Designer Diary #9: Gaming and Fiction (Part 1)

Since there was no significant response to my post on publishing, I’ll skip Part 2 for now and give you a QT Games update and talk a bit about game design, Cosmothea and the Cosmoverse. My goal is to post once a week, but shorter posts (the length of the posts is one of the big reasons I haven’t posted much recently). So, a big update and then I’m going to do short bursts (hopefully). That way I can put them out faster, and you can read ’em faster, without hurting my bottom line (moving forward with QT Games).

Ready? Here we go!

What’s up with Cosmothea?
The Cosmothea Blended-Genre Roleplaying Game is still being played and 5.0 is still under development (things have slowed down quite a bit as I focus on the campaign setting, a card game based on the very cool, very unusual Cosmothea magic system, and writing fiction about the Cosmoverse), but I’m always making tweaks to improve it here and there and if we get the fan base we need, we’ll definitely move Cosmothea higher on the release schedule.

Revamping Cosmothea:
As some of you know, I’m on the fifth major revamp of Cosmothea (not counting some uber rules-lite versions). It’s a game with science fiction, fantasy, superheroes and horror elements and takes place across hundreds of worlds, so there’s a lot of variety and degrees of blending. This isn’t a new rpg, just a new version. We’ve been around since the early days of roleplaying, but I never moved toward publishing until more recently and now we’re focusing more on the campaign setting for awhile).

All the heavy lifting is done, but I’m revisiting a few areas, such as one of the resolution mechanics (there are four in the game, so you can pick and choose and even hot swap between them on the fly). You can fairly easily make just about any sort of character you can imagine though it’s not a generic game. While I decided to continue using classes, they are just a guide, a framework, and you can make your own theme as desired. I also use the concept of level as it has numerous advantages, and is easier for younger roleplayers to wrap their minds around, but again, you won’t see the kind of severe limitations in Cosmothea that you see in some of the other games that have been around for as long or longer.

I’m not saying it’s the best game on the planet—I’ll let you decide if you ever play it, but I’ve had a lot of time to revise it and give it some solid mechanics over the years. If you are designing an rpg, I encourage you to playtest the heck out of your game, and even step away from it for awhile and then come back (that’s a trick authors have learned to improve their work—it can be a real eye opener and ensure the game is much better in the end).

Mostly, I just haven’t had a lot of time to work on it, aside from some brainstorming and stealing moments to jot down rules. Like I said, it’s well on its way—it’s playable and is looking really good, but there’s still quite a bit of work left to do and a few minor things to finalize mechanics-wise. It’s not a heavy crunch game like GURPS or HERO, but it’s not as light as Savage Worlds either. When the time comes, I’ll likely form a team to help finish it as I’ve had a lot of luck building teams in the past, and that way it will get done faster.

What about the Cosmoverse?
It’s at the top of my list. The reason that I’m focusing more on the Cosmoverse Campaign Setting right now is that I need to grow the fan base for what we do before I can worry about financing the game (rpg’s are expensive to put on the market—art and editing alone can break your bank). And of course because I love the Cosmoverse!

Right now, we’re focusing on revealing this vast campaign setting via fiction. Arcane Synthesis turned out great (I think!) and is available in print and ebooks. I really need to start contacting reviewers (If you have a review blog or post on Goodreads and are a fiction reviewer, contact me at: info [at]!) I’ve been very busy as some of you know, and am working on another book at the moment.

I’ll be launching on Amazon before long. The book is already up for sale at three stores and it is selling, but of course Amazon is the big dog and reviews help drive sales. It is currently available in trade paperback, hardcover, pdf, ePub and Mobi for Kindle. Read the excerpt and check out the art!

That’s all for today. Let me hear from you, either here or at! Don’t forget we’ve got a monthly newsletter going behind the scenes! Well, have an awesome week my friends!


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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