So I’m trying to get back into designing tabletop roleplaying games, which I was really into back in the 1990’s (yes, I’m old). Unfortunately, this has proven to be a bit more… difficult… than I had originally anticipated. I have plenty of ideas to work with, from some of my old games I’d like to bring up to modern standards, and all-new concepts I’ve been mulling over. But every time I start working on a game, I hit a wall, and come to a dead stop.
It used to be so easy. I’d just sit down and fill notepad after notepad with my work, then typing the compiled and tested rules into the computer. Of course, I only ever did self-publishing of my stuff, and then only in very limited amounts, but this was just a hobby for me, nothing more.
I want to get back to the ease with which I used to be able to write TTRPGs, but I’m really struggling with it. Why? Frankly, I think I’m asking too much of myself.
Let’s face it, I’m an idiot. You’ve read my writing, you get it.
Anyway, I’m thinking that if I’m going to get back into writing games, I need to start small. Take a single, basic concept, and do something with it. This was basically what I have been trying to do already, with no success at all, but I need to take a different approach.
For example, I had started off trying to write a custom system for my concept, which I’ve done several times before. That was a bust. Then I tried adapting one of my old games to the Apocalypse Engine. That was also a bust, because I’m an expert at Failing now.
This time, I go even smaller. This time, I grab my Lasers (and Feelings)!
For those of you who aren’t aware, “Lasers and Feelings” is an excellent TTRPG from John Harper (the developer of many fine games, including “Blades in the Dark”). It is a bevy of sci-fi goodness, all compressed down into a single page worth of rules. L&F is also free to download (see the link), but more importantly (for my purposes), has a very open license, which allows for anyone to develop games based on the L&F system.
So, I think this is where I need to start, as basic as I can. Write up a one of my ideas into a quick, one-page game using the L&F engine, and go from there. I expect these early ideas to be rather rudimentary (at best), but it’s a place to start from, and that’s what matters.
You see, I don’t plan to just stick with one-page creations, although there’s nothing wrong with them. My goal is to do deeper, more complex games, but I’m going to take my time with it. Let myself work back into the hobby, as opposed to trying to force myself right into the deep end. Because what I was doing, clearly wasn’t working… Maybe this will?
Oh, and yes, I am looking into making these works (if/when I complete any) available to download, either here on this site or perhaps on Itch.io or Drive Thru RPG.