Game development update
Hi all- Quick update on where I am with the games I'm building at the moment. Unfortunately, my day job has been very demanding lately, and I haven't had sufficient spoons to work extensively on projects lately, but they have been at the forefront of my mind.
The Caravan Endures: Just about done, now in the art/design phase. I am planning on doing a final review of the text today, but overall I feel like outside perhaps some minor fixes for clarification, it's solid. I'm no longer offering public betas of this build, but I am more than happy to point you to an earlier build with most of the core mechanics intact. Once all the art is finished, I will be sending it to the UI person to make it into a printable pdf, and then I will be publishing the finished version on various RPG vendor sites. If that is successful, I will do a small print run, but I want to ensure that it will be worth the investment. Currently it's about 90 pages, and that includes a number of optional tables to help create a unique and exciting world for players to engage with. I'm hoping to at least break even on the art/design costs, but I'm overall just very excited to have a game that people can use in their social skills groups that exclusively focuses on teamwork and communication. Once conventions are a thing again, I'm also planning on hosting open games at any con I can attend. Please let me know if you're interested in joining, or hosting your own games at cons. Also, if you are running a social skills group and would like to use this for it, let me know and I'll see if I can create a minimalist copy of the rules you can share with your students once it's fully published.
Speaking with Monsters: I haven't worked much, but I have a significant redesign in the works. Interestingly enough, I've realized that I want this game to be a lot smaller than it currently is, with tools for the GM to design monsters and encounters for their players to engage with. I have been contemplating doing a sort of campaign guide/monster manual, but given the unique nature of each group, I'd rather let GMs have a lot more control over the content, with these rules being a sort of tool for complex diplomatic/relationship building encounters. The focus on allowing monsters to be themselves while still capable of building a relationship remains key.
Social Workers in a Dungeon (title not final): This one I've been really reflecting on, as I want a game that avoids the idea of the PCs being magical saviors (who directly solve problems with skill checks, spells, and stabbing), but instead enables the PCs to help the NPCs come to a solution that is based around their situation, rather than the PC's direct action. This is pretty heavily based around my experience working in intensive behavioral health/social services, where we don't take the approach of trying to fix a problem, but instead enable the client to become stable on their own terms. This game was originally going to be Speaking with Monsters, but I scrapped that idea when I realized I just wanted to focus more on the idea of Monsters having their own love language of sorts, and having players build an understanding of that. That being said, I am really excited about a game that creates complex, gray situations for players to tackle, that focuses on understanding different perspectives and coming to compromise. However, the mechanics of this are intimidating to say the least, which is why I've avoiding doing too much work on it as it's still fermenting in my head.
Untitled anger management game: Just about any RPG can be an exercise in frustration tolerance (anyone who has had a bad dice day can attest to this), but I want to create a game that specifically focuses on creating situations that are frustrating, but within the realm of players to help resolve, whether that be creating situations where the players can help each other, and support each other when dealing with situations that feel overwhelming. A lot of the work I've been doing lately has been with anger, and being unable to compromise, so that has been really helpful in coming up with ideas to explore how to help people deal with frustration and learn how to communicate their frustration without becoming escalated in a safe, controlled environment. This may instead be a document on how to alter your games to work on how applied GMs can work with players with anger issues, but again, it's still in the embryonic phase.
Podcasts/Panels/Feedback: Not games, but if you are interested in having me on a podcast or panel, let me know. Furthermore, if you are building a social skills group or applied RPG group within your practice/school/etc, reach out to me and I'd be happy to provide any feedback I can. I've had a number of people reach out to me with advice on this, and as I can, I have been helping by reviewing proposals and giving tips. Note that there are a number of more formal trainings on this that you can attend as well, and based on your need, please reach out to them to schedule a training, as I'm doing all of this in my downtime (i/e replying to messages at 11 pm when I'm finally in a headspace to review proposals and plans.) Even so, the sheer volume of people starting to do this work in their various settings is astounding and exciting, and I am dedicated to helping ensure that their implementation is successful, as each success story bolsters the entire field, and helps spread the word about the utility of RPGs in therapeutic and applied environments.
Anyway, that's where things are. As always, I can be reached on twitter @rollforkindness. Happy gaming!