A context for discussing ttrpgs. I don’t expect anyone to actually play this. That doesn’t mean that it’s not playable, because I’ve been using variations of hippogryph in my home games for 7 or 8 years now. There’s an unspoken and largely unacknowledged reality, though, that people don’t play all of the games that they buy. Sometimes they don’t even read them. My books, for example, are rife with Easter eggs. In one instance I stuck the phrase “Is anyone actually reading this?” into the middle of a paragraph in one of my best-selling titles. To date, no one has commented on it.
People buy games to read, to collect, and as conversation pieces. It gives them access to current discussions on social media and forums. That’s why, in creating Hippogryph, one of my design goals was to create a context for talking about all things tabletop roleplaying. It’s a starting point for me to write about the hobby, the industry, and fandom. This project exists not to be a house organ beholden to one system or setting. The idea is to lay some common ground where we can talk about larger ideas of creativity and personal expression. What I want to write about is relevant to all tabletop roleplaying games. Having a set of rules to use as an example is a convenience, and to some degree a conceit.
Many of these discussions will be story-focused, for one practical reason: Mechanics only work with the system they were designed for. You can’t write up a character for one system and then play them in another. Many times you can’t even carry characters over from one edition of the same game to another without some conversion. Stories, on the other hand, can move from one media to another, one set of rules to another, with little effort. So can people, for that matter. We can play in one system, genre, or setting and easily transition to another. It’s easier when there are common concepts, in terms of vocabulary and mechanics. To be able to have intelligent and meaningful conversations about tabletop roleplaying, we need an understanding of the metaphorical horse, eagle, and hippogryph.