Alright, I admit it, I love Tabletop RPGs. So much so that in 2013 I tried my hand at reinventing the wheel and creating a custom, DnD inspired, game core for my friends and I to play around with. It was to lay the basis for a game I would GM on and off for the next two years. The game was nicknamed ZND and was based off an Anime series from the 90’s called Zoids. In this testimonial I’ll go through the origins, trials, mistakes, successes and overall crazy thing that happened as myself and several of my friends stumbled through the broken mess of a system I had created.
Houskeeping: if you’re here for funny stories about Bards singing themselves to death, you’ve come to the wrong place. I mainly talk about the pit falls of GMing and the wisdom that I have gained thanks to the patients of my friends and family. Though if you stick with me there will be funny moments.
The origins of ZND lay in a discussion my sister and I were having; which of two aircraft from Zoids would win in a fight, a Raynos (High speed, nimble aircraft) or a Storm Sworder (more robust, more heavily armed and faster in a straight line). We were at a bit of an impasse. I said that the Raynos would win, as its maneuverability would allow it to dogfight better. My sister on the other hand argued, and rightly so, that the Storm Sworder was faster and thus dictated the terms of engagement. That is when, for the hell of it, I went to my room and grabbed my box of DnD dice. As I came back to the lounge room, my sister gave me a puzzled look. I quickly explained that we would run an experiment, I would take the Raynos and she would take the Storm Sworder, we would assign damage dice to each weapon and use D20s to attack and dodge. It would be fair right…
Boy was it not…
We did a quick bit of research and found that the Storm Sworder being better armed was an understatement; it had almost 6 times the firepower. SIX TIMES!!! Never the less we set off on our experiment where, dodging as hard as I could, I could not beat the faster, better armed, more rugged Storm Sworder. I conceded defeat and retreated to my room, wondering how it all went so wrong. At the time I didn’t find an answer, but over time I would come to realise exactly what the issue was.
It was the way that the system had been thrown together. The System worked by allowing each weapon to fire every time it could. In this scenario, the Raynos was doomed for sure, but what could I do? I could have limited the amount of weapons that could be used at once to something more realistic. Humans have a hard enough time doing more than one thing at a time. For multitaskers we can say two or three things. My sisters Storm Sworder was firing Ten Weapons at Once. TEN!!! Welcome to the first issue with spontaneously creating a dice based system, balance. You see balance is trial and error; there are ways to predict how the balance will pan out. But at the end of the day I ignored all that, so confident that I could beat my sister’s Storm Sworder that I didn’t notice the flaws in the system.
In hindsight I look back and it may seem silly but I am thankful for that moment as it taught me somthing.
It taught me that I wanted to build something similar on a grander scale.