How RPGs are Illustrated

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the seriesHow RPGs are Made

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series How RPGs are Made

Introduction

I recently hired a new disabled illustrator to join the Survival of the Able team. Like I did when hiring an editor, I gave them a sample design to illustrate for me to see if they were a good fit. Here’s the final result:

Agnus swings a torch at a zombie.

This illustration depicts Agnus, one of the iconic characters from the book, fighting a zombie. It didn’t start out looking like this, though. In fact, we went through a few rounds of sketches and edits before seeing the final product. Before I could do that though, I had to find an artist for the job.

Looking for … Continue reading

How RPGs are Edited

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the seriesHow RPGs are Made

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series How RPGs are Made

I have been hard at work preparing for the Survival of the Able Kickstarter, with a tentative mid-October 2019 launch. That means preparing and planning the campaign, but it also means hiring artists, editors, and layout professionals to help finish the book.

Since Survival of the Able is all about representing people with disabilities, it’s important to me to hire a diverse team. I put out the call to Twitter to find a disabled editor, and within hours was talking to someone who wanted to help.

Side note: Before working with a new team member, I like to order some sample work to see if they’re a good fit. It’s important not to ask for work on spec–that is, it’s important not to ask for someone to give you a sample … Continue reading

New Art for Survival of the Able

Four weary travelers huddle around a campfire, oblivious to the zombies lurking in the nearby shadows. Two of them discuss food using sign language.

 

This is the first art for Survival of the Able, illustrated by the talented Amy Ashbaugh.

If you have read the First Draft or seen the character sheets (both of which you can download here), you may recognize the characters in the image. Johanna, Vasco, Agnus, and Gerardus are all here, along with some unwanted (and unsuspected) guests. They aren’t seasoned adventures who have learned to set up regimented watch schedules and sleep in shifts; these are just ordinary folks who have been thrust into the wilderness and forced to learn how to survive.

Pretty soon I’ll be wrapping up the … Continue reading

Survival of the Able Beta

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the seriesSurvival of the Able Updates

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Survival of the Able Updates

I recently finished the layout on the Survival of the Able beta. The content is almost identical to the First Draft I posted about previously, but this time it is in an easier-to-read, easier-to-navigate PDF.

Currently I am looking for beta readers and playtesters to give it a look and provide feedback. For anyone who can offer their time, I am offering:

  • Your name in the Special Thanks section of the final book
  • A complimentary PDF copy of the final book
  • $10 credit toward Accessible Games products on DTRPG if you read and provide feedback
  • $20 credit instead if you are able to playtest the game and provide feedback

I need to capture email addresses so I know who to send appropriate coupon codes to, so I’m … Continue reading

Survival of the Able Glossary

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the seriesSurvival of the Able Updates

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Survival of the Able Updates

Introduction

I recently added a glossary to the Survival of the Able manuscript. This wasn’t included in the first draft, but I feel it adds a lot to the overall readability of a book so I decided to include it even for the ashcan.

This glossary offers a broad overview of what you can expect to find in terms of game mechanics, so it makes a great overview. It is posted here so you can take a quick peak for yourself.

One thing to note: This game shares a lot of terms with Fudge and Fate Core, but it doesn’t use those systems directly. You may be familiar with Fate Points, for example, but they dont’ work identically to the same … Continue reading

Survival of the Able First Draft Complete

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the seriesSurvival of the Able Updates

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Survival of the Able Updates

I first started thinking about Survival of the Able about four years ago. Since then, progress on the project has been slow going thanks to some major life events, but I finally set a goal to have a preview out by GenCon so I have been focused lately on delivering that.

Now I am proud to say that the first draft of the game’s manuscript is complete. From here, I’ll read through it a couple times and make sure there isn’t anything else that must be included in the GenCon preview, then it’ll be on to layout so I can prep an ashcan edition.

What’s an ashcan, you ask?

An ashcan is a beta copy of sorts. A simple book without all the artistry and pagentry of a complete release. … Continue reading

Interviewed by Plus or Minus Podcast

Recently I was honored to be interviewed by Troy Truchon of the Plus or  Minus Podcast, the world’s first Fudge RPG-specific podcast. We talked about accessibility in the tabletop games industry, Psi-punk, Monster Kart Mayhem, and Fudge in general.

You can listen to the podcast via the embeded player below, but I would encourage you to visit Plus or Minus and check out their back catalog as well. This podcast receives the distinction of being the one and only podcast I have ever followed for more than five episodes in a stretch.

Visit the Plus or Minus website.

Listen to the interview

Survival of the Able Update 2

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the seriesSurvival of the Able Updates

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Survival of the Able Updates

Introduction

Has it really been three years since the first (and only) Survival of the Able update?

A lot has happened in my personal life since then and progress on the game’s development slowed, but it hasn’t halted. In fact, the current draft of the manuscript has about 30,000 words and is nearing completion.

I plan on bringing a demo version of SotA to GenCon Indie this year, so I recently whipped up a spreadsheet to help me track my milestones and stay on top of how much time I have left to get everything completed. By my estimates, I have about two months to finish the manuscript so I can have something to share by August.

By setting a goal for myself, I finally took SotA off … Continue reading

Survival of the Able Update

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the seriesSurvival of the Able Updates

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Survival of the Able Updates

Last month I launched a contest for Survival of the Able, and upcoming game I’ve been working on. Unfortunately the contest didn’t have any entries, but the character sheet was downloaded nearly two dozen times and I did receive a few pieces of feedback at least.

In the coming months I’ll talk more about the game and its design decisions. For now, here’s a brief overview.

Background and Goals

My primary goal for Survival of the Able is to give players an experience of what it’s like to have a disability. Most RPGs treat disabilities and drawbacks, hindrances, faults, etc. and assign them numerical penalties to ability checks–and that’s exactly what I wanted to avoid with this game. Being blind shouldn’t just be a -4 penalty to ranged attacks. Being … Continue reading