Friday, December 27, 2013

Oh What Things You Find In Your RPG Books

I am preparing for a Rifts campaign that the Hangout Group will starting in a few weeks. That means hauling out bunches of my Palladium Games books off the shelves and reading through them, some for the first time in years. While I was still in Cleveland, I managed to pick up a couple of signed books (Heroes Unlimited 2nd Edition and After The Bomb) and I've posted pictures of the signed pages on my Google+ account (which you can find a link to in the sidebar of this blog).

This is the front page of my signed Heroes Unlimited book:

It is pretty cool to have. I think that I started with Palladium stuff a bit later in life than a lot of the other fans of the games. My entry was finding a copy of Ninjas and Superspies at my (then) local gaming store in Lafayette, Indiana. I was hooked. I picked up Heroes Unlimited Revised next (it has just come out at the time), and over the years I have picked up and played a number of Palladium's games. Even when I had pretty much given up class and level-based games for systems like GURPS and Call of Cthulhu, Palladium games would still call at me. I've run a number of Heroes Unlimited games over the years, and I've said for a very long time that Ninjas and Superspies had my favorite handling of the martial arts in RPGs. The hours and hours of enjoyment that I have received from these games are incredibly out of proportion to the costs of them. I've long said that Palladium Games give the most bang for your gaming buck. Period.

One day I'll pick up the last couple of Heroes Unlimited books that I don't have. This game line will probably always be one of my favorites.

I know that it is fashionable, in certain parts of the internet, to bash Palladium Games but I've never felt that way about the games. The excitement and enthusiasm of Kevin Siembieda, Erik Wujcik, C.J. Carella and all of the other Palladium creators and artists just sing to me when I open up the pages of a Palladium game. It may be corny, but I really don't care. I have had lots of fun with these games, and I will continue to have fun with them for a very long time. That fun is the point of gaming, to me, and trumps all of the "concerns" that some may have about the system.

Any way, one of the points of this post was a discovery that I made just an hour ago. Yesterday, a post from +Joe England over on G+ made me mention that I thought TMNT needed nekomimis in it (if you don't know what one is, you might not want to Google it...just saying). About an hour ago I picked up my After The Bomb book to stat out some nekomimi with Palladium's Mutant Animal rules. I knew that my copy of the book was autographed, too, but I had forgotten who had all signed it.

When I saw that signature by Erik Wujcik it tugged a bit at my heart strings (yes, I do in fact have some). Erik was such a creative dynamo and driving force in tabletop gaming that it is hard to find an area of gaming that has not been touched by him. Even today, his diceless game lives on in new forms from Precis Intermedia and Rite Publishing. Yeah, I know. some people will be upset by my including Lords of Olympus. Those people can deal with it.

Hopefully Erik knows the impact that he has had on so many people in this hobby and knows that he is missed.

In a few weeks I am  to start running a Rifts game, and it will be kickass. One of the reasons for that is Erik Wujcik.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Author Erin M. Evans And Wizards of the Coast's The Sundering

You have probably heard of The Sundering from Wizards of the Coast, a series of novels and events that will have dramatic changes to the worlds of Dungeons & Dragons! We talked with author Erin Evans about her Sundering novels, her involvement with the event and her background as a writer.

Dorkland: First off, let's talk a little bit about your background. How did your degree in anthropology get you started down the path of a career in writing?

Evans: It was a little more of a side quest, really. I wanted to be a writer, but I knew very early on that one doesn’t usually make a living just by writing. (One also doesn’t tend to make a living as an anthropologist, but I guess I figured two not-quite-suitable careers made one okay one). I loved it. I loved learning how to learn through it. And as odd as it may sound, I get a decent amount of mileage out of it: I might not be studying other cultures, but I do sometimes get to make them up, and having that background makes it all the more fun and interesting.

Dorkland: I know that you used to be an editor at Wizards of the Coast, how did that lead to your work on D&D novels?

Evans: While I was an editor, one of my colleagues, Susan J. Morris, asked if I wanted to audition for a book in the Ed Greenwood Presents Waterdeep series. She was short an author, if I recall correctly, for a limited call, and she had read some of my work and liked it. I submitted a story idea about a woman who insists she’s a dragon trapped in a human body. Susan and Ed loved it, and that became my first book, The God Catcher.

Dorkland: What is it about the D&D universe that appeals to you as an author?

Evans: The interesting thing about writing in the Forgotten Realms setting is how many elements you have to draw from—and how many little suggestions and discrepancies and hints just beg to be a story. On the flipside, you also have the fun of weaving in little hooks and ideas for other people to pick up, whether they’re designers or other authors or DMs or players.

Dorkland: With The Sundering event, how closely do you work with the other authors and the designers at Wizards of the Coast?

Evans: From the start, the authors have all been in fairly close contact. We all had access to each other’s outlines and some of the first drafts. I sent scenes to Paul Kemp, Richard Lee Byers, and Troy Denning in particular, because we had found places where our stories overlapped and I wanted to be sure I was presenting things in the right way. Our editors have been very good at coordinating us as well. (And I like to pester Ed on the regular. Mostly because he’s such fun to talk to.)

Dorkland: How does it feel to be an architect on such an iconic setting?

Evans: It’s absolutely an honor, but the actual work of it is just that: it’s work. It’s what I love to do, and it’s kind of a thrill to sit in a room with other authors and riff on each other’s ideas, to dig through sourcebooks and find these little gems. But I don’t think too much about the enormity of it—I think that would just get in the way.

Dorkland: What can you tell us about The Sundering, and its impact on the D&D universe?

Evans: The Sundering is a world-shaking event that will affect all of the Forgotten Realms setting. Things are changing, the world is reshaping, and not even the gods know what they’re in for (although they’ll soon find out!) The meta-goal is to bring the world back to a place where it feels like the Realms to readers and gamers again, without disrupting the continuity. The novel series is nice because it’s a sextet of stories set during this enormous event, but featuring people in various parts of the world and told on that personal scale.

Dorkland: What advice do you have for people who want to become novelists? What sort of advice do you have for people interested in doing licensed fiction like the D&D novels?

Evans: Write—a little of everything. Read—a little of everything. Learn how to read with a critical eye, and then learn to manage that critical eye before you start to hate everything (It can be a phase, I promise). Write what you’re passionate about, and make sure there’s something true in everything you write.

I think licensed fiction is a strange beast—people who write very well in general can be wholly unsuited to it, because the restrictions throw them off. But it’s a skill like anything, and adapting to those restrictions is a big part of it. I would also say you should love the IP—but not too much. The best tie-in authors I’ve read have just enough distance to bring something new to the table, and enough respect to do it in a way that makes the setting shine.

Dorkland: If you could go back in time and give yourself one bit of advice, what would it be?

Evans: Honestly? Get an agent.

Dorkland: What is the next book that we can expect to see from you?

Evans: My next Farideh novel will be out in September 2014. Fire in the Blood will take my characters to the Forest Kingdom of Cormyr, which is embroiled in a multi-front war as the Sundering rages on.

Friday, December 13, 2013

World of Calidar Kickstarter

It's the Christmas season and if the thoughts of Santa flying through the skies are tickling your flight fancies, there's a Kickstarter for them in the World of Calidar by Bruce Heard, who you may know from his days with TSR and the Mystara setting. The World of Calidar is an original fantasy setting that has a central theme of skyships and the adventures thereof. As mentioned, it is a fantasy setting and thus features various races -- humans, elves and dwarves -- and magic. Each of the races have their own themes and backgrounds that emerge in various ways -- most notably in their skyships. And, if dwarves on dwarven skyships wasn't enough for you, there is a large, deadly setting to explore.

Now then, the Kickstarter -- what is it going to cost you? Quite reasonably, actually. Starting at the US$5 mark you can get a PDF of the Star Phoenix story and other unpublished bits. For US$10 you get all the previous bits and a PDF copy of the fantasy setting -- it should be noted that the setting is not tied to any particular game. And, if you want a physical copy, you can get the cheaper softcover version at US$25 and the higher quality hardcover at US$50.

As of this post, the Kickstarter has already well surpassed its initial funding and is working towards stretch goals. If you would like more information on the Kickstater you can check its page, which has a wealth of information. Additionally, you can check out Bruce Heard's blog to get even more information -- as well as short stories -- or Thorfinn Tait's blog, who is doing the cartography for the World of Calidar and has a ton of information about it up.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Peter Adkison Talks About The Return Of The Primal Order

One thing that I have always been pretty open about is the fact that I have always been a big fan of The Primal Order, one of the first products put out by Wizards of the Coast in their early days. With the core book available once again in PDF and softcover book from RPGNow. I am going to talk about this in another post that will talk about the product itself, but the bullet points is that The Primal Order is what Adkinson called a "capsystem," or something that could be put over the top of an existing game and used in conjunction with the existing rules.

The Primal Order outlines the rules for gods and their worshipers, and then has an appendix that explains how to use the rules with games like AD&D, TORG, RunequestArs Magica, Shadowrun and other games. Obviously the conversion notes are specific to the editions that were available at the time this book was first published, so there might be a little work involved in bringing this supplement up to speed with the current versions of games.

I talked with Adkinson via email about The Primal Order then and now.

Dorkland: First off, let's set the stage for The Primal Order. As best as you can remember, what was the impetus for creating this line? What was it that you felt at the time was needed in gaming that The Primal Order filled?

Peter Adkison: The answer to this question is intertwined with the question of why we started Wizards of the Coast in the first place.  Mainly, we wanted to turn our hobby into a business.  We wanted to work in the hobby games industry, making games.  Then it was a question of “What should we make?”  Until we met Richard Garfield our focus was mainly on roleplaying games and we created a big list of things we thought would be cool.  After lots of debate we decided that the work we’d done in our own roleplaying circles around the topic of gods was the most interesting.  Of course we wanted to do something new, to take a topic and dive deeper into it than anyone had done before.  So of all the roleplaying topics that looked interesting to explore, we decided mythology would be where, perhaps, we had the most to share.

Dorkland: I remember, from the time, that not all of the publishers were as thrilled about the conversion notes in the back of the book. Was it difficult to coordinate all of those conversions, and can you remember if there were any interesting stories about dealing with the other publishers (that you can talk about)?

Peter Adkison: Yeah, that was a disaster that almost put us out of business.  We were young and na├»ve.  We didn’t coordinate with any other publishers, we just did it.  We consulted an IP attorney about how to do this legally, but it didn’t matter, we got sued anyway.  The best story was how Mike Pondsmith, then head of GAMA, intervened on our behalf and negotiated a settlement to the lawsuit and we were able to continue on with a slap on the wrist.

Dorkland: How did this re-release of The Primal Order come about? Do you own them again, or is this licensed from Wizards of the Coast? Will other books in the line also receive a similar release?

Peter Adkison: When I left Hasbro, as part of my severance agreement, I retained the rights to The Primal Order.  In other words, I own it.  Then recently my old friend, Steve Wieck, came to me and suggested they put it online.  They offered to do the work and all I have to do is sit back and collect royalties.  What a deal!

Yes, our arrangement gives them the rights to do the TPO supplements as well.

Dorkland: There was talk, back at the time that The Primal Order line originally stopped that there were manuscripts of other books in the line. If they exist, any chance that they might finally see the light of day? What about some of the other "capsystem" lines, like The Military Order?

Peter Adkison: Several TPO supplements were actually published:  Pawns and Chessboards made it into print.  But, no, there are no manuscripts secreted away.  When we decided to discontinue the line we finished the manuscripts that were in process.  It was one of those rare times in publishing where we were able to power down gracefully and get the stuff in the pipeline to press.

It’s still a fantasy of mine to write the other “Orders” someday.  I have definite thoughts about how I would approach them, especially the military, economic, and government ones.  Right now I want to keep focused on projects that have a chance of making real money because, well, I’m also an entrepreneur at heart.  But in another 20 years or so I suspect I’ll slow down to the point where I won’t want to have employees, investors, and all that and I dream that I’ll sit in the nursing home nodding off to old reruns of Game of Thrones while typing away at The Military Order using long run-on sentences---like this one.

Dorkland: Writers and designers like Greg Stafford have put a great deal of importance on the power of myth in role-playing games. What role do you think that myths and mythology play in RPGs? What role do they play in your own games?

Peter Adkison: I love myths and mythology.  TPO is based on systems for deities that we came up because we had to for the type of play we experienced in our own D&D campaigns.  The old TSR book, Deities and Demigods, was just enough to whet the appetite.  In our campaigns, the gods were always very active and several player characters became gods themselves.  So we needed to do game design work to figure out what that really meant, mechanically.

Dorkland: In what ways do you see The Primal Order books being able to expand people's campaigns?

Peter Adkison: The mechanical stuff we came up with about gods should be interesting, especially to more mechanically-oriented gamers (like most D&D and Pathfinder groups).  But what I think is truly interesting about TPO is that we propose a definition of what a god is.  Meaning, what is the fundamental difference between a divine entity and a mortal entity?  We came up with a concept we thought was intriguing and then in the book we explain that and follow it through to its natural conclusions.  Our proposed definition works well.  It’s a reasonable model for how we imagine gods were believed to be, and from there how gods create avatars, support priests, power minions, imbue artifacts, and, ultimately, how the most powerful gods use the “omni’s” (omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence) and create life.

Dorkland: What about The Primal Order books do you think that you most "got right," even when looking back at them today? What, if anything, would you have liked to have changed, in retrospect?

Peter Adkison: I think the stuff in the previous paragraph is what we did best, defining gods and providing a rationale for how they function---and by extension, all sorts of things related to gods, like churches, artifacts, blessing, priests, and so on.  It’s a decent intellectual exploration.  The mechanics work okay, but I think a more experienced RPG designer like Jonathan Tweet or Monte Cook could have done better.

If I could change one thing it would be to try and introduce more tools to support mysticism.  By defining gods, by reducing them to statistics and points, the gods in The Primal Order essentially become superheroes.  Now that it’s 20 years later (almost exactly) I realize that I didn’t adequately discuss the experience of religious conviction, or mystical experience.  Simply put, I’m older now and I’ve had more life experience.  It would be interesting---and daring!---to talk about things like enlightenment and ecstatic experiences.  You mentioned Greg Stafford earlier.  I’ve never talked to him about TPO but I’ve sometimes imagined that if he read it he would say to me, “Peter, you missed the point.  You wrote about gods, but you didn’t write about Gods.”

Dorkland: There may not be as many gamers who know of The Primal Order books these days. Why should a GM add the book to their GM's toolkit?

Peter Adkison: The Primal Order will help you think about gods in fantasy roleplaying.  You’ll find stuff you’ll disagree with, but that’s great---put your own spin on things, that’s what we roleplayers like to do.  And it is 20 years old, so it probably shows it’s age a bit.  But I guarantee there’s a great deal of thought-provoking material in here.  And, it’s comprehensive.  Just about any topic related to gods is discussed.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

J.J. Armes: The Original Real Life Super-Hero?

Over at the website Klint Finley has put together an interesting history for J.J. Armes. Who is J.J. Armes?
The first real-life superhero may have been J. J. Armes, a private detective who has been active in El Paso since 1958. His super power? A gun implanted in one of his prosthetic hook that he could fire with his biceps — without using his other hook.
Forget Phoenix Jones, J.J. Armes was doing this back in the 70s and he even had his own line of toys.

I had a J.J. Armes action figure as a kid. Did I realize that this was based on a real person? Hell no! He had hooks for hands, for crying out loud! How cool was that?

Real life is always going to be stranger than fiction, and I think that the Life and Times of J.J. Armes demonstrates that. This also demonstrates how real life can inspire your role-playing games. I can't think of a better NPC for a modern espionage or military game. Just look at this quote from the Wikipedia page:
In 1958, after briefly working as an actor in California and returning to El Paso, Armes started his private investigative agency, The Investigators. In 1978, he launched The Investigators Security Force. Designed as a mobile patrol and security service, this branch of the organization served the community for a number of years until the patrol division was discontinued. Today, The Investigators Security Force specializes in domestic government contracts and industrial security management abroad.
How is that not readily made for a campaign? Why aren't you stating out J.J. Armes in your favorite RPG right now?

h/t to Bleeding Cool for the piece that reminded me about J.J. Armes.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

The Dyvers Blog Great Blog Roll

+Charles Akins over at the Dyvers blog has put together an immense roll of gaming-related blogs, and Dorkland! was one of the blogs.

Variety is something that I have always striven for with the blog (it is what has kept me going for 10 years now), so I am glad to see that the variety is appreciated. Check out the link and nose around for some other cool blogs.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Devon Monk's Hell Bent

Hell Bent is Devon Monk's newest novel, a continuation of the setting from the Allie Beckstrom books that features supporting characters from that series in a leading role. Shame Flynn and Terric Conley have been promoted to the stars of the new Broken Magic series.

You don't have to have read the Allie Beckstrom books to understand or appreciate this book because they fill in the bits and pieces that you need to understand the story. That said, if you haven't read Monk's Allie Beckstrom books, I am very disappointed in you. You need to read them. Now.

I will admit that I have had trepidations about this book, since I first saw it announced. I liked Shame, as a supporting character, and Terric was never really developed enough to my taste to be a lead character. Of course neither really was Zayvion Jones.

Regardless, I picked up the book and gave it a chance. My trepidation did not go away immediately. I found the first half of the book to be slow paced and muddied by inconsistent characterizations of the leads. It seemed to me that Monk was having a difficulty with getting into the mindset, the maleness, of her characters, particularly Shame. The action and the characterizations did pick up around the middle of the book, and she seemed to be getting a much stronger read on the voice of Shame. It was still inconsistent, but it did better. By the end of the book her portrayal of the character did get legs, but it still seemed to be a bit of a struggle. The slowness of the first part of the book didn't bother me as much, the first couple of  Allie Beckstrom books could be slow burners, until she got a hold of the overarching plot of the series.

Shame's romance in the book is obviously setting the tone for the rest of this series, but it wasn't like there needed to be more reasons for the "heroes" of the story to chase down the bad guy. All of that was set up pretty strongly in the Beckstrom books.

Before thinking that I am only negative on this, I did enjoy the book as a whole. Once the plot settled into place and the new bad guys appeared on the stage, the book really took off. It wasn't as breakneck as the plots in the last few of the Beckstrom books, but it was still a good, solid, enjoyable plot. The new supporting characters of Dash and Dessa are well-fleshed out, even if Dash's full name is a bit silly.

I would recommend picking this novel up. Not as quickly as I would recommend the Beckstrom books, but it is still an enjoyable and diverting read. Hell Bent is an entertaining book, and I look forward to the next book and the further developments of Shame Flynn and Terric Conley.

I do include the book on my list of holiday gifts on our last Geeky Voices Carry vblog/podcast.

SuperFAE: An Approach For Super-Heroes With Fate Accelerated

This post is more along the lines of my getting some game design ideas out of my head, mostly before I forget them, and less about putting out something finished and playable. I like super-heroes, and I like the simplicity and freeform nature of Fate Accelerated. I like the idea of a more freeform approach to doing super-heroes in comics, because I think that it can be a better fit for the source material in a lot of places. I plan (hopefully) on fleshing this idea out more, but for now I want to get what has been turning over in my brain out of it.

Basic changes to characters:
1. Characters can have up to four (4) stunts for free.
2. Characters start with a Refresh of four (4).
3. Characters have an additional Origin Aspect.

These two changes should already make your SuperFAE characters feel more "powerful." Depending even on the power level of the characters in your game (Avengers-type characters versus Challengers of the Unknown-type characters, for example) you may want to increase the starting Refresh to five or six. This will help out if you want character's like Marvel's Thor in your game.

The existing High Concept and Trouble aspects help you to define who your character is, and where they are coming from. This doesn't change with a SuperFAE character. With these three aspects, you can give your character depth and personality beyond just a set of statistics. Think in terms of the Marvel approach to creating and utilizing a character. In that approach who the character is has as much of an impact on their story as the powers that they have. A Spider-Man-like character could be built like this:

High Concept: Troubles With His Luck
Origin: Bitten By A Radioactive Spider
Trouble: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility!

Really, you can't make a FAE-based Spider-Man without utilizing the great Stan Lee line, "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility!" It is just too important to the character to not use. Could it be the character's High Concept? Sure. It could also work well in that slot, but putting it as the character's Trouble means that it becomes something that will definitely be bringing hardship to the character. Peter has a big date with an attractive lady for the first time? The Vulture is robbing a jewelry store right up the street. Which one of these will he choose?

Some would say that the High Concept is weighed more towards the negative, and that is intentional. The "Marvel Method" does play up the soap opera "aspects" of comics, and that means that bad things are going to happen. "Troubles With His Luck" can help out the character, it just means that it might do it in a way that may not always be the happiest of choices. That is pretty consistent with a lot of the happenings in Spider-Man's life.

Not everyone may want to play up the "hard luck" angle on their heroes, and that is a valid approach as well. I would lean on a more Marvelous approach only because I think that it would make for a better story. More "heroic" aspects for a SuperFAE character could be "Quirky Physics Professor," "Eagle-Eyed New York City Cop," "Crusading Defense Attorney" or "Driven Test Pilot." "Marvelous" High Concepts could be "Surgeon With Damaged Hands," "Driven To Stop Crime," "Reborn For A Greater Fate."

The important thing is that the three "main" aspects work together to create a cohesive character with a bit of depth. Look over characters from the Big Two comic companies and see how you could tease these three aspects out of their writeups. Check out DC's Who's Who or Marvel's Marvel Universe Handbooks to get to know characters, and figure out how they could tick in a FAE writeup.


These are approaches that can be used as an alternative to the approaches in the core Fate Accelerated rules. Fans of the original Marvel role-playing game will recognize them. Most of them are fairly straightforward in their applications.

The available rankings for approaches under this alternative would be: one at Great (+4), two at Good (+3), One at Fair (+2), Two at Average (+1) and One at Mediocre (+0). If you prefer to use the standard approaches, then choose One at Great (+4), One at Good (+3), Two at Fair (+1), One at Average (+1) and One at Mediocre (+0). Because of the typically higher power level of comic book super-heroes, having a bit of a bump to the rankings of approaches will help.

Powers in SuperFAE are fairly freeform, as is the nature of Fate Accelerated.

Rather than a lengthy list of powers, it is up to the aspects of the character, the creativity of the player and the adjudication of the GM to determine what characters can do. Obviously, this method won't suit everyone, but who wants that? Fate Core has a section that talks about "rulings, not rules" guiding play, and this should be taken to heart when dealing with powers for characters.

Using a power works like any other action in the FAE rules. The GM may want to charge a Fate point for effects that are particularly power, but this is not required. The GM is allowed to veto any attempted power that does not fit with the description of the character, however it might be better to suggest an alternative that does better fit the character. The Origin aspect of the character should inform what is possible.

Attack powers can often be built around the Fighting approach. Mental/Psionic abilities can be Reason or Psyche-based. Enhanced senses should be Intuition powers. Endurance protects against physical attacks and Strength is for the great feats of strength that a character can try to pull off.

If a power is something that will be used often by the character, you might want to consider building a Power Stunt for them instead. A Power Stunt is like a signature power, or common use of a power, written up in the form of a stunt, that the character is likely to perform more often, and with greater capability. A Power Stunt will also always cost a Fate point to "activate." This means that as long as the character has Fate points, a Power Stunt can be performed. A Power Stunt can also be an exception to the rules, possible for that character.

Some example Power Stunts:

Because of my Mutant Nature, when I use my eye beams to Attack someone, I get a +2 to my Fighting.

Because of my Highly Evolved Brain, I can get a +2 to my Psyche when I Create Advantages in the perceptions of others.

Because I am The Woman Without Fear, I get a +2 to my Psyche when Defending.

Because I am The Strongest There Is, I can use my Strength to Attack instead of Fighting.

Power Stunts basically have three parts to them: mentioning a relevant aspect of the character, giving a +2 bonus and saying which type of action this stunt covers. Power Stunts are purchased for a character with their (up to) four free stunts, along with any other stunts that they might have.

There is more to come, I will add a couple of sample characters to this post, and maybe tighten up a few of the rules things, and I get a chance to dedicated a bit more headspace to this.

Monday, December 02, 2013

The Geeky Voices Carry Podcast

I have been remiss in talking about the podcast that I have been doing with +Stacy Dellorfano+David Rollins and +Josh Thompson called Geeky Voices Carry. I have known the three of them for over a year now because of our weekly game by G+ Hangout, and a few months back Stacy suggested that we should give podcasting a try because of our "pre-game" talk sessions. After hammering things out, we eventually decided to give a bi-weekly schedule a try. So far, so good!

While there is a heavy RPG content to our podcasts, we try to keep it on more general "geeky" topics. We talk a lot about media: comics, television shows, movies and books.

If you haven't had a chance to check us out, the program comes in two flavors. First we record live via Google+ Hangouts and YouTube. This gives us some nice options for the recordings, including the ability to take questions from people watching us live. After that I strip the audio from the recording and upload the MP3 to the PodOmatic website.

If you haven't given Geeky Voices Carry a listen, here are the archives of the episodes that we have made so far.

Or in the "podcast" flavor from PodOmatic:

Check us out!

SelfMadeHero Teams With Pixies Frontman Black Francis For The Good Inn

SELFMADEHERO, the UK’s leading independent publisher of graphic novels, has acquired the UK and Commonwealth rights to The Good Inn, a book penned by Black Francis from the alternative rock band Pixies and Josh Frank, with art by Steven Appleby.

SelfMadeHero’s Managing Director Emma Hayley secured the rights from Molly Jaffa and Melissa Sarver at Folio Literary Management on behalf of Michael Harriot.

The Good Inn is a fantastical piece of illustrated fiction based on a yet-to-be-written soundtrack to a movie that doesn’t yet exist, which Black Francis has approached with the same characteristic eccentricity and imagination he writes a song.  The teenage hero known only as Soldier Boy escapes a devastating explosion at the French port of Toulon and sets out on a bizarre journey across France. Navigating past homicidal gypsies, combative soldiers and porn-peddling peasants, he takes refuge in a secluded inn, where he finds himself centre stage in the making of the world’s first narrative pornographic film.

Black Francis is the frontman of cult US rock band Pixies, whose songs have inspired musicians from Thom Yorke to Kurt Cobain.  Josh Frank is the author of the Pixies biography Fool the World. The book is fully illustrated by Steven Appleby, the Guardian cartoonist who has written over 20 books as well as having worked in TV, radio and musical theatre.

The book will be published as a hardback in the UK in May 2014.

Notes to editors
SelfMadeHero aims to publish works that provoke, entertain, inspire, and inform through the medium of the graphic novel. We are proud to publish ground-breaking and beautiful work by authors and artists from across the globe, from the quirky and humorous to the political and profound.  Its releases this year include The Park, Room For Love, The Man Who Laughs and Typex’s Rembrandt.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Killing Joke Original Art Raises Questions of Story's Intent (NSFW)

This appeared up on Twitter today, and it is interesting because it adds an overtly sexual angle to the story, and The Joker's tortures of both Barbara and James Gordon. What was it that Alan Moore intended with this piece of art?

On the off chance that the art goes away from Twitter, here's another copy:

Crios RPG Kickstarter

Have an urge to take on a dragon in a Vickers? Want to be a goblin in the trenches of a war-torn countryside? Well, Battlefield Press has the Kickstarter for you with Crios, a new RPG featuring the Renaissance D100 system. From the Kickstarter page, Crios "mashes the fantasy genre with that of Earth's First World War."

"That sounds exciting!" I hear you say. "But what is it going to cost?" You ask. Well, let's cover that.

First off, to get your hands on a PDF copy of the rules, you'll be in it at US$20. To get a physical copy of the rules (in softcover, unless the hardcover stretch goal is met) will cost you a minimum of US$25 (limited to ten (10)), US$30 (limited to fifty (50)) or US$40. The higher priced pledges do have some extra benefits, however, like your name in the book as a backer or some additional PDFs (dependent on stretch goals reached).