RPGs have always had a DIY element. Old school Dungeons & Dragons players might think of the Judges’ Guild series of supplements and modules that took up the slack when TSR couldn’t get out material fast enough. Vampire: The Masquerade fans might recall B.J. Zanzibar’s World of Darkness full of web content to play everything from Highlanders to Gargoyles. The shelves of Friendly Local Game Stores were chock full of small publishers trying to latch on to some sweet, sweet OGL money in the 2000’s. Today, the bar for getting into the publishing game is very easy to clear. Many game publishers recognize there is a market that they can’t fulfill with official products, so they’ve done the next best thing: they’ve turned to fans though Community Content websites. It’s not official material from the publisher, but it’s the next best thing. Classes, adventures and more come from the fans most passionate about their games and those fans split revenues of electronic products with the company. Drive-ThruRPG is the home to many of these sites, though other publishers, like Pinnacle Entertainment Group, offer their own easy licensing terms. We’ve highlighted a few companies below that have easy to use Community Content programs.
Dungeons & Dragons
When the Dungeon Master’s Guild opened in 2016, a lot of fans were very excited. The success of Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition made fans hungry for content and the Guild site provided that content in several ways. It continued to host PDFs of classic D&D material (and now offers print-on-demand copies of hard to find classics), provided a place for Adventurer’s League Dungeon Masters to pick up the latest season of adventures, and offered fans a chance to put their own material out there to be judged by other D&D players and DMs.
Back before official Star Wars or Star Trek games were available, Traveller became a classic RPG for those geeks who wanted to be astronauts instead of rangers. The Traveller’s Aid Society existed back then as a long-running zine and newsletter featuring deck plans, adventures and information on the sprawling space setting. Today it exists in electronic form, but the contributions of fans have made this RPG a long running favorite for gamers who don’t want to run into Kirk or Skywalker in the process of their space adventures.
Monte Cook Games offers two different fan creation options. Fans who want to create content for Numenera, The Strange or No Thank You, Evil can apply for a license from the company. Fans who wish to create content using the Cypher System rules that those games use as an engine can do so at the Cypher System Creator site.
The most recent entrant into the content creation game is 7th Sea, which created the Explorer’s Society website on behalf of one of its last Kickstarter stretch goals. This website compliments the run of 1st edition PDFs available with aids for duelists, new adventures, expanded rules for ships and even a list of fine wines in the setting for sophisticated heroes.
What game would you love to create for? Let us know in the comments.
Image Credits: OneBookShelf
Rob Wieland is an author, game designer and professional nerd. He writes about kaiju, Jedi, gangsters, elves, Vulcans and sometimes all of them at the same time. His blog is here, his Twitter is here and his meat body can be found in scenic Milwaukee, WI.