Coming in 2021 from Dancing Lights Press

Here’s a small portion of what’s coming in 2021 from Dancing Lights Press. As always, I can’t give firm release dates because I’m a one-person operation. If the New Year is anything like 2020 there will be variables beyond my control, from pandemic to printer shutdowns to postal issues.

How to Gamemaster

When I first started roleplaying, I had to be the gamemaster. My friends wanted to play, and I was the person that stepped up. The hobby was still relatively new, so there weren’t other gamemasters in my area to learn from. Actual play streams didn’t exist. The gamemaster guide had a lot of information, but stop short of teaching my how to run the game. All I could do was wing it and hope for the best.

In talking with other game designers, chatting with my gamer friends, and lurking on social media, a lot of people expressed a wish for a system-agnostic gamemaster’s guide that taught the fundamentals. I don’t mean building props or honing your skills as a voice actor. I mean practical things like preparing an adventure, pacing a game session, and wrangling unruly players.

How to Gamemaster is the book I wished I’d had back then. It’s 96 pages of distilled wisdom honed from decades to running tabletop roleplaying games. No matter what system, setting, or genre you’re using, you will find tips and tricks for honing your skills. The path to becoming the best gamemaster you can be starts here.

Building Genre

The next wave in the Building line will be the Building Genre series. Each book will cover one genre (fantasy, science fiction, horror, and so on) and dive deep into the tropes, themes, and idea that define it. Learn how to leverage the strengths of genre in character development, worldbuilding, and adventure design. Discover how to tweak mechanics to support genre ideals. As with the rest of the Building Series, these will be 96 page, digest-sized volumes.

DoubleZero System

The DoubleZero Guide Manual will be a variation of How to Gamemaster (above) specifically tailored to the needs of the DoubleZero System. Sections will cover the preparing “real-world”-based adventures in settings that don’t feature magic, superpowers, or other special abilities. Everything you need to be the guide for a DoubleZero campaign (short of the core rules) will be found in this book.

The DoubleZero Companion will offer optional mechanics and alternate systems to help expand and streamline your DoubleZero game. Simplified rules for weapons, vehicles, and gadgets can speed up play. Sections on investigation, making things, and social interactions will take the system far beyond car chases and firefights. The book will broaden the utility and versatility of the system.

I’m retooling how I want to publish DoubleZero Settings. Going forward I want to do full 96-page books that are nearly pick-up-and-play. They will have more extensive backgrounds, adventure outlines, pregenerated characters, and an “lite” version of the rules included. I want you to be able to play the setting without the core book, but still get more out of it with the full system.

Hippogryph System

The Hippogryph Guide Manual will be another variant of the How to Gamemaster book, focused on running the Hippogryph System. Sections will cover how to run story-focused, character-driven high fantasy adventures. Everything you will need to become a guide and prepare Hippogryph campaigns (aside from the core rules) will be included in this book.

The Hippogryph Companion will offer systems and mechanics that take the game further away from murder hobo tropes. Sections will cover creating spells, conducting investigations, and having adventures that don’t involve slaughter and theft. This book is designed to move the system more toward story gaming and away from some of the problematic legacy of traditional fantasy roleplaying.

Hippogryph Settings are going to follow the same paradigm as the DoubleZero Settings above. I want to look at things that haven’t been done to death. No typically fantasy roleplaying worlds. I want to create situations that need to be solved using diplomacy, solving mysteries, and creativity. The further I can take the settings away from kill things and take their stuff (we have plenty of those games already) while still generating excitement and providing opportunities for fun, the better.