My Boys' First RPG

I've been wanting to try my boys out on an RPG for a while now, but I wasn't really sure how. I'd given away a lot of my sourcebooks, so all I had left was the d20 SRD which, while great, wasn't quite what I wanted.

Then I got this fancy schmancy Numenera corebook in the mail. This system is what I wanted: simple, flexible, and with a heck of a lot of leeway for a GM who wasn't sure how well his players would get things. But the Ninth World can be kinda . . . creepy, at least for 6- and 7-year-olds. I wanted something they could be excited about.

"Why don't you just make something up?" said my wife, ever supportive of even my geekliest dilemmas.

"Are you kidding?" I said. "Do you know how much work that would take? Even if I adapted what I have, I'd still have to make up a bunch of equipment and powers. Though the types would be pretty easy to adapt, I guess. Most of the esoteries are basically Force powers anyway. And the descriptors work okay. . ."

And then I couldn't stop thinking about it.

The next couple of days looked like this:

Now all I have to do is figure out the rules for lightsabers before they earn theirs. . .

Loving What You Write

I've had a hard time writing lately. Oh don't worry, there's still a novel on sub, and another novel ready to go after that one. This page is still up to date (wait, is it up to date? . . . Yes, now it's up to date).

What's been hard is writing something new. Part of that has been RPG crafting systems and dialogue design (who knew two full-time jobs would be so much work, am I right?). Part of it is in that first paragraph: I'm on sub, have another ready to go, and my brain is saying, "Why are you writing more?"

BUT I've figured out something that makes it hard to write no matter how many jobs or kids I have: I'm bored of the book.

It sucks, I know, but it has two very easy fixes:
  1. Find what you love about the book (you did love something, right?) and do that.
  2. If all you're left with is things you don't love, fix them until you do.
For me, that played out in a few ways.

I read ahead in my outline until I hit a scene I was excited about. Once I remembered the cool thing I was working toward, it gave me motivation and ideas for how to get there. SO much better than thinking, "Okay, now I have to write a scene where he goes to school again . . ."

(Obviously if you're Zuko-ing it, you won't have an outline, but you have notes, right? Ideas? You can at least think ahead even if you can't read ahead).

World-building. You may know I love me some world-building. A lot of times when I'm bored it's because the world is boring. So I fix that and add something cool. Like mechs or displacer beasts.

I made up some slang. This is part of world-building, but it's become such a fundamental part of my process (and it was such a fundamental part of me getting unstuck today) that it deserves its own paragraph. I HEART SLANG. I came up with six new words and a system unique to this world for just a couple of pages (which, for you math-minded, means that about 1% of the words on those pages are completely made up).

If those don't work for you, then maybe it's the characters, maybe you need to know what they want or fear. Maybe you need to talk to yourself about the story a while, or maybe you just need to get out.

The important thing is that if you're bored with the story, your readers probably will be too. Find what you love and fill the story with that.