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A book of theories, advice and wisdom for players and runners of tabletop, LARP and MUSH style RPGs to make their games better.
A book of theories, advice and wisdom for players and runners of tabletop, LARP and MUSH style RPGs to make their games better.
A book of theories, advice and wisdom for players and runners of tabletop, LARP and MUSH style RPGs to make their games better.
180 backers pledged $4,760 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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On A Roll: Level Up Your RPG

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I've been playing tabletop role-playing games, LARPS and MUSHs for over twenty years. In that time, I've played under every type of storyteller, ran games for every type of player and been in every type of organization. I have started games from scratch, taken over long-running games and was even a founder of a national LARP organization. A very experienced player recently told me I was the greatest storyteller he'd ever played under, but all I could think was that I've made a ton of mistakes, done a lot of things wrong and failed a lot of players and storytellers along the way. There are lessons and wisdoms there, but how can they be shared with others who want to game better?

The greatest prohibitive force in any RPG is ego. As players, as storytellers, as dungeon masters, as head wizards, as regional coordinators, as council members, as organizational presidents... We all have a built-in sense of competition, likely founded in the idea that RPGs are games and people want to win games. This manifests itself in an ego barrier that makes it sadly difficult for good players and good game runners to share their experiences, ideas, theories and wisdoms in ways that help mentor one another and develop their craft to become better at playing or game running.

The solution to the ego issue is a book. There's no judgement from a paperback. No one around you has to know you've read it.

On A Roll: Leveling Up Your RPG is a book of theories, wisdom, tips and advice for players and game runners of all experience levels. It's an exploration of everything I've learned in my 25 years of gaming that can help you have more fun playing or running your tabletop, LARP or MUSH game.

The book will be divided into three sections. The first section will concentrate on being a better player. It will cover things you can do to make the game you play in more fun for everyone, the types of players that can ruin the game for those around them and how to maintain perspective and level-headedness as you immerse yourself in your hobby.

The second section will focus on running a game. Topics include things you can do to build a gaming community that is friendly, how to deal with issues and responsibilities of being a game runner, advice on handling problem players and suggestions for keeping your investment in the game in check.

Finally, the third portion of the book will explore gaming in a community of other games, whether that is an organization or a local troupe. I'll touch on how to get along with a governing board, other game runners and dealing with things like shared universes and universal house rules.

You don't "win" a LARP. You don't "win" a MUSH or a tabletop adventure. The "winners" are the people who are having fun. I want On A Roll: Leveling Up Your RPG to help others in the game have more fun.

If you still are uncertain about funding this project, here's why I've written On A Roll: Leveling Up Your RPG:

The first role-playing game I ever played in was a Marvel Super Hero tabletop game that used percentile dice and a giant chart that based successes and failures on a Red, Yellow or Green results system. We played this game in the library in high school, geeking out during our lunch hour.

In college, I played a great deal of Dungeons & Dragons and World of Darkness (what we now call, Old World). My first DM was a guy who refused to update to 3rd Edition, and we'd just laugh at his indomitable will to just keep buying 2nd Edition books from the used bookstore. I also discovered West End Games' Star Wars d6 system during this period. Some nights I was a player. Other nights I was running the game. We'd play three nights a week and never sleep.

In 2001, I played my very first live-action role-playing game. LARP added a whole new world of obsession to my hobby, enabling me to do terrible accents and dress completely different than I'd ever normally appear in public. My first LARP Storyteller is, to this day, the greatest ST I have ever had the privilege of playing with, so naturally, I married her.

Eventually, I ran my own Vampire LARP, took over a long-running Werewolf LARP and held multiple positions in One World by Night. As gaming atmospheres changed, I was a founder of The Garou Nation, another national LARP organization dedicated to the Werewolf genre. My wife and I started our own Werewolf game together when we moved to Tennessee.

Sometime around 2007, I got a crappy job that happened to also allow me to be online all day. Of course, I started MUSHing (or MUDing, or MUCKing or whatever you'd like to call it) to make the job less crappy. Not long thereafter, I was a game runner on a Buffy the Vampire Slayer MUSH and a Star Trek MUSH, the latter of which I helped open.

I have a lot of experience in gaming, fully invested in ways many gamers only say they are. I've done a lot of good, told some amazing stories and led some incredible projects I'm so very proud of.

In the process, I've also had my character cheated to death, been thrown under the bus by fellow storytellers, caught meta-gamers, policed power gamers, removed players from games for carrying lethal weapons and had good friends stop talking to me because of in-game decisions.

I've been a victim of others' poor decisions and judgements, and I've also been the one who made the mistakes. Overall, I've done some really fantastic things and each of those moments has taught me something about gaming, and I can't wait to share it with you. I hope the journey makes On A Roll: Leveling Up Your RPG a perfect companion to your Monster Manual.

 I'm very proud to be able to announce that On A Roll: Level Up Your RPG is being illustrated by Carie Varner! Convention-goers in the southeast may know her from her vendor booth Junk Mail Critters, where she sells handmade creatures and oil paintings of famous science fiction creatures and characters.

Carie has an Associate's and Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts from the American Academy of Art in Chicago, focusing her studies in life drawing and sculpture. Carie's work has been featured in local galleries and restaurants, science fiction and comic book conventions, and she has a commissioned sculpture in the VNA Hospice in Valparaiso, Indiana. Carie's favorite medium is oil paint.

 I'm excited about the artwork in the book, which will be simple and cartoonish, but created with a professional craftsmanship that will lend a great character to the text. It's also pretty awesome to be able to offer prints of her oil paintings as incentives on reward levels!

Looks like we were fully funded in less than 36 hours! That's incredible, and I'm so thankful to everyone who helped make that happen! Of course, that means it's time to explore the magical world of Stretch Goals and Add Ons!

ADD ONS!

If you are pledging enough to receive a physical copy of On A Roll and would like to add an additional physical copy of On A Roll to your order, you can now do so for just $15! That's $5 less than cover price!

How do you do that? Contribute any amount you want that is at least enough to qualify for a physical copy of the book. Then, manually add the additional $15 to your pledge. IF YOU DO SO, YOU MUST SEND ME A MESSAGE STATING YOU ARE ADDING COPIES. This will ensure I have accurate numbers for my printer and ensure I don't miss any orders.

You may order up to three additional physical copies of the book in this way (making your total four copies of the book).

  • Add $15 for one additional book
  • Add $30 for two additional books
  • Add $45 for three additional books

ALL FOUR BOOKS MUST BE SHIPPING TO ONE ADDRESS.

STRETCH GOALS!

I'm pleased to announce several of these have already been met.

UNLOCKED!!: ALL BACKERS who pledged $15 or more will receive a free bookmark featuring art from the book!

UNLOCKED!!: ALL BACKERS who pledged $15 or more will receive a free PDF copy of the book!

UNLOCKED!!: ALL BACKERS who chose a reward level that included a print from the illustrator will receive TWO prints instead of one!

UNLOCKED!!: ALL BACKERS who chose a reward level that included a print from the illustrator will also receive a free poster of some of the tips and wisdoms from the book!

UNLOCKED!!: ALL BACKERS who pledged $15 or more will receive a special set of "Gamer Goodies" recipe cards, featuring easy recipes to help satisfy your gaming group's food cravings!

Risks and challenges

There are always risks with Kickstarter.

This is the first full-length book I've ever written. While I've written a great deal of short stories, articles, blogs and essays, and have been published many times, this will be the first time I've undertook a full-length book. I am a professional writer for a living, working in public relations, so it's quite unlikely for this to be an issue. However, the book is currently in progress, and it is possible I could discover it takes longer to finish than I am anticipating.

The other challenge is that the printing/shipping process could take longer than I have been told to estimate. I have never self-published before, so I can only take the printer at their word for estimated printing time. Should it take longer than expected for any reason, I will of course notify backers and provide regular updates.

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    Dungeon Master: Receive the soft-cover book autographed by the author and illustrator, and both of them will draw a small drawing in your book. In addition, your name or character name will appear in the book as a supporter! You'll also receive a signed, high-quality print of one of the illustrator's oil paintings depicting a science fiction creature!

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    FOR INTERNATIONAL FOLK: Dungeon Master: Receive the soft-cover book autographed by the author and illustrator, and both of them will draw a small drawing in your book. In addition, your name or character name will appear in the book as a supporter! You'll also receive a signed, high-quality print of one of the illustrator's oil paintings depicting a science fiction creature!

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    Receive the soft-cover book autographed by the author and illustrator, and both of them will draw a small drawing in your book. In addition, your name or character name will appear in the book as a supporter! Lastly, your tabletop group, LARP, MUSH or Game Organization's name and contact information will be included in an appendix to help readers find new games.

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    Receive the soft-cover book autographed by the author and illustrator, and both of them will draw a small drawing in your book. In addition, your name or character name will appear in the book as a supporter! Lastly, your tabletop group, LARP, MUSH or Game Organization's name and contact information will be included in an appendix to help readers find new games. You'll also receive a signed, high-quality print of one of the illustrator's oil paintings depicting a science fiction creature!

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    Gygax Memorial Reward: Receive the soft-cover book autographed by the author and illustrator, and both of them will draw a small drawing in your book. In addition, your name or character name will appear in the book as a supporter! Your tabletop group, LARP, MUSH or Game Organization's name and contact information will be included in an appendix to help readers find new games. You'll also receive a signed, high-quality print of one of the illustrator's oil paintings depicting a science fiction creature! Finally, you will receive a Skype session of one hour with the author to discuss the game you are running or playing in, help identify issues and brainstorm with ideas to make it better!

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Funding period

- (30 days)