Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I'm Blowing Up the World Again!

The other night, I finished the revised draft of Psi-Watch. Finally able to write again (yippee!) I added over 20K words, most of which is purely world information. I built up an Image-style world, filled with lots of little homages and in-jokes to the comics. The Psi-Watch setting is an original world, to be sure, but if you’re a fan of early Lee and Silvestri stuff, you’ll find the world instantly familiar… and very damn gamable. There’s a real sense of history here, some interesting villains for your psionic supersoliders to do battle with, and some cool locales and NPC power-bases. You’ll find analogues for WildStorm Comics concepts like Gamorra Island- a decadent, cyberpunk island in the Pacific Rim where everything is for sale and International Operations (IO), a world-spanning superspy organization.

In addition, I added a handful of new feats, and a trio of new player species. Think StormWatch people- want to play Fuji or Jack Hawksmoor? Go right ahead, baby! You’ll find all the support you’ll need to do so within the pages. Finally, I decided to reprint the Mind Reaper Advanced Class, from the D7ACU line, since that class was specifically inspired by some of Jim Lee’s characters.

I figure that product is old enough that reprinting it here won’t seriously harm Mark’s sales, but naturally if he has any objection or concern, out the reprinted Mind-Reaper goes. I never want to be one of those publishers who just reprints and repackages the OGL efforts of other creators, even if I was the one who originally created the OGL material in question. I won’t be reprinting the flavor fiction which comes with the standalone class, so there is still some value to purchasing the original product if you haven’t already, especially if you like my writing.
By the way, you needn’t worry that Psi-Watch will be a lot of reprinted material- the only things that will be recycled in the entire 275 page , 100,000 plus word manuscript will be the Mind Reaper class (around 3000 words), and one of the player species, which comes to about 500 more words. I decided to pull in the Spetznaski player species, from my own D20 Decade: the 1980s, since the concept of a genetically engineered Russian supersoldier is so Image it hurts.

I really had a lot of fun finishing Psi-Watch up, and now it’s just a matter of getting this puppy laid out, for which I’ll turn to Mark’s expertise, and getting some art purchased. Meanwhile, I’m going to be working on a freelance project for Reality Deviants over the next few weeks. Remember that cool post-apoc magic project I was hired to work on a week or two ago? Well, now that I’m done with Psi-Watch, I’ll be starting up.

I’ve got a bunch of ideas for various magic using factions and some really disturbing new magical styles and powers. Disturbing will be my watchword for this project- an after-the-bomb setting is going to be grim as hell anyway, and once you start adding magic and demons and vampires, things are just going to get worse. I want this thing to be scary and disgusting and cruel, because to tell a good post-apoc story, you need all of that. Slavers, cannibal raiders wiping out struggling communities, disease, filth, infection, sentient disease, children scarred by radiation while in the womb, murder, rape, robbery, treachery, starvation… you know, a cheerful, G-rated setting.

Now, I’m a huge Rifts fan, and my first games ever were set on Rifts Earth, so that’s definitely an influence that’s rattling around the back of my skull.

I’m also keeping the Richard McCamon novel “Swan Song” in mind. To me at least, Swan Song is a superior novel to The Stand, filled with a lot cooler concepts and a much more palpable struggle between good and evil. I like both books, but I’ve re-read SwanSong a dozen times in the last few years; I can’t remember the last time I slogged through The Stand… I think I was in high school when I read it last, which may mean it’s time for a re-read.…. in the name of ‘research’ of course.

Whenever I write, I usually keep a constant loop of movies on my DVD player. During the D20 Decade write-a-thon, I was watching Red Dawn, Lethal Weapon I and II, Labyrinth and MoonRaker, not to mention a few others. For this project, I’ll be popping in some Mad Max, Cyborg, some Romero zombie horror, and maybe some Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green or even On the Beach if I can find a cheap used copy. 300 will probably find its way into the mix, because violence is violence and post-apoc is all about stylish violence. Also, the YouTube trailer for the new movie, Doomsday, is worth checking out. If I can figure out how, I’ll include a link here so you all can check it out.

Finally, on the influence front, I might include some elements inspired by the art of an internet fetish artist named Dolcett. Definitely disturbing, and I’ve got some ideas for a twist on the traditional ‘vampire’ concept inspired by this guy’s art. By the way, if you guys n’ gals go Googling for some examples of his work, be aware you’ll find some stuff definitely not suitable for a work computer. Anyway, freaky as this guy’s stuff is I kinda like it on an artistic level, and it’s inspired my writing every bit as much as works by….well… saner artists.

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