I’ve been consulting for role-playing game design and publications for twenty years. And I’m damn good at it, with multiple award-winners and successful companies to say so. Contact me by email, firstname.lastname@example.org, for a no-charge discussion of your project to see if I’m the right person to work it over.
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The break-in deal
This one-time arrangement is for small press, creator-owned publishing, especially for people who are just breaking in, or whose publishing to date has remained “vest pocket” size. It’s for games at any degree of development, from first-brainstorm draft to just prior to publication. For $100, you get:
All to be concluded within two weeks of contract
The big deal
If you’re a bigger company with some games already published, then $1000 gets the following:
All to be concluded within one month of contract. Continued work is available using a repeat of the same contract, with tasks to be specified, per month.
Please include the “scorched” logo in publications which you think have benefited from my involvement, either inside with indicia or acknowledgments, or on the cover wherever you’d like.
Game design consulting
The fun of it all starts with the Color, the pure joy of the imagined material and its thousands of visualized, described, or potential details. If you can “see” it and say, “I wanna see it go!”, then that’s the Color. The fun is realized in “seeing it go” when – and only when – the promise of the starting Collor isn’t betrayed.
That’s what I do. I examine everything about play which makes that satisfaction happen, and how you want it to be happening. I’ve got some vocabulary for dealing with that which isn’t matched by anyone else in the field, especially since it’s not about what I personally like in gaming, but about what you want and like for your game.
I’ll look for two things:
How does play give that Color substance across everyone at the table? More concretely, how does this imagined substance change, and provide a new platform as we go along?
What’s in your game which might interfere with this process? Is it there because you want it there, or because you thought it was supposed to be, or didn’t think about it?
Every imagined or procedural detail like what sort of dice you’re using, or how characters are made, or how many countries are in your setting, is a subroutine of these questions.
Research and inspiration
If fictional content is more your need than gaming talk, then I do that too: research to produce teachable summaries and inspiring details. Think of it as a raw material bank for your writing or writing team, but organized into completely useful form and full of things no one expected.
After all, “setting” should be so easy but in application, it isn’t. What’s it about, how does it work? What’s too little and too much, how is it used and experienced? Can it reach into real history and science in a way which transcends Hollywood tropes, and still light up with excitement? My research can help you get your answers into clearer focus, across a variety of fields. Not everything – and if you are out of my range, I’ll let you know – but plenty.
What I don’t do
As I see it, these are your property and sacred-sphere. I can provide information, a basis for comparison, historical perspective, and experience so you can do these things your way to the best of your own vision, and I take the boundary seriously.
Paul Czege: One thing I didn’t realize at the time was how much I was being held back by my own counter-productive thinking. But conversations with Ron burned it out of me. It’s crazy how much of that non-productive thinking, mostly about gameplay social functioning, was conventional wisdom within the hobby. But once I got rid of it, and ever since, I’ve been able to really do things with my inspirations. I don’t think I’d have realized any of my design successes without those conversations with Ron.
Vincent Baker: Ron Edwards is not only astute and critical, he’s the most dedicated person I know to helping new creators finish and publish their work. Over and over, I’ve watched him do it: he really cares about a designer’s own vision, he devotes himself to helping them realize it, and then, crucially, he helps them find and create space for it in the world. Social space, commercial space, artistic space, critical space. Without the interest, enthusiasm, and real material help that Ron gave me as a young designer, kill puppies for satan might have been my only game.
Peter Adkison: As an experienced designer of fantasy games, Edwards has been instrumental in helping me develop a fantasy property, called Chaldea. His touch with history was especially effective at helping to develop the human kingdoms of Chaldea, each of which is inspired from a real-world culture.
Emily Care Boss: Ron Edwards co-founded The Forge Forums, where he provided leadership, mentoring and discussion moderation that helped me and a whole generation of independent tabletop game designers find their voices and their markets. The impact Ron has had on my career and those of my peers cannot be emphasized enough.
Jason Morningstar: Ron Edwards has been a tireless supporter of new game designers and small press publishing. Without him I would never have published a single game. Ron’s perceptive eye toward the difficult work of game design and publication is usually challenging and always rewarding. He may not tell you what you want to hear, but he’ll always tell you what you need to hear.
Robert Bohl: Ron created the indie games movement, and it’s the environment he maintained and moderated that encouraged me to design. It was his essays and his posts that taught me that producing an RPG on my own was something I could do, that I didn’t have to mortgage my non-existent house. Ron is OG indie.
Tony Dowler: Ron is that rarest of breeds–he not only provides knowledge and experience, he makes everyone around him better at what they do and creates skilled designers, artists, and publishers wherever he goes.
Tim Koppang: Ron’s gift is his enviable intelligence combined with acute vision. What I mean by “vision” is not simple enthusiasm or even insight (all of which he has). Instead, I mean to say that Ron always seems to “get” my games even before I do. He has a knack for identifying what play is about and where I am failing to support those themes. He pulls no punches, which some might mistake for rudeness, but for which I am grateful because his relentless focus on what makes a game ooze with clarity, procedural connectedness, and just plain fun is exactly the type of feedback that is both necessary and rare.
Jerry Grayson: Ron Edwards was a consultant on Atlantis: The Second Age and his insight helped focus and tighten up the themes and the mechanics of the game. His help was the gift that keeps on giving well after you hang up the phone. Would I use his services again? YES. His consulting was like turning a mirror on your work so that you could look at it from a different perspective. What did I find most useful about his services? His ability to deconstruct the game and finds its core and then help me build on that foundation to make a better game. His honest and ability to cut through the bull. Ron is a straight shooter and will give you the ugly truth. He’s not a mean guy but he won’t sugar coat his opinions. I appreciate that. In summation: Ron is a great guy and one who really cares about the gaming hobby and his sometimes brusque honesty is a godsend when all your gaming buddies are telling you how awesome your game is when it isn’t. If you are willing to spend $400 on a kickass cover you can spend at least $100 to see if the game is any good underneath.