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Phonomancer: A 7-Day Journey by Lady Entropy

A topic by Lady Entropy created 45 days ago Views: 80 Replies: 2
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I am not a game designer.

I know very little of theory, and of best practices, and I couldn't tell a probability curve from a ski slope (I just find the GNS and "incompatible agendas" very silly and that will be the hill I die on), unlike a lot of the people entering RPGénesis this year.

I feel like, instead, I'm more of a punk creator: I have ideas, and I'll follow them, and my incomprehensible caterwauling  (or typing) does have some beauty and logic to it, but I'm probably the only person who understands and loves it. I know what I like, I have ideas on how to make it happen, but they probably are not the right ideas or theories or whatever. 

When she was going to write Emma, Jane Austen famously said "I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like."  This, I feel, is very much the game I'm about to write. I don't expect anyone to like it, I don't expect to come up with anything particularly groundbreaking or creative but... I want to do it so very badly.

That is something I struggle with in NaNoWriMo, which is giving myself the permission to write something god awful. It's not possible to write a good game in 7 days. The magic comes, as they say, during revision. But somehow, my inner editor is rearing its ugly head and tried to persuade me nobody would want or have fun playing my game.

That's okay, I tell it. I would.

I'm not entirely sure why I decided to make an RPG about an autobiographical comic that is also a metaphor for the dangers of fandom - the danger not for the artist, but the fans themselves. How an obsession for something can end up killing your love and enjoyment of said thing. Phonogram is a comic book by Kieran Gillen, about wizards who do magic by being really REALLY into music, and follows protagonists which are not life goals, rather cautionary tales. I loved it, maybe because I recognized it one of the sources for one of my favourite RPGs, Mage: the Ascension.

When Jogador-Sonhador (old friend and partner in crime in creating RPGénesis) asked me what my game was about, all I could tell him was "It's about sacrificing what you love in the altar of ambition in exchange for power."

He wasn't impressed.

I think he was right in not being impressed - he is a very good designer after all, while I'm the runt of the designer litter -  all I have for me is having played RPGs for most of my life, and tried more systems than I can count.

Still going to do it.

I originally did these daily (or more than daily) updates with pretentious titles and images to reflect my mood at the time during the first RPGénesis. They, surprisingly helped more than I cared to admit, even though I kept telling myself they were a waste of time - that I could use typing or creating. But they made me think and write, and engage with the rest of the community that would throw ideas at me and force me to find the weakness in my builds instead of trying to "I'll fix it later".

It also gave me a sense of panic and anxiety for wasting time that was a great motivator in writing harder (it worked, my first RPGénesis clocked in about 12.000 words).

So, yeah. Instead of my very strange original idea for this year (a Romantic Sim RPG!), I decided to take Kieron Gillen's words as a challenge - when he said, that, unlike Die, his D&D inspired comic book, Phonogram simply wasn't RPG material.

So, I decided to prove him wrong. I told him so to his face, a week ago at a convention in London.

He seemed very enthusiastic about it - how am I supposed to be punk in these conditions?

(1 edit)

And if you're interested in seeing this game developing live, I'll be writing it on Google Docs:

Drop by and feel free to leave comments.

moved this topic to Os nossos jogos / Our games

I heard you were having fun, looks like this will be a blast to read through.