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Showing posts from August, 2018

New Geomorphs Available

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I've been trying a few different techniques over on OneBookShelf/DrivethruRPG/RPGNow to see which ones are more effective at generating sales for me.

I've had quite a few of my games and gaming products for sale as Pay-What-You-Want, and these remain consistent sellers, but most people choose to pay nothing for them. This means exposure is building, but income isn't.

Adding The Law into a charity product bundle similarly didn't generate any more money for me, but it wasn't really about getting money, it was about contributing to a good cause, and getting a bit of exposure for a game that I'm pretty passionate about. almost 500 copies of the game went out in that lot.

Using the sales of The Law, I now had a list of emails in the OBS system. I used this as a promotional tool when releasing The Dispatch Guide, and within the first week sold half a dozen copies, which was a little faster than I normally would reach that point, but as a second book in a series (rath…

Reviews and Comp Copies

OneBookShelf has a function where a product can be sent to a group of reviewers. The idea is that this will get at least one of them to read through the product and provide a bit of feedback, because good reviews are one of the strongest promotional tools available to a new product.

When I released the Dispatch Guide for The Law a fortnight ago, I sent comp copies to their reviewer's circle, and figured I'd send a copy of the core rules for The Law along with it... after all, a GMs handbook makes more sense when the rules it refers to are also present.

I indicated at the time that I'd provide feedback on this feature... I can't remember if I made that indication here on the blog, or in one of the game design Facebook groups I'm a part of. Either way, a fortnight has passed, I've sold half a dozen copies of the Dispatch Guide, and a few more copies of The Law. I haven't had a single review from the reviewer's circle.

Transrobotism

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So, the last post was on transhumanism, and it generated some decent conversation.


Then I saw this awesome post by Joshua Macy.

It provides robots as a character option for Space Crawl (which seems to be a sci-fi version of Dungeon Crawl Classics).

I could pretty easily convert some of these ideas to the SNAFU system, which is my working name for the game system underlying The Law.

Characters in this system start with d4 in each of the four attributes, then generally 4 dice upgrades, 4 abilities, 4 defences, and then a range of 3 upgrades that could improve elements in any of these three categories.

In The Law, two of the attribute upgrades (and two of the abilities), are defined by the character's caste. There are six castes, each increasing a different pair of attributes (and providing abilities associated with those skill increases). A series of automatic abilities are added to characters based on their training in the agency academy. Defences are added to each of the four attr…

Transhumanism

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(If you have issue with any of this, let me know. I'm trying to wrap my head around some big concepts here, and I honestly believe that getting more opinions on the subject matter will give a more complete picture)

I generally fit into the mainstream of game designers. I'm white, I'm male, I'm generally cis and hetero, I have enough spare time to actually work on game design because I'm not working stupidly long hours on minimum pay to support a family. Yes, I've got a degree of privilege, I accept that, and I do what I can to take that into consideration when dealing with other people. I'm not in the US or the UK where there are bigger opportunities for networking, so I'll always struggle to get my voice heard over those folks who are in closer proximity to those hubs of game design, I'm not completely neuro-typical, but I've learnt enough to masquerade as neuro-typical to most people.

The reason I've started writing this post is to take a …

RPGaDay (Parts 11-20)

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Since I’m doing these in batches of 10, it’s time to start working through the next sequence.
11. Wildest Character Name
I’ve had some crazy character names over the years. Sometimes offering them as a hint toward the type of character that I’m playing… there was “Sir Ashley Williams, Keeper of the Third Sacred Boomstick, and Scourge of the Undying”, it actually took players two years to work out that I had basically named the character “Ash” from the Evil Dead series. One of the more interesting character names I used was for a character who walked into a LARP with no name. Based on the first conversation exchange the character, they became known as “No Kick Mushrooms”. There’s plenty of others, but these two come to mind first.
12. Wildest Character Concept
As mentioned, “No Kick Mushrooms” was a LARP character, and was a tiny goblin inhabiting a bio-organic power armour suit that was roughly human sized. This was modelled by using a painted green doll with a customised goblin head, …

Vignettes from The Sprawl

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I've been sharing my progress with the mini-comics I've been writing and illustrating for "The Law", and a few people have started commenting on how much their enjoying the comics, and whether they might end up relating to a larger comic series.

Honestly, at this stage I'm not sure.

I'm happy writing four page comics, and maybe expanding those to six or eight pages... and themes or elements from those comics will crossover between the sequences that I'm producing, but this project isn't about the comic book, the comics are being written to support the game.

The current comic is one of those four page sequences, that will get a couple of extra pages scattered through the book it's presented in. It relates to a mysterious object that needs to be identified.





A follow up pair of pages for this comic will go into rule explanations about identifying things, and making things.

It includes two of the characters who will probably make regular appearances a…
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In the 1980s, the Traffic Authority of New South Wales released a number of booklets on cycle safety named "The Bike Book". These were serious books about what kids needed to be aware of when riding bikes in public spaces such as parks, paths, and roads.

No, that's not actually true at all.

They released a series of books under the pretence that they were serious booklets on cycle safety, but British comedian Spike Milligan had scrawled all over them with jokes, funny insights, and surreal additions to the text. The basic in for action in the book was carefully laid out and typeset, and Spike's handwriting and crudely drawn sketches were scrawled across the pages. Sometimes chunks of text were scribbled out, sometimes he'd make comments about how certain aspects of the text were fine in theory but didn't work that way in reality, often he'd underline bits and agree with it.

There were three levels of book. One for "small" kids, which had innoce…

Game Chef 2018

"Speedwalking".. seriously?

Here's my first idea...

My first thought for Game Chef is just called "My Druitt", but I'm sure that any suitably Bogan suburb can be substituted. 
It's about weed dealers who "weigh" their stock, and roll their "blunts", while wearing Ugg boots (to cover the "sheepskin" ingredient). To avoid suspicion from police, they have a tendency to "speedwalk" rather than run. 

Theirs are the "lost stories" because too much pot smoking has started eroding their brains... or perhaps the adventures occur while they are stoned.

Yes, I know you only need two ingredients, but it's always more challenging to add more.

I probably won't use this idea, as it's very "Sydney-centric" and many of the in-in-jokes that would comprise the entry would lose some of their meaning outside of Sydney, and possibly be rendered meaningless beyond Australia's shores.

Further Law Books

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Too many books...not enough time to write them all.

I've now released the main rules for The Law...


...and the Dispatch Guide.


I'm currently working on The Quartermaster Inventory Records (which is doing that typically cyberpunk thing where you get a list of awesome equipment, as well as a bunch of rules to describe how to make your own equipment for the game), and following that will come the Agency Field Manual (which will basically be a players guide, with a variant method of character generation, and a few ideas about how to get the most out of a game). Then there will be a "Most Wanted" book (with some sample characters, the types of crimes they might need to be investigated for, and the ways they might function as long term characters feeding plots over multiple sessions).

I'll need to produce seven books for the seven castes who live in the sprawl (management, fanatics, militia, cultists, street, mutants, drifters), and then maybe some books providing info…

The Forgotten Places

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No, not the Forgotten Realms, just other places that I've forgotten about for projects that have been abandoned.

Earlier this week I found one of my old sketchbooks with some half finished pencil sketches and some sketches that had been partially inked. I've spent a bit of time working on the images, now I just need to work out what do do with them.

Other Media

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I've uploaded the Dispatch Guide, and I've noticed that the RPGNow/DrivethruRPG file for the core rules of The Law were out of date, so  they've been corrected and updated.

With this range of corrections, updates, and new releases, I've decided to play with a few new features on the site. They may not be new for other people, but I've not used them before, so it will be interesting yo see what impact they have. I'm using the customer email tool and sending review copies to the list of featured reviewers. I'll offer some feedback on those once a week or so has passed, because at that point I should have a useful period to reflect back on.


Meanwhile, I'm wondering about whether to engage in other media forms. I'm thinking about YouTube videos or a short form podcast. The question is whether people want to hear my voice, or whether I can produce something good enough that it actually helps what I'm trying to achieve rather than hindering it.

Then I…

Dispatch Guide

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After a long and arduous process, and numerous other issues getting in the way, it looks like The Dispatch Guide for The Law is ready to go live. Hopefully by this time tomorrow there might be a couple of sales.

RPGaDay (Parts 1-10)

I'm not really doing this in the proper manner. In previous years I've answered a question every day, but this year I'm just going to run through the question in three batches of 10 each.

On with the responses...

1. What do you love about RPGs?

There are so many answers to this question, but I'll narrow it down to three of the things I love most about RPGs.  The first is the way they allow players to experience things that they would be unable to engage in their regular lives, in this way they provide a safe place for experimentation and a liminal space for players to make choices that can be confined to a narrative space and a close group of friends. The second element plays into this as well, and that is the way RPGs are a social activity, they allow players to get to learn about one another through their characters, I've met so many friends this way. The third is the way RPGs prompt the imagination and act as a catalyst for learning, I'm actually planning to …

RPGaDay coming.

It's 10 days into August, and I haven't even started RPGaDay. In some regards there's too much happening, in others not enough. Basically, there's not much happening externally, so I'm working on lots of things to get them happening.

I'll probably write up 3 blocks of 10 responses each... starting with one this afternoon.

Then there's Game Chef to consider as well. 

Drawing Process

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Just thought I'd share the process I've been going through for this introductory comic.
Step 1. I use artist mannequins to get the poses right. Using a desk lamp or two to get some interesting lighting effects, or in the case of the bottom photo, to set the lighting for an explosion. Once I've taken a few photos in a sequence, I combine them into a page layout.
Step 2. With the poses right and the page laid out, I cheat a bit here and use my computer monitor as a light box. Using a light weight paper over the screen, I trace the basic shapes of the figures, and the various bounding boxes that build up the page. This tracing is done at roughly 150% of the final image size, this is done for two reasons... the first means I can often add a bit more detail in the illustrations, the second means any mistakes that I make in the image will be reduced in the final image and less noticeable. I've added text here in the traditional comic onomatopoeia, using Photoshop to distort t…

Clean or Gritty

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I like artwork that reflects the tone of the setting, and gives ideas toward the types of narrative that might be found within the setting. I've also found that Lulu doesn't like printing paperback books with less than 32 pages.

So, with these two factors in mind, I've started writing up some mini comics to help set the tone for the urban sprawl of The Law. These mini comics will appear at the beginning of the various sourcebooks I'm writing up, and will be used to illustrate specific rule concepts within the game. If you've been following the blog, you'll know that this game is set in a pseudo-"Judge Dredd" urban sprawl, and the characters are agents of a megalithic bureau of law enforcement that is overworked and barely able to maintain peace despite having an incredible array of technology at their disposal, and the authority to act as Judge, Jury and Executioner on the streets. It's a post cyberpunk setting, where there is the potential for al…

Modular Dungeon

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It's been a bad run over the last couple of weeks. I finished my university studies over a month ago. I've been trying to get accredited as a teacher since the beginning of the year, and by this stage the process should have been completed. I know there are jobs in the fields where I'm qualified to teach, but I can't get through the bureaucracy to get to those jobs. Chasing this down has drained my bank accounts dry, with costs for car registration, power bills and phone bills coming in on top of that. 
I tried to do a bit more study while waiting for accreditation from the relevant government departments, but I can't even do that, because the up front fee for study at the local college (while cut back due to being a registered carer) was still too much...
...so I've fallen back on doing what I love to do, what I find to be a fun diversion when the real world just starts getting me down, and what tends to make me a bit of extra money on the side.
I've gath…