Well some interesting news to share tonight — interesting and good, in my opinion. First, though, a bit of back story.
More than a decade ago, I was just finishing up at the University of Toronto and was starting to jump into RPG writing as a freelancer. My first serious gig was for a company, the games of which I’d played from grade six through to my Bachelor’s Degree. I’d been asked to expand some relatively brief game content I’d written for one of that company’s popular product lines into a pair of complete books. Although the project eventually fell through, the experience taught me many things, good and bad, and it introduced me to someone I’ve stayed in contact with since.
Assigned to the project as my editor was a prolific, talented writer who had pretty much rejuvenated two of the company’s stagnant product lines all on his own, and had contributed to create an entirely new one. He had not, however, done any work for the product line I was working on. He and I had several discussions about the work I was doing, and during one of those discussions he revealed something to me: he had not even played the product line I was writing for.
As a new writer handling his first big RPG project, that would have worried me if he hadn’t followed it up with (and I’m paraphrasing here, because it’s been a long time since I heard the exact words): “Steve, you’re a new writer, so I won’t lie — there are things I see that we’ll need to talk about changing and fixing — the sort of mistakes I’d expect from someone just starting out — but I have to say, your book makes me want to pick up this game and play it.”
High praise from the company’s best writer for a young guy just starting out on his first full book.
Since then, this gentleman and I have stayed in touch, talked about gaming and other things happening in our lives (including the fact that we share the same birthday), and had even spoken several times about working together on … something or other. Indeed, back in 2003 I was chatting with him about my desire to start up a small press company and asked if he wanted to help out. I even came up with a name for the company during the conversation, and I asked what he thought of it. He told me that “Misfit Studios” sounded like a good fit. Although we continued talking about working together, he contacted me a short while afterward to let me know he was backing out because he was taking a break from the industry. I understood why and I couldn’t blame him.
We’ve stayed in touch since then, still occasionally chatting about gaming and other things, but I always hoped the opportunity would come up again for us to try working together.
A few weeks ago, I announced that I was putting out some feelers to see what people thought about me tearing down a certain RPG rules system and rebuilding it from the ground up using an entirely new design philosophy. I wanted to keep the parts that made the game the system that had stuck with me for so long while I was younger, but I wanted to put in all the house rules I’d used to fix what I hadn’t liked, along with all the stuff that had occurred to me in the many years since.
As I sit here writing this blog post, the project is only a few weeks old and already I’ve decided I’m moving beyond the speculation stage and am going forward with it as a product. The new design philosophy is already standing out and falling into place better than I’d hoped: I think the Attribute-based skill system really works the way I’d always hoped it would, I’ve retooled the resolution system with an add-on that makes dice rolling more relevant (and, in my opinion, more fun considering what it can do to shape outcomes), and I think the direction I’m taking with the combat rules will really add more depth and potential to running encounters.
In other words, I’m making the game I wished the favorite game system from my youth had originally been: the PD46FX Rules System.
As jazzed as I am by how everything seems to be falling into place with the design process and how quickly the writing is coming along, I was happy to have some very helpful people come on board to offer their opinions on my design choices. One of these people happened to be my first editor, the guy I almost roped into the madness I call Misfit Studios back in 2003. Mostly over Facebook, he and I had several chats about the direction I wanted to take the rules in. Over the course of these discussions, I decided I should just come out and ask if he wanted to come on board and help out with development as the editor.
He agreed. Enthusiastically.
It took me 10 years, but I am finally going to be afforded the opportunity to work with one of my favorite RPG writers, my first editor, my comrade in gaming geekery, and the gentleman who offered me encouraging words when some bad experiences made me nearly leave this industry behind.
It is with the greatest pleasure that I announce that Mr. Bill Coffin will be joining the PD46FX Rules System project as its editor, while also contributing to the game’s design.
This game will seem familiar to some gamers — like an old friend you barely recognize — but in all the ways that matter it will be radically different from the system and design philosophy from which it was born. And, with Bill on board to help shape it, I have the highest hopes for the quality (and amount of fun) that will show up in the final product.
Stay tuned, everyone. Good things are afoot.