Recognition is often scarce beyond the small tribe of people you have gathered with for your TTRPG creative collectives. It is rare to be called out in such a small community. Last year nearly 200 works from the indie RPG community were submitted by over 100 creators to the RPG awards program you may have heard nothing, or at least very little, about.
The large dragon game types or the ones who are looking for a new path to follow, take up a large amount of real estate in the world of RPGs, even the once small Free League has made a large name for themselves (and rightfully so, the Year Zero Engine is fun as far as I’m concerned and the IPs they have collected are really some of my favorite non-game media to consume). The airwaves are full of the other big yearly awards and they are rife with the names of these and other large companies making waves in the RPG scene.
We need to be able to recognize those who are working on the ground level, the grassroots creators who continue to provide new ideas and breathe new life into the staling large market. The Awards was created for this goal.
The focus of The Awards is creating a space for the small indie creators to be put on display for the world to see and be recognized for their work. 2021-22 saw the inaugural awards for this wonderful cause. 20 winners were recognized, the likes of which included Amanda Lee Franck (seriously incredible artist and designer), Jon Davis (Sivad’s Sanctum), Chris Bissette (Loot the Room), John Battle (Batts) and Ian Yusem (creator of fine Mothership and Troika third party products).
These creators are wonderful people producing some wonderful stuff in the world of indie tabletop roleplaying games. It is wonderful to see these creators getting their time to shine in the spotlight amongst the slew of larger creators out there. The Awards are judged by volunteer community members. The write ups that the judges shared with the community on why these particular works were chosen can be found here (direct link to the PDF). It is a detailed recounting by some of the eight judges (anonymously named as Judge 2, Judge 3, etc.) on why each of the pieces were chosen (plus one that was not chosen) and why each is so important in the field of Indie RGPs. These write ups alone are a wonderful read for anyone looking to dive into the innovative outlook of both current and the future of Indie TTRPGs. It is worth a look, for instance there is a deep dive into why Crapland 2 was selected as one of the finalists, and as an aside it is so much more eloquent than my review of it is.
The organizers are looking for your help in including as many submissions as possible this year, they are also looking to create an even bigger stir in the indie RPG community in hopes of highlighting as many great community members making incredible independent works. Systems, adventures, supplements, music and pretty much anything else that might fit into the RPG sphere are welcome additions to the list of work being judged and ultimately recognized.
The Awards 2022/23 is currently taking submissions for creations and is also looking for judges. But the time is now to get your stuff submitted! The deadline for submitting your work is May 31st. And the deadline for applying to become a judge is May 1st.
If you want to support this wonderful initiative check out their website The Awards. You can find the full list of winners from last year at the website as well, along with submission and judge nomination rules.
Derek Bizier, The Halfling “You Better Nominate Your Shit” Master