Thursday, February 27, 2014

Huge Bestiaries

Alright, I'm waiting on the last couple of illustrations for two absolutely mammoth bestiaries.

For Otherverse America, you've got Closed: Monsters of the Army of God. This book tops 160 pages and includes dozens of new and reprinted threats for the setting, ranging from the utterly terrifying CR 29 Artemis, who is the setting's core villian, to CR 1/2 grunts suitable as first level pre-gens for a Lifer campaign or convention game.

I've added stats for major Lifer NPCS and characters I've alluded to in other books, but not previously detailed: Fairfax Dacoveney is actually built as a 17th level Chaplin from the excellent Pure Steam Campaign Setting. As soon as I saw this class I realized it would be perfect, both mechanically and thematically, for Otherverse America and included it. Dacoveney's chief bodyguard and confidant, the shapechanger Jelly, is also a CR 17 threat- she's an utterly lethal rogue. The King of Rest-in-Peace, mentioned in Neverborn Again as the creator of the Neverborn species, is statted out as a high level psionic juggernaut, a necromantic badass fully capable of wiping the floor with an entire Lifer OR Choicer squad.

The eighth and sixteenth versions of the Ghost of Babies Past are also statted out- they were major players in the campaign corebook's setting fiction, menacing the newborn Cassie Feneris and Julie Riddle respectively. Ghost VIII tops CR 20 and is a hellish fight with a variety of brute force weapons and a mind-breaking sonic scream; Ghost XVI is a weaker and less experienced threat at CR 10, with abilities focusing on speed and psychic manipulation. I'd previously had excellent art for the 16th Ghost, done by Vic Shane, but John Picot turned in this variant take on the character, and I'll be using both art pieces to illustrate this iconic villianess.

One of the last things I added to the text was a long list of different encounter groups, built using the NPCS and threats throughout Closed. They range across the challenge ratings. Some of these encounter groups are built tactically- this is what a Lifer military convoy looks like, this is what a standard recon platoon looks like, this is an altillery unit, ect. Others are built with story roles in mind- this is a unit of likable, heroic Lifers who fight in accordance with the Geneva Convention, these Lifers are sociopathic monsters, this unit is commanded by an idiot, this is a mostly Neverborn squad. It actually reminds me alot of the Codexes for Warhammer 40,000, the extensive army lists, and was a lot of fun to write.

Expect Closed in another week or two.

About simultaneously, I plan to release The Trans-Galactic Bestiary, for Heavy Future. This will be the first in a series of huge bestiaries (Volume 1 tops 100 pages, easily), that converts the older D20 Future-base Galaxy Command to the Pathfinder-based Heavy Future, consolidates critters from the Space Monsters series of monster books, and introduces lots of new threats. This has been fun to write, as it's been written mostly in-character, as a slightly disreputable galactic enclyopedia edited by morons and con-men.

Sooner or later I want to do a similar bestiary for Psi-Watch, because I've done too little with that setting, and I'm of a mind to make some monsters, these days.

Blessed Be,

Monday, February 17, 2014

Inked: Faceless/Voiceless

Inks of Faceless Voiceless, the absolutely horrific Lifer terrorist I previewed yesterday. I love the fact Amanda gave this guy shoulder cannons like Prowl's (you know, the cop-car robot from Transformers). Transformers has actually been more an influence on Otherverse America than you'd might expect- I only gave the Lifers their mostly purple and black color schemes because I liked the look of the purple,black and gold Insecticon toys.

Anyway, I'm really liking how this image came out. You'll notice Amanda gave Faceless claws- I asked her to do that, it just looked right with the clenched fist, and I'll add an appropriately nasty melee attack to the character's statblock as a result. 

In other news, I'm very seriously looking into a Kickstarter for future Black Tokyo releases, especially what is looking to be a very art heavy expanded atlas and bestiary.

Any thoughts?


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Art Preview: Closed: Monsters of the Army of God

 Here we have two really amazing works in progress by Amanda Webb, illustrating a pair of monsters for the Closed: Monsters of the Army of God bestiary.

It's been delayed again and again, but Closed is finally nearing release, which is great.  For most of 2013, I concentrated on Black Tokyo and Heavy Future- this year I want to do some good work for Otherverse America.

Amanda decided to do the artwork for Closed in the style of anatomical drawings, with cutout details. From these rough sketches, the end result reminds me a bit of Tony Diterlizzi's stuff for Planescape and Changeling. Very cool.

The top image depicts Faceless/Voiceless, a full conversion cyborg terrorist serving the Lifer nation. The bottom image depicts a Judgment Horror- I'm not going to tell you much about them, because I want them to be a surprise in the book itself.

After Closed, I plan to release a similarly massive bestiary for Heavy Future, and since I've been on a monster-making kick lately, I want to do a similarly weighty bestiary for Psi-Watch, since I've let that setting lie fallow for far too long.

Blessed Be,

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Upcoming: The Combatant and Familars of Black Japan

I just finished off the Combatant class for Pathfinder. The final manuscript tops 30 pages, and its an incredibly deep martial arts system masquerading as a single class. John took a very active hand in its construction- he was the impetus behind writing this sourcebook, as well as furnishing a lots of mechanics and flavor, as well as doing the art. John's going to be donating his portion of the profits to a friend of his, Jimmy Chaikong, who is in training to get back into mixed martial arts fighting. So if you're interested in kung fu, or just want to see a radically different take on the Monk, pick up the Combatant when it goes on sale at RPGnow.

Also, look for another mid-length sourcebook, focusing exclusively on Black Japan's familiars. This book includes more than a dozen new Black Tokyo monsters, all less than CR 1, and all suitable for use as a familiar by a spell-caster. Trom fetal ghosts called Sankai to living snakes of shit called Pooplets, Black Tokyo's familiars are going to be as weird and ghoulish as the heroes and villains themselves.

After that, I'm working on a couple of HUGE monster sourcebooks, one for Otherverse America (the long-delayed Closed) and one for Heavy Future. I'll preview some content for both soon.

By the way, this year (as I have for the last three years) my goal is to put out 52 releases- an average of one PDF per week. For the last few years I've fallen short, hitting in the high 30s to mid 40s, which is still impressive for a small press gaming company. However, this year, I've already put out nine PDFs in two months, and if I can continue this pace, I'll be hitting my goal.

Lets see if it happens,

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Combatant Core Class

Okay, new project....

The Combatant Core Class for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, 20 levels of completely non-magical kung fu badassery.

The Combatant had its origins in an idea by John Picot; he wanted to do a non-supernatural version of the Monk based on MMA fighters and kung fu movies. No supernatural or spell-like abilities, just training based powers, superior grappling abilities and close in combat mastery.

Over the last couple of weeks we've been working on a new class that meets these goals. The end result is the Combatant, which blends some elements of the Monk with the Tetori Monk archetype, the Brawler from the Advanced Class Guide playtest packet, and a host of rogue-talent like abilities called Techniques. The end result is a very customizable class that is basically a solid martial arts system in the form of a player character.

It's been a very, very fun class to work on, and will fit nicely with all my settings. The Combatant works in a fantasy context (albeit with a different flavor and strategy in mind than the Monk) and works equally well in my signature settings. Since both Black Tokyo and Psi-Watch feature ninja warriors, pit fighters, kung fu and sumo wrestlers, the Combatant fits well in either world.

In Heavy Future, the Combatant becomes a Lobo-esque bar brawler or Worf-type warrior. In Otherverse America, the Combatant might be a cyborg warrior, a young Covenguard or a fearsome Nanofeaster predator.

I sent the latest draft on to John, and I'll be getting some art together this week and next. So look for the Combatant before the end of February.

Blessed Be,