Today marks the one-year anniversary of the release of Maid RPG in English. On August 14, 2008, Andy and I were at Gen Con Indy, standing in an oddly-placed booth shared with Khepera Publishing and Aetherial Forge, with copies of Maid RPG and a picture of Hard Gay. And that was after we slaved away for many, many months doing the translation (oh god, the translation), editing (which wasn’t as good as it should’ve been) and layout (which was excellent).
Maid RPG wound up being the first Japanese tabletop RPG ever released in English, which as Andy told people at the con is a source of both great pride and of great shame. (Tenra Bansho Zero was supposed to come out first, by a considerable margin, but it’s proven to be a monster of a project.) At Gen Con I got to know Andy better, shake hands with a dizzying array of people whose names I’d heard online, and see the book we’d all put our blood, sweat, and tears into sell out by Sunday afternoon.
Way of the Maid
It has most definitely been a long and strange journey. Some bizarre impulse made me think that doing a translation of Maid RPG was a good idea, and we ran with it. It’s created controversy, ranging from reasonable complaints to a bizarre conspiracy theory, but mostly it’s been a really damn fun game to play. The first RPG I ever owned was Steve Jackson Games’ Toon: The Cartoon Roleplaying Game, and Maid RPG has the same kind of zaniness, but with its own distinctive otaku culture edge. I’ve run it at four different conventions, played it many times with my local friends, once with Ben Lehman and his crew, and once with my sister’s friends in New Mexico, and it has never failed to be fun. On top of that, I keep spotting people starting up games on forums, and over on the Something Awful forums they went so far as to have an alcohol-fueled Skype game.
Since its debut we’ve done some considerable revisions to the text, and generally struggled to keep it in stock at IPR–as I write this they’re nearly out of copies. Again. (Plus it took the better part of the year to finally get those extra scenarios out as a PDF.) It definitely hasn’t made us rich, but as this small press RPG stuff goes it’s exceeded all expectations. Along with typical RPG sites, people were talking it up on 4chan and Gaia Online (and a friend of mine organized IRC demo games through 4chan!). There are literally over a thousand people who have Maid RPG in their hands in one form or another, so when all is said and done I’m extremely glad I had the crazy idea to do this thing back in 2007. It’s even showed up in some Japanese game shops now, so that the madness has gone full circle. I can only hope that our future endeavors enjoy some semblance of this kind of success.
Casting to the Pod
In the near future I’ll be roping Andy K. and Ben Lehman into doing a “Maid RPG Roundtable” podcast, where we’ll discuss the game itself, what went into publishing the English version, and more. Please feel free to comment if you have any questions you’d like us to address!
Thank You All. Seriously.
When all is said and done, I owe a lot of thanks to a lot of people for making this happen. Andy more than anyone, but also Ryo Kamiya of course, Ben Lehman, my gaming group, and all of the awesome fans around the world.