Greetings, yes I know it has been awhile since I posted anything of late – life throws curve balls at you from time to time. I have been doing some mapping for the various Hex & Blade System powered TTRPs that I am working on and noticed that no matter how hard I try I cannot create an emulation of OD&D or 1e AD&D if my life depends on it (luckily it doesn’t). A few observations from fellow creatives on Twitter mentioned a definite Rolemaster and Warhammer FRPG influence on the Hex & Blade System. The more I mused about it, the more I became convinced that indeed Rolemaster 2e, HARP, Talislanta 2e, and 1e Warhammer FRPG are my primary influences. You could also toss in 1e Palladium Fantasy and the more recent Rogueland, Cairn, and Knave OSR TTRPGs as also being influences of mine.
For all my love for OD&D and 1e AD&D, they were NOT the primary games I played and have the most experience with. I chock it up to simple nostalgia and a desire to get away from the crunchiness of the Rolemaster 2e, the Rolemaster United play-test and 5e campaigns I ran or played in over the last decade (for the former, not the latter – I ran 5e for a year and a half, and RMU for four months or so). The OSR and games like Delving Deeper, Castle & Crusades, Swords & Wizardry, and even Blood & Treasure 1e relit my desire to run games again. They also made me want to create my own games; though it took following Kerc, Diogo, Alex T., and others on Twitter to have the guts to finally do so. For that I will ALWAYS be thankful of them all.
The only aspects of OD&D and 1e AD&D that have remained are the ones in terms of the Gonzo-ness, the exploration and alignment system inherent to both, otherwise they are not the inspirations I thought they were. There is nothing wrong with either system, and yet my subconscious seems to draw upon Rolemaster, HARP, Talislanta, 1e Warhammer FRPG, and Palladium Fantasy for the core gameplay engine for my Hex & Blade System; while Rogueland, Cairn, and Knave (along with Into the Odd and Mörk Borg) have inspired how I want my rules-lite Chapbook Adventure Games powered by the Hex & Blade System to be presented.
Whereas the OSR lit my fire of TTRPG design, it was the the quirky indie side of the OSR – Kerc, Diogo, Caverns of Heresy, Alex T., Yochai Gal, James V. West, Ben Milton, L.F. OSR, Perplexing Ruins, Pelle Nilsson, Johan Nohr, Spencer Campbell, Navi & Shawn Drake; amongst others too numerous to name – ALL inspired me to look at things in a different light and drop my hidebound devotion to OD&D, B/X and 1e AD&D.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still play and run those systems or ones based upon them. They are just not what I want for my games – be they my Hex & Blade System powered ones or those powered by Gila RPGs Lumen SRD, or any other indie based SRD I choose to use moving forward.
I no longer consider myself a OSR game designer (I’ll not cast aspersions upon it as I DEEPLY indebted to it) as it doesn’t represent where my design philosophy is evolving towards. Sure, there will be aspects of the OSR design/play philosophies still present, they just are not the be all end all of MY design philosophy.
I have found myself organically moving towards what the Pandatheist described in the New School Revolution post on the Bone Box Chant blog (link Here.) and Artpunk as described in the “What is Artpunk?” Post on the False Machine blog by P. James Stewart (link Here.).
Both the Pandatheist, Black Dragon Games & Creative Spheres are to be thanked for challenging my preconceived notions not just concerning a variety of things in the past I’d have derided as “Woke Rubbish” – to be rational well throughout positions.
As a Queer oriented bohemian, I find myself shedding my former orthodoxy – be it in the realms of politics, spirituality or TTRPG design. I am becoming the human being I am deep inside and yet suppressed for so long out of misplaced shame and self-loathing.
That being said, I am not being said not much will be changing. My stuff won’t be Rainbow covered Queer or Anarchistic rooted games – there is NOTHING wrong with them, just not my style of game, and there are far better designers already publishing such games.
Will my sexuality and politics influence my works? How can they not. I’ve been including positive Queer and POC representation in my campaigns and worlds for a LONG time…well before I came out and evolved politically.
How does ALL this impact the Hex & Blade System and my other future games? It has allowed me to break the chains binding my creativity and as such led to greater frustration and doubts, and thus more and more frequent and severe depression that would only naturally create barriers to my creativity.
By stripping myself of these self imposed barriers I hope to dive into the creative process again. A process in which my productivity often sputtered because of those doubts and attempts to emulate a type of game that was rooted in nostalgia and didn’t truly emulate the kinds of games I personally wanted to run.
D&D in any form is NOT my game of choice, the one that my creative spark yearns for. Will I run and play them? Damn right I will…from time to time. That said, I am creating games I want to play first and foremost. Trying adhere to the OSR design philosophies and OD&D template was killing my passion.
The Hex & Blade System will represent the kind of game that I personally have always wanted to play and run. It is the sum of my influences – both older and more modern in variety. Beyond the Hex & Blade System, my future games will also be powered by Gila RPGs Lumen SRD.
For over a decade I wanted to emulate a variety of Anime and Video Game IPs in TTRPG form, since I was locked into a narrow vision of how Gaming should be – I couldn’t fathom HOW I could run them.
With Spencer’s Lumen SRD I can emulate anime such as Log Horizon, The Seven Deadly Sins, My Hero Academy, Sword Art Online; the manga of Basilisk and the Yagyu Scrolls; plus video games such as Streets of Rage 4, the Street Fighter franchise, Samurai Showdown, Skull Girls, and BlazBlue now.
So my future TTRPG designs will be focused upon my Hex & Blade powered Chapbook projects, Ruin Delvers, and Xíphos & Goéteía Adventure Games; and my Lumen powered games. I don’t see any possibility of developing any other games until those are realised.
This missive went a bit longer than I had envisioned and meandered beyond the title, and yet summed up what I’ve wanted to say for awhile but wasn’t sure how to articulate it. Part of it was also fear of disappointing my friends and TTRPG design colleagues. Once I was able to get beyond both barriers I felt ready to post about it. I’ll stopping taking up your time and close this so I can get it published and shared. As always take care and be kind to each other. Fin.