Plenty of Unexplored Opportunities

Truth be told, I’m bored with fantasy. Do we really need another fantasy game that’s 99% identical to the hundreds of other fantasy games that already exist? Another game that, if we’re being honest with ourselves, is just someone’s personal hot take on D&D or Game of Thrones or whatever series of novels is hot at the moment? There are plenty of unexplored opportunities in other genres, aren’t there?

Well, maybe, maybe not. I don’t know how many science fiction games claim to be a love letter to Traveller. It seems like every system has it’s own Cthulhu-based sourcebook. Nearly every superhero game makes the safe marketing decision to allow their stuff to be easily warped into a version of the Marvel or DC universes. I love all of those games, and the genres, and the things that inspired them, but honestly, I’m getting bored with the repetition.

Plenty of Unexplored Opportunities

Look, I’ve got my own version of a fantasy heartbreaker out there (Foragers Guild). I created not one but two attempts to remix the Star Trek universe to address my own personal pet peeves (Starlight Manifesto, Starship Tyche). I’m not saying that I’m above any of this.

Lately, though, I’ve been wanting to move in other directions. I published Hardboiled Follies, which is based on things removed from the standard genre well. My work in progress, Gladiolas, draws on fantasy sitcoms of the 1960s — Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, The Addams Family, The Munsters, My Favorite Martian, and so on. It’s not territory that’s been well-trod by roleplaying game designers.

The thing I’m still kicking myself about, though, is that it’s still derivative. These ideas are still putting a spin on something from other media. They’re not wholly original. I think it’s worth worrying about, as a creator, because introspection is good. Ultimately I think it’s something that I need to make peace with, because at this moment I don’t know that tabletop roleplaying as a medium is ready to lead, rather than follow or, at best, reflect.

About Dancing Lights Press

Dancing Lights Press publishes story games that embrace a minimalist aesthetic in design and presentation. Our print books are affordable, at $10 or less. The 6×9 digest format makes them convenient to carry around. The spotlight belongs on the creativity of the players as they converse and collaborate on plot, worldbuilding, and character development. Roleplaying is an activity, not a book. Our titles are merely part of the delivery system.

You can buy Dancing Light Press products at DriveThruRPG

1 comment / Add your comment below

  1. I’ve always wanted to create a tabletop roleplaying game setting which owed nothing to Tolkien, Feist, LeGuin, deCamp, Leiber and so on, or a weird fiction setting which doesn’t once reference HPL or the Mythos, yet still delves into ancient cosmic mysteries.

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