Hi! I'm RafuI am an author-designer of analog, indie/arthouse role-playing games, based in Florence, Italy. I’m probably best known for Enter the Avenger, a short-form swords n’ sorcery blood-opera piece first published in issue 1 of Worlds Without Master. Not all of my creations, however, have a swords n’ sorcery theme, are short-form, or soaked in such negative feelings. While some fit a tabletop gaming format, a few others can be considered larp – for example, Awkward.
To keep up to date with what I do – including what sort of games are on my mind and which I’m playing and/or testing at the moment – I recommend you check out my e-mail newsletter: tinyletter.com/rafu (this is, of course, free).
I make games because I have something to say – usually questions to ask of the world. I then self-publish them and distribute them under free licenses. As you have probably guessed already, that is done at a loss, as most of the work-hours I put into that remain uncompensated – but it isn’t like I can help it! As with most arts or crafts, once you catch the bug you just have to keep making things. You can most definitely help me carry on with this nonsense, though – by pitching in some money to buy me food & pay my bills while I design games for you all.
The finished gamesEventually I’m going to refine all of my games to this stage – or so I hope – but that’s going to take a while, as I’m a bit of a perfectionist. For a game to be called finished it means I’m satisfied it’s been playtested enough to demonstrate no rules need improving. It also means the text (if indeed the game is presented as a text document) has been competently edited and proofread and the booklet (if it’s a booklet) looks as pretty as I can afford to make it, in terms of layout and possibly illustrations. It means it’s something I’d feel proud selling for as high a price it can command – although I’ll also be giving it away for free. As a matter of principle, in fact, I’m committed to licensing all of my finished game as Free Cultural Works (using a license such as, for example, Creative Commons Attribution Share-alike): everybody can access them and gets to play them.
But before I even get to that stage…
Unfinished gamesIt’s not just that I’m slow at writing (although I definitely am), it’s also that a role-playing game goes through a lot of design and playtest iterations before I call it “finished”. At those stages, a game might exist just as a bunch of hand-scribbled notes, or there might be intricate player handouts, occasionally even a detailed internal playtest manuscript. Instead of sitting on those for years on end, I’ve decided to share them with you – my patrons.
This Patreon initiative is now focused on these unfinished games!
What you get for your moneyPatrons at the core tier ($4, or $3.30+VAT) and above get my semi-finished work. These are role-playing games that I have designed and “in-house” playtested, at least a bit. Games that I’m already satisfied with, but perhaps not yet to the point I feel confident sharing them with the world at large. Ideas that do work, but I can’t promise I’ve ironed out most of the kinks yet. “Beta versions” bound for further testing.
Typically, I’m going to lay them out as booklets, but the layout will probably be bare-bones and the text may be rough in places (what little editing and proofreading it will have undergone, I’ll have done it myself). While I may opt to free-license some of these works, that’s the exception, not the norm – most of them will be for your eyes only. Of course, do feel free to share them with the friends you might be playing with! Because – make no mistake – these will be fully playable games, however rough.
From now on, these unfinished games are the Patreon releases you patrons are going to be billed for.
Smaller contributionsThose of you who choose to pledge less than the $4 "core tier”, you’re still helping me earn a living designing games – which is a wonderful gift I’m immensely grateful for! While you don’t get access to Patreon-only “unfinished game” releases, I really hope you’re going to check out my finished games and other public releases and have a great time playing those.
- it's a video! Most of my work is presented as instruction texts, often print-and-play booklets.
- it's a pervasive larp! Most of my work consists of tabletop role-playing games, with some small-scale larp scenarios mixed in.
- it doesn't have a clear ending condition! Most games I design do.
- it hadn't been playing it at all at the time of posting! I don't usually release games I haven't tried out, and I promise all future Patreon releases - though "unfinished" - will have undergone at least some play-testing.
- it's a straight-up Game Chef entry! While I'm still going to take part in game-design contests from time to time, I won't be releasing those contest entries to Patreon. Follow-ups to contest entries, revised after some play-testing and possibly edited for clarity, are excellent candidates for Patreon releases.