Standing on the shoulders of Giants

Game development is hard.

No, I mean really, really HARD. Like, you likely can’t even fathom just how hard it really is.

Now imagine a dumbass that is bad at math is trying to do it. A dumbass like Me.

So first I tried to revamp my old, card-based RPG that I made in the 90’s. It went alright, but I wasn’t satisfied with the result. So I tried working of the system I described just last week in this very Blog, quickly finding out that indeed, I had chosen poorly.

Here’s the problem: I really like games that are using the “Powered by the Apocalypse” game-development philosophy and mechanics, and was letting that influence the development of my own games. Unfortunately, I was basically just spitting into the wind, when I could have worked with the tempest, instead.

Specifically, I am a huge fan of “Monster of the Week“, by Michael Sands, which is itself a hack of “Apocalypse World“, by D. Vincent Baker and Meguey Baker. I haven’t played the latter game, but the former has had a great impact upon my feelings towards roleplaying, especially as a gamemaster and developer. It is simple, fun, yet robust enough to handle (in my experience) most any situation.

Anyway, in MotW, Sands suggests that anyone looking to create their own AW hack should start with “Simple World“, which is basically AW with all of the setting-specific material cleared away, so that just the bones remain. Essentially, the engine laid bare, ready for someone (like me) to come along and wrap it in our own world, making the game our own.

Well, that’s not entirely accurate, actually. SW is more of an instruction manual for building your own, functional “Powered by the Apocalypse” game. Personally, I still think that is great, and will be very helpful for what I have in mind.

You see, the system I described in last week’s blog-post was effectively a form of AW hack. Instead, I’ll just be following the SW battleplan for building said hack, and go from there. It will still achieve my goal (a rules-light, narrative driven, and very cinematic RPG), while maintaining my particular flavor. My setting may not be revolutionary, but it is still pretty damn cool, if I do say so myself… even if I designed it originally back in the mid-1990’s!

Anyway, so enough about that. If you are looking to develop your own tabletop roleplaying game, whether or not it is an AW hack, you would do well to check out “Simple World”. By the way, it is free to download right off of their website, and is only 10 pages long, which is more than enough to get the concepts across. It helps you build your engine and framework, then leaves you to flesh out everything else.

Well worth a perusal, in this Red Panda’s opinion.

I'm the editor, publisher, and primary "talent" here at

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.