“Make 100” 2023 – Limited Edition Bookmarks

As you’ll see in the sidebar, I’ve launched a Kickstarter project to make a limited-edition set of Bookmark HP RPG bookmarks, hole-punched for a ribbon or chain. At the moment, it’s been live for about 10 hours and is 71% funded, with 53 of the 100 sets pledged.

As with most things nowadays, I launched it on a whim. Which I have to admit is a refreshing situation after all the years of killer deadlines. Focal seizure management now means going with the flow, chasing squirrels, being able to drop things to help with work around the farm.

Our House on Rupert Court, and Other Horrors,
on DriveThruRPG
“Make 100” is an annual Kickstarter promotion in January, and I barely got this project in under the wire, not having planned one at all. But in the afterglow of having recently completed a D13 RPG adventure anthology, I found myself mulling promotional “Make 100” emails that have come in over the month. These short little KS projects are low-stress and fun, another opportunity to interact with the tabletop hobby community from out here in the boonies. It’s how the premium edition of the original D13 RPG came about, for example.

Speaking of that D13 adventure anthology, it’s a collection of three unforgiving 10-page adventures: “Our House on Rupert Court,” in a 1950’s suburban community; “Ice Road Terror,” involving the early history of the Canadian Ice Road phenomenon; and “Ghan in the Night,” a luxury train trip through the Australian Outback.

Next up, a sword and sorcery sourcebookmark for the BNHP line, in time for Gary Con. Followed by a space opera setting, and then a mini-deck of 21 adventure cards for all the BNHP settings.

That’s a summation of the first few months’ plan for 2023. I’m having fun. Here’s hoping you are too!

Role-Playing Dracula’s Kids sans GM

Today the Cut Up Solo Dracula/Dracula’s Get bundle went live (undead?) on DriveThruRPG.

So what is Cut Up Solo Dracula? Published by Parts Per Million, it’s Stoker’s novel cut up into 5-word snippets in a programmed spreadsheet. Every time you hit F9, the spreadsheet delivers a set of random snippets as a prompt to your imagination.

And what is Dracula’s Get? It’s a role-play distillation of Dracula’s actual abilities and weaknesses as depicted Stoker’s novel. A “sourcebookmark” for the Bookmark HP RPG. (My first sourcebookmark, in fact, so that I could port Petit Louis from D6xD6‘s “Fear the Light” setting. I love playing vampires.)

The word “solo” doesn’t quite do justice to PPM’s Cut Up Solo selections. “GM-less” is a more accurate (though less punchy) term, because this style of play is even richer with a group riffing off one another from the prompts!

As you can tell, I’m quite excited about this pairing. It’s a quick, flavorful way to hunt or play vampires with Stoker’s own words. Now at a discount!

GM-Less Cthulhu et al

Cover images of Bookmark Cthulhu with Cut Up Solo Lovecraftian Dialogues and Cut Up Solo Case of Charles Dexter Ward You may have seen my mention of the “Cut Up Solo” oracle series by Parts Per Million. Each oracle is an automated spreadsheet of 5-word snippets from a public domain novel (such as Dracula) or series (John Carter of Mars, for example). It outputs a group of four 5-word snippets with each press of F9, and you browse the list to see what role-play scene it suggests to you.

It’s a great spur not only for solo play, but also GM-less group play. My old high school buddy Jim Cotton and I have adventured together on Mars, for example, and had great times with it. That was even the genesis of the mass battle rules on the Game Host’s Guidebookmark of the Bookmark HP RPG.

So you can imagine how happy I am to announce that PPM and I have launched a Cut Up Solo Lovecraft/Bookmark Cthulhu bundle on DriveThruRPG!

(A Dracula bundle is not far behind.)

Tectonic Shifts of D&D

“The original impetus for the open licensing of the d20 System involved the economics of producing role-playing games (RPGs). Game supplements suffered far more diminished sales over time than the core books required to play the game.” Wikipedia, “d20 System

One of many d20 books by Jim Ward, Tim Brown, & me

I think I sorta pissed someone off years ago by making this exact point. My opinion was based on the experience of watching GDW struggle to fund RPG supplements during my time there, and then TSR suffer the same.

The catch-22 is that (a) without supplements, customers lose interest in an RPG, and distributors don’t help by telling retailers your game is dead, but (b) only GM’s buy most supplements, whereas most everybody in the game group buys the game itself, so you’re doing the same effort (with, for example, the same cover painting expense), for a fraction of the market.

By handing off supplement publishing to an ever-refreshing pool of small companies (many just gamers with a one-book dream), WotC dodged that expense and enjoyed the unencumbered sales of core product.

Things like the “Community Content” section of DriveThruRPG are a more recent example of that farmed-out support.

I ain’t sayin’ this is a bad thing. It allows for a lot of diverse creativity. But it also explains why every new edition of a core game sets off tectonic waves among the small publishers putting out sourcebooks and adventures.