A Punchy Concept

I love 3rd Party gaming products. I also hate 3PP. Good ones are a blessing on my game, while poor ones make me hate life itself. And it’s often hard to tell which are which.

Wizards of the Coast recently launched the Dungeon Masters Guild, which allows people to make 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons products for agnostic settings or even the Forgotten Realms. Wow. Just… wow.

I’ve dipped my toe into this pool with products introducing new Feats, Traps, Diseases & Poisons, and fighter maneuvers (compiled/expanded from my OGL content here, but in PDF form exclusive to the DMsGuild). Which is so very fun, as I love creating and sharing (as seen by the content I’ve done here for free), but being able to receive a token amount money for the content is pretty damn awesome.

But there’s a lot of unbalanced content on there. The standard advice is to playtest before publishing, but rigorously testing content is hard for even large publishers who can take dozens of gamers. For micropublishers, testing in more than a single game for a couple sessions is unlikely and challenging. It’s hard to fault writers for just eyeballing content and aiming for “close enough”. But some designers are simply a better gauge of balance than others.