The Halfling Experiment

Early last year, I proposed a little project with my good friend Andrew Linstrom, about an RPG setting revolving around new halfling nation, one that a generation ago won its freedom against an oppressive human population…only to inherit wars the humans starting in this land against orcs and dragonkind. The high concept is “Halfling Israel Rokugan.” We’ve been trading notes back and forth on occasion over the last year, but the end of 2012 was a little slice of hell of both of us, from the perspective of busyness and scheduling. We’ve vowed to rock this out in 2013.

Maybe it’ll work. Maybe it won’t. Co-author projects take a certain discipline and a certain sense of independence in order to get forward momentum. I’ve been in several that have failed, so I’m always experimenting with different dynamics.

I want to describe our process for getting back on the horse:

  • We’re focusing on the setting right now, because that will inform system concerns.
  • We’re going to write a little piece once a week on the setting, between 1000 & 2000 words.
  • Each piece will focus on a specific topic. At first, we’ll pick our own topics, but once the juices start flowing, we’ll request topics from the other person — stuff we’re excited to see in our world.
  • The pieces don’t have to be consistent in writing — we could write in a given voice one week, a different voice the next, whatever we need to get a piece out.
  • There’s no guarantee that anything we write will make it into a book. For one, there’s no guarantee that there will be at book at the end. For another, this is effectively a brainstorming/zeroth draft experiment.
  • We’re going to do this for a couple months, and see if it works for us.
  • To keep it low-pressure, we accept that shit happens. If it’s Friday and one of both of us hasn’t written our thing, we call that week a wash. If we routinely do it, then the project needs to be re-evaluated.

The people on the Master Plan Inside Scoop will see some of these on occasion.

It’ll ideally help that we have some extensive bullet point notes and drew a map to help focus our thoughts about what the various halfling tribes must deal with. The Rokugan part comes from te different clans in Legend of the Five Rings being in a situation where if they banded together, their foes would not be able to succeed; but because they squabble amongst each other, their foes have openings and the kingdom is a tenuous one.

– Ryan


3 Responses to The Halfling Experiment

  1. Andy says:

    What I particularly love about this is the methodology you outlined for doing a tag-team RPG.

    • Ryan Macklin says:

      That was pretty much the whole point of this post. I’m otherwise loathe to announce I’m working on something this early.

      – Ryan

  2. Spitfire says:

    Well, consider me intrigued. I’d be interested to see what the two of would do with this idea. Especially because I’m in a game that is in someways like this, but set in Golarion (Paizo’s Pathfinder gameworld). Would be interesting to see what you would do with it without the ‘straitjacket’ of an existing rules set and setting…