Monday, 20 June 2011


I Am The Warden!!

But that means nothing to you, doesn't it? No matter what we say about the Internet - its variety, its ability to turn ordinary mortals into infamous idols - each of us remains in obscurity at the start. That's exactly where I stand right now. Obscurity.

Not more than two hours ago, I shut down my pride and joy for the last 8 years: Emerald Press PDF Publishing. Dozens of projects supporting D&D for the last two editions, thousands of hours spent typing away with one hand while the other bashes my skull for a better idea, are now gone. But never forgotten, ever. It's been my absolute pleasure to have experienced EP as a contributor when Shane Garvey started it up and I took over the reigns as Head Honcho (I hate titles). I've worked with numerous people on many sides of the publishing spectrum, including some ENnie award nominees and winners, and had a blast doing it. My time poured into EP got me through a divorce when I needed the distraction, pushed me to change careers from retail management to graphic technology, and gave me drive when an oncoming car almost wiped me from the face of the earth. But the time has come to give that pursuit up.

That's not what we're here to talk about. We're here to talk about the future.

This blog will be my creative outlet as I move into new territory: developing a new RPG system. That's right, another one. The market definitely needs another homemade system to stand in an already crowded subway car taken by only a small percentage of the population, doesn't it? That's not the point. And it's not just about scratching that itch and trying it for myself. 

Games are designed wrong. I know it, I can feel it in my bones. Something's always been missing in every game I've played. And I know you do to. We've settled for what's in front of us and tweaked it along the way. House rules have come and gone from every system we've ever tried because we were never truly happy with what we had. Every time I've created a character, he's never played out exactly as I imagined. Not because the dice rolled poorly (though that's never helped), but because we've been so limited in what we can do. 

Think about it: does your character kick-ass like your favourite movie or novel? No. When was the last time you fought off 4 guys simultaneously on your own while your allies also took on an entire bar full of drunks with pool cues? Does he just take a swing, wait for the other guy to slash at him, then swing again? Does he have only one defensive method, standing there just holding out his shield in the hopes it will deflect the next attack? Never. That's just stupid. No one would fight that way. So why do we settle for this in our RPGs?

Bragging is something I hate to do, so please know I am not trying to brag. But I am confident this issue can be resolved and I think it's time to invest in this idea. To create a roleplaying game where you can play out the role of a universal hero (or villain) just like we've read about and watched on the screen with every dice roll representing every single slash, push, kick, and trigger pull. Over the next several months, I'm going to write about this process as I work out the individual details necessary to build what I call the Optional System. And that's all I'm going to say right now. The rest of my night will be spent toasting the last 8 years and raising a glass to Emerald Press.