December 29, 2019

Tabletop RPG Homebrewing Tips

Homebrewing is the act of either altering an existing system’s rule set or the creation of your own rule-set, typically with foundational elements from another.

Today’s #GMAdvice centers on both how to get started with homebrewing as well as some common pitfalls GMs experience when branching out in this area.

Getting started usually just comes from the desire to expand on rule or rules the table is looking to change/enhance/evolve. You come to a consensus on that change and move on. When those changes stack on each other over time, the system you’re using can be said to have homebrewed elements. And as you get more experienced with integrating those changes and/or new rules, you’ll come to better understand the nuances of the effects those rules have on the flow of the game/story.

There are some common pitfalls though you should try to avoid if you’re going to start really crafting a homebrewed system:

  1. Avoid super stats. Oftentimes a byproduct of your first pass at your rule set will accidentally have an ingrained imbalance in the weight of the attributes. Dexterity, a traditional example of an “overemphasized” or “overpowered” attribute, might be far more useful than say, Wisdom or Constitution. Make sure part of your quality analysis process incorporates evaluating whether your attributes are balanced.
  2. Provide viable options for many different play styles. And we’ve discussed this topic somewhat before on #GMAdvice, but providing the many different play styles out there a viable option to play is key in players investing in your system. Give the hack n slash folks something along with the rogues, good bois, seducers, crafters, and everything else. Know your players and invest in their styles!
  3. Work your lore into the soul of the rule set. Players gravitate toward visions of great stories. Find creative ways to work elements of your story’s world into the core parts of the rules!

StoryTogether is a resource if anyone has any questions over their own homebrewing efforts!