A while back on Twitter I posted, “Magical Burst is going to be like if Sorcerer and Don’t Rest Your Head got a civil union and adopted a beautiful baby girl from Japan.” In my head there’s this godawful idea for a one-panel cartoon with caricatures of Ron Edwards and Fred Hicks on either side of a Japanese schoolgirl. Ron is saying, “How far would you go to get what you want?” while Fred his holding up some oversized dice and saying, “What’s been keeping you awake?”
Anyway, on Story Games Christopher Kubasik linked to Steven Pressfield’s book Do the Work, which is a sort of manifesto for creative types, and available as a free Kindle e-book (and given the range of platforms you can get a Kindle app for, you have no excuse for not reading it). I’m about halfway through it (it’s pretty short), but so far the most important thing it preaches is to just fucking get in there and create stuff. Don’t obsess about research or fuss with getting everything right–that can come later–just start creating and create passionately and honestly. I mention this because I think that Magical Burst is working in part because that’s about how I’ve been doing it. I’m going to have to get into some more serious analysis and playtesting and whatnot, but I came up with most of the really critical ideas behind the game when scribbling the first broad strokes. Not obsessing over polishing the text is really liberating, though from here on out I think my process is going to have to become much more rigorous.
I got a ton of really great ideas from a thread started by Judgment on 4chan’s /tg/ board (you can see an archive of it here). I wouldn’t even know where to begin listing off all of the ideas I got from here, but while I have been, let’s say skeptical of 4chan in the past, I’m not exaggerating when I say this thread has some of the very best feedback I’ve ever gotten on one of my games. The major things I got invaluable help on here were Overcharge and the combat rules. As I mentioned before, Kurt, who sent me several pages of notes, was likewise immensely helpful, and the folks on the #becomethemeguca channel likewise had some helpful comments.
Again getting way ahead of myself, I’ve put a bit of thought into the potential final appearance of the game, which would have a very deliberate manga style. This is a bit different from “anime” style (which is what you usually see when people do anime/manga-inspired RPGs), with use of line weight and screen tone, but not all that much shading per se. I am very lucky to be friends with a fair number of talented artists, and all the more so to be friends with C. Ellis, who (amongst other things) can do great manga-style comics (check out her portfolio!) and is really enthusiastic about my creations, perhaps more than I deserve. Of course, the graphic design of the overall book is going to be an interesting challenge too, since I want to channel some of Akiyuki Shinbo’s use of patterns, abstractions, and typography. That in turn could involve stuff like digging through BibliOdyssey for visual elements to adapt, plus I want do do something similar to the runes from Madoka Magica.
And in the case of D&D4e I find those potentially fun to play, but tedious to set up and run.