Hamsterprophecy: Prevision

It\’s All About Pen, Paper and People.

Archive for the ‘Mission’ Category

End Of The Line

Posted by Nathan P. on August 21, 2010

As you may have been able to tell, this blog is pretty much defunct at this point. However, I’ve decided to start a new blog that hooks into my current branding, and will cover my experiences as a designer of physical things as well as games!

The last year has been a pretty fallow one for me, game-wise, but I’ve come out of GenCon 2010 with renewed energy, and I’m starting to feel like I have things to say again. So that will all be on the new blog.

I will also be talking about stuff rising out of my experience in my graduate program as I go through the second and final year. As I go through a formal design education, I make more and more connections between my “hobby” and my coursework, and I hope to talk about both of those things.

One thing I will still be using this space for is continuing the RPG Design Handbook. I’ll post to the other blog when it’s updated, but it will remain on this blog for the time being.

The new blog is simply the ndp design blog.

Thanks again for your attention, dear reader. Onwards!


Posted in Artistry, Mission, Personal, Promo, RPG Design Handbook | 1 Comment »

Spring Cleaning of the Soul

Posted by Nathan P. on May 3, 2009

Hello Friends!

It’s been a really exciting couple of years in the independent design and publishing scene, hasn’t it? I started getting involved over the course of 2005 and 2006, while I was developing, and then publishing, my first “real” game, Timestream. Now it’s 2009, I’ve made 2 more major releases (plus a smattering of contest entries, smaller games that I haven’t ever made public, and design noodlings both public and private); became the co-founder and co-organizer of a booth at Gen Con (Design Matters, people!); met, ate, drank and gamed with so, so many great people at conventions, meetups and get-togethers organized around our shared hobby; and made a significant amount of very dear friends. Any one of those things is a cause for celebration! The fact that I’ve managed to enjoy all of them makes me truly blessed.

But things change. My personal situation is worlds away from where I started this journey, and bound to get farther. My design interests have changed and shifted over time. My ability to participate in the online “scene” declines even as my passion for writing and publishing increases. It’s a time of flux, both for me and for our hobby.

This blog was started (in it’s orginal incarnation, over on Blogger) on June 8th, 2005. Almost 4 years ago. Insane! It was part of the so-called Forge Diaspora, at least for a little bit, as the Forge shifted focus away from endless recycling of semi-helpful jargon discussion and (back?) towards actual play, publishing, and independent design work. I wanted to talk about things in my sandbox, and there have been a number of great discussions that I was able to take part in, and even start every so often.

But now, I pretty much only use this space as a promotional tool, and there are better venues for that. My conversations about design occur in person or over email. I find it both difficult and unrewarding to keep up with whats going on in interwebsland on any kind of regular basis. And so on.

So, in short, I’m done with this blog for the forseeable future.

I’m not taking it down, or anything. In fact, I plan to do some cleaning and restructuring to make it more of an archive for things that the occasional wandering soul may find interesting. I also plan to continue working on the Design Handbook project, as that is the most consistently rewarding part of the blog, even if it is rarely updated. But, really, I don’t feel that I have anything particularly interesting to say that I’m not saying in my design work.

This coincides with my decision to rebrand my publishing endeavors and emerge as design label umbrella that will cover not just my hobby publishing, but also more varied projects that I am planning to get involved in over the next couple of years. The shift is gradual, but real. Hamsterprophet Productions will slowly phase out over the next couple of months as I get everything wrapped up and transfer over to the new brand, ndp design.

Thanks for sticking with me this far, dear reader. I really appreciate it.


Posted in Mission | 6 Comments »


Posted by Nathan P. on March 13, 2009

There’s a substantial difference between gamers and designers, or at least designers who publish.

When you play, you’re making something for the consumption of the people who are playing. The whole audience/participant thing.

When you publish, you’re making something for an audience. Full stop.

The lines blur, because they are both acts of creation. But they are not the same.

(sorry Paul)

Posted in Artistry, Mission, Publishing | 4 Comments »

Dreamation 09 Post Post

Posted by Nathan P. on February 23, 2009

Dreamation was very good for me this year! As per usual, I am amazed and humbled by all the of excellent people I got to see, meet, play with, talk to and drink and eat with over the course of the weekend.

The atmosphere was really positive and inclusive this year, I think. I think it was also more relaxed than some Dreamations past. People are a little less intent on cramming in maximum gaming, and happy to take chill time and socialize.

My games all went well. I played in a Houses of the Blooded scenario run by Tom on Friday, and it was pretty neat. I really like parts of the game, and other parts leave me a little cold, but I intend to pick up the PDF soonish. The actual scenario was really neat, though I think there’s a lot of room with that game for a more character-vs-character intrigue kind of thing.

Judd & my Agon Tournement got a little fubared by miscommunication with the scheduling staff, so we ended up with two isolated Agon slots. I ran the first one, for Judd and a new friend named Joel, and it went pretty well. Agon is a little creaky with two heroes, I think, but it was a fun game. I ran Beast of Kolkoris and I totally killed Judd’s character with a Minotaur. We called the game after that encounter, but I think I would have totally killed both of them if we had continued the quest. That’s a really hard quest! Judd ran the second one, a Quest he came up with that involved a Cyclops who forged lightning. I got to play! It was cool! Ralph won the game and I was so mad! Stupid Ralph winning. I suspect that Far-Reaching may be a little brokenzord, though. I need to take another look, but the suspicion is in my brain.

I played a game of Annalise with Kevin Allen Jr., J.R. Blackwell and John Enskot (who did NOT die in a car crash, and that was the best part of the con). It was very good. We established the beginning of a really long, slow-burning game, if we were able to keep playing. I also got a lot of good feedback and ideas about how to structure a 4-hour complete Annalise game scenario.

Speaking of, my new friend Connie ran two games of Annalise without my involvment, which apparently both went well; so did the games of carry ran by Rachel and Adam. You people are all my favorite, and I am just pleased as punch that my games are creating fun.

Overall, just excellent hanging out time and drinking time with my friends. I already miss you.

Also, Amy was the best driving buddy ever, in addition to being a great friend.

As per usual, Dreamation was a sorely needed reset button, and I’m super glad I went. Thanks everyone for doing your part!

Posted in Actual Play, Annalise, carry. a game about war., Conventions, Mission, Personal | 4 Comments »

Killers & Jokers

Posted by Nathan P. on January 19, 2009

Serial Homicide Unit is up for pre-order. This is a crime investigation game where you play the (potential) victims of a serial killer, as well as the investigators trying to bring the killer to justice. I’ve playtested it a couple of times, and it’s really shaped up to be quite a great game with a non-nerdy aesthetic to it. Like, you could play it with your parents and it would be totally neat. I also very much like Kat & Michael (the designers) and Russell (the voice and music master). Voice and music master? The game comes as an instructional audio CD in addition to a written rules document. The physical version comes with all the materials you need for play, in a DVD box; the digital version is already available at IPR. I’m looking forwards to getting my grubby mitts on it.

On a lighter note, check out the MST3K treatment of our favorite Jack Chick tract, Dark Dungeons. I got a few good chuckles out of that one.

Posted in Mission, Promo | Leave a Comment »

Some Truth About Audience

Posted by Nathan P. on December 6, 2008

There’s a really great thread at the Forge that’s currently active: Have we already reached everyone? People are talking some good stuff about the “audience” (you’ll see why there’s quotes there in a sec) for independently-published games, whether the market is saturated (answer: no), &tc. And then Malcolm Sheppard comes along and drops some serious truth.

Now, Malcolms a really smart guy who is really good at taking an, uh, adversarial tone with, well, everything. But this post is respectfully written and really one of the best breakdowns of one of the biggest issues I think self-publishers face. You should really read the whole thread, but you should really really read what Malcolm has to say if you’re interested in putting your game into the marketplace. But, this being the internets, here’s what I think is the most meaningful part:

Your challenge, as I see it, is to create avenues where customers can create places apart from you, develop their own ideas about your materials and run with them, turning the game into a medium for expression, instead of an affiliation with an entrenched scene. One way to do this is to get serious about building communities game by game, instead of by school of thought. Another is to provide extended support, even if informal, for existing games, and use email and other tools to get the word out about updates. I’ve already mentioned some more “hands-free” forms of social networking, but there are others, and they can be defined outside of your internal categories to jibe with a game’s content.

This intersects neatly with a lot of my personal evaluation of myself as a publisher and my goals for Annalise. Basically, the system of advertising and selling to the communities represented by boards I frequent and the online social groups I inhabit isn’t something I’m interested in. I’m starting there, because it’s safe and comfortable and, frankly, doesn’t involve that much effort on my part. But it’s not only a small community in terms of bodies and sales numbers, it’s also constantly taxing on me, personally, to deal with the expectations and assumptions made by individuals in it.

This isn’t to say that I don’t appreciate all of the positive responses and the material gain that I’ve had from these communities. I have nothing but love in my heart for that. But it’s time to go elsewhere, I think for everyone, in one way or another. For so long we’ve celebrated the close links between creator and audience (sorry Paul, but I do think there are differences, at least these days). But there’s something to be said about having distance between them.

I’m not beholden to you because I wrote something that you’re playing, just as you’re not beholden to me by playing something that I wrote.

Posted in Annalise, Mission, Publishing | 1 Comment »


Posted by Nathan P. on September 14, 2008

(x-posted from my website)

Hamsterprophet Productions is on hiatus until further notice.

Find Annalise if that’s who you are looking for.

For downloads and resources for carry. a game about war. and Timestream, see this page.

carry and Timestream are still available for purchase. For purchasing information, see this page.

For other updates, see my blog.

Thanks for all of the support.


Posted in Mission, Personal, Promo | 1 Comment »

Catching Up 1

Posted by Nathan P. on August 19, 2008

So, over Gen Con, an interview I did went out into the podcastosphere. I’m listening to it myself now, I hope I don’t sound like a schlub. Also, I rant about art! Check it out at Voice of Free Planet X here. Jared’s great, and a great host.

And you should add the podcast to yer feed, anyway.

Posted in Annalise, Artistry, carry. a game about war., Mission, Non-RPG Gaming, Personal, Promo, Timestream | 1 Comment »

Soon To Be Off

Posted by Nathan P. on August 12, 2008

It’s that time.

Today will be spent doing the last of the prep for Design Matters (check out the booth menu!), then off to a rollicking cross-country adventure.

I’m way more nervous than I ought to be.

Stuff I’m Looking Forwards To:

  • Diana Jones Award. Gray Ranks is up for it. It’s the only game-related award I care about, and I really hope Jason is recognized for his great game.
  • Games on Demand. Organization seems to be a little shaky, but I figure it shouldn’t be too hard to set up and play. And playing fun games is fun.
  • Seeing friends. Gen Con is like a once-a-year nerd partystravaganza, and I love hanging out with my buds that I really only get to see a couple of times a year, if that.
  • Making new friends. It’s actually kind of hard to do this, because of the aformentioned hanging out with old friends. But I intend to make an effort to at least cultivate acquantances into friendships.
  • Learning how this whole booth thing will work. It will be an experience.
  • Chatting with the bartender at the Embassy Suites. Seriously, this dude is awesome, and he treats us well and with good humor. He’s been there for the last two years that I’ve been at Gen Con, and I hope he’s there this time around.
  • Finding new places to eat in Indianapolis. We managed to strike outside of the beaten paths last year, and it was good, if for variety if nothing else.
  • Taking tons of pictures.
  • Oh yeh, info overload in the Dealers Hall. Always fun.

See y’all on the other side.

Posted in Conventions, Mission, Promo | 1 Comment »


Posted by Nathan P. on August 4, 2008

There is no Annalise ashcan.

That is all.

Posted in Annalise, Mission | 4 Comments »