Blog Updates

October 12, 2022

On Passions – Blogging, Gaming and Life As A Whole

As the public response around COVID began to shift around the end of summer of last year, I suddenly found myself swamped with many of the things that had been absent for nearly a year and a half. My record labelbegan working with bands on releasing new music, repressing old records and booking shows. I started work on a new band (which is now active – we’re called Kindred, the name is actually based on the idea of Kith from Wanderhome). On top of all this, I was dealing with a lot of personal changes, and something had to give.

I ended up having to significantly cut my time spent on RPGs, and tabletop gaming in general. Not just the public facing stuff – I haven’t worked on this blog or even seriously worked on any games for Marshland, the company I had just set up at the time, in almost a year. I hadn’t even had time to play any long-form games. My OD&D table all but fell apart after a ruthless Ghoul transformation of one of the key PCs, and the Wanderhome group I was in stopped getting together after only a handful of sessions. 

Fast forward almost a year, and things are just as hectic as ever. I’m still doing like 500 tasks a day for the label and managing/playing in my band has added a whole new layer of work for me to tackle. I started a database for upcoming shows in Delaware, and I became the sole promoter for events at a cool record shop in Wilmington.

All that said, a lot has settled down in other areas. I left my previous job, and started working at a youth homeless shelter, as well as picking up some shifts at a (different from above) record shop near my house. A lot of the personal issues I had been dealing with began to change, and ultimately I’m in a much better place now.

This all leads to my sort of reckoning with tabletop gaming – both personal and public. I think if I’m honest with myself – I simply can’t do a million things at once (though I would like to imagine myself as capable), and I want to make sure I take care of myself. (I have a bad habit of not sleeping or eating.) 

I’ve settled with myself that I can still make time to play games, and I definitely intend to keep on designing them. Just the idea of writing new mechanics excites me as much as it did when I first started on my weird path towards game design. I still wish I could play a dozen games a night, and I have about 5 ideas a week of a really neat campaign idea for a game I barely understand the rules for.

But while these things are still very important to me, I just can’t spend 10 hours a day working on dice mechanics or the skills section of character creation. I had to adjust the level of time I could commit, and in doing so adjust the timeframes I was putting onto myself. I had hoped to release multiple games on itch in the past year, and probably even release one of the longer games I’ve been crafting since the start of this blog. Obviously, none of this happened.

Instead, I’ve been taking it slow. I have played in a few short campaigns/one-shots of various games, and settled on a weekly board game night with some friends, including the lovely Joe Kim (Scary Dog Friend) and CJ (Scholastic Dragon) and we engage on utterly ridiculous shenanigans that oftentimes don’t even involve playing games. 

My design has been more casual. There might be weeks where I write nothing at all, and then a single night where I stay up scribbling playbooks on index cards and visual sketches pinned to corkboards. I’m sure I’ll finish a game eventually and post it, but it’s not a stressor for me anymore. If I can put up just a game or two this year, I’ll be more than pleased with myself.


Now that we’re caught up to date on the changes within my life – I finally feel like I can explain what I’m working on now, and where I’m looking to take this. 

I’ll be trying to post a bit more regularly here. It might not be the most consistent (it never really was, despite my best intentions), but I’ll do my best to keep things simple. 

I’m also going to start slowly sharing my notes for various games or ideas I’ve been toying with. A large part of my game design in the last 6-8 months has been creating a homebrew Pokemon RPG system, which I’ve been running a campaign that will probably take multiple years to complete (have I mentioned I tend to bite off more than I can chew?). I have dozens of pages of design notes and rules/addendums that I have nothing else to do with, so expect lots of Pokemon-related things to come.

There’s been a lot of changes, and I’m feeling hopeful about a lot of things. I think this blog, if nothing else, can serve as a nice reflection point for me. Thanks for reading, and I hope you can get some useful information from me for your own life!


Creating The Wetlander

September 19, 2020


Hello! Thanks for taking the time to visit the Wetlander. My name is Diego Romero-Aros. I’m currently 23 years old. This is my foray into the weird world of writing (blogging?), game design, and more.

I live in Claymont, Delaware, a suburb of the not-so-big city of Wilmington. For the better part of my late teens on, I’ve spent my time heavily involved in the local punk scene here in Wilmington. I played in the band Merger, which toured around the US and Canada several times, and also run the independent record label Impetus Records, documenting the music scene here. I’ve booked possibly hundreds of shows, put out multiple zines, been involved in many benefit shows, and more. We’ve managed to build a small buzz about the scene here, and things showed no signs of slowing down.

But the year is 2020. The pandemic has managed to entirely cut off our little music world, and it doesn’t seem like things will be headed back to normal as quick as people would like. And with most of my creative output stalled, I think my mind was aching for something to do.

Back in May, I suddenly had a strange urge- I wanted to create a mystery-focused RPG set in the modern day. It was oddly specific, and I wasn’t quite sure where the inspirations was coming from. I have dabbled in roleplaying games for a few years, but never anything serious. A few one-shots of Call of Cthulhu, a short Dungeons & Dragons campaign, but certainly nothing at the forefront of my mind. Yet, like most things in my life have proven, when I’m intrigued, I fall head-first into an obsession.

an early (and soon abandoned) character sheet for Streetwork.

And so down the rabbit hole I went. In the last few months, I’ve read more articles, watched more videos, and spent way more money than I thought I would ever devote to roleplaying games. Despite my limited experience or prior interest, I found that I have been fully enveloped by the hobby. I have worked around the clock on my mystery game, which I’ve since named Streetwork. From writing to playtesting to more editing, the game has seen a lot of shifts, and is still heavily in development.

A friend and I have decided to create a game publishing company, which we’ve named Marshland Games, after the swampy marshes of Delaware. While my friend has been invested in tabletop games of all varieties for many years, we’re both fairly unsure what it means to start a game company.

This site will delve into some of my thoughts and experiences while designing Streetwork and other games that will follow, as well as some thoughts and critiques on other games/systems in the hobby. I’ll also do some specific reviews of games, interviews, and whatever else strikes my whimsy related to the tabletop industry.

While this will primarily focus on the gaming table, there will likely be the occasional foray into punk/independent music, underground culture, activism and more.

I’m curious to see how this blog turns out. I’ve never been one for social media, and this seems like an effective way to communicate some of my thoughts in a more dedicated format. I’m especially curious to see how people respond to these posts. I want to engage in conversations more than anything, and this medium can serve me in a way that I think most other channels of communication can’t.

Thanks for tuning in, and hope you like what’s in store.