Pull Back the Curtain is intended to be one of the “articles” that will appear once we start doing the crowdfunded Fletnern we talked about in the last post. It is intended to give examples and input on how I go about doing game design. As it is less informative and follows some other posts I’ve put here, I thought I’d include it now. Sort of an example, but more because the timing is just right.
It’s nine days before the date I have had set in my mind to release the Legend Quest Omnibus rules. I recently noticed that I have a previous version of the Omnibus rules dated over two years ago, so I assume I have been working on the omnibus for at least 30 months. I think it likely closer to 40. And yet all I can think about is the crowd funding project and how I want it to work and what the best way will be for it to be laid out. I’m having great difficulty focusing my energies into the final edits of the rule book.
Why? Well, I’m easily distracted - clinically, chronically distractible. But it is more than that. It would seem like the Omnibus book would be easy. It has been published before. Well, not really. The original books (Legend Quest and Book ofWishes) were both about 100 pages. The Omnibus is over 300, so clearly I’ve written another “book”. Plus, LQ and BoW were never intended to be merged, so getting everything lined up and even cutting things that were redundant has been a job. Of course I haven’t put 40 hours a week into it, but it has been actively worked for over two years.
But it has actually been actively worked for 25 years. These are the original core rules, expanded with the Book of Wishes and all the magic and spells in there. Probably more importantly, it includes optional rules - many of which we’ve used for years, but have never been “ready for prime time” (meaning that while I understood them, I had never written them so someone else could). Plus I have 25 years of play testing experience, and some of the things in the original book needed to be changed. I hate to change anything in the rules, and every change was an agonizing one for me. I don’t want the Omnibus rules to be different than the earlier rules - I always hated when game companies did that. So this is NOT a different game, but the original game with a couple of minor tweaks. Honestly, I doubt most people will even realize them.
What else? Well, Grain Into Gold came out during those 25 years. You know what I realized? When I wrote LQ, I put some real time and effort into understanding the time and effort that went into making steel weapons and armor. I winged it on everything else. So now with GIG out there, I have had to adjust the rule book to what I know to be a far better system.
My point is that after working on this book for 25 straight years, I’m not as passionate about getting it out the door. To a degree it is already out there; this is just a different version. But it really isn’t just a different version; it is something much bigger. With the optional rules and the Game Designer’s Notes sprinkled throughout the book, I really think this is the book where I am teaching you how to play the game the way I play it (we play it - the play-testers and I). To some, the notes and clarifications might seem a bit chaotic, but truth be told, so am I. This book, as it is now, makes perfect sense to me. I just hope it will make sense to the other game masters and world builders out there!