Tuesday, March 10, 2009

GO SEE WATCHMEN! (and current activity)

First and foremost: Go see Watchmen. Right fucking now. Shut down your computer and go see that movie, this blog will still be here when you get back.

As a fan of the comic, I give the movie an 8/10. The pacing was a little bit off (especially the psychologist subplot, which had a lot more weight and gravitas in the graphic novel) and there were a few more things I wish were included, but it was an amazingly faithful adaptation. I personally can’t wait for the extended cut, fully loaded DVD, which will probably take the Lord of the Rings route and be a dense, five hour monster of a movie. Can’t wait.

So anyway, in addition to gaming on Sundays and watching the Watchmen, what am I working on?

Right now, I’m hard at work on some additional Otherverse Games releases. I’ve still got some releases in the pipeline, which I assume Mark is waiting for the GM’s day sales to clear, before releasing. In addition to a Thinking Races sourcebook focusing on the core races- Elves, Dwarves and Halflings (and Goblins too, yeah!), expect a trio of advanced classes, which act as indirect support for the Psi-Watch and Otherverse America campaign settings.

In terms of new stuff, I just put together a big, very pretty sourcebook purely of dinosaur stats. All the art is public domain, from various non-profit scientific sources, and looks great. The sourcebook, which I’m titling Giants in the Earth, was pretty much a lark. I felt like putting out some quick, fun monster stat-blocks, and was able to do so at no cost to myself. Again, if you’re a lower end game designer, use all the P.D. and stock art you can- it will dramatically increase your profitability.

I’m also hard at work on two new Thinking Races supplements, one focusing on Planar Races, and another focused exclusively on monsters from Greek mythology. I’ll be commissioning some art for the Planar Races book, as well as doing some stuff myself. Expect that one out in a month or two, and the Greek book shortly there after.

I’ve just sent a couple of fantasy manuscripts over to Louis Porter, one of which brings Ley Lines, geomancy and Ebberon or Final Fantasy-style magi-tech to D20 Fantasy. Hopefully, they’ll get picked up and published. Go buy ‘em when they do, Louis usually puts out some pretty cool stuff.
I’m also putting together a freeform, race creation cookbook which allows players
to build ‘furry’ style anthromorphic races. The manuscript on that one is about 90% complete, though I’ll probably be tweaking it a bit till release. I’ll find some of the sexiest, coolest furry stock art I can and maybe do some of my own. Don’t expect Freeform Anthromorphica until August though- I have every intention of supporting Paizo’s Pathfinder GSL, and will probably release Freeform Anthromorphica as a Pathfinder compatible sourcebook at midnight on the day their ‘streetdate’ restriction expires. I have a feeling that book, hitting at that time, will be a damn good seller for me.

Right now, I’ve got about 50 pages or so of material for Otherverse America’s APEX sourcebook. I’m delving very deeply into the military structure and history of Otherverse America, and focusing lots of attention on the APEX organization itself as well as 2107’s various federal law enforcement agencies. Expect another big ass sourcebook with lots of assorted crunch and fluff. Right now, I want the final sourcebook to top out at between 150 and 200 pages, so I still have a lot of work to do.

Readers, if there’s any thing you want to see in the APEX sourcebook, or questions you need answered after reading the Otherverse America campaign setting, let me know, and if I can I’ll address it in this upcoming sourcebook.

Free Stuff

Finally, I’ll leave you with an excerpt from my yet-to-be-named Greek Thinking Races splatbook- a full racial write up for the Cyclops. Enjoy, and let me know how these big boys work out in your home campaigns. The art on the side by the way is a piece from a Todd Lockwood Magic: the Gathering card, which I’ve always sorta liked.

Player Species: Cyclops

When the world was young, a nation of Cloud Giants allowed a primitive tribe to worship them as gods. The proud giants taught the humans to write, to harvest, to carve runes and to craft weapons- first from bone and wood, and than, as the human’s skills increased, from finer things. And in time, the human tribe became more and more like their giant fathers, becoming as strong and enduring as the mountains that both races called home.

Appearance: Cyclops resemble gigantic, transfigured humans, hinting at the species’ origin as a servitor tribe. The massive creatures have lean, ropy physiques corded with dense muscle- the Cyclops are nearly as powerful as their giant benefactors. They are swarthy, with dark skin, hair and a dark single eye. A Cyclops’ caramel skin is inlaid with slender golden and silver threads, and their large, but dexterous hands are concealed beneath thin, gauntlet-like, bronze plates. Their metallic adornments are gifts from the Cloud Giant Nation for the Cyclops’ millennia of loyal service.

Cyclops have only a single enormous eye under a heavy brow. Flakes of gold float within the creatures’ dark amber pupil. A Cyclops’ single eye is incredibly keen, able to see at a distance as clearly as a well-made spyglass, and as adept at picking out fine details as a jeweler’s eye-lens.
Cyclops of both genders wear their curly, dark hair long, and favor simple styles. When working or waging war, the Cyclops pull their hair into a practical top-knot to keep it out of the way. When at rest, a Cyclops lets its hair hang freely; Cyclops tradition views bound or braided hair as a sign of war-like intent. Cyclops diplomats and rulers rarely tie or braid their hair, for that reason.

Cyclops are excellent smiths, who craft superb, finely decorated weapons and armor, as well as non-military goods such as caravan wagons and long-ships. Cyclops enjoy well-made armor, favoring highly decorated, colorful, full suits of scale armor. Crafting a fine set of scale mail is considered more of a test of a Cyclops’ crafting abilities than building a ‘simple’ suit of full plate, which leads to some interesting rivalries and contests of skill with Dwarven and Rune Troll armor-smiths. When discussing their skills at the forge, Cyclops can be insufferable braggarts, but they have the talent to back their haughty words up.
When at peace, Cyclops wear loose flowing cloth tunics, and both genders will go nude (or nearly so) when the weather is comfortable. Cyclops favor heavy, two handed weapons which take full advantage of their massive strength, with most Cyclops warriors carrying mammoth warhammers and pole arms longer than a human trading wagon.

Reproduction: Cyclops have no set breeding season and enjoy sex for pleasure. Their culture is strongly patriarchal. Though Cyclops females have a few rights and can own property, their lives are ruled by their fathers and husbands. Females are traded between Cyclops clans to cement allegiances or presented as gifts from a vassal to his jarl (ruler).

The Cyclops are a created species, which adds an odd dimension to their pregnancies. Cyclops pregnancies do not come to term until the mother-to-be is ritually blessed by a Cloud Giant, who touches her swollen belly and wishes her unborn child strength and good health. Any Cloud Giant can perform this simple ritual, and even the most evil Cloud Giant will willingly assist a Cyclops female with bringing her child to term. The Cyclops female enters labor within hours of the ritual’s completion; without the assistance of a Cloud Giant, a Cyclops’ pregnancy can last for years, perhaps even decades or centuries, without progressing. Cyclops always give birth to a single son or daughter.

Lands: Cyclops favor mountain homes, especially homelands that look out over a human-held valley. Cyclops enjoy the company of both their giant benefactors and their distant human cousins, and prefer to build their homes near both species. Cyclops have relatively small settlements- most aren’t much bigger than a village, and many are just glorified trading posts.

Relations: Cyclops often act as mediators between the two species that shaped their culture, negotiating peace treaties and trade agreements between humans and the more civilized giant nations.

Alignment: Cyclops share many of the traits of the giants they worship as living gods, a moral outlook not the least among them. Like Cloud Giants, they are often neutral good, though they hold little malice toward evil giant races. Even the most good hearted, crusading Cyclops would rather negotiate with evil giant-kin rather than do battle, but can and do fight evil giants when necessary. Adventuring Cyclops can be any conceivable alignment.

Adventurers: Cyclops adventurers may leave their mountain homes on some errand for their Cloud Giant allies, as part of a trading caravan, or they may simply venture into human lands to find out how their human ancestors lived.

Names: Cyclops names are based upon metallurgical terms, and the proud giants trace their heritage through their father’s line. A Cyclops prefaces his father’s name with the prefix Saka- ‘son of’ or Dakka ‘daughter of’. Once married, a female Cyclops will adopt her husband’s lineage. There is little difference between male and female names otherwise.

Male names: Brannz Saka Iryn, Iryn Saka Cappar, Stylgld Saka Malaky
Female names: Brannz Dakka Sylv, Styl Dakka Brazz, Tyn Dakka Cappar

Languages: Cyclops are equally fluent in Common and Giant. They may select Dwarven, Terran, Auron or Celestial as bonus languages.

Cyclops Racial Traits

Size and Type: Large Giant. As a large creature, a Cyclops receives a +4 size bonus on grapple checks, but suffers a -4 penalty on Hide checks and a -1 size penalty to Armor Class. Cyclops have a base landspeed of 40 ft.

As giants, Cyclops are immune to effects which specifically target humanoids, such as charm person, but are especially vulnerable to spells, weapons and tactics designed to slay giant-kin.

Ability Score Modifiers: +4 STR, +2 INT. Cyclops are strong and tireless, and are highly intelligent. Even the dullest Cyclops can hold their own in philosophical debates with the sages of other species.

Racial Skills: Cyclops enjoy working metal, and all Cyclops (even females) are taught the secrets of forging fine Cyclops-smelted steel during their adolescence. Cyclops settlements ring with the sound of hammers hitting anvils at all hours of the day and night. A Cyclops may add his STR modifier as well as his INT modifier on all Craft (blacksmith) checks.
Cyclops are deferential to giant-kin of all kinds, and are welcome in most giant villages. They receive a +1 racial bonus on Diplomacy checks made against other creatures with the Giant type, including other Cyclops.

Racial Feats: Cyclops receive Alertness as a racial bonus feat, thanks to their keen, giant-granted senses.

Enhanced Senses: A Cyclops has lowlight vision, and even more incredible day vision. Cyclops suffer no distance penalties on Spot checks made in conditions of bright illumination. They can easily recognize a familiar face on the distant horizon.

Favored Class: Any. Like their human forebears, Cyclops are a skillful folk, able to master a diverse array of skills. A multiclass Cyclops’ highest class level does not count when determining if the creature suffers an XP penalty for multiclassing.

Level Adjustment: +2. Cyclops are strong and clever enough to gain levels much more slowly than a member of one of the smaller races.


Mandapandarawks said...

Oooo I wonder if my next commissions will be Greek mythologically-inspired or planar races?? Either one sounds awesome!!

Alzrius said...

I'm excited to hear about your new race creation cookbook for August. Honestly, I'm tired of the entire concept of "furries" being tip-toed around so much. There are some examples of such out there (the biggest one being a template from WotC's Savage Species book), but even these thoroughly sterilize them of all sexual connotations, which honestly seems rather disingenuous.

Having said all that, there are some caveats I wanted to mention. First, the proper word is "anthropomorphic" not "anthromorphic." Hence, the title of your book should be "Freeform Anthropomorphica."

Secondly, I cringed when I saw that you'd written "Paizo's Pathfinder GSL." Paizo's Compatibility License is nothing at all like WotC's GSL - there are some similarities, but these are far outweighed by the differences between the two licenses.

Thirdly, Paizo's Compatibility License does forbid (albeit in a somewhat vague fashion)"products that the general public would classify as 'adult content,' offensive, or inappropriate for minors." Now, given that you don't shy away from sexuality in your work (as I mentioned in my blog), and given that "furries" have a very strong sexual component, it seems like there's a strong possibility (in fact, as Dr. Strangelove said, "it's not only possible, but likely") that you'll run afoul of this particular restriction. Paizo is usually pretty cool with things that have a more mature focus (judging by several of their products), but a direct focus on sexuality as a theme of a book seems like it might be going a bit too far.

The good news is that, even if that's so, you can still publish it with the Pathfinder rules; you just won't be able to use the Compatibility License to use the Pathfinder logo and explicitly state compatibility. It'd be just like not being able to use the d20 logo for 3.5 materials, and instead having to publish them directly under the OGL (a la Black Tokyo). I'm also curious how you'd release the book on the very first day that Paizo would permit. Unless you got an advanced copy of the final Pathfinder rules, you'd have to wait to see what the final version of Pathfinder looks like, and the street date for those is the same date that third-party materials are allowed.

Either way though, I really can't wait to see that book!

Louis Porter Jr. said...

Busy, busy, busy I see. Good! Because I might have something that is right up your alley coming up. Talk to you later...