New Stuff I’ve Done: SoB

August 25th, 2014news, rpg

I realize it’s been a while since I updated the sidebar on stuff I’ve done recently so I thought I’d do that and spotlight a couple things in a post as well. If you’ve paid any attention to the 2014 Plan on the left (and I know you all check it daily), you’ll see some of this reflected there. I’m breaking this into two posts with this second one focused on Streets of Bedlam releases.

Streets of Bedlam

I’ve released a pair of new supplements for my Savage Worlds setting Streets of Bedlam recently but figured I’d spotlight all four that have never made it over to this page. First things first.

SoB Stories #1

SoB Stories are standalone episodes that were funded by the very successful Kickstarter I ran back in 2012. Five total planned with the first one below and the second one due out this week.

StreetsOfBedlam_SoBStories1_FSZ220_dtr_COVER

“Y’know, I didn’t really understand what folks meant when they said no good deed goes unpunished, until I heard the story of Dory Brooker. You familiar? Aw shit then, pull up a chair. C’mon, buy me a round and I’ll fill your ears with one helluva tale.”

One year ago, a well-meaning citizen talked a mild-mannered accountant out of throwing herself off the roof of her apartment building. When that same citizen goes missing, the accountant looks for help in finding the man—not knowing just how many people want her savior to disappear for good.

A Bunch of SOBs

When I have a cool acronym, I like to milk it. The Streets of Bedlam setting makes use of character templates called Archetypes. The book contains a lot but I wanted to give as many options as I could so I decided to release more. The first two were part of that Kickstarter campaign and the third came along later. I have a fourth in the planning stages that I’d like to see out soon.

BunchofSOBs_TroubleRedacted_Cover-198x300 ABunchofSOBs_IngenueSawbones_Cover-198x300 StreetsOfBedlam_BunchofSOBs3_FSZ212_dtr_COVER-198x300

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Interview at Geek’s Dream Girl

September 26th, 2013interviews, rpg

I recently sat down with the wonderful Lillian Cohen-Moore over at Geek’s Dream Girl to discuss the origin of Little Fears and how the publishing scene has changed since I released the original game back in 2001.

For those interested in getting their hands on a copy of the original Little Fears, I sell the anniversary edition (titled Happy Birthday, Little Fears) directly or you can look for it in the secondary market (though it sometimes runs a pretty penny) or game specialty stores like Noble Knight. To learn a bit more about the editions, check out About Little Fears.

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Behold the Human Stretch Goal

October 5th, 2012fiction, news, rpg

Over the past couple weeks, three different game designers offered me a chance to contribute to their Kickstarter projects as a participant in possible stretch goals. As the first’s been active for a bit, and the second was just announced (the third isn’t slated to go live until next month), now seems like a good time to direct some traffic their way.

Hillfolk: DramaSystem

If you’re reading this, I suspect a high probability that you’re familiar with the work of tabletop game designer Robin D. Laws. I’ve been a fan of his stuff for twenty years, and I always look forward to seeing what he does next. He’s been teasing out his latest, DramaSystem, for a while and now folks will be able to get their hands on it.

As Robin’s excellent GUMSHOE (Esoterrorists, Mutant City Blues, Trail of Cthulhu) emulates procedural shows such as The X-Files, Law & Order, and CSI, his latest centers on the personal dynamics and relationships of more character-driven fare. The first product to use this, Hillfolk, is a game set in the Iron Age. Here’s the blurb from the pitch:

In an arid badlands, squeezed between mighty empires, your people hunger. Your neighbors have grain, cattle, gold. You have horses and spears, courage and ambition. Together with those you love and hate, you will remake history—or die.

The Kickstarter is already over 400% of its original goal and is well on its way through the slew of announced stretch goals. Chief among them are a variety of alternate premises using the DramaSystem. Not interest in Iron Age politics? Step into the shoes of time travelers stuck in the 1940s with Matt Forbeck’s WW2.1. Or play supervillians doing their best to stay reformed in Michelle Nephew’s Mad Scientists Anonymous. Or dip your toe in Cold War espionage with Kenneth Hite’s Moscow Station.

If the project hits $14k (and it looks like it will do that handily), I’ll contribute my own setting, the True Blood meets Being Human meets Vampire Diaries meets Twilight melodrama Inhuman Desires.

One Shot

Subtitled “a roleplaying game of murder and vengeance”, Tracy Barnett’s two-player One Shot focus on personal relationships of a specific sort: the kind that usually have a gun involved. Check out the premise:

One Shot is a tabletop roleplaying game about murder and vengeance. Two people work together to tell the story of the Shooter, a normal person wronged, and set for revenge. One player plays the Shooter, on their path to their one shot. The other plays the Forces, the world and people around and in the way of the Shooter.

Sounds great, and fits perfectly with the work I’m doing on the Kickstarter-funded project I ran last year, Streets of Bedlam.

With a month left to go, One Shot sits near the halfway mark to its goal. If the project meets its stretch goal, I’ll contribute short fiction to an anthology that explores the ideas presented by the game itself. Other authors include Jess Hartley, Will Hindmarch, Filamena Young, David Hill, and others.

So please check out the above and, if they interest you, pledge your support! Kickstarter is a fantastic way for creatives and customers to connect. I love seeing folks like Tracy and Robin putting new ideas out there in a way that doesn’t threaten their pocketbooks.

As for the third, I’ll let you all know when that goes live. I think you’ll really dig it.

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Hear Me on the Jennisodes

March 19th, 2012interviews, rpg, video games

I recently sat down with Jenn from the Jennisodes to discuss my latest project, Streets of Bedlam, as well as future plans for the Little Fears Nightmare Edition line and a short rant on stories in video games. Jenn is a wonderful host and runs a fantastic podcast. Be sure to check out the latest episode for me, and then dig into her backlist for some amazing guests and insights into all sorts of gaming-related topics.

Huge thanks to Jenn for having me on, and I’d love to drop in again sometime.

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Out Now: TALES OF THE FAR WEST

January 28th, 2012fiction, rpg

This one’s a knock out, folks. Last summer, my friend Gareth Skarka launched a Kickstarter for his Wild West/Wuxia adventure game setting Far West. Support flooded in, eventually netting Gareth and company almost $50,000 in backer pledges.

From its beginning though, Far West was intended as a transmedia property with the pen-and-paper game being just the beginning. While the Far West game is slated for release later this year, another piece of the transmedia pie has dropped with the release of the Tales of the Far West fiction anthology.

The line-up of talent is jaw-dropping with original stories from folks such as Matt Forbeck, Chuck Wendig, Ari Marmell, Scott Lynch, Tessa Gratton, and more. I was blown away that Gareth invited me to sit by their fire and spin a yarn but he did just that. I’m proud that my own story, “Local Legend,” sits among such company.

So, it’s out. Right now you can grab it from Amazon on Kindle. I’m sure it’ll hit other outlets soon. (I’ll let you all know when it does.)

Anyway, check it out. It’s an awesome set of tales in a fantastic and inspiring setting. Far West is primed to become something truly special, and I’m happy to have been involved.

(Artwork by Rick Hershey, blatantly stolen from IntoTheFarWest.com.)

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Hear Me on Gamestarter (and Then Again!)

January 27th, 2012interviews, rpg

I sat down with Josh Mannon from the Gamestarter podcast a couple weeks ago not once but twice! The first was a sit-down with Josh and fellow writer/designer Filamena Young to discuss various game projects currently seeking funding including Filamena’s own Flatpack: Fix the Future. The second time was an interview focused entirely on me, my upcoming neo-noir crime setting Streets of Bedlam, and the madness that is running a Kickstarter campaign.

Check out the panel with Josh and Filamena here.

You can hear me talk way too much about myself and Streets of Bedlam here.

Thanks to Josh for having me on and to Filamena for being a great co-guest.

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One Day Left on Streets of Bedlam Kickstarter

January 12th, 2012rpg

When the Streets of Bedlam Kickstarter launched at the end of November, I had modest goals for it. I just wanted to cover the cost of illustrating and producing the first book. But now, thanks to your support, the Kickstarter blew past that goal and is on its way toward five figures!

As a last-minute push toward that number, I’ve decided to add a new milestone and with it a new incentive to back the project.

If the Streets of Bedlam Kickstarter reaches $10k, acclaimed composer and sound designer Ed Lima will create an original soundtrack for the game! Ed provided the amazing track featured on the promo trailer that launched earlier this week (which you can click below) but his work goes well beyond that. As an audio guy in the video games industry, Ed has worked on such projects as Doom 3, Prey, Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway, Borderlands, and he is currently head sound man at Respawn Entertainment.

When I first met Ed years ago, I was blown away by the work he was doing, and he just keeps getting better. I really enjoyed the track he did for the trailer and really want to see more of it. I hope you do too.

As an added incentive, every backer who pledges $45+ will get a free digital copy of the soundtrack as an extra-special thank you. Click below to hear what Ed’s already done. If we reach $10k, we’ll all get a lot more of this.

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Two Years of Awesome

December 29th, 2011operation: awesome

I first wrote about Operation: Awesome back in June 2010 but I put the plan laid out in that post into practice much earlier. A lot of 2010 was focused on redefining myself, pushing myself, and changing my entire creative process. I realized how toxic it had become, how little was actually getting done, and I knew I had to do things differently in order to survive in the creative field.

Operation: Awesome was put to test in summer 2010 when I was brought in to work on High Voltage Software‘s Conduit 2. They put a lot of power in my hands and I did not want to disappoint. I worked hard on that game and had a lot of fun doing it. When it came out earlier this year, I was thrilled. I had a video game on the shelf that I could point to and go, “See that? I wrote that.” What an amazing feeling.

That gig was a big test of Operation: Awesome but it was just the beginning. I was still shuffling off a lot of bad habits and baggage. I decided to do some small projects to establish a better writing habit. I launched the Campfire Tales line for Little Fears Nightmare Edition. I originally intended for that series to run twelve straight episodes but had to stall it at three. I can say the reason was at least somewhat noble: I was busy working on the first full-sized supplement for LFNE, Book 2: Among the Missing. I was also doing some freelance work in that time, including fiction for an upcoming tabletop game line, some development work on a (sadly) cancelled project, and contributed to Chuck Wendig and Lance Weiler’s Sundance Film Festival transmedia project Pandemic 1.0/Hope is Missing. I launched Book 2: Among the Missing in March 2011. A ten-year retrospective of the original corebook from 2001 saw release as Happy Birthday, Little Fears over the summer. Also over the summer, I signed a contract with Human Head Studios to work on Prey 2. I was brought on as the Narrative Designer and Writer for the project. In that time, not only did I wrangle the story for Prey 2 but I lent some insight and ideas to a variety of projects.

On top of that, I had some fiction published, did some layout work for friends, and added to some really fun projects such as Clint and Cassie Krause’s Don’t Walk in Winter Wood. I even returned to the Campfire Tales line for three more episodes, putting out Season Two this past fall. No way I would have had the discipline to fit all this into my schedule prior to Operation: Awesome. While I certainly wasn’t a saint in my time management, I did far better than I ever did previously.

A lot of things started to fall into place this past year and I knew it was mine to fumble. I worked hard to make sure I didn’t do that. When my contract at Human Head ended, I began work on getting a new project up, running, and ready for public approval. I took the momentum of joy and satisfaction from working at Human Head and funneled it into new projects aimed at new goals. After launching the Kickstarter for a new Savage Worlds setting called Streets of Bedlam in November, my plan was rewarded almost immediately as generous backers fulfilled the initial goal in under three days. I am still in awe of that.

I’ve changed a lot as a creative and a person since starting Operation: Awesome and it really all came down to taking my ambitions seriously, investing in my dreams, doing the work, and no longer accepting excuses. One of the side effects of that, besides actually releasing product, was I started to expect more and better from others as well. I was fortunate enough this past year to find myself in a room with a half-dozen highly-creative people who were firing on all cylinders, demanding better from everyone else, and the sensation was exhilarating.

I still have a lot to do. I don’t think there is an endgame for Operation: Awesome, only a fail state. And I have no intention of failing.

2011 had a lot of ups and downs but it ended on some very high notes for me. I learned a ton, did some good work, got an award nomination from IGN, and have a lot more projects on my done list. I had some high ambitions for the year and, while I didn’t hit them all, I hit enough to mark the chalk in the win column.

Coming into 2012, I have even higher ambitions with much more at stake. As of this writing, over 150 people have put their money where my mouth is and backed Streets of Bedlam. My dance card for the first three months is almost fully booked with that one project. I’m leaving some wiggle room for a couple sweet pick-up gigs and plotting for the April project but Streets of Bedlam is my main focus for that time. I’m really excited for it.

I plan to spend April and May of next year writing a novel. I haven’t finished a novel since I completed my attempt at a Young Adult book for Little Fears back in 2007. I want published novels under my belt, both lit and genre. I plan to focus on Middle Grade but want to do some adult and YA as well. That may be the biggest test of Operation: Awesome yet. I look forward to it.

I have many other plans beyond as well. And I might even pick up some high-profile gigs, fates willing.

With Operation: Awesome, I took an honest assessment of myself and mapped out a battle plan to start changing who I was into who I wanted to be. For the above reason and beyond, I’m glad I did. Here’s looking forward to 2012 and even more awesome.

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Chat with Me this Thursday!

December 20th, 2011interviews

I’ll be sitting down this Thursday, December 22nd, with the folks from Beautiful Brains Books & Games to discuss Savage Worlds, my new tabletop game project Streets of Bedlam, and the game’s Kickstarter. The chat will be text-based, online, and run from 9p to 10p EST. Swing by, listen to me ramble, ask questions, and I’m sure Beautiful Brains and I can cook up something to make it worth your while.

See you then!

(I posted this over at StreetsOfBedlam.com but thought I’d drop it here as well since the discussion may dive into related topics. For the most part though, I reserve this sort of news for the game’s official site.)

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Streets of Bedlam: Fully Funded!

December 2nd, 2011news, rpg

I posted this over at the official Streets Of Bedlam site but wanted to drop a note here as well:

Streets of Bedlam is fully funded!
Wow! Less than three days since the Kickstarter launched and Streets of Bedlam is fully funded! I am humbled and amazed. But there are still six weeks to go and plenty of reasons to jump on-board.

First: Kickstarter exclusives. Every backer gets credit in the book and folks who pledge $5 or more get turned into NPCs. Backers at higher levels get to influence future supplements, get immortalized as a major character in the Streets of Bedlam corebook, get archetypes only available through this Kickstarter, and more!

Second: New goals unlock new perks. I’m in talks with folks to bring even more freebies and exclusives to Kickstarter pledges. I’ll have more details as we get closer but I’m looking at unlocking new content at $5k, $8k, and beyond. Your support could benefit everybody!

Third: More money means more products. I would love to launch the Streets of Bedlam line in style and the more capital behind it, the quicker I can move on it. I’m looking to release district books, character packs, more scenarios for your group, fiction anthologies, and a graphic novel.

THANK YOU TO EVERYBODY WHO HAS SUPPORTED STREETS OF BEDLAM SO FAR AND TO EVERYONE WHO DOES SO IN THE FUTURE.

You are all awesome.

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