I had the great fortune to reconnect with some of the folks from my old gaming group last weekend over a game of Ogre (we inaugurated my copy of the Designer’s Edition). While the game itself was good, as I knew it would be, and the hanging out with old friends was better, as I had hoped it would be, the best thing to come out of the day was a piece of advice I got.
I brought up the question of my planned Erseta: Lost Eria setting. I asked, not entirely rhetorically, whether the gaming world needed yet another campaign setting. After all, we have all the classics, plus many more new ones besides, both professional efforts and free offerings. And the World of Calidar, of course (which looks really awesome, and everyone should support that Kickstarter). And my friend Rob said (if I may paraphrase):
“I’ll tell you the same thing I told you about Adventures Dark and Deep. Do it because you want to, not because you think it’s going to be ‘a product’.”
And that really hit me between the eyes.
Why did I do Adventures Dark and Deep™? Because it was the game I really wanted to play in 1986, but couldn’t because it was never written because Gygax left TSR before he could. So I wrote my own based on all the scraps of information I could find and shared it with others who felt the same way.
Why did I do Castle of the Mad Archmage™? Because I really wanted to run my players through Castle Greyhawk, but it looks like that will never be published in final form any time soon. So I wrote my own inspired by the original and shared it with others who felt the same way.
And Erseta? Is that really the setting I’ve been wanting to play in since 1986? Is that really the setting I’ve been bursting at the seams to share with the world? I must honestly answer no. It’s my world, and I’ve had a lot of fun running it and writing it (as I have with many other homebrew settings over the years), but anyone who’s read this blog knows the setting I truly love and want to play. It’s Greyhawk. So over the holidays I will be stepping back and doing some re-evaluating and rethinking of things. If it’s not a labor of love, I’m not going to undertake the labor.
Oh, and I’ll also be getting Castle of the Mad Archmage™ ready for print. Because I want to share it with folks who feel the way I do about stuff we don’t have a chance to play. “It doesn’t exist? Let me make one!”
Which I think has been the whole point of RPGs since 1974.
4 thoughts on “Why I do what I do”
I couldn't agree with you more. The only reason to do anything creative is because there is something that you want to create, something that you want to exist. I know for myself that when I'm working on a project and the words are properly flowing, it's the best feeling in the world. It really shows in Adventures Dark and Deep, by the way.
Yessir. Publication is secondary and, mainly, because it's so darn easy (PDF, that is). I'd write and publish D&D stuff even if I had zero customers (and I get close to that sometimes).
RPG's are one of the few outlets where anybody can be publisher of some sort, even if your material is only circulated among your own gaming group. Very democratic too. A professionally produced RPG game or setting is not necessarily better than somebody's house rules and home campaign. RPG's not only encourage creativity, but give you a built in audience for it.
Castle of the Mad Archmage? Consider me intrigued…
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