Thursday, June 30, 2011

Major Release Plans

I just thought I'd follow up on the last post and give you an idea of the schedule (at least as far as major releases) looks for the next year or so. For minor releases, those come out as I have ideas for them. I've got a good backlog of 10-30 page short PDFs on file, some for Pathfinder, others supporting Otherverse America, Psi-Watch and Galaxy Command.

1. Otherverse America Unlimited Edition. This huge book should be out by late August or early September. The Game Master's Guide will release at roughly the same time.

2. Pirates of the Bronze Sky. At this point, I don't have a firm release date that I can promise with the authority I'm promising Otherverse America Unlimited, but I'd expect this lavish Pathfinder RPG Campaign Setting sometime either in late winter or (more likely) early Spring 2012. You know, just in time for the Mayan Apocalypse. Make sure to print out a copy so you can play in the ruins of civilization after the power goes out.

3. I have a mid-length D20 Modern PDF in the pipes. Think of it as a campaign overlay for playing sentai characters, dramatically expanding the old advanced class I did for Skortched Urf Studios: Sentai Spectrum Ranger. That one's pretty much done and I just need to buy some art for it. Look for it around the time Otherverse America comes out.

4. I want to revamp and revise the Guide to the Known Galaxy, and I'll be buying up art and taking a second look at the text over the next few months. Expect alot of the profits from Otherverse America Unlimited Edition to go here. I'll also probably put out a 'monster manual' type book with the new art that converts the Lifechained monsters in the Guide to the Pathfinder PRG ruleset, sorta doubling my sales! Look for that in late spring or early summer 2012 as well.

5. I've decided to go ahead with the Otherverse Modern revamp of the D20 Modern ruleset. That will probably release in late fall 2012, unless I hear anything that makes me decide to scuttle the project. (Namely, Paizo finally doing a Modern RPG of their own).

6. Finally, when I originally solicited Sexually Transmitted Future, I had planned to include alot more information on 2107's meta-porn culture. However, the published PDF didn't have much metaporn content in it. That's because I want to make the eventual meta-porn sourcebook much sexier and much wierder, and it will need lots of good art to make it stand on its own. This unnamed sourcebook, when it comes out will draw on these three major inspirations: classic William Gibson style cyberpunk, the Playing D&D with Porn Stars blog, and Grant Morrison's "World" introduced during his X-Men run. Make of that what you will.

Talk to you later,

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Final Days Before the Release

Okay, I just sent out a mass email to all my artists still working on the Otherverse America core rulebook. I should have all the illustrations in by the last week of July at the latest, and I'll begin layout on the Otherverse America Unlimited Edition by the first week of August. That means, it should be up for sale before September!

I also found out something about one of my artists. Turns out, Felipe Gaona is also doing work on the Legend of the Five Rings CCG, one of the highest profile, most venerable franchises in gaming, and something alot of gamers consider the definitive fantastic-Japan game. Very cool.... I'm happy that I've got somebody with that level of resume on my game.

ALSO- I just popped over to RPGnow, and noticed that somebody tagged Sexually Transmitted Future with a 5 star review. Awesome! I'm glad you liked it, and wait till you see Species of Otherverse America, which should be coming out in the next few weeks.

Talk to you all later,

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Comics My Mom Likes

Okay, something a bit different. My mother is more a fan of Jane Austin than modern comics, but raising me, and then just being around, she’s been exposed to quite a few comics over the decades.

First and foremost, she’s proud I’ve been published but mostly baffled by what I write. She under stands the basic concept of roleplaying games well enough, and has seen me run games for my friends and/or my kid brother when I was in high school. So unlike most non-gamers, she understands what D&D is and basically how you play it, though she’s never had an interest in trying it herself. As to Otherverse America…. she knows what it is, knows the basic conflict, and likes most of the art I’ve commissioned for it. Her opinion on abortion is that men shouldn’t have an opinion, and shouldn’t speak or preach publicly on it, since its an inherently female issue. She says she gives me a pass because as a pro-choice man, I’m a nice counterbalance to all the right wing asshats out there.

Anyway, other stuff. Her favorite sci-fi movie is Soldier. She liked Kurt Russell’s transformation from emotionless killing machine to real person. She’s also a huge fan of Tank Girl, just because she thought Laura Petty kicked ass in that movie. She likes strong female characters- she loved the scene in T-2 where Sarah Conner racked the shotgun one handed, and had me ask some of my gun-nut buddies at work if you could really do that. She’s been thinking of buying a shotgun specifically to recreate that scene. Not kidding there.

Knowing how much she loved Victorian era literature- like I said, she’s a huge fan of Jane Austin, so I turned my mom onto League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I bought her the hardback edition of the first volume, she loved it, and its’ the only graphic novel on her bookshelf. I sorta warned her away from the second volume though…. And she’s seen the movie, though like anyone with a soul, while she thought Sean Connery was awesome, she didn’t like the rest of it.

The Beast is one of her favorite characters- she knows him best from the 90s X-Men cartoon. She likes the mix of gentleness, intelligence and sheer physicality- to her Hank McCoy is like the perfect man. Yes, my mother is a furry.

She’s also flipped through Coleen Coover’s Gingerbread Girl and will probably read it at some point. At one point she saw this spread of the Legion as the background on my lap top. She instantly pointed to Saturn Girl and started asking me questions about her- she was fascinated. I asked why, and she said she liked Saturn Girl’s more realistic physique and militaristic uniform and hair style- she looked like a credible, professional hero.

Anyway, talk to you later,


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Free20: You Pick the Topic!

Okay, right now, I’m waiting on art on my bigger projects, and not really doing any thing too important. I’ve got a bit of free time on my hands, and I want to put out another Free20 product.

The problem?

I don’t know what I want that Free20 to be about. So I’m leaving it up to you. You get to decide what Free20 product I work on next. It can be Pathfinder fantasy or D20 Modern, sci-fi, space opera, superheroes, old school dungeon crawls, whatever. Do you want a new advanced class, a new player race, a new monster, some feats or gear? Do you want support for one of my campaign worlds: Black Tokyo, Galaxy Command, Otherverse America or Psi-Watch… or do you want a stand alone Free20 product?

Leave me suggestions in the comments below.

Now, there are a few ground rules. Most importantly, the subject you suggest must be one I can cover thoroughly in about 2,000 to 2,500 words (around 5 pages). Ideally, the subject you suggest should only require public domain photographs or readily available stock art to illustrate…. If you include a link to image resources from RPGnow or another source, that will go along way to getting your idea chosen. Finally, if the subject you suggest requires specialized knowledge to write about intelligently, include some links to the appropriate resources- a Wikipedia page or whatever else you’ve found.

Once I get a good selection of results, I’ll either just roll some dice and pick one randomly, or pick the suggestion I like the best.

Blessed Be,


Monday, June 20, 2011

Battle Changers Out Now, Mutants Coming Soon!

One of my first freelance projects for Louis was Accidents of Birth, a collection of mutations and deformities for 3.5. Last week I completely overhauled it to Pathfinder, and the revised edition will be up for sale soon. This new version- it's light years better than the immature work of a first-year game designer. It's also about twice the size, and includes alot more world information and context for using mutations in a fantasy campaign.

Anyway, take a look when it comes out. After this, I've got a short PDF dealing with new familiar abilities, a random gun generation system for D20 Future, which was ALOT of fun to write, and a couple of small equipment books for Otherverse America. I'm waiting on art for the "Techno-Magic of Bast" and "Medical Pack".

I'm also waiting on some art for a couple of short race books for Psi-Watch, and the last 3 pieces for Otherverse America.

Right now, Battlechangers is up for sale. Go check it out, and let me know what you think.
Blessed Be,

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Modernizing D20 Modern

So Louis and I have a bit of a difference of opinion.

Ever since Pathfinder came out, I’ve been trying to convince him to go in with me on creating a PFRPG compatible revamp of D20 Modern. He always demurs: his logic is that eventually Paizo will create it’s own version of Pathfinder Modern, and this version will become definitive (in addition to looking better than anything we could produce ourselves), and our effort will be wasted and forgotten.

I admit, it’s a pretty good argument. My counter argument, for going ahead, is this. First, it’s been more than two years since PFRPG came out, and there’s been no word from Paizo, not even whispers that they’re working on a modern version. As a company, they seem more focused on medieval fantasy, and they’ve got plenty of money rolling in from their various adventure paths, supplemental books and the like. There’s not really any indication they’re going to branch out into D20 Modern, and no real reason for them to do so. Paizo staffers seem to like working on Pathfinder, so more power to them.

By contrast, while the PFRPG is a kick ass rule-set, and I’ve had fun writing some stuff for it, my first love is sci-fi gaming. I’m not as much of a fan of dungeon crawls. Plus, I’ve done tons of work for D20 Modern, and when it comes right down to it, I can make that rule-set jump and dance. I’ve done things with D20 Modern that nobody else has- not Wizards of the Coast, not Gareth, not Louis, and not any of the other PDF publishers.

Call it ego, but I want to take a stab at revamping and modernizing D20 Modern. I think it would be good for both my company, and the industry. I don’t have the name recognition Paizo does, but I’ve got more name recognition than the guys who did Infinite Futures or The Modern Path: Heroes of the Modern World do…

Also, I don’t think it would be a huge investment. In time, yes, but not in money. Doing a basic PFRPG/D20 Modern core book might not be that expensive. I’d need to buy a kick ass cover, yes, but for most of the internal art, I can use previously purchased or stock stuff.. I need an image of a modern cop? I’ve got 3 different ones in my stock morgue.

Anyway, if I did a D20 Modern/PFRPG Modern Conversion what would it look like?

The Core Modern Book would focus on tech and adventurers from roughly the Wild West era through the Cyberpunk Era. The core book would have NO magic, Psionic or space-opera technology. Those aspects would be covered by smaller 96-150 page plug- in PDFs.

The corebook would have some sidebars and support for running earlier tech games (Revolutionary War, golden age of piracy, Victorian steampunk, Renaissance, Dark Ages, Classical Rome, ect) . These historical campaigns would have included rules modifications, archaic gear, maybe some specific talents. As this wouldn’t be the focus, you’d need some work to run one of these campaigns, but it would be possible. In the same vein, I’d give some support and rules modification (including elements similar to the genre-specific Starting Talents in Black Tokyo III) and a short historical overview for running games in different eras of the 20th century- 80s action movies, 60s civil rights era, WWII or WWI one games, Casablanca style espionage between the wars, pulp, ect.

I think I would ditch the 6 Attribute-based Basic Classes, but keep the concept of modular talent trees. Instead of Strong and Dedicated Heroes, you’d have the most common modern character archetypes. I think the class list would look something like this.

Police Officer




Pilot/Driver/ (which would include options for mounted combat for low tech campaigns- pony express riders, Mongols on horseback, jousting knights, ect)

Diplomat/Con Man





Martial Artist (which would include support for boxers, mixed martial arts and wrestling as well as traditional kung fu guys)

Different specialties within a given archetype would be differentiated by the player’s choice of talent tree. Some of the talent trees would be exclusive to one class, shared between 2-3 classes, while others would be available to pretty much any character. For instance, both the Police Officer and the Doctor character might be able to take talents from some kind of ‘forensic expert’ talent tree.

Like Pathfinder, characters would get either a special class ability, feat or talent every level. Character creation and progression would match Pathfinder more closely, as would the skill and feat wording.

I’d also like to modernize the equipment list. The D20 Modern equipment list is 10 years old at this point, and is starting to show its age. In addition to upgrading the computer tech to include modern smartphones and iPads and the like, I’d want a greater selection of vehicles. Notable gaps I’ve noticed in the current D20 Modern include aircraft, military gear, including tanks and APCs, and sea craft, not to mention non-American civilian vehicles.

I also think we need to streamline and simplify the gun rules as well as the vehicle rules. Streamline both those stat-blocks, because as it stands now, most guns and cars in D20 modern have stat-blocks longer and more complex than most 1st level characters. I’d like to reduce the number of feats needed to be an effective gunfighter. To that end, I’d split guns into simple and marital weapons, and cut out the Personal Firearms Proficiency feat entirely. You’d need martial weapons proficiency to use a gun in autofire mode effectively, though.

Future Splats

I figure I’ve got a pretty good set of splatbooks for my theoretical D20 Modern update on deck. There would be a future tech book focusing on space ships, really advanced weapons, and really cool gadgets. The ‘tech books’ I’ve done for Otherverse America, including my Drain-based cybernetics rules and the genetic engineering rules in Sexually Transmitted Release would probably become core. I would probably put out a version of those rules with Otherverse America-specific stuff stripped out. I would probably do the same with Psi-Watch to create a generic psychic powers system.

I think the modern magic book could actually be split into two synergistic books. One magic book would focus on Elves, Dwarves, Trolls in the modern world, sorta a Shadowrun feel. This book would also have modern mages- you’d want this book to play John Constantine or Harry Potter.

The second modern magic book would focus specifically on were-creatures and vampires in the modern world. Think True Blood, Twilight, Underworld or classic World of Darkness. I figure each modern magic book would have neat stuff you can use as a stand alone product, but is even cooler when you mix and match it with stuff from the other book.

Finally, I can envision a hard-core military sourcebook with lots of advanced weapons and improved vehicle rules- including a 3D air combat system that actually works…. unlike the current D20 modern aircraft rules, which suck to a truly professional level.

What Could You Do With It?

The basic book is meant to be Tom Clancy, The Burke novels, GI Joe, James Bond, The Wire, NYPD Blue, The Shield, NCIS, CSI, 100 Bullets, 24, Sin City, Machete, any John Woo or Ong Bak movie.

What sci-fi could you run with just the near future tech in the core book? Cyberpunk 2020, Neuromancer, The Matrix, Robocop, Mad Max, Martha Washington (at least the first few books), Demolition Man, Predator, Terminator, The Running Man, Total Recall (we’ll need psychic plug ins, so never mind) maybe Bubblegum Crisis or the first ½ of Akira with the core book.

You could run Wild Wild West, Indiana Jones, Sherlock Holmes, Leauge of Extraordinary Gentlemen (maybe), Unforgiven, Jonah Hex, The Patriot, Roots, Shanghai Noon, anything Civil War, - at the low tech end just from the core book. You could probably work up something more archaic- ancient Rome, warring states era China- but you’d need to do a lot of work yourself.

For Minority Report, Transmetropolitian, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars, Star Trek, Total Recall, Serenity- you’d need the future/space opera book and/or the psionics book.

For True Blood, Twilight, Underworld, World of Darkness, Spawn, Tarot, Ghostbusters, Ghost Rider, The Exorcist – you’d need core book plus at least one of the magic books.

Rifts, Shadowrun, He-Man- for something that multi-genre either go get your favorite edition of Mutants & Masterminds or get all our books and mix and match.

Anyway, give me some opinions in the comments. Should I go ahead and do an updated modern system, or would it be a waste of my time?

Blessed Be,


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Riding with the Christians

Yesterday, I walked to work at my restaurant. I usually bike, but yesterday, some mechanical problems cropped up, so I walked. No big thing but when a guy driving by stopped and asked me if I wanted a ride to my Whataburger, I said yes. It was a hot day, and this dude was saving me about 1.25 miles of sweat. Awesome.

I slide into the car, and the guy introduces himself as John. He says he's heading towards my restaurant because his church is nearby and he's got some work to do there. I ask him if it's the little Lutheran church right across the parking lot from my job site, and he says no, it's some Christian fellowship about 1/2 mile farther out. I nod, ask him if he's a pastor there, and he says that he just volunteers as a missionary occasionally, but the reason he's going up today is to do some work on a Christian brand clothing line he's working on.

Interesting. We talk for a few minutes about the town, and some of the contacts he's trying to establish, the investors he's hoping to line up from among Kerrville's many, many millionaires. Finally, I ask the guy what the clothing line will look like. He describes it as similar to the Tap Out and Fightgear secular clothing lines but says it will have a 'darker' edge and an obvious Christian slant. By darker, I ask him if it will look like about half the art on Deviant Art, and chagrined slightly, he admits yes, that's what he's going for.

We chat for a little bit more and he asks me if I'm any stripe of Christian. I tell him no, I'm pagan. He replies that he used to be pagan himself before he found Christ. "I was into Ouija boards and Satan...."

Now, this 5 minute ride gave me a lot of food for thought. First off, I can't say anything really too bad about John: the man offered me genuine hospitality when I was hot and sweating, and so he's awesome. Even more than that, he gave me something I've rarely had- a mostly positive experience with a Christian.

But two things, two assumptions about my faith and about Christianity and its craftwork during this conversation really bugged me. First and foremost, the Ouija boards and Satan crack. I've never used a fucking Ouija board in my life, because they're stupid and also crap. And of all the deities I've ever prayed or sacrificed to, the Christian Devil is one that's never made my list. I don't believe in the "good guys" of Christian myth, so why the hell (no pun intended), should I worship the bad guy? If I wanted to pray to a trickster figure, I'd rather talk to Loki or Coyote or Anastazi....after all, they don't get their asses kicked quite as badly or as often as the Christian Satan does. And having my faith, (which is paradoxically thousands of years older than Christianity and only 60 years old, new, vibrant and fresh), stereotyped as childish occultism by someone who really knows nothing about it grates.

Second, the guy's talking about creating a Christian clothing line. And instead of creating something unique and beauitful, what does this guy do? Bite the style of Tapout T-shirts and Deviant Art? Now, I'm not the target market, but I see plenty of Christian branded clothes everyday, living in the Deepest South. To me, it seems like Christian fashion, like Christian art in general, takes something that was popular in secular culture about 3 years ago, slaps Christ onto it somewhere, and calls it good. It irritates me, and compared to the transcendent craftsmanship and artistry of the pagan cultures I most love (Egypt and Hellenic Greece) it just seems lazy, and ugly.

Anyway, I figure I'm sorta in the same boat as John, just heading towards the opposite shore. I create pagan-branded art. My faith is evident in every paragraph I write for Otherverse America but damnit, I try to make something beautiful and original. I try to keep up the tradition of craftsmanship I discovered when writing the Coven of Bast. Anyway, for a short ride, it gave me a lot of stuff to chew on.

Blessed Be,

Thursday, June 2, 2011


I just sent this off to Mark for posting on RPGnow. Remember a few months ago I had put together a quick-play RPG based on the old Transformers cartoon? Well, I finally decided just to gather up some stock art and put it out. It looks pretty good, and should be a pretty cool play experience.

This is my second attempt at creating a non-D20 game system, the first being Against the Darkness for Tabletop Adventures. Hopefully, Battlechangers will be equally well received. If it is, I might design a few more 'indy' games as a palate cleanser between Otherverse America and various Pathfinder releases.

This puppy tops out at 87 pages of content, and includes a fucking DEEP character creation system. You can build any Transformer you can imagine, and I figure char-gen should take about 15 minutes for an experienced gamer, maybe a few minutes longer for a kid or first time gamer.

System wise, Battlechangers is diceless and focuses on resource allocation more than luck. Skills are handled by comparing your attribute plus your skill to a target number; players can expend fuel to put forth more effort to beat more challenging skill target numbers. Combat is an opposed version of that. In terms of system, character attributes are called Specifications, and virtually identical to the "Tech Specs" on old Transformer packaging- though I renamed "Rank" to "Charisma". The system sorta reminds me of a cross between Big Eyes Small Mouth (which has my favorite char-gen system of any RPG, due to its incredible speed and versitility) and D&D 4th Edition (with its steamlined combat and per day/per encounter/ and at will powers).

Anyway, this fun little game should be up soon. Check it out and let me know what you think. Blessed Be,