Saturday, November 10, 2018

This is not goodbye (introducing Ø2\\‘3|| - A Dystopian RPG)

I read an interesting post the other day that we only blog to show expertise, but we publish to gain an audience. I always thought blogging was some sort of publishing (and still belief it to be true, especially for communities exploring new ideas), but this got me thinking.

With the recent shifts in the rpg blog-o-sphere (dusk of g+, lots of former bloggers either leaving for good or for publishing gaming content in more traditional venues), there is almost no audience left for more academic approaches on gaming or for show-casing the design processes behind writing games. Never change a running system, as they say. So the machine is running and too much is at stake for those earning a meager buck with what is published now to allow for open questioning of that content.

That's not a bad thing. Markets have a tendency to sort that kind of stuff out, if you let them. From what I have seen, the algorithmically controlled downgrading of visibility, targeted on those with smaller audiences is far more damaging to the hobby than a shift to a monetized market could ever be. The more obscure you are nowadays, the less likely it becomes that you gain an audience with it. Hence the statement in the beginning.

In a way, market places like One Book Shelf are more honest. You'd still have to fight for reviews and it is hard work all around, but on the other hand you don't have all the bad taste social media leaves with its politically fueled popularity contests or the meme machinery with its constant recycling of the past and simplistic messages.

So yes, it is time to move on, I think. Retreating from social media a bit had been appealing to me for some time now, but I always thought I'd leave too much behind. I have lots of projects that actually found a small audience that is looking forward to seeing shit happening ... I have no problem with trying to get all that done and out there. That hasn't changed at all.

What I won't keep doing, though, is talking at length about the process to get there or the insights I gained doing so. I will update this blog occasionally (once a month sounds about right at the moment). I'll also be lurking on g+ until that's done and you can find me on (don't-believe-the-bullshit) mewe for some more lurking. Feel free to engage and socialize and chat here or there. I'm always happy to talk games.

Instead of mingling on social media and writing walls of text here, I'll put some more effort into producing content. This has long been coming, I guess, and it has already begun: some of you might know my first DIY module, Monkey Business (which doesn't get enough - or any! - love out there) and there's definitely more where that came from (Rise of Robo-Hitler would be next and after that, The Goblin-Tribe Simulator).

I also got an opportunity to publish some science fiction and you can get a taste of that here and here, with another story being published as part of a great science fiction anthology very soon.

Lastly, there is the role playing games ...

Lost Songs of The Nibelungs

Lost Songs is on a good way to be complete soon-ish. I work on it constantly and play-testing should resume shortly. Over all, it's progress. Issues and design choices grew too complex to allow for musings on the blog, but I aim to announce some online play-testing early next year and I will keep you guys updated here on the blog.


We are currently testing this Labyrinth Lord Grindhouse expansion with the D&D RC, and testing is going well. Needs some writing, needs to be done before I can start with Robo-Hitler ... I expect some progress with this early 2019. I might throw around a beta-version of it on the social media circuit before publication.

The Grind

Not sure many of you remember The Grind. I didn't talk about it for some while now ... A card-based dark and brutal DungeonPunk RPG about heists in a world controlled by monsters. It never left my mind. It should be the next thing I do after the design on Lost Songs is done. It's dear to me and I want to see this happening, so expect some news on that in the next couple of years :)

Ø2\\‘3|| - A Dystopian RPG

This is the latest game I'm working on and it should be the next thing I publish. Here is the blurb from the introduction:
This is an attempt to update the classic dystopian and social science fiction of yore into a roleplaying game. There is a bit of everything popular in here (as the name of the game betrays). Half-life 2, 1984, Children of Men, Brave New World, Fallout, Black Mirror, you name it, it‘ll have a place in this game.

However, it is not just about the action, it‘s about exploring a world where the most hideous ideas humanity can come up with became reality in a near future. Nothing here is as much invented as it is satirically exaggerated. Some of it has already happened in one form or another.
It'll be my attempt at a rules-light narrative based roleplaying game and it will tackle some dangerous ideas to play around with (as the sticker says: mature readership implied). It's 80% done and I'm in talks with publishers about getting this out there. I will tease this soon, so stay tuned. Okay, here, have a teaser already:

Elements of this might change ...
Here's the gist of it: the setting is about a corrupt and fascist party called The Family, ruling what is left of a shattered Europe by subjecting all but the most politically conform citizens to puberty blockers in an attempt to control a population that is also under total state surveillance. Every extreme produces its opposite, and that's what the game is about.

So, stay around, folks!

Almost 8 years of blogging, with ups and downs and I think I managed to say a lot in the time. I'm not done yet, but I will change my online presence and concentrate on publishing, designing and writing fiction. The blog will stay as it is, for now, with updates every now and then.

I was thinking about offering a monthly/bi-monthly newsletter with all the interesting stuff I encounter in the wild out there, if something like this can find an audience. If you'd be interested in something like this, please leave a comment where I can find it and we can go from there.

I'll be around.



  1. Everything you plan on putting out is a solid idea and a solid project. I know, through our conversations, just how hard you have worked on everything you mentioned above. I know I haven't met many people who put the level of thought and re-thought into writing games as you do. They're out there but it's a rare breed indeed.
    Slowing down on the blog seems a solid decision, as it will allow you focus on all the cool stuff in your head.

    Here's to your future publishing ventures!

    1. Thank you, my friend! I appreciate it a lot and I hope others see value in it as well. But you know how it is: if it makes at least one person happy, I'm happy. So I'll keep pushing. It's fun to do and I suspect there's a bunch people out there digging it.

      Here's to more published content! :)

  2. Yeah, I'm going through many of the same feelings. Google+ was my main conduit for reaching people with my blog posts. Without it, or even with it as it is right now (ie ghost town) blogging feels like writing into a void. That's disappointing and yet it's also a bit liberating. I don't blog to show off my expertise and I certainly don't do it to make money (bah-hahahahahahahahahhah) but I do it because I enjoy it. It gives me a chance to dive into ideas that have always interested me but without the long term commitment of writing a book. Of course, with every blog post I write I get a little farther removed from all those things I've started and swore I would someday finish. Maybe it's time to return.

    Of course, without G+ it's going to be hard spreading the word around about our published works too. Nothing is easy.

    1. I hear you, Jerry. Sorry in advance, this turned out to be a long one ... It's a miserable state of affairs. I wrote somewhere else tat the way things are right now, it feels as if we have to start from scratch with the blogging and it sucks. My reach right now lasts for about 24 hours (if i'm generous, strong 6 hours is what I suspect, going down fast after that). If you haven't seen my post by then, you won't unless you are actively looking for it. The amount of time I'd have to put now into social media to get some of that back is excruciating (which is by design, of course ...). So I think what I'm doing is more like shifting and adapting, in a sense.

      I totally get what you are saying about exploring ideas. Same here, definitely. It's just that I came to realize that you need to publish if you want an audience for that now. I mean, let's be honest, the audience we had for this as the going was good, was people like us: designer, those aspiring to be designers and those who saw the opportunity to learn something about game. All this dissolved to a degree and I get the feeling that we are the few that are left behind? But here's the thing, we can publish and then talk about that. Not the other way around. Anyway, I think that's where it's at. I've read the last game you wrote and it's good stuff. Definitely something people would play. Make an account with OBS and get the pdf out there (don't you already have a module out there, too?). See how it goes. Then the next and the next. If one catches the attention of the crowd, the others will get some love as well. That's just how it works and it's a better system than what social media is offering right now to those who don't have 1500+ followers ...


Recent developments made it necessary to moderate posts again. Sorry about that, folks.