2013 Retrospective

I have had a good year.

This year my blog came off its pretty strict posting of one per weekday, which is fine. I still hit 500 posts this year.

Work on Various Systems

Fictive Hack.

At the beginning of the year I was banging away on Fictive Hack, with lots of flavors and variations. I was wrapping up design for World Between, wanting to let it sit and breathe after the major push of getting the book out at the end of last year. Hyrule was still close to the top of the to-do list.

Since then I’ve decided I’m going to re-christen my version of Old School Hack and call it the Awesome System. I’ve been able to play up to the 30s in levels with a group, so I have a sense of some things that need to change for high-level play. These changes need to flow backwards into what I’ve done, and forwards into what I’m doing, and that is usually a catch-point where motivation suffers. Designing game stuff is fun. Polishing, pinning down, preparing for others? That just sucks. Especially when I am reluctant to choose a direction and stay with it; there are many directions to choose from.

One of my players began a game and ran a few sessions, so I got to play a character in the system. That’s my second character, both fairly short lived. Still, I’ve gotten to play a dark fey trained wizard last year, and a cleric to the god of wounds this year.

Crumbling Epoch

For example, coming up on the blog’s birthday in July, I cast about to see what I could put together. For the first birthday I offered Dwarves of Death. For the second birthday I wanted to offer something interesting to the OSR perhaps, that didn’t require too much to get together in finished form.

I had my old Strip D&D rules where I tried to make a system that could use published B/X materials with minimal adaptation, but offer a system more to my liking. As I worked on it, this morphed to Crumbling Epoch. I made enough art to support the rule book, and released a draft on RPG Now, my first book there. I even got a foreword from Courtney Campbell and one from Erik Jensen, so that’s pretty fancy right there! I’ve been hard at work to undermine my own success there by taking what I’ve learned and putting out another version, my objective is July 2014.

Jack Shear released Devilmount, and I want to continue using the Devilmount mythos and setting as part of developing Crumbling Epoch. Also, Fr Dave released Caves of Cormakir the Conjurer, and I want to pull that and Hucwind Isle in. So much great stuff out there! I developed the three book approach; core rules, resources for the DM, and then region books with a few more classes, randomized adventuring environments, histories, and so on.

A highlight: the current edition’s “Death on Ice” prepless game was played in Italian! Cool!

Axes and Anvils

Yeah, I wanted to get involved and develop the rules and help the wayward Kickstarter make good. Things did not turn out the way I hoped. But, I am proud of the work I did on that system in spite of my constraints, and I think the system itself has legs and could be a lot of fun to play if people could push past the baggage. I wonder what the future holds here, and whether or not I’ll be in it.

I got it playable in May, finished a convention-ready draft (within the constraints put upon me) in the summer, and pushed for its release to backers. They didn’t care. And, I pushed as far as I could within Nystul’s constraints, he just wanted a developer for specific parts and no feedback on the whole. The tale of his astonishingly tone-deaf public relations efforts and baffling life decisions will make 2013 a special year in the history of this game.

Arkham Horror Mods

I put out the Arkham Villains, Batman Team, and Wedding Party this year. Wow!

Creature and Encounter Cards

A huge thank-you to Joe Wetzel for letting me help with the system neutral card backs for his Kickstarter. It was a tough project, and a bit of a slog, but I had the most interesting part of the whole project! I’m grateful he let me help out, and also compensated me. I’ve been on board for this Kickstarter, and the Dungeonmorph Dice project, and man. He does good work.

Reading More Widely

I have read much more widely into story games and alternative forms of role playing. My collection of .pdf games has swelled greatly as I discovered I can afford to get books that way, and for strip-mining that’s usually good enough. Bundles of Holding have been deadly in this regard!

Little Games

Monsters vs. Mecha. Yeah, a cute little game following the release of the Pacific Rim movie. =)

I am reworking Crawl d6; the reworked rules are up, and I’m working on a slick .pdf package to download with all the counters, and geomorphs, and all of it, nearly 20 pages instead of a 1 page download. I’ll likely charge for that, with all the art and effort it’s going to take to make it happen. However, I think people will be more likely to take it seriously and give it a try, even if the core is exactly the same.

 Making Art

I want to make gaming resources. I do not want to steal art, and I cannot pay for art, but fortunately I can make it. I have been intentionally working on making more art this year, and I think my efforts are paying off.

Lots of Good Play

  • Lottery Dungeon, adapted from Simon Forster’s OSR setting, played out in the World Between for Fictive Hack. Characters went from first level occasional open table play to 30+ level focused plot-orientation; just the nature of the beast with the system switch. Very educational for me!
  • Fictive Avengers is a favorite among some players in my group. It is only played one short arc a year, give or take, but it has endeared itself as a fun supers game.
  • Edge City. The game was on life support, and I was looking to pull the plug, but some dedicated players pulled it back. It has become once again a very satisfying game, and they are LOVING it. Which really warms the cockles of my heart.

Christopher Mennell offered to take a look at the site and offer advice on making it look more polished and friendly, and I took about 80% to 90% of his advice. Most of it was shaving things off, and once they’re gone you seldom even notice or remember they were there. I appreciate his help. I hope you like the way this blog looks.

Tomorrow we start 2014.

 

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