CCU:RPG Writer:Getting Started

Podcasting gaming and criticI learned how to write RPG modules by writing them. It’s an awful bullshit truism I know but, like the really annoying truisms, it’s…well…true.

It’s also all Vampire’s fault.

I roleplayed from my early teens and most of that time was spent at the Isle of Man-based RPG club that was conveniently located about ten minutes away from my house. We peaked, in terms of membership and interest, around the time the White Wolf urban horror RPGs began to break across the world. These things were immense in a way that very little since has bee. Oh yeah, I know, D&D continues to stomp across the gaming landscape but Vampire was a paradigm shift. It was new, it was simple, it was immensely versatile, it used quotes from songs I’d heard of and…

It was a game I didn’t really play that much.

We had about 20 members at that point and that’s a horrifically unwieldy number for an RPG group. And someone had to run the overflow game and that someone was usually, but not always, me.

Thing is, I really enjoyed it. Those years were an excellent set of training slopes for me to work out how adventures work, how they really don’t and what happens in both cases. I found systems that worked for me, systems that didn’t and produced adventures that were mostly average, occasionally lousy and occasionally pretty good.

Their quality, in the long run though, wasn’t what mattered. What mattered was I kept producing them and every time I did I got more comfortable with the mechanics and demands of RPG module design. That led to magazine work which led, eventually, to actual paid work for actual companies on actual books.

So, if you want to do this, do it. Practice. Know you will write Aliens with the serial numbers filed off for Space:1889 (This happened) and conspiracy games that lead to your players carrying on years after you’ve left (Also happened). It’ll be great. It’ll be awful. But you’ll keep coming back to it and as long as you do, you will only ever improve.


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