Tuesday, April 30, 2013

One More Beer

That is to say, one more beer for the night...not forever, jeez!

Still, if three seems a bit unusual for a Tuesday night, well, yeah, it is...though three bottles over the course of an evening isn't nearly the same as a couple pints with a dinner out (which was last night). *Ahem* It IS unusual that I'll down half a six-pack, but it's been a loooong last couple-few days. No, I still have to go to work tomorrow. No, this isn't about the Mariners (hey, we're not last in our division this year...or even second to last!). No, it isn't about the damn David Stern-Sacramento Kings-NBA-thing, either (yes, I'd like to take my boy to a Sonics game some day; no, I'm not a basketball fan by any stretch of the imagination).

No, it's not even about rough times on the homestead...the wife's been back in town for nearly a week, and she's not heading to South America anytime soon, her last project having (mercifully) ended. Ha! I'll bet you folks thought the reason my blogging had fallen off the face of the earth the last ten days had to do with the fam or something. Nope, not at all.

The reason I haven't posted anything to the blog the last ten days is that I've been focusing all my creative energies on finishing one single project...D&D Mine, aka 5AK, aka "my little D&D/Chainmail retread project."

Yep. It's finished.

And I mean, finished. Completed. With artwork and formatting and page numbers and tables of contents and all that jazz. Finished it today. You'll forgive me if I feel a touch entitled to an extra beer.

I even (God help me), drew an actual map...you know, like a sample dungeon level?...and scanned it and stuck it in the book. After wrestling with my own blankety-blank scanner for hours last night (using both a PC and a Mac to no avail) I found one that would do the job at the library this afternoon and just cut the damn thing. And I don't care if it looks like crap compared to some of the brilliant artists posting their fine-tuned pieces of craftsmanship on their blogs. It's good enough. And the fact of the matter is, the game looks better than the original.

It does...it really does. Not that that's a huge stretch or anything...the thing's one can do with a little MS Word and a few jpgs would make those poor bastards doing layout in the 1970s absolutely crap themselves. I am a hack...I have absolutely ZERO background in layout or composition or...well, in anything really useful to putting these books together. I didn't work on a school newspaper or yearbook or anything. But I can fiddle around with these little programs and voila! I look like an f'ing genius. Or at least a competent semi-professional.

Crazy world.

So here's the next couple steps I've got to go through before I unveil the thing (yes, I know people want to see it...I'm hoping some folks might even want to buy it). First, I need to have a couple trusted sets of eyes read it...we'll see how that goes. Then I need to get some price-points from the printer and see about getting a few mock-up/proofs. I might need to get better scans of the artwork (it's excellent stuff, but still public domain and the resolution leaves a little something to be desired)...but like I said, it already looks nicer than the original books, so I might leave it as is.

After that, it's all about packaging. For those who haven't been following all that closely, I've written my own "Little Brown Books:"three slim volumes that still pack a lot of info (in a legible font, yes). They are much more setting specific and much less potpourri than the original LBBs but that's by design and for my own amusement (you can still adapt it to play a "generic fantasy RPG" but why would you want to?). I have about 99% decided to distribute them in two different formats:

1. A printed version with all three-volumes shrink-wrapped together along with a set of custom dice that I intend to order from Chessex or someone. Ideally, they'd be wrapped with one of those adhesive paper bands like you find around notebooks at B&N or dress socks, but I don't even know where to purchase such a thing. This may be a "limited edition" type sale depending on price to produce and demand...however, I'm still going to keep it simple (no box, dammit).

2. Electronic PDFs that can be purchased individually from RPGNow or some such. You'll have to pay for and download each book separately, and you will receive the "special dice," but some people may prefer that anyway. I mean, we all have dice, right?

All right, that's enough of an update for the moment...my beer's almost finished, the Mariners have tanked for the evening, and tomorrow's "garbage day" so it's time to clean out the fridge. I'll provide more information (or at least will probably be blogging more) over the next couple weeks, and I'm sure there may yet be some (minor) tinkering as monkey wrenches arise in play-testing. But for now, I'm quite satisfied. It really does seem to be the type of fantasy role-playing game I can live with...for a good, long while.

NOW, having said all that, I will say there's still a part of me that likes the idea of something a little more gonzo and gung-ho. White Plume Mountain-ish, if you'll allow me the conceit. Something a little bit more like B/X...except with druids.

Really, just the B, not the X...a lighter game, capable of introducing younger players to the fun of role-playing with a lot smaller scale and a lot more focused objectives of play...maybe even something that uses "funny shaped dice," like everyone expects. My recent posts on "subclasses" is what got my brain percolating on this idea...which is why I decided I really needed to buckle down and get 5AK finished. Bad enough I'm trying to get Cry Dark Future out, too (I've got five artists on board so far, which is great!)...I didn't want to let my "gamer ADD" sidetrack me when I was so close to the end. But now I am at the end (except for the mechanics of getting the thing printed, etc.), so maybe there's room on my plate for another project: has anyone done a retroclone of Holmes Basic yet?

Oh, yeah...and a completely random note, I have some scribbled ideas for rewriting Vampire the Masquerade. That might actually end up being a one-page micro-game.
; )

Later, gators...cheers!


  1. Fantastic news!

    For Holmes, yeah we have a couple.

    There is Blueholme from Dreamscape Design.

    There is also Mazes & Perils, http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product_info.php?products_id=104536&affiliate_id=10748

    Both are free in their current editions.

  2. I'd be happy to proofread for you, if you haven't gotten the number of folks you want!

    1. Dave: I have no email contact for you. If you're interested in proofreading, email me @ bxblackrazor AT gmail DOT com.

  3. Alright, congrats on another project (almost) completed! I myself am a proofreading Nazi by profession, if you didn't already know. Soooo, if you need some eyes, I volunteer to help if you need a fresh pair! Let me know if you need the assistance!

    1. Anthony: For some reason, I cannot access your email account. If you're interested in proofreading, email me @ bxblackrazor AT gmail DOT com.