On August 11th, the topic is my favourite rpg writer. There are many great writers in the industry. Honestly, I started noticing the names of writers, designers, editors, etc several years after rpgs was a hobby of mine. One of my favourite writers is Robin D. Laws.
Robin D. Laws is a prolific writer and designer of a variety of games. He works freelance and if I started listing his works from memory, I would just scratch the surface. He has worked with many folks in the industry and is a major proponent for narrative styles in rpgs.
He designed the the WARP system behind Over the Edge. A great and simple system where you use your concepts to determine your character traits. It was the first rpg where I saw there was no list of skills or traits to choose from. He designed Heroquest which also let you free reign in defining your skills and traits but done in a different way. The scale of Heroquest can go higher while Over the Edge feels more down to Earth.
He designed the Gumshoe system which is used in Trail of Cthulhu and TimeWatch. I love how it captures the expertise in investigation for the characters and lets players manage their risk for action scenes.
I’ve read his Diana Jones Award winner, Hillfolk. It is currently on the top of my list to try a campaign of it. I enjoy dramatic stories and Hillfolk uses his Dramasystem which focuses such aspect of play. I’ve heard the procedural section suffers for it but really, it’s a game about drama. Gumshoe is more a game of investigative procedurals and I found the dramatic parts suffered. I wonder what would happen if you mixed Dramasystem with Gumshoe.
I’ve enjoyed Feng Shui and look forward to reading Feng Shui 2.In Fung Shui, Robin captured the high action scene in Hong Kong action cinema. Robin writes and designs to capture the feel of the game. He does a few universal systems which do a component very well.
He wrote Hamlet’s Hit Points which provides a technique to analyze a narrative work into beats. He describes how those techniques can be applied to rpgs. Over two years ago, I read and discussed the book on the podcast, The Tome Show Book Club.
I enjoy listening to the podcast, Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff, where Robin D. Laws and Kenneth Hite share their wisdom, experience, and fun stories about… well… stuff. They are insightful, entertaining and have awesome segways to other topics.
Who is your favourite writer in the rpg industry?