#RPGaDay2020 – Day 31: Experience

Hi everyone! It's the end of RPGaDay2020 and, once again, it's been an experience. It's especially true this year, because the sorts of things I've said in these posts are the kind of thing I usually say at panels on convention weekends. With no in-person conventions, I've not had any panels this year, but it's nice to have the chance to talk about all of these things. Thank you so much for following me through the last month, and I hope you have found what I've been posting interesting and useful! -... more

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 29: Ride

Hi everyone! Tabletop RPGs are a way to do whatever you want within the world, and there's one particular occasion that will always remind me of that. Some years ago, I was running a training day for GMs, back when we had in-person conventions. We were practising to run 30-40 minute taster sessions, as we often did for that convention. Some of the people who were going to be more "talky" than the GMs and help out with explaining the games were also there - to play the games for the first time, get to know the rest of the team and so on. One of those decided that riding the... more

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 28: Close

Hi everyone! I've spoken already in this month about being close to the end of a project and how hard that can be (where the last 20% seems to take 80% of the total effort). I thought I'd cover something slightly different today. I've thought, quite a few times, that I was close to the end of my creative journey. I thought that when I published my first book, then after I published a couple of others (maybe 4 games is enough?), and another time more recently. Currently, I'm not certain that the creative process ever really "ends". I might stop someday, but I don't think I will ever... more

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 27: Favour

Hi everyone! The hardest thing (for me, anyway) relating to creating is getting the word out into the wider world. I'll often ask if someone can "do me a quick favour" and share a project that I'm working on. Sometimes, I get told yes, sometimes no and sometimes it's in return for something I did for them so that they have to say yes! My point is that you should do this whenever someone gives you the opportunity. The indie RPG community is nowhere near as powerful as the big companies because they don't have the same kind of reach. The only way that I can see to do better is to work... more

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 26: Strange

Hi everyone! I think the strangest thing about being a creator who has made a lot of different things is that there are things that feel obvious to me now, but I learned through doing - often the hard way, and sometimes by doing it right first time by luck! I've recently been approached by someone I respect a lot in the RPG creation field. He's been doing this a lot longer than I have, but doesn't have the same kind of experience, because he chose a different approach. I've been able to advise him (and hopefully help!) on a project he is working on at the moment. My point is, no... more

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 25: Lever

Hi everyone! What technology should you include when worldbuilding? Is a lever acceptable in a High Fantasy setting? What's the lowest level of technology you can have and still call it science fiction? I've been asked this sort of question quite a few times on my various panels and I honestly believe that it's not as straightforward as "this genre has these rules". I'm a big believer in magic and technology being interchangeable in any setting, and Era: Dragonsong is, I hope, going to be a good example of that when we are able to show it to the world. Do what works for your setting... more

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 23: Edge

Hi everyone! What should you do when you approach the edge of giving up on your creative project? I've talked about this a few times at conventions and such - it's often hard to keep going full-tilt for weeks and months on end. Sometimes, you need to walk away. When I get like that, I set a time on my phone - an alarm or calendar entry - for 2 weeks. Then I step away from that project and do everything I can to forget about it. Quite often, the demoralisation happens for one of two reasons: either you don't have the skills to proceed and you need to find someone to help you, or... more

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 21: Push

Hi everyone! The final push of a project is always the hardest. In convention panels, I've been known to say that it's 80/20 - the latter half of that being that the last 20% feels like 80% of the work! It's not helped by the fact that it's usually a deadline that makes you buckle down and actually do it. For me, that's usually a convention rather than a Kickstarter deadline - I like to launch my latest books at conventions. I always recommend you consider carefully about what your deadline is if you're making a project for crowdfunding - I've delivered 50 projects on time without... more

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 20: Investigate

Hi everyone! I believe that every rule set has limitations. No, really - I've built Era d10 to have as few as possible, but there are things that it will not do very well without a significant rewrite to the core. I thought I'd talk today about the first time I realised what one of those was, as it happens to be centralised around "Investigate"! It was while I was investigating the possibility of using an IP that I suddenly realised was available... That IP is Sherlock Holmes - now a public domain property which can be attractive, on the surface of it. However, the core of Era d10... more

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 17: Comfort

Hi everyone! No-one likes to go outside their comfort zone. That said, it's the only way that things change significantly - sometimes you can be forced out of what you like and discover something new, and sometimes you have to make a choice to do it. Stubbornness was the thing that pushed me out of my comfort zone the first time to publish my first book. After that, I wanted to make more and more. I've occasionally gone out of my comfort zone since - A Titan's Rise, our upcoming Audio Drama, is a good example, as I ended up playing the lead, something I never would have... more

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 15: Frame

Hi everyone! In my opinion, one of the hardest parts of writing RPGs is framing the sentences so that they are specific, descriptive, open to a minimum of interpretation, and fit within the layout. Some of you may already know that I am currently working through character creation, equipment and rules editing for Era: Lost Legend, my latest game. During this, I've actually had a total layout change, which means a lot of items need to be re-edited. I've become quite expert at this over the years - page breaks in text can matter a huge amount and, while my proofreader doesn't always... more

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 14: Banner

Hi everyone! I'm fortunate enough to have a banner which shows off all of our Tabletop RPGs very nicely. It's a go-to for me in many situations, and it all comes from one person, Alexander Korchnev, my longtime ally and graphic designer extraordinaire! I thought I'd take a moment today to talk about the importance of graphic design and layout in an RPG that goes out into the world. It's a funny thing - even the smallest amount of graphic design can transform a product from black letters on a white page into a sci-fi datapad showing you the information, or the feeling that you're... more

Three Top Tips on How to Direct an Audio Drama!

Hi everyone, Ed here from shades of vengeance. And today, I'm going to talk about how I and today I'm going to give you my top three pieces of advice on how to direct an audio drama. 1: Live the universe! When you are directing an audio drama, you are bringing that universe to life for the people who are listening to it. If you don't understand the universe, or at least your take on the universe, to a high degree, there are going to be tiny things that slip through. You shouldn't let those things go unless you feel that they contribute and build on your view of the universe because... more

How to Make Your Characters Real – Part 6: Acting

Hi everyone, and welcome to the final part of "How to Make Your Characters Real"! In this part, I'm going to be talking about how you decide the way in which characters act, focusing in some simple techniques to ensure that your character acts in a realistic and consistent manner.  Let's assume you have your character and have established their appearance, the hidden information that they have the various other bits and pieces that we've been talking about throughout these articles. You want to put them in a situation you have devised and you'll therefore be thinking about how... more

How to Make Your Characters Real – Part 5: Hidden Information

Hi everyone, Ed here, and I'm back with another “How to Make Your Characters Real!” Today, I'm going to be talking about how characters won't always share all of the information that they have about themselves from the very beginning. They might have very detailed reasons for being the way they are, but most people won't share them for no reason. You have to be in a situation where they're willing to open up about certain facts about themselves. From a writing standpoint, it also has to be relevant to what they need to tell other characters in the story: it has to be emotionally... more

How to Make Your Characters Real – Part 4: Visualisation

Hi everyone, Ed here from Shades of Vengeance again!I'm back with another entry in my "How to Make your Characters Real" series. I hope that you are finding these useful and interesting. Of course, if there's any subjects that I've not covered that you'd like me to talk about, please just ask, I'll be more than happy to speak about it. When you are creating characters, remember that humans are visual creatures. The fact that a beautiful picture of a sunset is more likely to sell a game than brilliant mechanics is something that I've struggled with for a long time as a game... more

How to Make Your Characters Real – Part 3: Hero of Their Own Story

Hi everyone! I'm back again to talk a little more about how to bring your characters to life in an engaging and realistic way.  The reason that I think this is important actually relates to the fact that, when you have a character which is solid and believable, it makes the story that you're trying to write almost able to tell itself. All you have to do is follow that character and understand the choices that they make. But I'm going to be talking a little more about that in the future!  Today, I'm going to focus on how characters live inside your universe, along with several... more

How to Make Your Characters Real – Part 2: Building up your Characters in the Right Way

Hi everyone, Ed here again! I'm back to talk more about making your characters real. The advice in these posts could apply to roleplaying games, when you create a character, or it could contribute to your storytelling or novel writing. It could even help with designing a world, or writing a movie or any number of different things! I hope you're finding these useful, and please check in again next week when I'm going to cover some more subjects.  But, for this week, I'm going to be talking about how you build up your character in the right way, so that they can achieve what you need... more

How To Make Your Characters Real – Part 1: Inspiration

Hi everyone!  Ed here, and today I'm going to kick off a multi-part set of articles that are based around ideas I have on how to make your characters real. The first thing I'm going to talk about is inspiration.  How do you arrive at your character? Also, how do you make sure that when you are working on it you create something that is along the lines of what you envision?  The first thing is something that I've said a lot of times in previous articles and Webinars about inspiration: consume media! Read books to find characters who are vaguely similar to what you're doing.... more

Building a World: What Makes It Survival Horror?

Hi everyone! When I started both Era: Survival and Era: The Chosen, I asked myself one simple question very carefully: What is the difference between Survival Horror and Horror? I thought I would write about my thoughts on this today, and try to explain my answer to that question! The Survival Horror genre is different from the action genre in terms of both the atmosphere and the events that befall the characters. While the Action genre is about overcoming impossible odds and blowing away the bad guys, Survival Horror is about the suspense, the threat of... more

How to Begin Building a “Hero’s Journey” Story.

I think most writers have heard of the concept of a hero's journey. For those that haven't, the idea is that the hero begins in a negative, or non optimal situation, and progresses through adversity to become the hero that the universe needed, whether it knew it or not.  The hero's journey is one of the oldest forms of stories and, although I've heard it said that there are seven coins of story, I personally don't subscribe to that. I don't think there are really more than one: every story involves the hero's journey in some way. That's why I think that being able to build a... more

3 Reasons I Use a Timeline to Plan when I Create a Universe

Hi everyone! Ed here, and today I'm going to talk to you about three ways that a planned timeline of events can make your work seem especially awesome. 1: It helps you figure out how the story will progress This is a really important part of writing; knowing where your story is going to go allows you to ensure that it follows a direction that you intend right from the start. I've written previously about character-driven stories, but I also mentioned that sometimes you need an event to push that character forwards. If you're planning out a... more

How To Build a Hero

Hi everyone! Ed here and today I'm going to talk to you about how to build a hero. There are a few things that I think you ought to realise when you're trying to build a protagonist for your story. I'm primarily going to focus on heroes as opposed to anti-heroes in this particular article. A hero is someone who is going to fix the problem with your world. If you've read some of my previous articles or attended my webinar, you will know that the central conflict of the world is the driving factor for your story. The hero is going to go out and they're going to fix that central... more

Why Your Personal Limits Don’t Have to be a Barrier to Creativity

Hi, everyone, Ed here! Today I'm going to talk about what you're what you need to do if you're going to reach the limit of what you're capable of. Every creator will run into a blocker from time to time - you will find something that you're not able to do. Personally, I'm not much of an artist! So when I reach! the limit of my capabilities, I have two choices. There's a saying that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. I have found this to be broadly true. Interestingly, if you multiply as up to 40 hours a week, every week, you come to roughly five years of time. So you need to ask... more

5 Reasons that Writing The Book You Always Wanted To is Worth Your Time!

Hi everyone, Ed here! Today, I'm going to talk about five reasons why writing the book you always wanted to is definitely worth your time.1. You don't have to write it all at once...There are methods by which you can prompt yourself to write a book all at the same time. NaNoWriMo is an excellent example of that, where people are given encouragement to write 2000 words per day for the month of November, so you end up with a 60,000 word novel at the end of that month. However, if you're aiming for a 60,000 word novel, and you don't feel like you can commit an hour or two every day to... more

Three Quick Tips to Make Sure YOUR Story is the Best You Can Write!

Hi everyone, Ed here from Shades of Vengeance! Today, I'm going to be giving you my three best quick tips for writing your story. 1. Start with Feelings Begin what you are trying to create with the feelings that you want to evoke within the universe (not necessarily within the reader!). How does it feel? Is it positive, is it negative? Are people optimistic, or are people angry and at each other's throats. What is it that people feel like when they live within this setting? That may include details on the size of the setting, because depending on the size,... more

Five Ways to Make Sure that YOUR Universe is “Complete” and “Immersive”.

Hi everyone! Today, I am talking creativity and universe building. Here are 5 simple things you can do to make sure your universe is as complete and immersive as possible:  1. Understand How it Feels to Live in the UniverseStart with the feelings that people within the universe experience. This is an absolutely vital part of building a universe, because it is the feelings that people will connect to when they experience something. Whether it's a fantasy universe with wonder and magic or a cyberpunk future where the corporations suppress everyone who just wants to live their... more

Three Things YOU can do Today to Break your Creative Silence.

Hi there! Everyone has spare energy at some point during the day. And it's often very difficult to know the way in which you can change this into actual productivity and break that silence in your creative life. Here are three thing that I do in order to ensure that I remain creative and use that energy in the best way possible.1. Identify your "Spare Time" and Use It! Most of us spend a lot of time travelling on public transport or driving, or even washing up. While we are doing these things which are relatively mindless, we're often able to use that time to actually create... more

New YouTube Video – How to Create a Game – A Game Ed-inar! (0:0:0)

Watch it here on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwk8eDXks0Y Hi everyone! I've been speaking about how to be a game creator for a long time at conventions, and we've decided it's time I start giving some advice to long-time fans of our work who want to build their own games. Here's the first of what I expect to be a few videos, which feature me speaking about that! Don't forget to Like and... more

Spotlight on EraScapes – The Oracle

Right now, we have two big Kickstarters happening at the same time! Era: The Empowered’s Core Rulebook and Blue-Shift’s first ever comic have both been doing amazing and with just above one week left to gather more support there’s a good chance that either of these projects might achieve another Stretch Goal. If Blue Shift breaks the $1200 Stretch Goal, then the entire comic will double in length! That would be a fantastic addition for everyone supporting this story. To read more about the Blue-Shift comic Kickstarter head over here:... more