Yes, in twelve easy steps you too can create a completely uninspiring roleplaying game which is bound to earn at least a couple of thousand dollars on Kickstarter from a bunch of well-meaning gamers who don't know any better!
Best of all, the Two-Star Method is completely free! After all, you've already seen it a billion times.
- Create a core system. (For OSR games you may be able to get away with three or four core systems, depending on how far you wish to lampoon the genre.) The best place to put this core system is approximately page 207.
- Take the six Attributes from D&D, remove one or two, rename a couple of others, and add Perception and/or Luck to the list.
- Settle on a Skill list (though you may rename them Abilities if you like.) Link each Skill to an Attribute somehow and maybe even divide them up into multiple categories. Somewhere around twenty Skills is great, although if your game is made in the '80s you'll want about 200. Alternatively, if your game is trying to impress Jason Morningstar or Ron Edwards just leave empty spaces and let the players fill it in themselves after giving a few vague examples such as "Sharp As A Knife," "A Cat Has Nine Lives," or "Roast at 180 Degrees Celsius and Baste Every Ten Minutes." Don't worry; one day they're bound to respond to your comments on their blog posts.
- Adapt the Attributes and Skills to suit a bunch of different fantasy races. Elves and Dwarves are no-brainers. If you're going to have half-orcs you'll probably want to overlook the whole... umm... yeah.
- Decide whether your game is going to have classes. Either way, justify your decision by make snide references to another popular game that took the other route.
- Design a combat system. If you included combat Skills in step 3 you may think most of your job is done, but don't become complacent. Here's where you get to make a weapon chart and make sure your favourite weapon is the best (anything that you trained in for three lessons when you were nineteen is a bonus.) Also, remember to make grappling rules either useless or overpowered.
- You're now going to want to go back to character creation and include a bunch of subcategories to make combat work. Health points! Movement scores! Resistance modifiers! You'll have a lot of fun here. Don't forget to call them something like "Derived Ability Ratings, or your DAR for short." Oh, and now you'll need to remember whether to spell it "defense" or "defence" though if you aren't going to pass your game by an editor it doesn't matter much.
- Everyone wants versatility, so include a system to allow PCs some kind of individuality. Call these Feats, Quirks, Merits, Edges, or something like that. Only allow starting characters one or two at most, but make sure you include one or two hundred to choose from so that it takes the best part of an hour to read through them and decide which one you want. If this system becomes unwieldy, just claim that it was always optional.
- Add a magic system. Divide magic up into several types depending on flavour, but make sure to include necromancy, illusion, something for paladins, and something that casts fireballs. It might seem wise to include a game system where players can design their own spells, but not only is that rather advanced game design but it means you'll miss out on getting to pad out your gamebook with 200 pages of spells that you've designed. This not only makes your game extra expensive (ka-ching!) but it makes you look diligent and creative. Even better, you can market it as a bonus on your crowd-funding, and even add an extra hundred as a stretch goal!
- Throw in a list of stats for monsters. Orcs, wolves, dragons, zombies, liches, minotaurs, giant spiders, and ogres should start you off nicely.
- Add a character sheet. Make sure anything that will be constantly updated, changed, or erased is in the centre of the page so that when it inevitably wears through the player will need to replace the whole thing and not just an edge or corner.
- Pay good money for up to ten good pieces of art to put near the front of the book. Litter the rest of it with random sketches you got on the cheap from mates.
Oh, and a thirteenth step as a look into our advanced class:
13. Spend three and a half minutes on an index. Nobody will ever use it anyway because your rules explanations are just so clear and intuitive.