Making a Pathfinder RPG Adventure: Day 2 – Production Phases – Geek In the Closet

    Making a Pathfinder RPG Adventure: Day 2 – Production Phases





    Yesterday I announced to all you internetonians (and to myself) my New Year’s Resolution to self-publish my own Pathfinder Roleplaying Game adventure module to the highest standard that I am capable of and make it freely available as a PDF download on  once it is complete. You can read that post . I’ve spilled the beans and admitted that I have pretty much no experience as a writer, artist, or publisher and that this project is intended to serve as one big fun learning experience. I’ve have also tried to set myself up for success by keeping my expectations realistic and easy to achieve so as not to get discouraged half way through.

    I concluded my post by inviting fans of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the GITC community to follow along with me by sharing your constructive feedback and game design experience to help keep me on the right path. My hope is that by the time the project is complete, we will have created a useful road map for others who might be inspired to take the same challenge and share their own adventure on GITC for all of us to enjoy.

    There’s no going back now, so I guess it’s time roll up my sleeves and get to work.

    The beginning of every project is always exciting. You undoubtedly have many idea seeds tumbling around in your brain waiting to take root. Maybe there is a unique location that you have been dying to flesh out, a wicked villain you can’t wait to sketch, or a new monster idea your itching to stat up. You probably don’t know how they all fit together yet but dammit, you know they’re cool, and you might be thinking that if you don’t get these ideas down on paper soon, they might slip away and be forgotten about.

    While I certainly have many ideas that are burning a hole in my brain, I’m going to resist the temptation to jump right in to the details, and am going to instead spend a little time getting organized. Planning isn’t sexy. In fact, it can be downright boring, and as much as I don’t want to lull you to sleep in my second post, I think spending some time in the planning stage is necessary. You might want to go get a coffee first. I’ll wait.

    I think the best way to start would be to identify all of the work that will be required and then break it down into manageable phases that allow me to focus on one thing at a time.

    I googled “Design Production Phases” to see if I could find typical phases used for game design but surprisingly didn’t find much that was usable. Some lists were too general to be of any real value while others were applicable to very specific projects such as writing magazines or developing software. I guess I’m going to have to come up with my own list based on how I expect everything might unfold.

    After much deliberating here is what I came up with.

    Now, before you get carried away giggling your ass off at my ridiculously long list, let me say that I am aware that it probably contains many more phases than those typically used in the industry. May of them could be easily be combined into larger ones but there is some logic behind my decision not to do this so hear me out. Considering that I am a one-man-army, I thought that it would be beneficial to keep the phases bite-sized to help me focus on one skill at a time. For example, I could have combined the creature stat blocks with the first draft of the manuscript but they are essentially different tasks that require different skills sets so keeping them separate should help keep me focused. The other advantage that comes with more phases is shorter deadlines which should help ensure that I am not wasting time.

    Well, did I miss anything? Hopefully not because 21 phases is just plain absurd whereas 20 phases is only moderately silly. If there are any experienced publishers out there – game designers or otherwise, I would love to know what is typically used in a given industry standard for the record. Does anyone happen to know the phases Paizo uses?


    Update Note: The original version of this post was uploaded in October of 2015. Shortly after posting it, I realized that I needed to put a little effort into the functionality of the blog itself so I decided that it was probably best to wait until the new year (January 1st of 2016) before continuing with the regular updates. I made a couple of minor tweaks to the post but the message is essentially the same. With the blog looking more or less presentable, its full speed ahead.


    No clue about publishing industry, so please whatever I say – take it with a grain of salt. But, from my point of view – this looks like a very structured approach, so Kudos to you. Me, being very chaotic, would never go more than step 3, maybe 4 if very, very lucky (and of course, I’d probably simply skip steps 1 and 2).

    Keep up the good work and I’ll keep us with stupid comments 🙂

    It’s the engineer in me. Always make it more complicated than it has to be.

    Looks legit.

    I am curious, though – do you plan to take a break between the first and second drafts to approach your design with “fresh eyes” that maybe tweak the adventure or is the second draft more of an editorial tool?

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