It’s been a year since I made my first post, which was about Character progression in games. The blog started out as a way to crystallise my vague roleplay game thoughts into coherent and communicable ideas. The majority of my posts are game design theory, tips or insight.
I think the best three are
- Play Worlds, Not Rules – What is a world and how do I play it? – my attempt at clarifying the meaning of the Free Kiegsspiel Revival
- The three best spells in Harry Potter: an overly comprehensive thought-train – a mega-post about what makes good magic in media (I’m still working on a follow-up post about the next three best spells in Harry Potter)
- Character progression in games II: Appreciable, Qualitative and Distinctive – the DAQ criteria – a criteria for for examining how interesting an ability (or item etc) is in a game. I mentally refer back to this the most, asking myself how I would rate the things I am designing.
I feel like I should insert a picture now to break up the wall of text.
The other main purpose of the blog was to push myself to do things, to make things, rather than to just think about them. I’ve put more effort into making things this last (blogging) year but a lot of them never came to fruition. I don’t really like publicising things prematurely, but here’s a roundup of what I’ve been up to.
- I worked on a ‘mon style game, first back in June ’21, most of which is documented on the blog. I revisited it again in December/January but I found that the game was pulling itself in two directions. One direction was a rules-light PbtA/FKR game, and the other was a miniature combat skirmish game (my friend Becca_3D makes some seriously good minis for 3d printing based on ‘mons). Unsure how to resolve the internal tension, I put development on hold, hoping that time away from the idea would bring clarity. I did make a post about minimalist modular magic for 5e using a lot of the ideas I had developed though, and I have an excellent list of mon ideas and powers waiting in the wings.
- In September/October I revisited some of my old notes on a collaborative project set in a magic school, and got it to a playtest-able stage. And then didn’t playtest it because my collab partner was busy. Speaking of which, they have a rat-themed tarot deck on KS, check it out.
- I worked on a soulslike game for the Better Soulslike Tabletop Jam, which fell apart due to timing issues with my collab partner, but at least I got a post about the qualities of a soulslike game out of it.
- I’ve also made a few useable tools for GMs on the blog
- Modify idioms, swears and curses to increase unfamiliarity – a swearword generator
- Space travel procedure + random space encounters – a breakdown of the encounter system I used for a hexcrawl Star Trek game
- Robin Goodfellow/Puck – recurring NPC/encounter – my first baby-steps into layout outside of excel spreadsheets
I’ve actually been working on something that I will definitely publish
Laser Monks in Outer Space has its core rules written, has been playtested and has been (mostly) formatted.
It’s a game about the pull of the dark (which is really about the pull of doing what is easy rather than what is right) and the difficulty in following a morally founded, but restrictive creed.
I’m making it for the Ultralight Game Jam, so the rules (including the character sheet) can fit on just two pages of A4.
The rules are going through what is probably the penultimate revision, following playtesting last weekend and preceding this weekend’s test and likely subsequent revision.
However, there is one thing that will absolutely not change: the rules for laserblades.
So far this has resulted in the following fine additions to my collection:
When Laser Monks in Outer Space comes out (some time in the next two weeks) it will be free. I’ve already started thinking about what I’ll do next, especially over the summer holidays and beyond. I’m thinking about Zinemonth 2023 of course (KS doesn’t support my country so that’s always been a non-starter).
Quietude on the blog has generally meant I’m working away at something with more scope than a blogpost but I might change that during blog year 2.
If you survived to the end of the post, here are some of the bloggers I’ve read the most during this year. I’m limiting myself to 5 ‘cos I have to draw the line somewhere. Consider this a Joesky tax.
- acoup Bret is a Historian who relates ancient history to pop culture and current affairs. I recommend his 7-part series on the Battle of Helm’s Deep in particular
- dreamingdragonslayer Sam posts a lot of short, useable game stuff. Check out the scene-based adventure structure with The Hobbit as an example
- knightattheopera tends to be lengthy but engaging reads. A guide to different rpgs is a good example
- RiseUpComics is always good, check out this one or coziness (cosiness, for any fellow brits who’ve stumbled upon yet another new transatlantic spelling difference)
- Goblin Punch and Coins and Scrolls don’t post as often as they used to, but they introduced me to a much wider spectrum of ttrpgs through their glog posts.