Friday, May 13, 2011

So it begins

The thing I’ve always loved about RPGs is how they help bring your ideas to life. Whether it is designing a character, building a world, or just a simple house rule, RPGs provide all the levers and dials needed to refine your vision. With this complexity, though, comes the risk that sometimes a dial will be turned too far and the consequences won’t be apparent until after months of play. So we publish fixes, but they too carry unintended consequences we cannot yet see.  Overtime, the initial elegance of the system is slowly undermined.

A possible solution would be to develop a system from the ground up that is minimally jarred when the rules change. I set out with that as my mantra some time ago but quickly realized that before you can refine a rule you need data.  You need players figuring out what is wrong and arguing how to make it better.  You need a community.

Over the next few weeks I plan to publish my ideas and defend them as best as possible. I hope that you’ll push back and not cut me any slack. Wherever possible, I designed the system so that it is easy to generate and add new content without upsetting balance. I hope that you’ll be inspired to help populate the game. The goal is that the community that plays it feels like they own it because they can see their work everywhere they look. Pride etched into every rule.

I am basically asking for your trust and your time and I know that neither of those are given cheap. In return I make two promises:
  1. All content developed will be made available for free. In essence we are operating under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license (i.e. you can use, modify, and distribute just not sell and must give credit).
  2. If you invest in us, we’ll invest in you. Your voice will be heard, you can add new content, and you can argue to change a rule (and if folks agree it’ll change). You can help build the game you want.
In closing I’d be remiss to not point out some words of wisdom by Bill Cosby:
I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.

There is no universally ideal system and many folks are playing their ideal system right now. That won’t, and shouldn’t, change. If a community does build up around this system, then they’ll shape it with their own biases and preferences and that is okay too. The goal here is to broadcast ideas, talk about game design, and if we accidentally make something really cool in the process, so be it.

Here’s to hoping.

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