Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ghosts and Promises for 2012

Kodiak Island

This last two weeks I’ve been working on a combination of ‘city-book’ and character-builder for the Lifer Nation, emphasizing their hidden fortress/city on Kodiak Island and its next generation super soldiers. I just got the manuscript to a fairly complete point last night, to a level I’m satisfied with. I’ll be going through, adding a bit more flavor text, and going to press with in a month or so. This sourcebook, which I’ll be titling “Promises & Ghosts: The Secrets of Kodiak Island” will probably be the last big Otherverse America release of the year, though I’m working on Guide to the Known Galaxy in the background.

Expect the New Promise Infantryman Basic Class- a Lifer specific starting class that allows you to build competent and powerful, but rigidly trained supersoldiers. The advantage of this class is its excellent conventional combat training and the ability to select advaced-level talents while still a Basic Class; the disadvantage is this class and its members are very ‘by the book’, and sorta inflexible- they can’t select class based Bonus Feats. The New Promise Infantryman plays different, and feels different than APEX or Choicer soldiers, and should be a fun option for gamers wanting to build Lifer heroes.

Several times throughout the previous sourcebooks, I’ve mentioned a ‘class’ or caste of Lifer soldiers- a sprawling legacy of super-terrorists known as “Ghosts of Babies Past”. Not only will gamers get dossiers on the most famous “Ghosts”, there’s a new 5 level Prestige Class consisting solely of modular super-abilities that allow Lifer characters to custom build a unique, powerful and utterly terrifying GoBP of their own.

My Non-Fiction Book on the Army of God

As I’ve been writing Ghosts & Promises, I’ve been seriously considering writing a serious, non-fiction work on the real world’s AOG, and I’ve decided, yep. I WILL DO THIS. However, the research and depth required by a sci-fi RPG loosely based in reality and the research and depth demanded by a more professional work are two different animals. I expect to spend at least 6 months or a year doing some pretty intense research before I even start writing: part of this will involve either face to face or phone/email interviews with real world anti-abortion terrorists. That’s…. that’s going to be interesting. First off, will these people even talk to me? Second, I’m a pretty broke individual, so if I do end up traveling the country, talking to AOG members, I’ll be riding a whole lot of Greyhounds.

Should be interesting.

Anyway, last week I finally saw the HBO Documentary “Soldiers in the Army of God”- I missed it when it first aired. I think I was still in Corry Station, in Pensacola FL ironically enough, completing my Naval training. (Or more accurately, waiting for my fuckin’ security clearance to get approved and doing bitch work around base while I waited to start my training. Fuck the Navy.)

Anyway, as a source of new intelligence on the AOG, it was pretty useless to me. I knew most of the data already, from reading other sources, and the documentary focused on a guy named Bob Lokey, who was fairly low-level and enough of an idiot he was an outcast even among the rest of the AOG members. The one interesting thing was a PDF copy of “Neal Horsely & the future of armed abortion conflict”, a magazine article by Daniel Voll (Esquire, Feb 1999), that inspired the documentary. I read it and I found out something I’d never known about Horsely, and something that other sources have apparently not picked up on.

Horsley, who started the Nuremberg Files website (an intelligence resource about abortion docs, listing photos, names, home & work addresses among other data…. And which in the fictionalized Otherverse America setting evolved into the Nuremberg AI), at the time of the Esquire article was employed as a computer programmer at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, GA!

Holy fuck nuggets. I have no idea if Horsely is still employed there, and Wikipedia is of no help…. But that’s SCARY…. a dude who argues for violent succession from the United States, who advocates armed resistance to the federal government, with nuclear, biological and chemical weapons if necessary….working a few hundred meters away from the only viable Smallpox samples remaining in the USA. I’m really hoping that after 9-11, somebody other than me realized how cataclysmically BAD an idea this was and fired Neal’s ass.

Anyway, realizing that Horsely worked at the CDC paints the Nuremberg Files and their OCD completeness in a whole new light. He’s thinking like an epidemiologist. Think of abortion as a disease- it makes sense to track the carriers (the docs) and the known loci of infection. Anyway, it’s an angle on Horsely that nobody else has, and will probably form a big chunk of my book- it also paints the man (who usually comes off as a criminally insane redneck) in a much more disturbing light- he’s smarter and more potentially dangerous than he lets on.

Anyway, don’t look for the book soon, but sooner or later, it’ll be out there.

Black Tokyo IV and Black Tokyo Legends

My best selling works continue to be Black Tokyo and its spin offs. Mark just sent over some title art for Black Tokyo Legends: Races of the Tatakama, which will become the first in a series of Pathfinder-compatible conversions of Black Tokyo. This sourcebook will include 9 races and some world information about the Tatakama. Each of the races has been selected for uniqueness and to fill a specific gameplay niche.

Kitsune are sexy tricksters and thieves, Anakame are perverse stealth experts that offer gamers a chance to play as an Undead hero from level one. The Daughters of Kirin are tough, gorgeous and heroic women, destined to make kick ass fighters and paladins, and so on. Each of the races will also include several alternate racial traits, that link them to similar critters from different Asian myths.

I’m also working on another D20 Modern chapter of Black Tokyo focusing on high tech erotica and hentai-inspired cybernetics. Think a perverse Guyver or Ghost in the Shell campaign- should be pretty fun.

I’m also toying with the idea of releasing an “ultimate editon” of Black Tokyo with more and better artwork and information from the sequels and splatbooks integrated into the core campaign setting book. After all, the Ultimate Editions of my other core settings, Psi-Watch and Otherverse America were very well received. (Otherverse America more so than Psi-Watch. OA’s controversial nature and unique point of view has attracted more attention than the more standard, ‘generic superhero’ Psi-Watch gameworld.)

Pirates of the Bronze Sky

I’m working on it, I’m working on it, I’m working on it. Still no scheduled release date, but I’ve been gathering art in the background for a while now, and deciding what else to include in this setting. (I’ve always been more a fan of sci-fi and cyberpunk than fantasy, so my mind always tends to wander to Otherverse America when I should be working on Pirates).

Those of you who received the free ‘beta playtest’ might be interested to know that I’ll be scrapping the more complex air-combat rules found within. Since those rules were written Paizo introduced its own official naval combat rules, and it will be easier to modify those excellent rules slightly to model three dimensional combat than start from scratch.

LPJD Image Portfolios

This week, I sent along a bunch of artwork, used to illustrate Otherverse America and Psi-Watch to Louis and allowed him to include it as stock art in his Image Portfolio line. I chose artwork that had a more genetic sci-fi vibe (no recognizably Choicer or Lifer characters, first off) and that would be useful in a wide variety of sci-fi, supers and cyberpunk settings. The Image Portfolios he put together are AMAZING.

I chose to go through Louis rather than releasing the stock myself because his Image Portfolios are a respected and popular brand of stock art. Anyway, I look forward to seeing this very cool artwork used in a lot of products.

Also, I partnered with Louis to release a sourcebook of 100 new cleric spells for the PFRPG, ten spells from each spell level. That should be out soon, and should be a fun little product. Go give it a look.

Recent Toy Purchases

You know what got me started on the Kodiak Island sourcebook in the first place, and thus, put the idea of a non-fiction book into my mind? This guy. I picked up a great “Pursuit of Cobra” Cobra Viper figure at Wal-Mart a couple of weeks back. I’ve always liked the design of this faceless, but well equipped Cobra troop. The old-school Cobra troops are okay looking, but their WWII styled helmets give them too low tech a look- they look too conventional. This bad boy, with his load bearing vest and that amazing helmet, now he looks like a high-tech terrorist supersoldier. I was playing with this guy, and had him staring at me from my book shelf, when I started getting the idea for the New Promise Infantryman, and the context in which this class originated.

Also, I just picked up the Marvel 3.5 inch Ultimate Iron Man figure. He joins my small army of Tony Stark. I love the design on this fricking suit so much- it has the bulk and solidity power armor should have.

Next Year’s Plans

I’m already planning for my big 2012 releases.

My biggest, coolest and most art-heavy books will be the Revised Guide to the Known Galaxy and Pirates of the Bronze Sky. Those two books will anchor the year, the same way the revised Otherverse America Core Book and Fursona anchored 2011.

However, I rarely plan out smaller releases. I usually work on shorter and mid-length books as I get inspired to. This year, well received, and majorly fun sourcebooks like ‘The Wiccae’ and ‘Sentai Spectacular’ came about because I felt like doing a book on the subject. No big business plan, no marketing strategy, just an idea I had to get out there. I consider sourcebooks like that a pleasant surprise, and look forward to see what surprises 2012 has in store for us.

Blessed Be,


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