April TTRPG Maker 2019

6 minutes


I’m sure the “No imposter syndrome allowed” doesn’t mean to exclude people feeling crushed by imposter syndrome and is meant more as a “don’t feel like a fraud, your voice is welcome and wanted” but I can’t help but read it and feel awful. This is only exacerbated by the fact that I look at most of these questions and have no answer for them - cue feeling like even more of a fraud.

But like all things imposter-syndrome-y, the only way to overcome it is to power through and embrace those feelings of ignorance and fraud as instead opportunities to grow, to learn, to be “legit” (not that this is actually a requirement, but feeling legitimate is a benefit that shouldn’t be discounted).

So here we go.

  1. I’m Andrew Montgomery, a.k.a Dark Liquid. I’m an occasionally depressed, mid-thirties white-hetro-cis-male software engineer that also likes to create non-code-related things on occasion.
  2. My rpg work tends to occupy the space of weird/body-horror, but touches on subjects like loneliness, isolation, powerlessness, hopelessness and other fairly down, sombre, sad and otherwise depressing subjects. That said, usually it is done with a certain amount of irreverence, a wry self-deprecating humour bordering on the absurd.
  3. Not feeling stressed, which is admittedly rare. It’s only when I have no worries or external dependencies hanging over me that I can truly get into the zone when working on stuff like this. In terms of ideation, reading, consuming various media and day dreaming. Most of my bizarro-weirdness comes from deliberately mishearing or misreading things and then imagining a world where that is literally fact and building out from that.
  4. What types are there? In lieu of a list, I guess I like scenarios where winning isn’t black and white, or often even possible, but perhaps making some small positive change, even in defeat, can be seen echoing out from that moment.
  5. I tend to prefer building worlds to characters when creating games. Equally I tend to prefer to give few prescribed character options in games, preferring instead to allow players to create their own by providing simple prompts and tools that aren’t restrictive.
  6. Either. I like long settings, but short rules. Nearly all rules text I’ve ever read tends to waffle on without getting to the point. Many rules systems could be a simple set of bulletted list of items, categorised by type.
  7. I don’t know. TTRPGs seem pretty accessible compared to other interactive media, but we can keep in mind things not requiring physical props that need dexterity to use (cards, dice, etc) without considering more accessible alternatives, nor relying heavily on visual or audio props.
  8. I’ve not really collaborated closely with anyone on a regular basis, or at all really, beyond 1 or maybe 2 people, so I don’t really feel qualified to answer this.
  9. I’m not really sure what this means. But for my current game in the works, I actually take power away from characters, in that they have little ability on their own to change anything. However as players, they have tremendous power not just over their characters, but also over the powerful forces their charcaters have to appeal to in order to change anything. I like games where players are engaged directly in the meta-narrative of the game, not just the narrative of their characters.
  10. I don’t even know what this without looking it up on google, and so dismantling it is definitely not a conscious part of anything I’ve worked on.
  11. @RPGKitchen is trying to do good with RPGs and deserves a lot more love.
  12. I’m no expert, but I’d guess actually include more people? Explore and include more identities and points of view. Challenge the status quo. Actually ask people of demongraphics other than your own what they actually want.
  13. I do both run and play in games on JamesCORP’s Twitch Channel
  14. I don’t really know what this means. I try to write characters with a variety of backgrounds and identities. Game mechanics I work on don’t take the characters identity into account at all.
  15. I don’t know, I’ve never really thought about it. I tend not to examine tropes too closely, or analyse my own writing for their appearance, so I don’t really deliberately target any trope to subvert or not.
  16. I’m not sure my environment really has much of an impact, though I guess that depends on how you define environment. Middle-class UK citizen living in the suburbs is possibly the least avantgarde or inspiring environment one could ask for.
  17. Stress, depression, feelings of powerlessness, impotency, hopelessness are all things I tend to gravitate towards in a design and they are things I experience on a semi-regular basis on life, so there is that I guess. I use humour as a defence mechanism and that comes through in my writing.
  18. If anything it is that you shouldn’t take things too seriously. With all the dark things in my game design, I guess it’s a message that you can choose how to engage with the world, and that life isn’t a game you play to win, but to experience.
  19. Misery, being trapped/stripped of agency, inevitability, being insignificant.
  20. Pretty much any of my games :D If anything, I guess I’d term my games “bleak-punk” because inside of being escapist fantasies, they are about wallowing in awfulness.
  21. I have a busy full time job and a partner that is often unwell and needs my care and support. Finding the time to actually create something is hard, harder still to find that time when I’m also not overwhelmed by things such that I have the mental capacity to take on extra work.
  22. I’m not. At least, I’m not actively doing anything I haven’t always been doing, so I don’t really feel like I’m going out of my way to do anything. I don’t really engage much in the community. I’m introverted, quiet and private. I don’t really have the energy to do anything else.
  23. Nope and Nope. I don’t even know where I’d begin to do either of those things.
  24. I like building settings more than mechanics. Weird settings and themes are where my heart is at.
  25. I didn’t even know these were a thing until recently, so I don’t know any.
  26. I don’t really interact much with any online communities. I tend to communicate directly one-to-one most of the time, or not at all. I find “communities” quite stressful, mostly due to a combination of social anxiety and imposter syndrome.
  27. I occasionally mention it on twitter, or reply on reddit if people mention it. Otherwise I don’t. I just don’t have it in me to make a big fuss about myself or my work.
  28. My current toolchain for RPG creative work is LaTeX (we’ll see how long that lasts) for typesetting, Google Docs for writing, planning and sketching out ideas, Dropbox for storage and sharing, Inkscape for vector art and then I program to write little tools and random generators for various things.
  29. I don’t know, I don’t really follow “trends”.
  30. I’d probably change who is in charge of the TTRPG industry because it certainly should not be me. I’m not a business person.
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