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Tell Me – Richard Iorio

(Crossposted from Jennifer Brozek)

I met Richard at his Colonial Gothic booth during a GenCon a few years back. The name caught me, the RPG kept me, and then Richard hired me to write for him. I’ve been working off and on for Colonial Gothic ever since. My newest book with them is Colonial Gothic: Locations. I think this is a really interesting RPG and that’s why I’m pleased to present this special 12-12-12 edition of Tell Me.

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It was a sunny, warm September day (9/7/2011 for those keeping score), when I posted the following on the Rogue Games’ website:

You are not ready. The countdown has begun, and the Rogue of Rogues Games are plotting.
For some, it might be an end, but for us, it is only the beginning. Grab your dice and get ready.


This was the last I said anything, and in secret I continued working on a project that I had been working on since 2010. As of this afternoon, 12:12:12 to be precise, the secret has been revealed, and the world knows I was working on Colonial Gothic 2nd Edition. By now, the some have bought the book and have gotten the PDF. They have noticed the changes.

This is not about the changes, this is about why I did what I did.

Colonial Gothic is a labor of love. This is the game I have always wanted to play, and since I could not find it, I created it. A game like Colonial Gothic does not come about by itself. It is the sum of experiences and ideas I received from others who listened to me prattle on about history, gaming ideas, and how to make everything work. What you hold in your hands is a product of years of work. Many players have played in variations of campaigns based upon the ideas found here. Something about this period always attracted me to running games in it.

The first time I ever thought about running a game set during this period was in 1985, as an eighth grader. My family had just moved to a small Midwestern town at the start of summer. Being a new face in a new town, and not knowing anyone, I had a lot of time to think about new campaigns and new games. Tired of fantasy and having just read Last of the Mohicans for the eighth time, I wanted to try something more “real.” Armed with a library within in biking distance, I spent many days reading and taking notes on the period. As luck would have it, I found some gamers who were interested in my creation and I unleashed it to uneven success.

A year later I found myself in another new town and this time I was about to start high school. Undeterred from the previous summer experiment, I revised the campaign and let it loose on a new group of players. They liked it, but they were not ready for something so different from the orcs, rogues, and dungeon crawls that were so popular at the time. Reluctantly I put the campaign aside and returned to the lands of dragons, fuzzy footed diminutive creatures and magic.

Fast-forward to college, with its huge libraries and new opportunities. Unlike my earlier attempts, in college I was even more versed in the subject because of the resources I had on hand. I was also a little more experienced with kit bashing different game systems and ideas into something playable for myself and others. Each new discovery I made, or historical bit I uncovered in my reading and endless research, was applied to my campaigns. Through the years, numerous players have walked the footpaths and forest trails of Colonial New England or the Southern Colonies searching for the evil haunting the land.

Those people gave me something, the will to keep going to produce this game. What you have in your hands is a labor of love, a project worked on by people that are as equally passionate as I am about good role playing games.  As such, Colonial Gothic would not have been possible without the help of many people.

As much as I tried, it always seemed as it Colonial Gothic never got the attention it deserved. It was always rushed, and it always suffered from being something that I worked on, while I tried to do so many other things. Things changed when Graeme Davis decided to help me out, and he kicked me in the butt to rethink and rework the game. It was during a phone call in January 2010 that I finally agreed that the game needed to be rethought, and I began working on the 2nd edition. I thought the project would be faster, but it turned out to be two years of playtesting, writing, rewriting, and rewriting.

Finally it was 9/7/2011 I had a draft that I was proud of, and a yearlong playtest begun. Every rule was examined, every system rethought, and the guts of 12° were pulled apart, put together, and pulled apart. There were times I wanted to stop, and call it quits, but I didn’t. This game means too much to me, and I wanted it to be what I always felt that it should be.

Colonial Gothic 2nd Edition is a game that I always wanted, and now I have it.