After discovering that Crossroads Games was already in use by a TTRPG, we decided it was best to change our name and avoid any future confusion. After a lot of discussion, we landed on Troupe Games, which we actually prefer to Crossroads Games!
I think Troupe Games describes what we’re doing to a tee: The games we write for are predicated on the concept of the GM and Players sharing responsibility for the story. Sometimes they allow players to take on the roles of multiple characters with different drives and goals. Above all else, they reject the idea of RPGs as a conflict between the Players and GM. EVERYONE wins if the story cool and you find yourself retelling it for years!
As I said before, 1st and 2nd edition Ars Magica were a great inspiration to me as both a gamer and a game designer. That game introduced (as far as I know) the concept of “troupe play.” In their definition of the term, that meant that every player had a main character and a second character whose purpose was to support some else’s main character. Additionally, there was a pool of lackeys that were created by the group and could be played by anyone. This led to games where every player felt involved and active and created a community of characters that everyone was invested in. It was a lovely, innovative piece of design that informs all my RPG design.
That isn’t to say that we mimic the three-tier character model in our games (we haven’t yet in anything in the pipeline), but we do strive to design our games with the goal of keeping everyone involved and invested in the story and the characters and NPCs that people it. The Jaldonkiller Saga is a good example of this.
We could have started the saga in media res, which is my preferred approach, but we wanted the PCs to be emotionally invested in the Dundealos tribe and their valley. Hard times lay ahead in the saga. When they hit, we want it to be a gut punch and not just some bad thing the players read about in a hand-out. We also wanted the player characters to be part of a cohesive, mutually supportive group. With these goals in mind, we decided to write a campaign book that allowed the players’ characters to literally grow up with one another and grow attached to their NPC families, mentors, and clan members. Instead of demanding a detailed backstory from our players, we curated one for them.
You’ll see similar approaches to campaign and scenario presentations in our other products. We don’t want to write procedural adventures, we want to give you stories that you can use share memorable, impactful stories with your players!
Before you decide we’re too far up our own ass with talk about emotional involvement and impactful stories, let me shine the spotlight on our main goal for anything we right: We want it to be FUN. If a campaign, setting, or adventure isn’t fun to play, we didn’t do our job. We obviously can’t please everyone, but if we don’t please most of you, we’ll go back to the drawing board!
At the end of the day, Troup Games is a couple of clowns who are intent (or in tents) to show you a good time! We’ll literally jump through hoops to make that happen!