Good to see you're still here.

In the meantime, I agree about there being a lot of difficulties in creating a workable tool. Too many variables. Having tried my hand at it before, the database design will probably be much more critical than anything else, since you will have to figure out how to generalize enough to allow people to houserule.

I'm not trying to discourage you. But I wonder if the effort/return equation balances, since most of the things that I would use a tool for, it would be just as easy to create a paper form for.

I will say that I'm a huge fan of the Keep by nbos (the same people that make Fractal Mapper).
I've tried Realm Works as well, but i much prefer the Keep as it gives me the ability to organize as I see fit.

Note: I am not being compensated or have any interest in nbos software, just really like their tools.
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