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Today we talk to Tom and Heather, the creators behind UnformedWorlds. Let’s see what they have to say!

UnformedWorlds logo

How did you get started in TTRPGs?

Tom: My older brother said, “You want to play a game?” They had decided on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles setting. Of course, everyone’s played that. I was a turtle, which seems so boring now because they had the “mutagen” mechanic that allowed you to be derived from any animal. I started playing a much wider variety of TTRPGs in college.

Heather: Back in grade school, boys in my class were playing D&D. I was reading a lot of fantasy and science fiction, and I wanted to play. I’ll be honest: they refused to let girls join. There was a cost barrier to starting D&D on my own, so I started doing free-form role-playing with a couple of friends. We made up the rules, made up the adventures, used no dice, and loved it. In college, I discovered several popular role-playing systems but as you might guess, “indie” is where my heart is.

How did you get started writing and creating games and adventures?

Tom: I like dissecting systems to see how they work, from the inner workings of the proton to the theoretical underpinnings of spaceship force fields – in the real world. I know it sounds like I just made that up. When it comes to TTRPGs, I’m the friend that people call on to help them find the creative solution, design the home-brew rule that will keep the game balanced, or just min-max their new character.

Heather: I was always writing adventures but I started doing it more frequently (and for specific systems) in college. Tom and I and Ember (a good friend of ours) started a regular group when we started graduate school. When we had an idea that didn’t fit in any of the two dozen systems we played, we would build a home-brew for it. Things built from there.

What made you want to start Unformed Worlds?

Tom: Heather started it.

Heather: Ember started it. Two years before we opened Unformed Worlds, Ember asked me, “Have you ever thought about starting your own game company?” Well, I had attended a stack of seminars on game design, manufacturing, game company finances and management, copyright, and so on. But I hadn’t an ambition to start my own company; I was gathering knowledge. Unfortunately, what I said was, “Nope, I have no intention of starting a game company,” thus inviting Fate to make me eat my words. Two years and a number of freelancing attempts later, I turned to Tom and said, “You know, why don’t we just start our own company?”

Can you describe Unformed Worlds and where readers can find you?

Unformed Worlds is on-line at Our TTRPG side is focused on creating stories that emphasize player choice and social situations. Our current published adventures include heists, mysteries, and political intrigue. We try to include dialog and descriptions for a wide variety of Player options in each adventure. In our other table-top games, we love to play games that ask you to bring your imagination, that trend toward cooperative, and that use mechanics that look deceptively simple. The games we’re playtesting right now are “Nebula”, a token-based game of competitive star formation; “Elements of Strategy”, a card game of dueling elements; and “Dragon Hatch”, a game of competitive dragon-raising.

What is your favorite TTRPG? Which one would you suggest for a new player?

Tom: My favorite is BESM, 2nd ed. I like being able to do literally anything, even playing a sock puppet.

Heather interposes: I can attest, he has done that.

Tom continues: I love its simplicity and versatility. As for suggestions for new players, Cypher System is my pick. It’s simply constructed, it has a wide variety of archetypes, and there are enough familiar tropes to draw in new Players.

Heather: There are so many wonderful systems out there, I can’t say I have a favorite. I certainly have go-to systems for different situations. If someone wanted a swashbuckling adventure, I would suggest 7th Sea. If someone wanted a game about found family, I would pull out Our Haunt.

What to suggest for new players, ouch, that’s another hard one. I’m going to say the Cypher System from Monte Cook Games. The setting can be anything you want and it’s a great system for collaborative storytelling. For the record, Tom and I answered independently. If we didn’t like some of the same things, we wouldn’t have stayed together so long.

What Game System have you not played that you really want to try?

TomApocalypse World

HeatherA Thousand and One Nights. Blades in the Dark runs a close second.

Do you prefer playing TTRPGs online or in person, and why?

Tom: I prefer in-person because a key to good storytelling is reading the faces of the people you are playing with, which is easiest to do in person.

Heather: I really like playing on-line. I find that people are more willing to take a risk and try this role-playing concept by jumping on-line because in reality they are someplace safe and they can jump out whenever they want. That means that I get to meet people I would never have a chance to meet in person. With a good GM who makes safety and comfort at the table a priority, we’re physically and emotionally safe. We feel free to take risks with our characters. That’s a recipe for great storytelling.

What advice do you have for homebrewing settings or stories?

Tom: Tell a story you love. Settings tell stories of their own, listen to them.

Heather: I whole-heartedly agree. Do your research and tell a story you love.

Do you have any advice for TTRPGers about succeeding in TTRPG publishing?

Tom: Be patient. I’ll tell you the rest when it’s done.

Heather: I feel odd answering this question because I’m not sure I consider us “successful” yet but if “success” is having something that you love doing and that gives opportunities to others (even if they are small ones), then sitting here saying this, I am processing the idea that we’re successful. Next step: do it bigger!

Do you have any TTRPG projects in the works and how can people follow your latest efforts?

We just finished our longest published effort to date, The Unseelie Saga, a trilogy of adventures for Players who want to play darkly magical Fae, now available on DTRPG at

We went through a stack of personal and professional changes while producing the Saga, so our website and social media side stagnated. By the way, pro tip: don’t do that! Now that things are settling down (we hope), you can learn about our latest efforts on our website or on Mastodon at

What’s up next? We want to get at least one of our other games out the door in the next eight months. On the role-playing side, we have several one-shot style adventures that we’re looking forward to publishing, and we’re working on something with Ember that isn’t ready to be talked about yet. On our own, we’re working on a setting in which constructing spells is done by stepping into another plane of existence, a plane where ideas have physical form and magic is spun into threads. Think Plato’s plane of the ideal meets cyberpunk trope drawn in a magic mirror. At the moment, we’re calling it Tapestry.

What else would you like people to know that we haven’t asked?

We need beta-testers! If you are interested in trying any of our games or adventures, write us at .

Thanks Heather and Tom!

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