Thoughts on Fan Supplements

Snipped and edited from a long post I made on the WW forum.

I hereby start my rant on fan supplements in general.
My anal retentive list organized by the order they came to mind:

1) Good start.
It is always good to have a lot of "X and Y Axis" available to start. That way you can weed out the redundant and "stupid". Stupid as in doesn't make sense or is just plain dumb. While some X and Y Splats may have sounded good at the start, you may change your direction a bit later. Then they don't fit in at all and they look "stupid".
Don't limit yourself to a 5x5 splat when first creating your new "Major Template". The more you have, the better your base and you can work down to the "good stuff".

2) Good Idea.
Make sure it works as an idea. If it has already been done better, don't bother remaking it unless the new version has something to add.

3) Other Splat Dependency.
If your making a new "Major Template", don't base your "5x5 splat" on all the other supernaturals. While it is possible to make it work, your probably asking for more trouble.

3a) Other Splat Rules.
Don't copy WW rules into your rules. Your Vampire/Mage/etc. rules should look like your rules. Think about how the oWoD used to include the other "supers" in the back. The Vampire book talked about Mages and said they could have any Disciplines. They didn't explain Magic. They just said to use Disciplines as their magic powers.

4) Group Work.
If your getting a group together, do it early and get it as big as you can. A forum thread is a good place to start, then move on to a group space on a website later on. As the project gets further along, you'll find less and less people joining to help and more and more dropping off the helper list. But never forget who helped. You should always give them credit for helping, even if it was just a name idea.
Don't throw out anyone's ideas that are even close at first. You can always throw them out later. At least keep them in a "maybe" section. You might find you can use part of the idea for something.
Don't set anything in stone until you are done, but don't leave everything open for change. In other words, if something feels done, let the group know that they shouldn't try to alter it unless they have a very good reason.
Related note: If you are the leader, make sure everyone knows. Some collaborative efforts have no recognized leader. Then people start getting upset when their part is changed or rejected, thinking that their stuff is just as "official" as anyone else's.
If you don't plan on taking complete charge, someone may step up and push you out.

5) My help.
If you want my help, ask. I could always say "yes", but more likely not. I have way more stuff of my own planned than I have the time or energy to finish.

6) Unexpected Changes.
Be prepared for your idea to change into something completely different.
My Demon game started as a whole other monster and almost became a Changeling: The Lost supplement (still thinking about doing that though) before becoming a revised version of Demon: The Fallen for the nWoD. You may find out that your "Major Template" makes a better Minor Template (or Mid Template).

7) Template Size.
Don't make them a Major Template just because you want them to be powerful like the other Major Templates. The Minor and Mid level Templates are perfect for starting out fan creations. They can always be upgraded as the idea grows.
Major Templates are a lot of work. Trust me. If you don't give up on it before it is done, you will have gotten 1000 successes on an extended Resolve and Composure roll. Sometimes you just can't think of enough groups or options to make a full Major Template.

8) Formatting.
Don't worry about it until you are done. Bold type. Pictures. Headings. Etc. They can all wait. If you don't wait, you will change it all again and again to make things fit and look right while you should be worried about content. That said, you will probably not wait. I didn't. I was doing the final work on my Demon game and I kept tweeking the font sizes and 2 column spacing (I was trying to make a nice looking PDF) while I still had lots of content to finish.

9) Finishing it.
When you think it is done, your wrong. You will never think it is done. There is always something you can add, fix, reformat, explain better, etc. You will never finish the work. But at some point, you will decide to abandon it. If you think it is playable and looks OK at the time of abandonment, then it is done. Congratulations! People may even use it. If you still have a bunch of good ideas later, you can either A) revise it, or B) create a fan supplement supplement.

10) Advertise.
Every opportunity you get to reference your supplement, do so. Before its done and after. The more people that know about it, the more likely you are to get constructive feedback.
Take my Demon: The Return game for instance. ;)
I've gotten feedback from playtesters all around the world. And it always feels good to get that "Thanks for creating this" email every now and then.
Try not to go overboard. I don't think I have when it comes to my work, but I could be wrong. No one has said anything to me, yet. Bring it up too often, or in irrelevant places and people will think, "Not this guy again".
Keep people updated to the status when you have major changes. People that didn't join your group project may still be interested. People that aren't interested can just ignore you.

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