P&C RPGs - Chapter 1, "Birth Right"

P&C RPGs - Chapter 1, "Birth Right"

A Chapter by dw817

I didn't like this. I wanted to set a margin. I thought well, why not give the player a chance at being defeated but only if he was hit, say 20-times ? So the player starts out at 20 hit points.




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Some details, ideas, and musings I've had experiencing effective RPGs and RPG Makers

© February 2019 Written by David Wicker
Please do not reprint without permission

More than 40-years ago today, back in 1974 Gary Gygax released an incredible gaming system called, "Dungeons & Dragons."

In it players could with paper, dice, and pencil, draw up characters, alter-egos of themselves with many attributes such as strength, dexterity, and magical abilities, and send them on grand adventures through dungeons fighting dragons, rescuing damsels in distress, recovering ancient jewels, or anything else their imagination could come up with.

It was grand fun but could not be played alone. To be effective it really needed 3 or more players and one person designated as the Dungeon Master.

The Dungeon Master would be the one to set monsters against the players in an effort to "fight" them and drain their hit points to zero. The player's job of course was to defeat the monsters thereby reducing THEIR hits to zero before their own is. And ultimately win the game by accomplishing whatever the quest's goal was.

Stacked steep in physical books upon books of rules, regulations, and concepts, the game was tightly spun and played following the rolls of dice and whatever portended to their values. And at the time it was THE game for nerds to play those many years ago.

Years later, the Atari 2600 came out, a console that could really run no game any bigger than 4k and one of the Atari game programmers wrote a game called, "Adventure." In it, a bit like Dungeons & Dragons, you had a player who had to find a sword, find a key to the matching castle, kills the dragons, and return the Chalice back to the yellow castle.

The graphics were primitive as this was the dawn of videogames, but the gameplay was excellent. It was also not found out until many years later that the player could also find an invisible object. Touching one particular wall with this invisible object revealed the game author's name. A rare find as Atari at the time did often NOT reveal authors names for the games written for the console.

It is this degree of innovative design that further encouraged future game designers to go beyond this, to create something bigger than just a 16-room adventure game. Thus when the Nintendo 8-bit came out, there was Final Fantasy.

Despite it's small size of 256k, this game promised MONTHS of gameplay, not just mere hours as Atari's Adventure was. In it was also introduced the NPC, or non-player characters. In Final Fantasy the player had control not over just 1-player but 4 of them, and they had to keep tabs on them.

Make sure they were outfitted correctly for the curve of the game's combat which got exceedingly difficult the further the player wandered away from their home town and castle. You could carry more than one item at a time including healing potions, weapon types, armor types, and spell types.

You could even find and ride different transports to get past particular terrain types, canoe to cross deep creeks, frigate to cross the ocean, and airship to get past tall mountains.

But, it was not enough. No. Final Fantasy went on to today and touts the very proud number of 15, stating that there are 15-different games of Final Fantasy now. The last being available for the PS3 and PC.

But I didn't want to get too involved in those games. The root of this book and its chapters focus on game design and the tools that design them.

Some of the programming languages and systems I used to develop RPGs in the past were the T.R.S. 80 Model I, Level II computer. The Sinclair 1000, the Apple ][+, the IBM-pc, the Commodore Amiga, F-Basic, Turbo Pascal, Q-Basic 4.5, GFABasic, and lastly BlitzMAX.

I know you are thinking, well, why aren't you just programming in BlitzMAX and hurry up and write S3 as you planned to ?


That's not going to happen now. There are too many ideas, too many directions it can go. Thus the desire to write this book on RPG, RPG theories and concepts and ultimately how to even write your own RPG, completely from scratch.

No, the title of this chapter is, "Birth Right" and will cover the bare basics of a RPG and the characters involved in them.

First off this assumes that you have some degree of programming knowledge, and no, I'm not going to recommend any absolute and particular programming language you should write this in.

But if you want to hit a large target audience, on multiple console types including Ps3, cellphones, PCs, and Macintosh, then you might do a little research and see what programming languages are used chiefly today for building games and the list of game makers out there. Java comes to mind, but there are others.

By Birth Right it means we are going to define a player. Now I will have certain preferences and I might even be able to defend WHY I think some of these are a good idea, especially referring to S2, a RP Maker I wrote 20-years ago.

But of course you are more than welcome to choose differently.

In S2 I decided the best starting hit points for a player is 20, and I'll explain. I know modern and even very old Japanese RPGs for many different gaming consoles start the player with thousands of hit points and the monsters whack off hundreds per hit, even the weakest of the bunch.

But I didn't like this. I wanted to set a margin. I thought well, why not give the player a chance at being defeated but only if he was hit, say 20-times ? So the player starts out at 20 hit points, and the monsters, to start, can do no more than 1 hit-point of damage. Pretty straight forward.

Now while you can certainly add a mere 20-hit points each time the player gains a level of experience, it would be far better to determine what the maximum number of hit points a player could have at their absolute highest level first, and work your way from there.

A simple way to do this would be to let the player start out at level 1, with 20 hit points, and at level 99, the maximum level the player can be, they can have 9999 or as close to this as possible.

I will warn you now, when you get around to writing your own RPG or RPG Maker, you WILL need to know math, arrays, tables, algebra, and then some. Let's, for instance, make a simple table of the player starting out at 20 hit points but being at 9999 hit points at level 99. How would you do this ?

With a bit of code of course. Here is a loop using the math in S2 that does just this:

For i=1 To 99
  Print "level="+i+" hits="+Int(h)

level=1 hits=20
level=2 hits=21
level=3 hits=23
level=4 hits=26
level=5 hits=31
level=6 hits=37
level=7 hits=45
level=8 hits=54
level=9 hits=65
level=10 hits=78
level=11 hits=93
level=12 hits=109
level=13 hits=127
level=14 hits=147
level=15 hits=169
level=16 hits=193
level=17 hits=219
level=18 hits=247
level=19 hits=276
level=20 hits=307
level=21 hits=340
level=22 hits=375
level=23 hits=412
level=24 hits=452
level=25 hits=494
level=26 hits=538
level=27 hits=584
level=28 hits=632
level=29 hits=682
level=30 hits=734
level=31 hits=788
level=32 hits=844
level=33 hits=903
level=34 hits=964
level=35 hits=1027
level=36 hits=1092
level=37 hits=1159
level=38 hits=1229
level=39 hits=1301
level=40 hits=1375
level=41 hits=1451
level=42 hits=1529
level=43 hits=1610
level=44 hits=1693
level=45 hits=1778
level=46 hits=1866
level=47 hits=1956
level=48 hits=2048
level=49 hits=2143
level=50 hits=2240
level=51 hits=2339
level=52 hits=2441
level=53 hits=2545
level=54 hits=2651
level=55 hits=2760
level=56 hits=2871
level=57 hits=2985
level=58 hits=3101
level=59 hits=3219
level=60 hits=3340
level=61 hits=3463
level=62 hits=3589
level=63 hits=3717
level=64 hits=3847
level=65 hits=3980
level=66 hits=4115
level=67 hits=4253
level=68 hits=4393
level=69 hits=4536
level=70 hits=4681
level=71 hits=4829
level=72 hits=4979
level=73 hits=5132
level=74 hits=5287
level=75 hits=5445
level=76 hits=5605
level=77 hits=5768
level=78 hits=5933
level=79 hits=6101
level=80 hits=6271
level=81 hits=6444
level=82 hits=6619
level=83 hits=6797
level=84 hits=6978
level=85 hits=7161
level=86 hits=7347
level=87 hits=7535
level=88 hits=7726
level=89 hits=7920
level=90 hits=8116
level=91 hits=8315
level=92 hits=8516
level=93 hits=8720
level=94 hits=8927
level=95 hits=9136
level=96 hits=9348
level=97 hits=9562
level=98 hits=9779
level=99 hits=9999

Process complete

Now you may be saying, oh what a terrible headache it will be to calculate weapons, armor, monster hits, etc. ?

Yes, and no.

If you want to, you are more than welcome to use the code and table above to generate THEIR values as well. For instance, suppose you don't want the player to ever do more than 9999 hit points of damage to a critter.

Using the table above you could easily transpose LEVEL to STRENGTH of player, give that 25%, then the player has a weapon class, also 01-99, give that 75%, put it all together and you have 99%. Change HITS to DAMAGE and you are done.

You could also use the above table to determine a monster's hits, how much damage they take, etc. You could do all of these merely using the table above, adjusting the input to be a value from 01-24 and the output to be a value from 2-999.

Okay ! So now you want to add other characteristics to your player. Well, in my own RPG Maker, S2, I kept it pretty simple. I had Strength to cover added damage with a physical weapon, Speed to determine how fast you could attack, Wisdom to determine extra damage with magic elemental spells, and LUCK to determine if you did a HARD hit or not.

The magic in S2 was also very simple. I labeled them RUNESTONES. In them, you would "cast" a runestone into combat and do damage based upon a combo. That is, you toss a runestone in and it does a certain amount of damage to your targets.

Toss ANOTHER exact same runestone in and the damage is more. So it would be up to the player to "stockpile" these runestones and then throw them all in to attack difficult monsters. Purchasing Runestones was a little odd in that you were charged the money amount according to how many Runestones of the same kind you already had. So the price was higher the more you had.

The weapon class did not have a name and the player could have one or the other but not both at the same time. A bladed weapon, or a pistol. A pistol did a fixed amount of damage each time, 250 no matter what the player's attributes were.

A sword though did damage based on three things. The player's level, the weapon level, and the player's strength. You see how this is done now ?

. . .

That's all for this chapter. Next week we'll cover "Power Up" and see one particular RPG for the Sony Playstation One that took a very creative edge indeed to this ramping up the usefulness of the multiple players in the game.

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© 2019 dw817

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