I am the Happy Fun Publisher

Time is squeezing in on me due to impending Newlet#2 (eta two weeks or less) and also prompted by the fact that its been a year and a month since D101’s first release (Hearts in Glorantha #1) this has triggered some pretty heavy reflection on where I’m at with D101.

I think it can be easily summed up with one phrase “I am the Happy Fun Publisher”.

To expand I’m happiest when this is a fun hobby, when it goes under ther radar with the Boss (the wife Rachel, my not so silent partner 🙂 ), and there is a genuine joy about what I’m doing.  I recently had a big dose of the ‘must get this done’ grind for HiG#3 and OpenQuest and it sucketh mightily.

I’ve recently had a huge delusion of grandeur where I pump out the books at the going rate of the ‘Industry, what ever badly inflated price that is, and somehow next year I can give up my day job (as a web developer) . In reality I love my job, it suits me down to the ground and I like the people I work with, and now is not the time to go freelance. I also know that if I went full time with D101 at this point in time I would hate it. I’m never going to say never, but if one day it does happen it will be from a much stronger position than I’m currently in. It will will be an inevitable step that flows with the way my life is going.

Nope I’m doing D101 as a hobby, with perhaps a higher dedication and sense of professionalism, in the same way that some people play sports or spend hours playing World of Warcraft.

So what does this mean in practical terms;

  • I’m going to carry on with the same scatter gun approach to publishing, announcing books here and there, taking my time to deliver oblivious to deadlines whooshing by and occasionally dumping stuff that didn’t work out.  I’m focusing on the Fun, not something I feel I need to put out (except as a mental kick to get something that has been sitting on the Hard-drive in the nearly done phase for too long).  This allow me to actually carry on a few titles that I was considering dropping due to ‘time constraints’.  Immediate benefit of this is that I’m not planing on dropping my Gloranthan titles, as I was before in my previous serious frame of mind.
  • I’m not going to be charging the bizzare prices that RPG publishers seem to be charging these days (this is a rant in itself).  I’ll be charging what I think is a fair price, that people can afford yet still lets me pay out my small costs. RPGing is a social activity, RPG companies or small press should act in a social responsible way and foster a community based on fair play and inclusiveness. To do otherwise in the name for a quick buck means that the Hobby, never mind the so called ‘Industry’, is fucked.  If that means people don’t consider D101 a proper games company, then fuck’ em.  Immediate effect of this is that I’m dropping the print price of OpenQuest to the more reasonable £10.

So that’s where I stand, having fun, releasing what I want, having a laugh with mates and not turning D101 into a joyless must do enterprise.

Hello my name’s Newt and  I am the Happy Fun Publisher.

D101’s direction

D101’s Wave 2 (publishing its own games) is firmly here, hitting the shores and reaching the people and with it came a firm realisation (or perhaps the obvious slapping me in the face) of where I’m going with this.

In short ‘Its all about the Story’.

My favourite Roleplaying experiences have always been those where you remember the game play sessions by the stories that people tell afterwards.  Please excuse me if I look bored to high heaven if you wander up to me and tell me about your favourite character and what awesome powers they have or how system X hits the sweet spot for play.  These things don’t do it for me.

These are the three things I’m I looking for in a ‘story-telling’ roleplaying game.

  • Flexible and easy to learn. Story telling often requires you be inventive on the fly. I want a game systems that support me as I make things up. I don’t want a large overhead of confused players as we have to roll out a new rule to cover the situation that’s cropped up in play.  I want the system to be straightforward, not necessary rules-lite, so that it can blend into the background and let the fun and the story take over.
  • Make the best use of the system features. I want to produce games  that encourage and reward story telling and have clever systems that channel, not force, play in this direction.
  • Violence is not the only option. I want to cut down on the amount of random violence that occurs in my games due to players exerting their character’s superiority over npcs.  As big a fan as I am of Sword and Sorcery and the Action Movie genres, I getting sick of the ‘toys for the boys’ approach that most RPGs take.    Its not just about having systems that can handle politics or ‘social conflict’ its about presenting a world that actually encourages the players to be more than just walking weapons’ platforms.  Monkey , as much as it is filled with Wacky Kung-fu fighting, is a step in this direction.

How we are going to do it

  • Trad systems with Story telling bias  for example OpenQuest.
  • New modern Storytelling systems purpose built for story telling, such as Wordplay and HeroQuest.

I put the emphasis on ‘we’ here because D101 is already a collaborative enterprise. Hearts in Glorantha is one big collaboration and so was the production of OpenQuest.  This trend will continue when some of the upcoming projects I have in the pipeline come to light over the coming months.  This is perhaps the final point about D101’s Direction, while I remain the figure head and benevolent dictator for life, D101  has moved away from being my vehicle for self-publication and more of a collective. So if you have an idea for a book, that matches our direction, get in touch (newt@d101games.com).