If you are interested in designing a Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA) tabletop roleplaying game:

  1. First, buy a copy of Apocalypse World. After all, that’s where this all started.
  2. Second, buy and read a few systems from different branches of the PbtA family tree, to get a glimpse of the range of possibilities. Sam Sorensen has a great taxonomy of PbtA games (shown above).
  3. Third, download @lackingceremony‘s Simple World. As she wrote, “I created Simple World in order to showcase that an Apocalypse World hack didn’t need to be a monumental undertaking, and that a ‘get it on the table fast’ mentality was possible!”
  4. Fourth, read @lumpleygames‘ series of blog posts on “Using Apocalypse World to Outline and Draft Your Own RPG.” After doing so, go support Vincent Baker on Patreon. He started this whole thing, after all.
  5. Fifth, think about conflict systems in PbtA games and what might work for you. “There are no wrong answers! Just design decisions! :-)”
  6. Sixth, you might find it helpful to review how many different game designers all approached the same core mores. Check out my Dungeon World Patch Kit.
  7. Sixth, join, lurk, then contribute to the PbtA subreddit.
  8. Seventh, don’t argue about whether a game is #PbtA or not. It’s PbtA if its designer says it is; otherwise it’s not.

Happy designing!

Originally published 03/21/21. Revised to remove a reference to an older version of Vincent Baker’s series of blog posts and to include a reference to the Dungeon World Patch Kit.