2010-03-09 : Show of hands

Hey, quick show of hands. I'm curious, you who are here reading this:

1. Have you designed a roleplaying game? If so, have you published it?

2. Are you designing a roleplaying game now?

1. On 2010-03-09, Anna Kreider said:

1. If a supplement counts as a roleplaying game, yes. I designed Thou Art But A Warrior

2. I've got two on the go, though I'm really only actively working on one. (My problem is that I'm getting close to needing playtesters...)


2. On 2010-03-09, ekb said:

Er... um... yeah.


3. On 2010-03-09, Luke said:

1. Yes. Yes.

2. Yes. Moving toward publication of one and eager to continue work on a handful of other designs (because I am a masochist).


4. On 2010-03-09, Tommi Brander said:

1. Yes, several. No, not really.

2. Yes.


5. On 2010-03-09, Graham said:

Yes. About to publish it.



6. On 2010-03-09, John Mc said:

Yes. No. (I haven't designed anything worth publishing, but designed is a low threshold.  Technically I designed multiple roleplaying games before I ever heard of roleplaying games.)

No.  Not seriously anyways.


7. On 2010-03-09, Colin said:

No on both counts. I'm a player first, GM second, designer last.


8. On 2010-03-09, Jay Loomis said:

1.)Yes, though never to my complete satisfaction. None published.
2.)Yes, two.


9. On 2010-03-09, Seth Ben-Ezra said:

1) Yes. Also, yes.

2) In fitful spurts, but yes.


10. On 2010-03-09, Zero said:

No, no.

Yes; a super-duper-lightweight d10-based system for general characters; four attributes, roll and add one, opposed checks.  Fun, stupid lethal combat system.  Your series of "Things on Character Sheets" posts with all the police and mobsters and such with guns inspired me.


11. On 2010-03-09, Jason L Blair said:

Yes on all counts.


12. On 2010-03-09, Meserach said:

1) Yes, occasionally but never very successfully. I think all GMs dabble in system design in some sense at least a little. Never published anything.

2) No.


13. On 2010-03-09, Chris said:

1.  Yes.  No.
2.  Yes.


14. On 2010-03-09, Ry said:

1. Yes, I've designed a few, never published for money.
2. I'm not designing an entire game, but I'm always working away at supplements and game-aids.


15. On 2010-03-09, Matthijs said:

1. Yes, several. Yes, several.
2. Yes, several.


16. On 2010-03-09, Joao said:

1. No. No


17. On 2010-03-09, Mike K. said:

1. Nope.
2. Nope.
Just an occasional player.


18. On 2010-03-09, Michael S. Miller said:

1. Yes, several. Yes, a few.

2. No, focusing more on finding my joy so I can follow it.


19. On 2010-03-09, Ben Lehman said:

yes, yes.

(anna, tabaw totally counts as design.)



20. On 2010-03-09, Deightine said:

1. Yes and no. I have a complete system/structure that occupies about 5 pages with multiple settings designed for it, dice-optional, but I haven't published it because I don't think it would sell. My players love the hell out of it though, so it's worth having at least for me.

2. Yes, several in pieces at the same time. A campaign world for use with the Pathfinder core, and a few different games from the core-up using psychological modeling for character creation.

For questions or remarks, address them to my above handle, [at]abstrusion[dot]org.


21. On 2010-03-09, mjbauer said:

1. I designed a very small, very simple game. I haven't published it, but it's available for download.
2. Yes, I'm currently working on another game.


22. On 2010-03-09, tonydowler said:

yes, yes, yes!


23. On 2010-03-09, Steve Hickey said:

1. I've designed a few games - mostly 24-hour RPGs (first drafts hosted at 1KM1KT). So, 'published' in the 'available on the internet' sense.

2. I am designing a roleplaying game right now. For the first time, I'm going through the move from internal playtesting to external playtesting.


24. On 2010-03-09, Rafu said:

1. Yeah, back in the days when "designing an RPG" meant a different thing. I distributed it as a free PDF.

2. Multiple ones, actually.


25. On 2010-03-09, Sydney Freedberg said:


I've designed, oh, three systems, of which two were playable as written but pretty standard (and very dependent on me as GM to make it work) and the third postdated me finding the Forge and is consequently much more ambitious and an unplayable wreck. I eventually hope to get back to redesigning and playtesting it, but it's been a couple of years now.


26. On 2010-03-09, Pete said:

1. No

2. No.

I am hacking existing games.


27. On 2010-03-09, Piers said:

Yes / no / no.


28. On 2010-03-09, Chad Underkoffler said:

1. Yes. Yes. (multiple times)
2. Sort of. (half-assedly)


29. On 2010-03-09, Wulfy said:

1 yes. no.
2 not at the moment.


30. On 2010-03-09, Sage said:

1. Yes, No.

2. Yes.


31. On 2010-03-09, nolandda said:

1. No
2. No

Just a GM/Player who loves indie games.


32. On 2010-03-09, Teataine said:

1. A couple. No, far from it.

2. Yes, but I need more time!


33. On 2010-03-09, rus said:

1. Yes, well a zygote of a game. No.
2. Only subconsciously.


34. On 2010-03-09, Robert Bohl said:

1. I've written two roleplaying games, and published one (if ashcans count, which I seem to remember you feel they do).
2. I'm designing on designing a roleplaying game right now. I need to read and I have (legally) downloaded what I need to read.


35. On 2010-03-09, Robert Bohl said:

PS: I'm eager to know why you're asking.


36. On 2010-03-09, Matt Wilson said:

1. Yeah, yeah.

2. Kinda.


37. On 2010-03-09, Marhault said:

1a) yes.
1b) no.
2) always.


38. On 2010-03-09, jessecoombs said:

1. Yes, no.
2. Nah.


39. On 2010-03-09, jenskot said:

1. Yes. Yes.
2. Yes but in the research stage.


40. On 2010-03-09, Jesse Burneko said:

1. Yes and it depends on your definition of publish.  The current state of my designs are available for public consumption of my website.  But no, none of the them are "done" in my opinion.

2. Yes.


41. On 2010-03-09, Brand Robins said:

1. Yes. Sure. (Depending on how you mean "published." I've designed and I've published for money, but I try not to do the two together.)

2. Yes. Always. But not for publication. Cause I've decided that sucks.


42. On 2010-03-09, Andrew Smith said:

1. No and no.

2. Yes.


43. On 2010-03-10, snej said:

1. Just a toy (a sort of Universalis-lite system to play with kids, developed in one day) so let's say 'no'.
2. No.


44. On 2010-03-10, Jono said:

1. Designed several to play with my friends, never published any.

2. Now working on one (intermittently) (with my wife!) which is intended to be published someday.


45. On 2010-03-10, Simon C said:

1. Yes. Published for free on the internet. For pay, I've done freelance work, and by the end of the year "On Mighty Thews" should be available in print.

2. I'm always working on a few things.


46. On 2010-03-10, Dave Cleaver said:

1) yes and no
2) yes


47. On 2010-03-10, Alex Pshenichkin said:

Hi! I don't post, but I read along.
1. Formally, no; accidentally, maybe, as a kid. No.
2. No.

I'm happy to read and play and hack a bit as needed.


48. On 2010-03-10, Aaron P. Lehmann said:

1) No on both counts.
2) Yes.  I playing around with a system that makes it easy to separate your character from his job.


49. On 2010-03-10, Supplanter said:

1. No.
2. (Mumble.) Trans: For ADHD values of "designing . . . now."


50. On 2010-03-10, ScottM said:

1. Not really. No.

2. No; I leave it to the experts. Well, I do for now...


51. On 2010-03-10, Moreno R. said:

1) I never wrote a game from scratch, but I think I wrote literally hundreds of pages of house rules and variant for every system I played until a few years ago, trying to make them "work". Never published, obviously.

2) No. I like to say that I "got out of the tunnel" (or, if you prefer, got out of the wagon) of game (re)design, now I am an happy player who is all about play and no work!


52. On 2010-03-10, Kevin Richey said:

1) No, and no.
2) Maybe. Someday. Looks like fun.  I'm trying to learn from other games.


53. On 2010-03-10, Shane said:

Nope. I just play, and run 'em at cons.


54. On 2010-03-10, Charles S said:

1. Yes (but only games that I planned to play in). No.
2. Not particularly.


55. On 2010-03-10, AnttiKi said:

1) Yes and no. (No, not really even though I've made game design comp games available for public)

2) I have two or three games on the back burner, nothing really active right now.


56. On 2010-03-10, ThoughtBubble said:

1) Yes, and no.
2) Yes, constantly and generally unproductively


57. On 2010-03-10, Diogo (RPL) said:

1) No;

2) I'm in the early stages of trying to develop a game about the burden of leadership... maybe. That's how clear the concepts are right now hehe.


58. On 2010-03-10, Noah said:

1) Yes, and no.
2) No.


59. On 2010-03-10, Mathieu Leocmach said:

1) Yes. Yes if you count a murder party in the world of ... as "a game".
2) Yes ! Online.


60. On 2010-03-10, Alex Abate Biral said:

1: No. At least, not seriously.

2: Yes, though it is not my first priority right now...


61. On 2010-03-10, Willow said:

Yup.  Go buy it!


62. On 2010-03-10, Damian said:

1. Yeah, sort of... (I designed a couple of ashcans for contests, and I'm working on them in order to publish them in a more complete form in the future.)

2. Yes.


63. On 2010-03-10, Charles Perez said:

1) No, not a finished game. Yes to an untested supplement.

2) Yes, several unfinished games.


64. On 2010-03-10, Gregor said:

1. Yes. Yes.
2. Yes.


65. On 2010-03-10, Tim Ralphs said:

1) Yes. And if posting it on a blog and having strangers play it counts as published, then yes to part b, otherwise No.

2) No.


66. On 2010-03-10, Paul T. said:

1. Yes. But I've never published anything for-pay.
2. Yes. (But also not planning to make anything commercial.)


67. On 2010-03-10, tomg said:

1. No & no.
2. Yes.


68. On 2010-03-10, Troy_Costisick said:

1. Yes and Yes
2. Yes


69. On 2010-03-10, Alex D. said:

1: I've designed a ton of games and game-hacks. Nothing really published, though.

2: I've got a ton of things on various side, front, and back burners. Nothing super-serious right now, aside from a Beast Hunters hack that's cooking along.


70. On 2010-03-10, Alex D. said:

(PS: And said hack is more scenario / character design than game design.)


71. On 2010-03-10, Ron Edwards said:

Yes times 3.


72. On 2010-03-10, Christoph said:

More or less designed a few games, but never finished one, nor published. I've one in the ashcan process (so, well on the way to finishedness).


73. On 2010-03-10, Mark W said:

1. Yes. But never with an eye toward publication, and mostly in that "I need to rebuild (build) this so I can play it the way I want to" way.

2. I have a supplement in active development and a couple stalled-out projects. Again, none are for conventional publication.


74. On 2010-03-10, Wordman said:

1. Yes. No.
2. Yes.


75. On 2010-03-10, Emile said:

1. No (only kicked some ideas around)

2. No.

I'm more into designing (and implementing) video games, though I also play roleplaying games.


76. On 2010-03-11, Curly said:

1. yes, yes.
2. no.

It murders me that this community still doesn't know the definition of the word publish; still thinking that it somehow doesn't count if it's only online or if it's available for free.


77. On 2010-03-11, Tim C Koppang said:

1. Yes
2. Yes


78. On 2010-03-11, James_Nostack said:

1.  Haven't designed a game
2.  Not designing one now.


79. On 2010-03-11, gbsteve said:

1. Yes, several. No.
2. Always.


80. On 2010-03-11, Simon Rogers said:

1. Yes, No.
2. No.


81. On 2010-03-11, Christian Griffen said:

1. Yes. Yes.
2. Yes.


82. On 2010-03-11, Josh W said:

Yes, no.
Yes, super-slowly.


83. On 2010-03-11, Matthijs said:

What are you going to do with all the hands, Vincent? Or rather, what's the data for?


84. On 2010-03-11, StefanDL said:

Yes (and no, unless posting it on the Forge counts)

Yes... two actually, but they (hopefully) share components.


85. On 2010-03-11, Vincent said:

This is A LOT of people designing games! It's exciting.

I always get in trouble when I talk about what my blog here is for, but since a few of you ask, the short form: for a while now I've been talking, to my mind, second-game rpg theory. I've been curious how many of you are, in fact, second-time (or beyond) rpg designers. Answer: not all of you, but for sure a bunch of you.

So that's good.


86. On 2010-03-11, Simon C said:

That's interesting Vincent.

I wrote a lot of games before On Mighty Thews, games that thankfully will never see the light of day.  One of the things that I get from reading your blog is understanding why On Mighty Thews works when so many other games I worked on didn't.  I think I didn't have the skill at the time to intentionally design towards the effect I wanted, and instead just stumbled on it by accident.  That process, revising and improving On Mighty Thews, and the work I'm doing on new games has definitely given me the tools to understand what you're saying a lot more now.

I look back at things I read two or three years ago, and realise that I really didn't understand them the first time I read them.  I think I finally get it now, but who knows? In two more years I might read them again and see something totally different.


87. On 2010-03-12, Joshua A.C. Newman said:

1) Yes.

2) Yes. I'm working on #s 3 (Shock:Human Contact), 4 (Shock:2.0), and 5 (Top secret! And I wish it wasn't!), in fact.


88. On 2010-03-12, Joshua A.C. Newman said:

... but you'll notice that I'm not a regular enough reader of your blog.


89. On 2010-03-12, Vincent said:

Ha ha! Yeah, I figured out ... eventually ... that TITYBB meant IDWTHIB.


90. On 2010-03-12, way said:

No. No, just tweaks on existing games.


91. On 2010-03-12, Leodegrance said:

Yes and No (still developing my publish skills)


92. On 2010-03-12, Josh W said:

I'd like to hear what you'd call "first game" theory, even if in sketch. I'm guessing the first game is just to get a working game for your standard group by hacking something mercylessly, whereas the second game and onwards is about doing something specific.

That doesn't match me, mind!


93. On 2010-03-12, Vincent said:

Oh, the opposite. I think that first games are usually more solidly-grounded and insightful than second games. But I'll make a front-page post about it.


94. On 2010-03-12, Joshroby said:

Yes! Yes! Yes!

?now I feel dirty.


95. On 2010-03-14, Julia said:

1. Yes and yes.

2. Yes.


96. On 2010-03-15, Joshua A.C. Newman said:


I Don't Want To Have Ironically Blogged?


97. On 2010-03-15, marknau said:

1: Yes. Yes.
2: Always.


98. On 2010-03-15, Thadrine said:

1. Yes. Yes, but only electronically, and it was really just an extensive reworking of a game.

2. Yes, this is game of my own design, and will be done very soon!


99. On 2010-03-16, Raven Daegmorgan said:

Yes. Yes. Yes.


100. On 2010-03-16, Emily said:

Looks like you have plenty of data points, but: yup, yup and yup.


101. On 2010-03-16, Adam Dray said:

Yes, sorta (internet), yes.


102. On 2010-03-17, Simon Rogers said:

I am regular reading, but not a regular contributor.


103. On 2010-03-18, Nathan Russell said:

1. Yes. Yes.
2. Yes.

2nd game rpg-theory?
My experiences mirror those of Simon C. My "success" with Space Rat was more accidental than by design. Since then I have come to better understand what I was doing (let alone what others were doing!). I think it has made it harder to design subsequent games, but am not yet able to articulate why...


104. On 2010-03-18, Marshall said:

No, no.

And yes! But no idea whether I will published once it's finished.

I only recently got into rpgs, and decided to try out this guideline for players thinking of designing their own game. So of course I jumped right in despite my inexperience, although maybe that will be better in the long run. I like the idea of starting with my own ideas first, then altering and refining the system as I learn more, instead of being entirely influenced by other systems from the get-go.


105. On 2010-03-21, ara said:

1) Yes

2) Yes


106. On 2010-03-22, Jason Bostwick said:

1- No
2- No


107. On 2010-03-23, jaywalt said:

1. Debatable (I said "No" recently and John made fun of me)
2. Yes

I think your theory makes sense if people's first game is really some manifesto-style statement about roleplaying games, what they are and aren't, what they're capable of, etc.

I'm not sure I've written my "first game" in that sense, yet. And I'm not working on it now. Maybe some day.


108. On 2010-03-23, kaare berg said:

1. yes
2. yes


109. On 2010-03-27, Andre C. said:

Haven't been here in a while, but I've been known to lurk from time to time...

1) Yes—I've designed functional games before but none of them were fit to publish.

2) Yes—I'm working on two (or possibly three) games at the moment—the first is the latest re-design of the system (a relatively rules-light but fairly traditional generic cyberpunk system) mentioned in #1, and the other is a smaller, much more focused game dealing with gang violence.


110. On 2010-03-29, Hans Otterson said:

1. No
2. Yes


111. On 2010-03-29, dither said:

1. Yes, I haven't published any of them yet.
2. Yes, I'm focusing on one at the moment.


112. On 2010-03-29, RichD said:

1. No.  No.

2. No.


113. On 2010-04-02, Larry L said:

1) Not on purpose.
2) Kinda sorta, but nothing with heat.


114. On 2010-04-02, Joel said:

I was way too busy pre-Gamestorm to answer this. And now post-Gamestorm, you actually know the answers to these. But still:

1) Yes, and yes—in person book sales, online pdf sales, and a single mail-order sale.

2) yes.


115. On 2010-04-06, Matt Snyder said:

Yes, hat trick style.


116. On 2010-04-09, Jeff Russell said:

1. Sort of. Nothing more coherent than 'play as we go' as a young 'un and twiddling with existing rules extensively (I've designed a wargame or two, though)

2. Yes! That's why I'm here now. This'll be my first real go. . .


117. On 2010-04-13, Frank T said:

1. Yes, and yes.
2. Not really.


118. On 2010-04-30, Zebediah said:

Yes, although I find it difficult to stop revising things.

No, unless just to some friends counts.

Yes, sadly, four all competing for my attention (ref: four plots, some waiting): a game about virtue, faith, and culture clash set in the land of Nod to the east of Eden, the same game slated to have cultures as characters rather than individuals, a victorian game about propriety, eccentricity, favors, and masterminds, and a high fantasy game about emulating and creating legends as a form of self-identification and source of magical power.

I need to narrow down that list.  Given aforementioned problem of not knowing when to stop revising, this means I'm not getting very far :'[


119. On 2010-05-11, Guy Shalev said:

1. Have I designed? Yes. Have I designed an RPG? Questionable. Have I designed a completed RPG? Hmmm.
Published? PDF, for the playtest document. That's publishing.

2. Depends, usually inside my head, depending on time. Right now I'm giving it some thought again.


120. On 2010-06-04, Frank T said:

Actually, make that

2. Yes



121. On 2010-06-04, Vincent said:

Congratulations, Frank!


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