Designer Diary #1: The Scope of an RPG

Designer-DiaryWelcome to my first post in this reboot of my blog! I’m kicking off a design diary going behind the scenes on my brainstorms and decisions for designing the Cosmothea Blended-Genre Roleplaying Game and Cosmoverse Campaign Setting, discussing the mechanics, changes in this latest incarnation, etc. Now that I’m officially rebooting, I’ll start posting weekly (barring sickness or getting crazy busy).

As I’m in the middle of a reboot (with my game design, not just the company blog), and as not everyone is starting with this post, you might read something you’ve heard awhile back as I try to get new people up to speed, or discover that something I wrote a year or two ago no longer applies (Such is life when you’re striving to make the best products possible—I’m leaving no stone unturned and there are no sacred cows).

When I began designing Cosmothea back in the late 70’s, there were very, very few rpg’s on the market. Now the market is flooded with them. I’ve never had money to publish, which is why you’ve probably never heard of the game or setting (except on certain websites where I’ve run adventures via Play-by-Post or if you backed my Kickstarter or hung out at our forums or site).

With a glut of games now on the market, why then do I keep tweaking and even completely revamping the rules, rather than take my Cosmoverse and squeeze it into another game system? Because a) Cosmothea continues to be much, much better at simulating what I’m trying to accomplish in the Cosmoverse (since I’m tailoring the rpg to run it), b) I love game design and c) I love the mechanics and flavor I’ve been putting together. I’ve played many other games and am very familiar with numerous others, but I don’t want to play anything else. I’ve had fun with other games, but I keep returning to Cosmothea to get my gaming fix.

An rpg can’t be all things to all people. If you love D&D, the mechanics, what the game has to offer, then you should probably be playing that. If you love Star Wars and what the latest incarnation has to offer, then perhaps that’s the best game for you personally. I love Star Wars, but when it comes to settings, I’ve got a lot of ideas of my own and have been developing them for over 35 years.

Back in the 70’s I set about to create a universe where I could tell my stories and still leave plenty of room for others to tell theirs. I still think Cosmothea and the Cosmoverse are the hot ticket for my gaming pleasure. My bet is that many others will find it true for them as well. Having designed dozens of games, these aren’t the only concepts I could pursue commercially. I’m very excited about some of the others as well, and our upcoming fiction too, of course, but I think I’m on to something here, so I’m not backing down!

I’m currently revamping the whole game (this is my 5th major revamp, not counting some of my mini and rules-lite versions over the years) and I continue to flesh out the huge setting. Our first fiction offering, Arcane Synthesis: A Blended-Genre Anthology, should be out this Summer, if not a little sooner! The book’s already done (editing and formatting). I’m about to send it to the printers for review. But I always squeeze in time for my rpg design (I can’t help it, the ideas just keep coming), so even while I’m driving or walking the dog, I’m designing—some ideas get dumped, others refined and incorporated as appropriate, tested, dumped or refined further, etc).

I’ll post a bit more on all this tomorrow, then jump to weekly after that. Comments are welcome as always. Cheers!


About Bob Whitely/QT Games

Welcome to QT Games! Mission Never publish junk or waste people's time. Publish only high-quality fiction and games. 'Nuff said. Company Overview QT Games LLC was created to publish blended-genre (fantasy blended with sci-fi, etc.) fiction, board, card and roleplaying games for a discerning gaming community. Unlike most small press, we have very strict standards: Only pro writing, pro editing and pro art. That means that if we can't get it right, we find someone who can. We pay well for what we don't do in-house. We don't cut corners on quality. This means we stand to make less money than other small publishers, but that's okay with us. We value your time and money, so we're willing to take the bullet. We've designed a large number of games and written a pile of stories. Now we're polishing some of them and getting them out the door. 'Bout time, we know. Good stuff ahead!
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