Dice Exploder
Dice Exploder
Customizing Games for Your Table with Nychelle Schneider

Customizing Games for Your Table with Nychelle Schneider

On this episode I’m joined by Nychelle Schneider, also known as Mistletoe Kiss, a moderator from the Blades in the Dark discord and contributor to The Wildsea, the upcoming Dagger Isles supplement for Blades, and Underground Maps & Passkeys among others.

Nychelle brought on the idea of customizing existing games, homebrewing mechanics for your table (or even publication). This is... a big conversation, chock full of cool ideas that I hope people take and run with. There are so many games out there, and I think there’s so much to be gained by making stuff that can plug into and enhance other people’s art.

Nychelle also has so many interesting trains of thought about in this episode, many of which I didn’t follow up on as much as I wish I had. So I encourage you to listen to what she says, and then take those ideas an run with them. I hope that every week, but especially with this one.

Further reading:

A post-show blogpost about Sam’s joke Blades playbook The Boogeyman

Blades in the Dark

Nychelle’s Blades playbook The Surge

Vincent Baker’s blogpost Apocalypse World Custom Advancement

Tim Denee’s Dogs in the Bark

Sam’s Blades crewsheet Spirit Chasers

Sam’s Blades downtime hack Doskvol Breathes

Several zines by Aaron King of PBTA moves that exist outside of games: Reading the Apocalypse, PbtA23 January Digest, and PbtA23 February Digest


Nychelle’s website, Twitter, and itch.

The Blades in the Dark Discord

Sam on Bluesky, Twitter, dice.camp, and itch.

Our logo was designed by sporgory, and our theme song is Sunset Bridge by Purely Grey.

Join the Dice Exploder Discord to talk about the show!


Dice Exploder: Nychelle


Sam: Hello and welcome to the season 2 finale of Dice Exploder. Each week we take a tabletop RPG mechanic and pull it apart like your dad fixing a broken vacuum. My name is Sam Dunnewold, and yes, this is the end of Season 2. We've laughed, we've cried, we've funded a whole friggin Kickstarter, and we are now going to take one hell of a break, because damn am I tired.

I'm expecting Season 3 at the end of January, but we'll see how it goes. And in the meantime, keep an eye out for a number of bonus episodes I got planned. I've got that Mork Borg and accessibility episode recorded. I'm plotting out a, like, let's celebrate this year in RPGs panel show near the end of the year, and I may have a couple of other treats for you too.

But this week, my co host is Nychelle Schneider, also known as Mistletoe Kiss. I knew Nychelle first as a moderator on the Blades in the Dark discord, where she's a community leader and just General encourager of everyone who stops by. Just a lovely human being. But she's also contributed to like a million projects the Underground Maps and Passkeys charity bundle of Blades content I put together a few years ago, the Wildsea, the upcoming Dagger Isles supplement for Blades. She's made A lot of Blades content.

And when I asked her to come on the show, I was delighted that Nychelle wanted to talk about just that: adding your own mechanics to existing games.

This is a big conversation. It's so full of cool ideas that I hope people really take and run with. There are so many games out there, and I think there's just so much to be gained by making stuff that can be plugged into and enhance other people's art. I've done this a lot with Blades myself, and I just never get enough of it. And Nychelle has so many interesting trains of thoughts about how to do this in this episode, many of which I didn't follow up on as much as I wish I had.

So I really encourage you to listen to what she has to say carefully, and then keep pushing at those ideas. I hope that every week, but especially this week.

So, with that, here is Nychelle on adding to existing games.

And be warned, we get right into it, no hellos or anything. Okay, uh, here we go, prepare your ears for game design.

Nychelle: I think a lot of times in game design, we can get caught up a lot in making sure that things function a certain way or are laid out in a certain way that's very easy for the audience or the reader to pick up the book, read it, and then go ahead and produce it.

And I think a lot of times that we can get bogged down in mechanics to where we're like, oh, this is the only way you can do this.

Sam: Mm-hmm.

Nychelle: So like D&D, everyone knows d and d. Everyone's also like, oh, well, we obviously fight them. No, that's not the only thing you can do, but why is it baked that way? Why is our assumption perspective always that? Oh, it's because of how it's written or how it's presented, gives you a certain paradigm for you to interact with the material in a certain manner.

And so for me, I like playing with that. How can I interact with the same thing? If I'm handed the same object 14 times, how can I interact with that object 14 different ways or give flexibility to somebody else who play with it in a different way that I didn't even think about.

And so that's what I really do do a lot of thinking of what I create mechanics is how much fluidity is built in while it's still having a structure.

Sam: Yeah. Interesting. So I think it would be useful to like immediately jump into like some examples of what you mean. So what's one example of what you're talking about?

Nychelle: Oh gosh. I would say a really good example of this is in the Blades in the Dark custom playbook that I created called The Surge, which for those who are listening, you can find it on my itch. And one of the abilities is called Can I Learn Rising Moon? And essentially you can gain temporary access to a veteran ability you currently do not have, and you start a four segmented clock. So anytime you go to access this ability, you have a clock that begins, or you add a tick to this clock. And then when the clock fills, the GM will bring in a special entanglement or situation or something that happens.

And that is one way that I've really got to enjoy a twist to mechanics and games is adding more flexibility because it opens up a whole new possibility of how you can play with a particular dynamic.

Sam: Yeah. Part of what you're talking about here and part of just knowing your history as a designer is that you seem to really enjoy making moves and making abilities and custom content for other games than making your own games from scratch. Do I have that right?

Nychelle: Yes, it's a really weird thing. But I find that my creativity, especially when it comes to game design and mechanics, I can talk mechanics all day long. I've got a really, really good grasp of game mechanics.

But I also love to build things fiction first. I am definitely a fiction first, mechanic second gm. I've had a regular table, oh gosh, I think we've been playing now like seven plus years or something together and I absolutely love baking and things, but I also love jumping off of somebody else's creativity.

So like when I wrote for Wildsea, it was a ton of fun because I got to go through all of the course material and whatnot that Felix had written. And it was really great being able to take little hints or tips that he kind of wove into the core and build upon that and flush it out into something that was even greater than what initially he had planned.

So, yeah.

Sam: Yeah, just to, to speak personally, like I think it is really hard to come up with an idea from scratch, but it's much easier to find your groove in someone else's framework. Making custom content for games is like that.

And to that note, I really wish more people did it. I think you see a lot of people making custom modules and adventures and stuff in this sort of OSR and the NSR scene. But for the story game scene, the tradition is much more to make your own game from scratch. Or at least like, to make a game that is inspired by, but functionally different from and standalone to another game. As opposed to making content that can be used with something like Blades in the Dark or The Wildsea.

And yeah, I think it's easier to get started from making content for other people. I think it's really, really validating, and I think more people should do it.

Nychelle: Yeah, I also think that, it could be something that is within the industry, but I think there's a lot of expectations of hat wearing when it comes to technical writing or game design specifically, because everyone thinks, oh, I have to do everything. I have to learn how to do layout. I have to learn how to do editing. I have to do the writing. I have to learn the artwork or find somebody who's willing to work with me on that. I have to learn publishing, I have to learn finance regarding hey, am I, publishing this to individual game shops or a big name? Contracts? Like there's so many different hats that we just expect to discover ourselves.

Which is great. It's a wonderful way for a person to diversify their skills, learn something, being like, Hey, I really enjoy layout, but I really hate editing. Or like, I have high respect for people who do edits because they come in and they change like four little words in this one paragraph, and suddenly like, I sound so much more eloquent than I was before. But there's also

Sam: I, I just worked with an editor for the first time and it was

Nychelle: oh my God. Yeah.

Sam: Go on.

Nychelle: But you can also learn in so much when you work together as a team. So like with the Blades in the Dark Dagger Isles expansion that we did, there was so many writers that were a part of that.

I did the playbooks and crew sheets. But there were so many different writers and people who were doing the setting and the factions and the lore and like the crafting. And I would go ahead and run games for them and then we would just sit back I would just hear all these stories and wonderful aspects of like, oh, well, that's actually a piece from our culture, and you can connect that to this and that. And then we would just have a brainstorming session and I would have so many notes from every single session of like, oh my God, this is amazing. And then I'd try to weave that into the crew sheets and everything, and I have so much fun with that.

Something I, I learned at residency for grad school was, what are your verbs doing? What is your verb poetry? And I was like, what is this thing you're talking about? Because we had to bring in pieces and workshop them and. It was so amazing 'cause I had one mentor who essentially like took everything out of this one scene and just read the verb poetry of it.

Sam: Hmm.

Nychelle: And it was like, what are your verbs doing? And then changing up like two of them, legit, only two of them, and removed another thing that didn't need to be in there. And then the verb poetry was just so different. So thinking of like how to apply that to like gain, like what verbs doing a certain passage is just like a whole different way to view it.

Sam: Well there's, I was just talking on some server about this, how I was playing The Exiles, em's game, and, in the middle of the campaign I was playing, she put out like a very slightly tweaked version of the rules where essentially all that had changed was a couple of words here and there in order to make the layout, the graphic design of a rules reference page feel a little bit better.

And a couple of the words that had left changed the entire vibe of like a whole move in a way that I thought was much worse. And so I just kept using the old rules because I wanted that, like two words of poetry to be in there. It made such a difference at the table.

Nychelle: It really does. And I think that's another thing too, is like when you get in the editing, like I don't like editing, first off. I will hands down like editors are amazing, wonderful people and I will 100% hands down pay them what they actually deserve, like the, the work that they do. But there's also, I was talking to Felix about it, when he was doing layout for Wildsea and there was a phrase that he used, but you can't leave off with only like two words or like one word on a sentence. Like if it's the end of a paragraph or something and you start a new line and there's only like two words, you have to cut two words, so it goes back up into the other one. Otherwise it doesn't look correct.

Mm-hmm. You can't have, your orphans there. Yeah, that may have been the term he used. But sometimes the words that they wanna cut are the poetry words,

Sam: I know

Nychelle: and it's like, oh gosh, I can't have you cut that. It's like, you take out my two words,

Sam: yeah. You

Nychelle: ruined the entire thing. My words have no meaning now.

Sam: Sometimes, when I get that note, I'm like, what if I just add a couple of words instead? And, like, that doesn't always work. Sometimes you need the space. But sometimes it does make sense to like inflate the duration of a sentence so that you can keep a couple of those poetic words I think.

Nychelle: But also I think that changing up how your verb poetry happens or something else that one of the mentors mentioned was we, especially nowadays, are such in a... not political correctness, it's probably the wrong term for it... we try not to have infliction, personal infliction upon something we say. It's passive versus active voice. You're separating yourself and it's, it becomes passive.

And so when you have that in your work, even if it's a technical writing such as game design, you are already putting a barrier between your audience and the words for them to be engaged.

And then if your verb poetry is a certain manner and adds another barrier, and by the time they get down to the end of a passage or something, they're not engaged. They don't have the buy-in that you want, and so they're gonna go ahead and walk away.

And that's another thing too that got mentioned is a lot of, just kind of like a little side tangent, but a lot of people who are not English first speakers, when they write in English, it becomes passive, not active. 'cause that's how a lot of other languages are set up. So it's kind of a weird thing where they're almost at a disadvantage from being engaged, with their audience. It's kind of interesting thing.

But we do the same thing in technical writing. In game design, we do that passive versus active.

Sam: Totally totally. So, I want to veer us back to the subject of hacking games for your table. And specifically, I want to talk about one of my favorite blog posts in the hobby. Uh, which comes from Vincent Baker, designer of Apocalypse World, called... Apocalypse World Custom Advancement. In which he gets the question from a reader: “is there any solution that lets players play the same playbook potentially forever?”

And Vincent's answer is, yeah, just hack the game. Keep hacking the game so that you can keep playing the same character. And specifically how, like hacking the game such that the rules accommodate really powerful characters because a game like Apocalypse World or Blades can I think really see the characters outgrow the setting that they're in pretty easily. And at a certain point it starts making sense to change the game so that the world can keep up with the players.

And Vincent in this post has a bunch of good ideas for how to go about doing that. And you know, there's some great ones too, in the Apocalypse World Rule book and in the Blades in the Dark hacking the game sections.

I think the idea of you're going to extend your time with one campaign and one game by bringing your own custom moves to it, by bringing your own hacking and custom materials to it, is really cool.

Nychelle: Well, a game core isn't supposed to be the only material we take into a game, is it? It is meant to be a diving board, a foundation for us to go ahead and move on from it. That's the whole point of any particular game system core is, okay, now here's your foundation. Now go on, evolve it, build upon it, take parts out, change things like that's, that's a whole dynamic of what happens at a game table.

And one campaign I did for Blades in the Dark was we wanted to really interact with the faction game. How does the mechanics behind factions really interact with each other? And so we did an entire campaign for a year and a half just on factions. And brought in our own factions and did different clocks and things like that. But like we learned and also grew so much just out of taking one particular mechanic and saying, okay, how are we gonna play with this here? And how can we grow this?

Because the core should never, I think that's one thing is we should never limit ourselves to strictly one particular thing. We, we should forever be evolving and changing it to make what we enjoy because that's the whole point of playing games is to do something we have fun with. Right?

Sam: Yeah. Yeah. That's really fucking cool. Because you are absolutely right, like fundamentally what you are doing at the hobby is making your version of Blades in the Dark.

A theme of this season of Dice Exploder has really been that the flavor level of a game is as much mechanics as the like rules level of the game. And every group is bringing their own flavor to play and thus hacking the game. And sometimes you get like, you see someone like Tim Dinee putting out like on the one hand, Dogs in the Bark where you're playing Blades in the Dark as a pack of dogs, which totally works. This supplement is so simple and quite short and

Nychelle: Dude. I have done like a mini campaign with this. It is legit the best, especially when you play some of like the rat factions as if they're from like Brooklyn and New York. It like the, oh man, it's it's amazing.

Sam: It's amazing. And then of course, when you switch back to regular Blades, like suddenly every rat and dog in the city is gonna be like someone you know. Right? It is gonna be amazing, but. Also, it's such a goofy take on the game.

And on the other hand, he has also put out Blades in '68, which I guess isn't out yet, but is this moving the tech level like a hundred years in the future for Blades into this like seventies themed almost setting where war is over, superstition is gone and we're doing a much different vibe on the original thing. It's gonna feel really different.

And then of course, like I'm coming in like hey, you should, play Doskvol Breathes, this downtime hack where you're just taking like three sessions to play out one downtime. And other people are coming in saying, yeah, I uh, I just like pick my two downtime actions and move the numbers around on my character sheet and get back to the next score 'cause that's the thing that I like.

And all of those versions of the game are really valid and really exciting.

Nychelle: Oh yeah. Now there was one experiment I did and I've kind of done it throughout Covid. I have run one particular, one shot, six different tables. Same setting, same scenario, everything. Not a single ending was identical. Six different tables, and it was like, it's the same scenario, it's the same setup. You have the NPCs and everything do the exact same thing, and there was a different ending for every single six of those games, which was just amazing.

When you think about what a player and what a group of players being a variable can do to a game, so if you're doing that with mechanics, if you're changing a variable in a mechanic, you know that you're gonna get something completely different.

Sam: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, and I think people should not, like a mantra I have about doing this, I don't know if I picked this up from someone else or not, is nothing is safe. Like you should change everything when you're doing this. Just play with everything for your table and what it means. I think this is actually from the Vincent Baker article I was talking about earlier, that really if there's a mechanic that you are using, mess around with it and see if there's something else you can do with it, but do it with intention. Like try to figure out what the purpose is for the thing that you're trying to accomplish.

Like I just wrote a custom move last week playing in my regular game where it's like a pirate themed game and someone got a necromantic book. It's me, I'm the someone, I got a necromantic book that can summon a kraken when you cast a spell right. And we just like wrote a move for what happens when you try to do that? 'cause it should be a little bit bigger than just pickin' up some dice and rolling to see if you did it. You know, there should be a little bit more to it than that.

And having, this is something I love from this Vincent Baker article, from the Blades in the Dark hacking the game section, is the encouragement to write moves, special abilities, mechanics, whatever you wanna call them, specifically for like named people and objects and locations in your game.

There's a, an example one from the Vincent Baker article that goes:

“If Groam gets his hands on you, he ties you to a table and you know he is really fucking good at that. If you try to escape, roll plus hard.” And like, then there's a bunch of options for like, specifically what happens when Groam has tied you to a table because he's really good at that.

It's just so specific. It's so tailor made, bespoke to whatever table had this character Groam at it and doing that in games is just so exciting.

Nychelle: Oh yeah, one of my favorite things as a GM is I've had plenty of players that will just fill out a character sheet and they're just like, yeah, my name's Bob. I'm this alignment. Or sometimes they, they won't fill out the descriptors or, or like, what they look like. They're just like, it's Bob. It doesn't matter what he looks like.

But no, no, Bob actually matters. Tell me how Bob looks. Does Bob have a particular person he really likes to talk to and why? Tell me if Bob has a special butter knife that he does and he only uses it on scones. Why does Bob only use this particular butter knife on scones? Well, there's a story behind it.

And drawing that story out or encouraging your table to do that, I just absolutely love because then I can have this whole thing on Bob's scone butter knife, or maybe it's a flashback score where, you know, Bob really wanted to stick it to the man, and this is how he does it because he stole so and so's butter scone, you know, for, for being outed a coin or something. Like when you start customizing or home brewing, even if it's just at your table and for anyone who's listening, you don't have to be a game designer or this person that has like all this knowledge of what not to change your game.

You simply focus on your table, what you guys are comfortable with, what intention you have behind it and go from there and build it out and change it that makes sense for you guys.

Sam: Yeah, the, the secret is if you're playing these games, you're already a game designer

Nychelle: Exactly.

Sam: But don't tell anyone. Yeah.

Nychelle: Everyone's a game designer in a certain flavor or aspect. But yeah. No, it's really great when you start doing that because it also makes 'em more personal. I had a recent conversation with Allison Arth. And we were talking and discussing what does gaming actually mean? And we essentially brought it back around to it is an intended and created community. And I think that really also speaks to game design too, or changing the game, is being really intentional about how you curate and cultivate a community that you're interacting with through game design, mechanic change, maybe even the environment that you're playing with at the table.

Sam: Have you ever like, changed a major rule of Blades that's not like a special ability or anything like that, but like, a more generic rule at the table?

Nychelle: Mm. One I haven't really played with too much though I am looking forward to it, is magnitude. This mechanic that I feel is very much a backbone in an aspect of how you can do the thing, but also it doesn't really get brought up a lot. I find, and I feel that it doesn't really get brought, it's more of like a backseat mechanic that gets done. I.

Sam: Yeah. Gosh, I should have uh, pushed us to talk about this as the whole framing device for this conversation. But that reminds me of Broken Spire, which is a blade supplement by Sean Nittner where you are starting from a place of trying to kill the Immortal Emperor. You're already on that score. Then every time you do something you like flashback to an entire score of setup in which you prepared another thing in your final attempt to kill the Immortal Emperor.

And the downtime system in Broken Spire works like mechanically very similarly to Blades, but the downtime actions have all been changed so that they have much more impact on the game.

Nychelle: Because you're, you're working not in micro anymore. You're working on a macro scale. And, and I think that's a, a thing that we a lot of times really get stuck in the micro. And don't realize how much the micro can impact the macro of what is actually going on or how much it doesn't impact what's going on in macro.

Sam: Yeah. Yeah.

Nychelle: I, I have not had a chance to play broken Spire, but had a couple of conversations with Sean about it, and I am like, dude, I, I need to play this. Sounds so badass.

Sam: The, the idea of like one of the downtime actions is “say how you shift your heat to another faction. Roll for your action.” So instead of like reducing your heat, you're taking all of your heat and dumping it onto an enemy. And another one is like you just reduce the tier, the entire tier of an enemy faction. Which is wild. There's like, you're just gonna like casually in your downtime, fuck up an entire organization. Maybe it happens off screen.

Even the idea that you could be taking Blades in the Dark, which by default is so much a game about like scrapping your way up from the, like bottom of the streets, you get just a couple of changes and suddenly you are monarchs of the underworld destroying factions left and right at your whim. It's so cool.

Nychelle: Oh yeah. And I don't even think you're necessarily just of the underworld at that scale. You're impacting the politics, not only locally but the faction and, and the consequences of those actions across the Shattered Isles. Like there's so much that could be going on here. It's really fascinating to think about, but also to consider that of like, yeah, no, that's, chump change.

Sam: Yeah. Yeah.

Another, related idea to all of this that I've been pouring over in my mind a lot is the idea that the scarce resource in RPGs for me, right now anyway, is not new games and new systems, it's new settings and especially new scenarios.

Like for example, I don't need another variation on Powered by the Apocalypse. Like even if someone's gonna write like a hundred beautiful moves across seven playbooks and all the rest, I'm sure they'll do a better job than me, but the thing that excites me about a new game is not what is it doing differently mechanically, it's what is the premise of the thing itself.

Nychelle: Mm.

Sam: in part because I know I can bring all of the tools that we're talking about here, of ways to change the game, to take a different system and change it to fit whatever the idea for this game is whether or not you've included a package of rules with your, your setting. Premise or you haven't. And that's just another thing I wanna put out into the world again, that I want to see more weird stuff to do, not ways to play the game. I have plenty of ways to play RPGs. I want more weird ideas, like story ideas that I can bring to my table that I otherwise wouldn't have had myself.

Nychelle: Well, that's why you play fiction first, Sam. No, I'm joking. But no, it pretty much is because honestly, learning how to hack the game, learning how to really grasp mechanics, and like lines and veils and like, there's a whole plethora of things that each of us take. Experiences and all that stuff.

But really when you pack it down, it's all tools in your toolbox, right? It's everything that you, that you sit down with at a table and you open up your box and you have all the tools there to go ahead and play and tinker with whatever is on the table. But I think that's a thing of especially when it comes to traditional RPGs, I'm going to say, and this probably will be spicy, is I think we get a little too focused on the toolbox that we bring to the table and not actually what the thing is on the table.

Sam: Exactly.

Nychelle: And I think that's where we really need to focus is, yes, we have the toolbox. A toolbox will evolve. Sometimes you'll, you'll be like, man, this hammer, I use this hammer every single time. It's been my friend for years. And then you switch over to a screwdriver or something else, like your toolbox will always be there. There's plenty of things to help you better utilize your toolbox.

But getting the fiction, getting the narrative, and honestly getting that community together where you're creating something completely new and beautiful and it, it takes a life of its own.

That's where it's really at to be quite honest.

Sam: Yeah, like I am so excited to receive an ultra power badass like nail gun for Christmas, right? I'm excited to add that to my toolbox, but let's not forget that we're trying to build something.

Nychelle: Yeah.

Sam: The thing that we're building together is, is the exciting.

Nychelle: We're trying to build a birdhouse, you know?

Sam: Yeah. Yeah. And I want more birdhouses and fewer hammers. To come back out of the metaphor, I feel like I've had a couple of groups that I've played with for many years, and sometimes in those groups I feel like we've found a really comfortable groove, like a kind of story that we come back to again and again. And I, you know, that groove is a hit. I am happy to keep telling the story of that groove in variation.

But I also, I'm excited when someone is able to bring me an idea for a new kind of story that's gonna like knock us onto a new groove to find a new space to play in. And mechanics are not the thing that's going to do that very often unless those mechanics are really in support of the new cool story idea.

And the new cool story idea to help knock me and my longtime friends into some new place to help us explore some new story? That's the thing that gets me really going in RPGs right now. Bird houses, not hammers.

Nychelle: I, I think it also comes down to being willing to explore new things.

Sam: Yeah.

Nychelle: it is, having that understanding of my paradigm and my perspective and how I'm viewing this game isn't the only one out there, and I want to see the game from as many different angles as possible. And I think that that is one wonderful thing that can happen is how many different bird houses do you end up seeing? if we're staying with the, with the narrative here of like, how many different bird houses do we end up making? How, how many different bird houses do we end up seeing?

And again, I think it goes back to that intention of community is what are you doing with intention?

Sam: Yeah.

Nychelle: Sorry. I know you guys came here to talk about mechanics and we're talking about philosophy of gameplay.

Sam: No, no, no. I, I gave up 40

Nychelle: Uh, true.

Sam: talking about mechanics. So I, I, I kind of knew what I was gonna get to with this episode topic anyway. No, I think oh, here's, here's the variation on the metaphor I wanted to say. I feel like I've made a lot of different birdhouses and I wanna make some fucking chairs now. Like, like I want, like the thing I want out of the RPG design community at large is for people to bring me some new shit to make other than birdhouses.

Yeah, and I also, the other thing I wanna say is it's perfectly fine to just love polishing hammers and to really just be on that side of things and to not give a shit about what you're making. And it's perfectly fine too to just make birdhouses and only birdhouses for the rest of your gaming life. If that's what you're enjoying, like more power to you.

But for me personally, the thing that I am excited about is something new. And something new on the fiction side rather than, than the mechanics side.

Nychelle: I do think we're getting there in the indie gaming space. I think we're moving away from mechanic speak. It seems to be going in a very certain direction in the last few years, and I, I think we're getting more to the story and the process of building other things besides birdhouse. It's like, how many different things can we build with this? What can we build with this?

It's really interesting to see like in like five years down the road, I wouldn't be able to tell you what we would build.

Sam: Yeah. Make shit weird and make weird shit as uh, Joe DeSimone says.

Nychelle: Oh yes.

Sam: Thank you so much for coming on Dice Exploder.

Nychelle: Thank you for having me, Sam. I greatly appreciate it. You've been a wonderful host.

Sam: Oh, you too.

Thanks again so much to Nychelle for being here. Like I mentioned in my intro, I think there's so many threads in this one to follow up on, and I want to underline two things that I really took away from it.

first, making content for other people's games is just a joy in and of itself. Just like there's joy in the creating of all new games, there's joy in exploring the crevices of others. And it's often a lot easier to do. So go spelunking into someone else's head and set up camp.

Second, game design is community building. The goal of these storytelling games is to sit with your friends and tell a story. And the sitting with your friends part of that is just as much something to prioritize and design for as the story part. Maybe more so. Like, deciding what snacks to buy is game design for your playgroup. Love your friends and the people you play with.

And I think that's a lovely note to go out on for season 2 of Dice Exploder.

If you want more of what this episode is talking about, I do have a post up on the Dice Exploder blog breaking down a custom Blades playbook that I made for playing a character named John Wick. I think it's pretty fun and gets into a little bit more examples of what we talked about today.

You can find Nychelle on Twitter at mistletoe trex, on itch at mistletoe kiss itch. io, or on the Blades in the Dark Discord.

As always, you can find me on the socials at sdunnewold, Blue Sky and Itch preferred.

And there's a Dice Exploder Discord! Come on by and talk about the show, if you like.

Our logo was designed by sporgory, and our theme song is Sunset Bridge by Purely Grey.

And thanks to you for listening this season! I'll see you in a few months!

Dice Exploder
Dice Exploder
A show about tabletop RPG design. Each episode we bring you a single mechanic and break it down as deep as we possibly can. Co-hosted by Sam Dunnewold and a rotating roster of designers.