On Publishing My First Thing
So, I recently published the Wraithshroud, a small class expansion for the Slayers RPG. I wanted to jot down my thoughts about the whole process, since it’s the first time I’ve actually gone from concept to completion on anything RPG related. Completion here being signified by the project being on itch.io for public consumption.
First off, I want to get down the steps of the process for the Wraithshroud:
- Have an idea for a new game that involves the Wraithshroud as a class. This game was not using Slayers, but rather a rudimentary OSR style system.
- Create the barebones of the Wraithshroud class in the OSR system, along with developing 3 other classes to thematically link it to the world.
- Time passes where this project sat dormant.
- Discover Slayers. There were a lot of similarities between what I was working with and Slayers, and it seemed quite obvious to me that the Wraithshroud would belong in that system very well.
- Play a game of Slayers to get the feel for the system. GM a few combats on my own to further get a feel.
- Taking what work I had done on the Wraithshroud and porting it over to Slayers mechanics. This was actually quite easy and I had a lot of fun doing it.
- Share my initial ideas with the Slayers discord, which encouraged me to continue.
- Playtest the Wraithshroud by running it in a few simulated combats. Not for balance, but to make sure the class was fun to play.
- Using the template released for Slayers content creation to begin porting it into a pdf via Affinity Publisher.
- Look for art, find none, and spend the evening drawing up a rudimentary, cartoonish version of a Wraithshroud.
- Finish the PDF. Set up itch.io for payments.
- Create all assets for the itch.io page, including preview screenshots, text copy, and theme modification. Create a picture to put on twitter.
- Release the class. Release the tweets. Thank the folks in the discord.
- Discover I missed something: adding a plug-in for the Tactician class, which is a Slayers class that can augment other classes. Add this to the PDF and reupload it.
Out of everything, actually making the mechanics was the easiest thing. The most time consuming things were mostly busy work, like creating PDFs and images and getting itch set up. I had a feeling it would be like this, so I wasn’t too surprised, but I have (even more) respect for indie developers that are doing all this stuff, all the time, and constantly putting out quality products. This is hard work.
One thing that I forced myself with this project was calling 60% good enough, which is wild to type in retrospect. But for myself, I am a perfectionist, and I know that I would have easily spent countless more hours working on just this one little class. When I woke up today, I seriously considered scrapping the PDF work I had done and making something completely new, without using the provided template.
I also considered redrawing the art I had done (it is not very good, as I am not an artist by any stretch) or possibly searching out some kind of stock art for the class. I could have also spent many more hours setting everything up, including the preview pictures and all the itch assets. Normally, that obsession with details can really drag me down into the mud.
But none of that happened, because I was following the 60% rule. I just wanted to get this out there, to prove that I could do it and finish it. I want to be someone who finishes projects and moves on, always improving.
I am very happy to have completed the Wraithshroud and released it. It was a tiny project in comparison to most RPG related things, and I feel completely exhausted from it anyways! I am ready to move onto the next thing. I think I understand now why the idea of putting out small, completed projects is so prevalent in the indie culture. Even those small projects feel like a ton of work!
The next thing I’m working on is a little something for the Trophy RPG, but that’s not a promise. My workflow is very fluid, in that I have a bunch of documents and I slowly fill them with ideas until I can chisel those ideas down into actual playable things. Maybe I’ll write about that at some point!
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