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The Future of the Building Series

Building Series

With the publication of Building Monsters tomorrow, everything in the pipeline will be released. Nothing else for the line has been announced past this point. I want to take a moment to address the future of the Building Series, as it stands right now.

The Future of the Building Series

There are still titles in the series not available as print-on-demand. All of them are in process. The global pandemic and the situation with the USPS has made things painfully slow. There is a backlog at the printer, so it is taking longer than usual for them to approve digital files that have been submitted, print the proofs, and send them out. Delivery takes an eternity. Paying for faster delivery at this point is throwing money down a hole, because there’s no guarantee it will arrive any faster. According to some sources, media mail is taking 45 to 60 days.

The processes expressed in the Building Series can be seen in the DoubleZero and the Hippogryph System. You will see titles for those lines that are partial adaptations. That doesn’t mean you’re going to see Building Characters for DoubleZero or Building Worlds for Hippogryph, but the methodologies in the Building titles will be used to create material for those systems. I created them a universal toolkits for a reason.

There are no new titles planned specifically for the Building Series. My production calendar for 2021 is focused entirely on DoubleZero, Hippogryph, and the Black Box Movement. That doesn’t mean that the line is cancelled, or complete. It means that my time is finite, and at the moment I’ve said everything I want to say with that series. The things I want to express, and the tabletop roleplaying material I want to create, are best served with the other lines. Never say never, but for the moment I need to focus on other things.


About the Building Series

The Building Series is a line of bestselling creative aids for tabletop roleplayers. Each volume focuses on one aspect of roleplaying, like character development, worldbuilding, or adventure design. The books are system-agnostic, meaning they were not written for one specific set of mechanics, genre, or setting. The examples provided are high-level and generic, allowing you to adapt and apply them to the roleplaying system of your choice. Info Page ¦ DriveThruRPG ¦ Our Shop


About Dancing Lights Press

Dancing Lights Press is a lo-fi publisher of tabletop roleplaying systems and system-agnostic creative aids, including the best selling Building series, the DoubleZero action thriller system, and Hippogryph, a fantasy story game system with traditional  roots. Our products embrace a minimalist aesthetic in design and presentation because roleplaying is an activity, not a collection of expensive rulebooks.

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Problems the Building Series is Solving For

Building Series

Yesterday I wrote about what led me to create the Building Series. Today I want to get into the mission and vision I have for the line. I want to talk a little bit about the problems the Building Series is solving for.

Problems the Building Series is Solving For

My view of the Building Series has always been that they’re stepping stones. They’re tools that I created specifically so I can use them to create other things. Obviously, this is why they’ve become best sellers, because other people have the same creative needs. They’re system-agnostic because character development, worldbuilding, and adventure design are universal. We’re all solving for the same problems, regardless of mechanics.

There’s also a philosophy woven into things. I think that what makes roleplaying great transcends system. That’s not to say mechanics don’t matter. They’re just part of the overall equation. I have played in terrible campaigns using fantastic, groundbreaking, absolutely genius systems. Some of the best campaigns I’ve ever been in, though, have use awful rules. All of the other stuff, the creativity of the players and the guide, compensated for truly dreadful systems.

The bestselling status of the core Building Series titles also helped me to prove a business point. People will, in fact, but tabletop roleplaying material that doesn’t have art. You don’t need to put more effort into production value than you do into the information you’re trying to present. Naturally, this depends on the type of book you’re releasing, but it dispels the notion that “you need art” is a universal truth. It’s the vanguard for the Black Box Movement.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, I want to help people create things. The Building Series offers up outlines, templates, and prompts. Each book is meant to help you think creatively, and organize your ideas. At the same time, I wanted to show people that you don’t need to raise a ton of money to publish a book. I wanted to demonstrate lo-fi publishing in action. These books are not only toolkits, they’re proof of concept. You, too, can successfully create and publish tabletop roleplaying stuff.


About the Building Series

The Building Series is a line of bestselling creative aids for tabletop roleplayers. Each volume focuses on one aspect of roleplaying, like character development, worldbuilding, or adventure design. The books are system-agnostic, meaning they were not written for one specific set of mechanics, genre, or setting. The examples provided are high-level and generic, allowing you to adapt and apply them to the roleplaying system of your choice. Info Page ¦ DriveThruRPG ¦ Our Shop


About Dancing Lights Press

Dancing Lights Press is a lo-fi publisher of tabletop roleplaying systems and system-agnostic creative aids, including the best selling Building series, the DoubleZero action thriller system, and Hippogryph, a fantasy story game system with traditional  roots. Our products embrace a minimalist aesthetic in design and presentation because roleplaying is an activity, not a collection of expensive rulebooks.

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Why I Created the Building Series

Building Series

No matter what you create, it’s important to have the proper tools. For a writer, that can mean word processing software, a grasp of spelling and grammar, and a good thesaurus. You need research material, of course, and a functional knowledge of the topic you’re writing about. Sometimes you need an outlining tool and some prompts to stimulate your imagination. The last point is why I created the Building Series.

Why I Created the Building Series

When I first started in the tabletop roleplaying hobby, I read a lot. Since my journey began back in the Stone Age with Red Box and 1st Edition AD&D hardcovers, that meant Appendix N. It also included reading a lot of history. Because I wanted to be a better gamemaster, I read books on oral traditions of storytelling, acting, and any Writer’s Digest book I could lay my hands on.

Over the years I amassed tons of notes. There were some habits that I developed that I never wrote down, but helped me with preparing games. I began to develop a philosophy as well. There are things people do because that’s just how they’ve always been done. Not enough critical analysis is give to what’s actually important, or meaningful, and what’s just there because it’s tradition.

I wanted to organize all of this information into a format that I could use more easily. A personal reference that I could turn to when creating characters, engaging in worldbuilding, or putting together adventures. As I branched out into writing systems and settings, I wanted a sort of style guide. It would allow me to say the things that I wanted to say, and remain consistent.

Tools I Use

The end result is the Building Series. These are the books I use whether I’m prepping a campaign or writing a sourcebook. I made them system-agnostic because I’ve put them to work for everything from classic fantasy to modern espionage, Victorian horror to near-future superheros, 1930s pulp to space opera. They are tools that I use, and I’m proud that so many other people have embraced them and added them to their library.

 


About the Building Series

The Building Series is a line of bestselling creative aids for tabletop roleplayers. Each volume focuses on one aspect of roleplaying, like character development, worldbuilding, or adventure design. The books are system-agnostic, meaning they were not written for one specific set of mechanics, genre, or setting. The examples provided are high-level and generic, allowing you to adapt and apply them to the roleplaying system of your choice. Info Page ¦ DriveThruRPG ¦ Our Shop

About Dancing Lights Press

Dancing Lights Press is a lo-fi publisher of tabletop roleplaying systems and system-agnostic creative aids, including the best selling Building series, the DoubleZero action thriller system, and Hippogryph, a fantasy story game system with traditional  roots. Our products embrace a minimalist aesthetic in design and presentation because roleplaying is an activity, not a collection of expensive rulebooks.

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Now Available: Building Theme [Revised]

Building Series

Download your copy of Building Theme

When discussing any other form of storytelling, the concept of utilizing and building theme will eventually come up. It doesn’t matter if the medium is a novel, a film, a television series, even a comic book or a song. The people having the discussion might be writers, readers, critics, or academics. Opinions will be exchanged about what the deeper meaning of the story is, and what the author of the piece was trying to say.

For some reason, in over 30 years in the tabletop roleplaying hobby, I’ve never had a conversation about theme. Not with players, and curiously not with gamemasters, either. There’s always talk about character development, worldbuilding, and even plot, other elements common to most storytelling. Even when talking to other game designers, theme only even comes up in relation to the game-related fiction they’re writing.

Just Entertainment?

The argument against theme, or at least the explanation as to why no one seems to worry about the lack of theme discussion, is that roleplaying games are “just entertainment”. It’s not art, or isn’t intended to be art, it’s only something meant to be fun. That’s awfully dismissive. People are free to play games any way they want. That’s the joy of the hobby. But that attitude precludes the possibility that some people do see roleplaying as an art form, as just another medium for storytelling. It also ignores the fact that a huge swath of the written word throughout history was created purely for entertainment — and most of those works, even the superficial ones, usually have a theme that is the core of what makes them entertaining.

Yes, roleplaying games are different in structure. The needs of the story, the people telling the story, and the audience are unique. They’re still stories. Embracing theme is a relatively easy way to make those stories better. It’s infinitely more interesting when the character kills the monster, steals the treasure, and levels up for some actual purpose — just look as nearly any fantasy novel or movie. Punching supervillains and overthrowing galactic overlords is a lot more fun when there’s some emotional connection to be made, something that people can relate to beyond the fight scenes and explosions.

That’s why I wrote Building Theme.

My hope is that you’ll enjoy this book for what it is. Like any other roleplaying game supplement, you can cherry-pick the bits that work for you. Incorporate them into your adventures and campaigns, and ignore the bits that aren’t your style. The objective is to help you create better engagement with your players. Tell better stories. Your games will ultimately be more enjoyable on as many levels as possible.

Download your copy now from DriveThruRPG.