Mutant Future Setting Development - Trying Something New

Feel free to disregard this if you've already read the announcement at the Goblinoid Games forums. I'll repost the pertinent details below. Interested parties can feel free to contact me here.

Hey fellow mutants,

One or two of you may know me already, but just in case not, I'm a designer who has freelanced for WotC (Book of Exalted Deeds, Forgotten Realms Serpent Kingdoms, Forgotten Realms Mysteries of the Moonsea, and D20 Apocalypse), Paizo, Bastion Press, Gun Metal Games, and several others over the last decade.

One of the projects I worked on in the past was D20 apocalypse, which was originally envisioned as a much larger book. In the end, I'm pretty happy with the book we made, but at the same time, I always felt like I had more post apocalyptic tales to tell. I always wanted to build a cohesive PA setting, rather than leaving it with a set of rules along with an implied setting. Of the three settings that appeared in Apocalypse, the one I wrote was Atomic Sunrise. Prior to that project, I've been a huge fan of Gamma World, all of the Fallout games, and more recently Darwin's World. More recently, I've stepped back from the RPG industry a bit - not completely, but I've been turning down work unless the project really captures my imagination. This is partly because of the overall downturn in the market, partly because I'm now employed by a video game company that's working on an RPG, and partly because I've really just been needing something different.

I've been watching the retro-RPG movement with a great deal of interest. I've been a gamer sine 1984, and I spent the first sixteen years of my gaming life playing what is now considered retro. Frankly, while I've enjoyed all the complexity of modern games, I've also missed the days when roleplaying meant thinking through interesting situations and coming up with creative solutions rather than choosing the appropriate skill and making a roll. That's not to say that one play style is more valid than another - I love the Pathfinder RPG, and I have a group that's currently playing it. What it does mean is that I'm ready to go back to my roots and re-explore it while I work on something that has been percolating in the back of my mind for longer than I've been doing game design professionally.

I first picked up Mutant Future a couple years ago, and then I watched and waited to see whether the retro movement was going to be embraced. It turns out that for a lot of people, it's been like a breath of fresh air. A few weeks ago, I found out that one of my co-workers has been running a Labyrinth Lord game for his game. I'll be honest, I threw my support behind Castles and Crusades a few years ago, but what's important is that the classic play style is making a comeback, and I have quite a bit of respect for Labyrinth Lord, Mutant Future, and the other games that look back to the vision laid out by the founders of the hobby, such as the late Gary Gygax, Dave Arneson, and Tom Moldvay, and resurrects that style of play.

So the point of all this is that I'm taking the initial steps to put together a project that might be of interest to people on this board. The retro RPG movement didn't seem to grow out of the desire to make commercial games (in fact, OSRIC remains free of charge), but rather the business side of the movement seems to have grown organically based on the fact that people have been interested in the material. I've seen the quality of the projects start as low as it gets in the publishing world, and then grow larger and more professional as people gained interest. The Revised edition of Mutant Future is pretty amazing, by the way.

So here's the plan: I'm going to be starting on a full-fledged writeup of the post-apocalyptic North American continent, for use with the Mutant Future rules, under the MF Trademark License. I haven't decided on the exact form that it's going to take, but there are some specifics that I'm willing to throw out there right now: interested parties will have the option to read and playtest the material right from the start and offer feedback. Art and the final publication method will be decided at a later time. Finally, I do not intend for this to be a release that is short in length. In other words, I'm not really approaching this as a business opportunity, but rather, as an opportunity to add to the hobby. I fully expect that from a financial angle, I'll lose my shirt. Eventually the material will be collected together and released in a format that you'll be able to download and/or order in hard format. That final format will include cover art and interior art of some sort. There will be a cost associated with the final product, but it's not going to be particularly high. People who opt to playtest will have the ability to take whatever material I release to them, keep it, and never pay me a cent. It's fine with me, because I want the development of this to be just as organic as the process that has led retro RPGs to this point, where quality material has floated to the top and people have willingly supported it. If it turns out that the material is deemed uninspired, poorly written, and full of fail, then the project will rest with the other glut-quality books that have died quietly throughout the years.

Aside from this introduction, I have numerous ideas on this but I have yet to write the first word. If anyone wants in as a reader or playtester, stay tuned and I'll give you the information you'll need so that I can shoot you the material as it develops, no strings attached (other than that you won't release it on the web without my consent).

If any of you have ever participated in an Open Design project, I've decided to run the project similar to that, minus the patron fee. Basically, I'm going to open up a non-public messageboard, and those who want to participate will be allowed to register. I'll post the outline there, people will have the opportunity to comment, and then after some feedback is considered and things are nailed down, I'll go do that writing thing I do. Material will be released by chapter to those who are participating. I'm going to want to handle the initial signup separate from the board, and I'm still figuring out the best way to do that.

If you would like to participate in this project, send me a private message here at ENWorld. Include the following information:

1. Name
2. Email Address (this must be the same one you will use to register at the new board)
3. Confidentiality - Indicate that you agree not to redistribute the material without my permission

Once I have that, I'll get back to you with instructions on registering for the board.
I hope that those who were fans of old school Gamma World, or those who are enjoy retro gaming and want to give something new a try will come join us. :D