Magnum Opus?

Photo by Crisoforo Gaspar Hernandez on Unsplash

If you’ll forgive a bit of introspection about my own work …

Last night, Jennifer asked me if, given its ongoing success, I thought the Bookmark HP RPG was my magnum opus.

My first quip was, “So far!” But honestly, I doubt there’ll be another. Three self-published RPG lines is more than enough to keep an old guy busy, what with people asking for supplements. And a couple of the card games, I’d love to see continue to grow.

Upon reflection, I told her “It’s a hard call. I know a few people who’d argue D6xD6 is a better RPG.” She said, “That’s not the question. What about you?”

Truthfully, being retired, I’m doing these things because I love them. There’s nobody to say, “We can’t sell it” or “You have to follow these guidelines.” I design things I want to play. So it’s difficult to choose between the particular features of one over the other.

Most people who know my work would probably say, “Dragon Dice.” A few might say, “Dark Conspiracy.” And yeah, I loved those labors, too, but they’re out of my hands, each a work for hire.

If I had to choose, if push came to shove, yeah, I think BNHP is the one. Its 1-10 scale is so easy. Its dice odds fell into place with a sense of discovery more than intent. (Much of creative work is simply recognizing when something falls into your lap.) And it’s my one and only polyhedral game, hearkening back all the way to my first years as a gamer with the original D&D. A satisfying sense of full circle.

Kate says I should call my little publishing company “Challenge Accepted! Games,” because nearly everything came from somebody saying “That’ll never work.”

Yeah, it’s a fair cop. But I think there’s plenty of that left in this little RPG line. I feel contented in a sort of “Nuns Fret Not” sense.

In the words of William Wordsworth …

Nuns fret not at their convent’s narrow room;
And hermits are contented with their cells;
And students with their pensive citadels;
Maids at the wheel, the weaver at his loom,
Sit blithe and happy; bees that soar for bloom,
High as the highest Peak of Furness-fells,
Will murmur by the hour in foxglove bells:
In truth the prison, into which we doom
Ourselves, no prison is: and hence for me,
In sundry moods, ’twas pastime to be bound
Within the Sonnet’s scanty plot of ground;
Pleased if some Souls (for such there needs must be)
Who have felt the weight of too much liberty,
Should find brief solace there, as I have found.

One thought on “Magnum Opus?

  • December 11, 2023 at 1:22 am
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    I love that poem from Wordsworth, thanks.

    A software engineering podcaster I follow has said similar things. He participates in small video game development. He said when presented with open ended options his creativity shuts down. But when the game has to be below a certain size, or must use a specific limited technology from 1990, or only has a mouse and two button input, or only runs in a text terminal, suddenly the constraints cause his creativity to skyrocket.

    I have your D6xD6 games, but not the BNHP. Now I am tempted to get them.

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