Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Red Markets Update

NOT the final product. Though already gorgeous, the cover is still a work in progress.
Though I probably don't need to tell you this by now, I am utter shit at blogging. I will not be improving any time soon. I have made peace with this.

I am terrible at blogging because, when blessed with the time and energy to write, I work on Red Markets. When I have the time but not the energy, I write perfunctory emails to an expanding pool of freelancers and collaborators...working on Red Markets. When I have neither time nor energy enough to write, I talk to Ross on our podcast...about Red Markets. This leaves little left for blogging.

The benefit of all this shameful non-promotion is that 60,000 words of Red Markets are DONE. The entire player chapter is completed, and while changes will still occur, every rule included has undergone five iterations of alpha playtesting. RPPR is currently in the midst of playtesting extended campaign play (listen to us talk about it here).  Furthermore, the freelance writing gigs stealing time away from Red Markets are now complete (listen to the struggle here; read the books that resulted: Firewall and No Soul Left Behind).

So, aside from the day job, things are all-Red Markets, all-the-time over here at Hebanon Games. I'm drafting the GM chapter as the long-form playtest continues. I'm using the additive format of most RPG books, where core rules reside entirely in the player section and the GM chapter sticks to tips, alternatives, and exclusively behind-the-screen functions. This means the GM section should be markedly shorter than the 60K of other rules language. Though we won't be having enough to sell an ashcan at Gencon, there should be enough to start a beta playtest around August for those willing to hack through a Word document.

Which isn't to say Red Markets is only text...

He's a chipper fellow that won't let being declared homo sacer keep him down.
Now that I have a day job again, I've been using the funds from No Security to fund the pre-Kickstarter art, editing, and layout. From experience, I know these upfront costs are essential to make campaigns for big new books a success. I know its a gamble to put too much money up front, but any level of success means that money will not be wasted. It just frontloads costs even more than crowd-sourcing already does.

You've probably already noticed the cover image up top. That's by the magnificently talented Kim Van Deun. She's very enthusiastic about the project, and I'm thrilled to be working with her. Similar praise is owed Patsy McDowell. I've been using his concept sketches in this post and as the face of numerous RPPR GDW episodes. The final piece that resulted is great, but I'm saving it for the KS. Similarly, I'm eager to get some illustration work from long-time collaborator Ean Moody, but he's already contributed by designing the most thematically consistent character sheet I could possible imagine.


I'm going to keep writing, obviously. I'm also going to commission more pieces from the artists mentioned while trying to bring a few more talented people into the fold. Leaving aside numerous possible disasters, the timetable is looking something like...

  • June-July: Finish GM section. Commission more promotional art.
  • August-September: Closed-beta goes out to other groups.
  • August-December: Caleb drafts as much setting material as possible.
  • December-January: Playtest reports come in, revisions are made.
  • February: Kickstarter planning begins in earnest. I need to build another website in something better than Blogger or Wordpress.
  • March-ish: Kickstarter launch. Open-beta goes to all backers.
  • Sometime before the heat-death of the universe: a book is born
A lot can go wrong with that timetable, but we are literally as close as we've ever been. I'm hopeful and motivated. I hope you guys are as excited as I am.

I'd promise to keep you informed on this blog, but that's probably a lie. The best chance of keeping update are to follow me at @HebanonGCal and keep listening to RPPR's Game Designer's Workshop.

P.S. As far as I can tell, "Ex Terrorem, Lucrabamur" translates to "out of terror, we profit."

RPPR's Game Designer's Workshop 8: Big Playtest, Big Problems

Red Markets is now in campaign playtesting, so this episode covers what we’ve learned about the game since the campaign began. Hear about the enclave I helped create and what kind of jobs we’ve done. Issues that have arisen solely from campaign issues have appeared that were invisible during one-shot playtesting.

Listen here.

RPPR Game Designer's Workshop 7: Multitasking Mayhem

Ross and I got together to update you all on our progress and talk about one of the major aspects of being a writer: dealing with multiple projects at once. Multitasking is a hard skill to learn, but once you master it, it pays off! We talk about keeping our noses to the grindstone, the benefits of doing multiple projects at once, and other topics. We also talk about Red Markets and Ruin.

Listen here.