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Reality Check: 24 October 2020

An update on the Hippogryph Codex, and another major print-on-demand update. This is the Reality Check, the Dancing Lights Press weekly newsletter for 24 October 2020.

Hippogryph Codex

With the usual caveat that I am one person and could be unexpectedly run over by a truck, the Hippogryph Codex will be out next week. I think it was Wolfgang Baur who once said that a late book is only late once, but a bad book is bad forever. I wanted to make one more editing pass before I sent it off to the printers. This is possibly the best thing I’ve ever created. Even keeping with the ethos of the Black Box Movement, I want you to have the best possible experience with this system.

This past week I posted several excerpts from the book. I’ll continue to do so until it’s released. If you want to see what the system is about and how it works, have a read!

Print on Demand Update

I’m still awaiting delivery of proofs (“test copies” from the printer) for the following titles:

  • DoubleZero Core Book (hardcover) – shipped, awaiting delivery
  • DoubleZero Core Book (softcover) – shipped, awaiting delivery
  • Building Theme (softcover) – shipped, awaiting delivery
  • Building Adventures (softcover) – shipped, awaiting delivery
  • Adventure Generator 1 (softcover) – shipped, awaiting delivery
  • Adventure Generator 2 (softcover) – shipped, awaiting delivery
  • Building Monsters (softcover) -shipped, awaiting delivery
  • Hippogryph Zine Issue Four (softcover) – approved by printer, waiting to ship
  • Hippogryph Zine Issue Five (softcover) – approved by printer, waiting to ship
  • Hippogryph Zine Issue Six (softcover) – approved by printer, waiting to ship
  • Hippogryph Zine Issue Seven (softcover) – approved by printer, waiting to ship
  • Hippogryph Codex (hardcover) – awaiting printer approval
  • Hippogryph Codex (softcover) – awaiting printer approval

As soon as I receive and review the proofs for each title, assuming everything is correct, they will become available as print-on-demand. If you have purchased a PDF version through DriveThruRPG, and have opted in to receive email from Dancing Lights Press, you will receive a coupon code for the PDF price off of your POD order. There will also be updates in all of the usual places as the print option for each title becomes available.

Recent News and Updates

This week there were several posts where I answered questions from fans and readers.

Reality Check: 24 October 2020

This weekly update is called the Reality Check because it’s designed to hold me accountable. I want to clearly communicate what’s going on with Dancing Lights Press products in development. My goal is to set realistic expectations for new releases, and give you a glimpse inside the process of lo-fi publishing.
I want to thank you for your continued support. If you’ve loved something I’ve published, please consider taking a moment to give it a five-star rating and a favorable review at DriveThruRPG. It’s a small thing that has a lot of impact.

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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Reality Check: 17 October 2020

The Hippogryph Codex is soon to be a thing that exists, and a major print-on-demand update. This is the Reality Check, the Dancing Lights Press weekly newsletter for 17 October 2020.

My entire life right now is getting the Hippogryph System out. Well, that and waiting for progress on outstanding print-on-demand titles. So let’s jump right into it!

Hippogryph System

The book is in final editing and will be available before the end of the month. We considered making it available for preorder, but there’s always that one guy that doesn’t understand what a preorder is and thinks we’re asking him to pay for the book twice.

Until then, check out Issue Zero of the Hippogryph Zine! It’s where it all began! This is the earliest prototype of the ideas and mechanics that will be expressed more fully in the Hippogryph Codex. While the zine is gone, the concepts live on and form the basis of the system that will be fully supported with more titles throughout the rest of this year and into 2021. And the PDF of the zine is only 99 cents!

The print-on-demand files have already been sent to the printer and are in the queue. They’ve been impacted by COVID-19, and have been both short-staffed and backlogged, so please be patient and kind. When they get the proofs printed and sent off, I will await delivery. We know that mail delivery is all manner of messed up, too, so they will take a while. As soon as I receive the proofs to review, assuming there are no issues, the print-in-demand versions will be made available. For the Hippogryph Codex there will be both hardcover and softcover editions.

DoubleZero System

Following the Hippogryph Codex, the next two new releases will be for DoubleZero. There will be official announcements and cover reveals starting on Monday, 26 October. Stay tuned.

Print on Demand Update

I’m still awaiting delivery of proofs (“test copies” from the printer) for the following titles:

  • DoubleZero Core Book (hardcover) – shipped, awaiting delivery
  • DoubleZero Core Book (softcover) – shipped, awaiting delivery
  • Building Theme (softcover) – awaiting printer approval
  • Building Adventures (softcover) – awaiting printer approval
  • Adventure Generator 1 (softcover) – awaiting printer approval
  • Adventure Generator 2 (softcover) – awaiting printer approval
  • Building Monsters (softcover) – awaiting printer approval

As soon as I receive and review each title, assuming everything is correct, they will become available as print-on-demand. If you have purchased a PDF version through DriveThruRPG, and have opted in to receive email from Dancing Lights Press, you will receive a coupon code for the PDF price off of your POD order. There will also be updates in all of the usual places as the print option for each title becomes available).

Recent News and Updates


Reality Check: 17 October 2020

This weekly update is called the Reality Check because it’s designed to hold me accountable. I want to clearly communicate what’s going on with Dancing Lights Press products in development. My goal is to set realistic expectations for new releases, and give you a glimpse inside the process of lo-fi publishing.
I want to thank you for your continued support. If you’ve loved something I’ve published, please consider taking a moment to give it a five-star rating and a favorable review at DriveThruRPG. It’s a small thing that has a lot of impact.


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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Reality Check: 10 October 2020

Building Monsters is out, Hippogryph Codex is next, and we’re finally caught up! This is the Reality Check, the Dancing Lights Press weekly newsletter for 10 October 2020.

At the risk of jinxing things, the production schedule is back on track. The Hippogryph Codex is going to be the next release. After that, I’ll begin to talk more about what’s in the pipeline, and what I have planned for 2021. In brief, the focus is going to be the DoubleZero System, the Hippogryph System, and building community.

Building Series

This whole week has been about the Building Series. We finally released Building Monsters. There are several new posts offering some background on the series (see Recent News and Updates, below). For the moment there are no more title planned for the series. That doesn’t mean it’s cancelled, or even complete. I’ve said all that I need to say in the direction right now. It’s time to apply it to DoubleZero and Hippogryph.

DoubleZero System

If things go according to plan and the Hippogryph Codex (see below) gets wrapped up on time, I may have time to complete a small DoubleZero sourcebook before the end of this month. No promises, and no more details. I’m not announcing anything until Hippogryph is put to bed.

There will definitely be at least one new DoubleZero release next month, however. With any luck, both the hardcover and softcover editions of the DoubleZero Core Book will be available to order. It all depends on ho the pandemic and the mail situation play out.

Hippogryph System

100% of my attention is currently on completing the Hippogryph Codex. Barring resurgent illness, I want it released by the end of this month. I know I’ve already said that multiple times, but I’m so happy that it’s finally going to be out in the world. There will be a lot of posts in the coming week talking more about it, and giving some more details about the system.

I’m doing my best to get the print version of the Codex out as soon as possible. Again, it all comes down to the pandemic and the mail. I can’t make the printer approve the digital files and print the proofs any faster, and I can’t get the proofs delivered for approval any quicker.

Recent News and Updates

Reality Check: 10 October 2020

This weekly update is called the Reality Check because it’s designed to hold me accountable. I want to clearly communicate what’s going on with Dancing Lights Press products in development. My goal is to set realistic expectations for new releases, and give you a glimpse inside the process of lo-fi publishing.
I want to thank you for your continued support. If you’ve loved something I’ve published, please consider taking a moment to give it a five-star rating and a favorable review at DriveThruRPG. It’s a small thing that has a lot of impact.

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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The Future of the Building Series

Building Series

With the publication of Building Monsters tomorrow, everything in the pipeline will be released. Nothing else for the line has been announced past this point. I want to take a moment to address the future of the Building Series, as it stands right now.

The Future of the Building Series

There are still titles in the series not available as print-on-demand. All of them are in process. The global pandemic and the situation with the USPS has made things painfully slow. There is a backlog at the printer, so it is taking longer than usual for them to approve digital files that have been submitted, print the proofs, and send them out. Delivery takes an eternity. Paying for faster delivery at this point is throwing money down a hole, because there’s no guarantee it will arrive any faster. According to some sources, media mail is taking 45 to 60 days.

The processes expressed in the Building Series can be seen in the DoubleZero and the Hippogryph System. You will see titles for those lines that are partial adaptations. That doesn’t mean you’re going to see Building Characters for DoubleZero or Building Worlds for Hippogryph, but the methodologies in the Building titles will be used to create material for those systems. I created them a universal toolkits for a reason.

There are no new titles planned specifically for the Building Series. My production calendar for 2021 is focused entirely on DoubleZero, Hippogryph, and the Black Box Movement. That doesn’t mean that the line is cancelled, or complete. It means that my time is finite, and at the moment I’ve said everything I want to say with that series. The things I want to express, and the tabletop roleplaying material I want to create, are best served with the other lines. Never say never, but for the moment I need to focus on other things.


About the Building Series

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 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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Problems the Building Series is Solving For

Building Series

Yesterday I wrote about what led me to create the Building Series. Today I want to get into the mission and vision I have for the line. I want to talk a little bit about the problems the Building Series is solving for.

Problems the Building Series is Solving For

My view of the Building Series has always been that they’re stepping stones. They’re tools that I created specifically so I can use them to create other things. Obviously, this is why they’ve become best sellers, because other people have the same creative needs. They’re system-agnostic because character development, worldbuilding, and adventure design are universal. We’re all solving for the same problems, regardless of mechanics.

There’s also a philosophy woven into things. I think that what makes roleplaying great transcends system. That’s not to say mechanics don’t matter. They’re just part of the overall equation. I have played in terrible campaigns using fantastic, groundbreaking, absolutely genius systems. Some of the best campaigns I’ve ever been in, though, have use awful rules. All of the other stuff, the creativity of the players and the guide, compensated for truly dreadful systems.

The bestselling status of the core Building Series titles also helped me to prove a business point. People will, in fact, but tabletop roleplaying material that doesn’t have art. You don’t need to put more effort into production value than you do into the information you’re trying to present. Naturally, this depends on the type of book you’re releasing, but it dispels the notion that “you need art” is a universal truth. It’s the vanguard for the Black Box Movement.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, I want to help people create things. The Building Series offers up outlines, templates, and prompts. Each book is meant to help you think creatively, and organize your ideas. At the same time, I wanted to show people that you don’t need to raise a ton of money to publish a book. I wanted to demonstrate lo-fi publishing in action. These books are not only toolkits, they’re proof of concept. You, too, can successfully create and publish tabletop roleplaying stuff.


About the Building Series

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 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.