Category Archives: Business of Games

RPG Career Advice: Self Promotion

So… look. You have to promote yourself.

Yes, it’s a pain for a lot of people. And it can be uncomfortable or embarrassing, especially if you aren’t used to it. And doing it wrong can turn off some folks, especially early on, who may reply to your promotion with “Who the hell are you and why should I care?”

Those people are doing you a favor, though they don’t know it. They’re giving you a chance at more self-promotion.

Look, if you want an RPG career, you HAVE to self-promote. Because either you want other people to hire you to be part of their projects (in which case you need to get your name and work out there, so people know you are available to be hired and have some idea why they might want to hire you), OR you are doing your own projects (in which case you need to promote them, which if they are your projects is the same as promoting yourself).

Even if you currently have a stable industry job, you should promote yourself. This can increase your value to the company, increase the company’s awareness of your value, and give you options if a meteor strike that company and suddenly you don’t work there anymore.

I am not a social media guru or an example of vast success or riches, so take all my suggestions with a grain of salt. But I had significant problems with self-promotion for years, and these ideas are how I (partially) overcame them.

1. Promote Everyone Else

“Hey, I got to work on this neat project with Awesome Designer and Amazing Editor! They’re doing fantastic work, and I can’t wait to see the end project!”
“Neat Folks have a new Kickstarter, and it looks great to me! Check it out!”

Often the easiest ways to self-promote is to insert your promotion as part of promoting other people, and to simply talk about the things you find exciting even if you aren’t involved with them. Doing these things still puts your name out there, and when you promote other people you encourage them to promote you in return. For introverts, this can be much easier than talking up your own part in projects.

2. Just Do Stuff

Self-promotion doesn’t have to be about saying how great you are. If you put out a new short story, or a cool story hook, or a single feat designed to allow halfling war-bakers make potions out of muffins, you can just put it out, link to it, and make sure your name is easily associated with it.

One of the reason my blog is OwenKCStephens.com is that anything I put on there is easily tied to me.
One of the reasons I put a lot of stuff on there is so people see my name, associated with things they might like.
Creation is promotion, as long as you give everyone involved credit.

3. Have a Way to be Contacted

My email is not hard to find. I let everyone ping me on Facebook. My Facebook and Twitter accounts are linked from my blog. I have a Paizo.com account that accepts private messages. If you want to get in touch with me, it’s easy.
Now, there are good and reasonable circumstances that might make any or all of those a bad idea for the security, safety, or sanity of someone other than me. But whatever method you choose, from a specific work-related email to a forum you can moderate yourself, if you want work in the industry, you need to make sure people know how to get hold of you.

4. If You Mention It, Make It Easy to Find

I have a Patreon campaign. And now, just by linking it, I have made it easy for anyone who wants to give me as little as $1-$3 a month to support these blog posts to do that.

I have both made my point, and self-promoted.

If a project of yours gets a review, link to it in a way that makes it easy to find both the review and a way to buy the product. Endzeitgeist, for example, links to where you can buy the products he reviews when he posts them on his website. That encourages me to use the links to his site when i mention the review, since people can then click-through and buy my stuff. Because he promoted me, I promote him.

If you are excited by your new project, link to where people can find more ifnrmation on it. That increases the chances people will get excited about it, and that helps drive that they found this neat thing because you mentioned it.

If you are going to go to all the effort to promote that you work for multiple companies (such as Paizo, Green Ronin, Rite Publishing, and Rogue Genius Games), promote that fact in a way that helps drive traffic to them.

Readers and fans and customers are often lazy. Make it as easy as possible for them to give you money, follow your posts, or read your thoughts.

You Can’t let the Whole World be Your Job

This is something it took me a long time to figure out as a freelance writer and developer, and it’s a mistake I still make much too often.

You can’t let the whole world be your job.

What I mean by that is you can’t allow every place, every time, and every contact to be work-related. Yes, you may be someone who gets freelance work done at 7am, 9pm, or 3 am depending on how your insomnia impacts you. But you can’t let your expectation be that you should be working at all those times.

Similarly you may well need to have your home workspace overlap with your personal space (though the tax benefits of a home office are not to be underestimated), but you can’t allow ALL your home space to be a place where work often gets done.

It’s great to have friends in the industry… but you need to have conversations and activities and interactions with them beyond things you do for your career.

The reasons for needed to at the very least carve out SOME time and space that is kept separate from work concerns are many and varied, but they can be boiled down to one basic idea.

Sometimes you don’t want to go to work.

Now, whether you can spare the time off, get vacation time, can take a mental health day, or need to play hooky is beyond the scope of this article. The important thing is, if you don’t want to go to work, and you have allowed your entire life to be defined primarily by your work, then you don’t want to get up and engage with life.

And that’s a problem.

Burnout, depression, imposter syndrome, introversion, and even panic attacks are not uncommon in creative writing careers. To survive, you need to know there is a way to exist outside your job.

Yes, your email may be ubiquitous, and your editors may always have a question, or a panicked demand, asking about changes, availability, late projects, and so on. But you can decide there are hours when that isn’t your problem. Time when, even if everything is on fire, you get to read a book, or sit on the balcony and listen to the rain. Whatever works for you.

I can’t tell you how to achieve work/life balance. There’s no magic number of hours per day, or per week, you need to take away from being “on call” to your career. But you need to know you CAN take time away. Subconsciously, your brain needs to be able to grasp the idea that after this project, this crunch time, this weekend, you have a place you CAN get away.

Because, to quote one of my editors, you are no use to anyone dead.

Speaking of My Career

I have a Patreon. It’s how I justify taking the time to write a lot of this material on my blog. I’d love your support.

Anniversary of Upheaval

Lj and I arrived in the Great Northwest three years ago, today.

We are on our second apartment, our second vehicle, our second AFK, but still the same core jobs and circle of friends, which in many ways are the important bits. I saw core jobs because Lj lost her full-time gig 6 or so months after we moved, and switched to doing RGG bookkeeping and freelance layout full time, and I  have become the project manager at Rite since then. We have had two dear friends move nearby, lost another dear friend, and in many ways I still feel like we are finding our feet.

The only things I miss from our lives in Norman, Oklahoma are a few people, a few restaurants… and certainty.

We knew, in broad terms, what every week, every holiday, and every season would bring. We had strong, long-established social systems that had gone on without major change for decades. Progress was difficult, but so was confusion. Our lives were a known factor, though it was kept at a set level we didn’t seem to be able to rise above.

There are many ways in which we have adjusted. We know more people, have local connections, and get invited to many more things. There are ways in which we haven’t. It turns out 20 years of freelance game writing habits don’t die easily, and I still get grumpy when I can’t take a nap in the middle of a workday at the office. But I AM adjusting.

When we first arrived out here, we also both started getting sick a lot. In 2016 alone I had two trips to the ER and nearly a dozen to urgent care, on top of regular doctor visits. But the last of those was last August, and I haven’t had a major illness since.

This move was a huge step outside of our comfort zone. We sold our house, the majority of our possessions,  and moved away from our most solid core of close family and friends. I’d lived in Norman for 43 or 44 years before I left. That one year exception was 2000-2001, when I was hired by WotC to work on the Star Wars game and that was still what I  was doing when they laid me off 14 months later.

Now I’ve been working for Paizo for 36 months. I began as the developer in charge of the module line, then transitioned over to the Player Companions, and then got to be one of the Design Leads for the Starfinder Roleplaying Game. I have grown quite a bit as a game developer and designer in three years, and these are opportunities I would not have had back in Oklahoma.  We have also made some awesome new friends, strengthened existing friendships, and just barely begun to build some social momentum again.

I mentioned to my wife just yesterday that I haven’t adjusted yet. she snorted and pointed out it’s been three years. She’s right… but so am I. Not quickly do I become comfortable in a new environment.

Despite that, and seeing the financial and psychological havoc it’s played with our long-term plans, I am a bit amazed we took this huge leap. In many ways that’s not our style. But I continue to be convinced that this was a good move for me and my wife.

Being me, I also worry about it a lot. 🙂

Huge thanks to everyone who has pitched in, invited us over, helped out, and just shared a smile now and then to the transplants from OK.

ALSO

I began a Patreon! To assist with things like this blog, and this post. Why not go make a pledge of support? 🙂

Considerations For Game Industry Work

So, assume for a moment that you have to pick from a range of projects available to you, and you can’t do them all. This isn’t necessarily a matter of being blessed with 7 companies all offering you too much freelance. You might be offered one or two simultaneous jobs by a long-time source of work. Or you might be asked to outline which of several lines you want to work on during an interview. Or you might have no work coming in from other sources, so you need to pick a project of your own to develop.

However it happened, you need to pit project outlines against each other, and decide which one you are going to do. So, how do your compare apples to cthulhupunk airship murder mysteries?

Here are some factors to consider.

MONEY

How much are you getting paid, and WHEN are you getting paid. This is not the end-all be-all of these consideration, but you have to include it. How much, under what circumstances, starting when, and ending when, if the money? I have taking pay rates that were 20% of my normal take, because the publisher promised (and delivered) “Payment by PayPal within an hour of turning it over.” I’ve also had times where 10 cents/word in 13 months sounded better than 8 cents/word in 6 months. I’ve taken royalties for the life of a product over flat rates, and vice versa, based on my needs and hopes. (I almost never accept royalties for the first 1 or 2 years of sales, because that discounts things like compilations and rereleases, which have made me tens of thousands of dollars over my career, but even then the right terms would make me do it.)

Know what money you have, what money you are getting, how much you TRUST that you’ll get that money when you are supposed to, and what money you need. If you have regular payments coming in or a “day job” that means your writing/game industry money is all gravy, you can take bigger risks and wait longer periods than if you need $50 to make a care payment next month.

FUN

The less you need the money, the more you can worry about fun. I have honestly considered defining “professional game designers not as people who make enough money to cover their expenses with industry work, or people who get paid for anything game-related, but as people who get paid to do game work they don’t find interesting. (I then decided I’m not the fucking high poo-bah of who is a game industry professional and gave up on the idea of defining squat, but I DO think people who can and do make money on game projects that don’t excite them have a useful and rarer professional skill.)

Not every project needs to be fun, but learn what you like and what you don’t, AND how it impacts your speed, satisfaction, burn-out potential, and so forth. If I love a project, I can do it faster and be happier, and that absolutely gets considered in my choice of projects.

GROWTH

Do you want to be better at what you do? Then value those opportunities that will help you grow. I have taken jobs, and even worked at companies, specifically because of the quality of designer, editor, and producer that lets me interact with. Working with great creative in different task and different kinds of projects very much helps me grow my skills. While I have never worked with anyone without learning SOMETHING from them, there are certainly people I learn more from than others.

Where possible, convince these people to be part of your own game company and pay them a cut of all the money you make, so they feel encourages to just sit around and say smart things. J (This is an advanced technique… )

CAREER PATH

This is harder to define, and not everyone is going to have the same career goals, but it’s worth looking at what projects will position you to do the things you want to do later in life. This can include taking types of projects you don’t have a track record with. For example when I had developed a strong reputation as a specialized game mechanics “crunch’ guy, I began looking for more adventures and worldbuilding projects to work on. And then right after those got published, I find myself in a game company interview being asked if I had done any adventures recently. (Phew.)

You may also find it useful to work with new people. A small project that doesn’t much interest you may be entirely worth taking if it gets your foot in the door with a company, property, or person you want to work with more. DON’T let yourself get taken advantage of (and if they want to, reconsider if you want to work with them), but do consider the value of taking on things outside your normal schedule or preferences to prove you can do a good job for them. I have, for example, taken more than one assignment on a Friday that was an emergency that needed to be done by Monday. Those never paid extra, but they did still pay well, and they let me prove I was reliable, useful, and able to work under crunch-time conditions.

Visibility can also be important. I did, in fact, “work for exposure” early in my career, writing reviews for TSR’s AOL content for no pay, and contributing to pro-am netbooks that were sold for money, without receiving anything but a credit. Those were both useful and paid off for me. Nowadays I’d recommend you NEVER do what I did, but it can totally be worth it to write for a blog or Patreon or social media without a guaranteed paycheck, assuming you own the material and that when money comes in you get your cut. I’m also fine with doing free work for projects that no one makes money on, like fan sites and charity projects, but beware. Those rarely boost your visibility any more than a good blog of your own material that you can control and own the rights to.

THE SCALES OF CONSIDERATION

No one but you can decide which of these factors are most important to you, and there are lots of other things that might influence your thinking. If you find something morally or ethically objectionable, don’t do it. If a friend did you a favor and needs one in return, feel free to cut them the same kind of slack you would if they needed someone to watch their pet for a vacation or pick up soup when they were sick… as long as it isn’t an ongoing thing.

And always check your assumptions in the middle, and at the end of each project. If it turns out you find satisfaction more important than money, it’s worth knowing. If you love doing something as a hobby but hate doing it as a job, it’s good to know. If you find it easier to make money writing games you hate than your existing corporate job, it’s good to know.

Contemplate, weight, balance, reconsider, and be ready to do the whole dance again for your next project.

SELF PROMOTE

And always, always find a way to turn every job into an ad for other ways for you to make money.

For example: “If you actually found that worth reading, why not become a patron, and support my efforts to blog on various topics?”

(Seriously, if this was helpful to you, why not throw a few bucks my way?)

Turning Down Work is Part of the Job

I turned down an offer of work today. On a cool project I’d love to do, too.

Now, this is unquestionably the right decision for me. I am behind on a lot of projects, and booked out for months and months on Starfinder opportunities and other things. I can’t, responsibly, take on anything else right now. When I had a thin wedge of availability, I filled it with high-priority items I think will pay a lot of career dividends, and even that was as much excitement as smart planning (though it did get my Business managers approval).

But my Freelancer Reflexes remain strong. The idea of someone offering to pay me to make games, and declining, rubs me the wrong way and often sets of waves of near-panic. I mean, if I turn down work, people will stop offering to me, right? And then I’ll have huge gaps in my production, and everyone will forget who I am, and I won’t be able to get any work, and I’ll go broke and starve.

Yes, it’s not rational. But it is part of what drove me for so many years.

But being a GOOD freelancer, even a good creative employee, means giving the people paying you their money’s worth. And that means you can’t take on so much work that you either rush any of it, or end up not being able to complete it on time, or maybe at all.

Those are hard lessons to learn. Most freelancers I know, myself definitely included, make the mistake of agreeing to too much early on, and then re-make that mistake from time to time.

You can’t do everything. You need some down time. More work will come. And, in my experience, telling someone that you’d love to do a project, but right now you are overbooked, never causes them to write you off forever. Frequently, producers appreciate that you know your limits, and make notes to contact you for other projects later on.

So yes sometimes turning down work is part of the job.

Become a Patron!

And another part of the job is self-promotion! Do you enjoy the content on this blog? I can only take the time to do niche things like this, because I have patrons supporting me! Why not become a patron, and support the creation of more free material! Or you could even become a sponsor, and get me to link to YOUR content!

More than 175 Pathfinder pdfs for $39.95!

From now on, Rogue Genius Games will be maintaining the Purple Duck Games store on Paizo.com. To celebrate, we have a HUGE bundle of their entire Pathfinder backstock compiled into one bundle you can pick up for $39.95 for a limited time! More than 175 products, with a retail value of over $600! Just so you can get caught up on this great line! But the offer only lasts until the end of the month!
 
I know it’s April 1st, but this is happening! PDG will still do their thing, making the same great content as always, and we’ll make sure it’s available to you on Paizo.com.
 
If you are already a fan of PDG, nothing really changes! You’ll just be buying things from the Purple Duck section of the Rogue Genius store on Paizo.com.
 
If you aren’t already a fan, this is a great chance to get caught up! 
 
So check out the bundle, check out their awesome selection of products, and join me in a big, hearty quack!
 

How to Colaborate

When you are working on a project that is so big no one person can write, develop, or edit all of it, it is inevitably you will, at some point, accidentally make something created by someone else slightly worse or less clear. You’ll have the best of intentions (or at least I always do), but it’ll happen occasionally.

I have just a few coping mechanisms for this.

First, I try very hard to improve more than I degrade. That sounds obvious, but it’s still a useful guild principle for me.

Two, I try to run anything that seems oddly worded or build to produce weird results past both the original creator and a second opinion. This helps avoid “fixing” things by altering the actual intent, and helps catch places where I have misread or misunderstood something and THAT is why Iw ant to change it.

Third, and the one that applies to the broadest range of situations on such a project, I work very hard not to be precious about anything I write. If I am the publisher and my money is backing the project, I’m okay to decide my vision is paramount. But in any other circumstance, I know I am working with brilliant, experienced, smart people. If I disagree with them on a call, the goal must be finding the solution best for the product, not the one I like best.

Also, sometimes go out with such folks for drinks. 🙂

Metagames and Ethics

A lot of people define the concept of the “metagame” differently, but the definition I run into most often is pretty close to “actions taken outside of normal defined gameplay that are driven by or the result of game rules, but not defined by those rules.”

So if you are deciding what cards to put in your CCG deck? Metagame. Sure which cards you CAN put in a deck are covered by rules, by actually choosing them and adding them to your deck is not defined, and you do that before you start playing the game itself with someone.

Choosing a feat to pick when you gain a character level and update between sessions? Metagame. Making props for your larp session? Metagame. Buying themed dice so your fireball looks cool because you have ten red-and-gold d6s? Still metagame.

But the definition I see most often can also cover actions that occur during the game. “Outside normal gameplay” doesn’t limit you to actions before or after the game, as long as they aren’t things controlled or referenced by game rules. And this can have expectation clashes. I have never had anyone get morally upset if I bluff in poker, but I’d expect everyone to be pissed if I used loaded dice in an rpg. But what is and isn’t acceptable isn’t always universally clear to players.

For example:

In the 1990s I played a game with some boardgame enthusiast friends that features a Bell, Book, and Candle (it was not Betrayal at House on the Hill, but I don’t recall the name). EDIT: It MAY have been Castle of Magic, though I am not certain of this.

It was the first time playing the game for all of us. Each player has a goal card, which outlines your victory conditions. You could have the candle lit or unlit, the bell rung or unrung, the book open or closed, and some other specific things could factor into it (are you out of cards, in anyone in their starting space on the board, and so on). If the exact combination of things your victory card says occurred, you won. Now many of these elements you had to just wait for, but everyone had some control over the bell, book, and candle. That meant if you moved for the book to be open, someone else could decide that meant having it open was on your victory card, and move to close it. Of course if they ALSO needed it open…

So obviously a big part of the game was figuring out other people’s victory conditions, while simultaneously concealing your own. Hoard resources to make a big state change when it’s close enough to your victory condition that no one can stop you, or make changes apparently at a whim so no one thinks you are moving toward your actual condition.

Since it was friends playing, we often wheedled each other about making or not making changes, which was part of trying to guess others’ victory condition while concealing our own.

Then when we took a break a friend took me aside, and suggested we team up. He had, he claimed, guessed my needed bell book and candle states, and he needed the same. He suggested a specific order we work together to fix those, and then whichever one of us managed to get out other needed conditions met first would win.

I like cooperative games, and it seemed reasonable, so I agreed.

So we worked together to fix the bell in one state. Then we fixed the book in another.
And then he won because the candle was already where he needed it. He didn’t need the same states I did. He lied, to convince me to help, and got me to agree to do things in a specific order so he’d win before I could.

Now, he and I talked it out, and came to understand where we were coming from. To him, this was all part of the metagame of what we were playing. No different from Diplomacy, or bluffing in poker. Lying was part of his game strategy, and only acceptable because we were playing a game that highlighted deception. To me, it was not something the game explicitly called out, and thus a lie is a lie is a lie. (Though, confession time, part of my social anxiety includes preferring a rigid adherence to rules, because that makes it easier for me to understand how I am supposed to react in a group, and when I don’t I sometimes panic.)

I took this as an example of a place where expectation conflict caused an otherwise fun game experience to end on a sour note, and have tried hard to remember what we appear to be encouraging players to do in game material I have written, developed, or consulted on ever since.

(Do you enjoy the content on this blog? I have a Patreon to help raise funds so I can produce even more material! Why not become a patron, and support the creation of more free material! Or you could even become a sponsor, and get me to link to YOUR content!)

What’s In The Bundle?!

So, ONE last time, we’re doing the Owen Genius Bundle, this time at Paizo.

For a very limited time, from now through January 9th, we’ve offering this bundle with every Rogue Genius Games Pathfinder-compatible pdf that Owen K.C. Stephens was the primary contributor for. That’s about 200 pdfs, worth roughly $600, with more than 1700 pages of actual content (not counting covers, credits, and licenses). And to make sure it’s realistic for fans who are interested to pick it up, we’re selling the whole thing for $29.95.

Sp what’s in it?

I *believe* this is a comprehensive list. I might have missed 1 or 2 things, in which case I’ll add them in an update.

  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 10 Feats of Fear and Fearlessness
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 10 Feats of Hammer and Thunder
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 10 Mage Armor Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 10 Monster Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 10 Subschool Augmentation Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 12 Alternatives for the Fighter’s Bravery Class Feature
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 12 Alternatives for the Rogue’s Trapfinding Class Feature
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 13 Dwarven Questing Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 13 Witch Hexes
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 14 Halfling Burglar Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 15 Fantasy Fees and Taxes
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 2 Options For The Leadership Feat
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 3 New Supernatural Monster Abilities
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 3 Simian Races
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 3 Templates for Stone Golems
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 3 Things Made from Crabmen
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 4 Feats for Spells that Raise the Dead
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 4 Feats for the Invisibility Spell
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 4 Ghostbusting Magic Items
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 5 Abilities for Dragonhide Armor
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 5 Control Water Spell Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 5 Fireball Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 5 Handy Haversacks
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 5 Haste/Slow Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 5 Hellfire Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 5 Machinesmith Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 5 Magic Abilities for Cold Iron Weapons
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 5 Magic Witch’s Daggers
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 5 Meta-Combat Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 5 Mount/Steed Spell Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 5 Silver Weapon Magic Properties
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 5 Unseen Servant Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 6 Anachronistic Armors
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 6 Antimagic Field Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 6 Archon Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 6 Feats for Summon Monster and Summon Nature’s Ally Spells
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 6 Godling Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 6 Jester Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 6 Magic Diseases
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 6 Mythic Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 6 New and Exotic Martial Swords
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 6 Nonmagic Special Qualities for Weapons
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 6 Powers for the Legendary Weapons of Mythic Characters
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 6 Spell-Less Ranger Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 6 Spiritual Weapon Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 6 Teleportation Spell Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 7 Bard Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 7 Cure Light Wound Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 7 Feats for Flying Foes
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 7 Feats for Sword and Board Fighting
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 7 Feats for the Undead
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 7 Magic Firearm Properties
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 7 Magic Missile Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 7 Shadow Assassin Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 7 Shield Spell Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 7 Sinful Feats of Gluttony
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 7 Sinful Feats of Lust
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 7 Sinful Feats of Pride
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 7 Stupid Weapon Designs
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 7 Tendril/Tentacle Spell Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 7 Time Thief/Time Warden Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 7 War Master Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 8 Animal Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 8 Barbarian Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 8 Dragonrider Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 8 Lightning Bolt Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 9 Alchemical Bomb Discoveries
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 9 Armiger Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: 9 Witch Hunter Feats
  • #1 With A Bullet Point: Mythic Fighter Class Features
  • Advanced Options: Alchemists’ Discoveries
  • Advanced Options: Extra Evolutions
  • Advanced Options: Fight Like a Pirate
  • Advanced Options: Inquisitors’ Judgments
  • Advanced Options: Oracle’s Curses
  • Advanced Options: Patron Hexes
  • Advanced Options: Slayers Talents & Lethalities
  • Advanced Options: Witches’ Hexes
  • Anachronistic Adventures
  • Campaign Options: The Feat Reference Document
  • Codex Draconis: Black Lords of the Marsh
  • Codex Draconis: Blue Satraps of the Desert
  • Codex Draconis: Green Menace of the Woodlands
  • Codex Draconis: Red Tyrants of the Mountains
  • Codex Draconis: White Terrors of the North
  • Genius Options: Masters of Time
  • Houserule Footnotes: Spell Point Feats
  • Houserule Footnotes: Stocking Stuffers
  • Houserule Handbooks: Spell Points
  • Houserule Handbooks: Spell Points Compilation
  • Houserule Handbooks: Spell Points Expansion
  • Krazy Kragnar’s Alchemical Surplus Shop
  • Krazy Kragnar’s Black Market Magic Items
  • Krazy Kragnar’s Magic Staff Emporium
  • Loot 4 Less: Things That Make You Go Boom
  • Monster Menagerie: Seasonal Stars – Pumpkin Stalker
  • Monster Menagerie: Winter Ravagers
  • Mythic Options: Core Mythic Class Features
  • Mythic Options: Mythic Base Class Features
  • Mythic Options: Mythic Dragonrider Class Features
  • Mythic Options: Mythic Rogue Class Features
  • Mythic Options: The Missing Core Feats
  • Ranger Options: Knacks of Nature
  • Sorcerer’s Options: Beyond Bloodlines
  • Super Genius Presents: Power Word Spells – Lore of the First Language
  • Super Genius Presents: Races Revised – The Kobold Kings
  • Super Genius Presents: The Vile Magic of Argonax the Mad
  • The Adventurer’s Handbook
  • The Genius Guide To 110 Spell Variants
  • The Genius Guide To 110 Spell Variants, Vol. III
  • The Genius Guide To 110 Spell Variants, Vol. IV
  • The Genius Guide To Air Magic
  • The Genius Guide To Another 110 Spell Variants
  • The Genius Guide To Apprentice-Level Characters
  • The Genius Guide To Arcane Archetypes
  • The Genius Guide To Archer Archetypes
  • The Genius Guide To Chaos Magic
  • The Genius Guide To Crystal Magic
  • The Genius Guide To Divination Magic
  • The Genius Guide To Divine Archetypes
  • The Genius Guide To Dream Magic
  • The Genius Guide To Earth Magic
  • The Genius Guide To Expanded Favored Class Options
  • The Genius Guide To Favored Class Options
  • The Genius Guide To Feats of Battle
  • The Genius Guide To Feats of Critical Combat
  • The Genius Guide To Feats of Divine Might
  • The Genius Guide To Feats of Metamagic
  • The Genius Guide To Feats of Multiclassing
  • The Genius Guide To Feats of Psionic Might
  • The Genius Guide To Feats of Runic Might
  • The Genius Guide To Feats of Runic Might II: Runebinding
  • The Genius Guide To Feats of Spellcasting
  • The Genius Guide To Feats of Spellcasting II
  • The Genius Guide To Feats of Subterfuge
  • The Genius Guide To Fire Magic
  • The Genius Guide To Gruesome Undead Templates
  • The Genius Guide To Hellfire Magic
  • The Genius Guide To Hoof and Horn Racial Options
  • The Genius Guide To Horrific Haunts
  • The Genius Guide To Horrifically Overpowered Feats
  • The Genius Guide To Horrifically Overpowered Mythic Feats
  • The Genius Guide To Ice Magic
  • The Genius Guide To Loot 4 Less Vol. 1: Armor and Weapons
  • The Genius Guide To Loot 4 Less Vol. 10: Fezzes Are Cool!
  • The Genius Guide To Loot 4 Less Vol. 2: Pretty, Pretty, Rings
  • The Genius Guide To Loot 4 Less Vol. 3: Hot Rods
  • The Genius Guide To Loot 4 Less Vol. 4: Fantastic Footware
  • The Genius Guide To Loot 4 Less Vol. 5: All You Need Is Gloves
  • The Genius Guide To Loot 4 Less Vol. 6: Cloaks and Daggers
  • The Genius Guide To Loot 4 Less Vol. 7: Krazy Kragnar’s Used Chariots
  • The Genius Guide To Loot 4 Less Vol. 8: Belt One On
  • The Genius Guide To Loot 4 Less Vol. 9: Bell, Book, & Candle
  • The Genius Guide To Martial Archetypes
  • The Genius Guide To More Barbarian Talents
  • The Genius Guide To More Cavalier Talents
  • The Genius Guide To More Fighter Talents
  • The Genius Guide To More Horrifically Overpowered Feats
  • The Genius Guide To More Monk Talents
  • The Genius Guide To More Ranger Talents
  • The Genius Guide To More Rogue Talents
  • The Genius Guide To Name Traits
  • The Genius Guide To Races of Fire and Fury
  • The Genius Guide To Races of Hoof and Horn
  • The Genius Guide To Races of Wind and Wing
  • The Genius Guide To Relics of the Godlings
  • The Genius Guide To Relics of the Godlings II
  • The Genius Guide To Rune Staves and Wyrd Wands
  • The Genius Guide To Simple Monster Templates
  • The Genius Guide To The Archon
  • The Genius Guide To The Armiger
  • The Genius Guide To The Death Knight
  • The Genius Guide To The Death Mage
  • The Genius Guide To The Dracomancer
  • The Genius Guide To The Dragonrider
  • The Genius Guide To The Godling
  • The Genius Guide To The Godling Ascendant
  • The Genius Guide To The Hellion
  • The Genius Guide To The Magister
  • The Genius Guide To the Mystic Godling
  • The Genius Guide To the Order of Vigilance
  • The Genius Guide To The Riven Mage
  • The Genius Guide To The Shadow Assassin
  • The Genius Guide To The Shadow Warrior
  • The Genius Guide To The Talented Barbarian
  • The Genius Guide To The Talented Cavalier
  • The Genius Guide To The Talented Fighter
  • The Genius Guide To The Talented Monk
  • The Genius Guide To The Talented Ranger
  • The Genius Guide To The Talented Rogue
  • The Genius Guide To The Templar
  • The Genius Guide To The Time Thief
  • The Genius Guide To The Time Warden
  • The Genius Guide To The War Master
  • The Genius Guide To The Witch Hunter
  • The Genius Guide To Wind and Wing Racial Options
  • Ultimate Options: Bardic Masterpieces
  • Ultimate Options: Grit and Gunslingers
  • Ultimate Options: New Arcane Discoveries
  • Ultimate Options: New Magus Arcana
  • Ultimate Options: Power of the Ninja

 

 

Seventeen Genders and Counting

I am often faced with a combination question and accusation (an accuestion) — “Why do you have to shove all this modern gender and orientation stuff into a fantasy RPG? Why not just stick with things from before the modern era!? Just, you know, for realism.”
Gah.
First, representation matters. As a creator, I WANT to be inclusive, both so marginalized people have the same kind of rpg escape option that saved my life when, as a fat cis white male, I needed to get away from reality, AND, because as a greedy pragmatic capitalist, I want to expand into what I see as an under-served market.
Second, as long as we have bloodragers, orcs, fireballs, talking swords, dragons, and magic tattoos, I am unimpressed with any claim that realism is a concern.
Third, if I just mentioned alyha, bakla, bissu, calabai, calalai, dilbaa, fa’afafine, guevedoche, hwame, lhamana, nadleehi, ninauposkitzipxpe, quariwarmi, sago, or sekrata, most readers would have no idea what (ancient, pre-modern, real-world) concept of gender I was discussing, AND I’d be risking using the terms incorrectly and offending modern individuals who have those gender identities.
Much easier to stick to modern terms for these ancient ideas found on every continent.
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