Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Connecting the Dots

I just sent off a couple of new PDFs to Mark; Anthros of Endara and Expanded Races: Cityborn. They both should be up soon- Anthros of Endara especially should be tons of fun- a great homage to the old He-Man toon but with its own heart and soul, not to mention some great art and a first look at what’s going to be a fun campaign setting. Expanded Races: Cityborn dramatically expands an already cool race, and is one of the favorite things I’ve done for Psi-Watch. Also, it’s got great art by John Picot.

Anyway, ER: Cityborn continues a tradition I began when I first started working on Psi-Watch- including lots of links, some obvious, some hidden connecting the Psi-Watch and Otherverse America campaign worlds, and by extension, connecting the entire Otherverse Games multiverse. I figured I’d talk a little bit about some of my favorite links between worlds. This, of course, only applies to actual character and story crossover- all the mechanical elements, all the races, classes and feats are equally usable in any world, and don’t really bear mention unless the mechanical links are especially significant. Consider this the footnotes on the entire Otherverse Games cosmology.

Metamorphosis North
            As I mentioned in Psi-Watch Unlimited Edition, this advanced military technology mega-corp straddles both the Psi-Watch and Otherverse America reality. In OA, Metamorphosis North is a morally neutral arms dealer- in Psi-Watch, the megacorp is a major threat, and its CEO Elizabeth Vose is slowly growing into a major nemesis for at least three different settings.

            Metamorphosis North regularly smuggles Lifer war criminals and terrorists from their home reality to Psi-Watch as indentured mercenaries and assassins. The Lifer Refugee starting occupation, unique to Psi-Watch, allows you to quickly build one of these dimensional expatriates to kick some ass in the Psi-Watch campaign.

Elizabeth Vose
            Vose got turned into a horrific zombie in the Marvel Zombies inspired sourcebook, Vector of Infection. I followed up on this in a relatively obscure Pathfinder RPG sourcebook, The Dragonbound Core Class. Anyway, since that book was all about dragon riding heroes and villains, I wanted to include a riff on the Githyanki Lich Queen, from classic D&D, whose most elite knights rode into battle on the back of red dragons. I evolved the zombie version of Elizabeth Vose into Vose the Lich Queen, a feral goddess of ghouls and undead. I also mentioned Jormungand, the Midgard Serpent from Norse Mythology in this PDF (which for all its obscurity, has a fairly important place in my overall meta-plot) for the first time, but we’ll get back to him.

            Anyway, expect Vose (both the mortal and zombie-versions of her) to pop up in other Psi-Watch products, and continue to stir shit up.

The Culture
            From their first appearance in the Psi-Watch Campaign Setting V1  I hinted that the Culture, an arrogant race of evolved human space-imperialists, are the ultimate evolution of Otherverse America’s Bastian faction. I figure that thousands of years into OA’s future, the Bastians went completely post human, then crossed dimensions, appearing millions of years in Psi-Watch’s past, where they carved out a massive and constantly expanding empire. As I mentioned in One Planet, One Power, the Phade, a race of ghostly spies, work on both sides of the dimensional gulf to undermine both the Culture and their distant ancestors, the Bastians. Because Otherverse America’s Bastians are unaware of their destiny as the Culture, they have no idea why the Phade have a beef with them.

            The Culture represents one of those concepts I really want to do more with. Expect a future splatbook or techbook on these guys sooner or later, and I’ll likely incorporate them into future Galaxy Command products as a dangerous new power, stealing territory both from Galaxy Command itself and WARSTAR. 

Yahn Crystal
            Yahn Crystal pops up in Psi-Watch, Galaxy Command and in some PFRPG fantasy stuff I’ve done. It’s a pale purple crystal used in the construction of dimensional gates, warp drives and planes-crossing magic devices. Yahn crystal is good, generic ‘sci-fi’ mineral. They are somehow related to Ioun Stones (Yahn is the raw form; Ioun stones are the refined, cut form), which were originally invented by the Culture as a techno-magical set of utilitarian gadgets. Whenever I need a device with weird properties that breaks the laws of physics, I can just hand wave it by saying the device is powered by Yahn crystals.

            The coolest thing I did with Yahn was to tie it to the reproduction of the Noble Succubi race (from the self titled PDF). Noble Succubi build artificial wombs out of pure Yahn to create new members of their race. The Noble Succubi PDF was pretty cool, as far as Easter Eggs go. I briefly introduced a character, the planeswalking warrior Hope, who had been a part of Otherverse America from its earliest drafts (Hope by the way, also made a few appearances in my older Rifts campaigns, which means not only has she crossed dimensions, she’s crossed game systems as well). And again, Metamorphosis North plays the villain…..

            By the way, the Valentine star system, which is home to a huge Noble Succubus population, appeared in the Adorable Avenger Advanced Class for Galaxy Command. I mentioned that Noble Succubi created the Adorable Avenger class, further linking the two concepts.

Cassie Andra Feneris
            Cassie is one of the iconic characters in Otherverse America. Her experiences formed a major part of the fiction in both the Otherverse America Campaign Setting and Frontlines of Choice. She’s vastly powerful, and I’m planning on fully statting her out in my upcoming Lifechained Powers book (which I mentioned last post).

            A younger, less powerful and less confident version of the same person, Lt. Cassandra Feneris, is a minor supporting character in Psi-Watch, an officer in the titular organization. The Otherverse America version of the character worked for her reality’s version of Metamorphosis North after college, before founding her own company. I’ll probably follow up on that thread sooner or later. And as I do more with Galaxy Command, I plan to include a version of Cassie Andra there too, likely as a badass starship captain, in the vein of Honor Harrington.

The Ghosts of Babies Past
            Meanwhile, the eighth Ghost of Babies Past, a fearsome Lifer terrorist, was introduced in Cassie’s storyline, crossed over into Julie Riddle’s, and was greatly elaborated on in Ghosts & Promises: The Kodiak Island Sourcebook. I also set up a minor mystery in G&P. What happened to Ghost 8’s sidekick, Ghost 6, the Neverborn known only as Tommy? He just disappears from the historical record sometime after War’s End. I figure local gamemasters might follow up on that thread on their own, but if they don’t want to, or if they missed the plothook, I’ll let everybody know that I solve (at least partially) in the upcoming ER: Cityborn.

Ygrassydl/The Phallus
            Ygrassdyl, the Great Universal Tree is basically the axis upon which the Multiverse turns. It is mentioned in The Dragonbound Core Class, Ley Lines, and Races of the Tatakama, among other sources. I’ve always imagined Ygrassydl and the Phallus of Otherverse America’s cosmology are one and the same, different ways of describing the same concept- the big damn house of God itself. As I do more with the plot threads I began in Guide to the Known Galaxy, I’ll put more depth and bite into the Phallus and the Necklace of worlds surrounding the universal mega-structure.

            The war between the Singular’s two sons: The Genesis and The Nemesis has featured as a background plots in several books, beginning with the fiction of GTKG. Expect more and more on that. The Genesis plays a major role in the origin of the Cityborn race, as you’ll see in ER: Cityborn. Meanwhile, The Nemesis makes an appearance as one of the deities of the Black Else, appearing in Spells and Gods of the Tatakama as Amanojaku. I chose to weld the Nemesis to that particular myth because Amanojaku is a kind of tempter/trickster/Satan-figure and because Urotsukodoji corrupted the name of the same god for its (rather boneheaded) protagonist.

            As I mentioned in Spells & Gods, Nemesis, as Amanojaku, has access to a draconic minion, known in the Tatakama as Yamata-no-Orochi. This all consuming, voraciously hungry, animalistic WMD is probably the same thing as Jormungand, mentioned in Dragonborn. There, the creature is mentioned as ‘gnawing endlessly on the roots of Ygrassydl’…basically, for whatever reason, the Nemesis has a pet monster under his control that works to undermine the physical structure of the Multiverse. Should be a fun storyline if and when that fucker slips its chain.

            Of course, since so much of my cosmic plans for Otherverse America map nicely to Norse mythology, expect some interesting surprises when I finally get around to doing a faction splat for OA’s Asatru Choicer faction.

The Ubume Empress/Ellen Dacoveney
            I first mentioned the Ubume Empress in Black Tokyo II: Chastity & Depravity, and hinted that after her suicide in Otherverse America, on the last day of the War, Ellen Dacoveney’s soul crossed planes and ended up in some particularly nasty corner of the Black Else. There, rather than spiritual annihilation, she somehow clawed herself out of the muck and became the god-level Ubume Empress. That, right there is a huge, and suitably badass link between Otherverse America and Black Tokyo. I haven’t done too much with this plot-thread yet, but it’s already become a major element in the upcoming Black Tokyo Unlimited Edition. Likewise, expect a couple of hidden connections between the Neverborn and the new POETICA race that you probably won’t expect.

The Paint
            The Paint is an underground fighting league for superhumans. It first appeared in a work-for-hire PDF for Mutants & Masterminds 2E, published by Misfit Studios years and years ago. It got fully explored in its own self titled PDF, and also popped up again in Psi-Watch Unlimited Edition. Erik the Red, the cyborg fight promoter who started the league was based on a friend’s Rifts PC, while Dead Blue Fish, the half Japanese nano-sculptor who is the brains behind the operation, is an old PC of mine from a cyberpunk game. A version of Dead Blue Fish will likely pop up in Black Tokyo Unlimited, just because I like the character, but I’m not sure in what context yet.

            I’ve mentioned the fictional city of Schendenwatt in dozens of PFRPG fantasy PDFs, including lots of work for hire stuff I did for Skotched Urf Studios back in the day. Schendenwatt popped up any time I needed a big, cosmopolitan fantasy metropolis with a vaguely pseudo-Germanic flavor. It appeared several times in various Adventurer’s Essentials PDFs, as well as a more substantial mention in Campaign Overlay: Fantasy Firearms. If you look at the world map in the upcoming Anthros of Endara, you’ll see Schendenwatt. Expect a full readout on what the city’s like in the campaign guide…..meanwhile I’ve also included another version of Schendenwatt in my Pirates of the Bronze Sky draft, though who knows when that one’ll see the light of day.

            Campaign Overlay: Fantasy Firearms also introduced the Armigers faction, a group of pan-dimensional, magi-tech arms dealers. These sociopathic, soulless merchant princes are a major villain in the Fantasy Firearms storyline, and they’ll pop up again, in slightly linguistically mutated form as the mysterious Armigeru, in Black Tokyo’s Unlimited Edition. Likewise Black Tokyo’s Eyrines Sisterhood gets a brief cameo in Fantasy Firearms.

            Anyway, that’s all I can think of for right now. I’m sure I’ve missed a few connections, and there were a few that are too minor to mention. As you can see, Black Tokyo Unlimited is going to get a lot of love in the coming months, and whenever it suits me, expect Easter Eggs linking the upcoming Endara setting to my other game worlds.

Blessed Be,

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Upcoming: Anthros of Endara

What's on deck right now? Well, Expanded Occupations: Maids! should be hitting in another couple of days, and tonight I'm going to be laying out Anthros of Endara, the first official release for my He-Man homage Endara campaign world.

I've got most of the art in, and can fill in the few remaining gaps with appropriate stock. I'm actually including more content than I planned. In addition to rule info on the 'furry' (and scaley, and exo-skeletony) races of the setting, I'm including a preview of some character builder stuff for the humans and core races of the setting- some alternate racial traits and starting talents. I'll go back and expand those sections dramatically when the core campaign book finally comes out.

After that, expect Solomon Station before the end of the year, and another couple of Expanded Race mini-sourcebooks, similar to what I did with the Shiftsteel Symbionts. I've got the ER: Cityborn book fully written and am just waiting on art, and I'm writing ER: Nanofeasters right now. The Nanofeasters are kinda interesting in that I've used the same stock art for them in both their original appearance and in Species of Otherverse America. It'll be nice to finally get some art for those guys. Anyway, if you have any player races you'd like to see get their own short sourcebook, drop me a line and tell me which one and why you think it's cool.

I'll get back to Black Tokyo Unlimited Edition after Thanksgiving. I have also been looking at some of the art I've collected, but haven't released from Alex Garcia. I've got almost all the 'space gods' of Otherverse America illustrated. That means that sooner or later I plan to release a sourcebook cleaning up stuff from Guide to the Known Galaxy focusing on the Lifechain as a revised standalone, with lots of great new art. Right now, if I get a few more images, I could easily put out a sourcebook focusing on the space gods and the Lifechained feats themselves. Of course, getting art of all the monsters in the original Guide to the Known Galaxy is going to be pricy.

I might end up splitting the Lifechained book into two books: Lifechained Powers and the Lifechained Bestiary.

Anyway, that's whats on my plate right now.
Have a good holiday,

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Short Supplements for Black Tokyo

Hey, guys I'm working hard on Black Tokyo's Unlimited Edition. In the last couple of days I've added some new heroic factions to the world- a community of anime styled Catholic demonslayers based out of Nagasaki, and an anti-death penalty investigatory group run by Kitsune. They are pretty bizarre and awesome, and either faction makes great backers for a group of player characters.

I'm putting out a couple of expanded occupation books in support of Black Tokyo Unlimited. The first, Expanded Occupations: Sumotori went on sale today. It's a 10 pager focusing on the sport of sumo and includes some neat starting talents, and even a few magic items for sumo wrestling heroes.

After that you've got Expanded Occupations: Maids, which is basically going to turn Black Tokyo into sexy harem comedy. It's a pretty sweet genre book, which will be well illustrated with cool new art. This one will be bigger than EO: Sumotori, though I don't quite know by how much yet.

Expect these, and Anthros of Endara out soon.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Found Online.....

Found this online today. It makes me smile in a very sadistic way.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Good Things Finally.....

Okay, first and most importantly, President Obama was re-elected last night. I'm glad because I never want an anti-choicer elected to any position, and especially not that fuckhead Paul Ryan. Now, I mention Ryan, not Romney because throughout the campaign I got the impression that Romney believed in nothing. He'd say or do anything to win the election, because all that was important to Mitt was POWER for its own sake. It's like Mitt Romney has no idea what he wants to do with his life, except win the high score, and becoming President would be the capper in the game of his life. Ryan, on the other hand, seemed to genuinely believe all the hateful misogynist bullshit he spewed. So he's at least a man of principle, even if he is still a raging asshole.

Of course, now both men are consigned to the footnotes of history texts yet to be written. And all those idiotic "GONE 1-20-2013" bumper stickers I see on the back of F-350 Fords rumbling around town will fade in the sun, becoming nothing but mementos of the fact that that the driver's chosen pair of idiots lost. Granted they didn't lose big, but they still lost.

So what's going on on the work front? Not much these last two days actually. I spent Monday night and much of Tuesday morning trying to fix a glitch with my lap top. Fortunately, I'm pretty religious about backing up my files so I didn't lose anything I was working on. I did however, lose my research folder which contained hundreds of Wikipedia pages on Japan, which I was using for Black Tokyo. Those I'll have to download again, but no big deal. Tuesday night, I went out drinking for the first time in YEARS. I got good and hammered and watched the election in a dive bar- everyone cheered when their candidate's electoral college numbers went up, like it was a horse race. I was the only one cheering for Mr. O, however, though I do think I made up for it in spirit. Anyway, I'm nursing a faint hangover as I type this.

Up top, you've got the colored Beetelor image from the upcoming Anthros of Endara. Dan Brenus just sent this image along. He's also going to be doing 2-3 other images for AoE, which sould be out in a couple more weeks.

Blessed Be,

Monday, November 5, 2012

Upcoming: Anthros of Endara, More Work on Black Tokyo Unlimited and SUMOOOOOO!

So what have I been working on?

Well, for the last couple of weeks I've been doing some serious revision work on Black Tokyo. I've already just about doubled the word count of the world information found in Black Tokyo I-III, and will be adding tons more content. Since I decided the Amakaze will be major villains for the setting, this has spurred the creation of a whole bunch of new plot hooks and interactions with the other factions. I will likely do something similar to the Affiliations from Otherverse America, to reflect the different major patrons for PC groups in the setting.

Right now, if the game master wants their group to be backed by someone, their options look something like this.

The Amakaze can either be backers for a morally grey team of 'shadowrunners' or can be major adversaries. If you're working for the Amakaze, you'll be well funded, have tons of magical gear, but will be sent on lots of black ops and artifact recovery missons, and get betrayed by your backers sooner or later.

If you're working for Police Section Seven, expect to be over worked, jumping from mission to mission with little chance to breathe, making do with substandard equipment and whatever magic you can beg, borrow or steal.

If you're working the Chrysanthemum Seven, by contrast, expect to be equipped with cutting edge, Ghost in the Shell type tech, including some cyberpunk tech. Everything's still fairly mission driven though.

Project GILGAMESH is home to freaky, monstrous anti-heroes using horrible bio-tech culled from the body of a slumbering god- a kind of Guyver, Neon Genesis Evangelion feel.

If you're working directly for the Imperial House of Japan, you're the 'big damn heroes' of the setting- paladin-esque good guys.

Of course, you could have a group sponsored by one of the 'magical high schools' in the setting: Clovers Academy, the Hanging Academy and the Monster's Juku. Tonight I want to write out a magical elementary or middle school, in case players want to skew younger. The elementary school will have a frilly, girly, shojo feel to it, thought it might have a bit of lolicon undercurrent. Why not?

Anyway, I figure that each prefecture and each backer represents a different 'feel' a different genre, of not just hentai, but anime in general. I figure that will open up tons of design space, and give the setting a much greater versatility, as well as making it more interesting for me to write.

I'll put up some previews in another few days.

So what else is going on? Well, I'll have the last art on Anthros of Endara soon, and that will go up. I'm also waiting on an Amanda Webb piece, which I'll use to illustrate a 10 pager Expanded Occupations: Sumo PDF. That one will focus on expanding the Athlete starting occupation into a full mini-campaign, with tons of info on sumo, both in the real world and in Black Tokyo. I came across tons of good info in my research for BT Unlimited, but it's a bit too specific and too wordy for stand as a part of a larger book, so I'll break Expanded Occupation: Sumo into its own short PDF. I'm looking forward to it- it's a fun little book, so research heavy that it could almost be considered non-fiction. Very cool.

Look for Sumo and Anthros of Endara soon, plus some more cool stuff before the end of the year.