I just now finished going through the playtest responses for Night's Black Agents, and tweaking the manuscript accordingly. There's still a few thousand words to write, but I can see the end from here.
In this business, like (I imagine) every other business, those of us who do it day in and day out blow off steam by venting to each other about our customers, clients, and patrons. And sure, there are people in every playtest I've ever been a part of whose suggestions are quite vent-worthy. ("There's too much detail, and also add more description.") It's so easy to get irked at entitlement and cluelessness, especially when they show up arm in arm.
But this, man. This. This was almost entirely the opposite of that. I had playtest groups that sent me drawings of their characters fighting vampires and standing around looking cool. One group made sure to Photoshop passports onto all their character sheets. Plenty of groups sent home-brewed GM screens and character sheet designs. Lots of "we had so much fun" and "it was awesome" and "we had no real idea about how to be spies but we had a blast" and compliments that even my legendary immodesty balks at publicizing. I think my favorite was the group that wrote up the script for the opening credits of the spy thriller they played, complete with stunt-casting their PCs, and descriptions of montages and quick-cutting and blood spatters. But overwhelmingly, everyone wanted to have fun, and probably nine tenths of them wanted to let me know about their fun.
I am so very lucky to get to do this for a living. I can probably count on the fingers of one hand the number of genuinely unpleasant interactions I've ever had with fans and readers; I can't even begin to estimate the number of warm, human, happy responses I've gotten from gamers over the years. Unless you're one of the people who do this stuff along with me (which I suppose the odds are you very well might be) you have no idea how great it is to know that your day's work is all about making other people's free time more fun, more creative, more involved with each other. And even if you are one of the people who do this stuff along with me, sometimes it takes a solid week of reading people getting excited about the fun you gave them to remember how great it is.
Thanks, all of you, for that.