The first question I need to answer is this: do I really know what I’m doing?

The answer so far is: not really! I’m just winging it at this point. But that’s fine.

TTRPGs aren’t completely new to me, as I mentioned in the opening post here, but writing one certainly is. As a teen, I spent many hours drawing castles, dungeons, and monsters for D&D campaigns that were never played, but now, 35 years later, I’m taking a different approach.

Solo RPGs, and journaling RPGs in particular, have truly captured my attention. In a way, they look at lot like simple creative writing exercises. But I feel like there is more to them than that. Take Alone Among the Stars by Takuma Okada, for example. Sure, you’re describing a certain number of physical phenomena you discover on planets. But if you play it right, you can see yourself–or a character nothing like yourself–as they discover and record what they see. It all depends on how to approach the challenge.

Now, for the actual “Dev Diary” part of this post. A couple of coinciding events put me on the path towards writing my own journaling RPG. One was me discovering the actual existence of the solo journaling RPG sub-genre. Second, was reading through Italo Calvino’s novel If on a winter’s night a traveler, and finding within the novel an almost role-playing adventure by the book’s protagonist. Surely these two concepts could be combined somehow, right?

Well, that’s my long-term goal, anyways. I started going back through the book and writing some notes, but then I realized it was going to take more of an effort than I initially realized. Then I remembered another Calvino book, Invisible Cities, that was shorter, simpler, and which could also lend itself to the same journaling RPG format. I decided that was a better place to start.

So, I’ve just recently re-read Invisible Cities, and with my notes, I’m ready to start to put together a much simpler journaling RPG based upon one of my favorite books. I figured it fit right in with the themes of quite a few journaling games. Roll some dice, or draw a card, and then describe what the prompts ask of you. This sounded like a decent first project.

So far, I have many notes and highlights in my copy of Invisible Cities, and some intro text for the RPG ready. Now, I need to start putting it all together into an easily digestible format. I don’t see this initial project being more than two or three pages long, while the one I have in mind for If on a winter’s night a traveler is much more involved and expansive.

My goal is to release the first Invisible Cities-based journaling RPG, and then redirect my focus back to the larger If on a winter’s night a traveler one. If you’d like to be updated when anything comes out, or for any other ramblings of mine, feel free to follow progress at one of these places:

  • My currently-bare site where I’ll release anything I make,
  • or on my Mastodon account which I’m slowly getting the hang of (I’m trying to make up for rarely posting on Twitter).