Want to make your own Zone? (you beta you can)

October 24, 2021

So much has happened since the launch of The Zone! Hundreds of you have entered The Zone, many more than once. I love to be in the Discord when an expedition ends and a few shaken survivors come in to share their stories, beautiful and horrifying in new ways each time.

A confession

It’s wild that the launch was 6 months ago, but can’t believe that’s also when I last sent an update! Each time I wanted to send an email I’d end up writing something far too long, feel anxious about cluttering your inboxes, delete it, then Tweet a lot. Going forwards I’ll send short updates like this one a little more frequently. You’ve been my biggest supporters—I want to let you in on what’s going on!

And there’s so much goodness I haven’t had a chance to share:

  • There have been a whole bunch of actual plays by the wonderful folks at Plus One Exp, 3rd Floor Wars, TPKRoleplay, League of Raconteur Explorers, and others. These are gorgeous productions; LORE even made a custom opening title sequence that gave me chills! I’ve collected those that are available on YouTube here!
  • My interview for Jeremy Gage’s Draw Your Dice podcast is up! We talk about the design process and thinking behind The Zone, and have lots of brain explosions about UX in general. (Side point, Jeremy is one of the loveliest humans & educators in TTRPGs right now and if you’re not following his Patreon/Twitter/Podcast you’re missing out!)
  • I shipped a full-on digital reference to the game, full of goodies including tips for facilitation, frequently asked questions, and even an interactive tool you can use to make sure your session takes as long as you actually want it to!
  • But most importantly: you can now mod The Zone!

Modding The Zone is now in beta

The title says it all. Inspired by the deliciousness of StorySynth.org (Randy Lubin’s creation where you can develop a whole game in a spreadsheet) I’ve opened up all the content of The Zone so you can remix it, make it your own, then use the engine at Play.TheZoneRpg.com to run it with all the same multiplayer fancyness as the original.

In just a few minutes, you can:

  • Color theme your game
  • Change (pretty much) all the images in the game
  • Change all the key text
  • Make your own Scenes, Not So Easy Cards, and Locations
  • Make your own Character archetypes
  • There’s more too, you’ll just have to come check it out ;)

This took major rearchitecting and rewriting of pretty much every part of the game, but it’s been so worth it just imagining the kinds of things that I know y’all will make with it—and I’ve got a few things I’ll be cooking up too. (Let me know if you’d like me to write about that process)

But I need your help!

These modding tools are only useful if they’re usable. I’m working on the documentation and examples, but would dig your feedback even in its beta state. Especially:

  • Does it give you what you need to get started?
  • What’s missing?
  • What are you excited to make (or see made)?

Check it out: https://guide.thezonerpg.com/guide/mods/

Got questions or just want to see it in action? I’ll be doing a livestream next Sunday at 1pm PST on The Zone’s Discord.

Phew! So much to say but I’ll stop here for now and just say that I’m so excited to see what weird new Zones the community will create.

Let’s get weird, y’all ;)


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