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Minotaurs in a human civilization sundered by a surreal, trackless jungle. A wholly new RPG from the designer of My Life with Master.
674 backers pledged $25,518 to help bring this project to life.

A Different Kind Of Text

Posted by Paul Czege (Creator)

My "near final" text is out to a handful of readers for final feedback on stuff like problematic sentence construction and punctuation. So let me tell you about it.

People look across the landscape of RPGs that no one ever plays, and maybe they compare them to the rules for board games they play all the time, and decide the important factor is that RPGs fail to be good procedural texts. Well, I actually don't think that's the important textual factor for gamemastered RPGs getting played. I think it's how well the text hooks and inspires a gamemaster and group to want to play it. And part of that is how well the game's world and themes install themselves in the reader through the text.

So in The Clay That Woke you encounter forward references. You hear about name and silence tokens before you hear about the rest. The Krater of Lots gets mentioned several times before its procedures are fully detailed. The fiction is sliced up throughout. You hear about some setting elements in the fiction, and some in the expository text. The whole thing keeps pulling you forward as a reader, because there's always something you want to hear more about, so the whole game as a living, writhing object can take up residence in your brain.

And the theory was pretty much proved out in playtesting. People got drawn in by reading it and were eager to play.

But wait, then how do you use a text like that during the game? The solution in The Clay That Woke is a uniquely constructed Table of Contents. It doesn't match the sequence of the book like a traditional Table of Contents. And it's not alphabetic, like a traditional index. It's organized conceptually, the way I'd have organized the book if I'd written it like a traditional RPG text. All the stuff about minotaur characters is together. All the stuff about the procedures of play is together. All the stuff about the game world is together. And all the stuff about gamemastering is together. So you'll be able to quickly find anything you need while you're playing the game. Here's a look at a few pages of Brennen's draft layout for it. The listed items are from an earlier iteration of the text, but it's good enough to give you the idea.

(click through for a larger view)
(click through for a larger view)

So anyway, it's going to miss the August target date. But not by too much. Thanks for sticking with me. I don't think you'll be disappointed.


Dimber Damber, Chris Bloxham, and 8 more people like this update.


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    1. Paul Czege Creator on

      Thanks everyone.

    2. Tim C Koppang on

      I don't know how I feel about the toc, but I'm certainly thinking hard about your general philosophy re the book's presentation and organization.

    3. Aaron Kesher on

      Paul, you never fail to think outside the box. Or book, for that matter. :)

    4. Courtney Cullen on

      That table of contents looks fantastic. There are a lot of big budget RPGs out there that get this sort of thing so horribly wrong. They'd have a lot to learn from this.

    5. Missing avatar

      Timothy Hidalgo

      Thank you for the update and pre-view. I was interested in this innovative setting and token mechanic, You have verified my expectations now with this unique table of contents. I hope you continue to follow your inspiration in completing this project, over meeting an arbitrary deadline.

    6. Paul Czege Creator on

      Hi Ville,

      I'll post an update when it's available. Initially at least, I plan to take payments and mail the games out myself. Though there are a few retailers worldwide who've sold my games in the past, so it's probable that will happen too.



    7. Ville Ojanperä on

      Just out of curiosity. Since I went for only the PDF on this game during the campaign, but I'm interested in getting the actual book later. Where will it be sold? When it's finished, of course.