Colonial Gothic: New France is in layout, SS&S: Expert is about to go into proof reading, SS&S: Basic’s reedit is done and about to go into layout, Thousand Suns: Revised is nearing the end, and Dwimmermount is as well. There is a lot more going on, and my list of projects are out of control. Anyway, it is Dwimmermount which this post is about. To the right is the final cover. I love this.
First off, let me say, I got sick at GenCon on Friday (8/6). I woke up not feeling well, and got progressively worse throughout the day. This pissed me off, because I had a lot of meetings as well as was going to run Shadow, Sword & Spell for Zachary Houghton and his friends and I couldn’t. As the con went on, I got worse. Being sick stinks, but being sick at a con sucks.
I mention this fact of being sick as a way to explain why this might not be as long, or a little less in depth as I like.
Ok, so another GenCon comes and goes, and like the past three, I find myself with the same sense of being overwhelmed and humbled. I know I say this a lot, but it is true. My hobby (as well as James’ hobby) is designing games for people to play for their hobby. We design games. We are passionate about the games that we design. We are passionate about games period. So when you go to a con such as GenCon, you are not ready for the press of people who not only want to buy the things you design, but are enthused by what you design.
As in year’s past, GenCon is the start of Rogue Games’ design year. Our entire schedule and operations revolve around kicking off the year at this show. Why? It is the one place where we can spread the news and show the world what we have in store. GenCon is thus the time to look back and look forward.
We released Flames of Freedom: Boston Besieged at the show. I came with 50 copies and we sold out on Sunday. If I was not sure about gamers wanting more published adventures, then I would be sure now. Everyone who bought was happy to see it, and many came back to the booth gushing their praise about it. All I kept thinking was: “If you think Boston is good, wait until you see Philadelphia.”
The rest of the books were in the booth, and sales were very strong. I nearly sold out of everything else, and what really made me smile was people who like the game for the history. Working on Colonial Gothic is fun but draining and that is due to the research. It felt nice for people to notice the effort put in. Another interesting fact is that one of the people who bought the game (every book) is an American Revolution Reenacter. She invited me to a reenact in October and they have promised (or threatened) to get me in period dress. This is something my wife is dying to see.
The big hit was the full color 11”x17” maps of Boston and the Colonies I had for sale. I did not think these would be as much as a hit as they were, and I sold out of Boston and almost all of the colony maps. I plan on doing a reprint of these and getting them up for sale on the website. I am also working on getting some done for retail stores for give aways.
As for the future books, here is the news that everyone found out at the show:
- Colonial Gothic: New France -- Next book and this is due out January 2011
- Colonial Gothic: French Indian War -- Due out in Spring 2011
- Flames of Freedom: Philadelphia -- Due out Summer 2011 (title not set in stone)
- There will be a pirate book but not until 2012.
- There are more PDFs coming, and Jennifer Brozek (Elizabethtown, Plymouth and Ross-Allen Letters) wants to write more of them.
- There is a plan in place to explore the period backward in time, as well as other areas of the world. My goal, and it is one Graeme shares with me, is to show how history can be the spring board.
I came to GenCon with 48 copies of Starships and I left with 5. Not only was this book selling, but everything was selling. The big topic of conversation was what the revision is going to be like. I will let James take this over:
When I first conceived of the idea, I mostly wanted to fix some typos, clean up some vague rules, and give the whole thing a new layout and art, because I wasn't happy with the way the original turned out esthetically. This revision was planned to be finished in time for May 2010.
As I worked on it, though, I realized that what the game really needed was to be rewritten. Not *changed* -- I still want a revision that's 95+% compatible with the original -- but more clearly and evocatively written. The original rulebook is longer and more verbose than it needs to be. It's also badly organized and includes more detail than is needed in some areas and not enough in others. So, I decided that rather than just tweak the rulebook I'd rebuild it from the bottom up and that's taking more time than I'd originally thought it would.
Again, let me reiterate that the revision will be 95+% compatible with the original. I'm not creating a new game but I am creating a new rulebook, one that I hope will be easier to understand and to use, as well as nicer looking overall. Fortunately, I've got a lot of ideas on how to do this and the art I've commissioned for the new book is awesome, as is the layout we have in mind. Take a look at the recently released Starships book to get a small taste of my new approach to the game.
The revision will likely come out in early 2011, but I can't set a specific date yet, because this is one of those "it's done when it's done" projects. The current rulebook does what it needs to do and the new book isn't going to change much (aside from the starship rules, which you now have access to through Starships), so there's no rush. On the other hand, I really do want to get a new rulebook out there, because I think Thousand Suns is a great game that's not yet reached its full potential due to poor layout and organization and writing that's not as good as it should be. So I expect we'll see it sooner rather than later.
Ok, so there you go. James is working on it now, and it is moving along really well. My hope is that it will be out next summer. Do not hold me to this, however.
Still, all is not lost. Greg Videll (Starships) and I talked about a Thousand Suns Campaign. We hit upon a good idea and work on this will soon start. In addition Jennifer Brozek and I talked about the game and she is keen on doing some writing as well and we are talking about some PDFs that will be setting specific. James is working on a number of PDFs as well. There is a lot going on behind the scenes.
Shadow, Sword & Spell
Basic is due out next month. Expert is being written now and will be out within 6 months. I am also working on the first supplement City which will deal with urban fantasy in a pulp vein. We will be ramping up support for this game once the game is out, and this includes PDFs. In fact the first adventure is being edited now, and should be out the same time the game is released.
Oh, and we sold out at the con.
(Way to bury the lead).
I came with 50 and left with 0. To say the reaction to this game was intense would be an understatement. I was not really prepared for the reaction the game got. For $12.99 you can have a complete fantasy game. I should have thought about this. I am really proud of this game and I cannot wait to work on it some more.
Coming December 2010 is the following:
Oh and original PDFs are coming soon as well.
Bits and Mortar
I mentioned this briefly yesterday, and I will have a lot more to say in the days to come, but let me say this. I am really proud of this. Bits and Mortar is something both James and I believe in, and I am passionate about making the PDF Guarantee that we do available to as many retailers as possible. I jokingly called our Friday meeting as the Meeting of the Seven Families (yes I know there are six, it was a joke), but it is very cool to be working with others who share the vision.
Other News and Thoughts
I saw a lot of cool things, bought a lot of cool things, and have a few thoughts that I am still mulling over. I will post them on my personal blog. I will say this, James and I have a lot of plans, and we are as committed to our plans as ever before. We are passionate about what we do, and we both feel very lucky that we can do this.
I ran a pick up game of Colonial Gothic and it was a blast. One of the player’s wife played, and she learned the game within 5 minutes. It was a deadly adventure, but it was fun. Next year I will do more, and I am working on having demos in the booth. Period. It will happen, and there will not be another GenCon without everyone having a chance to play in a demo.
It has been a long four years. We’ve made mistakes, we learned a lot, but in the end we have had nothing but fun. We cannot thank you enough for your support, and for reaction you bring to what we do. We truly are humbled by the reaction to our work. Thank you.
Let’s get this one out of the way first. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here is a picture:
Yeah, Shadow, Sword & Spell: Basic will be in the booth and this is the first time you will have a chance to not only buy a copy, but look at it. This book will set you back $13, but everything you need is here.
Besides this game, copies of James’ The Cursed Chateau will be there as well. This is the first Old School adventure we released for d20 based fantasy games (*cough* D&D *cough* *cough* Swords & Wizardry *cough*). Stop by the booth and ask me about the upcoming Dwimmermount.
- Dwimmermount: This will detail six levels of my campaign's megadungeon, but I'm presenting it in a style somewhat akin to Mike Carr's In Search of the Unknown. So, you'll get maps, background, wandering monster tables, room descriptions, new magic items, etc. along with advice/suggestions/commentary on how to place them within the overall complex. There will be a few "set piece" rooms, like the Moon Pool and the Cleric Tree, as well some keyed monster encounters, but, by and large, it'll be a "megadungeon starter kit" rather than something more ready to use "out of the box."
- Dwimmermount PDFs: Quite a few people have asked me to collect and expand upon some of the rules and setting information from my Dwimmermount campaign. I originally didn't think much of this idea, but I've warmed to it over time, particularly since it lets me keep the megadungeon product free of some (though obviously not all) of the setting specificity that might limit its appeal. So, I'm working on the first of several short PDF products that present my house rules and setting information for use with Labyrinth Lord. The first will treat dwarves and gnomes and I have ideas for others about elves, goblins, alternate classes, and the like.
- Labyrinth Lord, the Dwimmermount Edit: This is something I may make available just as a free text file and it might be sometime before it's fully done. Basically, it's a reorganized version of the LL rules that reflects all the little idiosyncrasies of the way I run my game, like the altered saving throw charts, the "target 20" hit system, the revised spell and monster lists, and so forth. It's not meant to be a full treatment of everything from my campaign rules-wise, but instead a look at how I've adapted the basic rules of LL to suit what happens at my table.
- Thousand Suns Revision: As some of you may already know, I wrote a SF RPG called Thousand Suns several years ago. While I am happy with what I created, I think the game needs to be better and more concisely presented. It's a simple, expansive game that's overwritten and desperately needs better organization. So, that's what I'm planning to do: give the game a solid spit and polish to make it as good as it should have been the first time out of the gate.
This is just a small sampling of his current work load. As for me, I’ll post my Hit List tomorrow.