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Small but mighty: Independent TTRPG presses work toward equity in game design

As tabletop games grow in popularity, expect more and more people to try designing their own games. Marketplaces such as itch.io, DriveThruRPG, and even Dungeon Master’s Guild allow individual designers to showcase and promote their own work, but many are held back by a lack of name recognition. Making a game isn’t easy, but selling it can be even harder.

Large publishers continue to produce content for flagship titles, while smaller independent publishers have more freedom to experiment. In the tabletop role-playing game (TTRPG) industry, small presses encourage marginalized viewpoints, niche games, and often push the boundaries of what’s worthwhile.

Gauntlet Publishing, Exalted Funeral, and Possum Creek Games are three sites that support independent developers and ensure a fairer publishing model. Unlike public companies like Hasbro, which publishes Dungeons & Dragons through its subsidiary, Wizards of the Coast, the indie scene is primarily focused on putting money in the hands of creators, not shareholders. If the hundreds of millions of dollars in profits generated by Hasbro’s efforts are any indication, fans of the hobby have money to spend. Small presses also want to make sure their products are seen.

Gauntlet Publishing is one of the oldest publishers championing independent and disadvantaged voices. Codex Magazine was founded in 2016 and for many years each themed issue featured minigames, mods, settings, and lists. The Codex was a place where designers could experiment and get paid for their work and see it printed in a professionally designed and illustrated magazine. Led by Editor-in-Chief Jason Cordova, the press now works with members of the burgeoning gaming community to bring innovative, adaptive games to life.

Like many publishers, big and small, Gauntlet Publishing uses Kickstarter to fund its projects. dark mugWritten by Jesse Ross, it was a huge hit on the crowdfunding platform, raising over $210,000 in 2020. The game mechanics allow for an accessible fantasy of darkness, swords and sorcery where players find their characters destroyed long before they reach the treasure. placed at the heart of each adventure (called the attack). Booty It started as a Codex play, and for six months a new themed edition was published in the series, much of it written by guest writers. By creating its own tent theater, Gauntlet Publishing enabled marginalized writers to write for a larger play without sacrificing their vision or asking them to write for less than their ideas were worth.

Newly formed Possum Creek Games is an indie darling led by writer/designer Jay Dragon and art director Ruby Lavin, known for its critically acclaimed games. to stroll. While Possum Creek began as a way to publish Dragon’s writings under a more unified roof, the scope quickly expanded to help other writers such as Riley Rethal and M Veselak. Designed by evil released last year and the challenging three-player game spans three retail-size volumes.

Kickstarter is often seen as an equalizer in the desktop world. For example, a hugely successful new project from Magpie Games. His Avatar Legends: Role Playing Game The campaign raised over $9.5 million earlier this year and set a TTRPG record on the platform. Of course, Kickstarter can’t help everyone because it doesn’t allow residents of certain countries to use its service. Many indie outlets recognize this limitation, and Possum Creek in particular has taken steps to help bring the game from outside designers to the big stage.

A ghostly cat flies to the second floor of an inn to join the other spirits that live there.

Image: Possum Creek

TTRPG, the tenderly haunted ghost of Rae Nedjadi, our lair, Possum Creek’s newest project. Nedjadi, who lives in the Philippines, is outside of his Kickstarter-allowed country of residence. Possum Creek uses its platform to directly uplift marginalized creators in specific and positive ways, taking action to build a fairer industry while releasing fantastic, deserving work.

Exalted Funeral is another outlet that doesn’t just market itself as an independent-focused outlet. Working with a team of writers, Exalted Funeral is a full-service print shop that also maintains an online storefront and allows for additional distribution of physical copies of indie games. By selling bigger games (by independent standards) black borg and maternityExalted Funeral is gaining an audience that will launch their own Kickstarter while supporting authors like momatoes and Anna Urbanek.

THE ARROWA post-apocalyptic adventure written by moms where players face the end of the world. One of Exalted Funeral’s many Kickstarter projects. This partnership gave an author access to Kickstarter, who otherwise couldn’t use the service because Tomatoes live and work in the Philippines. Herbalist’s Primer is another example. The system-independent book details actual plants and their traditional folk uses, making it practical for both real-world practitioners of herbal magick and fantasy play. It grossed over $814,000 on Kickstarter, an amount that puts Exalted Funeral on par with more well-known publishers.

A copy of Anna Urbanik's Herbalist's ABC in a field of flowers.

Image: The Supreme Funeral

All these media are trying to forge alternative editorial partners to the big names in video games. But aside from the economic benefits for content creators, they also offer potentially more ethical options for discerning consumers. Some Wizards of the Coast and Pathfinder employees, annoyed by the hostile work environments reported by publisher Paizo, many now have smaller, nimble companies to spend their money on.

Independent outlets such as Gauntlet Publishing, Exalted Funeral, and Possum Creek Games focus on the writers and artists they work with, giving them control over their work. And perhaps most importantly, they provide a stream of money to the growing community of game creators. As the scene diversifies, it should become fairer, and smaller presses pave the way for a more sustainable TTRPG ecosystem.


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Small but mighty: Independent TTRPG presses work toward equity in game design

As tabletop games grow in popularity, expect more and more people to try their hand at designing their own games. Marketplaces like itch.io, DriveThruRPG, and even Dungeon Master’s Guild allow individual designers to showcase and promote their own work, but many are hampered by a lack of name recognition. It’s not easy to make a game, but it can be even harder to sell it.
While large publishers stick to producing content for flagship titles, smaller independent publishers have more freedom to experiment. Across the tabletop role-playing game (TTRPG) industry, small presses promote marginalized perspectives, niche games, and generally push the boundaries of what is viable.
Three places that are working to support independent designers and provide a fairer publishing model are Gauntlet Publishing, Exalted Funeral, and Possum Creek Games. Unlike publicly traded companies such as Hasbro, which publishes Dungeons & Dragons through its subsidiary Wizards of the Coast, the indie scene is primarily focused on putting money in the hands of creators, not shareholders. If the hundreds of millions of dollars in profits generated by Hasbro’s efforts are any indication, fans of the hobby have money to spend. Small presses also want to make sure their products are seen.

Gauntlet Publishing is one of the oldest publishing presses championing independent and disadvantaged voices. Codex Magazine was established in 2016 and for many years featured small games, mods, settings, and lists in every themed issue. The Codex was a place where designers could be experimental and get paid for their work and see it printed in a professionally designed and illustrated journal. Led by Editor-in-Chief, Jason Cordova, the press now works with members of its thriving gaming community to bring innovative and adaptable games to life.
Like many publishers large and small, Gauntlet Publishing uses Kickstarter to fund its projects. Dark Trophywritten by Jesse Ross, has had huge success on the crowdfunding platform, raising over $210,000 in 2020. The game mechanics allow for an accessible fantasy of dark, swords and sorcery where players often find their characters destroyed long before reaching the treasure. built into the heart of every adventure (called an incursion). Trophy began as a game in Codex, and for six months a new thematic foray was released through the series, many of which were written by guest writers. By creating its own tent game, Gauntlet Publishing enabled marginalized authors to write for a larger game without compromising their visions or asking them to write for less than the value of their idea.
Newly incorporated Possum Creek Games is an indie darling led by writer/designer Jay Dragon and art director Ruby Lavin, best known for its critically acclaimed games. wanderhome. While Possum Creek began as a way to publish Dragon’s writings under a more unified umbrella, the scope quickly expanded to help other authors, like Riley Rethal and M Veselak, come into the fold. by Veselak Wickedness launched last year, and the tricky three-player game spans three commercial-size volumes.
Kickstarter is often seen as an equalizer in the tabletop world. For example, a recent and extremely successful project from Magpie Games. His Avatar Legends: the role-playing game The campaign raised over $9.5 million earlier this year, a record for a TTRPG on this platform. Of course, Kickstarter can’t help everyone because it doesn’t allow residents of certain countries to use its service. Many independent presses recognize this limitation, and Possum Creek in particular has taken steps to help bring games from out-of-residence designers to the big stage.

Image: Possum Creek
TTRPG, the tenderly haunted ghost of Rae Nedjadi, Our lair, is Possum Creek’s newest project. Nedjadi, who lives in the Philippines, is outside of the countries of residence allowed by Kickstarter. Possum Creek uses its platform to directly uplift marginalized creators in specific and positive ways, stepping up to create a more equitable industry while releasing fantastic, deserving work.
Exalted Funeral is another press that doesn’t just market itself as indie-centric. Working with a roster of writers, Exalted Funeral is a full-service press that also maintains an online storefront, allowing for greater distribution of physical copies of indie games. By selling bigger games (by indie standards) like Dark Borg and MothershipExalted Funeral is gaining an audience to release their own unique Kickstarters while supporting authors like momatoes and Anna Urbanek.
BOW, written by momatoes, is a post-apocalyptic adventure where players face the end of the world. It’s one of Exalted Funeral’s many Kickstarter projects. This partnership again allowed an author to access Kickstarter who otherwise would not have been able to use the service, as momatoes lives and works in the Philippines. Herbalist’s Primer is another example. The system-independent book details real plants and their traditional folk uses, making it practical for both real-world plant magick practitioners and fantasy play. It grossed over $814,000 on Kickstarter, an amount that puts Exalted Funeral on par with more well-known publishers.

Image: Exalted Funeral
All of these presses strive to establish alternative editorial partners to the big names in video games. But, in addition to the economic benefits for creators, they also offer potentially more ethical options for discerning consumers. Many who are irritated by the allegedly hostile work environments reported by some Wizards of the Coast employees and Pathfinder, publisher Paizo, now have smaller, nimble companies to spend their money with.
Independent presses like Gauntlet Publishing, Exalted Funeral, and Possum Creek Games focus on the authors and artists they work with, allowing them to maintain control of their work. And, perhaps most importantly, they keep the money flowing in and through a growing community of game creators. As the scene becomes more diverse, it must also become fairer, and smaller presses are leading the way to a more sustainable TTRPG ecosystem.

#Small #mighty #Independent #TTRPG #presses #work #equity #game #design

Small but mighty: Independent TTRPG presses work toward equity in game design

As tabletop games grow in popularity, expect more and more people to try their hand at designing their own games. Marketplaces like itch.io, DriveThruRPG, and even Dungeon Master’s Guild allow individual designers to showcase and promote their own work, but many are hampered by a lack of name recognition. It’s not easy to make a game, but it can be even harder to sell it.
While large publishers stick to producing content for flagship titles, smaller independent publishers have more freedom to experiment. Across the tabletop role-playing game (TTRPG) industry, small presses promote marginalized perspectives, niche games, and generally push the boundaries of what is viable.
Three places that are working to support independent designers and provide a fairer publishing model are Gauntlet Publishing, Exalted Funeral, and Possum Creek Games. Unlike publicly traded companies such as Hasbro, which publishes Dungeons & Dragons through its subsidiary Wizards of the Coast, the indie scene is primarily focused on putting money in the hands of creators, not shareholders. If the hundreds of millions of dollars in profits generated by Hasbro’s efforts are any indication, fans of the hobby have money to spend. Small presses also want to make sure their products are seen.

Gauntlet Publishing is one of the oldest publishing presses championing independent and disadvantaged voices. Codex Magazine was established in 2016 and for many years featured small games, mods, settings, and lists in every themed issue. The Codex was a place where designers could be experimental and get paid for their work and see it printed in a professionally designed and illustrated journal. Led by Editor-in-Chief, Jason Cordova, the press now works with members of its thriving gaming community to bring innovative and adaptable games to life.
Like many publishers large and small, Gauntlet Publishing uses Kickstarter to fund its projects. Dark Trophywritten by Jesse Ross, has had huge success on the crowdfunding platform, raising over $210,000 in 2020. The game mechanics allow for an accessible fantasy of dark, swords and sorcery where players often find their characters destroyed long before reaching the treasure. built into the heart of every adventure (called an incursion). Trophy began as a game in Codex, and for six months a new thematic foray was released through the series, many of which were written by guest writers. By creating its own tent game, Gauntlet Publishing enabled marginalized authors to write for a larger game without compromising their visions or asking them to write for less than the value of their idea.
Newly incorporated Possum Creek Games is an indie darling led by writer/designer Jay Dragon and art director Ruby Lavin, best known for its critically acclaimed games. wanderhome. While Possum Creek began as a way to publish Dragon’s writings under a more unified umbrella, the scope quickly expanded to help other authors, like Riley Rethal and M Veselak, come into the fold. by Veselak Wickedness launched last year, and the tricky three-player game spans three commercial-size volumes.
Kickstarter is often seen as an equalizer in the tabletop world. For example, a recent and extremely successful project from Magpie Games. His Avatar Legends: the role-playing game The campaign raised over $9.5 million earlier this year, a record for a TTRPG on this platform. Of course, Kickstarter can’t help everyone because it doesn’t allow residents of certain countries to use its service. Many independent presses recognize this limitation, and Possum Creek in particular has taken steps to help bring games from out-of-residence designers to the big stage.

Image: Possum Creek
TTRPG, the tenderly haunted ghost of Rae Nedjadi, Our lair, is Possum Creek’s newest project. Nedjadi, who lives in the Philippines, is outside of the countries of residence allowed by Kickstarter. Possum Creek uses its platform to directly uplift marginalized creators in specific and positive ways, stepping up to create a more equitable industry while releasing fantastic, deserving work.
Exalted Funeral is another press that doesn’t just market itself as indie-centric. Working with a roster of writers, Exalted Funeral is a full-service press that also maintains an online storefront, allowing for greater distribution of physical copies of indie games. By selling bigger games (by indie standards) like Dark Borg and MothershipExalted Funeral is gaining an audience to release their own unique Kickstarters while supporting authors like momatoes and Anna Urbanek.
BOW, written by momatoes, is a post-apocalyptic adventure where players face the end of the world. It’s one of Exalted Funeral’s many Kickstarter projects. This partnership again allowed an author to access Kickstarter who otherwise would not have been able to use the service, as momatoes lives and works in the Philippines. Herbalist’s Primer is another example. The system-independent book details real plants and their traditional folk uses, making it practical for both real-world plant magick practitioners and fantasy play. It grossed over $814,000 on Kickstarter, an amount that puts Exalted Funeral on par with more well-known publishers.

Image: Exalted Funeral
All of these presses strive to establish alternative editorial partners to the big names in video games. But, in addition to the economic benefits for creators, they also offer potentially more ethical options for discerning consumers. Many who are irritated by the allegedly hostile work environments reported by some Wizards of the Coast employees and Pathfinder, publisher Paizo, now have smaller, nimble companies to spend their money with.
Independent presses like Gauntlet Publishing, Exalted Funeral, and Possum Creek Games focus on the authors and artists they work with, allowing them to maintain control of their work. And, perhaps most importantly, they keep the money flowing in and through a growing community of game creators. As the scene becomes more diverse, it must also become fairer, and smaller presses are leading the way to a more sustainable TTRPG ecosystem.

#Small #mighty #Independent #TTRPG #presses #work #equity #game #design


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