Saturday, August 24, 2019

Play to Find Out What Happens

In a lot of the Powered by the Apocalypse games that I've looked at, the section of the rules for gamemasters often looks, at first glance, to someone unfamiliar with PBTA games, like just advice on running games in whatever the setting of that game is. Most of the content doesn't look or sound like rules. And yet, it is. And it's very important to the system that these things are rules and not just advice or guidelines.

The Way it Works:

Gamemasters/Narrators/Masters of Ceremony/whatever they're called in the specific PBTA game you're looking at have three different sets of "rules" to follow: Agenda, Principles, and Moves

Agenda

A GM's Agenda is a list of about three to five things that make up the core of what the GM is supposed to do. Everything the GM does through the course of the game should be traceable back to the Agenda. Oftentimes, the agenda will include points like "Make the setting seem real," and "Fill the player characters' lives with conflict/adventure/trouble".

Principles

Principles expand upon the Agenda in more specific and direct ways. These guidelines help to provide a more complex framework for the GM to follow in running a game. Again, all actions should be traceable back to the principles. These might include things like "Be a fan of the protagonists," "make a move, but never speak its name," "think off screen," or "name everyone and give them a Motivation."

Again, this just sounds like good advice, but PBTA games are set up such that if you aren't acting in accordance with the Principles, the game will likely fall flat.

Moves

Moves are the things that Gamemasters can actually and actively do in the course of the game. They are how the GM moves the game forward and propels the story. These include things like "Separate them," "Deal damage," "Reveal an unwelcome truth," "Give them a difficult choice," or "Turn their move back on them." 

While the Agenda set's the GM's purpose and the Principles set the GM's focus, the Moves provide the GM with things to do.

I told you that one so I could tell you this

One of the items that frequently appears within the GM's agenda, is "Play to Find Out What Happens." This appears even in the agenda for The Veil, which I'm going to be running for my next campaign. And this is one that I think will be particularly challenging for me as a GM. But I also think that's a good thing.

Play to Find out what Happens

The basic idea behind this point of the agenda is that the future of the story is within flux. The players don't control what's going to happen, and neither does the gamemaster. Both parties have moves to influence the story, but neither really has control.

From a GM perspective, this means not having a plan. Sort of. It means not setting out a 'this is going to happen, then this, then this." It also means not planning one true path for the players that they need to take to "win." (The idea of "winning" in RPGs is a bit debatable and subjective as it is, but that's, perhaps, a subject for another time.)

Mechanics supporting Story supporting Mechanics supporting Story

Why is this more than just a guideline? Why is it a hard and fast rule that gamemasters have to follow? Well, some of that has to do with the way PBTA games work mechanically.

For a significant portion (maybe most) of PBTA games, when a player wants to do something that they might fail at, they roll 2 six-sided dice, and add any modifiers they might have (from stats, movies, abilities, or situational aspects). If the result is 10 or greater, awesome, the player succeeds. If the result is 7-9, then it's a partial success. The player might succeed at what they were doing, but maybe they only partly succeed or maybe that success comes at a cost. This allows for interesting situations and complications to arise in play. If the result is 6 or lower, then the player fails at what they were attempting.

A lot of the players moves in PBTA games can be pretty big and sweeping. Failing or even having a partial success can entirely change the situation at hand. This can throw a big monkey wrench in the plans of the players or the gamemaster. Since all rolls have about equal odds, there's no way for a gamemaster to prevent or support particular courses of action by raising or lowering the difficulty. 

So, a gamemaster that relies heavily on a specific plan or level of control for the plot will end up being disappointed when the players' plans or rolls subvert that. 

But this is good. Succeeding at a cost and having a set difficulty overall help to keep the drama and storytelling interesting for everyone at the table. It just also means that everyone, including the GM, has to be able to roll with the punches, pun intended.

Why it's hard for me

I like to think that I don't railroad my players. But I do like to have a plan, and I do like to have control. I tend to have a story that I want to tell, or things I want the players to accomplish. I can be flexible on how they get from point A to point B, but I definitely often have point B in mind.

Even with Caerwent Ascending, which I wanted to be completely open world, I ended up forming schemes and ideas of how I wanted things to go down. And I had been disappointed when the players weren't latching on to my idea of what the campaign should have been.

I like to have a plan, and I like to have control.

Why it's good for me anyway

I think that a lot of times, I, as a gamemaster, get caught up in the idea of the game as my world that I'm sharing with the players. The story is my story, and they are just participants in it. But that's not what roleplaying is.

Roleplaying is a shared experience, owned by both the players and the gamemaster.

By letting go of my "plans" or direct control, I allow the players to more fully experience and participate in the roleplaying game. Thus I provide a more full experience for everyone at the table, including me.

I've realized this and I've tried, several times, to take a step back and give the players more control. But I'm bad at letting go of that control and inevitably end up trying to seize it once more.

So, I think that with "play to find out what happens" being encoded into the rules, both on the player and GM side of the game (although in different but cohesive ways), the game will force me to let go of some of that control and will help me to grow as a GM. Hopefully this will also provide a better experience for the players as well.

Prep: Plots verses Scenarios 

Now, I know what you're thinking: "No prep? That sounds impossible." And maybe it would be. But I didn't say I couldn't prep anything. Just that I couldn't prepare plotlines. What I can prepare is a scenario. For a lot of PBTA games, this looks something like this: 
  1. There exists a threat/danger. An NPC or other force that can have an impact on the player character's lives and on the setting as a whole.
  2. This threat wants something-and has a plan to get it, or at least to get closer to getting it
  3. Then I look at the threat's plan and determine steps of what would happen if the players never got involved in the situation.
  4. However, once the players *do* get involved in the situation, I have to adapt accordingly.
  5. All NPCs in the setting have motivations. How the players interact with these NPCs might determine future threats and scenarios.

Bonus Points: Loss of Setting Control

Related to my giving up control: Most PBTA games don't have an "official" or "preset" setting. Many of them are left generic so that blanks can be filled in cooperatively by players and GMs alike as the story goes on. Some of them have means of generating the setting to begin with. The Veil is one of these. This means that not only have I been unable to plan any sort of linear plot, but that I've also been unable to plan the setting, do world building on my own, or otherwise think about what aspects of the world might impact the game.

This is very hard for me.

But hopefully it'll pay off.

My campaign of The Veil, begins next Saturday, 31 August, 2019. I'm sure I'll let you know how it goes.

Ruins & Robots: Available Now

If you've missed the announcement, my Ruins & Robots series of books has started now. Ruins & Robots is a robot-bases space faring post apocalyptic series with cyberpunk themes and gamelit elements.

The story follows MAI, a robot whose role is to raise up projections of human personalities as she and her team search the ruins of humanity in search of anything valuable that our race left behind.

You can grab the first short story for free here:

The first full book of the series, which follows where the short story leaves off, can be found here:

Sunday, August 18, 2019

New Campaign: The Veil

So, since my Numenera campaigns (Caerwent Down and Caerwent Ascending) are now over, I wanted to talk a little bit about what I've got coming up next.

I knew that I wanted to take a break from Numenera/Cypher System for a while, having been so focused on it for so long.

My Initial Idea: World Jumping Modern Fantasy

I had gotten an idea a while back for a modern fantasy game focused on jumping between different worlds, but I had very specific ideas on what I wanted for it. I couldn't find a system that could do what I wanted the way I wanted to do it, and I haven't yet had time to sit down and create my own system for it.

Powered By the Apocalypse

So I looked to other things. And my journey brought me to Powered by the Apocalypse (PBTA) games. These are games that use the game engine developed by Apocalypse World, but cast into different settings and genres.

One of the biggest things that drew me to PBTA games was actually one of the things that had driven me away from them when I'd looked in the past: playbooks. Rather than having "character classes," most PBTA games have "playbooks." These documents are usually one page front and back and have everything a player will ever need to play their character. Games I've looked at usually have between 8 and 18 different playbooks for players to choose from, with each playbook representing a different archtype of that genre/setting. The playbooks have choices for the player in character creation, as well as all their options for advancement throughout a campaign.

Now, this can be...pretty limited, which was why I was hesitant about it to begin with. However, most of the times the playbooks are unique enough and interesting enough that I don't think this limitation necessarily matters.

The reason it stood out to me is because of the problem I've noticed with some of my other campaigns: I have some players who just don't want to work on things outside of the game. So, having playbooks is nice. It makes character creation as well as advancement quick things that can be done at the table without really taking away from the game. It means players don't have to look through book after book to figure out what their best options are. It puts everything right in front of the players, and that is...exactly what I needed for this game.

Genre: Cyberpunk

It wasn't initially my intention to go with a cyberpunk game. What I had really been thinking I wanted was a game focused on pulling heists, with the intention of running something like Leverage. I realized that cyberpunk was probably one of the better genres I could come up with for running a game like this, so I tried to look into what PBTA options there were for cyberpunk.

I found two of them: The Sprawl and The Veil.

The Sprawl was exactly what I had been looking for. It was a game entirely focused on heists/jobs and did so in a dynamic and interesting way.

But The Veil fascinated me as I read about it. Each of the playbooks represented a dynamic aspect of cyberpunk, with characters being defined more by who or what they were than by what they could do. Instead of having generic stats, characters have emotional states that affect their rolls, forcing players to think about how their character is feeling at any given time. It was wonderful. It wasn't heist-focused, although it would support a heist game if that is what my players end up deciding they want to focus on. It's just...PBTA games, in general, are more narrative than mechanical in their focus. The Veil seems even more so, and within that focus it is just so poetic.

So, I decided to go with The Veil.

Our campaign starts at the end of the month, and I'm really looking forward to it.

Ruins & Robots: Available Now

If you've missed the announcement, my Ruins & Robots series of books has started now. Ruins & Robots is a robot-bases space faring post apocalyptic series with cyberpunk themes and gamelit elements.

The story follows MAI, a robot whose role is to raise up projections of human personalities as she and her team search the ruins of humanity in search of anything valuable that our race left behind.

You can grab the first short story for free here:

The first full book of the series, which follows where the short story leaves off, can be found here:

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

2019 GenCon Reflections



Alright, I'm back from GenCon, so I decided to put down some of my thoughts on the events I played in.
 

Paranoia: The Happiest Sector in Alpha Complex

This was the adventure I ran at GenCon. I greatly enjoy running Paranoia for all the chaos that it brings about. The adventure focused on players trying to stop a terrorist plot in an entertainment sector of Alpha Complex.

The enemies, it turned, out, were employees of a different entertainment sector that were tired of Friend Computer World getting regularly named "Happiest Sector in Alpha Complex," and so had set out to drive away its customers before destroying the sector altogether.

During the course of the adventure, my players destroyed two of the rides in Friend Computer World, with very little provoking from the adversaries. The sector got shut down because of the rides being blown up, and the enemies used this as an opportunity to set up their weapons. Of course, this was when the players managed to catch them and stop them, after having caused far more destruction and killed far more people themselves.

Monster of the Week: Weekend at Winsome

I've been looking into a lot of Powered by the Apocalypse games lately (more on that in an upcoming post), so I was happy to get to try out two different PBTA games at GenCon.

Weekend at Winsome had us investigating attacks in a small town that seemed like they might have been caused by a large wolf. It wasn't a wolf. It wasn't a werewolf either.

Our team had a unique collection of characters, and I felt like our character types really did have an impact in how the adventure played out. The adventure was slow at a couple points, but all-in-all pretty good.

Masks: Caped Extravaganza

Masks was our other PBTA game of the convention. Here we got to play as teenage superheroes that were starting to gain recognition in the city.

I liked the variety of character types. The mechanics and moves seemed like they were fun and could keep things moving well.
The GM was very nice, and she tried to give us each an opportunity to explore our characters and experience different events based on what our characters wanted to do.

However, the adventure itself was a little bit...lacking. There was really only one encounter of the whole thing that was at all conflict-based, and that was a bit repetitive. I'm not sure what things looked like behind the GM screen as to if there was something we had to do to beat the boss or if we had to rip up his equipment a certain number of times, or if she just ended it after we each had taken a couple turns.

I think that because the adventure was so limited, there were times when the GM floundered a little bit because she was trying to draw things out. I think this took away from the game a little, and came off as a bit indecisive/uncertain.

Don't get me wrong, I greatly enjoyed playing this game, but I would say that based on the adventure itself and its execution, this was probably my least favorite of the games I played in at GenCon

Over The Edge: Under Broken Wings

Masks and Monster of the Week both provided a large number of character options with a lot of customization within each of those choices. Neither of these was as open-ended as the character options of Over The Edge, where the only limitation really is just one's imagination. This allowed for an incredibly unique team that included a pathological liar conman (my character), a short bodyguard, a monster hunter, and a rock bassoonist.

I think that this was the funnest adventure that I played at GenCon. The adventure was a little more gruesome/horror-ish than I tend to enjoy, but there were a lot of wacky bits that made the whole thing a lot more fun. The GM was very adaptable and did a good job responding to the crazy things that we, as players threw at him.

The setting of Over the Edge seems interesting and like something I'd be interested in exploring in more detail in the future.

The system itself didn't seem all that special, and I don't think there's anything it did that wouldn't have been handled as well or better by something like The Puddle. (Not that it did these things poorly, just that the system didn't really stick out to me as something remarkable.)

Call to Adventure: Board Game Demo

I almost managed to get out of GenCon without buying a board game this year. There were several that had caught my eye, but I never have as much time to play board games as I'd like, so I didn't want to spend a lot of money on something to just have it sit on my shelf.

Sunday, the last day of the convention, we'd gone back and looked at the exhibit hall and seen everything we wanted to see. We were going to grab a quick lunch at the food trucks and then head home.

We just happened to choose a table with this guy who had bought the game Call to Adventure, and who seemed incredibly excited about it. His explaination of the game spread his excitement to us, so me and one other from my group went to check out the game in the exhibit hall. We sat down and enjoyed a quick demo.

A lot of games that I enjoy (Betrayal at the House on the Hill, Untold, Secrets of the Lost Tomb, etc) are really almost more a mechanical justification to indulge in stories. Call to Adventure seems like almost the reverse of this. 

With Untold especially and Betrayal to a lesser extent, the mechanics of the game don't really matter as much to me as whatever the story/events of the game are that time through. The mechanics are there as an excuse to tell whatever the story is.

Call to Adventure uses a lot of storytelling-type elements, but they are being used instead to justify the mechanics of a board/card game. In Call to Adventure, players are given a character type and background as well as a secret destiny/goal for their character to get bonus points at the end of the game. Gameplay extends over three phases, or acts, ranging from a character's humble origins through their growth as a hero or antihero to their climactic finale. In each phase, players gain cards representing different events in the hero's journey but mechanically granting additional resources to gain more cards. When one player manages to get their hero to the end of Act 3, gameplay ends and players all tally up their points (from cards, experience, and other things). Whoever has the most points wins.

It's a pretty fun game, and it's notably playable with 1-4 players and only runs 30 min to an hour, which makes it easier to play than some other games I have which require more time or players.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Never Tell Me the Odds Oneshot Review

Character images created with HeroMachine
A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to run David Somerville's Never Tell Me The Odds as a one shot adventure. Never Tell Me the Odds is a game of space scoundrels risking it all in the same vein as Firefly or the adventures of Han Solo. Here are some of my thoughts:

The System

In Never Tell me the Odds, characters have six factors or values that represent things important to their character. These could be relationships with NPCs, items like blasters or spaceships, beliefs, or a wide variety of other things. Each factor is ranked High, Medium, or Low. 

When players want to accomplish things where there might be a chance of failure, they have to risk one of their factors and roll the dice. On an even roll, the player usually gets what they want. On an odd roll, they don't and they might endanger or even lose their factor. (These results might be a bit better or worse depending on the level of the value in comparison to the level of the risk.)

Science Fiction, Space Ship, Rocket, Space RocketSome Initial Thoughts

  • The fact that all actions tie back to things important to the character makes roleplay a lot more inherent than in systems where actions are tied to numbers
  • I like that the tension increases as the game goes on and players factors become endangered/lost
  • I feel like it was a strange decision to call the game Never Tell Me the Odds when the odds are literally always 50/50

Some Thoughts on the One shot

I planned an adventure around the characters that I was going to have in play. I had 6 players (which might be a bit more than is ideal for the system): a beast alien cat burglar, a hacker, a hyperviking barbarian, a politician, a pilot, and a sharpshooter.

The adventure involved trying to trick a dirty politician into bidding a lot in an art auction while stealing the item that he was using for collateral/credit in the event.

The one shot went really well! I enjoyed it a lot, and I think that other people did too. I feel like a lot of times when I run a one shot, I feel disappointed after it's over that it didn't go how I imagined or that things just didn't run smooth or something. I didn't feel that at all at the end of this one. So that was cool.

I learned that players will always try to use high factors. This wasn't necessarily something I anticipated, but it makes a lot of sense. In the game, if you are using a factor that is higher rated than the rating of the risk, you automatically succeed. You still risk endangering or losing the factor, but you successfully do what you were trying. So, this of course led to players trying to use their higher rated factors all the time. This also makes the players more likely to lose these factors and then not have them to rely on later in the game.

Players will also try to stretch their specialties. In the game, players have specialties that are like professions that make characters better at one thing-reducing the risk of rolls associated with that thing. Players will absolutely try to claim things fall into their specialties that might not. The "Hacker" specialty defines itself as "better at bypassing security." While I think the intention of this is electronic security systems, the player argued that, based on those words, it should include things like locks or security guards. And on a literal interpretation, they're right.

Probability is a cruel mistress. The players were doing awesome at the start of the game. I couldn't believe how we went roll after roll without any odd results...right up until the climax of the adventure. That's when all their bad rolls came out, making for some thrilling heroics and high tension at the end.

Space Station, Universe, Travel, Spaceship, Interior Campaign Play?

Never Tell Me the Odds is clearly designed around one shot play, but I tend to always think about campaigns regardless. There are rules in the book for playing a campaign, involving adding new factors to a character and advancing over the course of several adventures. I don't dislike these, but they didn't focus on what I saw as the larger difficulties of playing multiple sessions.

First, each session would have to be a complete adventure/heist. Or have an adventure spread multiple heists but have no recovery/advancement happen in between each. My thought would be to have it such that if the characters are unable to complete their job before the end of the session, that it's considered them failing for any future ramifications.

Each adventure, characters are going to lose some of their factors. It would be unfair/incredibly difficult for characters to start a new adventure without being full up on factors, so players need to get new ones to replace the ones they lost. HOWEVER, first, the factors that a character has all shift up to fill in any spaces from lost factors of higher values. It makes sense that the things characters were able to hold on to would be more important to them than whatever they are getting to replace those things. This also might make a player think more about if they want to risk their high-ranked blaster, knowing that if it goes away the best they'll be able to replace it with is a low-value one.

Palace, Starry Sky, Clouds, Candles, ColumnarHorror/Suspense

My very first thought after wrapping my head around the rules is that this system would be AWESOME for a horror or suspense type game. A lot of times, in these types of games, the thing that helps to keep the feel suspenseful is having to make tough choices about risking things that are important. That's literally every action with Never Tell Me the Odds. Losing more and more factors as the game goes on would help to ratchet up the tension and possibly the fear as the game goes on. Players would litter ally see everything their character calls about fall away over the course of the adventure. With frequent enough and high enough risks, the system has a strong potential to be incredibly fatal to characters, but even without being fatal, losing things creates a certain panic in players.

Speaking of things in space...

In case you missed it, the first story of my Ruins & Robots series is now available and is completely free.


You'll want to check it out before book 1 comes out on 16 August!

Friday, July 19, 2019

Ruins and Robots 0: Tutorial (Available now for FREE!)

Check out the first story of the Ruins & Robots series available now from Smashwords for FREE:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/949655

It is available in all popular ebook and digital formats, so it will be easy to read on your phone, tablet, computer, or other digital device.


Humanity is no more. In its ruins, robotkind has risen up. 

MAI195-H, or May, a Humanizer model robot, sets out on her first journey, following a Tutorial program. Her Tutorial will take her through the streets of an abandoned human city searching for relics that might be useful to the development of robotkind. Her success will mean getting placed with an excavation team and earning Perplexity Game points that she can spend on upgrades to her chassis. Her failure will mean being decommissioned.

Can she survive the streets of Vlake City alone?

Ruins & Robots is a post-apocalyptic space exploration story with cyberpunk themes and gamelit elements.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Caerwent Closes

No photo description available.

A couple of weeks ago, I concluded my most recent RPG campaign, Caerwent Ascending. Of course, Caerwent Ascending was a sequal campaign to my group's previous campaign, Caerwent Down.

So, closing this campaign marks the end of about two years of adventure.

Caerwent Down

The origional campaign was played in the Numenera setting using the Cypher System basic rules and character types. It followed a group of adventurers searching for a legendary flying city that had fallen from the skies. 

Caerwent, the origional flying city, was inspired largely by Aurthian legends, and the group got to encounter the aged versions of several figures from these stories as they sought out the fallen city.

In the end, they found the city and rose it back, becoming the new leaders of this soaring city-state.

Caerwent Ascending

The more recent campaign utilized the Discovery & Destiny (Numenera 2) types and picked up a year after the previous campaign ended. The players took on the role of new leaders of caerwent (after the heroes from the past campaign had vanished) trying to make their city whole and leave an impact on the world.

They faced off against numerous threats, and learned a great deal about powerful datagods in the Ninth World that had created Caerwent and that would use the Iron Wind for their own ends.

In the end, they convinced the pawn of these datagods to join with them as they were joined by positive datagods in battle against the masters of the Iron Wind. The end of the day found them victorious.

Reflections-These were good campaigns

I enjoyed these campaigns a lot. It might not seem like it, with some of the things I'm going to follow this statement with, but I did. I want to highlight that right now. I am very happy to have gotten to run them, and I see them both as successes. It's just...harder for me to reflect on things that went well. I can't think of much to say about things that did go well, because they just...are... I think it's human not to be able to see the good as easily. I know I experienced the good, but it's harder to put my finger on it.

My Vision-Build a Better Ninth World

When I first started planning Caerwent, it was going to be one campaign. I wanted to have the players raise up the city and then become its champions, touring the world with the city in tow and making the Ninth World a better place. 

Then Monte Cook games announced Numenera 2, with a focus on building up cities and making the Ninth World better, and this seemed to be exactly exactly in line with my plan for the Caerwent game. But it wouldn't be out in time for when I wanted to start the game. So, I decided to split it into two games instead.

The first campaign, Caerwent Down, was fairly straightforward and went, more or less, according to plan. (I feel like I didn't think so at the time, but I cannot put my finger on what seemed out of place. Possibly just wanting to get to actually building up the Ninth World.)

I had...very high aspirations for Caerwent Ascending. I wanted to really get into the city rules. I wanted to really get into the crafting stuff. I wanted to really focus on Caerwent's connection to other cities and places in the Ninth World and for the players to work on building up these places. I had a plan that involved giving the players city-based issues in between sessions and having them vote on how they wanted to resolve them. Most of this didn't really end up happening.

Unmet Expectations

Notably, I don't really blame my players for things not going according to plan. The stuff that I thought was important and wanted to focus on? The city and crafting stuff and having players make decisions about how to rule the city? It all felt to me like stuff that was more technical than roleplay, and therefore stuff that I wanted to resolve outside of session. This really meant that even if that stuff was done, it wouldn't have been the focus of gameplay anyway, so I had set myself up for failure to begin with. 

But then, I found that players didn't really want to engage with these things outside of session. They didn't want to read long walls of text giving their advisors opinions on matters and then vote on them. They didn't want to spend time outside of session working on long technical crafting things. I don't blame them. 

So, most of these things, that had been my driving push to begin with sort of fell by the wayside. It also meant that we really didn't get to experience the full benefits of running Numenera 2 and might have been better off with the origional types/rules.

I'm not saying Numenera 2 doesn't work or that it wouldn't be fantastic for this sort of thing. It just wasn't as compatiable with the combination of how I was trying to run things and how my players were trying to play things. I probably could have taken time in session to work out the city-focused things, but for whatever reason I didn't want to and I ended up dropping these issues instead.

NPC Players

One thing that I did that I enjoyed a lot was that I ran NPC players. I may write a longer post about this in the future, but the basic idea is that I had people who weren't at the table that made characters/groups that were active in the world. Every couple weeks, I'd message the NPC Players about what was happening in the world as it affected their character/group, and we'd discuss what they wanted to do moving forward.

I think this made the world seem more real/dynamic for the players, and it allowed them to experience things that worked on other lines of thinking than the common patterns that I use.

One of the NPCs played a datagod who had an automaton infiltrate Caerwent under the guise of being one of its advisors. Another controlled the Jagged Dream, an organization trying to spark war in the Ninth World. Another played Caerwent's military advisor. Another played a replicating automaton, infecting any tech it found and turning it into instances of itself. Another played a mad noble whose wife had been transformed by the Iron Wind and who was set upon the path to revenge against the soaring city.

Overall

As I said earlier, I really enjoyed these campaigns, and that's the note I want to end on. I loved the characters that my players (both at the table and beyond) came up with, and I had a lot of fun interacting with them. The players explored a lot of interesting places across the Ninth World, and met a lot of interesting people. They overcame great villians and they did help cities and nations of the Ninth World. I had a lot of fun running these games, and I'm really looking forward to what we have to play next.

But that's a post for another day.

If you play RPGs, what are some campaigns that you look back on (either playing or running)? What do you remember fondly about them? Are there expectations you had that weren't quite met?

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

I Have a Plan...


Although, it’s really more of a schedule.


Heroism and Other Lies

All five stories of the first season of Heroism and Other Lies are now available for free through Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program. And if you’re not a Kindle Unlimited reader, they’re still pretty cheap. I’m hoping that this gets the story into the hands of more readers, and that it might cause the series to gain enough support to justify working on a second season.







Ruins & Robots

Lately, I’ve gone back to working on Ruins & Robots. I’ve got an intro short story and the first two books pretty much ready to go, and I don’t think it’ll be too long before the next two are ready to go. The first four books of the Ruins & Robots series represent the first full arc of the overall story, so I’ll likely take a short break from R&R once I’m done with that. I’d hope to put out 3 or 4 more Ruins & Robots books in 2020.

I’m hoping to drop the short story, Tutorial, in July. Tutorial will be free for all readers.
The first book of the series, Audio Virtualization, will be put out in August.

Each of the following books will be released one month after the previous one. Meaning book 2 (Saved Images) will be released in September, book 3 will be released in October, and book 4 will be released in November.

These will all be available for free on Kindle Unlimited, or fairly cheap otherwise.

The Book of Destiny


Technical difficulties and other issues set me very far behind in my quest to start my Book of Destiny podcast. I’m hoping to surpass these issues and begin the launch the Book of Destiny in January of 2020. This puts me a whole year behind what I’d hoped to do with the Book of Destiny, but I think it’s important that I handle it correctly.

While the Book of Destiny, being offered as a free podcast, offers me the least potential for profit (in fact, it stands to cost me quite a bit), I have to acknowledge that it is the most important of the creative pursuits that I am working on.

I want it to reach people, perhaps more than any of my other projects. Right now, I’m sort of seeing it as my life’s work.

So, I’m very much hoping that making Heroism and Other Lies and Ruins & Robots available and more accessable to readers, I might gain a larger following in order to gain support for the Book of Destiny (and the other Books of the Universe to follow it.)