Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Last Post of 2014, First Big Book of 2015

Finally, after working on it throughout most of 2014, Black Bestiary is done! Expect it on sale very soon.

I laid it out starting at around 8 pm last night, and ended sometime around 9 am this morning. Exhausting but rewarding- this is a huge, very comprehensive and art-heavy monster book. It's also very plot-hook heavy- every creature here suggests a story line or three. There are several groups of themed and inter-related enemies, each of which suggests a specific campaign style. All the creatures you've seen in various Black Tokyo sourcebooks appear, and are joined by dozens of new monsters, many of which fill in the gaps or round out the monstrous 'ecosystem' suggested by Black Tokyo Unlimited.

Also I want to get the word out about this book, so anybody who wants a review copy, please email me a request.


Blessed Be,

Friday, December 26, 2014

Answers for Andrew

Andrew Antolick had this to say in the comments of the previous post. I was planning on responding to him in that same post, but he had such a good set of ideas I wanted to highlight them here, along with my response here.

“Happy Holidays/Winter Solstice, to you and your works.

First off, I am wowed by the new Nemesis artwork, very primordial with no easily defined form of gender. I the bile scream is one of my top five breath weapons. I am ready to get the next bestiaries when released.

Now with Othervese America getting kicked into the second abortion war, no one will come out without scars. The culmination of the war could lead the utter obliteration of the United States landmass. No America, only the Otherverse to find themselves in the galaxy. When people can destroy cities, entire land masses are just the next rung on the ladder.

Hoping for 2016 to be the year of Endara, the setting is begging to be explored. All art aside, could there be previews of what this kitchen sink from the ether could affect the balance of the Otherverse/world's tree?

Best Wishes and go easy on Artemis in the end, she can be freed from the cycle of violence and lead others out.
December 23, 2014 at 10:42 PM”

My response started in the comments section and metamorphosized into something else.

Wow, Andrew, that's a great idea for Othervere America. I've been toying with the idea of revising the setting all year, without any concrete idea of how to do so. I really want to take full advantage of the Pathfinder system, rather than the D20 Modern based system I began the world with.
I'm worried about turning the world into a pastiche of Shadowrun, only with neo-pagans getting inordinate political power in relation to their population density rather than Native Americans once magic shows up. The idea of a galactic Diaspora is one I hadn't thought out, but damn it, it really works. It allows me to keep the themes of the setting, but at the same way do some good old fashioned space opera. I’m not a hundred percent sure I’ll go in the direction of completely destroying America, but I definitely want to differentiate the Lifer and Choicer cultures even more strongly.

As for the revised Nemesis, I think I made hir breath weapon even nastier. I’ve made both Nemesis and Genesis CR 30 threats, which is as far as the system can go without breaking. To put it in context, for readers not deeply familiar with the way Pathfinder handles Challenge Ratings, CR 30 includes Cthullu himself. You really can’t get worse (except with Mythic Rules, which I’m not as familiar with as I’d like, so I left ‘em out.) Artemis remains CR 29 and a very hard fight, and Roe Athene herself is a few CR points lower. Generally I like to make the settings major heroic NPCs a little lower powered then their bad guy rivals, that way there is a sense of danger, an answer to the unspoken question of why Roe can’t just go in and fix everything. Which is the same question gamers have been asking, in regards to Elminster and the Forgotten Realms since the mid 80s. The answer’s simple: she’s pretty damn tough, but Artemis is even tougher.

The art for the revised Nemesis, by the way, is by Alejandro Garcia-Palomares. He did the cover for the Otherverse America Unlimited Edition and several other pieces of interior artwork. He’s illustrated several pieces I’ve used in Horrors of the Lifechain, most of which I’ve kept in a drawer while I wrote the book. He’s also illustrating Genesis, a Gazelle, a Stonecutter and Wrench NPC. Wait till you see his Genesis- it’s incredible. Alex will be doing more art for me in the coming year, hopefully. I really want him to do the art for the Senators and a few other creatures unique to Otherverse America. The gender fluidity of Nemesis is something I’ve really had fun playing up- it makes dramatic sense for a cosmic creator/creatrix deity, and opens up a lot of storyline potential for both the Nemesis and hir creations. The Nemesis has also made some major cameos in Black Tokyo, albeit in a different identity. Can you spot hir? Also check out Black Bestiary when it comes out next month, because one of that setting’s worst villainesses has a major, MAJOR tie to Otherverse America’s backstory.

I’m also really gratified by your emotional response to Artemis. I’ve always tried to present her as a possibly redeemable villain, as I have with several  of the Lifers. Even Dacoveney, who is irredeemable in the sense he’s basically our setting’s Lex Luthor, has his good points, most notably his love of his family and fierce loyalty to those under his command. I’ve always had sympathy for Artemis, because the poor girl is crazy as hell, basically suffering the worst case of PSTD in galactic history. I keep metaplot pretty light in my game- I figure the campaign begins on January 22nd, 2107, and anything else that happens from that point on is up to local game groups to resolve, but I did hint that eventually Artemis gets redeemed and atones, in the Temporal Angels mini-sourcebook.

I think this page sums up my feelings towards Artemis nicely.

As for 2016 being the Year of Endara, I hope to do something sooner. I’ve got a few ideas of how to take the setting from a basic He-Man pastiche and do something genuinely original with it. Just off the top of my head I want to emphasize a few themes.

One is the sheer psychedelic beauty of Endara itself. I’m continually in awe of Earl Norems’ artwork. He makes Eternia this wonderland of lost forests, great cliffs, enormous mountain ranges, and most of all- the SKY. Eternia’s sky is fucking amazing, this purple and azure haze with strange stars and  a number of moons that fluctuates at the artist’s whim. More than anything else in the setting, I want Endara’s sky to be that beautiful. (I’m also toying with the idea of setting Endara in Phallus Space somewhere, probably in the Inner Necklace, to more fully tie it to my cosmology). After all, Eternia is said in canon to be the center of the universe, the Phallus Space is the center of the universe in my cosmology. 

Also, I’m thinking that Endara will be a story about the setting’s Prince Adam analogue and his coming out story, and how that utterly breaks the world’s pseudo-medieval politics. So basically, it’s a story about insane courage and honesty.  I’m thinking that Richard K. Morgan’s sci-fantasy novel, The Steel Remains, is going to be a pretty big inspiration on the world, writing wise.

Anyway, thank you much for your kind words, and your awesome questions.
Merry Christmas, Blessed Winter Solstice, Happy Hanukah, or just good winter break to everybody,

PS- I got a bunch of good questions from various fans after posting my email here. I'm going to redesignl the page so it's readily available to readers who have questions or comments. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Ending the Year with Monsters

 Well, 2014 is coming to an end. As always, my goal is 52 products in a year, or an average of one a year. This year, as I have for the last few, I've fallen short. I ended up with 30 releases for the year, including some mammoth books, like Closed: Monsters of the Army of God, Heavy Future and Heavy Weapons, and Enchantments of Black Tokyo.

All those books topped 200 pages, and were fairly complex to lay out. The last three books of 2014 are bestiaries. Dark Star Bestiary, volumes one and two, are for Heavy Future, while Horrors of the Lifechain is Otherverse America focused.

I wrote the books near simultaneously. In the two Dark Star Bestiary sourcebooks, I began revising the Lifechained creatures of 2008's Guide to the Known Galaxy, and I collected and expanded on that material in Horrors of the Lifechain. I've been wanting to revise Guide for several years now, but it's such an art intensive project, I've not been able to budget it. Instead of one mega-book, Horrors is the first volume in a series of revamp sourcebooks; when I get around to volume two of Horrors, you'll see more Lifespawn monsters, including the ones I couldn't fit into book one and sooner or later I'll do a Lifechained powers book with a focus on abilities available to player characters.

Anyway, Horrors of the Lifechain is a great way to end the year. Closed was the first release of 2014, and the last release is also a weighty bestiary for the Otherverse America campaign setting.

I've focused almost exclusively on Heavy Future and Black Tokyo this year. Expect the focus on Black Tokyo to continue into 2015; the Black Bestiary will be coming out soon,and I'm also working on a pretty big soucebook focusing on Idol Singers (and bardic/media type characters in general).

However, expect me to revisit Otherverse America pretty heavily. I finally want to go through and make it fully Pathfinder compatible. Hey, if you've gamed in Otherverse America campaigns, send me an email. I'd love to hear what you did with the world, and what (if any) changes you'd like to see, either mechanically or in terms of world flavor.

My email is

Blessed Be,