Archive for the 'RPGs' Category

The Odyssey Funding Campaign Draws To A Close

Odyssey Rough Cover

Odyssey Rough Cover

As of this writing, the funding campaign for my next game, Odyssey, has just three days left on it … and two of those days are Thanksgiving and Black Friday. In other words, time is running out.

The good news is that we are fully funded and past the first, vital stretch goal, which netted the artist’s a 20% raise each. I was hoping we’d hit that goal. The artists on Odyssey did me a generous favor of lending their names to a project that might not fund at all and I want to thank them again. Leah, David, Phil, and Steven? Thank you, each and every, for the work you’ve done and continue to do.

Get a glimpse of the art they’ve made thus far by perusing the Odyssey blog. Handsome stuff over there. And right here you can get a glimpse at a rough typographical treatment for the book’s cover, with art by the incomparable Steven Sanders.

Let me talk for a minute about the nature of this funding campaign. This was not designed to be a big event and I think the structure and fate of the campaign shows that. I didn’t pull us along with a ton of new content to unlock and I didn’t offer a myriad of bold stretch goals to drive funding up and up. I was skeptical that we’d reach the second stretch goal and, from here, it seems that we won’t reach it. This is fine. I’ll get to the second book of Odyssey some day, regardless. And Odyssey will hopefully go on to find new readers and players when it goes on sale for customers, instead of contributors. This campaign was designed just to get me the funds to get the illustrations I wanted for the book — and to learn IndieGoGo’s systems a bit — and it did that. I have no complaints there. The book comes into being, the artists get paid, and I get to move on to my next, more elaborate funding campaigns before too long. All’s well.

The next step is to turn the (admittedly rare and minor) beta-reader feedback into actionable notes and changes to the text of the book and then release the sucker on DriveThruRPG as a PDF and POD book so that it can find an audience, swiftly or not, and I can get a bit of revenue coming in to continue funding my mission to produce my own works for a while. (We’ll see how long that lasts.)

Publishers, if you want to help me get Odyssey into stores, let’s talk. For now, I am content to let it slowly build up an audience online, as it may.

So, there you go. Thank you, readers and players and contributors alike, for all of your help and support thus far. Remember, you have into Friday to back the book, yet, if you’re interested. If not, I hope you’ll give it a chance after it’s published and let me know what you think. I’m rather fond of this little game.

The Odyssey Beta is Go

Rough Placeholder Cover

Rough Placeholder Cover for Odyssey

It’s time for a journey.

My new game, Odyssey, is almost here. The beta draft is complete and in the hands of a few first readers. The game’s been tested and developed over a few years. Now it’s time to raise money for art and get this thing looking as good as it can.

For that, I need your help. Thus the crowdfunding campaign for Odyssey has begun.

This game was born from inspirations doled out during Game Chef 2010. For that, I owe thanks to Jonathan Walton. That year the theme was “journey.” The ingredients? City, desert, edge, and skin. I set out to make a game about desert treks and oases and sunburns and a lost city and I got lost along the way. I ended up with the bones of what would become Odyssey — a game about journeys. (The “Sojourn” playset in the Odyssey book is in honor of that Game Chef competition.)

Odyssey wears other inspirations on its sleeves, too. The famous Fiasco, from Bully Pulpit Games’ Jason Morningstar and Steve Segedy, made me want to do a minimalist game — lean and clean and simple. Ben Robbins’ Microscope and Bully Pulpit’s Durance influenced some of the ways I talked about Odyssey in its own text. They made me want to present a solid, stand-alone, instance-driven, self-contained game of my own. More thanks owed.

During development, a couple of years ago, I discovered that Odyssey also fit the needs of the gaming night at Shared Worlds, the creative-writing camp I help to direct. Odyssey can be played in any world while exploring some of the notions of what makes up a character — and how those characters are changed by the journeys they undertake. So for two years I’ve been able to hone this game on the imaginations and curiosity of newcomers and experienced gamers alike. Put that on the list for thanks.

Now, as I pursue an art budget for the game, I anticipate owing you thanks as well. With your help, I can make Odyssey a complete game book with handsome art for each of the game’s featured playsets or “modes of play.” With your help, Odyssey finds its audience(s) and sparks a lot of fun new stories. With your help.

So, if you can, please check out the fundraising campaign for the game. See it for yourself. Let me know what you think.

And thank you all.

Fairytales of Slavery

For years and years, music I’ve bought has been piling up on iTunes. Some of it is on my hard drive or iPod. A lot of it is lingering in the cloud, not quite forgotten but fallen out of rotation — an artifact of another time. In lieu of buying new music, I sometimes dig up these old purchases and use them to travel through time. Here’s one.

Fairytales of Slavery

Fairytales of Slavery

Miranda Sex Garden’s Fairytales of Slavery takes me back to the radio station. I’m in high school, I’m the Traffic Director of the local radio station, which has nothing to do with cars and everything to do with carts — eight-track style loops of PSAs and station IDs. I’m also producing a weekly variety-alternative music show at the time.

CDs come into the station via the mail. We fill milk crates with albums like Weezer’s first (aka “the blue album”) and Miranda Sex Garden’s Fairytales of Slavery, which I listen to a few times. It fascinates me. I don’t know what the lyrics are, if they are really anything, but it’s dramatic and moody.

I’m running World of Darkness games a lot back then, including Vampire and Wraith, and I think this album might make for good atmosphere. I play parts of it on my radio show (called The Difference Engine). I find myself thinking about the album later on.

For example, years later, when I’m working on World of Darkness products for publication, I seek this album out on iTunes and buy it again. I listen to it for a year or so, then lose track of it. More years later, I find it in my iTunes cloud and listen to it again. It’s autumn inside this album, to me, and a part of me is alone in the basement radio station at night, looking at my reflection in the window between the engineer’s desk and the DJ booth, thinking about ghosts.

Always/Never/Now: Pay What You What

Before I committed my cyberpunk-action adventure to paper, I wanted to let players and GMs go over it a few times, to find typos, ask questions, and clarify outstanding issues in the text. That process is essentially done. The revised Player File has been uploaded to DriveThruRPG. The modest change log can be found at the A/N/N Tumblr page.

Also, since I’m likely to take a bath on the shipping rates for A/N/N, I decided I needed a way to earn some money off those 100+ pages of adventure design. So. Always/Never/Now is now available as a pay-what-you-want (PWYW) product at DriveThruRPG. If you’ve downloaded A/N/N in the past and want to drop a couple of bucks on it now, I’d really appreciate it. It’ll help me get copies out to Kickstarter backers—who made it so the project could exist in the first place—that much faster.

If you’re curious, since I launched the PWYW model last week, I am making a little less than $1 per copy downloaded. I’m hoping that number goes up as people page through the documents and see Steven Sanders’s and Noah Bradley’s stellar art, or get excited to play the adventure. Regardless, A/N/N is one step closer to done now … and I’m eager to get these physical rewards out there to people ASAP. Thank you.


The Worst Dungeon World Game I Played At Gen Con and How It Was My Fault

It’s a new post at Gameplaywright and I wanted to be sure you saw it, so here you go.

“RPGs are often about fiction detached from dramaturgy. I’ve often said that games like these can often be about bad stories told well. They can also be about non-stories told well.”

« Previous PageNext Page »