What are “Lovingly Handcrafted Roleplaying Experiences?”

What are “Lovingly Handcrafted Roleplaying Experiences?”

With the new site, we are introducing a new company slogan:

Lovingly Handcrafted Roleplaying Experiences

This may seem a bit of an easy claim to make, since the words don’t mean much in the context of tabletop RPGs. So let’s talk about what we really mean by this.

“Lovingly”

I’ll be honest – Steamscapes is a bit of a heartbreaker. It’s the setting I care deeply about far beyond its commercial viability, and it occupies a lot of my thought. But I care about Rockalypse too – it helped me broaden my understanding and appreciation of many genres of music I had previously ignored. And Sean and Robin care about The King is Dead in much the same way. We’re very into our own games. We believe in them deeply. And that’s really what Four-in-Hand is about – games that we can believe in deeply. Yes, we hope that they’re fun, but we put a lot more thought into them than we might if “fun” were our only objective. Which brings us to…

“Handcrafted”

Okay, we’re not actually making the books by hand. And of course typing and layout are things that always happen by hand, but so what?

This term is here not to suggest the specific act of crafting by hand, but more the attention involved. Another appropriate term might be “artisanal,” but that word invites a lot of mockery these days (sometimes justified, sometimes not). The point is that we do seriously detailed work on our games. Our settings and themes are thoroughly researched, and it shows. Mechanics are carefully suited to the play experience and to the idea being conveyed. Soldiers & Serpents is a prominent example of that.

We see game design as both a scholarly and professional pursuit, and we treat it that way. I guess you could say we’re serious about fun.

“Roleplaying Experiences”

When it comes to roleplaying, the thing we call the “game” is just one piece of the experience. Every activity from reading the book to listening to an inspiration soundtrack should support your enjoyment. And really, what even is the “game?” Is it the book itself? Is it one session, or a campaign? Does character creation count?

It’s all these things and more. So to say that we create “roleplaying experiences” is to acknowledge that we have some responsibility for every aspect of play as well as every moment that surrounds it. If we create a game that’s fun at the table but tedious in character creation, then we’ve done something wrong. If we create a game that’s a great one shot but feels hollow when you sit down to read it, then we’ve done something wrong. That’s not to say that other games fail when these things are true, but we don’t want them to be true for our games. We want more holistic experiences.

We understand in all of these things that we may not get there every time, with every game, with every player. But aspiration is important. We have to know what we’re aiming for if we want to know how close we’re getting.

Please enjoy our lovingly handcrafted roleplaying experiences!

-Eric, aka Fairman Rogers

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