When my wife brought home an old Dungeons and Dragons box set from Goodwill, a wave of nostalgia washed over me. I grew up playing RPGs, but stopped sometime in my early 20s. The idea of returning to gaming appealed to me on several levels:
The old rulebooks were fun, but I wanted to see what had become of the game in the past 20 years, so I went out and bought the new 4th Edition rules. I fired up Pages and OmniGraffle and almost immediately started designing my first adventure. We've been playing now for about 6 weeks, and having a blast.
The only thing that bothered me was the amount of tracking that I had to do on paper. Monster stats, hit points, action points, and so on littered half a dozen sheets of paper scattered behind my DM screen. As a geek, I knew that there had to be a better way. I checked online for resources, but only found Windows software. What the hell, isn't this 2011? So I fired up BBEdit, started a new project on GitHub, and... ApprenticeRPG.com was born.
I developed Apprentice as a Rails 3 app that uses Mongoid as its database backend. It's hosted on the amazingly awesome Heroku servers, with cloud-based database functionality provided by MongoHQ. I'm using PivotalTracker to manage features and Lighthouse to track bugs, both publicly accessible.
It's only been two short weeks, and already the public site is live and there's a beta program for people to use. This is a testament to the ease of development that Rails engenders, and the amazing resources that are available for launching and managing web applications in the age of the cloud.
I'm hoping to generate some good buzz, get a load of feature requests from real live players, and launch version 1.0 of the app by June of this year.
Check it out at www.apprenticerpg.com. And if you're a gamer geek, by all means sign up for the beta.