Where do you start your design?

I have Yet Another RPG Idea … and as usual, I’m wondering where to start. I jot down all my ideas first, but then it’s plugging away at filling in all the gaps, filling in stuff I may not have any ideas about yet (maybe it’s setting, maybe it’s combat, maybe it’s down time…)

Do you jump around from one thing to another, or do you pick one section and write the hell out of it? What’s your process? Do you write everything in a single document or multiple?

I’m curious to hear how people tend to write.

Mostly, a lot of research and tinkering up from, but when I’m ready, complete sections at a time, and cycle through revisions.

If it’s a commercial project, I try to complete each section in full before moving on. After the whole is done, then I go through it all again for polishing. I’ve not worked on any commercial projects in a long while.

For my own stuff, I tend to jump around. I like to think I can work out most of a section before moving to something else, but it doesn’t usually work that way. I’ll write a bit here and then some there as the ideas bubble up out of my head.

Once I hit on the general outline (basic resolution mechanic, what I want the system to do, general idea of what a “character” will look like) then I try and complete the “rules” section first, the part where players/GMs will read to figure out how to play. Then character creation and thirdly any kind of special rule system regarding powers or magic.

At that point is when I usually start to try and organize it into a form that will be available to a reader, but I’ll often jump back and forth to add or adjust things as new ideas come.

And then there’s the inevitable re-designing. :laughing: As I work through enough parts, I figure out ways that the design can be adjusted to improve a specific section, then back to that. The longer I have a system in front of me, the stronger the vision of what it should be becomes, then there’s all the adjusting of what I already have to match the improved vision.

Thus, the current reworking of sections to better match the improved vision.