The Alphastream Game Design Blog
Happy 2023! I’m starting the new year with two Success in RPGs videos… and much more!
Shawn Merwin and I are honored to be in the running for your favorite podcast in 2022! If you are so inclined, you can vote for us here! Working on the podcast continues to be an absolute blast, and going independent last year has helped us grow and improve the podcast beyond what we dared dream. Thank you!
NDAs came up in late 2022 as part of the discussion on WotC’s support for third-party companies. The discussion often vilified NDAs as an attempt to silence people, but there are many reasons why companies of all sizes offer NDAs. In RPG Creator’s Guide to NDAs I review how NDAs can be a great tool, why they are used, what they look like, and what to expect as a creator when an NDA is offered.
I had been contemplating a video on this topic even before the recent problems with Twitter. Many designers I know see social media as a depressing and self-destructive place. Watch this video to learn how to identify and set goals, learn different models you can use to effectively promote your work, understand how followers and algorithms interact, and reassess your use of social media. (You can find me on Mastodon these days, with a reduced presence on Twitter.)
2023 appears to be a significant year for our hobby. WotC should be solidifying its plans for 6E/One D&D, and the decisions they make could have a huge impact on creators and the hobby itself. A huge question is how the movie will land (Honor Among Thieves releases March 3rd).
One D&D’s approach currently seems to feel like D&D 3.5, where it is technically backwards compatible but meant to cause everyone to buy new books. And, more importantly, it may be fundamentally meant to cause a shift in how and where people buy D&D material, the type of material they buy, and from whom. Or, maybe not. 5E was launched with the concept of revenues largely coming from t-shirts and other licensed merchandise. It instead became hugely successful on its own right, due to sales of traditional printed books. 4E was launched on the concept of a virtual tabletop and a huge shift to the digital realm… and that never happened. And 3E’s Open Gaming License was originally envisioned as a shift to WotC selling just the three books and all other material being created by other companies. None of these visions came to pass, and all three editions had huge sales and were awesome for many fans.
As a fan, designer, and fan of history, I am closely watching One D&D for signs of how it proves its value. Yes, we can update 5E in minor ways. But can the team excite us with the changes and really prove that a new edition is desirable? 5E struggled with this initially and really delivered, so I have high hopes.
For me, 2023 will see several projects that I can’t wait to share with you. I’m really proud of the work I’ve been doing with others, and I continue to be excited by each episode of Mastering Dungeons and Success in RPGs. I love our hobby and I’m so thankful for our community!