ReadWriteRoll

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ReadWriteRoll is a system for readers, writers, and roleplayers who love telling stories with friends! It combines familiar d20-style mechanics with story game sensibilities to create a simple system designed around the way stories are constructed.

The core mechanic is simple – roll a d20, add modifiers, and determine if the total is high or low, even or odd. If the total is high, you succeed! If it’s low, you fail. If the total is an even number, you narrate your success or failure. If the total is odd, the gamemaster or your opponent gets to describe you success or failure.

The game also uses risk dice, polyhedrals from a d4 to d12 that allow you to influence your level of success or failure. The bigger the die type, the bigger the risk. The bigger the risk, the greater your possible success — and the larger the consequences for failure!

ReadWriteRoll is divided into three sections:

  • The first helps you to determine the type of story you want to tell, and allows the gamemaster to put together a setting alone or collaboratively with the rest of the group.
  • The second section is character creation, so you can create the protagonists, antagonists, and supporting cast needed to populate your story!
  • The final section contains the rules, everything you need to play the game and tell your story.
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Story Design: The Mystery

STORY DESIGN MYSTERYHave you ever wanted more story in your roleplaying game stories?

What you’re about to read isn’t a story unto itself. It’s not a finely polished tabletop roleplaying game adventure. It’s a template for a particular kind of story. It goes over the three-act structure for that plot type, and covers what has to happen in the beginning, the middle, and the end. It explains the sorts of things that you need to prepare before you start developing the story, and the things that you need to craft and develop after you’ve got the blueprint for your specific story put together. This book is designed to help you plan how to tell a mystery story effectively, with the least amount of work possible. Because it’s all about story, it is system-agnostic and useable with any genre or setting.

While this is a complete book unto itself, it’s also based on concepts explored in Story Structure for Writers and Roleplayers, also published by Dancing Light Press.  It’s a big book that goes into greater detail on how to get the most out of the three-act structure, as well as developing a three-phase series (campaign, if you prefer) with a clear beginning, middle, and end. If you want to use your favorite roleplaying game system to tell stories with more depth than kill monster, get treasure, repeat (not that there’s anything wrong with that), it is worth looking into.

This book is also part of the Story Design Bundle – buy the whole series and save 20%

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ReadWriteRoll Graphics to Share

Help spread the word about ReadWriteRoll! You can use the following ReadWriteRoll graphics for social media posts, blog posts, and reviews! I only have two requests:

  1. Let me know, so I can give your post or review some link love as appropriate,
  2. You link either directly to dancinglightspress.com or the ReadWriteRoll page at DriveThruRPG

Thanks for your support!

-Berin

Continue reading

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Beginning Work on Starship Tyche 2nd Edition

Starship Tyche 2e

Beginning Work on Starship Tyche 2nd Edition

Work has begun on the new edition of Starship Tyche. There’s no release date, because I don’t do that for various and sundry good reasons. As a general rule I don’t like to talk about what I’m going to do. I prefer to just show people what I’ve done. In a world of failed Kickstarters, con men, and lame excuses, I much prefer to wait until I have a thing that actually exists. I’ll wait before I show it to anyone, let alone take their money for it.  I have decided to blog about the development of the game and provide regular status reports, though. Talking about the project I’m working on isn’t in the same category as asking you to pay me for a promise.

Taking It to the Next Level

Right now I’m going through the existing material to see what’s there. It’s been a while since I’ve read the original. I’m reacquainting myself. I’m scrubbing out the old rules, and making notes on how I’m going to splice in the new ones.  Then it will be re-edited so everything fits seamlessly. I’m also taking notes on things that I want to expand upon, rewrite, and in some instances cut out. There are a ton of notes that I’ve been taking on things I want to do in the new edition. I have a ton of older notes on things that didn’t fit or I didn’t have time to work into the old edition. So at this point, it’s essentially the manuscript equivalent of demolition on a house prior to a major remodel.

No Fate But the One We Make Ourselves

The new edition will be built on the ReadWriteRoll rules, which as noted above will be tweaked and tailored for the setting. I know that I’m taking a risk by not continuing to work with the Fate RPG system. That version of Starship Tyche remains popular, an Electrum Best Seller on DriveThru RPG. There are people who bought that game specifically because it was Powered By Fate. I made a firm decision that I’m not going to be a third-party publisher. I want to forge my own destiny, do my own thing, and most importantly, own my own work. While many publishers do fantastic things with licensed systems and the Open Game License, I didn’t want to build an empire on other peoples’ intellectual property.

Focus on What Makes Science Fiction Great

I know you’re look at that last statement, looking at the premise of Starship Tyche. You’re thinking of a franchise whose name begins with “Star” and ends with “Trek”. You’re thinking I’m a hypocrite. The main reason for the second edition is that I want to move further away from the material that inspired the first edition. I want to keep the spirit of the thing, the essense of what it means to me. I want to focus on why I feel it’s important, without being yet another rehash.

The new edition is going to focus on what I think makes science fiction great: exploring current events and modern problems allegorically. ReadWriteRoll is especially well suited to the concept of roleplaying game as conversation. The big issues that we have trouble wrapping our heads around, the problems that we can’t even begin to figure out how to solve, have already been overcome in the future, or can be solved by our characters in the game. We can talk about things that are hard to talk about in real life. That’s something that I think is missing from games that focus on the action-adventure space-opera aspects of the inspirational material in question, and what I think will make this edition of the game very different from anything else available.

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ReadWriteRoll: Introduction

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ReadWriteRoll: Introduction

When I first discovered tabletop roleplaying, I was already an avid reader. Part of what attracted me to the hobby was the fact that, while it was a game, it was based on these big, fat books. People were required to, and rewarded for, reading them. It gave me something read, in addition to the science fiction anthologies, collections of horror short stories, and fantasy novels that I was already hooked on. It sparked an interest in other material.

Because of roleplaying games, I got into all sorts of things that I might not have discovered otherwise. It got me into reading history, and biographies, and mythology. It turned me on to mystery novels, hero pulps, and classics of literature. I studied other cultures, and geography, and all sorts of religions and political systems. Sometimes my interest was to better understand a game setting. Sometimes it was so to be more prepared to run a game in a certain genre, time, and place. Mostly it was because I found a topic to be interesting or entertaining, and I wanted to know more.

Why Reading, Writing, and Rolling

By the time I picked up my first roleplaying game I had also developed aspirations toward being a writer. While roleplaying doesn’t absolutely require you to write, it certainly seems to encourage it. Characters have back stories, which my friends and I would write out in tremendous detail and at great length. Settings have rich histories, and monsters have ecologies, and magical items and futuristic technologies have their own lore. It certainly triggers the creative urge. When I learned that a few famous writers based books on their own roleplaying experiences, I felt a certain vindication for all of the short stories I’d written featuring my own player characters, and a sense of validation for all of the detailed notes I’d collected on the campaigns I’d run in the hope of turning them into novels someday.

Reading, writing, and roleplaying are all part of continuum for me. You read the books, you write characters, settings, and adventures, you roll dice and tell stories together with friends. Then you read some more, to fill in the knowledge gaps or find fresh inspiration. You write some new things for the game or based on it, and you head back to the table to share and conspire with your group. Read, write, roll, repeat.

Telling Stories with Friends

Most roleplaying games aren’t designed around the way stories are created and told. A lot of people will argue that it’s not the job of a game rulebook, even though the game is based on acting out characters and telling stories. They like the tactical aspects, the bits that stem from the hobby’s wargaming roots. Their point of view and preferred style of play is absolutely valid, and more power to them; that I want something different from my roleplaying experience doesn’t make them wrong.

Some will point out various indie games that do put story firmly at the center of the experience, and a lot of those games are awesome; I play and enjoy a few of them myself, every opportunity that I get. Just as there are books published for every taste and interest, and just as there are many methods of telling stories, there are wide varieties of roleplaying games. This is just one of them. It’s intended to fill a specific niche. It’s not the last word on any topic by any means, but will hopefully become part of the ongoing conversation.

ReadWriteRoll’s Mission

This book has a threefold mission. The first is to encourage a love of reading. Not just game manuals and genre material, but everything under the sun that interests you. Turn off the device, and spend more time with the written word. Gain a greater appreciation of your favorite stories by understanding a little more about how stories are created and told.

The second is to foster an interest in creative writing and storytelling. It doesn’t matter whether you’re writing for publication or for your own amusement. You don’t have to aspire to be a professional author, or even share what you’ve written with anyone else. You can just have fun exercising your imagination. This book is structured to double as a beginning volume on writing as well as a game.

Finally, I want this book to facilitate a creative and collaborating tabletop roleplaying game experience. Any genre, any setting, any idea, can be expressed using the unique medium of tabletop roleplaying. The rules of ReadWriteRoll are simple and open to interpretation precisely so people can exercise their imagination with as few limits as possible. It’s your story, after all. You should be able to tell it your way.

You can purchase ReadWriteRoll at DriveThruRPG.

Berin Kinsman

July 2016

The Reading List: Search Stories

The Reading List

The Reading List: Search Stories

The best selling book Story Design: The Search is designed to help you tell search stories effectively, with the least amount of work possible. Because it’s all about story, it is system-agnostic and useable with any genre or setting. It’s also a useful tool for writing short stories, novels, and screenplays. While it’s a complete book unto itself, Story Design: The Search is based on concepts explored in Story Structure for Writers and Roleplayers, also published by Dancing Light Press.


The Story Design Bundle contains all of the titles in the Story Design series. 


Recommended reading and viewing for search stories includes the following titles. It’s far from a comprehensive list, but it’s not meant to be. This is a cross-section meant to represent the possibilities that a good search story represents. The premise of each story is presented in the simplified format suggested in the Story Structure book.

The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger

After flunking out of boarding school, a teenager runs away to New York City to battle his own alienation and lack of maturity.

Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes

A chivalric knight of questionable sanity set forth to write wrongs and bring justice to the world.

Gilgamesh

A demigod-king must perform a series of superhuman feats in order to protect and defend his people.

The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

A family faces hardship as they travel from their devastated home in Oklahoma to California in search of a better life.

The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

A band of adventurers battle the forces of evil in order to destroy a magical ring that could determine the fate of the world.

Lost Horizon, James Hilton

A British diplomat, weary from the horrors of war, finds peace in a mysterious hidden land.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum

After being transported to a magic land, a young girl and her new friends have to defeat a wicked witch so she can get back home to her family in Kansas.


Are any of your favorite books on this list? Do you have any other recommendations for great examples of this type of story? Leave your thoughts and opinion in the comments below! 

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ReadWriteRoll Reaches Copper Best Seller

READWRITEROLL

ReadWriteRoll Reaches Copper Best Seller

ReadWriteRoll has reached Copper Best Seller status on DriveThruRPG. 12.19% of the products for sale there ever reach this level, and RWR did it in a week. I know that some people in the hobby, and in the industry, don’t take this as a huge accomplishment. I do. This is the first game published by Dancing Lights Press. With very little in the way of advanced publicity and zero advertising, this means something.

Thank you to everyone who has supported this project! I hope that you’re enjoying reading and playing it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Now, tell all of your friends and let’s reach for Silver!


About ReadWriteRoll

ReadWriteRoll is a system for readers, writers, and roleplayers who love telling stories with friends! It combines familiar d20-style mechanics with story game sensibilities to create a simple system designed around the way stories are constructed.

The core mechanic is simple – roll a d20, add modifiers, and determine if the total is high or low, even or odd. If the total is high, you succeed! If it’s low, you fail. If the total is an even number, you narrate your success or failure. If the total is odd, the gamemaster or your opponent gets to describe you success or failure.

The game also uses risk dice, polyhedrals from a d4 to d12 that allow you to influence your level of success or failure. The bigger the die type, the bigger the risk. The bigger the risk, the greater your possible success — and the larger the consequences for failure!

Story Design: The Journey

journeyHave you ever wanted more story in your roleplaying game stories?

Copper Best Seller! Story Design: The Journey isn’t a story unto itself. It’s not a finely polished tabletop roleplaying game adventure. It’s a template for a particular kind of story. It goes over the three-act structure for that plot type, and covers what has to happen in the beginning, the middle, and the end. It explains the sorts of things that you need to prepare before you start developing the story, and the things that you need to craft and develop after you’ve got the blueprint for your specific story put together. This book is designed to help you plan how to tell a specific story effectively, with the least amount of work possible. Because it’s all about story, it is system-agnostic and useable with any genre or setting.

While this is a complete book unto itself, it’s also based on concepts explored in Story Structure for Writers and Roleplayers, also published by Dancing Light Press.  It’s a big book that goes into greater detail on how to get the most out of the three-act structure, as well as developing a three-phase series (campaign, if you prefer) with a clear beginning, middle, and end. If you want to use your favorite roleplaying game system to tell stories with more depth than kill monster, get treasure, repeat (not that there’s anything wrong with that), it is worth looking into.

Download your copy now!

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