This is kind of an unreal moment for me, to be honest. This book has been, to some extent or another, in my mind and the focus of my attention for years now.
Something that started by seeing a single image posted on John Stavropoulos’s G+ feed…
…turned into a slew of playtests and iterations and scrawled notes in notebooks…
…transformed into something real, something hard, with actual playbooks (albeit poorly laid out by yours truly) and a real system (albeit with tons of work left to go until I was done)…
…evolved into something so much better over the course of a whole year of “wood-shedding” playtesting…
…exploded into new life on Kickstarter thanks to an unexpected and incredible outpouring of support and interest…
…and then became a trek to the finish line, with lots of writing, editing, playtesting, art-ing, designing, and managing…
…has now become a finished thing.
There’s that famous Da Vinci quote: “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”
Some piece of me absolutely agrees. We abandoned it. We had to cut so much from the core text (my prolix nature interfering with, y’know, page count limits), and I could’ve said so much more, could’ve refined so many pieces still further. Heck, I could’ve fine-tuned the mechanics even more, tweaked a number here, added a new button there.
But on the other hand? The Masks core books is finished. I can say that now. It’s finished. My first real RPG, finished.
I’m exultant, and I’m also bemused. It’s finished and that’s amazing…and it’s finished but it didn’t have to be, and my work isn’t finished. The project’s not done—still got plenty of work to do on all the other pieces of the overall Masks project, including getting the books printed and shipped.
But there’s this sense of happiness I get hearing about others playing Masks, especially without me. I love playing, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad game of Masks…but that feeling that I’ve made a thing, and you played it, completely without me there, and you had a blast…That’s why I love this. That’s what all this was for.
The book is done, and what that really means to me is that all of you can jump on it. Anyone who’s been waiting, now’s the time. And I can’t wait to hear about you playing it.
No way did I get here without ENORMOUS help, from countless people.
Thank you to the Magpies, Mark, Marissa, and Sarah.
Thank you to my original hardcore playtest group, Andrea, Joe, Matt, Matt, and Rich.
Thank you to my family for giving me support and encouragement despite only having a passing interest in the actual game.
Thank you to our phenomenal artists, Michael Lee Lunsford and Brooke Carnevale.
Thank you to the core team who did absolutely amazing work on the book, including Daniel Solis, Amanda Valentine, Shelley Harlan, Derrick Kapchinsky, and of course Mark Diaz Truman and Marissa Kelly.
Thank you to everyone who’s ever played the game, who’s ever given me feedback, who’s ever said kind things about it, who’s ever critiqued it.
Thank you to every single backer, without whom this wouldn’t have been possible (and thanks to whom I got to write up 54 villains).
Thank you thank you thank you.
When I set out to make Masks, I wanted a game that could create the stories I wanted to tell. I wanted to be able to play Young Justice or Young Avengers the RPG, because I loved those stories so much.
What it became was my own attempt to add something to the conversation, not just to mimic those stories but to actually push a little further. To say something, to make some interesting creative choices.
I got to create a playground with toys in it, and then tell all of you how to get to that playground. I can only barely enunciate the terror and excitement I feel at seeing others play in that playground; terror that I didn’t build those toys well enough, that the playground will be found wanting, and excitement that it’ll do its job, and you’ll get to have a brilliant time, and to whatever extent, that’s thanks to me.
So the playground’s done. It’s got crazy superpowers and supervillains and moms telling you to go to your room and crushes blowing you off and secret plots and cosmic sci-fi deities and more. And it’s finished.
I made this for you. And I’m proud of it.
So please, check it out. Have fun. Try not to blow up too much stuff.