Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Modern Dispatch

Looking back, the Modern Dispatch is one of the things I'm proudest of. How many people can say they helped found an e-zine with 133 issues and counting that was good enough people were willing to pay for it?

I don't KNOW the answer to the question off hand, but my guess is not many.

Beyond just being proud of its continued existence, one of the things I love about the dispatch is its short-form nature makes it a perfect place to hammer out some ideas, almost like a think tank.

If you look back at the earliest dispatches, where I take on armor as damage reduction (Modern Dispatch #1), how Reputation affects an investigation (Dispatch #2), and how to make reputation a more integral part of modern games (Dispatch #9) you'll see the seeds being planted that would one day blossom as Modern20.

And of course, when we released Modern20, the Dispatch was an important part of developing the game. The Hunters campaign model introduced FX to the game for the first time and laid the groundwork for things like Fantasci and Supers and Modern Supplement #1 was the beginning of a process of improvement and expansion that led to Modern20 Revised.

In fact I think it's safe to say that the dispatch was a big part of Modern20's development into something I consider an unqualified success. Maybe the book I'm most happy with of all the books I've ever done.

I mean, yes, Blood and Fists arrived more or less perfect, like Athena from the thigh of Zeus. But Modern20 was perfected by me actually honing it, which is infinitely more satisfying. I don't often have the time to put an extra coat of polish on things.

So what's next for the dispatch?

Well, now that Voyages of Discovery's draft is done (you heard that right!) and has gone to Chris for development, I've been giving that some thought.

There's some things Modern20 doesn't cover, or covers rather basically that I'd like to give a closer look to.

It always bothered me that poisons in d20 were just ability damage. I stayed with the status quo mostly because I never had anything better. But some ideas have recently occured to me.

So at the very least look for that in upcoming issues.

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