About

Parenthesis Press is an enterprise devoted to publishing games. What kind? Good ones, we hope. To be less glib, our works fall into the category most often termed “story games”: role-playing games focused on the production of a narrative. These games tend to be somewhat more avant garde than your average D&D session, but for some players, they are more engaging and rewarding. We hope you’ll agree.

Who is Parenthesis Press?

Neal Stidham
designer

Neal has been designing games since the age of nine, when he realized that he’d played every game in the house and was still bored. Since starting his own indie RPG imprint, though, boredom isn’t really a factor. Neal’s having a great time not just creating his own systems and settings, but getting them into the hands of people who are actually playing them.

A longtime player of RPGs, boardgames, and miniatures wargames, Neal’s diverse gaming background is important to his design perspective. His professional gaming experience includes a long history with the Privateer Press Press Gang, as an organizer of local and regional Warmachine events, and a position as a blogger, podcaster and reviewer with the gaming site Gamejournal.tv. He loves games that are complex and sophisticated without being crunchy for crunch’s sake. Neal’s design philosophy centers on games that require cooperation to tell a story that everyone enjoys, even when they contain an element of competition to liven the action.

Neal has a PhD in Literature from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, in the Pittsburgh area. He lives in a perfectly cromulent apartment outside Raleigh, NC. So far, no one has successfully managed to enumerate all of Neal’s hobbies, but if you really want to distract him, bring up cooking, chess or obscure Modernist poets.

6 thoughts on “About”

  1. Hi Neal,

    I am grateful to you for designing a game like this! I’d been looking for a tarot based mechanic of role-playing, & you delivered! I was wondering, I’ve been reading & downloading everything I can find pertaining to HoC, & I was wondering if there is a place I might put content I have come up with pertaining to HoC?

    Thanks,

    Orion

    1. Hey, Orion! Thanks for the kind words! If you’ve got a blog of your own, you’re perfectly free to post any House of Cards content you’ve come up with there. If not, then if you want, I’d be happy to host HoC fan content on the official blog, houseofcardsrpg.wordpress.com. Feel free to email what you’ve got to parenthesispress(at)gmail.com

      1. Still getting used to East Coast time zone (ex-CA here)… I’m thinking of coming up w/ a story that my step-grandkids would enjoy (early in their 2-digit years), and I was thinking how fertile HoC with possibility is (esp. the metaphysical / philosophical conundrums), they could have a great time becoming enmeshed in a semi-Grimm, semi-WoD (in tone), semi-American Gods genre. Assuming they would (big assumption – I just learned they are into RPGs), I figured whatever I might come up with could be something that others might enjoy (a la modules from D&D of old), hence – post for other to enjoy!

          1. After re-reading your book, I like the idea that Comtes/Comtessas are *not* enemies, only seeming so. I liked the idea that they could be new Symbols/Major Arcana coming into being (e.g., American Gods), but even further, in an attempt stave off a foreign incursion of concepts. I know these would be ideas *WAY* later in the game (assuming I could maintain the attention of early double-digit-ers), but getting from newbies to world-spanners always appealed to the epic in me. Is there anything you could suggest as a mechanic of said progression? The only thing that comes to my mind (as difficult as it seems to me), is inter-layered 5-act strutures (as you describe in the main book). Of course, I might be too influenced by the Buffy series…

            1. I would work that kind of character progression into the story by creating scenes where the characters have a chance to gain access to the special advancements (weirds, wonderments, and high magic). Those are custom-made for letting Bearers stretch themselves beyond the capabilities of their Archetype and diversify their magical portfolios.

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