Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My projects suck - your opinion on rules?

Where to start... let's start from where I got this idea. Blogs. I read blogs whenever I have got time. I like to read about projects or homebrew extra material (new monsters, rules, locations, powers and magic etc.). For a Gamemaster experiencing roleplaying in my opinion is also creating something new.

These blogs are full of material. OSR stuff particularly (or that is easiest to find). People have these rules they like to use. Maybe houseruled but they have this basis what they use. So as the rules are pre-made by someone else they can focus on writing the extra material.

Me, I wanted to create these rules to create material for. But there is these problems:

- My time is limited. I don't have got that much time in my hand always so my creation and advancement can be slow even though I get speed bursts every now and then.
- Creating rules and core for a game is wholesome project. Creating other things you can do in bits but still finish something (ie. finishing combat rules is not same thing as finishing lvl 7 mage spells list or finish an crystal-ogre stats).
- My focus is bad. I jump from projects to projects. Today I write 20 pages of YDIN rules but tomorrow I am thinking how to make console J-RPG syled mechanics and day after that I do random table for orc encounters (everything in this blog). Focus wouldn't be that bad if I just could do different things always... like a portfolio for different games and genres. Today I want to create this vampire family with powers, history and plots for adventure but today I want to create full set magical armor and weapons for high level paladin.
- Because I have stress in finishing something relatively long instead of small short projects, my effort and creativity is wasted. I would enjoy more doing these little things than wasting my time creating this big thing.

Problem with my main project YDIN is that I don't have time to finish it. I have waited for the day I can make these little bits of material for it. But before I can do it, I have to finish the system. Naturally I planned that I just make very basics of the system and with these little bits I can grow it with details. But I need that core done.

I also am looking too high. Somehow even though I just need this YDIN core done, I want it to cover everything and it makes it never ending project. I must write down what I want it to do. Create characters, task and combat resolution, character advancement, wounding, death, healing, enviromental hazards (electrocution, falling etc. basic stuff).
In combat how much I need detail? How to hit. How damage is dealt. Special conditions (crippled, dust in eyes etc., shooting partially covered target etc.) but do those actually need rules? I mean when I think about it there are thousands of special conditions in combat. Can a Gamemaster adapt this:

"There are two difficulty levels for positive and negative enviroments and situations. It is Gamemasters job to determine if there is modifier needed, or is the situation:

  • Remarkably harder/easier than normally (1 positive or negative modifier)
  • Extremely harder/easier than normally (2 positive or negative modifier)
Negative and positive modifiers can overrule each other."

Then examples about normal modifier and overruling modifiers. I like examples because in my opinion they are like pictures worth of 1000 words (I have learned many rules from examples).

Problem is, I do want to share my game. And I'd like to have a printed version of it. But focusing on making it printed eats you inside. Art, layout etc. take focus from the actual product.

Problem is, I remember old times some of these really amateurish products. They were dirt cheap also. But today when everything is fancy, shining and full of glittery 4 color pages who wants to buy this 50 pages print copy for 4€ or few bucks? Those who already know:

  • Those who already know what the product is about so they A) buy it because they will like it or B) support it
  • Those know who you are so they A) buy it because they know what kind of stuff you do or B) support you
What about PDF? World is full of PDF's. Countless free also. Who is going to pay 1€ to get my YDIN basic rules what work with things I create?

But why do I want money? Reason is, that I have got kazillion of free PDF products. I never read them. I see something free, I get it and forget.
If I pay for something even a small price it is more meaningful because I actually chose to get it and payed it. So it is more important for me. It was interesting enough to toss away that few EUR (what is not much) and go through all the hassle ordering it (what usually is more painful than loosing few coins).

So, I'd like to have that nominal benefit so I would know people might appreciate it. Why I want money:

  • To show I am in earnest making these things (I have seen awesome products what are free though but )
  • To see that someone actually appreciate what I am doing
  • Get more accurate readings (I can see how many downloads files, but I could see how many actually ordered)
Maybe those are stupid reasons, I don't know. But I would do it this way:

  1. More simple version you can download for free
  2. For small price you will get cooler version or additional material (more time spent)
That way I could spread my gaming material for everyone (what is main purpose) but those who really like the product(s) could "donate" some money. To show they like what I do.

I am inspired. But I think I would be more inspired if people actually sent me like email: "I downloaded your free [Insert PDF title] and it was cool. Thanx!" Problem is, that nothing is ready. I am not competing with others but somehow now as I read other blogs I have set my goals too high. I couldn't finish anything to this day and I propably can't in a long time.
And I am afraid that some day when I finish it my thoughts have changed and I need to rewrite some parts... what will basically start again. Instead of just letting people to play version 1 and later doing version 2. Phew.

And heck I want to use my imagination. Enough with writing rules. So, should I just fart out YDIN (lite) finally? Forget all fancy layout and cover but focus on making it as short and easy to adapt as possible? Then share it free. Then start to do what I really want to do: Write material and my random ideas as actual gaming material?

What you say?

And some day after years when I have done lots of print-ready PDF supplements for free I might be ready to charge people that 1€ for better version. That's an idea?
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