This is a dangerous post because I am currently sleep-deprived. It’s at times like these that I tend to not only wax philosophical, but speak too freely. In looking at today’s RPGaDay word prompt, level, my first thought was that a lever doesn’t work without a fulcrum. That leads, inevitably, to my thoughts on the whole hobby and industry, and its dependence on remix culture.
Let me simplify this as much as possible: I can sell games (a lever) because DriveThruRPG exists (a fulcrum). This the foundational element that allows me to gain leverage. I can make a living creating the things that I do (lever) because an audience already exists for them (fulcrum). Having an existing market is an advantage that amplifies my potential lift. I acknowledge and appreciate this.
A lot of attention goes to unimaginative designs that just rehash what’s already been done. The term “fantasy heartbreaker” was coined for systems that didn’t go far enough. We need to talk more about the other end of the spectrum, the designs that try to reinvent the wheel from scratch. They attempt too much. Lacking any sort of familiarity, they aren’t able to benefit from an existing audience. Their ambition is ultimately their failure. They’ve got a big lever, but without a fulcrum they can’t move anything.
Levers Don’t Work Without a Fulcrum
RPGaDay is an annual event held each August. It asks tabletop gamers to use provided daily prompts to express something fun, interesting, and positive about the hobby. David F. Chapman (Autocratik), the award-winning game designer, created it.
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.