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Building Series and the Black Box Movement

In many ways, the Building Series was the proving ground for the Black Box Manifesto. Yes, I was releasing titles before Daniel M. Perez codified what I was trying to do. He provided me with more clarity, though. Something were sort of happening accidentally, or out of necessity. When he wrote the manifesto, it gave me intention. The Building Series and the Black Box Movement are the same thing in my mind.

To whit: the claim that books do not sell without art is debunked by the fact that the first edition of Setting Design is a Platinum Best Seller. Not only does it have no art, it’s got a plain black cover. It’s got a 4.3/5 star rating, which means people think it’s pretty good. Lest you say that’s a fluke, take note that its companion volumes Building Characters and Story Structure are Gold Best Sellers. If you want to dismiss that as a small sample size, and claim that 3 titles doesn’t prove anything, realize that over the past 4+ years I have released over 150 bestselling titles and none of them have interior art.

Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are. Never let anyone tell you how to create, what to create, or why to create. Challenge conventional wisdom. Join the Movement.

About the Building Series

Characters! Worldbuilding! Adventures! 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 the Black Box Movement

The Black Box Movement embraces a minimalist presentation. Books are capped at 96 pages, requiring the writing to be concise. Art is included only when it is the necessary to communicate concepts and ideas, and to make more space for essential text. Production costs are kept low in order to keep the price low, with a current ceiling of $10. We succeed or fail on the strength of our ideas.

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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