Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bought Two Marvel Products, Enjoyed One....

So yesterday, I picked up the Margaret Weis Productions Marvel RPG at RPGnow. And today, while shopping at Wal-Mart for my monthly groceries, I picked up the new Marvel Legends Thor.

My advice to you all: Buy two Thors and don't waste your money on MWP's crap. Seriously, that thing is worse then the Marvel game with the stones from 2001.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Some Cool New Art from 'Manda & Vic

Okay, here's the cover pencils for
One Planet, One Power, the add-on to the Powered Hero basic class I've been talking about. As I asked, Amanda did a very traditional superhero cover treatment. (She told me, she is modeling the cover on Justice League of America #217), and I can see that, especally in the Superman-esque flight pattern of the foreground character.

Next, we have a completed image by Vic Shane, depicting a fully armored, and very badass looking Lifer soldier. This will be showing up in Ghosts & Promises: The Secrets of Kodiak Island.

After this, I'm going to have these two start doing some illustrations for Black Tokyo, some more Otherverse America stuff. Felipe Gaona just started on the cover to Frontlines of Choice, the abortion clinic management sim I mentioned last post.

It's been a good week, artwise.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Where I want to go with Otherverse America

Today, I commissioned a cover, from Felipe Gaona, for what may be the most unusual product I’ll be releasing for Otherverse America. It’ll be called Frontlines of Choice- remember a few weeks ago I wrote about a weird project that combined Paizo’s settlement and caravan rules. Well this is it- a mostly standalone resource-management type sim about running a Choicer abortion clinic in 22nd Century America.

It’s mostly stand alone, so you either plug it into your D20 Modern Otherverse America campaign, use it with any other system you’re using to run Otherverse America, or play it as a standalone mini-game. It’s pretty deep, and really gives you a different perspective on OA- the daily life of the world, and the struggles beyond mere combat. I mentioned in the introduction, it’s a different scale too- you’re on the ground with the doctors and clinic defenders, not in the air with the post-human supersoldiers.

I’m excited about Frontlines, first, because this little mini-game continues a trend I began back when Louis agreed to publish Choice & Blood, a trend of treating abortion providers in an unquestionably heroic light. I figure the profession needs a positive portrayal to counter act all the anti-choice bullshit thrown about, and I’m glad I can provide that positive view. Second, on a more pragmatic level, I know I’m getting a great cover that I’ll be able to recycle later.

Since my art budget is pretty small, especially compared to the big boys at Paizo, WOTC or Green Ronin, BUT I still want my books to be as well illustrated as theirs, I have to recycle art and use lots of stock. Not ideal, but not a fatal flaw either. Anyway, I figure the cover produced will eventually find its way into the San Francisco citybook I plan to write.

The Kodiak Island PDF, now that I stop to think about it, is a citybook, as well as an army book. Kodiak is a city- albeit a fairly small (about 30,000 inhabitants) and self contained one. It’s a good way to cut my teeth writing a city book, setting up interesting sites, building local NPCs and relationships, making the place feel basically LIVED IN. Of course, now I want to do a bigger, even more complex city. I want to write a citybook as cool as Freedom City (Green Ronin), Vornhiem (Lamentations of the Flame Princess), The Shackled City AP (Paizo), or Night City (R. Talorsian). I figure there are five American cities important enough to the OA setting to deserve their own city books: The Federal Metroplex/Washington DC, Atlanta GA, Boston MA, Pensacola FL, and San Francisco CA.

Over the next few years, I’ll work up all those books, and probably more, but I’m going to do San Francisco over the next year or so, and do it first. One, I’ve had to live in a Lifer headspace to write Kodiak Island (and the Life Tank splat), which is kinda grim and hard for me. Writing something about the Choicers will help clear my head a bit, and it’ll be welcome.

Anyway, there’s lots of stuff I’m working on for Otherverse America, and lots more ideas percolating in the back of my head. I’m still working on the revised Guide to the Known Galaxy, and that should be out this year, too. Other, less tangible projects include:

  • At some point this year I’m going to put out a ‘details’ and ‘set-dressing’ book, similar to the Bits & Shards stuff I did for Table Top Adventures as my first freelance work. Almost completely system free bits of description of the people and cities of Otherverse America.

  • I want to do a nice race/tech book for Full Conversion Cyborgs. Tons of new cybernetics, new rules options for borgs, details on the tech companies in Otherverse America.

  • Playing on the last, I want to do an India 2107 sourcebook. I envision India as one of the highest tech, most transhumanist places on the planet, with its own unique culture. However, my understanding of Indian culture comes from three sources: Devi (Virgin Comics) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Capt. Nemo from League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Obviously, a bunch more research is needed.

  • I keep wanting to do a sourcebook on the Meta-Porn industry, focusing heavily on the Fluxminx and Softling Healers, a sort of mixed race/history splat. Of course, I keep rewriting what I’ve got, and disgarding it because its just not freaky enough, so I keep putting it off. It was supposed to be in Fursona III, but it just didn’t come together.

  • At some point I’m going to pull out elements of the Psi-Watch engine and release ‘em as standalone PDFs tweaked specifically for O.A. I’ll do one on the classes, all integrated into the setting: Frontliners, Nano-Sculptors, Incenerators and all the rest. I also want to do the same for the feat-based psionics engine- maybe include some Dreamscarred Press stuff, since their tweaks to the 3.5 psionics system really rocked.

  • I want to do more with the Neverborn, because along with the Ubasti and Full Conversion Cyborgs, they are my favorite races from the setting. Plus, I loved Amanda’s take on them. (As an aside, she’s done so much art for OA, she’s really starting to shape how it looks and feels. She’s gone from being an artist on assignment to being almost a co-creator. Very cool.)

  • Speaking of Amanda, I loved her take on Dolfie Black, this minor character who kept popping up in the manuscript for the revised core book. I want to a ‘monster splat’ like I did with Life Tank focusing on Dolfie Black in her prime. I would also take the opportunity to present a revised, non-spellcasting version of the Innocent from the D7ACU line.

  • APEX got relatively short shrift in the revised Core Book- it got the least original art, which was a budget constraint. I want to redress the issue and do a nice, fat faction splat on APEX, and the whole notion of military/celebrity superheroes in general. I figure that will be a big, fun, action-adventure sourcebook focusing on big guns and high dollar PR campaigns.

In other news, I’ll be releasing Fursona IV: Fur of the Yokai soon. In my final draft of Black Tokyo: Races of the Tatakama, I included a fairly long appendix about converting some of the animalistic species, like Kitsune and Tanuki, into Anthro Orders, and presented seven new orders. I realized I could pull this out, expand it with new racial options and make it a separate release. This one will be illustrated mostly with public domain ukiyo-e and shunga prints from the late 17th through mid-19th centuries, so I don’t have to wait on art. Plus, Fursona products are always great sellers, as are Black Tokyo-related releases. Look for this fun little freak show in a week or so, with Races of the Tatakama hitting about a month or so later.

Blessed Be,

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Episode One in 3D

Yesterday night, I went to go see the re-release of Episode One. I know, I know, it's a horrible fuckin' movie, but I had to go check this out. The opulence of the new visual presentation really highlighted the weaknesses in the story- I swear every time fucking Anakin opened his mouth, I found my self reaching for my remote, and then weeping silently since I'm at the theater and can't just fast forward through that talentless little brat.

Anyway, visually Ep 1 is one of my favorite movies. The main reason, is when I designed the Choicer nation, I drew heavily on Alphone Mucha, art deco, Japanese imperial fashion, ect.... and seeing the movie for the first time, it became obvious ILM drew on those same influences to build Queen Amadila's look. I saw Ep 1 multiple times in the theater, when it first came out, just because it was like seeing an Otherverse America movie get made.

Anyway, the film looked AMAZING in 3D, no shock there. The podrace scene was stunning, and I didn't remember how well done the score was during that scene. The music drops away completely during the end of the first lap, and the second lap is almost completely silent: just the roar of the engines and whine of the wind. And when the score kicks back in during lap 3 I was almost cheering. Really a great scene.

The final Jedi battle was also very pretty and stylish, but didn't seem too changed by the addition of 3D. One scene that was defiantly improved by the format switch was when the sea monsters in the planet's core attack the Gungan submarine. That was actually creepy in 3D.

Two things I noticed. The actress playing Shimi Skywalker did a really strong job. I didn't realize how good she was as the character until this viewing. Likewise, the way the film foreshadowed the Padme/Amadila secret identity was great- the little glances between the two women, which I didn't notice the first few times I saw the film.

Anyway, it was a good night, over all.

Expect some cool products soon too....

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Well....that's unexpected

Okay, I was never a huge fan of the Buffy TV show, though I really did enjoy the Dark Horse 'Season 8+' comics. Great, understated art heavy on backgrounds and with great storytelling, plus stories unconstrained by TV show budgets? Awesome.

I'd stopped reading a while back, just because I really can't afford monthly comics anymore, and just end up waiting for trades of stories that interest me. So being about a year behind the Buffy curve at this point, I was pleasantly suprised to see this story on Comics Alliance.

I'm VERY curious where this story goes, and how much mainstream attention it generates before its done. I'm just worried about one thing: don't do the usual cop out, not to offend anybody twists stories like this usually devolve into. Don't let Buffy struggle with a decision for multiple issues, only to get sick or wounded and have a miscarriage, ending the pregnancy and storyline without any (potentially upsetting to the anti-choice croud) volitional action of her own. Please, please, don't do the whole 'convenient miscarriage' thing.

Anyway, it's been an interesting couple of weeks on the pop cultural abortion front. This, Susan J. Komen, the fuckin' "October Baby" movie whisper campaign. Anyway, it's sorta triggering my desire to write more Otherverse America stuff.

Also: I love in this page when Buffy reveals she's going to get an abortion, Spike's response is "You're pregnant?" Yes, Spike that is how it usually works.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Kodiak Island Nearing Completion

Over on the left is an illustration of the fearsome combat telekinetic codenamed Moonshot, one of the most powerful superhumans stationed on Kodiak Island. Image by John Picot.

I'm finalizing Kodiak Island. I added some nice easter-eggs to the script- including adding one particular fan's character to the setting. (As a note to other fans, if you ever want to see an character of yours featured as an NPC or something, just drop me a line in the comments or at my email: chrisfieldotherverse at hotmail dot com. It gives me a kick to do stuff like that for my fans.)

I'm also having a bit of fun with random creation charts. I've been reading alot of 'OSR' blogs regularly, and I'm coming around to their way of thinking: a good random encounter chart can tell you more about the setting than pages of flavor text. So expect random encounter charts that capture life within Kodiak Island, as well as random character builders that will let you build Lifer NPCs and civilians, low/midlevel Lifer soldiers, and famous Lifer squads. there's even a random chart to build the most infamous battles of the Abortion War. It's been tons of fun to write.

Anyway, expect it in another week or two.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Okay, so here's the summary.

A charity named Susan G Komen for the Cure funds breast cancer research. Good stuff, right?

Well, up until a couple of days ago, they annually donated around 700K to Planned Parenthood, to provide mammograms for poor women and those with jobs like mine that offer shitty or non-existent insurance. The logic being of course, that Planned Parenthood has offices in poor communities, and the infrastructure in place to offer this free, lifesaving service to the women who need it.

An assortment of anti-choice scumfucks decides that increased rates of breast cancer and later detection of the same is the very ideal of being pro-life. So they pressure Komen until it pulls its donation.

Now PP, which has always been under financial attack, and lots of fiscal strain already, has an even smaller operating budget and one of its major donors is gone.

Full stories here and here:

Seriously, don't be mad at these Komen people- they're trying to do good and getting slammed for it by the American Taliban. But if you've got a few extra bucks, drop a donation to Planned Parenthood.

Fuckin' hell. I write about this kind of shit, I know it happens, and everytime I see something like this, it's like a kick to the balls. Each and every damn time.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mysterious and Weird

Okay... update time!

I've got only one or two more images still out, and should have 'em by next week. At that time I'll have Ghosts & Promises: The Secrets of Kodiak Island out!

I've also comissioned Amanda to do art for a quick sci-fi project. It's designed primarily for Galaxy Command, but is usable with Otherverse America and Psi-Watch as well. I've got 2 of the 6-7 pieces of art in. Amanda is one of my fastest artists, so I have a feeling this one will hit only shortly after Ghosts & Promises.

I'm working on what may be my most unusual project for Otherverse America to date. I'm not going to tell you what it is, but I'm going to hint a little about the inspiration for the rules.

Imagine a combination of the settlement creation rules from the Paizo Game Mastery Guide, the caravan rules from the Jade Regent Adventure Path with a bit of the life-path system used in the old Cyberpunk RPGs. If you can figure out what it is, send me your guess in the comic. Get it right, or come closest, and you'll get a free copy of whatever I'm working on when it's ready. Louis- sorry, since I discussed this with you a while back, you don't get to play.

All the rest of you, happy guessing.