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Parenthesis Press

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A member registered Mar 09, 2018 · View creator page →

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I'm in. Let's see the photo.

Thanks for running the jam! It was a fun opportunity, and I'm glad you liked the results.

Thanks for the review, Andrew! Glad you enjoyed it!

So there was a "bug" and the splits weren't being calculated correctly, and the payouts were "blocked"... by whom or what, exactly? An automated process? Isn't this precisely why Itch says it has its "actual humans" to review payouts? What were they doing for those 41 days?

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I've got two payouts in queue, one for 38 days, the other for 27 days.

The issue that keeps coming to mind for me:

If Itch is a successful website meant to support game designers working independently, then they should be pulling in enough money that they can afford to hire some more of the actual human reviewers they use to vet payouts.

If Itch is not successful enough to hire more staff, or is not meant to support designers at more than just a hobby level, then we should all question whether we continue using this site to platform our work. The "Itch is not a bank" argument doesn't hold water if the designers who want to make a career can't rely on Itch to at least get them their money in a window of time that would let them, say, pay rent or utilities.

I had to take the original version down because I discovered a typo in the credits after uploading (isn't that always the way?) but it's back up now.

Hey there! I don't think itch has a message function, but the creator's twitter handle is on their creator page - maybe try reaching out to them there? Hope you get an answer!

https://parenthesispress.itch.io/house-of-cards-a-modern-fantasy-story-game

This has been a blast of a jam, and I'm so happy to see all the great submissions people have added. Spread the love of diceless systems!

If your submission is in an incomplete state, no worries! Whether you got it in before the deadline or not, you can still post about it here with updates - consider this an established mini-community where we'd all love to hear about how the submissions continue to thrive and grow.

Finally, I want to encourage all participants, particularly in November (while the irons are still hot) to play, rate, and review each other's submissions. It would be awesome to tell people about what we've done here, and show your fellow participants their work was appreciated!

Thanks again to everyone who participated!

Thanks for mentioning it! As I'm sure everyone's noticed by now, I think we need more love for diceless games around here.

Yeah, that works. We had one submission already that was a repost of a game created before the jam.

I know, I know, self-promotion is hard. But you succeeded at getting something done and put out into the world for this jam, so take a moment to use this thread to tell us more about your entry or entries.

Sure, why not!

I'm working on Skald, which you can download a rather terse preview of on the project page.

There are a few existing diceless systems that could be adopted, hacked, or scavenged, but there's also a golden opportunity to come up with something novel. I'm sure there will be plenty of attempts to find a way to hack existing systems that use dice, although of course that's tricky if you were wanting to do a PbtA design or something like that where the numbers matter. (I know Fate has a "Deck of Fate" that you can use in place of dice, which technically adheres to the letter of the jam, although it's arguable whether it's in the spirit).

As for artistic assets, always credit creators, respect intellectual property rights, and get permission.

There's no official Discord, but if people want to share contact info and discuss things there or possibly start up their own, that should work.

I've played around with the idea of having dice be a resource in different game prototypes, but I haven't hit on a good implementation yet that makes it appealing to gamers. Lots of people are conditioned by existing game designs to equate "more dice" with "better" in pretty much all cases, even if one were to offer an incentive for trading in dice. Using coins would leverage the inherent "spendiness" of money to maybe overcome that.

I'd consider them a separate sort of randomizer.

You're free to pursue any appropriate theme you like; the only hard constraint is the mechanical one.

Have you designed one before? Have you played any? Do you have any favorites?

I'll start: I've designed more diceless games than dice-driven games; I tend toward using cards, particularly Tarot cards, for my designs, but I'm also working on one that's inspired by Choose Your Own Adventure games combined with resource management, and I also have a game in the pipeline that uses hands of futhark runes for resolution. My favorite diceless game, and perhaps just favorite RPG of all time, is Jenna Moran's Nobilis (specifically the second edition), although I will defend the obscure diceless Marvel Universe RPG from 2003 as a better game than it gets credit for.

After some emails back and forth discussing the question with my publisher representative at DTRPG, the CEO, Steve Wieck, sent me this response:

"The short answer to your concern is that, yes, it’s a little bit crazy how we do things here. Most other marketplaces at all similar to us hold payments from sales far longer.

We are accepting a level of financial risk with our publisher payment process.

That said, we do take quite a number of precautions, but we don’t openly discuss those as general knowledge of them would allow bad actors to determine the best ways to game them."

Which is what I expected from the start: it's standard business practice not to publicly divulge exploitable details of financial practices. So, in short, you're probably not going to get a public run-down of what you asked for. 

Ah, so you think I'm lying. Cool. Don't know what benefit I would gain from making this up, but whatever.

Here is a partial sales report of my DTRPG account from August 1 to August 10, 2019. I earned $3.25 from one sale, and $6.50 from another sale. I had previously withdrawn my royalty balance, so those two sales, total $9.75, are the sum available to me.

https://imgur.com/u4FzwTW

I initiated a payment for that royalty payment on August 11, 2019. The total included in the payout, shown here, is $9.75. That means money that had been paid to me by a customer less than 24 hours previously was included, not withheld.

https://imgur.com/4peZbWm

Here's the receipt of the PayPal payment. The timestamp of the request, above, was 6:58pm, and I had the money in my PayPal, minus a $1 processing fee, the same day.

https://imgur.com/f1WQznm

Satisfied?

So you want me to prove a negative?

Given that they've been running for 18 years now without having had such an issue come up, to my knowledge, they must have something figured out. None of the designers I know or have spoken to that use the site have ever heard of a significant case of fraud there. There's evidence that their policy used to be that they held royalties for 60 days before allowing withdrawal, but that's clearly no longer the case. As for refunds, they offer it as store credit only.

True, I'm not using those services. I'd heard bad things about Gumroad for other reasons, and Leanpub has never crossed my radar until now. DriveThruRPG is my other major storefront, which is the one I was referring to in the original post; if someone tweets me that they bought my game there, it's already in my available balance by the time I've pointed my browser there, and I can hit a button to get my money sent to PayPal instantaneously.

That makes me wonder why other platforms aren't apparently able (or willing?) to provide that level of responsiveness.

Because it seriously needs to be revamped. It's WAY too slow: no other site that I'm using to sell my games requires me to wait 7 days after a payment has been made to even request to receive the money, and they CERTAINLY don't take weeks to actually act on that request. If I can't reliably receive the income that my games are generating in a reasonably prompt manner, why should I point people to itch.io to buy my stuff when I could direct them to another platform that will literally have my money all the way in my bank account within minutes of the transaction?

You didn't read the title of the thread, did you?

I'm running Dungeon World right now and enjoy it a lot. It's not perfect, but it's fast and easy to get new players into the action (I have two players who have never touched an RPG before).

Spire is easily the most flavorful read I've encountered in years, and it's next on my list to run.

Nobilis 2nd edition is the game that spoke to my soul and convinced me to start designing "professionally".

Might I humbly suggest my own games? A bunch of them are free, and all of them are cheap.

I'm Neal (he/him), and I've been playing RPGs since the 1984 D&D red box; I started making my own games in 1990, but first did so "professionally" (as in, made them publicly available and for sale) in 2012. I have an inordinate fondness for heavily narrative games, card-driven or diceless mechanics, mythology and symbolism, cats, coffee, and esoterica. Most of my work that's worth noting is here on Itch, over on DriveThruRPG, or on my site parenthesispress.com.

Games don't exist. That was swamp gas, or a weather balloon.

I just don't like feeling like I'm being "lazy" or "unoriginal" by using an existing system. Curiously, this is a standard I only hold myself to, and have no problem with other people hacking an extant system for a game, and have in fact played some of those games and enjoyed them.

I ran and participated in a game jam last year, and I'm working on a game for the Roll to Craft Jam right now. I like the opportunity to get those straggler ideas out of my head that wouldn't make the cut for turning into a "major" project. Game jams often fit the bill for staying creative between big games, too.

From what I've seen on other sites and conversations, I think "Universal" is more commonly used to describe games that have no specific genre in mind, whereas "Systemless" or "System-Agnostic" would be more accurate in describing material that you're describing.

I'm really encouraged to see this discussion, and while most of my potential suggestions have already been covered above, I just wanted to voice my support for this direction.

Just got back from the playtest, and I learned some useful stuff:

- the starting character abilities are too strong, and make the game too easy
- there's room to add more locations to the map (and make some tweaks to the ones that are there, particularly in the Forest)
- an idea for a fixed win condition came up, and I think I'm going to run with it

The skeleton of the game is together, and it's playable, so I've uploaded the current version for people to take a look at. It's not considered finished yet, and there's some playtesting already planned for the upcoming week, but I thought it might be interesting to see the progress so far.