I've been playing tabletop RPGs for two and a half decades and running games for nearly that long. I've written many reams worth of RPG materials, some of which saw use in games, but most of which were simply creative exercises that I enjoyed for their own sake. I've even managed to carve out a little part-time career as a professional, doing freelance RPG design work for Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Gamma World, and Iron Kingdoms.
I've been working on Murders & Acquisitions for about two years now. It has grown from the nugget of an idea into a playable game in that time. It's gone through multiple iterations of rules design for the base game. And I've developed additional material in the form of modular add-on rules covering a variety of fantastical genres. I've run playtests and demos. I've brought the game to conventions. I've gathered feedback from many dozens of people both inside of and outside of the professional game design industry.
My friends have been incredibly supportive of my efforts, resulting in several of them offering to help me make Murders & Acquisitions a reality. They're writing content for the game, learning how to do book layout, and generating PDF extras for the game. I have people lined up for book layout, editing, artwork, and the creation of a Kickstarter video.
Recently, I've started the countdown to launching a Kickstarter to make the game a reality. I've designed this website and have researched the heck out of everything I need to know to make the game happen.
But, through all of this, M&A has mostly felt like one of those runs of me simply writing things for an RPG as a creative endeavor for myself, despite how many other people have played the game or helped me out with it.
In a way, it hasn't felt totally "real" yet.
Today I sent out my first artist contract along with five art orders. I've got a great illustrator on board who is going to do some concepting for the overall look of the illustrations that will go into the final book. He'll provide black and white illustrations for four archetype characters to be featured in the final game book. And he'll provide the full color cover art, featuring those archetype characters. In several days, I'll be reviewing sketches and making decisions that will influence Murders & Acquisitions as a game product.
Today Murders & Acquisitions became real.