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A sneak peak

August 1, 2009

With the days getting shorter, I have been busy. GenCon takes a lot of work prior and after, so I’ve been silent and working.

One of the things I have been working on is this:

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Yes, my vague twitter postings have been true, dice for our games. Each Dice Pack has been hand assembled by me.

The other item I have been working on?

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This little CD contains the three Colonial Gothic eBooks we’ve released. This CD will be at GenCon, and is going to be sold for $2.

I am really excited about both of these products. The CD is one that I want to keep doing, and I want to think of a way to eventually get this into game stores. If and when this happens, the packaging would be different, but not the guts. In the next year there will be more books, as well as more eBooks. With the eBooks, I want to make them available to others who might not know about them, or might not want to buy them online, and with a CD this is one way to do it.

GenCon is less than two weeks away, I cannot wait for it.

[13 Chapters in 13 Weeks] Chapter 12 — Here be Monsters

July 30, 2009

So here we are, week 12. Next week brings the end of this series of posts. What is interesting is that this 13 week series brings us up to the week before GenCon. Kind of neat how that works out. Almost as if I planned it out. This week, I am going to talk about Chapter 12, a chapter working in conjunction with Chapter 11.

Chapter 12 is also an important chapter in that is addresses one of the biggest knocks against the original version of the game–the lack of monsters in the rulebook. Yeah, we had background, and some essays about them, but the nuts and bolts of fully ready to play monsters? Yeah that was a boneheaded move on our part, and it is one of the biggest regrets I had about the game. That is why Secrets had them i, and that is why when I decided to do the Revised version I vowed this mistake would be rectified.

Now, I could have taken the easy route, and simply run the whole chapter from Secrets in the Rulebook, and call it day. I didn’t. For me, that would have been a cop out, and it would have invalidate the reason I did the revision in the first place. I wanted Colonial Gothic to be as complete as possible, and I wanted to expand the monster rules.

Expand?

Nothing drastic, I simply wanted to give the gamemaster rules for creating their own monsters. So the first 14 pages of this 27 page chapter deal with just that, making your own monsters. How easy is the process? Very easy. There are still three types of creatures (Mundane, Spirit and Infernal) and in a nutshell, you decide what the power level of the creature you want, take the number of points, and spend them on Abilities, Skills and Traits. That’s it.

What are traits? They run the gamut from such things as claws, bone spines, deadly gazes, and the things making creatures, well creatures. Using these traits, you can create as many different types of creatures your imagination is able to think up. Does that mean there are not that many sample creatures found in this chapter? No. A lot of the sample creatures found in this chapter are the same ones found in Secrets . There are also a lot of new ones, as well a number of mundane animals.

So what type of monsters are found here? Demons, devils, typical undead, as well as monsters from Native American legends. The sampling found here offers the GM numerous options when it comes to challenging their players. In addition, these creatures are ready to be played as is. For me this is the most important thing, ease of use. This chapter is laid out and written to make the process of using creatures very easy for the gamemaster.

So there you go, Chapter 12. Next week, I will finish this up, and cover not only Chapter 13 but the Appendix. With next week’s posting, this tour will be over.

GenCon is comming. Rogue Games is getting ready

July 24, 2009
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The countdown has begun. In a few weeks, Rogue Games will be in lovely Indianapolis Indiana, running demos and selling games. Here are a few things you need to know.

Booth Number: 2038

New Product: Colonial Gothic Revised ($24.99) and Thousand Suns: Foundation Transmissions ($12.99).

Cool Things for GenCon Only: Colonial Gothic eBook CD ($2.50) and 12 Degrees Dice Pack ($6.00).

Other Products: The complete line for both games, as well as a few rare things as well.

Demos: Colonial Gothic demos in the booth starting Friday. Why not Thursday? Graeme Davis will not be in town early enough. Three cool demos are planned, and if you want to play, stop by the booth.

There you go. Plan accordingly.

If you are not going to be at GenCon, have no fears. Like we did last year, anything new being released at the show will be ready to buy and download from Drivethrurpg.com on Thursday. So if you want Thousand Suns: Foundation Transmissions before your friends, you will be able to buy it and download it Thursday morning. In addition, the PDF Guarantee is in effect for GenCon as well. How? That is for me to know, and you to find out. Ok, that is not nice, simply put,you buy any of the Rogue Games books after the show you will get the PDF.

[13 Chapters in 13 Weeks] Chapter 11 — Mundane Threats

July 22, 2009

Week 11. Wow, just typing that has me realize how long I have been at this with this little series of posts. When I started two months ago, it sounded like such an easy thing — write about each chapter of Colonial Gothic telling what was different and what was expanded. Two months ago, the book was in layout, and now it is out and making its’ way to the shelves.

This week I want to talk about one of two chapters filled with material specifically for GMs. Both this chapter and Chapter 12 gives GMs threats, be them mundane and monstrous. I’ll cover Chapter 12 next week, this week I’ll cover Chapter 11 — Mundane Threats.

When I approached the revision of Colonial Gothic last year, the main thing I wanted to do was give GMs more than enough information that they could run the game from the book. I was not worried about a sample adventure, because there was already two ready for free download, and a number in development for release in our $1 line of PDFs. With the need of not needing to cram in a adventure — and as you can see by the page count of the book there is no room — I needed to fill a small gap.

Thinking about the comments I have gotten in person and via email, with the first version of the game, one of the major strikes against it was the lack of stats for monsters. In hindsight this was a bad idea, and this was one of the things I wanted to address. In thinking about monsters, I knew what I wanted to add, but I also realized that GMs, as well as players — because let’s face it players will read the whole book as well — needed examples of the type of mundane threats Heroes face during the course of adventuring. It was this that led to the creation of Chapter 11.

The chapter is broken up into four parts: Colonists, The Mandoag, Native Born and Villains. Each part gives you fully stated out characters ready to be dropped into play, or if pressed, modified for use as a Hero. So what type of characters are found here? A nice mix.

For the Colonist section you get a: agent of the Inquisition, Freemason Agent, Knight Templar Agent, Minuteman, Soldier, a typical Colonial Alchemist, a typical Colonial Mage, and a Woodsmen. The Mandoag section gives you not only the typical warrior but a shaman. While the Native Born section gives you a typical Shaman and Warrior. All three of these sections are illustrated by Jeff Preston, who did a excellent job with the art chores, and the style he used feels like the period. The Villain section is a bit longer, and you will see a few familiar faces in this section.

What I like about Chapter 11 is how these threats capture not only the feel of the game, but the period. Some of these have seen heavy use in my own games, and now others get to use them for themselves. Though this is a small chapter, it is a important chapter and that is due to the chapter giving you examples and tools to run a session or two. Chapter 11 is also a bridging chapter to Chapter 12, which is a big chapter and gives you monsters. That will wait for next week.

The industry needs an enema. Or, I am tired of this PDF nonsense.

July 17, 2009

So if you have not been paying attention lately, the “industry” is in a tizzy about PDFs and the pricing of PDFs. I’ve ignored this, as has James, and we just kept doing what we like to do, design games. Then this blog post was posted, and it ticked me off:

http://jamesmishler.blogspot.com/200…-rambling.html

That entire post really rubbed me the wrong way. Not just as a gamer but as a publisher. This attitude, which I am seeing more and more lately in this industry, has me annoyed. Really annoyed. That is why I am writing this, becasue as Howard Beal screamed in Network (a movie that despite the age is even more correct now then it was in 1976):

I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.

When forming Rogue Games, one of the big things James and I wanted to do was keep our games as affordable as possible. That is why we price them (both print and eBooks/PDFs) as low as we do. That is why we do the things we do to help keep the cost low. Like what? Use POD and stay away from color. For me, as a publisher, I would much rather price titles lower, create smaller games, and build a customer base on making affordable games.

As for PDF pricing, hell, we give ours away when you buy a print copy either online or in a physical store. We give them away as if on a whim — as one irate publisher told me in a recent email. The reason? For us, PDFs/eBooks are as much a marketing device as they are a information tool. For us, if you bought the game, you should be allowed to use it anyway you want. Period. That is why we bundle the PDF with the book. That is why we strip any DRM we can from the PDF. That is why we do not get in the way of how you choose to use the PDF.

This is why we made our PDF guarantee public. We state right up front that the upper limit of a PDF from us is $9.99. We have PDFs at lower price points as well. Why the limits? Personally, I cannot sell a PDF at or near the same price as a print book. I just cannot do it. Why? I could not live with myself as a person, let alone a publisher.

I am happy as hell Paizo is charging $9.99 for Pathfinder. To call them out on this is silly. To call them a threat is just damn ignorant. Hell, Pathfinder is a game that is not my style, however, I am buying a copy of the game because I support them in their decision. Period.

Sadly the reaction other publishers have when another publisher does something they do not like, no longer surprises me. I am always getting emails from some accusing what Rogue Games does as harming their business. Why? Our pricing and views on PDFs.

In the end, James and I are going to continue to do what is best for Rogue Games, the gamers who like our games, and the consumer who does not want to go broke just to try something new.

[13 Chapters in 13 Weeks] Chapter 10 — Campaigns

July 14, 2009

Week 10. We are coming into the home stretch of this 13 week discussion of Colonial Gothic. I hope you find this interesting, and I hope that I am not boring you. This week, we deal campaigns, by that, the metaplot of Colonial Gothic. To put it simply, the history is the metaplot.

Huh?

Let me write that again:

The history is the metaplot.

In a game like Colonial Gothic, where the rich tapestry of history is being drawn from for inspiration, I decided that there was no need to go crazy. There is enough strange things at play historically, that the need to make things up was not needed. Unlike other games, which create a vast sprawling metaplot permeating everything released for a game, Colonial Gothic just goes for the history. Look at the history I get to play with:

A ragtag group of colonists coming a strange land which is inhabited by strange natives and creatures. It is a land fraught with danger, as well as reward. It is a land shaped by religion, belief, and war. Survival is always at the forefront of a colonists mind. Nothing is certain, and nothing is given. This, from the first contact with the native people, to the clash of arms between world powers, is what not only I, but you get to play with it. So what does the chapter cover? A discussion about settling the colonies, and then a nice long discussion of the history, both known and secret, which has brought the colonies to the current situation of the Revolution.

When reading this chapter the run thing I often get asked is how much of this is real? I answer all of it.

A lot of the names are true, and a lot of the events are true as well. Areas where it makes sense to do so — as is the case with Sir Richard Southwell — I spin it a little. However, as is the case with the Freemasons, there were real historical Ancients and Moderns. A lot of the things dealing with Masons, I based on real history, and where is made sense, spun it to fit the supernatural horror of the game.

That being said, you can ignore this secret history, and play Colonial Gothic as a straight historical game. In fact I have done this many times, and plan on releasing a series of PDFs that give you small mini-campaigns that allow for historical play, and use more psychological horror.

With all of this, the key to keep in mind with not only this chapter, but the game is what I write at the start of the chapter:

As stressed throughout this book, you, as the GM have many options open to you. Foremost among these options is that you have the freedom to create the campaigns you want. If you want to downplay the secret history, feel free. However, in Colonial Gothic, a secret history is at its core. This history, shapes the game, and the events that are to come. Here are the nuts and bolts of what has happened before and after the arrival of the White Man to the colonies. (Colonial Gothic Rulebook, page 239)

Though this chapter might be the smallest of the book’s chapters, it is the most packed. There is a lot of history and ideas waiting for you to explore and spin into the game you want to run and play.

A new update

July 9, 2009
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A very nice update to the New World Almanack has been posted. This update deals with books, and was submitted by list member Neal Dalton.

What Neal came up with was very good, and so good in fact, that I am going to adopt it from here on out. What did Neal do? Brought up an oversight in the original rules I create, and that is Time to Read. The new rule, is not complex, and is just one more example of the little touches that help you run and play the game. Head over to the Almanack (here is the direct link) and take a look.

We are always taking submissions for the Almanack. If you have a cool Relic, Book, Hero, Villain, or anything dealing with the game and period, send it in.

Also, to answer a couple of emails I have gotten, yes there will be Colonial Gothic demos at GenCon this year. I will be running them in the booth during the show. I have a new demo I have written (and yes, too answer the question I know I will get next, it will be posted after the con, and after I clean it up) as well as a couple of others I will have in rotation. Schedule for the demos is still in the air, but they will be done. I actually I have an extra hand in the booth this year, so I will not be too frazzled.