Luke Crane, creator of Burning Wheel and Mouse Guard, on RPG design and the state of the industry

Continuing my series of interviews with RPG designers, I spoke with Luke Crane, the mind behind Burning Wheel, Burning Empires, Burning Sands, and Mouse Guard. (The mice are not on fire, I assure you.) These games focus on the emotional and experiential aspects of a character first, as opposed to the mechanical drive of most games.

Our conversation covered many of the practicalities of game design, from concept to playtesting to publishing, and Luke’s experience teaching a course on students of design in this burgeoning age of tabletop RPGs. I got a surprising breakdown of some of the costs associated with book publication, but also the rewards that come with a successful release. The turnover from hobbyist to business owner comes with upsides and pitfalls, and necessitates a continuous relationship with your product and your audience.

Luke Crane was able to speak on these issues from multiple perspectives, having worked in the independent scene and as staff for Kickstarter, one of the largest sources of funding for modern tabletop publication.

Listen to our interview below. You can find more information at Burning Wheel’s website where you can sign up for the Burning Wheel newsletter, or hear from the creators directly at Burning Wheel’s Discord server.


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John Farrell is a legal aid administrator, living in West Chester Pennsylvania. You can listen to him travel the weird west as Carrie A. Nation in the Joker's Wild podcast at:

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