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Weighing What You Want Against Player Expectations

“I think it’s terribly dangerous for an artist to fulfill other people’s expectations. I think they generally produce their worst work when they do that.”

David Bowie, 1997 interview

I write systems and settings that I want to play, but don’t already exist. They’re created based on my preferred style of play, and the parts of tabletop roleplaying that I enjoy most. The tools that I create are things I use for building characters, worlds, and adventures. They’re all the products that I would buy, if I weren’t the one making them. My own expectations take precedence over other peoples’. These are the things I want.

Of course, these aren’t the things everyone wants. That’s okay. I’m fine with no creating monstrous, expensive hardcover books. That’s not the problem I’m solving for. As a consumer, I can’t afford that stuff. As a minimalist, I don’t have the space for it in my apartment. PDFs and eBooks are better choices for me. I’m not making things in a format that I wouldn’t buy.

This naturally means that people constantly tell me I’m doing it wrong. According to whom? I’m happy with the things I write. I’m making a modest living at it. That’s all I want. And at some point, that’s also really all I need.

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Weighing What You Want Against Player Expectations

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.