robin_d_laws (robin_d_laws) wrote,

Why This Blog Is an Achingly Slow Source Of Rules Support

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elgorade and an anonymous commenter left HeroQuest rules questions in the comments to my post on Thursday. I have seen them and do intend to reply. First, though, I seek your indulgence as I explain why I haven’t yet done so, these several days later. This has come up in the past and will again, so for future reference I’m making this a blog post of its own.

My ability to do rules support is unfortunately limited by the realities of freelance game writing. On any given work day, the main priority has to be my paid gig of the moment. It gets first claim on the finite pool of time and alertness that writing requires. Unlike a staff writer or a publisher who devotes time to the task as part of a general basket of tasks, any rules support I do is on my own time. I can justify it by stealing from the time budget I allocate to this blog, which is a combination of self-expression and self-promotion.

When there’s a question I can readily answer in a few lines off the top of my head, I’ll do that in a comment reply. However, the more interesting a question is, the less likely it is that I can dash something off. There’s a reason, in addition to time constraints, why designers don’t typically do rules support. Our nemesis here is Impromptu Redesign Syndrome. IRS strikes when the designer, foolishly thinking himself the master and commander of his own text, blithely dashes off an ill-considered answer to a rules query. In my designerly folly, I may think that I’m properly answering the question. In fact, unless I’m careful, I can easily contradict the more thoughtful answer that I actually took the time to write into the text, or otherwise contradict the rules as published. It’s not a pretty sight when you have to errata your clarifications.

Worthwhile rules support means checking the book and carefully understanding the question. I can justify the time it takes to do that only by counting it against my blog time budget. That entails turning a rules answers into a new blog post, and wrapping it into a broader point to appeal to the blog’s readership at large. Which I hope to do soon in the case of both of the aforementioned questions.

I also try to keep a balance between the topics covered on the blog, so it isn’t all HeroQuest or GUMSHOE or Hamlet or Cinema Hut all the time. Accordingly I’ll want to space out the supporty posts so that they don’t overbalance the blog’s other ingredients. The result will be a response time sadly bordering on the glacial.

For timely responses, you’ll do better to seek out the places where actual rules support happens.

For HeroQuest, that’s either the HeroQuest rules Yahoo mailing list or the Moon Design blog. Moon Design partner Jeff Richard has also been known to brave the waters of RPG.NET.

For GUMSHOE or the game-soon-to-be-reconfigured-as-Skulduggery, go to the Pelgrane Forums. Trail Of Cthulhu-specific support also happens on the Yog-Sothoth forums.

Thanks for your understanding on this.

Tags: gaming hut, gumshoe, heroquest, meta, skulduggery
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