Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Speedrunning #AprilTTRPGmaker pt. 2

First post here! This one's much shorter, because it's less than half the month, and a good chunk of the questions are outside my area of expertise. Still, hope this gives some insight into who I am as a person and a creator!
19. Favorite themes to explore? Hope and resilience in the face of abject despair, the consequences of necessary evil, how we understand the vast impersonality of the cosmos, fighting against all odds because that is what must be done, are my high-minded answers that are probably never actually going to show up in my games. At the table, the themes that usually show up are being big damn heroes, cancelling the apocalypse, and heroic sacrifice.

20. A game you want to make that you think no one would play? Stellaris but as a tabletop game. A long-running, dozen+ player, emergent nation-building and diplomacy space opera game where you build vast spacefaring societies and explore the possibilities of galactic societies and cultures. I've tried to do stuff like this before, in play-by-post games and various video game design docs, and it always seems rad until I realize that there's no way I'd get enough people together for a long enough time to be satisfying. I'm pretty burned out on that kind of hard sci-fi anyway, though Mothership has gotten me to dip my toes back into it, and someday I'd like to play around in that space again.

21. What external factors do you struggle with to create? Ironically, feeling an obligation to create is maybe the largest. I feel an internal pressure to constantly be posting, and while I enjoy it, it does make me feel like I'm torn between posting mediocre content that I don't fully enjoy, and spending far too long perfecting and tweaking every last word. Also, most of my content skews towards mechanically-dense posts rather than theory or setting content or opinions, and that's because I'm not confident in my ability to deliver quality content in those areas. I'm trying to break through that barrier, but it's slow going - watch this space for more stuff besides homebrew classes.

22. How are you working to improve the ttrpg community? I make content that I want to see, and hope other people like what I make and get inspired by it. There's so much good in the community already - interact with and support it!

23. Mentoring/being mentored by? Nope, is that a thing that happens here?

24. Favorite RPG thing to create? I really enjoyed writing up the Goblinplagued Barracks! Expect more short dungeon content like that in the future.

25. A rad diversity consultant? Wish I knew one, sorry. I don't exactly have the money to hire one right now, either...

26. Favorite online community? I'm a big fan of (and frequent participant in) the OSR Discord. It features the #glog-ghetto channel, the glogosphere's own little pocket of a pocket of a pocket of the internet.

27. How do you market your work? The OSR discord, r/osr, and mastodon. I'm not a brand, I'm not an influencer, I just post stuff in places that I think people would like to see it, and I like it that way. I do get most of my views from other bloggers' blogrolls, so I figure I must be doing something right?

28. What tools help you create? Notepad++. I've used it for text editing since forever because it's free, quick to run and load, and has minimal distractions besides the dozen other tabs I have open. It also helps that my posts look much shorter with its super long lines, so I'm pleasantly surprised when I paste it into Blogger for formatting and it's waaaay longer than I expected.

29. Exciting 2019 rpg trends? I'm not up on recent RPG trends outside the OSRverse, but it seems to me like the OSR is in a time of upheaval. With the exodus from the still-cooling corpse of Google+, I hope we can form new social circles and hubs of activity where creativity can flourish. I'm excited to see where that takes us!

30. If you were in charge of the TTRPG industry, what would you change? Lots of the conventions established by D&D still shackle large swathes of the TTRPG market. Gigantic impenetrable book-sets that cost an arm and a leg; a focus on pushing out new content that's just refurbished same-old-same-old, a devotion to Balance that borders on the pathological (and usually creates even more imbalanced games in the process), and an obsession with hiding the fun parts of games behind towers of busywork.

If I ran the industry (and it's a good thing I don't, though give me their number and I'll give them a nice talk), I'd make the fundamental essence of the hobby a collaborative and creative one, where homebrew is a key part of major games, and you aren't expected to drop $150 to just sit down with some friends and play the one game you've heard of (or one of the neat obscure-ish ones you've seen online). Release rules for free, update them often, create transparent systems to understand, modify, and bolt on extras to, so players can create the content that they want to play at their tables instead of feeling constrained by overwrought systems with one original idea per hundred pages.

So that's April over and done with, and as usual I'm winging the content I'm releasing for May. Expect more grunginess, random tables, weird magic, people-eating, and crabs!

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