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Post Mortem: Can't Anyone Save The World?

A post mortem for my tabletop roleplaying game Can't Anyone Save The World?

Kayne Ruse, Blogger

February 2, 2018

8 Min Read

Can't Anyone Save The World (Cast World for short) is a traditional sword-and-sorcery Tabletop RPG, that draws a lot of inspiration from popular games in the genre like Dungeons and Dragons 5e, and GURPS 4e. I released it on the 1st January, so it may very well be one of the first games released this year. Ever since release, I've been wanting to write the post mortem, so here goes nothing.

The Good


Cast World is fun. I mean, it really is. It's quick to pick up, quick to learn, and quick to reach the fun part. The most important part is having great players, of course, especially if they're willing to overlook the occasional bug during playtesting.

Development Goals

I believe the game has met it's initial development goals. They were:

  • Fast character creation

  • Simple to learn and intuit the rules

The lengthy session 0 inherent in GURPS drives me nuts. Even Dungeons and Dragons isn't immune. So, one of my initial driving goals was to create a game with really fast character creation. I accomplished this in several ways. Firstly, the player's race has no mechanical impact, at least at first. They choose their race simply based on what they want to play as. Secondly, the classes are simple. Progression is handled when XP is earned, so the classes have no inherent "future attributes" like the classes in Dungeons and Dragons. Finally, although quick character creation is definitely encouraged, there are deeper skills available that can be planned for, so that power players aren't left out at all. I really did have my cake and eat it too with this aspect of the game.

Shoestring Budget

The game so far has cost me about $220 AUD, and a custom cover would cost me $100 AUD (more on that below). Thanks to a combination of a cheap editor and a cheap artist (both of which do fantastic work regardless), I've been able to keep the out-of-pocket costs incredibly low. This is especially important to me, because I'm unemployed, and living off of disability benefits. Not a nice place to be in my life, so I'm indebted to both of my partners.


I've been making games since I was 13 and, except for some homebrew stuff that I sell for $0.10, this is my first commercial game, ever. It's definitely been a learning experience for me, but thanks to DriveThruRPG's simple tools, and the ease of developing a tabletop game compared to a digital game (which I have abandoned plenty of), I've actually made a very small amount of money off of this. I haven't sold enough for this to pay out, but I'm happy that someone felt my game was worth buying.

Rules Preview

I created a 3-page rules preview that I released to the public for free; You can find it here:


This has the essential rules of the game, boiled down to it's bare basics. But, amazingly, it's still a fully functional game, even if it's missing a lot of content. I think the fact that I can create a rules-lite version of my rules-lite game is a good sign, that I've created something easy enough to hold in your head.

The Bad

Low Sales

At the time of writing, I've made 5 sales. I haven't even broken the $10 mark in net sales. Originally, the game wasn't about selling the product, but as time progressed it changed from a passion project, to a product that I was trying to advertise, poorly. It's all a learning experience, and being my first commercial game, it's the first time I've seen a game transition like that. But it was still a shock to me, so hopefully I'll be more prepared next time.

Low Playtesting

Although I did playtest this game's mechanics, I only managed a single actual session with my regular group; and even then only half of them showed up, because I had to schedule it for a different day. I think having regular play sessions is important, and if you can find a regular group who is willing to playtest your game, awesome! If not, your game will suffer because of it.

Next time, I'll form my own play group to test this, rather than relying on my playgroup who is just there to blow off steam.

The Name

For a while, I couldn't decide if it was named "Cast World" or "Can't Anyone Save The World?"; I eventually settled on the latter. On top of that, Cast World isn't a proper acronym. It can be confusing for players who are searching for the game. Long names are also unwieldy, and having a question for a name is definitely a bad idea, because it makes writing about it difficult.

Worst of all, is when your name clashes with something else...

Incomplete At Launch

The core rules were 22 pages long at launch, and they only had 3 monsters. I could've also pumped up the number of spells, abilities, magical and mundane items, etc. I decided to do all of this using the expansion modules, but I won't be taking this route again. I will be editing the core rules to include a lot of what was added elsewhere, though; I've been referring to the massive change as "The March Edit", because I had originally planned it out to occur in March.


When I submitted the game to DriveThruRPG, they initially rejected it because the cover was simply a reused image from inside the core rules, without any title text at all. When I was told this, I quickly added title text, resulting in a really ugly title page. I had planned to have a custom cover image made, but that has ultimately fizzled due to my budget.

Also, the CC0 photograph that I finally decided to go with had to be reused for the different modules too, simply because I couldn't find other appropriate images. Overall, the cover was a fiasco, and will be a major point of focus for my next game.

Missing Modules

My editor originally suggested that I write 6 adventure modules and bundle them all with the core rules, after releasing them individually. I had planned to do this until just recently, when the 4th module - a dungeon generator - ballooned to be almost the size of the core rules. In addition to this, one module - Verona Village - is already bundled with the core rules, so that's a total of three expansions and a core ruleset that are going to be bundled.

I really don't want to work on this project anymore, so unfortunately, the 5th and 6th modules - a tournament arc and a GM's guide - will have to stay on the shelf unless I get an urge to work on this game again in the future.

Dungeon Master vs. Game Master

The phrase "Dungeon Master" is trademarked by Wizards of the Coast. I wish I had known that when I started working on this, so I could have avoided that potential legal threat from the beginning. Not to worry.

The Ugly

Fetish Website

Please, if you are at work, do not google "Cast World". You have been warned.

I had already named the game when I discovered that website; it was at that point that I decided to switch the name properly to "Can't Anyone Save The World?".

Constant Modifications And Errata

The game was released incomplete, with an unfortunately low amount of playtesting. As a result, I had to make a number of changes and adjustments to the digital files, as well as the blurb, which were all really tedious. Eventually I set up a dedicated errata page, which I eventually rolled into the core rules to fix an issue.

Version History

There is no version history. With software, I use git source control without giving it a second thought. However, because this was a PDF and not source code, I didn't store it in a git repo; only in my dropbox. As such, there isn't really a history or change log that I can look back on and use.

Bad Game

Can't Anyone Save The World? is a bad game. Yes, it's fun, it met it's design goals, and I'm glad I made it, but ultimately I think it's a bad game overall. I shouldn't have added the piety and birthright statistics to the traditional six, I think there's too many classes, etc. There are so many things that I could nitpick that ultimately, all I can conclude is that it's a bad game. If I could do it again, there are so many things that I would change, it's nuts.


It is what it is. I'm better off for having made Cast World, so my next game will be that much better. I think one of the biggest problems is that I didn't really think about the target audience: people who want short sessions and short campaigns in a traditional-feeling RPG. I hope somebody likes it.

Can't Anyone Save The World and it's modules are on sale for 50% for this week!

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