Debuting Bringing Fire

August 25, 2021
A network of round nodes connected with lines and a flame in the central node

Bringing Fire’s mission is to level up the tech used in tabletop role-playing games, with user-centric design, content portability, and open standards. To start, we’re building an intelligent campaign authoring system for gamemasters that integrates with creative tools and virtual tabletops. If we make inroads with the home-brewing GM, we’ll leverage that to get adventure content published in the same format. We’ll extend the tools for publishers so GMs can buy content that imports directly, and we’ll build show-running extensions for actual-play entertainers. That trifecta — hobbyist GMs, publishers, and streamers — forms the core of the modern TTRPG industry. The long-term vision is to build an empire of tools, game content, and entertainment media, while forging a coalition to modernize and grow the whole industry.

The Movement

I’m not a super-villain. I want other empires to thrive as well. I want to see an industry movement focused on:

  1. Ease of use
  2. Customers paying for content once
  3. Remote/in-person agnosticism
  4. Supporting The “TT” in “TTRPG”
  5. Structured data, ecosystems and interoperability
  6. Creators getting paid and sharing in profit
  7. Inclusivity

The Campaign Composer angle

GMs are the lynchpins of the entire hobby and they have a lot of very specialized work to do. They plan, direct, and produce epic stories that are co-written on the fly with their players. They manage world lore, NPCs, adventure plots, and character stories, weaving them together into a coherent campaign. They need to flow between jotting down shower thoughts, outlining an upcoming session, compiling stat blocks, processing session notes, and elaborating deeply on world elements. They also spend most of the money.

Increasingly, GMs are turning to digital tools to address these needs, but nothing really addresses the writer/director/producer workflow. So many GMs instead rely on general-purpose tools like MS OneNote for their workflow. This tells me there’s an opportunity. Novelists have Scrivener. Screenwriters have Final Draft. Where is the Game Master’s writing tool? There are apps focused on world-building, but they’re basically wikis layered over with a boatload of templates. They’re ok for their primary purpose, but I find them pretty cumbersome, and they’re fundamentally not suited to the campaign-running problem.

Where we are now

For 2 years I’ve been researching the industry, and for the last several months I’ve been doing a ton of customer research, including interviews with GMs. I’ve been greeted by a ton of enthusiasm for the project! Two co-founders — a CTO and a COO — joined me this month. We’re about to start cranking out prototypes to get feedback on the UX and start building our backlog for an MVP, with tentative plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign by the end of the year.

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