Nothing Ventured Games
Thoughts in tabletop gaming by Paul Stefko.

#AprilTTRPGMaker 2019: Finale

01 May 2019

April has ended, and with it #AprilTTRPGMaker. A lot of the questions here at the end of the month were difficult to answer. I can say that I’m glad I took part in this event, but it was clearly written from a point of view that I don’t entirely mesh with. Anyway, here are my final answers from the last week or so.

22. How are you working to improve the ttrpg community?

I hope that in some tiny way I can make approaching new games less intimidating through works like my Core Mechanics video series. #AprilTTRPGmaker pic.twitter.com/aJnHNiH3bO

— Paul Stefko (@PaulStefko) April 22, 2019

I love helping people find and learn new games. The only way the industry can grow is if we are constantly introducing new folks to the fun and wonder of RPGs.

23. Mentoring/being mentored by?

I feel like I'm part of a cohort that is always supporting and learning from one another. Unfortunately, true mentorship opportunities are sparse in tabletop gaming. #AprilTTRPGmaker

— Paul Stefko (@PaulStefko) April 23, 2019

It’s great to share your growing knowledge with other creators, and I’ve picked up a lot of tricks and tips from other folks. However, I’ve never been involved in a formal mentorship.

24. Favorite rpg thing to create?

My favorite thing to create in RPGs is the thing that surprises even me. My super Saturday cartoon supplement It’s Element-ary! was filled with these sorts of surprises for me, from how it came together in production to the mind-boggling Ennie nomination. #AprilTTRPGmaker pic.twitter.com/EjUCqSitOO

— Paul Stefko (@PaulStefko) April 24, 2019

Another project that came as this kind of surprise was Interstellar Patrol. I put it together almost overnight, fueled by a bout of insomnia, and it includes a number of lines and features I probably never would have written intentionally otherwise.

25. A rad diversity consultant?

I can't really speak to how "rad" anyone is as a diversity consultant, but I will say I'm really looking forward to checking out the Fate Accessibility Toolkit by @snarkbat, et al. https://t.co/Co5Oa6X4ob #AprilTTRPGmaker

— Paul Stefko (@PaulStefko) April 25, 2019

There are so many folks doing great work to make gaming more inclusive and safer for so many who have been consistently left out in the past. I wish I was more tuned into that and could have pointed them out.

26. Favorite online community?

Twitter is my only real online community for RPGs, which sucks in a lot of ways. I used the departed G+ for a time, but I never really felt as involved there as I know many people did. #AprilTTRPGmaker pic.twitter.com/QWgy6lrWkC

— Paul Stefko (@PaulStefko) April 27, 2019

A lot of the time, Twitter is a flaming cesspool. But it still has a lot of good going on in it, including things like this hashtag.

27. How do you market your work?

It's safe to say I market my work poorly. I've tried various methods (featured product ads on DriveThru, email newsletters, etc.), and nothing really works. #AprilTTRPGmaker

— Paul Stefko (@PaulStefko) April 27, 2019

Oviously, this site is part of my marketing efforts. You can judge for yourself how good I am at it.

28. What tools help you create?

Most of my public work has been laid out in Adobe InDesign. Lately, though, I’ve been testing out a workflow converting Markdown files to PDF using pandoc, weasyprint, and custom CSS. #aprilTTRPGmaker pic.twitter.com/A7C86kzgzy

— Paul Stefko (@PaulStefko) April 28, 2019

I create nothingventuregames.com using a tool called Jekyll. It’s a static site generator built in Ruby that takes plain-text Markdown files and templates with embedded Liquid code and turns them into a website. I’ve been using it for a few years, and I really enjoy the control and flexibility it gives me.

I’ve been teaching myself CSS over the last year as well. Understanding the technology has sparked my creativity a great deal as I can better imagine how the work can be presented.

It’s pretty hard to spot trends in advance without a lot of knowledge of what people are working on ahead of time. Zines are certainly a thing again, I suppose. #AprilTTRPGmaker

— Paul Stefko (@PaulStefko) April 29, 2019

I just learned that Shadowrun Sixth Edition will be coming out around Gen Con. I’m interested to see if any other classic games get updates this year.

30. If you were in charge of the ttrpg industry, what would you change?

I would love it if everyone involved valued the time and effort of everyone else more highly. That’s fans, publishers, writers, artists, everyone. Too many people are willing to write the work off as a hobby that it ruins it for those who can’t. #aprilTTRPGmaker pic.twitter.com/gGq9Tv8BMc

— Paul Stefko (@PaulStefko) April 30, 2019

Thankfully, I’m not in charge of the industry. Because clearly, I don’t know jack about business.

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