Saturday, May 27, 2017

Design Goals


I'm seeking out reviewers because I like to see my RPG stuff talked about and critiqued.

I don't write because I was bored or to make money, and even though I use the material I come up with, that's not why I self-publish everything.  The real reason I design RPG systems, campaign settings, and scenarios is because I want to share what's in my head with others who might like and want to use them.

So, if you're a blogger of minor renown or semi-professional reviewer, get in touch.  When I send out complimentary PDFs all I expect in return is an honest opinion (and for you to spell my name right).

What does this have to do with design goals?  Well, a prospective reviewer just asked if I had any specific goals written down anywhere because he intended to base his review upon what I was trying to achieve.  I can't remember ever hearing that before... but it's fucking brilliant!

Unfortunately, I didn't have specific criteria written down.  Sure, stray ideas and concepts of a nebulous fashion are strewn over hundreds of posts throughout the internet, but nothing codified, nothing in one place, nothing that can be periodically examined in order to determine if my work serves those goals.

Below is my attempt to summarize Kort'thalis Publishing's design goals.

1.  To provide enough information (setup, characters, action, etc.) so the GM can take the scene, room, or encounter and run with it.  That is, make it their own and propel the adventure forward in an interesting way.  I create the initial 85% and the GM (along with the players, to a lesser extent) supplies the last 15%.  Foundation + inspiration = the rest is up to you.

2.  To create a vibe, theme, mood, atmosphere, or aesthetic that includes the weird, dark, gonzo, sleazy, humorous and/or awesome.  Awesome is probably the most difficult to define, but let me put it this way - whatever I thought was really cool when I was 12... that's what I'm attempting to capture and present to the GM and players.

3.  To use a style of writing, artwork, and layout that presents the work in a clear, pleasing, and awesome way.  I want ideas to be understood by the GM so he can effectively use them.  Even though this is a part-time hobby, I want it to look professional.  And I also want the presentation to grab them by the balls and say, "look at this crazy shit over here!"


Many gamers will read the above and realize the obvious - Venger isn't making RPG stuff for me, he's got a different audience in mind.  If I could make everyone fall in love with everything I write, I would.  But I can't.  So, instead, I try to please myself.  Not because I'm an egotistical ass, but because I need to imagine what readers want and the best way to gauge what these theoretical gamers want is to find out what I want and extrapolate from there.

Those designing their own stuff?  I recommend you write down your goals.  Putting things down on paper will help.  And if it doesn't, then you should probably get out of the writing business.  ;)

VS