My original plan for v0.19 was to create a playtest/initial draft of my game. I was going to write up the setting and rules with all my evolutions and updates and put it online, in one big glob, for everyone’s viewing pleasure. Probably with some nice fancy web formatting (I know a little). I then hoped I gather feedback from a few people and look at doing a “v1.0″, possible purchasing art and looking at POD options.
Then I decided it’d make sense to have v0.19 as a downloadable PDF too. So I’d have it readable online and downloadable to read offline or print out. I could also upload it to various sites to promote the game and gather more feedback. This changed my mind set, oddly. I was writing the setting nearly independent of the rules and character systems but I then hoped to bring the three pieces together in one document. But once I started thinking about a single PDF, I realised that I’d be doing a lot of editing and reworking to get the setting text to flow with the rules text. I started looking at, what was meant to be a version for playtesting, to be a little more than that, an actual RPG “book”.
I’ve been impressed by the high quality of free RPGs online at the moment. The bar is set really high. For me it’s important that I’m enjoying it and what I’m getting out of the work, is worth what I’m putting in. And, for the moment, that’s holding true. But I have no finances to spare on this project, so I can’t afford to buy artwork, hire an editor or a layout guy and son. I wish I could. So for the moment I’m doing everything myself. I hope I’d still be able to generate something of quality.
Rob Lang over at the Free RPG Blog made an excellent post on how you should layout your free RPG (in fact I find this blog affecting my thinking quite a bit about how to go about doing Lost Heroes RPG) and a discussion with Chris Helton on Facebook about RPG settings without rules (I was completely unaware that people were making available such things and that they were popular!), I’ve changed my plan yet again.
For the upcoming version v0.19 (the first public version), I’m going to split it in three: a Book of Gods (setting), a Book of Rules (system) and a Book of Heroes (character systems and lists). I plan to take on Rob Lang’s advise on how to layout each “book”. They’ll all be available in an online format and be downloadable as PDFs (though I may make several variants of the PDF layouts). For the time being, I’ll use my own artwork (which has slowly but steadily getting better, but certainly still not even close to “professional”) and friends to proofread.
Right now, I’ve just finished the Norse Gods section of the “Book of Gods”. This is the final set of gods I’ll be including. There is still so much left to do in Book of Gods, but having an intermediate goal of a setting-only book, makes it feel much closer.
Recent discussions on the Yahoo Fudge Community have made me think it might be worth providing a POD (Print-on-demand) option, via something like Lulu, even though I still consider this a free RPG. I’ll see when I have something to print.
Onwards to Ragnarok and the final battle! My brief break is nearly over now and if I can make it through my kids final month at school before the summer holidays, I’ll be back at full swing working on Lost Heroes.