Our Hit Points & Wounds

Continuing the description of Our Attack and Defense, for our as-yet-unnamed rule system, here is a further explanation of descriptive wounds and healing.

Descriptive Wounds

To recap, when a character takes wounds that fill up all of the boxes next to a die type, he loses the use of that die type and takes a descriptive wound. The wound represents the injury that the character has suffered, based on the attack. In most cases the attacker gets to describe the injury and location, with some guidelines.

A d4 is a light wound. These are scratches, bruises, and being a little loopy.

A d6 or d8 are moderate. These are cuts, sprains, and mild concussions.

A d10 or d12 are serious wounds. These are deep, bleeding wounds, small amputations (fingers, ears, eyes, not limbs), and serious head trauma.

This should make it clear that if your character attacks and takes out his opponent’s d4, you didn’t run them through; you maybe gave them a cut on the cheek. A d12, though, is where you ran them through and caused some internal injuries.

Using Descriptive Wounds

Here’s where descriptive wounds really come into play. Say you’ve taken our a bandit’s d6, and the resulting wound is a gash on his shoulder. You want to hit him in the same place again. What you’re saying is, you want to force him to defend with the d6 again, which is basically not defending at all. You spend a hero point. Now, the orc’s player (probably the gamemaster) can accept that, and gets the hero point to use on his turn, or can spend a hero point to block. If he blocks, he uses whatever defense die he put up, or he can call the die that was taken out back into play. If he accepts it, he gets the point, and do full rolled damage because the orc has no defense. You hit him right in that existing injury again.

But where do the points go? The d6 was filled up and taken out, after all. The orc has to take your rolled damage where he can. He has to start with the lowest open die and fill it up, then continue with the next highest open die, and if that fills up moves to the next. This can take out more dice, and each die taken out adds a new descriptive wound, which should relate to the original wound being aggravated. The cut on the shoulder is there, along with a dislocated shoulder and maybe a torn bicep. All of these need to heal separately.

Healing

D4 hit point damage clear naturally at the end of a scene or encounter. You might get knocked out in a fight, but when it’s over you’re up and around even if you can’t do much. It’s assumed that you’ve had a few minutes to patch yourself up and catch your breath.

D4 descriptive wounds clear naturally after rest. When the character gets some sleep and first aid, bruises fade, scratches heal, the dizziness fades.

D6 and D8 damage clear naturally when the character has a chance to rest. It’s assumed the character had a chance to sleep and get a little bit of first aid.

D6 and D8 descriptive wounds only clear naturally after the adventure is over and the character has had several days to rest and receive some basic medical attention.

D10 and 12 damage only clear naturally after the adventure is over. It’s assumed that the character has at least a week of down time..

D10 and D12 descriptive wounds only clear naturally when the character has had at least a month of proper rest, clean bandages, and appropriate medical treatment (setting broken limbs, stitching up large cuts, and so on).

Note that it’s possible to have hit points cleared but still carry a descriptive wound. The die type can be taken out again, but the character doesn’t receive a new descriptive wound; the existing wound just become exacerbated (stitches are torn open, the sprain swells back up, and so on). This is to keep the dramatic focus tight and the bookkeeping simple.

There are two type of healing magics. One restores hit points, and the other heals descriptive wounds. You can’t heal the wounds until the hit points are restored to the die type.

The Problem I’m Solving For

Most of the time, you can just cross off hit points and not worry about it. When a die type gets taken out, then it matters. The attacker gets to describe the natural and location of the injury, with limits. The injuries matter, and can affect play. There’s no nonsense where a character has two hit points left and is functioning completely normally as if they’re at full capacity. In playtest it’s made things interesting and made players consider both strategic and roleplaying implications.

One thing I haven’t addressed here is magical and social combat. If a sharp-tongued bard gets in a sick burn, it doesn’t physically harm the character, but it reduced hit points and can take out a die type. The descriptive wound can reflect a loss of confidence or reputation that throws the character off. The different types of non-melee combat will be detailed in the rules, and there will be healing magics for those as well.

Our Hero Point Economy

This will make more sense if you’ve first read Our Core Mechanic and Our Character Creation… part of Our House System, currently in playtest and development.

Hero Points allow you to influence things in our untitled house system, including die rolls. Here’s a very brief rundown of how they’ll work.

Starting Hero Points

A character begins each adventure with a number of hero points equal to his or her highest-rated ability. If the character’s highest rated trait, racial ability, or class ability is +3, he or she starts with 3 hero points.

The rational for this is that the lower the rating, the more abilities the character has. The more abilities he or she has, the wider the range of things they can do, and the greater the need to fall back on hero points. A character with a +5 has a deeper, but more narrow, skill set, and will require spending hero points to get along. You’ll never lose your abilities, but you will run out of hero points. In playtest, the balance has worked out.

The other rational is that, as you’ll see, the more abilities you have the greater the opportunity to earn additional hero points becomes.

Ability Leverage

“As a [race/class], shouldn’t I be able to [whatever] even though it’s not written down on my sheet?” Why yes, yes you can. You can do so without penalty, but also without any modifier. If you didn’t put any points into an ability to use a sword, your fighter can still use a sword, it’s just an unmodified roll.

You can spend hero points — up to 5 at a time — to give your character a one-time bonus with an unlisted, but logical, ability. The bonus will affect the succeed/fail portion of the roll, obviously.

Here’s the fun part: if you roll even, whether you succeed or fail, you keep your hero points. You gain the benefit without losing them. If you roll odd, however, whether you succeed or fail, you lose the points.

Goal Leverage

One thing we haven’t discussed yet are character goals and obstacles. In brief, every character has something they’re working toward, and every character has something holding them back. This can be part of the adventure at hand, or part of a larger character arc. They’ll change over time, but they’re always there.

When something is happening that could impact your character’s goal, you can spend a point to try to influence the story. If the gamemaster and everyone else is cool with your idea, it just happens and you don’t spend a point. If there’s any contention or disagreement, roll a die. Low, it doesn’t go your way, high it does. Odd, it costs you the hero point, even it doesn’t and you spend the hero point.

You can also wager a point on someone else’s goal. You put up a hero point and describe what you think should happen and how it ties to that other character’s goal. Even, they get your hero point. Odd, you get your hero point back. The odd/even of their roll affects their hero point economy.

Spending a hero point on goal leverage has to happen before any dice are rolled.

Obstacle Leverage

The reverse happens when something happens that leverages your obstacle. You declare up front that if it doesn’t go your way, it’s because of your obstacle. Then you roll. If you succeed, it’s in spite of your problem, you have overcome, hooray! If you fail, there’s a specific reason. If you roll odd, nothing happens, but if you roll even, you gain a hero point for your efforts. It should be played out as appropriately dramatic.

You can also wager a point to call another player’s obstacle into play. If you think that their obstacle would affect the outcome of a scene, put up the point. Low, it goes your way, high, it goes their way. Even, they get it, odd, you get it back; their roll affects their hero point economy.

Spending a hero point on obstacle leverage has to happen before any dice are rolled.

System Leverage

You can spend a hero point to change the even/odd result. This will mess with story leverage, obviously, and can affect whether other people gain or lose hero points. You can’t spend a hero point on system leverage to try to affect your own personal hero point budget.

System leverage only works on even/odd, it can’t be used to alter the succeed/fail result.

You can spend a hero point to affect the odd/even of someone else’s roll, but again, it won’t affect your gain or loss of hero points other than the one you just spent/

Spending a hero point on system leverage has to happen after the dice are rolled.

Limitations

The more abilities the character has, the more opportunities you’ll have to leverage them. If all your character does is engage in combat, then the chances to leverage those abilities will be very limited. You’ll use up your hero point supply doing other things, but only have a narrow set of circumstances under which you can gain then back prior to the start of the next adventure. The design goal is to encourage creating characters that have a bit more depth and bredth rather than one-trick ponies.

Design Challenges

We’re using a point-buy system and a hero point system, and the nomenclature of these points and those points, which are not the same points, gets confusing. It’s all about jargon, and we’ll find terms that don’t overlap and lead to misunderstanding eventually.

Our Character Creation

Following through on Our Core Mechanic… part of Our House System, currently in playtest and development.

Our house rules, as yet untitled, are a point-build system. You start with 10 points to purchased abilities bonuses; this number may increase or decrease after more playtesting, and can be tweaked by the gamemaster to suit the type of game being run, but the default at the moment is 10.

Each point translates to a +1 bonus. If you put 2 points into something, it’s +3, 3 points is +3, and so in. Easy, non-confusing, straightforward. The maximum bonus you can buy is +5, although again, the gamemaster can tweak that to fit the needs of their game. This means a starting character could have 10 abilities at +1, two at +5, or any combination on between.

The abilities are broken into broad categories. Each will have a pick list to choose from, as well as guidelines for creating your own abilities subject to gamemaster approval. This means you can choose nothing but existing abilities, or have nothing but abilities of your own design, or a combination of the two.

Traits
Traits are abilities that describe the character. They are relatively narrow in focus, but have broad applications. A character might be strong, intelligent, wise, or charismatic. They might be careful, forceful, or quick. You might want them to be ruggedly handsome, diplomatic, or ambidextrous. Your character will not have every trait available — if you don’t have it, you can still roll to do things, just without positive modifiers —and not all characters will have the same traits.

Race/Species Traits
In the Foragers Guild setting, this will be things like elf, dwarf, human, and so on. In Starship Tyche, this will be human, Titanian, T’Leng, and other races. You don’t get things automatically, but can choose traits from an established list. There will also be guidelines for creating your own race, with gamemaster input and approval.

Class
In Foragers Guild this will be familiar things like fighter, cleric, wizard, thief, and so on. In Starship Tyche, you’ll find things like Science Officer or Engineering Officer. Again, these are not freebies, they are lists of abilities that you can pick from. You can mix and match. You will also have guidelines to create your own class abilities if you want to play something unusual.

What I’m Solving For
I enjoy the structure of classes-and-levels games, but I also like the freeform nature of games that allow you to create your own abilities. At the same time, like point-buy systems but dislike games that require me to have a graphing calculator handy. I went for balance. The math is easy (one-for-one, with an easy-to-remember cap). There are pre-written abilities to choose from if you’re new or need easy prep, but you can also create your own abilities so you’re not restricted and your character can stand out.

Why This Is Cool
You’re not left hanging without clear examples of abilities and how they’re created, but you’re not beholden to a huge list. You can also create exactly the character you want, within the point limitation. It also means that if you want to be trait-heavy at the expense of race or class, you can do so. If you want to focus on the character’s racial abilities at the expense of class and make an exemplary elf, or build the paragon of a class without any racial or other traits, have at it.

Still Being Hammered Out
In playtesting we’re still playing with penalties — things the character is not good at. You take a -1 in dexterity, for example, and in return you get an extra +1 to put somewhere else. The current cap is -5, so you can take up to 5 points in penalties in return for an extra 5 points for abilities.

Up next: Our Hero Points

Our Core Mechanic: Even/Odd Clarification

Following up on Our Core Mechanic… part of Our House System currently in playtst and develpment

The most frequent topic to come up in feedback about our core mechanic is about interpretation of even/odd results. While we will have guidelines on what it means to various types of common checks (combat, social skills, disarming traps, and so on) it is intentionally vague. That’s where it can be tailored to fit with character flaws and situational issues. It’s where the twists in the story happen.

Example 1: You roll high (succeed) but odd (unfavorable). The character scales the wall, but drops her knife, possibly alerting the guards (you win but opponent gains advantage).

Example 2: You roll low (miss) but even (favorable). You miss hitting the orc with your axe, but in evading your blow he stumbled backward, possibly falling (you lose but gain advantage).

There are mechanical consequences as well, which tie into our hero point system (which will be detailed in a later post). In brief, if the situation is that you spend or earn a point and you roll even, you keep or gain a point. If you roll odd, it’s gone. If an opponent is spending a point against you and you roll even, they lose the point, but if you roll odd they get the point.

The idea is to make a single roll narratively nuanced. You can succeed in a task but still have consequences, or fail but still manage to come out ahead. As playtest continues we’ll post some actual play excerpts to illustrate more exampled.

 

 

Our Core Mechanic

This is the core mechanic currently being playtested for our as-yet-untitled house system.

Roll a d20. You’ll get two things from the result: high or low and odd or even.

  • If the roll is low (1-10), your character fails.
  • If the roll is high (11-20), your character succeeds.
  • If the roll is odd, it favors your opponent.
  • If the roll is even, it favors you.

Outliers: a 1 is the lowest odd result, so it’s the worst possible result for you. A 20 is the highest even result, so it’s the best possible result for you.

A Handy Table

  • 1 (natural) No, and… (you fail, and something else bad happens to you)
  • Low/Odd No (you fail)
  • Low/Even No, but… (you fail, but something good happens to you)
  • High/Odd Yes, but… (you succeed, but something bad happens to you)
  • High/Even Yes (you succeed)
  • 20 (natural) Yes, and… (you succeed, and something else good happens to you)

There will be modifiers (+1 to +5, -1 to -5) that apply based on ability and conditions that can affect success/failure and even/odd results. A +3 might pull you out of failure into success, but might flip you from even to odd. Your chances of success will increase with skill, because the goal is always “roll 11 or better”, but the odd numbers will aways have unintended consequences.

There will be specific examples of what “but” or “and” mean relative to character abilities. You can read a bit more on even/odd here.

The Problem We’re Solving For

The goal was to create a core mechanic that required no tables. The Handy Table is there for reference and will be included on the character sheet, but in playtest people quickly picked up on the meaning of high/low and odd/even and things flowed smoothly.

We wanted rolls that were both concrete (”you rolled a 5, that’s a failure, period”) and abstract (”but” and “and” leave room for interpretation).

The Case for Polyhedrals

Many of the rules-light and story games I have used to introduce new players to roleplaying use nothing but d6s or playing cards. A frequent response to this is “Don’t we get to use the funny dice?” At the same time, I have met hardcore gamers who have had fun with alternative games but commented that it doesn’t feel like a roleplaying game without polyhedral dice.

The Backup Plan

If polyhedral dice aren’t available, take an ordinary deck of playing cards. Remove the face cards (jack, queen, king). Aces are equal to 1. Black is high, red is low. Shuffle the cards and draw as needed, interpreting the cards using the same high/low odd/even matrix.

Secret Origins: Starship Tyche

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the original Star Trek. Of all the series, all the novels and games and other media, that’s my favorite. It still resonates with me as much as it did when I first watched it as a kid. My reasons are no different than anyone else’s: I love the characters and their relationships, I love the social issues addressed allegorically in the stories, I love the emphasis on science even if the science is hokey and wrong, I love the pulpish action, I love the idea that whatever our issues are today we’ll survive them and move forward.

What I feel officially licensed Star Trek roleplaying game have missed is the sense of discovery and social conscience. I’m not saying they were bad games — I’m quite fond of both the original FASA RPG and the Last Unicorn Games RPG – but they were focused on what had gone before. Rather than giving me the tools for my group/crew to discover new worlds and new civilizations, or to learn new things about the established but mostly glossed-over races and places seen on the shows and movies, we get a lot of details codifying what were already familiar with. Yes, I love John M. Ford’s take on the Klingons; it’s brilliant. I just wish there were still some mysteries about them left for my players to explore.

My goal for Starship Tyche was to create a Trek-like game that resonated with fans and played with the same tropes, but captured the elements of Trek that other games missed. I wanted to tie some things together in a more coherent manner — a connection between all of the computer-gods, a common origin for all of those super-intelligent godlike beings, a reason why certain things kept coming up over and over again. I also wanted to move beyond the social issues of the 1960s and take a look at contemporary problems — gender issues, terrorism, nationalism, religious extremism, income disparity, any number of things. The goal was to not just try to file the serial numbers off of Trek and make a cheap knock-off.

The original plan was to create adventures that riff on all 79 episodes of the original series, taking the elements, updating them, trying to tie them together, making them not just fit in with the setting we created buy expanding upon it. I thing we did pretty well. I think there are things we can do better. A second edition of Starship Tyche is on the top of the list, once we get the house rules completed. Instead of individual episodes, we’re going to do Episode Guide books, one per season, with 13 episode/adventures in it. That’s six seasons, if you’re counting, with a pilot adventure in the core book.

What I really want to emphasize isn’t starship combat. I want to focus on worldbuilding and story potential. I want to create a universe that’s just as textured and intriguing as Trek, with ample room for players and gamemasters to add their own touches and emphasize the elements they love best. I want to create a setting that isn’t Trek, but scratches the same itch, offers the same sorts of inspirations, and allows for some level of creative fulfillment.

Secret Origins: Santa Claus Conquers the Martians

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is a roleplaying game that I really love. Playing it and running it has been ridiculously fun. Writing it was a joy, and out of everything I’ve ever worked on it’s possibly my favorite. It’s also one of the worst-selling things that we’ve ever published. A lot of people don’t seem to get it. One of the responses on Facebook when we announced the game said, and I quote, “Oh HELL no!”

Hey, I don’t expect every game, or any game, to be all things to all people. I certainly don’t expect a game like Santa Claus Conquers the Martians to have universal appeal. I still hold out hope that it will grow a long tail and eventually find an audience. I’d just be happy if it found a small core audience of people who love it as much as I do.

The original movie was banged out over a couple of weekends in 1964, and featured a bunch of well-regarded Broadway actors. The thing had no budget, but it wasn’t meant to be a blockbuster. It didn’t even have national distribution. It was meant to be a holiday film for kids, back before there were a plethora of holiday special on television or color TVs to watch them on, with limited regional distribution. It’s not an Ed Wood situation, where anyone thought they were making great art.

Entertainment at the time was leaning toward camp. As I explain in the book, this was an era when My Favorite Martian, The Munsters, The Addams Family, I Dream of Jeannie, and Bewitched were popular on TV. Lost In Space would eventually follow them down the road of camp, and the crowning jewel of such silliness, Adam West’s Batman, was only a couple of years off. The formula of mixing sci-fi and fantasy with comedy was an established thing. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians is in the same vein.

That’s why the central conceit of the game is that the movie was widely distributed and a box-office smash, and spawned a spin-off television series. Not only do you have a game where you could play elves and Martians, and fiddle with both magic and technology, you have all of the possibilities presented in early 1960s sitcoms to tinker with.

Once we get the new house rules broken in, a second edition of the game will go on the schedule. I’d like to get it going for Christmas of this year, but that might be pushing it. I also want to do a campaign book, turning all 13 episodes of the fictional first season into playable adventures further expanding the film’s universe while playing with all of those wonderful wacky sitcom tropes. Until then, the first edition is still available, powered by Fate Accelerated.

Secret Origins: Fate RPG

My fascination with Fate RPG boils down to this: It’s a solid system that’s easy to teach to new players, the rules are not overly complicated for casual players, and it has an Open Game License. My real interests lay in writing settings. Fate is malleable enough that I could do just that, focusing on setting and adventures rather than rules. In theory, the rules familiarity could work in my favor, as fans of the system seek out new material.

The drawback in working with Fate is the same as with Pathfinder: an excess of competition. Evil Hat puts out a lot of high-quality material. They’ve set a fantastic standard, and overall that’s a good thing. It does mean, however, that when people look at how they can spend their gaming dollar they have to choose between the name brand and the off-brand. I do not blame anyone for picking the tried and trusted name brand over the little guy.

There’s also a stigma around third-party publishers in general. Some people feel that stapling a setting to an existing set of rules is cheating; if you want to make a game, go all the way and write rules too. Big publishers with established bona fides — people who have worked for the established game publishers — typically get a pass on this, and that’s fair. They’ve made their bones and established their credibility in the big pond, so they’re not-so-little fish when they swim in the little pond. There are also enough third-party publishers churning out crap to lend some truth to the assessment that third party material can be outright crap. We’re back to how we spend our gaming dollar, and the value of established brand names.

To excel at third-party publishing, you either need to be extremely different, or exactly the same, as what’s selling well on the existing market. The problem with being different is that you risk alienating the core audience. If I write a Fate-based game that radically changes what people expect from a Fate-based game, then you’ve lost the fan base. If you’re not different enough, then you end up with a bland vanilla product that offers no compelling reason to buy it over something official. If you want to be the same, then you need to develop very similar trade dress and style, which in many cases seems to mean hiring the same artists and writers that the official company uses. That makes business sense, but it doesn’t seem as if it’s very fulfilling creatively.

In trying to establish a means to differentiate Asparagus Jumpsuit’s products from other third-party publishers, the answer seems to be to go all—in and write a system. Rather than taking a flexible system like Fate and bending it to fit the needs of a setting, just write a rules set. The best way to overcome the stigma and drawbacks of being a third-party publisher is to simply stop being a third party publisher.

AJ, as I’ve stated elsewhere, began as an experiment while I was in business school. As I leanr things, the business evolved. We have a whole roster of games that we want to release, based more on the power of the settings than the rules. We were going to hang them on the Fate framework, but a compelling business case can be made for developing a house system to suit those needs. This dovetails with our assessment of our Pathfinder line; the next logical step in writing game aids to help with character creation and gamemaster prep is to write a game that simplifies character creation and gamemaster prep.

That said, we’re stepping out of the Fate arena. New games will have new rules. We’re already eying eventual second editions of Starship Tyche and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians with the new rules. What we’ve learned — what I’ve learned — from what Asparagus Jumpsuit has published so far will only serve to make what we publish next that much better.

Secret Origins: Pathfinder

Back in the 1970s, the Proctor & Gamble company thought they were in the soap business. They had a product, Ivory Snow, that was really nothing but soap flakes. The target market was for cleaning cloth diapers, and their selling point was that their soap was gentle on a baby’s skin. To maintain their market share, they were continually looking for ways to make their product “new and improved.” There are only so many ways to make better soap, though.

One day, someone made the intuitive leap that they weren’t in the soap business. Their actual business was the hygienic care of infants. They weren’t looking for better soap, they were looking for better ways to clean diapers. New and improved Ivory Snow turned out to be Pampers, the first disposable diapers.

I started writing Pathfinder Roleplaying Game material because I was in a long-running campaign with time-harried friends. People with 60+ hour per week careers, families, and all sorts of other commitments. Gamemaster prep was a chore – there were night when we played a board game because the gamemaster hadn’t had time to put anything together. Leveling up was a chore – no one had time in between games to do it, so we’d end up spending a session sitting there passing books around, reading over feats and spells and making decisions.

The Character Workbooks were originally just written for my group, before there were released as a very successful product. They continue to be bestsellers. The Monster Hide and Instant Character lines were put together for gamemasters who wanted non-player characters and alternative monsters but didn’t have the time to write them up.

I love Pathfinder. The 3.x rules in general are my favorite edition of the game. I’ve played it since day one. But it’s a pain in the arse for time-strapped players and gamemasters. I wrote those game aids to try to soften the barriers to entry.

When it came time to look at what other Pathfinder material I could create, I hit a wall. I could make more monsters, or more non-player characters. I could take the next logical step and start selling pregenerated characters of various races, classes, and levels. All of which were addressing the same issues over and over. What would a truly “new and improved” solution to the problems at hand look like?

How about a game that makes character creation, character advancement, and gamemaster prep a lot easier?

That’s why I’m no longer working on new Pathfinder material, and have turned my sites to writing the Foragers Guild Roleplaying Game.

Secret Origins: Asparagus Jumpsuit

Asparagus Jumpsuit was formed at the intersection of two personal needs. The economic downturn had struck, and like many people I found myself without a job but still possessed of a need for food and shelter. I lived in a state with high unemployment and low wages, so the best opportunity seemed to lay with starting my own business. My wife Katie, who years earlier had abandoned the corporate world to follow her passion to be a teacher, encouraged me to follow my bliss. That’s how I ended up pursuing a career as a writer in general, and a roleplaying game writer in particular.

Secret Origins: Asparagus Jumpsuit

At the same time, I’d gone back to school for a business degree. I already had degrees in unmarketable subjects, and I knew that I wanted to pursue being a self-employed entrepreneur for the long haul, so business school seemed like a solid investment. I started Asparagus Jumpsuit with the idea of using it as a “live lab.” Rather than just reading about things, I put theory into practice with a small startup business. It wasn’t a requirement for school, but I took ideas from various classes and experimented with them. I had practical applications for marketing, distribution, and accounting. I incorporated these experiences into my papers. I got positive feedback from professors for my initiative. Even the things I did wrong paid off with knowledge and experience. I graduated summa cum laude.

It’s Not All Fun and Games

There are some folks who’ve lobbed some criticism at me for my business-first approach to game publishing. Games should be fun, they say, not a money-making scheme. Well, why can’t they be both? Most of your favorite geek things weren’t created by non-profit corporations. Games should be written due to a passion for gaming, they say, not so you can pay your rent. Well, if I can write a passion project and keep a roof over my head, that seems win-win. The challenge is to put so much passion into it that the game is so good it catches fire and sells really, really well. It also means making decisions about what to write an publish; given the choice between writing something that only interests me, or writing something that a whole bunch of people will think is cool and be willing to pay for, my time is better spent on the thing a whole lot of people will be able to enjoy.

The thing is, I’m as much of a business geek as I am a game geek. I like seeing how all of the moving parts work, how systems connect, and frankly how to min-max things for the best results with the least effort. There’s a creative component to both. I write more about the intersection of creativity and business at my personal website, and more about the roleplaying side of things here, but for me they’re intertwined. The measure of a good game is how many people are playing it and talking about it. My ability to continue writing and publishing things that I love depends on sales. The desire to continue paying my bills doing this drives me to work harder to create better games.