Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cruel Evolution, MotherF@#$er!

I mentioned it last post, but Cruel Evolution is up and running at and all the usual suspects. Go pick it up, I had alot of fun laying that one out. I've realized that post-apoc stuff is some of the most fun to work with, especially magi-tech post apocalyptic fiction, because the blending of the traditional fantasy and sci-fi genre lines. Lots to love.

Anyway, I'm putting the finishing touches on the APEX manuscript, right now. I'm working up the 100 plot hooks section at the back of the book, as well as flavor fiction. The 100 plots part is especially important to me. Otherverse is a politicized, social-interaction heavy, deep roleplaying experience, but I see how it can easily be played as just a 'mission-based' wargame. I've seen it happen with the old World of Darkness stuff, instead of getting deep into an alien psychology and fictional culture, you're tasked by your Boss Vampire or Boss Werewolf with going and killin' something- the same exact kind of missions that you'd find in D&D or Shadowrun.

That always disappointed me, as a gamer, especially when I was stuck in a thinly disguised WOD dungeoncrawl. Not fun. So making sure that Otherverse game masters have ALOT of good inspiration and plot hooks to draw upon, which incorporate mysteries, political action, problem solving, romance, seduction, exploration of the culture, ect.... as well as straight up combat is of prime importance to me. I don't want the missions in Otherverse America to turn into:

"You're all Lifer soldiers. Your XO tells you that you've got to destroy a Choicer clinic and a nearby weapons depot."


"You're all Choicer soldiers. Your XO tells you that you've got to destroy a Lifer weapons cache and assassinate a terrorist leader."

Anyway, like I've said before, the 100 Plots section is probally my favorite part of the sourcebook.

I'm planning out the third big 'faction splat' for Otherverse America as I wrap up APEX: Outcast America, which focuses on the poor, the young, the abused and the fanatical in the setting. After that, I'll probally give a full write up for Solomon Station, and I'm speculating on creating a HUGE species book for Otherverse America, tentatively titled the "Patriot's Alphabet". (Alternatively, I can release a line of shorter splats, each covering 5 or 6 mutates. I'll probally do the latter.)

In Psi-Watch, I introduced three species of human-engineered supersoldiers codenamed the Patriot Anvils, Patriot Boxers and Patriot Ivories. Those mutates exist in the Otherverse as well, as do the Patriot Couriers and Patriot Mechanic superhumans, who are described in APEX. So we've got A, B, C, I and M covered. There's alot of letters of the alphabet still there, and alot of mutant soldiers whose codenames can start with those letters.

Finally, I have to comment on something I read on Louis' blog (which I follow religiously). In a post last week, he divided RPG publishers into two categories, based on sales footprint and distribution method: PDF publishers and hard-back publishers. I can certainly see where he is coming from, but I think that in his post, there is an unspoken 'submission' to hard-back publishers, a feeling that as a PDF publisher we can't compete on the same level, an acceptance of lower sales and lower levels of prestige.

Certainly, as a small PDF publisher I don't have the logistical support, art budget or advertising capability of a big 'HB' publisher. But in terms of just IDEAS, I think all RPG publishers, no matter what their operating budgets or distribution methods are, compete on the same plane. Every product I put out, I feel like I am directly competing against industry giants like Green Ronin, Paizo, LPJD, Adamant, and yes, WOTC (well, less now, but you know what I mean). In order to feel satisfied as an artist, each time I release something, I have to feel that the ideas you'll find inside are AS GOOD IF NOT BETTER than anything from any other publisher, big or small. The art, the layout, the limitations of the PDF format.... screw it.

The question for me is: are the black words on the white page as good as anything WOTC put out? As good as anything Monte Cook does? If yes, I'm happy as a publisher. If not, I'm pissed and try to do better next time.

I don't know.... I find myself agreeing intellectual with everything that Louis said, but for some reason, some emotional part of me wants to disagree wtih everything. Something about that post just sorta rankles me, and I can't really put my finger on WHY.

Anyway, just my thoughts,
talk to you all later,

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