Saturday, December 25, 2010

Art Preview: More Races



Here is Amanda's design for the Ubasti- a race of genetically engineered 'working' lions that serve with the Choicer military. As smart as a human and strong as a lion, wiht incredible senses, these guys are excellent soldiers and scouts- imagine a police dog that's actually sentient. They'll be migrating to the core book

too, because they're such a fun concept I wish I had thought 'em up in time for the original core release.



Also shown are the Couriers, a race of geneticaly engineered, teleporting supersoldiers originally from the now out-of-canon APEX sourcebook. They're going into the corebook, alebit in slightly tweeked form.

The Full Conversion Cyborg race will probally be illoed with stock, but one thing I want to get- probally from Amanda but maybe from one of the other artists I've been wroking with, mostly depending on Amanda's schedule- is a big illo of all 11 of the races of the game, standing together like a police line up. Paizo has a similar illo in Pathfinder, WoTC illustrated the races in Forgotten Realms the same way. It's a neat way to show the relative scale of the different races and through the costume detailing, I can show a bit more of the world.

Anyway, talk to you later
CHRIS

Art Preview: The Races of Otherverse America


Right now, I'm getting some more art work in and thought I'd preview some of it, in various states of progress. Above are some character illos by Mark Hyzer. From left to right we've got a Neo-Witch Midwife in the midst of transforming her bionic arm into a different configuration, a Lifer Vindicator and a Lifer aligned fighter pilot. The inks and colors will be coming soon.








I'll be having Alex Garcia do some artwork for me. He actually got in touch with me last night and I'm glad of it. I've been wanting to work with him ever since I saw the character designs he did for Louis' Obsidian Twilight. Above are some rough speed-sketches he did of a Half Grey character and the Lifer terrorist, Life Tank. The Half Grey is pretty much good to go, but the Life Tank will need some extra work. I asked Alex to bulk up the guy's legs a bit, because I can't imagine this fearsome Lifer terrorist having cute little chicken legs.



This image isn't of a particular race, but it's a fairly definitive image of a Bastian soldier who has mastered the Bastian Metaform feat. Originally used in Coven of Bast, this image by Amanda will make it to the core book.












This is the Softling healer image that will either make it into the Core Book or into Sexually Transmitted Future. These creatures were originally geneticaly engineered slaves who were eventually freed and allied themselves with the Choicer Covenant (though there is a pretty large community of them in Lifer Atlanta).



This image of the Neverborn was originally in Neverborn Again, but will also migrate to the core book.

Right now, I'm waiting on a finished version of the Roe-Artemis duel, and another piece by Felipe Gaona showing a Dianic Rite priestess leading a worship service under the light of the moon.

Obviously, I'm awaiting the inked and colored versions of Mark Hyzer's sketches, and a few more peices from Alex Garcia. In addition to doing the Half Grey, he'll also be doing a racial illo of the Dreamborn Mau, and I'm very anxious to see what he can do with the tattoos on those guys.

Amanda will be doing a comic page or two showing a battle between Lifer and Choicer shell suits- can't wait to see that one, as well as some more character illos and artowrk for Battlechangers, my Transformers-homage game.

Jessica Block will be finishing up the art for Fursona, and I also sent along some Otherverse art I'd like to get from her.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. The revised Otherverse America will be fucking awesome.

Happy holidays and blessed be,
CHRIS

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Art Preview: The Battle of Boston



The Battle of Boston ended the American Abortion War.

It's one of the defining events in Otherverse America, but I haven't had it illustrated before. Now, thanks in large part to the profits from Black Tokyo II: Chastity & Depravity, I've been able to hire an artist to illustrate this major event.

The rough pencils above are by Felipe Gaona, who I believe I mentioned last post. It's still a WIP, but I've been staring at this thing for the last 20 minutes, absolutely blown away.

Seriously, the revised Otherverse America is going to be awesome.

Blessed Be,
CHRIS

Friday, December 17, 2010

Art Preview: Next Year's Projects

I've got quite a few projects ready to go and waiting for art, most of which will be released early next year. I thought I'd give you a preview here, let you know what to expect.


Fursona
Fursona will be an absolutely huge anthro character creation guide. The text is pretty much good to go, and I'm waiting on a few more peices of art. Here's a preview my newest artist, Jessica Block did. I found her on Fur Affinity, a furry fandom site, and her gallery is over on my blog roll.
Isn't that aye-aye anthro fucking adorable? Anyway- they'll be a quite a few similar peices and some well chosen stock, and Fursona will be out.

Otherverse America Unlimited Edition




Art is still coming in for this complete revamp of the original release. Here are some peices by Mark Hyzer, whose amazing pencil work I spotlighted a couple of weeks ago. I'm going to have as much Hyzer art as I can afford. This guy draws cyber-tech better than anybody I've ever worked with. Check out his vision of the Covenguard Advanced Class- a breed of cyborg bodyguards that protect Choicer priestesses.



Felix Gaona, another cool artist I found will be doing an action shot of two of our major setting NPCS- Roe Athene and Artemis, battling to the death in the Boston snow. I expect a rough draft of that soon, and I'll post it up here, and absolutely can't wait to see the final version.

Also Amanda Webb will (Of course) be contributing, since she's already done so much good work for Otherverse America. Take a look at her rendition of Lifer culture.




Amanda (in between taking care of her new boy, Liam) has also done some absolutely kick ass renditions of some Covenant priestesses. She keeps doing these amazing riffs on Mucha that really add alot of texture to the culture and the setting. As you can see from all this cool art, one thing Otherverse America is not is generic. It's got some flavor to the setting.

Battlechangers

Battlechangers is the name I decided on for the Transformers homage RPG. Right now, I'm about 70% finished. It's going to be a quick, fun introductory RPG based on the spirit of the G1 cartoons. If anybody wants a draft of the system to help me play test this puppy, drop me a line at christopherafield@hotmail.com

I just put in an order for some art for this one, and expect Battlechangers late spring of next year, maybe a bit earlier. It's a nice antidote to the preverse sexuality of Black Tokyo and the serious political sci-fi in Otherverse America- just good goofy fun. The system and setting is practically writing itself.

A couple of notes on the Battlechangers RPG. It's going to be a diceless system where effort and resource expenditure counts for more than luck. Character creation is point based. Assign attributes in the vein of the Tech Specs on the old Transformers box cards, then pick a role for your robot (Diplomat, Scout, Warrior, ect) that determines your skills, pick an alternate mode or two, and buy some gadgets. I figure character-generation will take about 5-10 minutes, maybe less for experienced gamers.

I'm shooting for 100 pages or so, and I've already got some idea for future splats. I'm having a great time writing this wild idea I just had last week, and I hope you'll buy it and enjoy playing it just as much.


The Black Tokyo Franchise

Black Tokyo has turned into my best selling release by far. I've got a couple of upcoming projects in that world. First off, we'll have Black Tokyo III out around year's end! Expect another 20,000 words of perverse content, including bunches of new spells, a dozen new monsters, some new races and a new advanced class- The Assault Witch- a military magic user and expert demon killer. Check out the cool artwork Amanda gave me for that one:


I've got a few other ideas for stories in the Black Tokyo universe.

1. First, I want to a Pathfiner compatible fantasy project set in the Tatakama- the parallel reality where most of Black Tokyo's gods and demons come from. Basically, think Oriental Adventures with a shit ton more tentacle rape. It'll be fun adapting some of Black Tokyo's best concepts to the new rule set, plus a project like this will definately attract some attention, both good and bad.

2. I want to do a D20 Modern sourcebook for B.T. focusing on America, and playing
gajin characters. The one problem with this, is I've already said alot of what I feel needed to be say about American culture in Otherverse America. So what kind of satire can I do in BT's freakishly sexy storyline? I'm tempted to play with the Japanese perception of Americans pretty heavily- especially how we're portrayed in anime. I've got a few other ideas, especially the basic concept of American military techno-magic, but nothing's geled yet.

I haven't started writing these projects yet, so don't expect them any earlier than late summer or early fall.

Anyway, as you can see, I've got a lot to do.
Have a good Solstice,
CHRIS

Monday, December 13, 2010

Some Black Tokyo Inspiration

Here are a couple of news stories I saw today at my usual favorite sites. They deal with some subjects I broached in Black Tokyo and BT II: Chastity and Depravity. It's kind of interesting seeing major media attention paid to some of the wierder aspects of Japanese culture.

Enjoy the links.

http://www.newsarama.com/php/multimedia/album.php?aid=40634

http://io9.com/5713121/i-paid-a-woman-to-be-my-friend-at-a-tokyo-maid-cafe?skyline=true&s=i

Finally, a video that should inspire anyone looking to build characters with the upcoming Fursona character builder.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ck14LKBI9GM

Enjoy the content.
Talk to you later, with an update on some artwork I've recieved and some info on upcoming projects.
CHRIS

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Chasing Something


So I'm waiting.
I'm waiting on art for Otherverse America Unlimited Edition. I'm waiting on art for Fursona. I'm waiting on Louis to finish the edits on Pirates. Waiting. No projects on deck, nothing urgent.
I'm playing around on The Transformers Wiki. I spend two days reading the minutia of a franchise I thought I knew well, and learning the Transformers brand is a lot fucking crazier than I ever knew.

So I sit down, and start writing, and all of a sudden, the hours and days are flying by. I'm chasing something undefinable, but I'll know it when I catch it. I've had an idea.

I've seen Transformer homage games before Mecha-Morphosis for D20, Transmetals for Spycraft 2.0, a few indy games like Gear Shift that tried and never really captured the feel of the cartoon. So I'm going to take a stab at my own system.

The last time I created a non-D20 game system from whole cloth was Against the Darkness by Tabletop Adventures. ATD is one of my best selling and best reviewed products to date, easily on par with Black Tokyo and Black Tokyo II. It's one I sold to Vicki Potter a few years back, and I really wish I kept the rights to. Still, it's a game I'm proud of, espeically since I wrote the first draft in about 2 days. Yep, I had a movie marathon with my brother- the Exorcist Series and the Order (the one with Heath Ledger, not Van Damme) and I got inspired to write this thing.

So I'm feeling a similar bit of inpsiration. I'll take the next week or two and write up my Transformer homage, send it out for playtesting and gather some art and release it.

That's one thing I love about RPGnow. Even before I wrote professionally, I spent about 5-6 hours every day, just writing. I still basically pull a full shift at the end of every day infront of my lap top- even when I don't really have anything to say, I still write SOMETHING just to keep in the habit. Aside from the week I buy a new video game or DVD collection, a few days of the year dedicated to a comic con, Thanksgiving or Christmas/Yule, I'm writing. Anyway, the cool thing now, about the PDF publishing industry, is anytime I get a wild ass idea like my Transformers game, I can write for a while, put something up and make some money off it.

It's gratifying to say the least.

Anyway, talk to you later.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A very small pic of some very cool artwork.



The image above is a cell phone pick of some art I'm comissioning for Fursona. It's by a pretty great new artist named Jessica Block. I found her on Fur Affinity a couple of weeks ago, as part of an open call for furry artists for the project. I'll be adding her Fur Affinity gallery over to the blogroll at right.

I can't wait to see the color version.
CHRIS

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Furries, Heroes and Bastards

So right now, I'm putting the finishing touches on the revised Freeform Anthropomorphica, which I will probally release as "FURSONA: The Definitive Guide to Creating Anthro Heroes". The new draft is currently 117 pages, about 42,000 words, as opposed to the original edition, which was about 23,000 words. Right now, I'm trawling Fur Affinity in search of artists in the community who work good and work cheap. I think I've found a couple of really good potential artists, and I've got enough in the art fund from Black Tokyo II to comission a relative shitload of new art.

This will be fun. As deep as the orignal Freeform Anthro was, Fursona is deeper. FA included 10 templates for Anthro characters- this revision has 20. I added a few new orders, got a little deeper into the psychology and culture of furry fandom, and have added a bit more world building info.

The biggest change between FA and Fursona is that character creation is now point based. After picking your Order, each character gets 4 points to play with (one of the reasons I went with a 4 point system is I don't like systems that are math heavy and use huge numbers for false granduer. For instance, if every advantage in your game costs 5 points and you have 20 starting character points, you're at the same place my system is, just with inflated numbers.)

Minor racial traits now cost 1 or two character points, Major traits cost 3 or 4, and if an Order has a particular Major trait as Favored, it knocks 2 points off the buy cost. The bird Orders, for instance, get Winged Flight at a discount, so they can pick it up for a point, and still have 3 points to play around with. This revision adds a TON of flexibilty and opens up some interesting design space.

I'm also working on Pirates of the Bronze Sky still. Last night I sent Louis a few monters and ecology notes, and I've been playing with the equipment section a bit. A few final tweeks to the feats, a revision with any changes Louis wants implemented, a few more monsters and peices of gear, and this one will be good to go.

Also, I'm still collecting art for Otherverse America Unlimited Edition, and I keep puttering around with rules info and setting details, but right now I'm working more on fantasy.

So I've got a few ideas I'd like to share with you.

First. I fully expect Fursona to be a Top 5 or maybe even a #1 seller on RPGnow. The first abortive release sold incredibly well, and this draft is going to be better. So sooner or later, I want to release a similar character builder for Undead heroes. I have a feeling that one will sell very well too.

I wonder if instead of releasing a completely generic character builder like GURPS or Mutants & Masterminds or BESM, releasing individual builders based around a specific genre of creature might now be the way to go? If I did a Freeform Undead sourcebook, it would have the same mechanical elements: There would be Orders, Minor and Major Racial Traits and Disadvantages as with Fursona, but the mechanical elements and flavor text would be specifically designed for building Undead. Instead of releasing a generic character builder that does multiple things satisfactorialy, I'd be releasing multiple character builders that each do one thing, but does that one thing amazingly well. I could actually see myself selling a line of character builders in the vein of Fursona: furries, undead, robots, aliens and mutants... all the highly customizable and infinitely fun races that fantasy and sci-fi have to offer.


Anyway, that's something I want to get working on in the coming year.

Another thing I want to do, after Black Tokyo III hits is a Pathfinder sourcebook for the setting. In Black Tokyo, I've mentioned the Tatakama again and again, this twilight half world where monsters and demons come from. It's always been a sorta vaugely definsed "Oriental Adventures" style D&D Setting, and now that I'm more comfortable with Pathfinder, I want to detail some of it. I also want to go through and convert Black Tokyo content to Pathfinder.... not just a boring translation, but a sorta through the looking glass effect, where we see the Tatakama perspective on the Black Tokyo setting.

One thing I want to do, and I'll have to get working on this is contact Paizo, say hey, this is what I want to do... I want to do a PFRPG version of Black Tokyo in all its hentai glory, I want to put in everything, including the stuff that even squicks me out and see what sticks and I want to put the Pathfinder Compatability Logo on it, not just the 3.5 OGL sticker with a little note upfront saying "yep, this plays well with Pathfinder."

I have a feeling they'll say not just no, but no fucking way, but I figure it's worth a shot. Despite all the sex and shock value fetish content and gore, there's a pretty good story under there, and I figure Mark and I have been way more responsible about not marketing to kids than we've needed to be, so who knows? If Paizo says no to their logo, releasing it as a straight OGL fantasy product isn't a big deal, but I would like the legitimacy the Pathfinder logo gives the release.

So finally, here's an idea I've been kicking around at work today. I've been wanting to revise D20 Modern in line with Pathfinder for a while now, and I think I've got an idea on how to do it.

What if instead of the attribute based Basic Classes (Strong Hero, Fast Hero, Smart Hero, ect) you just have classes based on how the characters perfer to solve problems. You might have Brute Force Heroes (brawlers and fighters, martial artists), Manipulative Heroes (social interaction), Stealthy Heroes (spies, ninjas, theives), High Tech Heroes (gadgeteers, hackers, weapons experts, pilots) and the like. Treat your preferred hero type, which is really your comfort zone, as an Order like in Fursona. That basic hero type determines your BAB progression, saves and skill points.

Each hero type gets a few build points each level to buy major and minor class abilities,and like in Fursona, your hero type/Order gives you a break on the cost of Major abilities. Anybody can buy anything though, if they meet the prerequisites.

Finally, at each level, you can pick talents from either the Hero side or the Bastard side. Hero talents would be more defensive, helpful and give you new non-combat tactics to use, while Bastard talents focus on directly putting the hurt on your enemies. Whichever you have more off determines your character's outlook and interaction.

I can off the top of my head see the differences: I can see Capt. America as a Brute Force Hero with his focus on defensive abilties and non-lethal takedowns, while Wolverine would be a Brute Force Bastard. Vic Mackie is like an Investigative Hero/Brute Force Bastard. John Constantine is a Manipulative Bastard/Magical Bastard. The classic movie James Bond is a High Tech hero with his cool gadgets, while the Ultimate Universe Iron Man would be a High Tech Bastard, since so much of his super-tech can put a direct hurting on other people.

(The mention of High Tech heroes above brings up one other concern: tech levels. In my revised D20 Modern, the Modern and Future rules run together, and with the corebook, you should be able to play anything from Unforgiven to Sister Alice, in other words, from Wild West tech to completley insane godlike post-humanity a million years into the future. So naturally, a "High Tech Hero" in a Wild West setting is going to look a hell of a lot different from a High Tech hero in a 1980s campaign, or in Otherverse America's 2107 or in Galaxy Command's 3478. How to limit the tech levels appropirately, yet have the character type be playable in all the myraid genres D20 Modern and D20 Future encompass is a big question I'd have to adress.)

Of course, the problem of multiclassing rears its head. In Fursona, you pick your Order once at character-generation, and it never changes. In the revised modern system, you pick your Hero type upto 20 or maybe even 30 times, and it can change every time. So obviously there are a few kinks to work out, but I think this is a good starting place. Drop me a line below to let me know what you think of the nascent "Heroes & Bastards" system.

Blessed Be,
CHRIS

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wierd sex dream



So guess who I had a sex dream about last night? That's right, the ever sexy Domino of X-Force. Kinda cool.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Art Preview Otherverese America Unlimited Edition




The following two sketches are works in progress that will be used in the revised Otherverse America. I just got them earlier today, and thought I'd show them off. The top image is by Amanda Webb, who like myself, is a huge Alfonse Mucha fan, and is using that as a major inspiration for Choicer characters. The bottom is by a new artist named Mark Hyzer, whose blog I'll be adding over to the right soon. Isn't it amazing? That's one bad ass Lifer right there. Can't wait to see it in color.

Also, I'm posting this from my new laptop!
CHRIS

New TOY!

The computer that my brother frankenstiened together for me a few months back finally died last night. So this morning, I bought a nice new laptop. The computer folks are transferring over most of my files (I hope they can get my stock art files, because I'm not looking forward to re-downloading all that shit.) Tonight, I'll pop the cherry on the new computer with some fantasy work, some Pirates and some Freeform Anthro.

CHRIS

Monday, November 8, 2010

What I'm Working On: 11-7-2010

So what's in my working folder right now?

Black Tokyo III. About 20,000 words, including some new starting talents, a couple of new races, a new advanced class (the Assault Witch!) spells and 10 new monsters was left over from Black Tokyo II and will be a standalone release, probably before the end of the year.

Otherverse America: Unlimited Edition. This project is already 25,000 words longer than the original core rulebook and it'st only about 3/4 of the way done. I may split the revised corebook into a core player's guide and a gamemaster's guide. I've alredy got some art trickling in, purchased with the funds from Black Tokyo II. In to Amanda Webb, look for art by some new faces: Felipe Gaona and Mark Hazer.

Freeform Anthropomorphica. Yesterday, I finally came up with a good campaign setting to match the crunch. I'm only about 1,500 words in, but this will FINALLY be re-released. More on the world of Ferras later.

Pirates of the Bronze Sky.
Again, we're on track for the July 4 release date. I'll be finishing off the first draft of this in the next couple weeks.

Talk to you later,
CHRIS

Monday, November 1, 2010

Thank You

It's been up just a couple of hours, and it's heading rapidly to #1. My royalties have already paid for the art I commissioned. It's going to top its predecessor in sales and hopefully in critical acclaim by the end of the week.
It is Black Tokyo II: Chastity & Depravity, and thank you all for buying it. Enjoy.
CHRIS

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Design Notes, the Revised Otherverse America

For the last couple of days, I’ve been working HARD on the revised Otherverse America. The core book is going to be absolutely huge, and will be out sometime next year- late spring or early summer, depending on how quickly I can afford to gather art resources. I don’t want to rush it, and buying a lot of art at once strains my finances to the breaking point unfortunately.

(As an aside, if you’re an artist and want some work in the next couple of months, drop me a link to your online portfolio and information about your rates. My email is Christopherafield@hotmail.com.)

So what’s going to be in the book?

Right now, I’m consolidating information from the original core book and APEX, and incorporating bits and pieces of the sourcebooks I’ve written to date: Coven of Bast, the Eleusinian Covenant, Neverborn Again, and Razor Culture. Those will all still valid, and I’m pulling all the good ideas I had in those books, that I hadn’t though of yet when the core book was written. For example, the evil Nuremberg AI from Neverborn Again will be mentioned in the corebook, though greatly expanded on in the sourcebook, and the expanded information on the Nicellos family from Eleusinian Covenant will be included.

I will be including 11 races in the corebook- humans plus 10 non-human options:
• From the original book, we’ll have the Full Conversion Cyborgs, along with the expanded cultural options from Cybernetics Armory. We also keep the Neverborn, though their more complex racial feats will remain with their sourcebook.

• From APEX we’ll include the Couriers, Mechanics, Mediators, Nanofeasters and Shy Minutemen. (The Fluxminx and Softling Healers are getting moved to Sexually Transmitted Future, along with greatly expanded cultural info and racial feats.)

• From Coven of Bast we’ll have the Dreamborn Mau and the Ubasti, which are such an awesome idea I wish I had included them originally.

• From Guide to the Known Galaxy, we’ve got the Half Grey, who will be absolutely bad ass as spies.

The racial mix is pretty good. We’ve got at least four races that are incredible melee bruisers: FCBs, Nanofeasters, Shy Minutemen and Ubasti. Of those, two are tied to a specific faction: the Choicers have Ubasti and the Lifers get Nanofeasters, while the remaining two can be associated with any faction. With the Mechanics, you’ve got tech-experts and the Dreamborn Mau and Mediators are both diplomacy / leadership specialists. The Couriers and Half Grey make excellent spies and rogues. The Neverborn are just creepy and add a lot of flavor, and also have some great defensive abilities as undead. So we’ve got all the major game play niches filled.

Object Philosophies- the techno-magic superpowers which are unique to the setting- got heavily revised. I went through and edited a bunch for clarity and simplicity of effect. Instead of each philosophy being tied to a specific key attribute, 90% of them are now Wisdom-based, which makes sense as the abilities are run off willpower and belief. I also standardized the durations and uses per day- if a Philosophy had fewer uses per day, it’s likely now usable 3 + WIS Modifier times per day.

A few of the minor Philosophies were simply pulled and turned into regular feats. That will make them a bit more common. Also, I took a look at entry prerequisites for Philosophies and adjusted a few downward, to make them easier to learn. Also, I’ve added a few more feats, Stating Occupation and other rules elements to reinforce the idea that Object Philosophies are a big, important concept.

I’ve gone through and revised the classes in original corebook. We’ll still have Covenguards, Neo-Witch Midwives, Closers and Vindicators, and they’ll be joined by the renamed Juggernaut Brutes from APEX and a few others. Several abilities and entry requirements got tweaked. For example, the Midwife’s “Feminist Medicine” class feature was altered so it now provides a skill bonus equal to ½ her class level, and it’s easier to become a Closer.

I’ll be adding a few more classes- the Tactical Commander and Sniper from APEX will get expanded into ten level full classes, I think. I also want to adapt the old Scion of the Pilgrim into a general Politician class. I also want to add at least one more class to each faction, but I’m not sure what it is yet. I’ve mentioned that the Choicer military uses a lot of precogs and diviners in it’s strategic planning, and I want to expand on that. I also want to create a Lifer illusionist/fear manipulator type character… I’ve been thinking of a Lifer “Mysterio” for a long time.

A couple of days ago, I downloaded Big Finger Games Talent Tree Compendium because I want to include variant Talent Trees for each faction’s basic classes, to further differentiate the cultures. I wanted to see how another game company did the same thing. I’m going to pull some of the OGL talent trees from the Big Finger Games product, as well as add lots of setting specific talent trees to each side. If I can pull it off, it will really help differentiate the cultures. Depending on the final word count of this section, it might be in the revised core book, or might end up being a stand alone product released near-simultaneously with the revised corebook.

As I’ve gone along, I’ve taken note of some stuff I originally wanted to include in the revised corebook, as well as elements from APEX that I’ll be pulling out and releasing soon after the revamped corebook as short 5-20 page PDFs. Part of the reason I’m not loving APEX as much as I did some of the other sourcebooks is that unlike Coven of Bast, which had a single tight focus, APEX seemed to be all over the place, a clearing house for data on everybody in North America who WASN’T Lifer or Choicer. It doesn’t hold up as well.

• As I said, Fluxminx, Softlings and data on the meta-porn industry and genetic engineering goes to Sexually Transmitted Future.

• Black Dream gets its own short PDF and hopefully a better name.

• From APEX, the info on FBI Freelance Investigators, Beasting and NEST Teams, not to mention the sex crime stuff from the original corebook will each get their own micro-PDFs.

• The information on Mexico gets its own PDF, which right now I plan as Zapatista rebels versus drug cartel full conversion cyborgs. Cyberpunky and fun.

• “Beyond Otherverse America” a section on the state of the world beyond North America will get its own splatbook.

• Information on Diana Station and the Lunar cities get their own PDF.

• Solomon Station will eventually get its own PDF, which will probally be in the 20-30 page range.

• The X-Swat Agent and expanded information about the Islamic asteroid mining industry and space salvage industries will get their own book, which will tie back into Guide to the Known Galaxy more strongly. Expect near-Earth space to get a lot of support soon.

• The Submind talent tree from APEX will get its own short PDF.

In terms of world information, I’ll be adding a lot more content on specific locations within the setting, especially city info on the big factional capitols: San Francisco, Boston, Pensacola and the DC Metroplex. I’m also changing the organization of information, hopefully to make the book easier to flip through and more useful.

I’m keeping some but not all of the fiction. The Lifer story focusing on the beginning of the War still feels strong, and I plan to expand that into its own short PDF. You’ll have all the Dacoveney family scenes, stats for the players and Lifer political information. That might be a freebie or might be released day and date with the revised corebook.

The other fiction needs some rewriting and I want to include more evocative vignettes, that give a better sense of the world. To this end I’ll be including a glossary and time line, probably as stand-alone short PDFs included with the zipfile containing the Core Book. And yes, we’ll have a full index to everything.

So I’m also working on story elements as much as I am game play elements. I want to include more information about game-mastering this wild and complex setting. Expect a series of suggested plug ‘n play rules modifications that explore different themes and story elements in the world. Also look for the Intangibles sidebars, which I liked from the original core book, to remain and get a bit more comprehensive and useful. They’ll also be a bibliography in the back, which is an odd inclusion for a RPG, but there you go.

They’ll also be advice on more fully integrating Psi-Watch material into Otherverse America, either just as bits and pieces of classes, guns, ect and exploring some of the dimensional connections I brought up in Psi-Watch Unlimited Edition (Metamorphosis North, Bubastis Black, the dimensionally duplicated Cassie Feneris’).

Something else I want to do is include a sense of generationality, and provide better options for campaigns set at different eras of history. I’ve ran campaigns set during the RAINBOW era, during the War itself and during 2107, and I want to include that versatility for players. I really want player to be able to run characters groups of mixed age- 60 year old War veterans, 120 year old immortal physicians, 18 year hot headed rookies, and precocious 8 year old apprentice priestesses and child soldiers, and have the differences all mean something.

I also want to include more support for Lifer characters as player options and not just as shooting targets. It’s funny, but even when I’ve played the setting with people who are pro-life or conservative in real life, they’ve built characters that were either explicitly Choicer or unaligned mercenaries who work most often for the Choicers. They do this even when I try to keep interactions with both sides neutral or friendly, until the players themselves pick a side. It’s weird, and I wonder how much is my unconscious bias as a GM, and how much is a realization that whatever your real-world politics, in Otherverse America the Lifers are pretty clearly the bad guys.

Anyway, with Black Tokyo II coming out soon, Pirates of the Bronze Sky coming out next summer, Fantasy Firearms (print edition) still looming on the horizon and now the revised Otherverse America on the docket, 2011 is going to be a kick ass year for Otherverse Games.

Blessed Be,
CHRIS

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chastity and Depravity.



Well, well, well. After a while, Black Tokyo II: Chastity and Depravity is entering the home stretch. Mark is working on the final layout, and it should be up soon. His layouts tend to take a lot longer than mine, but the final product always looks pretty polished so all's good.

With BT II, you can expect nine or ten new player races, including the very creepy Ubume, superstrong unicorn girls called the Daughters of Kirin, a couple of different races of evil, manipulative seductresses and shapechangers and the heroic but bitchy Futakuchi, among others.

I've got some new classes, including the Hanging Maiden and the Chaste and a few very cool surprises.

There's alot more world information, including dozens of new factions, threats and monsters, some new spells and something new: Starting Talents, which you can add to the D20 Modern Starting Occupations to give your game a more anime feel. I really like starting talents, in that they add so much flavor to the setting.

Also, I'm working freelance for Louis, awaiting his initial editing pass on Pirates of the Bronze Sky. Let me assure you that it's looking really good that one will be ready long before the July 4,2011 release date Louis has planned. We seem to be on the same page with that project, and coming up with content for Pirates has been alot of fun.

Ok, I'm re-writing Otherverse America. It's too much to talk about in this post, but I've completely tweaked the layout. One of the biggest questions I always face when laying out a core game book is whether to put history and world info before character creation info or vice versa. It's not an inconsequential decision. Look at Rifts, Forgotten Realms, Aberrant, Vampire. They all go about it in a different way. FR has the races and classes right up front; Aberrant has about 150 pages of world info before you even start assigning stats. There's no right or wrong way to do it- it's a matter of personal preference. It's actually a big decision.

Right now, we've got world info,races then starting occupations, , classes, feats and gear. I'm almost using the idea of following the cycle of life in the layout. Your character is born, grows up in this world, hears about the history in school, and only then begins choosing a starting and heroic class. I've got a few bits of rules info scattered throughout the world info to keep the crunch fans happy, usually in sidebar format. Many of the civilian Affiliations are found as sidebars to the world info, because these may be the organizations that have the most influence on your character's early development.

I'm adding a bunch more historic info and will be consolidating alot of content from other sources into the core book. Right now, everything written to date will remain cannon and will be usable with the revised core book, with the exception of the APEX soucebook. I'm really not satisfied with that one, and will be revisiting how and why APEX exists, though most of the crunch from that book will remain valid. If you've got a "Nathan Rice" shell suit or are playing a nanofeaster character, that's skill cool.

Anyway, gotta go.
Blessed Be,
CHRIS

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Otherverse Armory is UP!

Alright, one of the year's last big Otherverse America releases just went on sale this morning. Otherverse Armory is a 70+ page of gadgets, guns, civilian and military tech for Otherverse America. Though tied to a specific setting, it can easily provide gadgets for any D20 Modern campaign, so I expect it'll be a good seller. Right now, it's 38 on the RPGNow Top 100, and I expect it to climb a bit higher this afternoon.

I sent off a partially complete but very solid draft of the Pirates of the Bronze Sky core book to Louis just about 5 minutes ago. I've got a handle on the races, prestige classes, feats, culture and history. All that's really left is a first editing pass on this, to make sure I'm on track with what he wants. Then I make those changes, work on the equipment and monsters of the setting, bundle it all together for a final editing pass, and blammo! We've got campaign setting.

As soon as all the stuff I've done to date gets formally approved I'll start posting a few previews. It's going to be a fun setting.

In other news, the Eleusinian Covenant sourcebook will be out soon. Along with the upcoming meta-porn sourcebook, it'll finish out the year.

I've been toying with the idea of re-editing and re-releasing Otherverse America like I did with Psi-Watch. I went through with an open document last night and just jotted down ideas I want to include and improvements I want to make, and it ran to 7 pages. So what started as a "Hey, should I redo this one?" has quickly morphed into "Yep, with 7 pages of ideas I pretty much HAVE to redo this one."

I'm not going for any specific rerelease date. I'd love to re-release it on Jan 22, but I know I won't make 1-22-11, and I don't want to sit on a product till 1-22-12. So right now, I'm working without deadline. When I can afford it, I'm going to start commissioning art, just one or two pieces at a time, and building up a morgue. One thing I will do is eliminate most of my art and use commissioned pieces and better stockart. Just like Psi-Watch, the revamped Otherverse America will benefit from better layout skills and a bigger art budget.

No matter what, I WILL keep the first edition up as a FREE product.

You can download it here, if you haven't already:
http://www.rpgnow.com/product_info.php?products_id=60158

Anyway, let me know if you have any suggestions for Otherverse America 2.0. I'll listen, and sooner or later I'll start posting some of my 7 pages of notes.

Talk to you later,
CHRIS

Sunday, October 3, 2010

New City, New Projects

Okay, I've moved to Kerrville TX. Don't know where Kerrville is. Don't worry, nobody else does either. It's a little suburb about an hour north of San Antonio. It's the kind of small town you see in horror movies rather than modern reality, and I'm still tripping out that I'm up here. It's like a town from a Steven King novel. Anyway, I'm settled in and doing some writing.

I finished the Eleusinian Covenant and Otherverse Armory sourcebooks and they should be out fairly soon. I've been doing additional work on Pirates of the Bronze Sky and that's coming well. From the rough notes and outline I was given, I've built up a pretty coherent world and it's getting tighter and more fully realized with every line I write.

Anyway, talk to you later,
CHRIS

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pirates of the Bronze Sky



So I'd been waiting for Louis to announce it formally on his blog.... I've been named as the Head Weasel in Charge of the new Pirates of the Bronze Sky campaign setting. The image to the right is the cover, and hey: pirate tits!

So what is Pirates of the Bronze Sky about anyway? Over the last week or so, Louis and I have hashed out the major politics and ground rules of the setting. The campaign is going to a bit more swashbuckling, high-adventure and somewhat lighter than either of us are known for. Unlike Obsidian Twilight, which is basically D&D meets Zombie Hell, or Otherverse America which is all about religion, bigotry and civil war, Pirates will be a bit more cheerful, a bit more optimistic.

The basic tag line is this: Imagine the American Revolution taking place on floating islands drifting above an enormous gas giant planet. Simple and very, very memorable. We've got some really cool ideas for the various factions, and new races. Louis has already previewed two of the new races for free here:

http://www.rpgnow.com/product_info.php?products_id=81094
and right here:

http://www.rpgnow.com/product_info.php?products_id=82189

I've started up on a third race, as yet unnamed that will basically be a kind of sentient air elementals, which fits nicely with the themes of wind, freedom and movement I want to build into the setting.

Right now, the setting feels very cartoony, which to me is a good thing. Cartoons like He-Man and comics were my introduction to fantasy; I was introduced to them years before I ever read Tolkien or played D&D. It's going to be a fun one to work on, especially giving each nation in the setting its own distinct feel. One of the things we want to do, since this is a setting at war is make your character's nation as important as his or her race, if not more so. The different factions are a mix of historic cultures, some fantasy elements and just plain WEIRD, all thrown into a blender together and set on frappé.

There will, despite the obvious fantasy elements like sky-pirates, 4 armed rhino men and living wind, be recognizable and surprisingly correct bits of Revolutionary era and Golden Age of Piracy era history thrown into the mix, which will give the history pendants among our fans, and I know they're out there, something to digest.

Anyway, more on this as it develops, and I'll post updates and previews fairly regularly over the next couple of months.

CHRIS

Thursday, September 16, 2010



Here's a new piece from Amanda. It's illustrating a fairly standard Lifer character wearing a new piece of gear found in the Otherverse Armory, my next sourcebook.

“Baby Bones” Smartcloth
This expensive product of the nano-tech revolution is worn by any Lifer street rescuer who can afford or steal it. Outwardly a simple cloth bandana worn over the nose and mouth, the smartcloth acts as a chemical filtration unit, protecting the wearer from poisons, gasses and bio-war agents. Nano-computers and imaging software also takes a real-time X-ray snapshot of the wearer’s skeletal structure, and displays a high resolution skeletal façade on its smartcloth surface. The end result is eerie but practical, perfect for Lifer culture.

Any character wearing “Baby Bones” smartcloth receives a +6 equipment bonus on FORT saves against inhalation toxins and disease.

“Baby Bones” Smartcloth
Size: Tiny
Weight: Negligible
Purchase DC: 16
Restriction Rating: None

I'm previewing the Smartcloth and the related image here first and foremost because that is one kick ass image. I know that I'll get some use of it too, and it will become one of the definitive Lifer cultural illustrations.

Anyway, just wanted to show off some cool new art and let you know what I'm working on next.
Blessed Be,
CHRIS

Friday, September 10, 2010

Freeform Anthro, Black Tokyo II, Guns of the Otherverse and Two Dozen Projects for Louis

Right now, I’m working on several projects. On the work for hire front, my Two Dozen Dangers series for LPJ Designs has gone over amazingly well, and I’ll be on some free material for Louis’ blog, in the same vein. We’ve got about a month’s worth of daily content in the can already and more on the way.

I’m going to be putting out a tech book for Otherverse America which consolidates all the gadgets and weapons found in the setting’s various sourcebooks in one place. I’ve been considering a revamp and rerelease of the core book, but instead, I’ve decided to focus on several ‘core’ books each covering a discrete subject. Sexually Transmitted Future will expand on the Softlings and Fluxminx from the APEX sourcebook, as well as revamp the genetic engineering rules. The Otherverse Armory will be the main tech book, but also has a lot of cultural context and content inside, details about the daily life in the setting.

My favorite sci-fi settings have insane levels of detail and color, and while I’ve always had that for Otherverse America, the more I write the sharper the world comes into focus for me. Every product I put out for the setting suprizes me a bit, because it takes my basic idea of “abortion + military sci-fi” and twists it a little bit more, makes it a little bit deeper. Each time I sit down to write, I go a bit deeper into the Choicer neighborhoods and the Lifer Enclaves. I see it a bit clearer, and frankly I get better at this, and I hope that you as readers notice that too.
I’ve been having a lot of fun putting these two books together, and can’t wait to get the final art so I can piece the releases together and get them out.

In other news, in what will be a very welcome bit of info for some fans here, Black Tokyo II is coming together. Look for a PDF release around Halloween/Samhain. Tentacle rape is back on the menu, boys!

Finally, I’m finally revising and re-jiggering Freeform Anthropomorphica. We’ve found some sweet new art for it, and at the same time we’re gathering resources for a possible POD release, I’m revisiting the rules and cleaning them up. I originally wrote it for D&D 3.5 and converted it over to Pathfinder at the beginning of that license. Looking back on the manuscript, I can tell it was an early attempt at a modified ruleset, and the conversion wasn’t as slick as it should have been. I’m fixing that up, and adding a lot more world information to the re-release.

(I spent all last night going through and making sure all the anthro races had a +2 net ability score modifier. The original 3.5 based draft had a +0 net modifier, so converting everything over, and hunting down the last few references to Hide checks took a couple of tedious but necessary hours.)

Look for at least one campaign setting in the rebuilt FA, and maybe several mini-campaigns, similar to the mini-campaigns presented in the WOTC D20 Future sourcebook. I’m still trying to decide if one world or multiple small worlds would be a) more useful to you, the buyers, and b) more fun for me to write. Drop me a line in the comments: do you want one mid-sized to large campaign world in FA or several smaller mini-campaigns you can expand yourself?

Finally, I joined the 21st Century and got a Facebook page, over to the right of the screen. Go friend me.
Blessed Be,
CHRIS

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Number One Again

Hey, I just stopped over to RPGnow and noticed that a work I did freelance for Louis Porter Jr. is at the top sales slot, and a follow-up piece is also in the top 20. Thanks to everybody who bought a copy of Two Dozen Dangers: Haunts, as well as everybody who picked up Two Dozen Dangers: Poisons. I've got a Traps supplement on deck next in the line.

Also, Mark just put up Beggars & Bandits, a fun little sourcebook about Goblin PCs. Go check that one out two, and see if I can get three releases in the top 20!

Also, expect a short Lifer sourcebook soon. I'm also putting the finishing touches on a few longer Otherverse America releases, not to mention a couple of Psi-Watch supplements.

Talk to you later,
CHRIS

Monday, August 16, 2010

Random Comic Book Thoughts



Okay, I found that image over at Jim Lee's deviant art page. He did that in 10 minutes on a graphics tablet. Ten minutes. I try to draw and something similar would take me about three hours and would look absolutely shitty in comparison. Ten minutes! Seriously, I'm amazed, and I've got that image as my desktop wallpaper right now.

I read Blackest Night (DC) finally. My review: not fuckin' good. Seriously, I've been reading DC for 20+ years now and the story was all but incomprehensible to me, and I can only imagine what that mess would of been like for a first time reader. The art though, was AMAZING. Ivan Reis did amazing work. The story seemed like it was an excuse to create a bunch of awesome variant costumes of major DCU characters to sell toys rather than show character. In that sense, it worked well. Reis' designs for the Black Lanterns, Orange Lantern Lex Luthor and some of the others are really cool, and his art reminds me alot of Jim Lee's... which as you can see from the image heading this post, I consider a VERY good thing. So even though the story was crap, the art more than redeemed it, and I can flip through those issues and be entertained.

Still, the story.... I've shit out things better thought out than this non-sense. The whole 'zombie superheroes raised by a necromancer' has been done before. I remember a great LOSH story from the 5 Year Gap era about Mordu doing that. Story was done in 5 issues of the series, had genuine repercussions, was creepy as hell and made sense. Blackest Night was the exact same thing, but MADE NO SENSE!

First and foremost the main villain of the piece was the least original thing I've ever seen. Now, he's a necromancer raising superhero zombies so I can't expect much originality, but come on: His name is Necron, he's a big zombie Satan thing with a scythe that wears all black. Skeletor had a more compelling and original design than this dude. Plus, I don't actually think he was sentient, but more on that later.

It also seemed like the 'rules' for zombies kept changing. First the black rings raise the zombies. Than it's revealed that Necron can control anyone who has ever died and come back... somehow. Never really explains that one. And then Donna Troy gets bit and starts turning. Is that how it works now?

Also, the whole point of the story was to bring back a lot of dead Silver Age heroes at the end of the whole mess, which means displacing and often killing the more racially diverse successors to their names currently holding the job. I think Comic Alliance did a great post about the racial politics about this, and I sorta discounted it up till now. But seriously: you completely fuck up the new Firestorm, kill off his girlfriend in a really, really horrific scene, and replace him with the old white-guy Firestorm.... who by the way actually killed the girl while zombified. And in the end the zombies are driven back by the White Power of the White Lantern Corps... which is composed mostly of resurrected white superheroes. Seriously, are you fucking JOKING? Did nobody in the DC office catch the unintentional subtext to that one?

And while we're on the subject of bad writing, lets forget that during the middle of this huge zombie invasion, the heroes would stop, pause and have heart-to-heart and slightly snarky dialog about the nature of heroism. Seriously. Fucking stop it, Flash. Just go punch a fuckin' zombie, you asshole. And the Purple Lanterns. A bunch of self-righteous space Communists who can supercharge the other lanterns so they can hurt the zombies... which talk mostly in gibberish. Seriously, take your NOK, NOK and shove it up your utterly boring ass.

And where the FUCK did all these other lantern corps come from anyway? Since the beginning of the DCU we've got the GLC. Then the Sinestro Corps form, and I can sorta buy that, a rival army staging a galactic rebellion. But now there's Red, Purple, Blue and Orange (but I really think that's just one guy).... it's getting ridiculous at this point.

And the end. Aside from the rise of White Power! (HEIL!)... the hero's plan was to resurrect the Anti-Monitor to stop Necron? Seriously, that's your idea. Necron doesn't seem all that bad by comparison: he just wants to kill everybody in one universe and make them zombies to... eat God or something. By comparison, A-M successfully destroyed millions of entire realties and ate millions of alternate Gods. By that scale, Necron is a chump. It's like ressurecting Hitler to chase down Osama Bin Laden. It just isn't going to fucking WORK.

What did I like? The art, as mentioned. And the Atom gets some great lines. His explanation of how the Black Lanterns' rings worked, and the structural similarities between dead bones and dark matter was kinda chilling. I've always liked Atom and his amazing levels of sheer COMPETENCE, and they're on full display here.

I also kinda got the idea that Necron isn't really sentient. He can talk, sure, but I don't think he is genuinely intelligent. I get the impression he's more like a virus. He uses his preys' emotions to replicate the black lantern rings (as he did by having Zombie-Firestorm feed on Jason's emotions) so he can create more zombies/vectors for infection. Necron can replicate himself endlessly from any zombie in his horde, and his whole plan seems to be simple exponential spread, until he destroys the host body... in this case the "host body" is the entire universe/God. I kinda like the character more as some kind of cosmic HIV rather than a thinking being.

Anyway, what I've been up to work wise:

I just finished the draft for Sexually Transmitted Future, the meta-porn sourcebook. It's about 40K words, and the Eleusinian Covenant sourcebook is about 30K. I'm waiting for art to trickle in on both of them.

I've got about 4K words of a short sourcebook about Lifer street criminals/cyberpunks done, and will be expanding that one, maybe out to 10K or 15K words. Expect this book first, because I can illustrate it exclusively with stock art.

Just last night I finished a 3K race splat about Goblins as Pathfinder PCs. It's fucking HILARIOUS. I wrote the thing entirely in character, and I'll be laying it out tonight or tomorrow. Expect it by this weekend if all goes well.

Blessed Be,
CHRIS

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lots of New Stuff

Okay, I just finished up some freelancer work for Louis. Two of my projects: Blood & Sand: The Gladiator Sourcebook and Two Dozen Dangers: Haunts are on sale at RPGNOW.com. Nice fun, quick projects- I'm especially pleased with the gladiator sourcebook, it's some really well researched fun gaming inspiration, and I convinced Louis to go with an amazing piece of classic art for the cover.

Right now, I'm waiting on some art and once I have it in hand, I'll put out my Eleusinian Covenant sourcebook. Expect that one to be around 40 pages.

After that, my Otherverse America meta-porn sourcebook will be out. I'll be revisiting and revising the genetic engineering rules from Otherverse America, the same way I released Psi-Watch Unlimited Edition. The changes will be minor overall, but include a lot more flexibility and clean up some design problems. Since that sourcebook will include the genemod rules, expect it to be a much fatter sourcebook.

In the mean time, I'll probaly release a few more short fantasy, Psi-Watch or Galaxy Command supplements, to keep fan interest up and the money rolling in. If any body has any suggestions for sourcebooks they'd like to see, let me know.

Finally, I'm thinking of setting up a kickstarter for a re-released, art heavy version of Freeform Anthrpomorphica. I'll have to ask Louis, who has some experience with such how it worked out for him, get his advice.

Blessed Be,
CHRIS

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Thoughts on Obsidian Twilight (LPJ Designs)

I told you guys I purchased Obsidian Twilight and I read through it yesterday. I feel uncomfortable posting an actual review because I've written for Louis in the past, am currently working on a project for him, and definitely want to write O.T. in the near future. But I want to talk about the setting.

Damn good. If I were giving it a starred review, I'd give it a 4/5. Everything that was there- with a couple of minor exceptions- was high quality. The comissioned artwork Louis arranged for O.T. was excellent- all the new racial and class illustrations rocked, and I like the fact the three biggest and most powerful NPC villains of the setting (Isa Magnor, Celix and Zedibiah) get big, pretty 3/4 page illustrations and full stats. All three of those fuckers, by the way top CR 30, which is great. They are as badass by the game rules as they are in the fiction, and I can see taking any of 'em out as the capstone for a campaign.

Plus, the stock art Louis used was really well displayed and fit visually with the paid-for stuff. The layout was really pretty- I like the curling page borders and layouts. I have to say though, that the gothic purple font Louis used for the paragraph headers and spell names got on my nerves very fast. It looked good, but for some of the spell names especially, was really hard to read.

The world itself is nice, and has a lot of possibilities. When he first told me about the setting, he said to think of it as Dark Sun meets Ravenloft, which it achieves. Not just a rip off, O.T. has got enough originality to stand on its own.

Things I liked about the setting: the big three baddies mentioned above. I liked their history, their plans and the fact that there is a good reason that Zedibiah (the closest thing the setting has to a hero or messiah) can't just solve everything on his own. Despite the fact that thing is CR 30, it's still geased and epic cursed into uselessness- it can be a backer or adviser for the heroes, but it can't be the dues ex machina.... unless the GM really, really wants it to be. Good planning.

The races with two exceptions, which I'll get to in a minute were uniformly excellent. I like the write ups detailing how the standard races fit into the setting (but where was the half-orc write up? I know they're similar to the Harrowed, but I still missed the tusky bastards). The gnomes were a personal favorite- they're cowardly collaborators with the undead lords- think the Vichy French or trusties in a hellhole prison. (And Louis, if you're reading this, as soon as I'm done with the gladiator book, I want a commission to write up a splatbook about the O.T. gnomes.) Halflings got screwed hard in the apocalypse- they're twichy, feral little monsters. But I like the fact they're not the badass cannibal headhunters from Dark Sun... O.T.'s halflings are more like abused, half starved feral children. Very creepy and cool... basically imagine an entire race that's like the Children Under the Stairs.

The new races were awesome- the Rajin were a personal favorite. They reminded me forcibly of Ghost Rider, in that they have a racial ability that is effectively the penance stare. Like Ghost Rider, they're assholes but they kill demons. So rock on. The Exalted and Osirians were also cool. The flavor fiction explaining the Exalted's birthmarks as their heavenly blood warring in their bodies with their sinful flesh is a bit too much of a Christian concept for me. I wouldn't have gone that route, but in the context of the fiction, this eerie and highly visual take on original sin works. If I run an O.T. campaign, I would play up the Exalted's birthmarks/tats- they'd constantly shift and give a clue to the Exalt's mood, like Rorschach's mask in Watchmen.

The Lycians.... points off for the kinda plain name. I can think of half dozen fictional works that call their big scary wolf men Lycians. Still, the culture and some of the racial feats for the big furballs was pretty good. However, I don't think Louis made the case they deserved to retain the shapeshifter subtype, even if these fixed-form wolfmen were originally descended from werewolves. If I'd written it, I'd of given them the plain Monstrous Humanoid type, kept their ancestral vulnerabilities because the flavor behind them is cool, and included a Lycian specific prestige class that gives them their shapeshifter talents back. To each their own, though.

The race I had the most problem with though was the Khymer. I think those guys were an excellent concept (the living blood of those killed by the great disaster that animates corpses as containment suits/temporary host bodies). I'm not sure if these guys should have been a PC race, though they are definitely interesting. The problem is their racial write up leaves too many holes. It's not specifically said in their write up, but is hinted at in other racial feats, that the Khymer turn the host body they possess into a duplicate of the creature they were in life. I would have rather made the Khymer a kind of template that can be added to any existing creature that takes over the mind, but uses the body as is- you've got more flexibility as a GM and can easily run scenarios like John Carpenter's The Thing.

On the heroic front, I would of also liked a feat or Khymer prestige class that would allow you to keep some or all of the body's abilties. Also, the racial write up mentions that when down to their last few HP, the Khymer can leave their old host body and try to jump into a new one. So how many HP does the Khymer have in it's new body? Is it still wounded, or does it heal some or all of its damage when body hopping? That's a BIG question that needs to be answered. If there's O.T. errata, that has got to be at the top of the list.

EDIT: I realized I'd missed the part in the racial description where they mentioned the Khymer did exactly what I expected: They turn their host bodies into a duplicate of their original form. Sorry, I just skipped that paragraph!

Feats and spells were amazingly sick. I liked the emphasis on the gross and the dangerous- most of the new spells were necromancy, and add alot of flavor to the campaign. Some of them are so hilariously broken I can't wait to use them. There are some GREAT damage dealing and curse spells in here. Crucify Foe(mass).... Sunfire Tomb, any new spell of 6th level or above. These things kick ass! Oh, and Vacate Bowels- you know back in my AD&D days, I misused Command (Me to GM: I yell out "SHIT!" ) to do the same thing, so I got a kick out of it.

The mini-monster manual in the back was dominated by the three big bads, and included a pair of other monsters, both of which were CR 8 with CR11 advanced versions. To all the monsters were either epic level or mid level, with nothing high but not epic, and nothing for starting characters to fight. I figure Louis is saving some content for a follow up release, but I would have liked to seen a more even distribution of monsters in the core book, especially at least 1-3 low level threats to start a campaign off right.

Something else I would have liked to of seen was more world info, though what was told explicitly and what was implied by the spells, feats and classes was excellent. Tell me a bit more about Celix' kingdom, it's laws, its cruel punishments, its peasant rebellions, ect. I'm hoping there's a gazetteer or atlas for the setting coming soon.

So I dropped 15 bucks on this beast of a core book, and I definately got my money's worth and more. A couple of problems with two of the new races, a desire for more, but other than a damn good book. Louis did good on this one.

Talk to you later,
CHRIS

Friday, July 16, 2010

Gladiators, Dragons and Futuristic Demeter Worshipers!

Pretty interesting mix of topics, huh?

Okay, the Dragonbound Core Class is out and seems to be selling pretty well. For the last couple of days it's been bouncing around the 30-40 region of RPGNow's Top 100, which is gratifying, and hopefully it will have the long term sticking power of Adventurer's Essentials: The Common Tongue.

I just purchased Obsidian Twilight with some of the proceeds, so I'm sure it's continued sales make Louis pretty happy too.

Speaking of Louis Porter, I got an email from him this past weekend. I've got a freelance project on deck- a generic campaign option type sourcebook about gladiators. He wants 10-15 K words- something on the order of 40-50 pages depending on how he lays it out.

I started researching, which is always my favorite part of any project. Hit up Wikipeida, all the links that site has for references, hit my local Half Price Books for some history texts... borrowed my brother's copy of Gladiator and have it on a continual loop on my DVD player. So far, I've got some really neat ideas and I've laid down about 2,500 words of mostly non-fiction background info. Mostly context about Roman gladiators, historical facts. It's good bit of writing, but I might shave a bit off if I start approaching my word cap.

After the historical stuff, which I'm almost done with, I plan to have another section on how fantasy cultures react to gladiators. In addition to realistic gladiator types, I want to do something with different styles of gladiator based on fantasy classes and fighting styles. After that, I've already got some great ideas for magic items and feats, spells, the usual D20 crunchiness. SHould be a fun project, and I'll probably have a draft to Louis in a week or two.

I've finished the script for the Eleusinian Covenant, and I've got a free 6 page preview going up on RPGNow soon. I'm going to wait up a couple of weeks to get some money together for art. Though I've been doing decent sales wise, the last few months most of the profits have been going to mundane upkeep and expenses, not back into the art budget. So I now have to wait a bit for The Eleusinian Covenant to come out. No big. Hopefully the preview will tide you over and get some interest out there.

Anyhow, talk to you all later,
CHRIS

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Dragonbound Core Class is done!


Last night, I finished up the Dragonbound Core Class. I ended up expanding it to about 35 pages, plus front and back covers, title page and OGL for a total of 38 pages of nice, dragon-ridey goodness. I had originally planned it as a 15 pager, but I ended up finding a lot of great stock illustrations, and some extra inspiration hit.

I picked up the 2nd Edition Monstrous Manual, which is one of the greatest gaming sourcebooks of all damn time at my local used bookstore last week. I wanted to make something fantasy-related that was half that cool.

So the Dragonbound should be up soon, I sent her off to Mark earlier today, and I've got another couple of releases in the pipeline, ready to hit. Expect a short Psi-Watch supplement (that actually gets referenced in Dragonbound!)and another Adventurer Essential, once Mark sorts out the cover layout and gives it a few final tweeks.

Right now, I'm playing around with a few Otherverse America releases. Take a look at this image I've been working on. It's a photomanip of stock art I found at SXC, and will likely become the cover to the meta-porn industry sourcebook. I'll be doing some more work on it before publication, but I kinda like how it looks now.

Finally, check out this awesome video I found of a public performance in LA. The girls are absolutely adorable, the cuteness is overwhelming and I can't get this fucking song out of my head. Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTSxsYHZXm8

Talk to you later,
CHRIS

Monday, June 28, 2010

Charts are still my nemesis....

My least favorite part of laying out a PDF is doing the charts. Especially since my Adobe Pagemaker from my old harddrive no longer works quite right with my new operating system. The charts are only printing every third letter now, right in the middle of the text no matter what I do.

So I just downloaded Cute PDF and some other free PDF production software and I'm going to see what works. I've been having good luck with freeware lately. I downloaded GIMP 2.6 last week, and I really like it. It does everything my old Corel Photo-Paint did, and the interface is pretty intuitive.

Today and tomorrow I'm going to spend learning Cute PDF and seeing if I can pull a few short releases together. If it works, expect a new adventurers essential release and a short Psi-Watch supplement: think a D20 version of Marvel Zombies. I'm almost done with the Eleusinian Covenant sourcebook. As it stands right now, it's about 30 pages, and is pretty much complete. However, I sorta have an instinct about when a sourcebook is 'done' and this one isn't quite there yet. It's missing one or two pages of text, one or two additional concepts.... hopefully I'll add those in and release it in the next couple of days.

After that, I've got another Otherverse America release on deck, focusing on the post-human porn industry. Should be a fun one. I expect it to run about 40-50 pages, and at about the same time I want to release another 10-12 page PDF on minor Lifer street criminals and that subculture.

Beyond that, expect some fantasy.
Anyway, talk to you all later.

Blessed Be,
CHRIS

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Your Mission, If You Choose to Accept it....

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned I popped up on TVTropes.org in as an example of the trope "Even Evil Has Standards." So now I find myself wanting more appearances under my belt, and while I know I could just post whatever I wanted myself, that seems in some vaguely defined internet code of conduct as non-kosher.

So I leave it to you, all three and a half of my fans.

Add Otherverse America anywhere you think it's appropriate. My first targets: I really, really want to see the setting's Neo-Witch Midwives mentioned on the Swiss Army Appendage page, and the setting as a whole definitely deserves to be on the Divided States of America page.

Anyway, talk to you later, I'm off to catch myself some dinner.
CHRIS

Monday, June 14, 2010

I've got a backlog and a new idea....


Yesterday night I took inventory and I've got 7 or 8 projects of various length in the drawer, and awaiting art or layout. Mark is handling most of those, because when my computer crashed, I lost my image editing capabilities. I just got a new program, Manga Studio to replace the old Corel Painter I was using to edit art, and lay out covers, page borders, ect.... unfortunately it's a beast of a program, and it's going to take me a little bit of time to get spun up on it.

My completed projects include the print edition of Fantasy Firearms, of which I've seen an awesome, spot-on screen copy, and Black Tokyo II. We're still collecting art for that one, but in terms of writing, it's done. I've finished my Dragonrider 20 level core class, and I'm just awaiting layout on that sucker. Like a new Adventurer Essential release dealing with alchemical items and mad science, Dragonbound will be illustrated mostly with stock art, so it should come together pretty quickly.

Finally, I've got another couple of Fantastic Races of the Otherverse releases on deck.

So with a nice catalog of smaller and easily sold PDFs, not to mention a pair of more ambitious works, I've got nice a nice cushion as I start up a new Otherverse America sourcebook.

Yesterday I started seriously writing up a faction-splat focusing on the Choicer's Eleusinian faction, who worship Demeter and Kore as a dual goddess. It's a lot of fun for me, building a fictional culture from nothing deciding what they believe, what elements of real world paganism to include, what to modify and what to ignore. It's unbelievably satisfying to sit back with a completed script and know that I've answered all the big questions about what is (intentionally) a very weird, post-human culture.

What's interesting for me as a pagan author is that when I wrote Coven of Bast, I had no real emotional connection to the Goddess Bast (though that changed, when I got my cat). By contrast, Demeter and Kore's story was one of the first myths I ever read, and it's always resonated with me. In a way, that story is emblematic of paganism to me, so making a sourcebook about a futuristic country that worships the same is both a challenge and a treat.

As a pagan, I want to build this bad ass fictional society, this fantastic vision of a country without Christianity as a teaching tool almost, like I'm saying "Look, this is what COULD be." As a sci-fi author though, I realize that making a shiny happy utopia where everything is perfect all the time is BORING AS FUCK.

That sorta leads into something I've noticed about Otherverse America. The Lifer nation- the ostensible villains- are the real protagonists. They're the ones dissatisfied with the status quo, the ones who have the agenda. Left to their own devices, the Choicers would get up in the morning, go to work, occasionally do a ritual, improve their bionics, watch the 22nd century version of TV and have lots and lots of sex. Utopias are boring... unless some outside force starts poking the utopia with a stick.

Anyway, there's two things that have been sticking in my head as I've been gathering stock art, arranging for commissioned artwork and doing research into the new book, two series I've been re-reading as I prepare to write. One is Peter F. Hamilton's Night's Dawn trilogy, because the Edenists are very similar to how I envision the Choicers: very, very well educated, high-tech post-Christian utopians who none the less have one of the most kick ass militaries in space.

On the other hand, you've got Brian Azzarello's 100 Bullets comic series, which features the Skull & Bones esque "Trust" as central villans. As I started writing I realized that this sourcebook would also deal alot with the elite families of the Choicer nation, especially the Nicellos bloodline.

Looking back on what I've written so far I realized something, I mean I knew it when I wrote it, but just now do I realize how WEIRD it is.... the Choicer nation is ludacriously well funded. They've got a full scale first rate military, allied superheroes that are pretty much equivalent to having the X-Men on permanent retainer, a couple of orbital elevators and a fuckin' space program! Compare that to now when the real world pagans in my neck of the woods meet for Sabbat get-togethers at a local coffee shop and do rituals in somebody's back yard. The conceptual gulf is pretty wide, you gotta admit.

So I realized that this sourcebook, is a good place to finally explain how the Choicers are able to afford all their cool toys.

Anyway, I'll be done with my Eleusinian sourcebook pretty soon.
Blessed Be,

CHRIS

Friday, June 11, 2010

Some good news for once....

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37645422/ns/politics-decision_2010/

Wow, Florida governor Charlie Crist (i)just vetoed a law that would have forced pregnant women seeking an abortion to view an ultrasound in an attempt to dissuade the abortion by A) forcing them to pay for an additional, unnecessary and expensive medical procedure B) force abortion providers into bankruptcy by forcing them to absorb the costs of this additional procedure or C) flat out guilt-ing them into not going through with the abortion.

And Gov. Crist said no.

Awesome. This guy, who is himself a pro-lifer, realized the evil and intentional secondary aspects of this law, and he vetoed it for exactly the same reasons I would have, had I been in power.

Do you have any idea how much courage that took?

I've lived in Florida for almost a year and a half while I was in the Navy. It's.... it's probably the worst state in the union in terms of reproductive and religious freedom. Conservative and religious to a degree where bigotry and violence are sacraments. Florida gave us lovely little "Choose Life" license plates while also giving us Paul Hill and his rampage. Pensacola itself holds the record for most church-ridden city on the planet. Per capita, Pensacola has more repressive churches than Saudi Arabia or Taliban controlled Afghanistan.

I have no idea what else Charlie Crist stands for and I don't care, because he got this one thing- the most important thing- right. Gov. Crist said some things that needed to be said, and if any of you live in Florida, please reward him for his courage come the next election. There's going to be alot of dull-eyed, Bible thumping fools voting against him because of his stand, so I'm sure Gov. Crist can use all the help he can get.

Blessed be,
CHRIS

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I'm Internet Famous

Check this out. For the last couple of days, I've been spending way, way too much time on TvTropes.ORG, this utterly geeky trivia website. It's purpose is to highlight the standard cliches and predictable plots in movies, TV, comics, novels, even RPGs. I found this entry under the table top games header on the "Even Evil Has Standards" page.

In the D20 Modern campaign setting Otherverse America, a Divided America shattered by an abortion issue centered civil war, the Pro-Life faction is portrayed as the villains. Despite this, one of the sidebars makes it clear that any links that they might have had with neo-nazi factions (a modern accusation with varying levels of truth), the 22nd century version has effectively purged them out.

Holy shit! I now find myself opening the table top games header first on all future pages, wondering if I'll pop up again.

Anyway, the whole page is here, if you're interested. Be warned, this website is a time sink to end all time sinks.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/EvenEvilHasStandards

Blessed Be,
CHRIS

Monday, May 31, 2010

Want to ride dragons?

Here you go, here's the introductory text from an upcoming PDF release from Skortched Urf and Otherverse Games: The Dragonbound Core Class. Twenty levels of dragon-riding asskickery. I had a great time writing this sourcebook, because I was able to make the dragon more than just a class feature, to give the dragons real flavor and personality. Writing the sourcebook from the perspective of a real world pet owner really helps, I think. Anyway, it's going to be an awesome release, and I have a feeling that it will turn into one of our best sellers. Enjoy.....

CHRIS

Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series remains one of fantasy’s most enduring franchises, and the recent PS3 video game Lair allows the hero to take control of a mighty dragon steed. Young adult works like Eragon and How to Train Your Dragon follow young heroes as they bond with incredible beasts. Despite the popularity and sheer appeal of dragon-riding heroes, traditional fantasy gaming has never really supported the trope.

It’s easy to see why: giving a player character a bonded dragon at first level is equivalent to giving that hero a fully armed tank, while everybody else in the party makes do with swords and bows. A veteran hero, riding an adult dragon… the metaphor of a tank gives way to an even more alarming one: the metaphor a fully armed stealth bomber with a nuclear payload. Dragons are overwhelmingly powerful, and having one in your corner, loyal only to you… that’s a class feature that certainly outdoes Weapon Specialization and Barbarian Rage.

This sourcebook presents a new 20 level core class: the Dragonbound, a unique breed of knight who is defined by his empathic bond with a great dragon steed. The Dragonbound is an intentionally unbalanced campaign option; in terms of sheer damage dealing potential (as well as mobility and endurance), the Dragonbound certainly outclasses the Fighter and Barbarian. Character classes that depend on a mystical mount or animal companion, such as Paladin and the Ranger are similarly outclassed. Since the Dragonbound’s core concept resolves around a partnership with a dragon, and mounts and animal companions are tangentially related to the concept of what a Paladin or Ranger is, the Dragonbound’s companion beast is naturally more impressive. However, given the Dragonbound’s emphasis on honorable combat and exalted place in their nation’s military means that many Dragonbound eventually take at least a few levels in Paladin or Blackguard.

If your campaign includes Dragonbound, you might consider requiring all the players to make Dragonbound protagonists. Bound Dragons are a diverse enough species, and their riders are such unqiue heroes that even in a campaign dominated by Dragonbound heroes and villains, your hero can be unique. Alternatively, though young Dragonbound are more powerful than rookie spell casters, Dragonbound never gain the reality-warping capstone spells of high level spellcasters. Dragonbound have a more even power curve over the course of their careers. Mixing Clerics, Druids, Sorcerers and Wizards with Dragonbound works fairly well. Rouges and Bards have unique abilities that let them stand as equal with Dragonbound characters, they just have to be played cleverly.


Multi-class Dragonbound / Sorcerers almost invariably hail from the Draconic bloodline. Often the same selective breeding process which created the first Bound Dragons resulted in the draconic ancestry of that faction’s Sorcerers. Sooner or later, many of these multi-classed spellcasters take levels in the Dragon Disciple prestige class, exploring their draconic heritage and becoming more like their dragons, as their steeds become more like their masters.



Saturday, May 15, 2010

Playing around with Fantastic Races....

The whole concept of "Fantastic Races of the Otherverse" is a really fun one. I've already completed drafts for a fantasy version of the Ubasti (Coven of Bast) and the Softling Healers (APEX). Today I'm going to do a version of the Urlocks (psychic bear men from Galaxy Command), the Fluxminx (shapeshifting sexslaves also from APEX) and the Steamers (living gas in a containment suit, from Psi-Watch).

The ideas are coming very quickly, and it's a lot of fun to re-imagine already strong concepts and mutate them into something high-fantasy rather than sci-fi. The Ubasti came out pretty good, but I really like what I did to the poor Softlings. They've somehow mutated into this anorexic, heavily inbred, super arrogant Elven aristocracy with innate healing gifts. Very twisted, and lots of fun.

Talk to you later,
CHRIS

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

In the Comments to my previous post.....

This afternoon I saw this comment on my blog after the last entry:

The Adventure Essentials line is one of my favorites, have you given any thought to doing Adventure Essentials: Tents?

I know that's one I'd buy!

it's not a race but a class I'd love to see updated is the Harem Mage, as long as you include the Living Doll data.

Thank you,
Chris (not me, some other Chris)

I think I know what I'll be doing next. The tents idea is a great one, and I can't believe we didn't think of it previously. And I was already planning to do Harem Mage for pathfinder sooner or later.
CHRIS

Monday, May 10, 2010

Go Where the Money Is

So once again, Louis was right. Adventurer Essentials: The Common Tongue has sold amazingly well, especially considering it took me about 4 hours to write her. It's holding strong at number three, and I want to continue the momentum. Of course, I'm still waiting for the upcoming releases of the print edition of Fantasy Firearms, Black Tokyo II and my Sentinel splat (which Mark is laying out, because some of my software didn't survive the transition to my new computer).

But in the mean time, I want to quickly release a bunch more mini-PDFS for Pathfinder. They're fun, and profitable. I'm thinking of doing short PDFs focusing on a single race with included racial feats, unique gear and maybe other cultural artifacts like spells and prestige classes. What races exactly?

How do the "Fantastic Races of the Otherverse" sound? Fantasy versions of some of the player races from Otherverse America, Psi-Watch and Galaxy Command, maybe even a few immigrants from Black Tokyo? Sound fun?

I've already got some cool ideas for how bring over the Ubasti (sentient lions from Coven of Bast) and the Steamers (think Fuji or Johan Krauss from BRPD, from Psi-Watch) and make them really cool for a fantasy setting.

So my question to you all: do you have any favorite original Otherverse Games races you would like to see adapted?

CHRIS

Just a thought about D&D 4th

I've been thinking a bit about 4th edition D&D. I don't really like it for fantasy, but you know what it would be outta-the-box perfect for? Superheroes?

The more I meditate on the 4th Edition rules, the more similarities I see to classic comics, especially Marvel. Take the daily/encounter/at will power categories and map them to one of the quentisential Marvel heroes: Johnny Storm. His at will is a basic ranged attack- a mini-fireball. His encounter power are fire cages, while Nova blast is his daily ability. Ricochet shots, like Captain America does with his shield, or Cyclops does with optic blasts, or Daredevil's billy club seems like fairly typical encounter abilities.

The leader/lurker/brute split for monsters seems like a good match for Marvel villians. Magneto is a controller/leader type, while Juggernaut is obviously a solo brute- a massive amount of HP, great armor save and does 4th have damage reduction? Deadpool is like a lurker- stealth abililities, a short range teleport as an encounter power, and backstabbing like a rogue. Smells like lurker to me, and you could extend the definitition of Marvel lurker to guys like Green Goblin.

Anyway, it would take somebody more familiar with the system to convert 4th over to supers gaming, but if anybody wants to take a stab at it, based on this post, go for it.

Blessed Be,
CHRIS