Ten Links in the Chain: Publisher News (28-DEC-2012)

Welcome to one of the final “Ten Links” posts for 2012. I hope to get at least one or two more of these done, but so far the holidays have proved very “family
activity” rich. Not that I’m complaining, mind you.

I hope that everyone had a very Merry Christmas who celebrates such things and that you are ready for the end of the year, because it’s coming whether we’re ready or not! Hard to believe 2012 has zipped by and 2013 is knocking at the door already. Where does time fly to, anyway?

So here are a few publisher tidbits I’ve gathered over the last couple of weeks. Plenty of interviews, new products to watch for, and details this time!

1. New Product Releases/Announcements

There’s a lot to get through here, so we’ll just work through it a bit at a time…

conspiracy-rules-dark-conspiracy-3Since the Mayan apocalypse failed to materialize, it must be time for a new conspiracy! A few weeks ago, 3Hombres Games released Conspiracy Rules! – Book 1 for Dark Conspiracy III! The art looks absolutely gorgeous and dark for this one from artists like Earl Geier, David Lee Ingersoll, and Bradley K. McDevitt. Could it be that the current worldwide economic collapse is leading towards areas populated with demons and vampires? Let’s hope not!

Meanwhile, Robin Laws’ Hillfolk game is rolling towards a 2013 release… And he’s getting all sorts of fun pitches for adventures set in different places and times. Everything from Tinseltown and Jane Austen to vampires, a war in heaven, and much more. I’m very curious to see how this turns out when they start sending materials to backers eventually.

Tunnels & Trolls ring any bells? Well, it should! And the good folks at Flying Buffalo are getting ready for a Kickstarter to release Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls sometime in the Summer of 2013. I haven’t seen the Kickstarter yet, but this teaser video looks like there’s plenty to be excited about.

Cthulhu lives and breathes in our imaginations thanks to good old H.P. Lovecraft. And his Britain is full of all sorts of entertaining stories, folk, and creatures. Well, the good folks at Cubicle 7 have pulled together a book that intertwines Cthulhu mythos with British folklore for a fun combination of horror – Cthulhu Britannica: Folklore. It includes writing from James Desbrorough (Postmortem Studios), Sarah Newton (Achtung! Cthulhu), and several others.

Apparently Super Genius Games and Adamant Entertainment have struck a deal for SGG to pick up Warlords of the Apocalypse – a post-apocalyptic setting for Pathfinder. It sounds like both sides were pleased with the acquisition and are looking forward to seeing what SGG does with it going forward.

If you’re looking for something fun to get the kids involved with over the holidays, why not check out the free game FirstFable from Matt McFarland and the good folks at OneBookShelf? OBS sponsored game development to encourage more kid-friendly family fare. Looks like it could be fun! And if my kids weren’t already playing 4e I might give it a shake. :) (Thanks go to Tenkar’s Tavern for pointing this one out!)

cthulhu-britannica-folkore

Way back when I first heard of 13th Age from Jonathan Tweet and Rob Heinsoo, I was excited. The idea of a simpler system with more flexibility is definitely enticing. And soon we’ll be able to see the core book. That’s right, the 13th Age Core Book is nearing its target publication date of March 2013!

Seems almost all fantasy PCs get thirsty, right? So having a tavern somewhere ready with some intrigue, flavor, and fun would be a good idea, don’t you think? Unfortunately many of these watering holes end up being carbon copies of every other tavern you’ve either run or played in. To avoid this cookie cutter approach, why not add some new toys? So What’s the Tavern Like, Anyway? II from Richard Green @ Raging Swan Press has twenty detailed taverns and inns ready to use and give you ideas!

Catalyst Game Labs is firing up to offer more than a year’s worth of fun Shadowrun goodness soon! From a new card game (Shadowrun: Crossfire) and a tactical miniatures game (Shadowrun: Sprawl Gangersto a release of Shadowrun Fifth Edition, 2013 is shaping up to be a great year for the Sixth World. And if that’s not enough, they have stuff spilling into 2014 as well!

If you’re more interested in new gaming-themed webcomics, why not check out TableTitans.com? Scott Kurtz and WotC are teaming up to create a new comic strip that actually integrates D&D products into the storyline… It kicks off on January 28, 2013, so I’ll be interested to check it out. I always need another comic to add to my morning reading list!

Or if you’d rather have some classic adventures on your bookshelf instead, WotC is publishing Against the Slave Lords - a hardcover collection of four classic AD&D modules – A1 to A4 – complete with a new introductory module, A0 – to kick things off right. I’m not sure if this is going to be these four adventures rescanned like some of the other re-publishing efforts WotC has been doing, but it’s good to see some of the old material get pulled out and dusted off for long-time fans of the game. Looks like June 2013 for this one.

2. Interview with the Vampire Publisher/Designer/Author/Composer

This was a great year for interviews and the hits keep coming!

Tales from the Far West - coverMichael Wolf @ Stargazer’s World had an opportunity to chat with soundtrack composer James Semple, who has worked on several soundtracks for Pelgrane Press’ GUMSHOE-based games like Trail of Cthulhu and Ashen Stars. Music composition is a bit different beast than campaign creation, so it’s great to get a different perspective on gaming from a musical point of view.

Also over at Stargazer’s World, Roberto M had a chance to chat with the legendary Bruce Heard! He wrote a few little things like The Grand Duchy of Karameikos and was involved with Mystara for years. :) It’s fascinating to hear how he was hired by TSR and invented the “Gazetteer” approach and see more of the history behind this iconic RPG.

Meanwhile, Keith Baker continues his series of “Six Questions” posts with an interview of Jeff LaSala, who has written for games as well as some fiction projects. His new Ghosts of Zero anthology sounds like a great combination of different media for a single project!

Hari Ragat is a new RPG coming soon with a different spin on the fantasy genre. Jay Anyong @ Life and Times of a Philippine Gamer had a chance to chat with the two designers behind the project – Daniel Quiogue and Marc Reyes. Reading about the influences behind the game really shows how different a spin they’re putting on the world while offering it in two flavors – Vivid and FATE. Great interview.

Fighting Fantasy is having a heck of a resurgence these days and Jonathan Green is the man behind the movement. Paco Garcia Jaen @ G*M*S Magazine asked a few questions about Green’s You Are The Hero Kickstarter (about the story behind Fighting Fantasy) as well as where things are going afterwards. He’s a busy guy!

Over
at SF Signal, Paul Weimer sat down with author and RPG designer Aaron Rosenberg to talk about his work and career a bit. He’s written plenty of fiction, but has also helped out on games from White Wolf such as Exalted and Mage. It seems he’s been involved in one way or another with many of the projects I’ve been interested in, like Tales of the Far West (for the Far West Wuxia-Western RPG coming out eventually) to Star Trek  and Stargate: Atlantis fiction.

3. New Publications

gygax-magThe folks behind DwD Studios and the BareBones Fantasy RPG have created a new magazine to celebrate the BareBones experience and continue to grow the fan base – Decahedron. The first issue was released just a couple of weeks ago and has already achieved two five-star reviews at RPGNow. Be sure to check it out!

Elsewhere, the announcement of Gygax Magazine continues to turn heads. Michael Peck @ Forbes even recently wrote about some of the potential legal troubles surrounding it… But the folks behind the magazine are continuing forward, even using their Facebook page to shine the spotlight on the many contributors helping out with writing. I’m excited to see it come to fruition myself. They have a good crew involved that can hopefully not only get it off the ground but keep it running.

And if you’re a fan of Campaign Cartographer from ProFantasy, you’ll have to check out The Cartographer’s Annual Vol 6, which features some fun new content for CC along with how-to articles and other good stuff!

4. New Fiction

If it’s new game-related fiction you’re after, you might check out Ari Marmell’s new project for Privateer Press – In Thunder Forged: The Iron Kingdoms ChroniclesThis new set of novels are based on the world of the Iron Kingdoms Role Playing Game. The first book will be released in June 2013 and Big Iron, by author C.A. Suleiman, will be released in July 2013.

Or if you’d rather check out some new science fiction, check out the Mag Force 7 series from authors Margaret Weis & Don Perrinn at DriveThruFiction!

5. Show thou art!

In the “holy cow, how did I miss you before?” category, we have the art of Jason Rainville, who has begun working for Paizo Publishing in the last few months. The art on his blog is spectacular and I wish him the best of luck. If you’re looking for similar work, definitely contact him!

6. But don’t steal it!

You’ve heard the phrase “Steal like an artist”? It doesn’t mean to steal their art wholesale. Instead it means you should take inspiration where you can find it.

Unfortunately the Twitter-based RPG called Tweeria seems to be just interested in stealing art. I’ve noticed tweets from this site showing up much more frequently in some of the paper.li papers I subscribe to, and they almost always include twitpics of gorgeous art. Now I know they’re just picking it up from wherever and not crediting the artists. Florence Ion @ Ars Technica has much more about this sad situation in a great article

Now, it’s one thing if you find art and use it personally. It’s another if you’re passing it off as your own.

7. The Hard Parts of Publishing

Being a small publisher is a lot of work. And doing it on your own is that much more work.

santa claus vs. martiansBerin Kinsman @ Asparagus Jumpsuit has been creating some great stuff like collections of Beginning Spellbooks for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians: The Official Series Bible. Plenty of useful and creative work to go around. But apparently he’s doing it on his own. There are 19 different products listed at RPGNow, so he’s been working his tail end off. (For a list of some current projects, check out his blog.)

But it’s not all wine and roses. Art is always a factor and it’s something he’s struggling with. Is no art at all better than bad art? It’s a tough question. I think you can get away with some layout tricks to break things up with boxed text here and there, different fonts, tables, and a good amount of white space. But art can really drive things home in a way that the text can’t always.

Definitely something I’ll struggle with next year if I continue with my own publishing plans.

From a different perspective, Gary Ray @ Black Diamond Games cautions designers and publishers and encourages them to find a balance between the fun of design and the less fun business side. Both sides need to be addressed or you’ll burn out quickly with nothing to show for it. This is a MUST READ article for anyone looking at getting into the business.

8. A Legend Returns…

Occasionally I get lost in video games. Planescape: Torment was one of those I think I lost months playing. But guess what? A follow-up is coming! Not a direct sequel, but it has promise!

9. What is the Essence of D&D?

I don’t know if this is publisher-related or just food for thought, but I thought it was interesting… Jon Shindehette @ WotC’s D&D blog asks a tricky question… “What is the essence of D&D?” He has some interesting things to say about it, especially from an art perspective.

I’m going to have to ponder it a bit longer. But I’m curious. What *IS* the essence of any RPG? Is it the social side? The rules side? The story or plot development?

elmore-kickstarter

10. How Can You Not Fund This?

I come late to the party on this one, but jumped in anyway. Larry Elmore is one of the most iconic artists in D&D history for me and many others. And he has a Kickstarter going (which ends the morning of December 31st). This isn’t a Kickstarter where you need to chip in because it needs your hard earned dollars. This is a Kickstarter that you need to chip in for simply to get the book. $49 gets you a 336 page, full-color hardbound book containing much of his painted and drawn art for the last 40 years. Let that sink in… (I have to thank Roger @ A Life Full of Adventure for this one or I would have missed it!)

—————————

So that’s it for this one. I’ll be back with another one as soon as I have time to do one!

As always, if you feel I missed something (and it would be impossible NOT to), drop me a quick note via the contact page or drop me an e-mail at news(at)gameknightreviews(dot)com and I’ll add it to the list for the next time!

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