If you want to explore a moon-castle full of chalk elves and cheese oozes, write it.
If you want to use a class that uses weaponized toads, write it.
If you want to fix a currency system, improve gameplay, adjust a creature, or anything else, write it.
Look around first and ask questions - there's lots of content out there - but if you can't find what you want, don't wait for some "official" supplement to cater to your needs. There is no universal stamp of approval in the community. All content is homebrewed content.
My ProcessI like solving problems.
I saw people asking, "Is there a good starter dungeon for OSR games?" or "What should I use for this new group to introduce these ideas?" or "What's a good level 1 OSR adventure for new players?" I had these questions too. I also couldn't find a satisfactory answer, so I wrote Tomb of the Serpent Kings.
I saw people asking, "Are there any good heist modules?" or "is there a dungeon that relies on politics and stealth instead of combat?" or "What are the elements of a good heist?" or "How do I avoid a boring heist-planning session?". I had these questions too. I also couldn't find a satisfactory answer, so I wrote Kidnap the Archpriest.
I loved Veins of the Earth. I saw people saying "Is Veins of the Earth a campaign?" or "How do I put these parts together?" or "Veins doesn't contain very much information on races or settlements".
I had these questions too. I wanted to use Veins of the Earth, but on its own I didn't have enough information. Additional official content wasn't likely. The entire thing lacked context and connection. It felt like a pile of loose pieces.
Sure, I could improvise, but I could also write things down and save myself the trouble. The heap of campaign notes, ideas, tables, and blogposts eventually became the Veinscrawl. The Veinscrawl isn't a module. It's a mod. VotE is the core engine, like Doom, KSP, Minecraft, Skyrim, ARMA.
|Yes, I asked for permission before posting this publicly.|
Apparently I should not have done that.
I don't take myself terribly seriously, but I feel like this is serious.
Veins of the Earth pg. 356
How To Use This Book
Think of it as a rugged machine. The book contains many parts. Not one part of it is essential for its use. No-one could read, memorise and use all of the rules and ideas inside in one go.
Instead, take whatever you find most interesting and use that.
If you wish to use more then bring it in whenever.
Well I did. I spent ~5 months writing content, playtesting it, borrowing ideas from Peter Webb and others, working with David Shugars to edit it into a beautiful PDF, working with Lungfungus to get some art, and then I put it up for free because other people seemed to have the same questions I had.
I wasn't the first person to try. wrest8 (profile is not safe for work) over on Reddit put together "EARTHEN VEINS OF THE VELVET FIRE" , a 216-hex map / encounter table. It's great, but it wasn't what I wanted, so I kept working.
If you're going to release a setting construction kit and then get annoyed when someone uses it to construct a setting... I think people should be informed. I think that's worrying. It's one thing to be annoyed that they used it to create a bad setting. It's another to be annoyed that they did it at all.
Anyone should be free to block or promote any content they'd like, but I don't think the reason given feels right. It feels unfair. There are plenty of other reasons to block me - I'd be happy provide a numbered list - but using a tool as intended feels deeply discouraging. There might not be gatekeepers in the DIY D&D scene, but there are certainly content promoters. As a small blog, it stings when your average daily views fall off a cliff. It can make people less willing to speak out or try new and potentially controversial stuff - what if they annoy a major a content booster and get de-listed?
Content made by fans is always going to feel weird. Either they don't "get it" and mangle your ideas, or they do get it and they occupy design space you'd like to use one day, or they write really weird porn, or they're just... bad. If you're deeply critical of your own work, people who praise it sound like idiots.
And all of these are valid reasons not to engage with fan content. I didn't ask anyone to promote my stuff. I didn't ask for permission either - people would feel somehow obligated to care about it or notice it. I didn't write it for fame or sales or additional social media followers (and I've got the stats to prove it). I wrote it because I wanted it to exist, and it didn't exist.
I don't think it's fair, or right, to be annoyed at content for existing.I'm going to take a break for a bit.
Not sure what I'm going to work on when I get back. Possibly the medieval itinerary/pointcrawl thing.
+++++EDIT - 2018/06/01+++++I'm back.
Part 1: What’s My Point?
Ok, let’s try to clarify my point a bit. I'm not trying to say:
"[X Thing] caused Patrick to delete the blog link in his sidebar, and that is unfair, because I deserve to be promoted."
My concern could be stated as:
"Creating DIY content - not the content itself, but the act of creating it - caused Patrick to [take a negative action].”
Patrick’s response here is mostly focused on the first case. That wasn’t the intent, but I can see how he got there.
After discussing the matter with Patrick (and Scrap), it seems as though the second case wasn’t Patrick’s intent either. I’m having difficulty reading it into his statement, but I accept that it’s true. Patrick outlines some of his reasons here, and that’s good enough for me. As long as it was something in the content - something I said, something I misinterpreted, the way I phrased an idea, anything at all - and not the mere existence of the content, I have no issue whatsoever with his reaction… or any other more severe reaction.
The sections on sidebars, page views, all of that, was just me trying explain why I think deleting someone from a sidebar could be seen as a negative action. I should have made it more clear - it does come across as whinging.
Part 2: What’s the Point Of All This?
I'm not trying to drum up ill will towards Patrick or start some sort of crusade. I feel a bit awkward about people rushing to my defence; there’s nothing to be defended!
The intent was never to say “Screw Patrick for having a reaction. Isn’t he a jerk?"
My goal was closer to “This is a negative reaction that can occur – and for me it was totally unexpected – so be careful! I don’t want to hurt people, and I did, and you could too!”
That’s why I used words like “worrying” and “concerned” and "apparently I should not have done that."
Like it or not, it’s very difficult not to feel responsible for the emotional reactions of other people, especially when they are so unexpected. Killing someone’s interest in doing work is really high up there on the list of things I’d never want to do.
Part 3: Why Ask Though?
I asked why Patrick removed me because I respect his opinions and his craft. Basically, if someone you respect has a negative reaction to you... wouldn't you want to know? It's very easy to fall into a cycle of depressing thoughts and guesses and assume the worst. I don't like feeling that way, so I ask, and brace for the worst answer I can think of. People are always going on about communicating problems, so I communicated. The answer I got was so completely unexpected that I felt it merited further discussion in the open. That got us here.
Now that it’s been discussed, I feel I’m done with it.
Part 4: What Did We Learn?
I’m not going to stop creating content.
You shouldn’t either.
I’m not “feuding” with Patrick or Scrap. If you feel like picking sides, please remember that there are no sides.
The moral of the story is... try not to get annoyed at people for making stuff. It's fine to get annoyed at people for making bad content, and feel free to talk to them if they are, but it's not very DIY-positive to get annoyed at people just for making content. After discussion, that's not what Patrick intended, so... we're good.