Designer’s Diary: Über Goober Games – Über RPG: Steampunk

Über RPG: Steampunk
Über RPG: Steampunk is a complete system published by Über Goober Games.
By Steven E. Metze

Welcome to the thirty-fourth Designer’s Diary, a regular column where designers are given the opportunity to take readers on an in-depth ride through the design and development process of their system, setting, or product. If you’d like to share your product in the Designer’s Diary column, send a message to

Designer’s Description
Über RPG: Steampunk is a RPG that concentrates on simple rules (3 pages of core rules), a point-based and highly modifiable character generation system (nothing random), and an overall game that focuses on storytelling and role-playing rather than randomness and die rolling (minimizes die rolls when they slow down game-play, like mass combat, for example, and gives players several options to increase dice used in rolls during critical moments. No accounting nightmares tracking ammunition, hit points, etc.)

Primarily to develop a simpler, faster RPG system, and also out of a great and growing love for the Steampunk genre.

Hero Games and a list of Steampunk literature and movies.

Most research was into the Steampunk genre in general. From that we came up with the 3 core “Steampunk World Views” which guide most of the system. The idea being that GMs and Players may prefer more “Steam” (heavy on the unusual technology but a happy sunny setting) more “Punk” (dystopian, dark and disturbing, significant daily conflict and paranoia), and may or may not want to run either of those as “Fantasy Steampunk,” adding magic or fantastical races or creatures. All of the sourcebooks will provide suggestions based on those three options to help everyone tailor their Steampunk world to their tastes. I think this is incredibly important given the wide range of the overall Steampunk aesthetic.

Art Direction
The core artwork has a distinctive anime influence, without being overly so, but attempts to cover the spectrum of Steampunk world views.

Gaming Experience
The intent is an easy and fast system that allows the players and GMs to concentrate where they should – on the story and on role-playing. Simple unopposed tasks and large volume combats, for example, are significantly streamlined, and things like encumbrance and tracking ammunition are invisible to the players and cooked into the process. Players can always choose to “push” their abilities with consequences, and get a regular allocation of “hero points” to sway critical moments. Much like a movie, there are no hit points. Characters are healthy, occasionally stunned, then wounded, incapacitated, then dying.

Über RPG: Steampunk provides a lot more freedom and more options for character creation and world design than similar products. It also cuts out a lot of the game distractions common to most games without over simplification.

Development Process
We started by polling long-time veteran players and what they wanted to see. The core message: Simple, but flexible. That drove the core rules, and the rest was playtesting, playtesting, playtesting. For sourcebooks and future material, it will mostly be about research, both into history and into the genre.

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