Wolfgang Baur's The Free City Wolfgang Baur's The Free City

What is Open Design?

Open Design is a series of RPG projects funded by a small group of patrons. The projects are always chosen from a list of suggestions that I put forward, together with suggestions from the senior patrons themselves. As part of the writing process, I share the manuscript as it evolves over time (and the whole manuscript with some patrons).

Open Design is a way to look inside the RPG design process, and to suggest changes to an adventure as it is being written and developed. What's the result of having 100 patrons peeking over my shoulder while I'm writing? Better adventures!

I'm returning to an old, old model for writers with the next adventure I write: patronage. In the medieval age and in the Renaissance, patrons were the ones who commissioned artists and writers. There was no such thing as a "publisher". People who wanted books paid someone directly to write them.

The OpenDesign projects are about applying that strategy to RPG adventures. They use a publishing approach that avoids the pitfalls of corporate game development, and they provide a way to share design knowledge with interested gamers.

Who are you?

My name is Wolfgang Baur. I've been professionally involved in the RPG field for 15 years, starting at TSR and later at WotC. I've written for every major D&D setting, though I'm best known for things like

  • Dark*Matter
  • Planes of Law
  • Planes of Chaos
  • Expedition to the Demonweb Pits
  • Forge of War
  • Frostburn
  • Book of Roguish Luck
  • Assassin Mountain
  • "A Rose for Talakara"

and adventure design in general.

I've written 14 adventures for Dungeon magazine, including three for the Adventure Paths, and I used to be that magazine's editor (these days, I edit Kobold Quarterly instead).

I do all the writing, organizing, and scut-work for Open Design. You just decide what you'd like to see in the adventure, or ask what you want to know about design, story, and publication.

How many patrons are there?

I expect no more than a hundred or 200 patrons. Since there's no retailer, no publisher, no distributor, and no print costs, even a tiny audience makes it worthwhile to design exclusively for patrons.

What do I get?

You'd get the complete adventure, professionally laid out and available both as a PDF and as a paper POD book. You get access to several months of rubber-meets-the-road design discussion, Q&A, and design essays on topics chosen by the patrons.

How to Join

See what patron projects are avaiable here.