Design Principles and A Sourcebook


I have been, for the last two months or so, designing my own sourcebook for use with 5th edition of Dungeons and Dragons. I had seen many people reskinning the magic using classes so that they could have a “Psion” class. This, to me, is just lazy. 2nd Edition had a great set of powers and principles for psionics. I love it. In fact, that is what I am using as the basis for my sourcebook. It really should be called a conversion of the 2e book “Complete Psionics Handbook”. With that being said, I have been thinking about the principles behind designing your own work, even for an established game. There are a lot of things that go into making it so. The amount of work is amazing, as is the dedication it takes to actually pull it off. There are three things that I have noticed about it:

1.) Design is marathon, not a sprint: Designing anything for gaming is a marathon. It takes time, effort and most of all, dedication to the cause. Nothing gets made without hard work.

2.) Design is often a labor of love: Very few people design games or products that they hate. You do it because you love the item you are working on. In my case, I am going to use it to run a version of Dark Sun in 5e.

3.) Design requires humility: You can’t take a high-minded approach to your work. If you think that your work is the best thing to hit the market, ever, you are going to have a hard time. No one likes a fucking prick. No one wants to talk to someone who thinks that they have the key to design procedures. You have to take what people say (often with a grain of salt) and incorporate criticism into your work.

What other things do you notice about design (if it be a game world, system, source material, or even just stories)? Do you agree or disagree with the above? As always, don’t be a dick in your response!


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