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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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New Release: Building Worlds [Second Edition]

A new edition of the bestselling classic, Setting Design!

Building Worlds Second EditionThe term worldbuilding gets thrown around frequently by tabletop roleplayers in reference to the construction of a fantasy realm or even an entire fictional universe. There are maps and ecologies and complex histories involved, with all sorts of engaging little details sprinkled in. While these worlds are presumably being created to provide a grand stage for an ongoing campaign, the act of worldbuilding is often an end unto itself. It’s a creative outlet even if it never gets used in a game, and one that’s a whole lot of fun.

If you’ve got time for that, great. There’s no wrong way to engage in that sort of worldbuilding. One of the greatest challenges that many gamemasters face, though, is preparation time. There’s never enough of it. One of the risks of traditional worldbuilding is the tendency to gather more information than you actually need. You want to be sure you know absolutely everything about your setting, no matter how trivial, just in case it comes up. You don’t want to have to stop in the middle of the action to look something up. It’s normal to want all of the pieces have to fit together neatly, so that your official canon has no embarrassing continuity holes.

The other option is to just wing it. Start playing and make it all up as you go. If you’re well-versed in a particular genre, or know an established setting like the back of your hand, you can make this method work. You can craft something from whole cloth as your setting unfolds. Not everyone is great at that sort of improvisation, though. It’s stressful, and doesn’t always lead to a good experience for anyone.

This book isn’t about worldbuilding for its own sake. You’re not going to learn how to create a massive, detailed encyclopedia for a fully-formed cosmos, although you absolutely can use it for such an undertaking. I’m not going to show you how to write the ultimate travel guide for an imaginary place. It’s not a book full of checklists and random tables. This is about focusing your efforts, and assembling the key, critical elements needed in order to run compelling and richly-textured adventures. It can lean more toward top-down or bottom up design, but what matters most is your intention. Know the problem that you’re solving for before you begin. Mindful worldbuilding as we’ll be discussing it in this book means doing things on purpose. It means that every element of your setting is there for a reason. You made a conscious decision to include some things and leave out others because they somehow contribute to the characters, the adventure, and the overall campaign. You only have to do as much work as is necessary to accomplish that, and maybe set up a couple of future adventures.

Building Worlds [Second Edition]

For easy reference this book is broken into three sections:

  • Introduction: A brief overview of what this book is about, the concepts that will be discussed, and ways that you can put it to use for your tabletop roleplaying game.
  • Worldbuilding Format: The standard “stat block” for all of the books in the Building series, this descriptive block will help you help track roleplaying, worldbuilding, and adventure bits regardless of rules. This chapter covers the five components of the of the stat block: Name, Description, Purpose, Modifiers, and Story Points.
  • Worldbuilding Elements: What other games call attributes, statistics, or aspects, elements are the building blocks of anything and everything that can be created for a tabletop roleplaying game. This chapter covers eleven areas for developing worldbuilding elements: Premise, Genre, Place and Time, Theme, Stakes, Locations, Environment, People, Technology, Events, and Vocabulary.

Download your copy now!