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100 Mile gamers create role-playing action board game

John Brown and Elisha Campbell have pooled their talents to design and develop the game

A 100 Mile House couple has created their own role-playing board game, Three D10.

John Brown and Elisha Campbell said they were motivated to develop their own hybrid role-playing board game during a weekly games night with friends. After burning through their collection of board games, they started playing tabletop Role-Playing Games (RPG) like Dungeons and Dragons (DND) and Generic Universal Role-Playing Systems.

However, when some of their friends lost interest over a few hours, they got to work making their own game. It combines elements of the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons with the more structured rules of a board game.

“This is a very different game. It’s like comparing chess to monopoly, yeah they both use a board but that’s where the similarities end,” Brown said. “If I had to liken it to anything I would say it’s more like one of those old choose-your-adventure books.”

He said Three D10 has been a lifetime in the making. He has played board games and video games since he was a child and always wanted to make his own. Over the years, he said he has written down dozens of ideas creating an entire spreadsheet on his computer.

Campbell, a graphic designer and artist who used to work at Top Line Printers, only got into gaming after meeting Brown, who helped her understand and see the potential of tabletop role-playing games.

Brown decided to run a tabletop RPG with more rules that followed a sandbox approach, with a more clearly defined goal, to engage his casual gaming friends. This initial experiment proved successful in appealing to both hardcore gamers and casual gamers, he said.

“We started putting it together as something we could play with our group in that time because we had nothing else to do,” Campbell said. “There was a clear story and a clear narrative with a start, a middle and finish. There’s a whole lot of side stuff but there’s also a clear definitive goal.”

Much like DnD, Three D10 is played using a set of polyhedral dice including 20, 12, 10, eight, six and three-sided dies. Players create a character at the beginning of the game, choosing their race, gender and class. and receive character sheets with stats they’ll add to dice rolls when completing actions.

With the system established, Brown and Campbell put together an adventure for players, which was written by Brown and illustrated by Campbell. This first adventure, Trouble in Fisk, places players as prisoners that must break out of a cell. During the escape, they become embroiled in a greater adventure and are challenged to help save the land of Fisk.

“I’ve tried to anticipate every outcome and pre-write it. The point of this is so the gamemaster doesn’t have to do 20 hours of work a week to run the game,” Brown said. “It’s all pre-written and you can play it. There’s some opportunity for improv and that’s encouraged as well.”

Trouble in Fisk serves as a tutorial for the game and is still being refined. Campbell has completed two source books, the Monster Compendium and the Magical Item Compendium, which were released this fall to gauge public interest. If all goes well they hope to publish 12 books, including guidebooks for each class.

“We are cautiously hopeful because we don’t want to get our hopes up and find out nobody at all is interested and we’ve just wasted thousands of hours,” Campbell said.

Even if it’s not an immediate success, Brown said he doesn’t consider it a waste. Gaming is a hobby, he said but if he has a chance to make it a career, he’d leap at it.

The Monster Compendium and the Magical Item Compendium are available at Nuthatch books. Both Brown and Campbell invite people interested in the game to check out for updates and to provide feedback on the game as it develops.

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Patrick Davies

About the Author: Patrick Davies

An avid lover of theatre, media, and the arts in all its forms, I've enjoyed building my professional reputation in 100 Mile House.
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