Thursday, August 26, 2021

#RPGaDAY2021 Day 26 Origin

RPGaDAY2021 Day 26

I had some ideas for Theory, but none of them really took shape.  So instead I want to talk about Origin. In particular the Origin of NIGHT SHIFT.

Day 26 Origin

Come back with me if you will all the way to 1995-1997.  I had just gotten married, moved into a new house, and was working on my first Ph.D.  Life was pretty good.

That is except on the RPG front.  I was so burned out of AD&D and D&D, approaching my 20th year of gaming with something akin to apathy really.  I had been enjoying all the things the Internet had to offer me in terms of connecting with other gamers, but the games themselves had left me a bit less than thrilled.  TSR was busy at the time going after any website or group that even mentioned "D&D" so my tastes were beginning to sour.

By 1999 I was more or less ready to give up on D&D, plus I had a kid on the way and thought that I would never get the chance to play much (hahahaha!).  Then along came C.J. Carella's WitchCraft RPG.  I have recounted that tale before, but something in that book reignited the spark that had been dying. WotC and the OGL would further fan those flames, but that is still a bit off from here.

WitchCraft was the perfect game for me.  It did everything I wanted and it did them perfectly.  That is except for the things that D&D did perfectly.  I hung out on the Eden Boards and there I met Jason Vey.  He was coming from a similar background as me; we both loved WitchCraft and old-style D&D.  But we also enjoyed a lot of new games too.   From here we worked on Buffy the Vampire Slayer together.  Jason would go on to do a bunch fan-created works for both Unisystem and D&D and later d20 and then go on to work on All Flesh Must Be Eaten and Castles & Crusades.  I'd go on to do my various witch books, a lot of Unisystem conversions, and move on to working on Ghosts of Albion

A look over our fan-made and published works it would seem that NIGHT SHIFT was fairly inevitable. 

I recall working on a "Monster Manual" that I still have on my hard drive where I took all the creatures from the AD&D 1 Monster Manual and converted them to Unisystem.  Both Classic and Cinematic.  If you are thinking that the seeds of my current "Basic Bestiaries" also began here you would be correct.

NIGHT SHIFT began as a conversation. One according to Jason, but I recall a few different threads that came together.   The first was Jason pointing out that Level/Class builds, like in D&D, can be every bit as flexible as point-buy ones, like in Unisystem.  He was mostly talking about his own Amazing Adventures, but I was also thinking about in terms of the various OSR games.  BTW, you can do both now in NIGHT SHIFT thanks to the Night Companion.

The next conversation was the two of us talking about all these ideas we still had for various games, regardless of, or divorced from, their systems.  Eventually, we decided that we should be making this game with these ideas.

For me, the origin was one of pragmatism.  I wanted something to fit the "Buffy-shaped" hole in my life.  Not just in terms of fandom, but yes that, but also in terms of system.  The same can be said of "Ghosts of Albion."  I LOVE the work I did on both of those games and I am proud of it.  But neither game is completely "mine."  Buffy has also sorts of baggage attached to it now that people are finally seeing what a douchebag Whedon was and is.  "Ghosts" for as much as I love it will never see another printing, no supplements, no new material.

NIGHT SHIFT is my game. It is Jason's too. And as I always say, once YOU buy it then it is YOUR game too.  But it is a game I can love unconditionally and support without worry or feel like I am investing in a sunk cost. I have D&D 4th Edition for that.

If you go through NIGHT SHIFT and have been reading this blog then you will see where things in the game got their origins.  Read Jason's blogs and you will see where other things in the game got their origins as well. 

NIGHT SHIFT is a new game, but its origins go all the way back to the turn of the Millenium and before.

Don't forget NIGHT SHIFT The Night Companion is nearing its last few days.  Give us some support. If we hit the stretch goal I will give a new Night World and this will keep me out of trouble for a while.


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