Nothing Ventured Games
Thoughts in tabletop gaming by Paul Stefko.

#AprilTTRPGMaker 2019: Week 2-ish

16 April 2019

I was on vacation last week. While I was able to keep up with the #AprilTTRPGMaker questions on Twitter, I wasn’t able to update here. Anyway, here’s the last 10 or so questions.

7. How to increase accessibility?

Many of the technologies we already use have excellent accessibility tools that we just aren’t taking advantage of: PDF layers for color and color-blind options; semantic HTML for screen readers; and so on. #AprilTTRPGmaker pic.twitter.com/96P0m2J4fc

— Paul Stefko (@PaulStefko) April 7, 2019

I think that producers can make better use of a number of different technologies to increase accessibility. Most RPG products are digital-only these days, and the tools are there to do some really amazing things. Folks just need to use them.

8. Favorite collaborators?

I’ve worked with @awesome_john on a couple projects, and he’s a hell of an editor. I’m proud of the work I did adapting @TheOtherTracy’s Iron Edda. I’m glad @KevinKulp gave me a chance to work on TimeWatch. But really, I need to work with more folks in general. #AprilTTRPGmaker

— Paul Stefko (@PaulStefko) April 8, 2019

I really love working with folks on my projects (only partly because of my answer to #3 last week). I’ve had the pleasure of working with a number of talented collaborators, but I really want to work with more.

9. How do your games distribute power among players?

Like I said on day 1, I lean toward more trad designs. So, GM/player divide and all that. But I like options for player control, especially when tied to a meta-game currency, as that breeds interesting choices. #AprilTTRPGmaker

— Paul Stefko (@PaulStefko) April 9, 2019

I don’t have much more to add to this one. More often than not, I see games with more direct narrative control make players uncomfortable and nervous, and I’m not always sure it’s worth it.

10. How are your games dismantling colonialism?

The game I’ve made that comes closest to addressing colonialism is Psychedemia, which is about psychic space cadets working to protect an alien dream realm from the expansionist human military. https://t.co/a4b8N4kPYZ#AprilTTRPGmaker pic.twitter.com/PuYrFYgpxq

— Paul Stefko (@PaulStefko) April 10, 2019

We start to get into some questions here that I’m not really that into. The presumption here is that your game must fit a certain standard to be valid, and I don’t agree. Still, when I actually thought about it, I realized I kind of had made a game or two that fits.

11. Shoutout to an underloved creator

I think @ThoughtyGames’ Turn is going to make a real mark when folks get their hands on it. Their work possesses a unique point of view that will help others explore the world in new ways. #AprilTTRPGmaker

— Paul Stefko (@PaulStefko) April 11, 2019

I’m really excited to see how Turn is received. It’s been so interesting to see Beau go through their process with this game, and heartening as well. If you haven’t looked into Turn, you should check it out.

12. How to make work inclusive?

I worry about making my work inclusive because I’m just one person, and I’m playing life on the lowest difficulty. I try more and more to fill my games with characters unlike me, lives unlike mine, and I listen to folks like that in real life to reflect them. #AprilTTRPGmaker pic.twitter.com/fI7PkKUukC

— Paul Stefko (@PaulStefko) April 12, 2019

A couple years ago, I was lucky enough to be an Industry Insider at Gen Con. One of the panels I proposed (and eventually sat on) was “Making Characters Who Aren’t Like You.” It’s so important to make spaces where everyone can feel safe, supported, and comfortable. It’s not something that comes easy to most of us, and it’s something I’m trying to work on every day.

13. Participate in streamed games?

I do not currently participate in any streamed games, but I would love the opportunity. #AprilTTRPGmaker

— Paul Stefko (@PaulStefko) April 13, 2019

I streamed once or twice back in the days of live Google Hangouts. You can find some of that on my Videos page.

14. How are your game mechanics and characters intersectional?

Putting this tweet here to keep my place. I don’t have anything to say about today’s question. pic.twitter.com/KFOHbDrrKB

— Paul Stefko (@PaulStefko) April 14, 2019

This is another one of those questions, and I’m really not even sure what this one means. Moving on.

15. Favorite tropes to subvert?

While I don’t have a favorite trope to subvert, I do find myself working against Born-Evil Races and anything Grimdark a lot. #AprilTTRPGMaker

— Paul Stefko (@PaulStefko) April 15, 2019

On the other side of the coin, I have to work very hard not to include a Creepy Child in every game I run.

16. How does your environment inform your work?

I live in western Pennsylvania and went to college in the decaying Gothic heart of the state’s original oil country. I also made a game about folks befriending fairies to oppose the energy industry. Draw your own conclusions. #AprilTTRPGMaker pic.twitter.com/GsZf5tt6Ph

— Paul Stefko (@PaulStefko) April 16, 2019

I was actually back at my college last week on my trip, and it’s stark to see a place that very clearly had a lot of money in it and has been steadily rotting for a century.

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