I tend to design relatively short RPGs because I'm more likely to get them done, and because the intended audience (myself, my personal friends, and fellow longtime hobbyists) doesn't need much more than the basics. I'm working on a couple longer games now, though, one of which is explicitly written to welcome newcomers both to … Continue reading (Un)written rules of play
In September of this year, after much hemming and hawing about where (or even whether) to share my games, I started publishing games on Itch.io. For the benefit of anybody out there wondering what taking that plunge looks like, I thought I'd share a little bit about what the first few months of hobbyist self-publishing … Continue reading Pretendo’s first 4 months self-publishing on Itch.io
Awhile back, I blogged about a work-in-progress RPG tentatively titled "Down Town," a hack of Into the Odd about modern-day urban spelunkers delving into the weird underworld far beneath the streets. I think this game will be super fun to run, so I keep getting distracted thinking about it—but I have more pressing projects, and, … Continue reading Down Town draft: Into the Odd meets Blue Blazes
I love making games, and I’ve been happier and more productive than ever before since realizing it’s “just” a hobby for me. After switching career tracks out of the game industry, however, I felt a bit confused about what the end goal should be of all my hobbyist design work. Back when I assumed I … Continue reading When does it make sense for a hobbyist to publish?
I like RPGs to move fast. I only have a few hours per session, only once every month or two. I want stuff to happen. I don't want to get bogged down too much in exposition or referencing, so I tend to run games with simple, easy-to-remember rules, and very little required setting knowledge. Exhumed … Continue reading The more you know
Please pardon me while I take a break from obsessing over game design long enough to obsess over graphic design. Specifically, typefaces. If one of my students had turned in a 40-page book in a novelty typeface back when I was teaching design classes, I would've docked their grade for it. I gave myself a pass … Continue reading Fonts of wisdom
I ran two sessions of Agents of the O.D.D. at Metatopia, a convention geared toward playtesting games in development. The feedback was a mix of things that made me go, "Great, I was planning on doing that already!" and things that made me go, "Hmm, I'm really going to have to think about that." Some key takeaways: More … Continue reading Metatopia Design Diary: Agents of the O.D.D.
Last weekend, I ran my first playtest of Nighttide (and the Gauge system on which it's based), a diceless gothic horror game inspired by Bloodborne and Castlevania. It was a lot of fun! Also, it didn't work. That session did suggest that it could work, though, and that this game may be worth developing into something more detailed than a page-long scenario … Continue reading Metatopia Design Diary: Nighttide
Late last night, I uploaded my Cryptid Jam submission, Agents of the O.D.D., a game of (paranormal) paranormal investigators. The implied setting is something of a mashup of Hellboy, Planetary, and The Laundry Files, with rules based on Into the Odd and Electric Bastionland. It's got 100 agent profiles, 20 arcane objects, 1 short scenario … Continue reading Agents of the O.D.D. now out in the field
The Your Move Jam posed a challenge: Design a "Powered by the Apocalypse" (a.k.a. "PbtA") game with only a single move. I'd been sitting on an idea for just such a game for a long time: Gauge, a diceless, token-based game about surviving in hostile environments with tight resources. I'd been sitting on it because … Continue reading Gauge: A diceless RPG about survival