Blog Posts

The Strength of the Comic Mini-Series

With the dozens upon dozens of ongoing monthly comic book titles that have been canceled in recent years, it’s a wonder why the Big 2 still pursue that as a business model for new titles (old titles have the staying power of time behind them, so they’re exempt from this rant). Here’s my trouble with releasing an ongoing series before the market has been primed: it’s hype. Period. They want to hype something that’s going to “last forever, so get on

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A Smarter Way to Publish RPG Settings

Most of the game design articles this week have centered around making games more accessible for new audiences. In this article, I’d like to touch on a method for 3rd party publishers to attract some of the extant RPG audience that’s out there. Go All-In with Setting Let’s face it; most 3rd party published supplements are new settings to be played with a particular system. This was the way I went with Jadepunk: Tales From Kausao City and Shadowcraft: The Glamour

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Back to Basics: RPG Mechanics in 20 Words

There are a lot of cool gaming mechanics out there. I mean, a lot! But many games (like Jadepunk, admittedly) were built on the complicated rubrics of other games. This overcomplication, I believe, has resulted in the kind of mechanical bloat that we see in some big name games that require 500 pages, or multiple books, to cover it all. I think it’s time to get back to basics. In my anecdotal experience, I’ve seen games spring from two places:

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Tabletop RPGs as Solo Adventures

I’ve always found trying to play a roleplaying game solo to be of great interest (maybe because my best friend is my dog), but not a great exercise. Games just don’t support the format. But maybe they could? Maybe the old “choose your own adventure” stories hold a key here? If you’ve read them, you’ve likely had a similar rush to the one you get when you the GM tells you how terrible your decision turned out for you. If

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What’s the Future of Tabletop Roleplaying Games?

My thoughts on the Future of Tabletop Roleplaying Games I believe the future lies not in the multiple 300+ page tomes that must be consumed and memorized before play – because, historically, that has not attracted mainstream appeal – but rather in short documents that can be read and mastered in 20 minutes, and taught in 5 minutes. After that, a (short) tome of advanced rules can be released to give the full (traditional) experience of tabletop gaming. The topic is

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Flaws are Great and First Vlog Episode

Did you see my first Vlog post? It’s a follow up on the post I made here last week about letting perfect be the enemy of great. But I said something in it that I felt deserved its own post: “great things have flaws, and perfect things don’t exist.” And that’s so true. How many things have we seen, from Batman to Fortune 500 companies, that are great, but highly flawed? Can you name the perfect piece of fiction? What

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Discipline for 2017

New Years is upon us, and that means resolutions. Most years, I wait until after Christmas to review the previous year and consider the trajectory of the next, but last night I found a six-year-old notebook. What was in it? Goals. But, more than that, goals that I have not yet achieved, still pursue, and shouldn’t take more than a season to reach. Talk about a lack of discipline. And can you believe that the first line of the notebook said

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Letting Perfect Be the Enemy of Great

I’m going to tell you something you already know, but that has been a secret to me for years now: I’m not perfect, and I don’t need to pretend to be. I’ve been struggling against perfectionism for too long, letting “perfect” be the enemy of “great”. But here comes change. When I first released Jadepunk with Jacob Possin, I was applauded for my efforts in doing so. People said they liked communicating with me online, because even if we disagreed

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Intrepid Stories: Too Close to the Sun

Intrepid City 0:2 TOO CLOSE TO THE SUN By Ryan M. Danks The XS–9 rocketed out of Earth’s atmosphere. Propelled by prototype plasma engines, the experimental air/space hybrid plane was the pride of Valiant Industries’ R&D department, which they claim is light years ahead of their competitors. Colonel Cole Stewart leaned into the cockpit and watched the pilot, Captain Martin, fly. “You should be strapped in,” Captain ‘Marty,’ as Stewart’s team took to calling him when they boarded, said. “‘Should,’” Stewart

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Intrepid Stories: Justice

Intrepid City 0:1 JUSTICE By Ryan M. Danks Aaron Adams sprinted down the alley, police sirens at his back. He shifted the semi-automatic pistol into his left hand and pulled the door to the chop shop open. “C’mon,” Aaron called behind him. Mal’s breath came hard as he ran through the door. Inside the garage, he struggled to catch his breath while checking the ammunition in his pistol. Aaron, his breathing as steady as if he had taken a brisk walk,

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