When I design a role playing game, I do it in a way that some find unusual.
Unlike a lot of creative people, I dislike 'the process'. The idea of coming up with a concept or two, mulling it over and writing pages upon pages of material just to edit them down, tweak them, fiddle with it, do away with some parts, bring them back, add new parts, change things...the entire litany of events leading up to the finished product drives me utterly bonkers. It bores me to tears. Somewhere less than half way through the whole thing I lose interest and either abandon the project totally or completely restart it in a wholly different direction. Not every time but often.
That stinks for a "Do a game in a month" concept like the Nation Game Design Month Challenge.
It's a good thing then that the way I do some of my best work is that the entire game, from setting to system to adventure scenarios, usually pop into my head wholecloth. Yep. One day I'm sitting there thinking, "Hmmm, that movie was cool. Kind of reminded me of that book I read years ago. Makes me think about...and if you added this...hey, this would make a great..." *POP!* At which point I scribble a few pages of notes in my personal shorthand (which looks like html crossed with cuniform) and proceed to type it up.
While The Muppets RPG* was actually developed over time in the near-traditional way, it sort of wasn't. The idea for a Muppets based role playing game had been in my mind for a long while and I certainly forget about it and remembered again later more than once. Every few years I would write up a page or two of notes, absolutely. When I finally posted it on this blog however, it had been essentially reconstructed from the ground up just a week or two before I went 'live'. I was sitting there one day, thinking about it and the light flipped on and the all the ideas and mechanics came rushing in. Same thing with the Smurfs*.
It's like...There is a little office inbetween my ears where the light is usually off. It is largely empty and it's so tedious and difficult to write or type in the dark with no office supplies or files for research or furniture that I get very frustrated even trying. Then one day, inspiration will strike, I will turn on the light and...HOLY HECK IN A HANDBASKET! While I wasn't paying attention, someone snuck in and constructed a state of the art office with a computer, phones, supplies, file cabinets with files and the whole nine yards.
Yeah, it's like that.
So how does all that apply to the NaGa DeMon?
Well, I had this idea...then I didn't. Then I hoisted it back up on the table and took a closer look at it and it was pretty small and weak. I tried pumping it up but I realized I was forcing it. Nothing was coming from it that inspired me. I had no real reason to turn the light on in the office.
So I tried another idea. And another. And another. It wasn't happening. There was no rapid build up to the sudden POP I'm used to. I panicked a little. What should I do?
I started to think back to the game I want to publish. It's good. I feel it's really good. It deserves time even though it sort of popped into my head a long time ago and is sorta the kind of thing you do want to work on carefully. I remembered that I chose that idea over another one. A good one. One I would certainly put together quickly once I really thought about it. One I would love to give out for free...
So here it is...my entry into the NaGa DeMon Challenge...
Visitors From Space is a rule-light, situation comedy, science fiction role playing game about UFOs, what they are and why they are really here. It uses six sided dice which you can snag from any of the boardgames in your house and is designed for both one shot play and short campaigns, although ideas for long term play are coming to me. I just haven't worked out all the details.
More to come so stay tuned!
*I am very proud of my work on my Muppets and Smurfs RPGs. While the Smurfs one could use some additional fleshing out, I have run it for others and it works very well. The Muppets game has been run several times now at NerdNYC's RECESS Game Day Event and has been wildly successful.
If you are new to my blog, please feel free to check out the Muppets and Smurfs tags or go to March of 2011 for my March Muppets Madness Month, detailing the whole thing plus a few surprises.
Thanks for your time.