#AprilTTRPGMaker 2019: Week 1

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Kira Magrann is spearheading the #AprilTTRPGMaker hashtag on Twitter, encouraging everyone who makes stuff for tabletop RPGs of all kinds to share their work, their process, their experiences all month long. I’m taking part, and I thought I’d briefly expand upon my tweet-length responses in a blog series.

1. Introduce yourself!

I’m Paul Stefko, a designer, developer, and game consultant from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, working primarily in tabletop roleplaying games. My pronouns are he/him. #aprilTTRPGmaker pic.twitter.com/QB1ZWRIydi

— Paul Stefko (@PaulStefko) April 1, 2019

This one doesn’t really need any more explanation.

2. Describe your work.

I tend toward more traditional designs. I’ve done design and development for Evil Hat, Atlas Games, Pelgrane Press, and more. I also publish my own work under my imprint, Nothing Ventured Games, https://t.co/MWRXDtnl13. #aprilTTRPGmaker

— Paul Stefko (@PaulStefko) April 2, 2019

Obviously, if you’re here, you’ve found my site. You can check out my various freelance projects at the Freelance Work page.

3. Key to your making process?

The key to my process is external deadlines. If there isn’t a specific date where I’m responsible for turning over my work to someone else, I struggle to ever get anything done. #AprilTTRPGmaker pic.twitter.com/NtBnN8armJ

— Paul Stefko (@PaulStefko) April 3, 2019

Soooo much this. I actually just turned something in ahead of my deadline. It felt pretty good.

4. Favorite type of game scenario?

I enjoy tactical play - that is, play that rewards gathering knowledge and planning, not just moving minis around a board - so my favorite kind of scenario is one with a clear problem to solve but no immediately clear solution to it. #AprilTTRPGmaker

— Paul Stefko (@PaulStefko) April 4, 2019

I’ve talked a little before about the kind of play I call “tactical.” It doesn’t exactly match what I think most people mean with the term. The gist is that in tactical play, you gather information about the situation, create a plan, put the plan into action, see how things change, and repeat. Maybe I’ll do a post about it someday.

5. Character or worldbuilding?

Worldbuilding is far more important. We have billions of examples for characters around us everyday. Creating a believable and usable world requires more creativity. #AprilTTRPGmaker pic.twitter.com/5HuElQGfmD

— Paul Stefko (@PaulStefko) April 5, 2019

This question didn’t really give me much to work with, but I do believe that worldbuilding is more interesting and requires more work that creating characters.

6. Long or short ttrpg texts?

The games I like the most tend toward longer texts, but I appreciate shorter ones that allow individual creators to get their work out there faster. #AprilTTRPGmaker

— Paul Stefko (@PaulStefko) April 6, 2019

I think both my previous answers to this thread as well as the bulk of my work bears this out. There are a number of short RPGs that I really love, though. I also think that the same game can be served well in both long and short form: see Fate Core vs. Fate Accelerated Edition, or GURPS Basic Set vs. GURPS Lite, for examples.

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