Thursday, October 25, 2007

For Artists...

(this may be edited from time to time as my thoughts change, most recent edit Oct 26)

To anyone interested in doing artwork for me, here's what I'm looking for:
-several small fantasy drawings (exact number negotiable), each about 1/4 page, and maybe one or two slightly larger (1/2 page)
-pictures to either take place in the real world (dark, gritty, dirty, and desperate, think a medieval Road Warrior or a fantasy Braveheart) or the spirit realm (surreal and bizarre, and also possibly dark, think Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon or The Matrix, crossed with The Dark Crystal), including some from each world
-drawings must be in black and white, and submitted in electronic form
-I would prefer no stock D&D or Tolkien races (i.e. no elves or dwarves, orcs are a maybe possibility), and nothing that is obviously from another source
-no nudity or overtly sexual artwork (I don't have a problem with it, but don't want to lose a sale because someone does)

The artwork does not necessarily need to be new (I would be more than happy to consider pieces of art you have made for other games, or other purposes). I do not have any specific things images that I want you to create, although I have several ideas. I'll also send you a pdf of the game for ideas.

I am not looking to purchase the artwork itself, merely the rights to use it for my game (along with any type of advertising, game related products, supplemental material, etc). I do not need this to be an exclusive deal. You may keep the copyright, and feel free to sell the artwork to others, put it at shows, etc, as long as I am still allowed to use it. Additionally, I will put any contact information you desire in the credits section of my game.

If you are interested, please email me at stumpy_is_at "at" yahoo "dot" com, with a few samples of your work (or, in the case of second run art, you can email me a link directly). Or, if you like you could post here. We can talk specific drawings, number, and prices after that.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pondering art...

So, I've started thinking very seriously about artwork for my game. The options are basically whether or not to have cover art, and whether to have interior art, a fancy background, both, or neither. The problem with any of these is that they add to my cost. I mean, it's much easier to break even when your costs are $0. Although, at the same time, if I sink $100 into artwork and lose it, it sucks, but in the grand scheme of things it's not THAT much, especially since I'll have gotten something really nice out of it (something I can look back on when I'm old and feeble and say, "Look at this! I made this! Isn't it pretty?").

So the thing I wonder about is whether I'd rather have lots of small pieces of art, or a few big nice ones. Originally I had thought the later, just so I could put a nice little 1/4 page graphic every 4th or 5th page, although now I'm having second thoughts. A few people made comments on The Forge about how if the art doesn't leave a real impact, then it's just taking up space and wasting money. I don't know if I agree with that entierly. I mean, I can't remember most of the artwork in the Necromunda rulebook or the 40K rulebook, but it all helps to create a general mood. Although I suppose that the cheap filler art (all the cyborg skulls and the pictures of gangers) you don't really notice that much (it's funny, I'm skimming my book now, they actually reuse a lot of graphics). So, I don't know...

The other one I woneder a lot about is the cover art. The problem with it is that, well, $100 is a cheap price for a piece of cover art. I mean, it sounds like a lot, but once the artist has covered their expenses, often it will be less than minimum wage. This is a really big investment for something that is only on a single page. Although, at the same time, it is what people see when they first open the book. It is the piece that represents the whole book. It is a way, with a single image, to set the whole theme of your book. Although, I say that and I'm starting to think about games I've played, and I can't always remember the cover art. I mean, I remember, say, D&D 3.0 (not a drawing of anything, just a seal and a design to make it look like a fancy old-timey book), I remember some of the 40K books, but others not, I remember Paranoia, I remember my original D&D game (not sure what edition, but pre-AD&D 2.0), but not a whole lot of my AD&D 2.0 books.

I don't know, my choice might be interior art vs cover art (or, a near garuntee of losing money). I already have an interior design that I did myself. It wasn't too hard. I like to think of myself as having some small degree of artistic sense, just no skill (maybe I'm just fooling myself though), so it wasn't too hard to do. It was basically pretty simple though, and I've been debating whether I want to make it fancier or not.

So, yeah, not sure what else to say on this topic. I will probably have a "For Potential Artists" post pretty soon, just describing what I think I want in my game (something easy to refer them to). Don't know if this is going to work, don't know what I'm going to do, just going to hold on for the ride and see what turns out.


“Everything in life comes down to whether you’d rather be safe, or have the experience you’d have otherwise.” – Drew

Monday, October 22, 2007

New Story

Boy, first off I must say that there's something about Washington (I don't know what it is, probably my friend here and just being away from home), that really makes me feel a lot more productive. I think I've gotten in the last week more work than I'd have done in two at home, despite being sick.

Anyways, I have always said from the beginning that I didn't really like the story I had (that Illeria was this Atlantian island that became deserted, and is now crawling with treasure hunters), that it didn't covey the right mood, and that it just didn't seem all that grand. I mostly went with it because it was the best I could come up with. I was talking to Mike (my roommate) about possibilities for a campaign mode, and he kind of agreed with my statement. He said that it didn't give characters that much of a reason to fight, and certaintly it wasn't the desparate fight to the death I wanted. We talked, and I mentioned what a really early idea had been (back when this was still maybe going to be a sci-fi game), of refugees trying to escape a dying planet. He liked it, because that gave people a reason to fight each other for the sake of fighting: thin the numbers so there are more resources. So, I got to thinking, and realized that this could be somewhat adapted to a fantasy world. I could summarize it, but I think I will just give you the front page introduction:

"No one is really all that surprised by what Illeria has become. Why should we be? The very creation of this island was an act of evil. It has been home to the most horrific acts in living memory. Why should we expect it to become any less despicable, just because we ousted the former masters?

"I suppose that I should start at the beginning. The Island of Illeria was created by Emperor Balthazar, a man who could frighten the Devil himself, as a prison camp. Criminals, revolutionaries, POWs, political prisoners, religious minorities, and other deviants of society, all were sent here. We spent our days doing hard labor, having information extracted by whatever means necessary, or acting as the test subject for new forms of warfare. Sometimes it felt like we were being tortured for no reason other than the entertainment of our guards. When we were done with us, at least for the day, we were paralyzed and frozen, so that we could be stored underground without trying to escape. All this time unaware of the world meant that no one noticed when someone disappeared. All we knew is that no one escaped. Illeria was not an inn or a dungeon, it was a grave.

"I don't know what it is, what caused it, whether it was spending so much time in suspended animation, the constant exposure to bizarre and experimental magic, or if Illeria just naturally sits at a rift between the worlds. All I know for sure is that somehow we learned to commune with the realm of the spirits, and the guards didn't. At first we used this as a way to hide from the pain. Then, one day when the ships stopped coming and supplies ran short, we used our powers to fight back.

"But with the masters gone, the prisoners have done nothing but wreak havoc. We have turned our swords on each other, and devolved into nothing but heartless beasts, fighting for our own survival. Although I suppose why shouldn't we? What other option was there? There are so few resources left that I suppose even if there was peace and harmony, most of us would still perish. And the problem becomes worse every day, as new prisoners continue to awaken from their magical sleep. No one really knows how many of us there are, just that there are too many to feed.

"I have hoped, I have begged, and I have prayed that someone will come and rescue us, but I know this will never come true. With everything that has happened, I am beginning to doubt whether there is a man on this island who even deserves it anymore. All I know for sure is that the only way to escape this wretched place is to take matters into our own hands..."

Cool, huh? Anyways, this gave me an idea for a new campaign mode direction, but I just don't have the energy for that right now, so I'll type it later. Cheers!


“Patriotism is supporting your country always and your government when it deserves it.” – Mark Twain

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

So blogging this...

I did get a response from someone on the new forum today, who said that my game idea sounded cool, and that he'd like to read it. Maybe even playtest it. Yay! This feels like a historic moment, or just generally awesome. My first small victory in the road to getting things published.

Now I need to start thinking about artwork...


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Campaign Mode

First off, just picked up the stakes and moved to a small town in Washington. Basically I just needed to get away for a while. This might not be the smartest thing I've ever done, but then again it just might be. Certaintly good to be away, and good to be living with my old roommate again. We'll see how it goes I guess...

In terms of what to do next, from the beginning I wanted a set of campaign rules, so that characters can use the same party from game to game. I had the idea that instead of the typical RPG thing, where parties get stronger over time and eventually become invincible (i.e. D&D, Necromunda, Final Fantasy, and pretty much every other RPG I can think of), parties will eventually break down over time (i.e. what would happen in real life if you had a party go to war and not recieve reinforcements). I posted to a new forum recently (Eastern Fringes), so I'll see if I get a response to that, having already tried The Forge (got lots of responses, but not any that really fixed my problems).

Here are the various ideas I've been having for how to simulate the gradual meltdown of the party:
-The party can only lose X games, then they are destroyed
-Each character can die in battle X times, then they remain dead
-Each time a character dies in battle, they become weakened (such as get -5 HP)
-If a character dies in battle, they have a % chance of dying
-If a party is annihilated in a battle, it causes major problems (such as each character has an additional 50% chance of dying)

Here is what I have to simulate skill advancemnet:
-Each time you play, no matter what you gain X advancements for your party
-Each time you play, you get a random number of advancements
-Each character gets 1 advancement per game (or a random chance of one)
-Additional advancements are given for performing particular actions, for winning the game, for losing the game, or for fighting more powerful opponents
-XP is given each game (instead of direct level-ups), and it requires more and more XP per level of advancement (ie 5 XP to level 2, 10 to level 3, etc)

I guess I have 3 worries about what is going to happen. First, I worry that this is going to create a death cycle, where the player who wins the first game will keep getting better, and the loser will keep getting weaker, so that really only the first game is any fun. Second, I worry that either players will never retreat, or will retreat too easily. Finally, I worry that people will just do stupid things in the game because it earns them XP (I could win this game in 2 turns, but I think I'll spread it out to 5 and keep having my mage use XP boost).

Don't know what's going to work, figure I'll bounce ideas off friends and the forum(s?), and see what rises to the surface.


“We are all trying to go to America. Why would you want to leave America and come to Namibia?” – the Namibian girl at the concert

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


Boy, I missed the month of September, I need to post about this more often.

Anyways, I've been gone the last three weeks on a trip around the country. One of my best friends from the Peace Corps was home for a wedding, and I took that as an excuse to fly to the East Coast to visit her (and several other friends). It was really amazing, I visited NY city for the first time, hicked the AT, saw some really great friends that are 1000s of miles away, visited a few relatives, and had my first experience with Greyhound (quite interesting, I would highly recommend it at least once).

Before I left I posted to my two sites a call for playtesters, saying if they wanted to try my game to email me, and I'd send them the Beta version. As of yet, no response. It's a little disheartening, although I guess that's how it goes. There is a lesson here: when my game is finally finished, I will need to do more to hype it. I know someone who suggested gaming stores and convensions, which is worth a shot (I mean, why not, if nothing else it could be fun), I know people have said send the game to reviewers (a really good idea). I feel like there was more, though that's all that comes to mind, besides more posting on game design sites (although, I might try a new one or two).

I suppose this still doesn't solve the problem of no playtesters today. Maybe talk to friends some more, and maybe go to the local gaming store to find people.

But yeah, so on the whole things are not bad. And, there may be some good news about Namibia, I may have been able to pull something to get back (in a very unexpected way, more in a later post). We'll see, but yeah. Anyway, if it works, I will be going back late December, so that will put a very real timetable on my game, since I don't want to leave it until I come back.

Not sure what else to say. Hope you all had good Septembers, I know I did. Take care.


“Man is matter.” – Catch-22