Since most of my #RPGaDay2020 updates have been about design and community, I might as well continue the trend. In the spirit of the event I will remain positive, even though I came close to speaking some harsh truths yesterday. The bottom line is that creators need to investigate all possibilities. You need to find ways to publish that are both creatively fulfilling and economically feasible.
There was a big blowup on Twitter the other day after one creators shamed another creator over their budget. I saw another conversation where creators were putting other people down for the software they use. When there’s a better way to do something, I’m all about that. Tell me all about the cheaper, faster, easier way that also gives me better results. But stop slamming creators who are doing what they can, where they are, with what they’ve got.
Maybe investigate the problem they’re solving for, too. Their goals may not be their goals, and that’s okay. I’m not here to win award. My motivation is to earn a living entertaining people. There’s no way I can spend 2 years running an open playtest, hiring the best illustrators and paying them what they’re actually worth, and still pay the rent. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to release great stuff. It means I that this is my day job, and I can’t go bankrupt creating a perfect object that, unless it’s a major hit, most people are going to forget about in a month.
Do What You Can, Where You Are, With What You’ve Got
The whole purpose of the Black Box Movement and Lo-Fi Publishing isn’t to tell people there’s One True Way to do things. It’s to reject the very notion that there is One True Way. Insisting that things must be done just so creates barriers to entry for both creators and players. When you allow people to do the best they can, to do things differently, to defy conventional wisdom, we get more voices and more ideas. That’s what helps to grow the hobby, and the community.
Why Designers Need to Investigate All Possibilities
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.