I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Pittsburgh as I write this first post. A lot of my time thinking about games centers around drinking coffee. A lot of my time in general centers around drinking coffee.
In case you don’t know me, I’m Spencer Campbell. I’m an indie TTRPG designer out of Chicago. I publish under the name Gila RPGs. Some of my games are Slayers, Corvid Court, LIGHT, NOVA, RUNE, the LUMEN system. You might have even played some of them.
I’ve been designing TTRPGs for about 2.5 years. I’ve been designing a lot longer than that (since I was about 5 if my parent’s stories are true). I don’t think that’s particularly unique, I think all kids are game designers. I just never stopped.
So, what are we doing here? Good question! It’s one I’m still thinking about. My “day job” is in academia, I am a psychology professor. As an academic, I love sitting down and talking theory with others. In fact, that’s why I’m sitting in this cafe in Pittsburgh as I write this, to share some research at a conference.
It’s that sharing of information, of ideas, that I’ve never been able to really figure out in the TTRPG space. I wasn’t around for the Google+ days, or part of The Forge, or any of those design movements. I’m one of tons of people who started doing this when the pandemic started, and haven’t looked back. The problem is, I never found a place to just…talk about the game stuff on my mind.
I’ve tried a few different places, with varying degrees of success. There’s Twitter, of course. A couple problems with that. As of writing this post, my account is permanently suspended because Twitter flagged my account as a potential bot? I dunno, it’s fucked up, and so until they reverse the problem, that’s not really an avenue.
But it never really was. Twitter is a nightmarescape, as anyone who has spent 5 minutes on the site can tell you. Especially when it comes to discussing design stuff. Design philosophy threads get no traction compared to discourse, and when you do find something interesting, its 1000 voices all shouting at once.
I’ve streamed, and still enjoy doing that! Design commentary streams are a good time, and just generally doing design work on stream and talking out my process is a blast. Not only that, but there is no doubt it helps improve every project I work on. Taking that time to vocalize the “intent” behind design decisions always helps me take my games to the next level.
But a stream isn’t something I can do at the drop of a hat, and sometimes it’s not the best avenue of talking out my thoughts. I like to write. I’m not a good writer, but I like doing it anyway.
So after some advice from a few friends, I’ve decided to try this blog thing out. I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to be posting here, but I have some ideas:
Design philosophy and theory, commentary on my own games, previews of projects I’m working on, maybe even some written reviews of things I’ve been reading and enjoying? Who knows, we’ll take it a day at a time and see where it goes.
Well, the coffee is running out, and I’ve gone on introducing the blog long enough. I hope you stick around, check out some of my thoughts, and share yours with me.