D20: Work in progress

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One of our long term goals for RPGpad is to support every major game system, so you can use our platform for every campaign — and the dream is to allow you to use your homebrew rules as well. That is a rather ambitious goal, however, so for now we’re sticking to taking things one step at a time.

Currently, we support only a few game systems natively, and those are mostly simple ones (to be completely fair, D3 is possibly the simplest system out there). We have some level of customization with the Vampire system, where you can add your own Attributes, Abilities and Backgrounds, but mostly all of these systems are basic store and display character sheets — you write down the value for a certain score and we show it to you. Beyond these few, you have to use the Custom System, which essentially tells you to figure it out yourself. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing — we’ve already found it to work quite well for certain campaigns. But it would be nice if we could do more!

The next step we are taking is to add a system which goes beyond this, and which automatically calculates certain values on your sheet for you — this saves on tedious bookkeeping and helps prevent mistakes. Such a system is more complicated, however, than the store and display model we have used so far (which is exactly why we’re making this step).


The system we have chosen to tackle first in this is D20. Not only is D20 commonly used but it is also the system we are most familiar with, having played a lot of Dungeons and Dragons in our days, and more recently Pathfinder. With the infrastructure for one D20 model, we automatically have the groundwork for the various variant, which should make it easier to add them. As an additional advantage, we already have a campaign that uses this type of system.

Derived and calculated values are omnipresent in D20, starting as early as the ability score modifier. Moreover, these values often themselves provide modifiers to other values. As a simple example, a character who is an Elf might have a +2 bonus to their Dexterity score, raising it from 12 to 14. As a result, the derived ability score modifier rises from +1 to +2. And this in turn affects the characters bonus to Hide and a plethora of other skills.

These kind of derived and calculated values are a bit harder to manage than simply storing and displaying a value — they do affect one another after all. Moreover, even as we automate certain calculations, we want to make sure players are able to adjust certain values manually — after all, if your DM gives out a special pair of boots that provides a special bonus to your dexterity, you should be able to add that without having to disable the automatically calculated bonuses and doing everything manually.

This is just one of the challenges posed by D20, and not even the most interesting one. But that is the goal of implementing D20 — to encounter these problems and resolve them, thereby laying the foundations necessary for adding other complicated systems. And hopefully to make adding those easier and quicker than the time we’ll need for D20.

Do you have a favourite game system which you would like to see support for? Be sure to let us know, as we will decide which game system to tackle next based on your feedback! To discuss this, or see this weeks changelog, please make sure to visit the forum!