Thursday, March 19, 2015

Designer's Notes: It's a Threat!

It's not secret that I have hundreds of article-size/small supplements that I've written for GURPS since 2005. The running joke on the forums is "Ghostdancer probably has an article for that." The sad truth of it is that I probably do. I write too damn much - it's a form of therapy for me. The idea for "It's a Threat!" has been around for quite a while. Originally a part of a small trio of ideas, "It's a Trap!" was published first, and now "It's a Threat!" is out - it'd be nice if I could get their little brother out there too. "It's a Threat!," originally called "Fighting Fair," had to be practically rewrote from scratch after I found a severe, dangerously recursive flaw in the design.

I had given myself ten days to get it in tip-top shape, and I would have never been able to do that without a group of dedicated playtesters and reviewers: Antoni Ten Monros, Douglas Cole, Emily "Bruno" Smirle, Jason Packer, Jeremy French, Peter V. Dell'Orto, Scott "Rocketman" Rochat, Tim "Humabout" Ponce, Walter "Nymdok" Wilson, and, of course, my gaming group. One thing I want to point out is that my revised version was inspired by a piece of material that Scott was working on that I'd playtested to the point of exhaustion. No, I won't say what it is about, that's his place. But if my article were a coin, his is the opposite side of that coin. The ideas are linked inexorably and much of what "It's a Threat!" became owes a great deal to his (as of yet unreleased) work. I just wanted to take the time to publicly thank him for that - so thanks, Scott.

It took me around four days to write (35 man hours), two days to personally playtest (18 man hours), four days to revise (44 man hours), and two days to polish (15 man hours). I sent it to my reviewers as soon as the main text, was done and they playtested while I revised and edited (Beth, as usual, helped me a ton here). Those last two days I thought I'd go mad as I found several mistakes or small issues that quickly became large issues. I rushed to make everything work and did yet more playtesting - I don't think I slept more than six hours the last three days. I finally had a good enough manuscript that I sent it in with notes on what could be cut. I never expected all the tables to make it in, much less the monsters, but Nikki/Steven's heroic efforts made it work, and I'm still not sure what

Gallifreyan sorcery was used. All I can think is the PDF is somehow bigger on the inside.