Wednesday, November 19, 2008

State of the LotFP Union


Two releases out! The Goodman Games version of the Creature Generator... and Fantasy Fucking Vietnam.

I hope the Creature Generator finds its audience. It was specifically made for older versions of you-know-what, but it's being marketed as being for any fantasy RPG. I know that people have used it for all sorts of games, so hopefully the people that do buy it find it of great use, because it does do what it's supposed to do.

Fantasy Fucking Vietnam... is a real release! I've gotten some reactions from friends (who aren't RPG players, but find my rants amusing anyway) that the announcement the other day was a joke ad for a product that doesn't exist. Not so! But the announcement had to match the tone of the product itself. It's a combination (in spirit) of S1 and the EX series, with some, ahhh, topical content that's supposed to be a more lighthearted (or lightheaded, depending on your reaction to the 'jokes') tweak to the nose than a mean-spirited punch to the gut. I like this small format. It's the exact opposite of fancy, without artwork (save the map) or a cover. Just the adventure. I'm a no-frills guy in any event. FFV is the only thing mentioned here that's not 100% serious, by the way.

Of course I've got a pile of other things in various states of readiness:

Insect Shrine of Goblin Hill... same as always. Waiting for art. Jalo has moved far, far north but that's not really an issue. She'll need to roll up those A3 sheets she's doing the art on so I can get them scanned (or she can do it up there and just send me the files)... when I was having FFV printed up I found out how much it costs to use the print shop's big scanner. Scanning the ten pieces is going to cost me 60€! Eek! I need to find someone who has one of those big boys at home. Still trying to find someone to do the color for the cover as well.

Deranged and Insane: The Lunatics of the Stone Hold Asylum has several issues. The basic writing is done (and was done since I opened my 2006 campaign with it), but two artists have been assigned and either dropped out or disappeared, the person filling out the journal entries never started, and because of all that I dragged my butt big-time working with the one person who was doing what they said they'd do - the mapmaker! ay ay ay. But I like the idea of this project just because of the journal prop. It was a big deal to my players when I handed it to them in play, and I want to give the same feeling to everyone that buys it. It will be a hand-assembled book, aged with special processes (that I hope don't attract bugs), and now possibly with hand-made leather covers freakily adorned.

Those two will be 'full' releases, with color covers and everything. The price may be a bit high, especially the Asylum adventure, because of the nature of the materials, but if I ever do anything that will be a collector's item, it would be that one. I wonder where I can find a supply of 200 squirrel skulls?

Duvan'Ku. My undead kingdom concept. I envision several releases: A series of undead-related short adventure anthologies that introduces the concept of Duvan'Ku. Evil stuff. I have a handful that I've run for my groups, so it's just a matter of reorganization and formatting for release. "Dreaming of Duvan'Ku" is the working title for this one. Then there would be some sort of "Magical Items and Spells of Duvan'Ku" release. Then, finally, the Duvan'Ku sourcebook itself, dealing with the damned and defiled city of Those Who Had Challenged the Gods... and Lost. I have encounters and rosters for that one but nothing coherent.

Then there's my home campaign, which has stalled the past few weeks do to real-life issues that really haven't been getting addressed, or at least addressed correctly. Need to get that back on track. And then OD&D hack I haven't looked at in a month. Of course the mega-dungeon I'm thinking about running with that could be prepared for release as mini-modules as well. A lot of the plans for this are completely random encounter matrices for large areas, with specific keyed "theme areas," with the random areas being made up of geomorphs rather than randomly generated dungeons. A lot of my previously-made dungeons for my home game can just be dropped into this thing. But what to call the thing? I have an idea that it reaches down to the fabled Lost Palace of the Flame Princess, sort of in opposition to the Duvan'Ku concept, but my twisted mind can't think of a title that doesn't sound like a sexual reference... and there will be enough of that in the primitive fertility cult area of the mega-dungeon.

Buccaneers of the Bahamas... is still an idea, but really, all I know about pirates comes from watching the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. I fear it would suck for that reason. I just had the idea of a couple of pirate havens, rough details on a few settlements, a couple dungeons with "plot items" in them, and then a big old "random island generator." But would it have the right atmosphere? ehhh, I dunno. But unlike any other of the mentioned things, not a single bit of work (beyond "thinking") has been done on this one.

Then there's the Aino Challenge! I told her to come up with ten fantasy drawings, and I'd make an adventure (or anthology) built around those art pieces. We'll see how that develops.

Two things I want to bring up about releases...

First, I kind of feel guilty that I'm intertwining my "play" with "releases." But... ahhh... it seems really backwards and counterproductive to write and release things for release that I wouldn't sit down and want to run for myself. Writing something intended for release and then "playtesting it" with my group seems like I'm treating them as guinea pigs. But treating "potential releases" and "next week's game" as one and the same... well... shouldn't they be nearly the same thing anyway? While I'm going to make some of my future offerings fancy-looking, I certainly do not wish to be seen as "professional" in the way that it means in today's current market. I want to have things in print (without POD fulfillment) that I'm proud to have written, I want to recoup costs, and I want to have people tell me, "This is cool!" That's it. (I do find it interesting that there are so many professionals that tell us these days, "These are the trends, this is what fans today want," out of one side of their mouth, and, "The market is shrinking and gets smaller every year," out the other side. Am I the only one who sees this and thinks Something Is Very Wrong and It Doesn't Have to Be This Way?)

Second... you know what? I don't want to release anything under the banner of any specific simulacra, just because the things I'd write and release are made for an entire family of games. Sitting down and labeling something as being for "That one!" is madness, because that's not my intent. I don't even feel comfortable listing a darn armor class anymore. Go up or down? Start at 10 or 9 or 11? Shiiiittt... "AC: Plate + Shield" You can figure it out quite nicely yourself for your game.

And lastly in our little update, I Hate Fun continues to be the most widely read, and most commented-on, article on this blog. I am linked from, which has gotten me mentioned on a few other blogs... so a lot of people lately are looking at that article... a lot... but I think people are just looking at what it's saying and not at all looking at its meaning. Now, there is the matter (that one of my players keeps telling me) that not so many people play for the challenge. But you'll never get me to believe that challenge isn't a valid method for delivering... hehe... wait for it... fun. "Set everything up so my enjoyment is guaranteed, or it's not good!" No way.


  1. I'd like to hear a bit more details about Deranged and Insane. What sort of module is it? City-based? Dungeon? Etc. Anything and everything you'd like to reveal will be of interest.

  2. Hey, I assume you're putting out your best and coolest for your players. If you're not, they should beat you with sticks. If you are, then your customers want it!

    - Brian

  3. Oh, man. Ron Edwards also gets mentioned on that TV Tropes page.

  4. >>I'd like to hear a bit more details about Deranged and Insane. What sort of module is it? City-based? Dungeon? Etc. Anything and everything you'd like to reveal will be of interest.

    The module details an asylum... the grounds, the basement/dungeon, etc... it includes an extensive backstory to enhance the exploration aspect, plus the plot hook that I used in my campaign.

  5. >>Hey, I assume you're putting out your best and coolest for your players. If you're not, they should beat you with sticks. If you are, then your customers want it!

    I experiment a good deal with my players, and there's a lot of wandering and at times NPC interaction. That stuff doesn't get "product-ized"... just locations would. Of course game play influences flavor text (and personality notes for NPCs), but I certainly am not going to lay down a "plot" that must be followed in anything I release.