Like a doctor, I figure I will “practice” my whole career designing games. So, I thought this might be a good time to share with you some games I have put out on the blog since it started.
This post is not about add-on bits, or drafty drafts that are not finished at all, or art, or reviews, or any of that. This is about games I’ve put on my blog. They are not perfect, but you could sit down and play any of them as-is.
My blog will be three years old in July.
Crumbling Epoch. This playable version was released so I could have a milestone, a snapshot. Work on the game continues, and I will release the next version in July to celebrate the third anniversary of the blog. Still, it will always have that energy of something new, you know?
World Between for Fictive Hack. Perfect? No. Amazing? Yes! This massive book is packed with play options, world description, historical texture, magic systems, monsters (and monster generators, and warband summaries), customizable player backgrounds… and the only playable race is human! Check out the page to see reviews and added content. Jack Shear designed the world, I riffed on my version of it, and this was the first break-away adaptation of Kirin Robinson’s Old School Hack system into an “inspired by” system instead of “adapted from” so much. Filled with public domain art and some from Kirin, and graciously set up with introductions from Kirin and Jack both, I am proud of this book. (Even if I do want to go through and fix it someday, with what I’ve learned about the system from extended play.) Still! If I waited for perfection, would I ever put out anything? This book is fantastic for what it is–capturing the early work of designing the rules and setting around each other.
Thief: The Roleplaying Game. This was in some ways a test run for The World Between for Fictive Hack. It too could benefit from another run through it. But you know… it could be just fine as is, too. I am especially pleased with the flavor in the book.
Fictive Hack: Matt’s Rule Edition. I’ll continue to revisit this with improvements as time goes on, this is the core that other system customization builds around. But it is ready to play RIGHT NOW.
Avengers for Fictive Hack. A sweet little superhero game.
You know, as we talk about the iterative process of game design… we could go back to Talents and Templates, my first book inspired by Old School Hack. It serves as a supplement to that book. It was followed by Portable Pantheon, another Old School Hack supplement, requiring some rules modification. The pantheon is still in use in my Breathing World game, and continues to experience facelifts as my grasp on what I want the rules to do improves, and my experience deepens. But these are major efforts that deserve recognition in the list of games I’ve put out here.
Monsters vs. Mecha. I made this tiny tribute to Pacific Rim. Give the kaiju +2 frame, and it’s pretty balanced and fun (I think.)
2d6 System. I took something someone else put out and tweaked it around to my sensibilities, answering questions I had about its limits. If you look at the “Cool Stuff” tab there are some supporting documents for it too. Not playtested to my satisfaction, but I think it has neat bones.
Crawl d6. A modest board game that I am currently working on turning into a more polished package. I think it is entertaining and flavorful, and when I’m done it will be a downloadable .pdf DIY packet. Still, this version is available for free. Enjoy.
Dwarves of Death. Released to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of my blog, this is a modest offering of horrific evil necromancer dwarves, their pets, their foes, their history, and a deep pile of adventure seeds. After years of engaging with the OSR I see it is more fiddly than OSR sensibilities prefer, but it’s still damn solid and a hilarious work.
I guess the point I’m making, both to myself and to you, is that I’ve got a lot of experience in making these things. Here is work that does not languish in a folder, but actually got finished and shared with the internet and my game table. I have my slumps and my flaming inspirations, I have my good times and my bad times, but through it all… I have done some great things. I want to share them with you.
Post-Script: Scenarios! No, these are not games. But they are part of the game designer’s skill set. Maybe you’ll like some of these as dessert.
Chambers of Persuasion. Death Slaver’s Crypt. The Scaled Lord’s Swamp Domain. Alanar Valley mini-setting. Tomb of the Trog Mummies. The Darkest Drip. The Progressive Underport is a prepared location needing only monsters and loot. Necrodwarf Oracle. Rarefied Blood.
Post-Post Script: Arkham Horror Custom Sets! They show increasing sophistication in presentation. I really like the Wedding Party, Batman, and Arkham Villains in an easily downloaded and printable .pdf. The older sets of Buffy, Supernatural, and the Weird West are still cool. I think in looking at the sets you can see improvement as they go.
Post-Post-Post Script: Dragonslayer Pantheon! I used the random religion generator in the Portable Pantheon to make some system-neutral religious organizations that could be dropped into games. I released them through Matt Jackson’s online store. I did six before I stopped (and I stopped because they didn’t sell.) The first one is free, and they are all worth checking out. As a fun side note, I got back into doing digital art to support these projects. That’s pretty cool.
- Order of the Sacred Deep
- The Stitching Church
- The Brass Horseshoe
- The Silent Bite
- Cult of Summation
- Temple of Celestial Revolution
Post-Post-Post-Post Script: Commissions! I have done a modest number of art commissions in the last few months, and that makes me very happy. I also worked extensively on the text descriptions for the system neutral Creature Card Decks for Inkwell Ideas. These opportunities are humbling and uplifting at the same time, and they give me a broader scope to continue practicing.