I went to a hangout with my game-design bros and we met for tacos - this was a couple of weeks ago when it was still the hottest. So hot. We went out Lakewood way and ate tacos and drank tequila and talked game design & game mastery. My strength is in running the game but it's not always a matter of a specific skill-set as it is sometimes a talent for theatrical storytelling & descriptive immersion. I'm not awesome at giving everyone their own turns but I am awesome at letting everyone do what they want - or at least - letting them try to do what they want. These weren't simple things to learn, but they're hard to translate.
Game design discussion kind of focuses in on that- on the inability of the game to describe the GM's role adequately - you either do it well or don't and people know. I'm pretty good. We have tacos and my man Tim is all: "Wait do you eat pork?" And I am all: "Yeah, I'm not muslim." and he's all: "I think we talked about this before, about pigs being unclean." And I realized and said: "I think most of our conversations actually take place in character man."
Tonight is Dungeon-World which does it's level best to be intensely descriptive of the GM's role - there are strict structural cues on how to run the game - like, Table-Work which I find frankly intrusive & unwelcome - though it is plenty of fun to play - it's constraining to run. But I'm satisfied to play.
Game of the North is basically Done. I have to do the final pass on edits, rewrites & fixes - the BORING parts that are un-fun. I'll get through those, slap on the ISBN and be kind-of Done.
I'm going to keep on working on spellbook items - to make a splatbook of magic spells for it and probably finish up the campaign setting which is effectively a fancy-pants boxed set - which will probably cost $100+ to print on demand. I'm coming to the limit of what I can afford to straight up make & sell out of pocket.
Meantime - I'm scratching my itch to put together a non-OSR game - make something modern & sleek. Science Fiction - something I've worked on before and will start to really & truly develop. On that front I'm about to pay for an artist, commissions - crazy right? I just do what I want on this front - I advance the projects a bit at a time & wish I had the resources to really do it better. Here's the things I wrote to this artist about what I'm trying to make:
What I really need are a couple of strong aesthetic cues for this project - something that divides the different planets and groups (so the setting is effectively like Flash Gordon - with the different moons - like the Forest Moon or the Watery Moon or whatever - but with a bit more of Hard SF edge).
So an image, I'll try to describe in words a couple of scenes that I'd like to run/tell (I don't know how familiar you are with RPGs as a hobby?) go like so, I'll tell you these and if you want to take a crack at one, we can talk:
Scene - There's a planet with a few small moons visibile in the blue-sun daytime - it's a flatland except for the billowing almost floral protrusions of frozen geysers that can be seen irregularly piercing the landscape - the flatland itself is like a shallow muddy sea, and on pontoons there is a railroad track that traverses the larger part of the landscape and there is a train - probably really weirdly stylized that goes along this track - spouting rooster-tails of mud while manta-ray like creatures leap over it in strangely hyperbolic arcs. I feel like that could be a nice wraparound cover for a book.
Scene - some people in some kind of protective suits are climbing a mountain of prismatically lit ice - the forms of the mountains resemble billowing clouds and in the midst of these is a sea where a gigantic glass-bodied submarine rises up - with can be seen a city, lit up in the gloomy dusk of the frozen world.
Scene- People seem to be flying or leaping between blimps, they launch themselves great distances through the air and in the cloudy depths beneath them are enormous visible storms - huge cyclones that spin under them as they leap & play or fight on this flotilla of blimps.
Am I asking or begging for help? I mean, not exactly. But also, yes. I wonder if I'll get to a place where I could hire someone to make a noise about these things for me. I hate marketing.