Monday, January 30, 2012

The Martial Arts Guide Book: Part 2

You've given me a bit of an idea what your gaming influences are, as well as a little bit of the cultural references...what other source materials are influencing this book (gaming, movies, books, history)?

Wow. Um, I would have to say that pretty much any movie I have seen that has decent to great choreography—from The Matrix to The Lord of the Rings to Star Wars (Episodes I and III; Episode II’s choreography sucked)—has in some way influenced this book. As far as video games, I would have to say mostly fighting games—like the Soul Calibur and Mortal Kombat franchises—have been an influence. I know I mentioned Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles before, but another TV show that I found quite inspirational was Avatar: The Last Airbender. Considering the amount of novels I read, I would like to say that many of them are an influence, but in my mind really only a few franchises stand out as having great “written choregraphy”: pretty much most everything written by R. A. Salvatore (not just hisDrizzt novels), all of Micheal A. Stackpole’s Star Wars and fantasy novels (seriously, he may have begun with Battletech, but he is an amazing fantasy writer), and Pathfinder Tales: Master of Devils, by Dave Gross.

And what have you worked on with your collaborators in the past? Why are you excited to work with them? Which of their works are most exciting to you, and why?

I worked with Rite Publishing for about a year to help convert Heroes of the Jade Oath from the Arcana Evolved rules set (a great alternate 3.5 system by Monte Cook by the way) to the Pathfinder RPG rules set. I am very excited to work with them because, simply said, they make quality work. And to have Rite Publishing work with me lets me know that they consider my work to be quality. I am most excited for the Heroes of the Jade Oath—as I have a vested interest in seeing it come to fruition, but I also am really excited about 1001 Spells. It is about time we had an affordable Pathfinder version of the Spell Compendium.

Have you been on a patron project before? What do you like about the patronage model? What are you most anticipating about the patron model? What do you think about the patron model compared to traditional design? What are its strengths and weaknesses?

Well, yes and no. Let me explain. I first became aware of the Heroes of the Jade Oath patronage project on the Candlekeep forums. As it was, I was not ready to shell out $60 to become a patron of the project with no guarantee of a print product. Then in 2010, I noticed in my weekly email from Paizo that the Heroes of the Jade Oath PDF plus hardcover was going to be available via the Paizo Store for $60. After convincing my wife that yes, that is really what I wanted for my birthday that year, I was re-reading the product description and realized that it may be talking about the hardcover of the beta version and not the final “omega” version of the book. So I contacted Paizo, who contacted Steve, who contacted me and made me a patron of the project with the promise of a hardcover final version of the book when it came out. Which is how I ended up on the Rite Publishing forums when Steve asked for a volunteer to help convert Heroes of the Jade Oath material to Pathfinder; which led to me being able to launch a pitch in August of 2011.

I like that the patronage model allows for direct consumer input, which I think is probably its biggest strength. I think that it will be interesting to see what the people paying for the Martial Arts Guidebookwant and expect of me. Aside from direct consumer input and funding, I do not see much difference between the patronage model and the traditional retail model. There are two big weaknesses, as I see it, to the patronage model: the project dies if it does not get enough funding (technically a strength and a weakness, in my opinion), and not all patronage models result in a physical product for the patrons. Personally, if I shell out $40+ from my very limited roleplaying budget, I want to have a physical copy of the book (not comb-bound) to leaf through and read. I don’t care if it has pictures or a pretty cover (though with the d20 system charts are a must to understand some things), but I want something to hold in my hands and read.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Martial Arts Guide Book: Part 1

This is a guest post for Rite Publishing by Timothy Wallace (Hawkins the DM) who will be the lead designer on our newest patronage project which will launch on February 14th

I have been an avid roleplayer since I played my first game of Vampire Dark Ages my senior year of college 10 years ago. I still remember how my Ravnos constantly butted heads with my roommate’s Malchavian, to the point where it almost came to blows (between our characters, not us). And as many who grew up in the mid-to-late 80’s and early 90’s,The Karate Kid awakened in me a thirst for martial arts that was only fed by the inception of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Though I did not know it at the time, the Turtles were my first exposure to an adventuring party; and they were ninjas and did martial arts to boot! The Tome of Battle: The Book of Nine Swords was the first roleplaying supplement that did a great job of combining these two passions of mine into a single product. But it is one of the products that does not translate well from 3.5 to Pathfinder; and on top of that it was controversial in its approach of “abilities per day” while also invalidating core rulebook classes (I know that I swore off PHB fighters as soon as the warblade was available to me).

I am excited to be able to design a PFRPG supplement that, while not a direct conversion of the Tome of Battle, I like to think it will be the spiritual successor of it. I am also looking forward to showcasing different martial arts styles for different weapons, races, and regions; whereas so far only unarmed martial arts styles have been focused on before.

Tim Hawkins

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Real Life Inspiration: The River of Doubt

This is the first part of a series of blog posts about taking inspiration from real life events to create evocative adventures.

The River of Doubt

A great leader has gone into retirement, (having stepped down from his throne, passed in on to his son, or perhaps he is in exile after a coup). Looking for a new challenge he has gone on an expedition of discovery to find chart a treacherous river or in a dangerous and unexplored wilderness. However unlike the expedition that inspired it, things got worse. The retired leader and the other members of his crew have gone missing, and a dead body is found. The government hires the PCs or perhaps offers a bounty for the return of their revered leader (even if its just his body, for a state funeral). This is an excellent adventure to introduce a new complex race native to the area previously known only in rumor. And you can spend a good deal of time searching for clues, or following false leads.

Twists: The retired leader has become injured by some affliction that cannot be cured until he is removed from the wilderness, but the curse makes his quick removal difficult, The new leader or an old enemy does not want the old one to return and sends an assassination team instead of a rescue team, the retired leader won't leave without his youngest child who accompanied him but is held elsewhere. The retired leader does return and attempts to retake his position leading to civil war, a golden age, or perhaps having lost his son to the assassins he becomes a tyrant. The PCs fail to save the retired leader causing everyone who loved him to blame the PCs for his death (and perhaps they are responsible as one of their members killed him for the government, to avert civil war, or prevent him from becoming a tyrant).

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Rite Designs Video Blog 01/12/12 (5e Rant and 101 Series)

Warning this is a rambling 5th Edition Rant with the other half being a discussion about 101 Hazards and Disasters.