Views & Reviews From Writer Steve Miller
Formerly Reviews and Stuff at Rotten Tomatoes, 2005 - 2009.

Currently Showing at Cinema Steve

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Return to Game Design

As some of you may already know, I used to be a full-time game designer. You can see my name in roleplaying game books from TSR, Wizards of the Coast, White Wolf, West End Games, Decipher and many other publishers, mostly from 1994 to 2004.

I sat down yesterday with the intent to design a "30-Minute Roleplaying Game"--where I give myself 30 minutes to devise and type up a super-simple RPG--but I found myself with ideas that I liked too much to put in such a quick little mini-game.

So, instead, I'm going to try something completely new for me. I'm going to try to design a game in public.

Each day, I will spend an hour or two working on it, and each week day, some new bit of mechanics or setting information will be posted to the message board connected to the website I've established to support my upcoming book, 150 Movies You Should (Die Before You) See. (I don't want to clutter Cinema Steve with too much RPG stuff... for all I know, I'm the only one here who cares about such geekery!)

I will, however, toss out the general setting here. Feel free to comment. If it sounds too silly, maybe I'll think of another backdrop/framework for the game to unfold within. (This is but one of three different settings that I think the game I have in mind will work for.)

The Highways of Horror
A Roleplaying Game of Phantoms and Fast Cars

The disembodied spirits of the dead roam the earth in packs, craving electricity wherever they can find it to keep their shadowy forms intact. They hunger in particular for the bio-electricity generated by human bodies, but they will drain anything. The only way to stay alive is to keep moving, to keep ahead of the hungry ghosts. And to do that, you need a fast car. Welcome to the United States of America in 2013 where the dead travel fast, but you can survive by putting the pedal to the metal and barreling through the night at 90 miles an hour.

(BTW, if you're interested in seeing what a "30-Minute Roleplaying Game" is, drop me an email at with the header "SM-30" and I'll send you one in pdf format, free of charge.)

Legal Notice: The text in this post is Copyright 2010 by Steve Miller. All Rights Reserved. The Highways of Horror is a trademark owned by Steve Miller.


  1. I didn't know you were a game designer....
    That's interesting as hell. I'll be checking out your book when it's published. Keep us updated here, as well as on the book's message board.

  2. Will do. But I suddenly got busy with a couple of really short-window freelance projects this week. And I discovered the character generation mechanic I had sketched out in my mind didn't work when I ran the numbers and tried to make it work, so my little project got slightly derailed.

    Thank God for pre-programmed reviews being posted, or the blogs would have gone silent, too. :)
    Back on track tomorrow, though. Maybe even with a little something tonight.