Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Lost In Dream (Kickstarter Novel)July Update by author Matt Banach

A busy summer has come and is now going... and I've enjoyed a lot of great progress on the novel, finishing Chapter 7 just this weekend. Surely and steadily, this project is trudging towards completion.
Chapter 6 brought our main character away from the intrigues of Halls of Painted Heaven to the dangerous realm of Leng - a mythological staple of Dream-fiction ever since its introduction by H.P. Lovecraft, author of the legendary Cthulhu Mythos almost a century ago. Hundreds of authors since Lovecraft have referenced or twisted the murky details we suspect about "the plateau of Leng", that cold place perhaps in Dream from whence the strange men in their black ships sail. It was enjoyable to imagine my own spin on Leng, and I hope Cthulhu fans out there enjoy my addition to its legend.
Further details keep emerging about what our main character's true quest is, and the plot thickens insofar as complications develop - other, unknown forces have their own plans in motion, and Chapter 6 reveals a smidgen about who might be to blame for the calamity that befell the Halls of Painted Heaven in earlier chapters. No spoilers.
Chapter 6 was also a great opportunity to briefly reference a few characters near and dear to my heart - old player characters of mine and my friends from the Clinton J. Boomer Planescape game which is the bedrock upon which all of my other gaming experience proudly rests. Mostly that was a struggle of limitation - to keep from gushing about characters I know so well, remembering to keep them confined to what they need to do for this story, nothing more. My dear friend Kendall provided me some wonderful inspiration for the use of his old character (Maze, a dangerous, jesterly serpent-warrior).
Chapter 7 is the final bridge that brings my characters to the final battleground of the novel - the Coliseum Morpheuon. Moved from the perils of Leng across the slumbering sea by a fully weaponized space-whale (yeah, I said that) and a lobster-shaped submersible, Rube and Jax have had further opportunity to view the wonders of the Dream setting, and all the colorful weirdness that entails. I got to use Le Loup Solitaire - a character from my Faces of the Tarnished Souk series, also through Rite Publishing. His will not be the last familiar Face we see in the book; after all, since I have an entire stable of fully developed characters especially for use in Dream/Coliseum Morpheuon, I'd be a fool not to use them. I hope fans of Faces enjoy the cameos.
The next few chapters will be the great challenge, where I now have to do the heavy lifting of resolving some of the mysteries and revealing the many plots that have been grinding behind the scenes all along. Cue drumroll!
~ Matt Banach, author
~ ~ ~
An excerpt from Chapter 6 of Lost in Dream:
“Capital mayhem!” Jax exclaimed, loud, right in my goddamn ear. He had risen to his feet, and was staring blearily across the way with a look of childlike awe. “What first-rate shenanigans are these?!”
“Covert operation. I really shouldn't say.” clicked the brass skull. “But thank you for asking.”
A man-sized ball of lightning shot down from the clouds, angling sharply just before it struck the city to skim horizontally across the rooftops, strafing foes and buildings with a heavy rain of sizzling white bolts. A series of explosions shook the ground beneath our feet, and we watched as the upside-down pyramid shuddered, tilted, then fell over with the terrible force of an earthquake.
“Covert?” Jax remarked, shielding his eyes from the ensuing cloud of dust and debris with his one big arm. “I just don't know what words mean anymore.”
~ ~ ~

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Kaidan Update: Work Continues; Two Secret Societies (by Jonathan McAnulty)

My sincere apologies for a lack of updates since the end of June.  Origins was great, followed by a week of camp; and then coming home I had three funerals in fairly quick succession, a flurry of activities getting my children and their various 4H projects ready for our County Junior Fair (which is this week), a 20th wedding anniversary spent in the Hocking Hills area of Ohio (including one night in Ravenwood Castle; which has a very nice game library). What with one thing or another, there was always something more pressing to do than an update and before I knew it a month had slipped away.

As I alluded to at the beginning of June, I was hoping to have a little something different to share with you on my next update, but that has not yet developed enough to do so, so, I will instead share two small entries from our write-up on secret societies and the like. Kaidan of course is a very dark land, full of evil and corruption. But there are those who work to hold the darkness at bay, as they can. The two following brotherhoods are comprised of individuals who actually oppose the Shogun and might, in an heroic game, make suitable allies for PCs who wish to do the same.
The Brotherhood of Bamboo
A loose association of yokai, primarily henge the Brotherhood of Bamboo are the self appointed guardians of the yokai heritage, working through means both covert and overt to protect yokai from the machinations of the Shogun. The largest outpost of the Brotherhood, among humans, is in the city of Aki-jo, where they pose as ambitious merchants, always willing to buy and sell anything, including information, for the right price; but the brotherhood has agents throughout Kaidan, and many Henge living among the humans in disguise are affiliated with the group. Not all henge agree with the aggressive, albeit covert actions of the brotherhood, but there are enough that the brotherhood has an extensive reach into every corner of Kaidan.
The brotherhood derives its name from the three sacred bamboo groves of the yokai, and, among their other self-appointed tasks, they take great care to do what they can to keep knowledge of these groves from the shogun. The general password of the group is, “Iron is made to cut bamboo,” to which the countersign is, “Iron rusts while the bamboo grows anew.”
The Honorable Brotherhood of the Cherry Blossom
One of the oldest, largest and most organized groups established with a view towards overthrowing the Shogun is the Honorable Brotherhood of the Cherry Blossom, often just called The Blossoms, or The Brotherhood, by those who belong to it. Though the members of the society loathe the iron fist of the undead shogun, they are slow and meticulous to act, planning every move thoroughly, understanding that were they ever to draw attention to themselves, they would surely be undone. Well known to the upper echelons of the Brotherhood are the prophecies foretelling the fall of the Shogun at the end of a thousand year reign. Thus they work a long game, laying the groundwork for the fulfillment of the prophecies, fearing to push too soon and thus set themselves against the turning of the wheels of life.
No single member of the Blossoms knows more than a handful of other members and no one, besides themselves, are aware of the identities of the three individuals who lead the society. A pair of haiku, speaking to the hope and resolve of the society, aid the members of the Brotherhood in identifying each other. Every member is taught the first poem, the lines of which are used as signs and countersigns so that if one member hears another saying any of the three lines, they may identify themselves with one of the other two lines.. The second haiku is taught only to those who have proven their loyalty, and is again used for signs and countersigns to identify seasoned members. 
melting hearts; spring thaw / snow white flowers on the trees / life following death
summer heat brings strength / blossoms bring forth hard won fruit / blood red on the leaves 
Jonathan McAnulty

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Demolished Ones update: Rays of Sunshine (even under the Dome)!

Brian Engard news! Feedback from Backers about the physical copies. Stretch goal 1 update, and Stretch Goal 2 update.  New Retail Supplement update. October Retail Release, and a banner at GenCon.

Brian Engard hired as a full-time employee by Steven Jackson Games.

I want to say congrats to my friend and colleague and the Author of The Demolished Ones. He is an amazing tallent and I am glad he is finding a full-time job doing what he loves.  

Print Happiness!

100% of all the feedback I am getting about the Print Copies has been positive, and all of these have been like little rays of sunshine my life.  
We have only had one error so far, which we offered to correct but the backer was so pleased and gracious he would not let us bend over backwards (Backers like this are also rays of sunshine).

Stretch Goal #1: The Demolished Ones: Amnesia by Bill Collins

I talked to Bill  earlier in the week and his manuscript he had stalled a bit (real life happens, but he was on target for being done in 30 days). I expect I will be having Robert N Emerson edit this. 

Stretch Goal #2: Short Story

I talked to T. H. Gulliver last week and he is on track to have his done sooner that his deadline so I expect to see it sometime within the next 45 days. 

New Product! The Fly in the Ointment!

Robert N. Emerson is working on a new supplement to The Demolished Ones, I don't want to give too much away right now but expect to see it released shortly after our Retail Release in Oct! 

Retail Release of The Demolished Ones.

You can expect this through our print/distribution partner Chronicle City in OCT and we have already solicited it, and sent them the printer files, they will set the price of the print version though I control the price of the PDF. 
Print/PDF $24.99
PDF only $12.49
This will be the first year I miss GenCon since  I was 14 but Chronicle City is making it part of their Banners for their Booth, if your going stop by and Thank them for me. (It won't be out at GenCon, just that banner adversting it)
That is all I got for this week. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Talking Monster Books part 2

You can check out Part I HERE

Illustration by Vincent "ptitvinc"

Some rights reserved. This image is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creature Collection II by White Wolf/Sword & Sorcery

Here are a list of 18 fun monsters you can OGL loot (though with creature collections you have to change the monsters name if you publish it) from Creature Collection II. The monsters I like evocative in appearance, have well written flavor, and have mechanics that surprise and challenge players rather than just being yet another monster with Grab and a host of spell-like abilities. 

 Creature Collection II
  1. Athentia the Great Sphinx (love the conundrum curse)
  2. Bitter Tree (a tree that gets you with its fruitt, you could have a whole village after you). 
  3. Blade Beast (nothing like having a creature absorb the warriors favorite weapon!)
  4. Blood Crone (also known as the Bloodshackle Hag from Monster Geographica this is the ultimate BBEG hag)
  5. Carnival of Shadows, Shadowjester (a bit like the joker from batman).
  6. Chaos Globe (who does not like to roll on random charts for an effect!)
  7. Cloudsting (a flying jellyfish air elemental of lightning and thunder.)
  8. Darkwomb (for when you need a monster cloning factory to fill up your dungeon!)
  9. Golem, Serpent (because its damn freaky to have a pile of swarming serpents be a golem!)
  10. Golem, Sword (see above, only a collection of swords!)
  11. Golem, Tar (I like this for its good host of abilities and it can just hang out in a tar pit.)
  12. Hurrik’s Hound (one of the few good two headed monsters I have seen)
  13. Ioun Beholder (just plain fun)
  14. Legion of One (has some amazing potential that was not realized)
  15. Shackle Death (players really don’t like being chained up to an undead abomination J
  16. Spectral Plant (nothing like making a hedge maze with these!)
  17. Conundrum Creature Template (why I love Athentia)
  18. Hex Creature Template ( I love hags, and a template that makes hag allied animals and magical beasts is awesome!)