Blog for Stephanie Bryant, a writer with too many hobbies and not enough time.

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Jinkies! RPG - image of a purple panda rapping wearing a milkshake necklace

Jinkies! Final Day on Kickstarter

A project I’m working on, Jinkies! RPG, is in its final 36 hours on Kickstarter– and it’s so close to funding!

Jinkies! RPG - image of a purple panda rapping wearing a milkshake necklace

Jinkies! is an RPG where you play teen musicians-turned-sleuths solving mysteries with your talking animal companion– basically the Saturday morning mystery cartoons we all grew up loving from the 70’s and 80’s!

This is a great game, and my friend Toby Strauss is creating it, I’m project managing it, and there’s some great talent lined up for art, editing, and stretch goals– but as of this morning, the real challenge was hitting the funding goal so we can make it a reality!

#AprilTTRPGMaker Day 18: Current Inspiration

My current inspiration right now, for a game I’m noodling with, hopefully in time for Strategicon, is a dream I had. It was shortly after I watched the pilot episode of Last Man on Earth, and in the dream, all the survivors of the apocalypse were monsters.

So, now I’m working on a game called Last Monster on Earth. It started as a PbtA game, but I think it works better in Fate. I’m hoping to playtest it at Strategicon on Memorial Day weekend.

And yes, this is a game I started working on 2 years ago.

#AprilTTRPGMaker Days 14, 15, 16, and 17

Playing catchup. Don’t judge me– I’m on my 3rd week at a new job!

Day 14: What are your dreams and plans?

I would like to turn a profit on Threadbare. I’m honestly having some cashflow issues with getting it out. Nothing I can’t manage, but it makes the process a little tricky.

Day 15: Do you design in public or private?

Both? I’m a very public person, and have a fairly open circle in Google+ for playtesting. I post a lot on my blog where I muse about game design and decisions I’m making about various games.

Day 16: Design Partners?

That would be my best friend and partner, Toby Strauss. You will see his name crop up in collaborations with me in many places. Someday, we’ll probably have to form some kind of partnership corporation to handle our creative works together. To date, we’ve published a larp, a comic book, and have co-authored a game that’s in layout right now. He’s contributed to Threadbare, and I know I’ll be contributing to his next project, too. We’re collaborating on a PbtA game about office politics as well. We tend to throw our ideas around at each other quite a bit, and then note them in our various notebooks and google docs until we’re ready to flesh them out.

Day 17: Favorite form of feedback?

Direct, personal feedback from playtesters is always great, but I’m going to talk about feedback that’s motivating.

I love achievements, so any time I win something for my work, it’s a big rush. Winning the 200-word RPG contest was a huge motivator. Getting a Champion ribbon on a knitted shawl at the county fair provoked me into entering again this year. Money is great, but the amount I make from writing games is unlikely to match what I make at my day job. But accolades? Having someone semi-objectively judge my work and find it worthy? Yum!

#AprilTTRPGMaker Day 12 and 13

Day 12: Getting My Work Out There

This varies based on what the work is.

When I contribute to others’ projects, I’m limited to their delivery method. Usually, that means a DriveThruRPG delivery plus some physical format if it has a physical product.

For my own stuff, I’ve fulfilled one project through DriveThruRPG, and have gone through a printer for other non-game projects. I sell Threadbare on IPR and at conventions.

In all cases, you can find a list and links to my published works here on my blog, in the My Games drop down in my sidebar, as well as on the My Games page.

Day 13: Biggest Influences

Some of the biggest influences on my game creation life are probably the amazing women and non-binary people I know who are nerds, gamers, and leaders in the gaming and game design space. Women like Stephanie Payne, a local organizer in Las Vegas who founded the Very Awesome Girls group. Avonelle Wing, who heads up Double Exposure, a company that tirelessly promotes games and game development through conventions, street teams, playtest rooms, etc. Elsa S Henry, who is a leader in accessibility and representation in gaming. Beth Rimmels, who runs rings around me (and everyone else) in social media marketing. Kate Bullock who heads Breakout Con and numerous Toronto-area gaming events. Non-binary folx like Stacy Dellorfano who founded ConTessa. Brie Sheldon, who does 5-question interviews with game designers and shows you don’t have to do longform articles to make a big impact (which is not to say they don’t spend as much time or more on those interviews!)

Stephanie Payne, founder of Very Awesome Girls. Photo credit: Chris Lebron


#TTRPGMaker Day 8 and 9: Routine and Process

These are very similar questions. My freelancing routine isn’t much of a routine. As a general rule, though, on a week night, after dinner I settle into my messy desk with a big glass of water and maybe some scotch, fire up the laptop, and look at what needs to be done. Then I write.

Process-wise, I start in a notebook where I usually write things by hand. This is more a convenience feature than a preference– I always have a notebook with me, and it’s very fast for me to write on it, compared to how slow it is for me to fight with Autocorrect on my phone. (Seriously, the lack of a keyboard on phones is the #1 thing keeping from using it as my main computer.)

From the notebook, I start an outline in MS Word or Google docs, depending on where I intend to share the work. Usually I go with Word, because it’s extremely familiar to me.

I work from an outline. I’m meticulous about outlining and using Word’s comments and tracking features to annotate what needs to be done or what needs to change in a document. That said, I still miss a lot of little things when I’m working.

From there, I do three or four readthroughs, particularly of things that players will see during a playtest. I add a version number to the footer, as well as the date. Print off a copy and take it to its first playtest, where I use the same notebook as before to make notes about feedback and write down my playtesters’ names. When that playtest is over, I take my notes back to the Word document and transfer them into the document in some way that’s meaningful. From this point on, every round of playtesting and revision increments the version number by .1, until there’s a major rules revision. Threadbare was version 3.5 when it finally went to press, and the post-press errata technically makes it 3.6.

There’s another round of writing and outlining and more writing. Usually there’s another round of playtesting as well. Then it goes to the beta playtester circle on Google+ for people to read and playtest and send their feedback.

What follows is more playtesting, unless there’s a deadline. For a new game, I try to take it to at least one convention for playtesting, and will usually run at least one online game to reach a wider audience as well.

At some point, it’s time to look into releasing the game. I either lay some money down for artwork, submit the game to a publisher or contest, or post it without artwork to the blog.

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