#introduction: Hi. I'm Jesse Burneko, a Long Beach based RPG enthusiast. I frequently attend the L.A. based Strategicons and Big Bad Con in Walnut Creek. The running joke is that I will eventually use every game to run Ravenloft; so it should come to no surprise that I also spend a lot of time reading Gothic novels.
I also have the game design affliction and many playable alpha drafts of my work can be found here: https://bloodthornpress.com/
Five or So Questions on A Cool and Lonely Courage
Hello, Dice Camp! Today & tomorrow from 4-9 various members of my company will be streaming games for Extra Life Charity. I will be on today from 7-8 with Darkest Dungeon. Details on how to watch and donate are here: https://www.facebook.com/137051602978435/posts/2398244766859096/
Here's me playing Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play (1st Edition) by hijacking the Happy Jacks recording studio: https://youtu.be/KbaU-JEa-Mw
#AprilTTRPGMaker Day 15: Design in Public or Private.
I guess mostly in private in that I don't tend to "work out" design problems publicly. As noted in previous posts I do make all drafts of my games publicly available. If I play-test something I generally post about it and the insights learned. But I don't solicit design advice publicly.
#AprilTTRPGMaker Day 14: Dreams and Plans.
I want to build Bloodthorn Press into... something. I don't want to be "big". Evil Hat is already at level I never want to be. I'd like to be maybe a step larger than I feel Ron's at with Adept Press and a step smaller than where I feel Vincent is at with Lumpley Games?
Does that even make sense? Is solid and clear presence with identity recognition but no major business overhead even a thing?
My friend Gina is starting a new AP stream called ShadowCon as part of the HappyJacks series of streams. Today is the first episode and I will be playing on it!
#AprilTTRPGMaker Day 13: Biggest influences?
RPGs: Sorcerer & Dirty Secrets.
Video Games: Silent Hill 2
Books: A Series of Unfortunate Events & The Black Dahlia
Theory: Baker's Clouds & Boxes
Art: Hopper's "Night Hawks"
Musical: Sweeney Todd & Little Shop of Horrors & Phantom of the Opera
Play: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf
Poet: Emily Dickinson
#AprilTTRPGMaker day 12 - How do you get your work out there?
When I write a first draft of a game I make a pretty conscious effort to make sure it's written in a way that I think others could play it from my initial alpha draft.
This has paid off exactly once when some people in Hungry played the first version of The Extraordinarily Horrible Children of Raven's Hollow. If you would like to make lightning strike twice all playable drafts of my work can be found here: https://bloodthornpress.com/
#AprilTTRPGMaker Day 11: What’s yer brand?
Uh... local nicknames include, "Baron Ravenloft" "The Dark Lord of BarCon" and "The Enemy of Fun." When asked what I my strength as a GM is, I respond, "Emotional Abuse?"
Jake Richmond unknowingly cread by my GM shirt. It's an illustration of a Chainsaw Unicorn that says, "Everything Beautiful Becomes A Monster Eventually" on it.
I have an extended version of the slogan, "Everything Beautiful Becomes A Monster Eventually, Even You... Fight Me."
#AprilTTRPGMaker Day 10: Favorite game to relax with.
I don't like relaxing games. Sorcerer, Burning Wheel, Torchbearer. These are tough emotionally and mechanically demanding games. I even pitch my D&D opposition just a little higher than the party can handle. I thrive on tension.
If I HAD to pick a "relaxing" game, I guess I'd go with Darkest Dungeon.
#AprilTTRPGMaker Day 9: Describe your process
Don't have routine but process I got... mostly.
One thing I tend to do is steep myself in source material. I didn't feel right working on Necropolis for The Sprawl having only read Neuromancer. So everything Sprawl relevant Gibson wrote.
That's my process. I look for the emotional heart across multiple source works and design around that.
One of the biggest decisions to make about writing an RPG text is how much you want to lean on shared cultural understanding. Do you just start talking about Game Masters and Non-Player Characters assuming everyone "just knows" what those are. Or do you start from first principles.
A challenge of the later choice is to keep the language assertive about what your game needs without leaning on how it differs from other games.
#AprilTTRPGMaker Day 8: Your routine.
I'm a moody person and so routine doesn't work real well for me. If I'm not feeling it, it's not happening. Deadlines and the fear of letting other people down are better motivators. So.. chaos?
#AprilTTRPGMaker Day 7: Your workplace.
My house features: a secret door in the back of a closet, a small nailed shut door in the back of a closet, a hallway that goes nowhere and ends in a window with six latches on it, and a pantry under the stairs with shelving that would confuse M. C. Escher.
My "office" is a 10x10 cell that is ever so slightly narrower and shorter in the back than in the front, and features an irregularly shaped niche on one wall that I just call, "the confessional."
#AprilTTRPGMaker Day 6: Favorite game mechanic?
Sorcerer's complex conflict system. It works like this:
1) Everyone declares actions
2) Dice are rolled and actions happen from highest to lowest die.
3) THIS IS THE IMPORTANT ONE: If you are the target of an action before your action, you face a choice: Keep your action, and defend with only 1 die OR abort your action and defend with full dice.
4) Everyone who has taken their action or aborted defends against all future actions with full dice.
#AprilTTRPGMaker 5: Favorite game you’ve worked on.
The Extraordinarily Horrible Children of Raven's Hollow. It started as a dice game. It got played by some people in Hungry and their feedback was so pitch perfect, it inspired me to revise the game. After that playtest it morphed into a card based game.
It's reliably fun. It does what I built it to do. And it's unusual in that it supports up to 10 people. And I usually play it with about 8-10 people because it always fills up at cons.
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