Saturday, October 1, 2011

Jinxing Upcoming Projects

Things currently in production and their status:

Carcosa Waiting to approve sketches of two pieces (including the cover) and it's just waiting for the finished art to roll in, a little bit of work to do on the maps, and from their it's all typographical tightening.

Isle of the Unknown "Let's order 125 pieces of art!" sounds like a great idea until you realize the burden you've placed on the layout guy to make it all fit. There's a lesson here... layout first, then get art based on that. It might take a bit to get it right, but all the prelim formats look gorgeous. This will be the prettiest book yet to come out of the OSR, which totally fits the color and atmosphere that Geoffrey put into the writing. Frankly putting another 125 pieces of art into the book would have been cool because there's so much to see on the island and I like it being made more real.

The Monolith from beyond Space and Time Announcements about this coming soon. Cover's done, my writing barring the intro matter is done, none of the interior art though.

Out by the end of the year on all these though. (it's October already? Yikes...)

Working On:

The Dancing Queen in Yellow One of those ideas where I have a set-piece ending and am working backwards on it so it can make sense and not be a complete railroad. City adventures are difficult to do that way, but I think "People are plotting, what are you going to do about it?" style adventures can't be open exploration sorts of things because the PCs are reacting. But even plotted adventures need concrete decision points where player decisions changes the flow of the adventure so anticipating a decent number of "if then else" branches (let alone going back and dealing with what people do to it in actual play!) is a bit of work.

Death Ferox Doom For some reason this keeps getting pushed back in favor of other things. It suffers from the Dancing Queen in Yellow problem: It's big and I'm sure I can do something else faster so I try to do that instead. The hang-up at this point? The native tribes, how they interact with the PCs, and their relationships to each other. I bet everyone will concentrate on the pyramid in play, but to me the setting is defined by the people in it and why the act certain ways and how that can complicate exploration in the area. If this winds up just being a cool dungeon crawl with a weakly defined surrounding wilderness I'll consider the project a failure.

Death Sparkle Doom While digging through my archives (read: folders of old notes on the shelf) I came across a simple little adventure all about colors. It needs rejiggering (I'm not going to do something where everything relates to the chromatic dragons these days) but it's a location based ancient static environment so making it another lost Duvan'Ku thing isn't a big leap. It's been over two years since Death Frost Doom so if two Duvan'Ku things appear in 2012 I'm hardly beating the idea into the ground. And the presentation I have in mind would be rather unique... said Sheppard when asking for a price quote on a cover concept: "Holy crap I think I just threw up in my mouth a little (In a good way, ha) ;)"

Insect Shrine of Goblin Hill It's still on the list. The part I'm most excited about these days is the part I'm positive no player will ever discover in the adventure. The issue here is twofold: It's full of D&D-isms that I no longer use and those parts are rather central so they need to be changed (you can get a goblin tribe living in a cave from anyone, so you won't get that from me), but changing them makes certain other things not make sense so that all needs to be reconciled. Plus I have this A3 sized Ramsey Dow map that's awesome and must be used but how am I going to fit that into a book?

Shot and Sorcery An Early Modern era sourcebook with rules for everything from firearms to finance and mass combat. Intimidating because I'm looking at XRP's Magical Medieval Society books as a standard for this and there's so much to learn to do it right. I'm buying some weird books to use as research material for this. I've got the firearms rules and a mass combat sketch so far but that's about it.

The Book of Satanic Witchcraft The Malleus Maleficarum is not an easy book to get through (I have the Christopher S. Mackay translation) but I am convinced that it can be turned into a very kickass game supplement (I also have books on the Spanish and Italian Inquisitions that would be part of this project). Might be folded into Shot and Sorcery... Still in the "trudging through the research material" phase on this.

The License I've never tried licensing IP before, don't know if it will happen, and I don't know if my general cluelessness in these matters will be the thing to prevent it from happening. "Your movie is cool and I'd like to use this thing in an adventure I'm doing" is my motivation, not releasing some branded game or supplement or anything. But licenses are only granted for limited times so if this goes through it goes to the immediate top of the pile after the current projects are off to press.


Zak Stuff Every so often Zak has ideas for another book, and the stuff he posts on his blog all the time is smart and Vornheim's done so well that whenever he decides something is a go I think I'm up for it.

Submissions I've gotten one draft so far and several more cool pitches that I hope turn into drafts. I hope to present some cool adventures for you from unique talent in the new year.

Phew. Now to get the lead out of my ass and push some of this out the door!


  1. The Book of Satanic Witchcraft sounds like a very interesting project!

  2. Sumanabitch, that's one leviathan of a list...sigh...I'm out looking for a second job right now.

  3. oh, I think it's safe to say these releases will be nicely spaced out. :)

  4. I'm extremely curious about what you could have in mind for the license thing.

    I suppose you won't want to tell anything, but my theory is Army of Darkness or a metal band. Maybe Zothique, but I know that the C.E. Smith state is not very fond of licenses.

    So... what could it be?

  5. Can't wait for the Carcosa book. Planning on picking up a hardcover copy of Vornheim at the same time (already have the PDF). Any chance of getting discounts on physical copies if you have already bought the PDF? Hadn't heard of the Isle of the Unknown project before, but that also sounds promising.

    @wachinayn Based on the Eldritch Dark website, it seems like the Smith estate is at least flexible.

  6. All of that sounds great.

    What interests me in particular is the "Death X Doom" ones. I don't recall you mentioning either before, but from what you've said it sounds like there's going to be plenty of "WTF?!" moments from your play testers which is what I like to think you aim for.

    Am also eagerly awaiting Carcosa and Isle. You already said no Carcosa Preorders, but will Isle have any, or is it too soon at this point?

    I have some money burning a hole in my wallet...

  7. Any movement on Exquisite Corpses Redux?

  8. You'll have to ask Poag about that.

  9. The Dancing Queen in Yellow? I like the title.

  10. Carcosa and the book on Satanic Witchcraft are my two favorite books ever; even though one one hasn't been published and the other one hasn't been written. ;)
    Keep up the great work Jim!