NOT EQUAL to Stuff You Don’t KnowBy Paul Baldowski
I have been busy doing other things. All Rolled Up has consumed 105% of my existence over the last several weeks. I probably didn’t realise how much time publicity and social media can require if you want to get something “out there”. I’m sure it’s something I can get better at over time. I may add another skill-string to my expertise-bow, so to speak.
In the meantime, Just Crunch has taken a hiatus that I had not intended. I look up at the calendar and see August – and recall that the last time I wrote much of anything must have been March. That’s almost half a year without writing more than a few paragraphs of copy. I may have been creative during that time period, but it isn’t that sort of creative.
However, I have to step slightly outside my comfort zone and attempt to do things I have done before. On the other hand, I also need to jump back into my comfort zone occasionally to do the things I’m good at already. If I want to get back into writing again over the next few days or weeks, I need to settle back into that comfort zone – and write about stuff I know.
In this respect, I’ve set myself the challenge of finding something to write a game about. Or, at minimum, a setting based on stuff that I know about using something Open Source.
Open Source – the grail for my ailing mind to get a grasp on. I love the Old School movement going on in the gaming market, but I feel a little left behind because I have never been a big player of the D&D system, whatever the iteration. I have the same problem with the New School of gaming that has taken the D&D system and streamlined it – the 13th Age thing, for example. I like the look of it and I can feel a whole of enthusiasm radiating off the back of it, but I have a hurdle to leap in not having any real love for the source material. I can sort of grasp the basics of old style D&D, but the new world of Feats and stuff… that has the tendency to leave me cold. I read that 13th Age has done it different or done it better, but if you hate celery then someone offering celery done better doesn’t necessarily give a more palatable prospect.
I understand that using a game system that exists already, with an Open Source agreement that gives certain amounts of freedom to use and re-use, means that I can concentrate on a setting and the good stuff that comes with it. However, if I can find a system that I grok to the point where it becomes second nature to write about it, to shape and flex it, then that doesn’t actually help much at all. Yes, using something Open Source opens up a ready market with people who already use the system and might take the material I write to use with their own campaigns; but if it comes across in the writing that I don’t really grasp the system at all, then I’m quickly going to lose that interest…
I have written generic content – like The Blessing of St Agnes and Stench of the Sea – precisely because I want to appeal to the widest possible audience. However, that very presence of generic content seems to make for a less accessible supplement for those wanting to run something with minimal effort. This seems to me another solid argument for embracing the Open Source. By taking a system that people already love and forming my material around that core, I present something immediately useful.
In the end, I have to make some sort of decision on this before pushing ahead with the writing, because the shape of the system might inform the writing that I need to do. Not point painting a portrait if I haven’t decided the shape of the canvas before I get started.