Thursday, 19 May 2016

How to make a successful RPG (or lessons i've learned)

I've got a game out as you know, one or two people thought it was pretty fucking neat :




Not bad for a jumped up little set of house rules-turned small press title. So far I think we've sold 900+ 'real copies' (bundles ofc) and 450+ pdf's, a bunch of GM screens, Char sheets and the 1 page micro-setting 'The Queer and Deadly Town of Sorrowset'. All gravy then. So much so, that the resulting conversation about the game, its mechanics and its success have given me reason to get my think on.

Why has The Black Hack been as successful as it has, despite it being yet another d&d clone? It really isn't doing something all that special, same rules just spun a little differently. (Although I'd claim, anecdotally, that TBH is what D&D looked like before it was D&D - Arnesonian style) If I were to draw a parallel - or reveal something that has inspired TBH it would be LotFP. Now i'll say upfront im not a huge fan of the LotFP rules. They're just B/X with some neat tweaks, but that's not what I wanted to talk about. What I really like, and the reason I think James has had the success he has? It's attitude. Despite having 'vanilla' rules - and I mean that as no real insult - when you play a LotFP game you know what you're getting into. Real cray-cray shit. So thats what I tried to inject into TBH's soul - the same level of projected attitude. And one thing I've learned is it's that 'voice' that the game needs to stand out from all the hundreds of other generic fantasy roleplaying games that are out there. Production values are real important important too. Super important. We asked for extra money to print on nicer paper, and it worked, and shit the bed did it make a difference. Arts important. I couldn't put any in the book, space was tight in places, but I made sure to do something bold for the cover. Just wait till you see the T-Shirts.

What's next? Well if I were to look at the Raggi method of success, its support. TBH has already in the few short weeks it's been available, had a shit tonne of 3rd party support. Which is good, It's also sort of a shame, because a lot of those things - were things I had planned on doing. I'm still going to do them of course, in my own unique way. I asked the G+ hivemind what they would want to see next ..


So there we are - pretty much an even split. Vertex of Hate is going to be something of a similar size to the rulebook, but purely adventure, with some other small bits thrown in. It's not a guaranteed go'er yet but it looks like it might be a KS with Gold Piece. That way there's the opportunity to get badges, t shirts and other shit I posted about made. But beyond that? Stay tuned. TBH will return.