The first issue of The Savage Sign, the amazing new periodical for Savage Worlds, is finally out in the wild and I received my copy. This magazine offers all kinds of content, from settings to adventures to threats you can use in your games, and features some amazing art and design work.
My content for this issue is the adventure “The Bride,” as well as much of the creature material for the “Virulent” setting.
We’re already starting up work on Issue 2, which will feature my setting Islands of Fire. Can’t wait!
Since December, I’ve been on the development team of an exciting new magazine for the Savage Worlds RPG called The Savage Sign, and I have to say, it looks absolutely amazing. This premier issue features four new settings, several standalone adventures, and tons of content. My contributions are the short Sword & Sorcery adventure “The Bride,” along with the write-ups for vampires and werewolves from the post-apocalyptic monster horror setting, Virulent.
We’re already working on the next issue, which we hope to put on Kickstarter soon. It will feature my mini-setting, Islands of Fire, a Polynesian-inspired fantasy setting many years in the making. Future issues will include other material from me.
Link below, if you’d like to check it out. If you’re a Savage Worlds fan, this is a great resource.
My interview with the folks over at The Savage Cast went up a few days ago. In it, they ask me about my history with RPGs, what got me into Savage Worlds, what work I’m doing right now, and any upcoming work. My part is the first 30 minutes or so of this podcast. Have a listen!
Back in December, I joined on as a writer/developer at the Savage Sign, a new content magazine for the Savage Worlds roleplaying game. They’re currently in the last few days of the Kickstarter for issue 1. I’ve contributed a standalone adventure for it, as well as some creatures for a mini-setting included in this debut issue.
Take a look at the Kickstarter for more information:
They liked my pitch for Islands of Fire, so you can expect to finally see my mini-setting finally coming to life in the next few months.
I’ll also be writing a mini-setting for them called The Orb, which is a futuristic setting in which the heroes are contestants in a Hunger-Games-style battle royale competition that changes weekly. Watch for more information on that setting.
Lastly, I was interviewed today for the Savage Cast, a podcast that explores all things Savage Worlds, hosted by Christopher Landauer, the creator of the Buccaneers: Through Hell and High Water setting for Savage Worlds. One of my first publications since the early days of Savage Insider was with Buccaneers, an adventure called “Bloody Bones” in which the heroes end up unwitting pawns in a struggle between two cursed pirates. It was great fun talking RPGs and getting to share my ideas about Savage Worlds, the Savage Sign, as well as pitch some of my work. Thanks to the Savage Cast fellas!
This week, Ulisses Spiele is previewing Fires of Ra, the epic adventure I co-authored for the Torg Eternity roleplaying game. This preview is the beginning of Act 3 (out of 7), where the heroes must journey to a cursed ruin deep in the Congo to retrieve a powerful artifact.
Now that the Kickstarter campaign for the Nile Empire (the RPG setting I helped write) is underway – and going gangbusters I might add – the team and I are planning to do a 1-hour live Q&A session tomorrow, December 6 at 5pm Pacific. I’m not sure what I’ll talk about yet, but most likely I’ll share my background with this game, how I drafted the adventure, and what movies/games/books I pulled on for inspiration. I’m not very comfortable with public speaking so I’m definitely nervous, but also excited. I just spent half an hour fiddling with the background so it looks professional. I chose my reference library; shelves full of RPG manuals and gamebooks would have been better, but what can you do.
Anyway, here’s the link if you’d like to tune in!
I spent three hours last night reading through the current draft of The Fires of Ra, which is heading off to the editor on Monday. Other than a few small issues, it’s mostly ready. However, I’m not ready. Reading through it I can see several things I’d have done differently if I wrote them today – and I only penned them within the last year!
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus supposedly said “No man can step in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” That saying is very true for the relationship between an author and his or her written works – we always see things we’d like to change, because our perception has changed, perhaps even just a little, since we last wrote it. The more time goes by, the greater that change in perception.
But there’s another saying that applies, this one by Leonardo DaVinci: “A work of art is never finished, only abandoned.” At some point, every writer must simply declare his written work finished and push it out of the nest. There will always be small things (or large things) that could be revised, reworked, replaced – but unless one stops that urge, the work will always languish in an unfinished state.
From here out, any changes will have to exist in my head. I’m proud of what we (Darrell and I) have created and I’m sure people will enjoy it. And that’s all I can really ask for.
Now that it is getting closer to the Kickstarter, I can start talking about the most amazing project of my RPG writing career so far. Back in 2016, I was contacted by the team at Ulisses Spiele, specifically Deanna Gilbert, to see if I would be interested in contributing a chapter or two to an upcoming adventure tied to their release of the Nile Empire sourcebook for the Torg Eternity line.
I’ve been a fan of Torg since it came out in 1990. What I loved so much about it as a tabletop RPG was the way it brought multiple genres into play all at the same time, and in a way that made both system-sense and setting-sense. In other words, it worked on both a game level and a game fiction level. Rather than being limited to, say, fantasy tropes alone (as you are when you play something like Dungeons & Dragons), you can create characters from many different genres and have them work together as a team and have them balanced in power against one another. Even if you wanted to play a spear-wielding shaman traveling with a fantasy wizard, a cyborg, and a werewolf, nobody would be outclassed by the others, due to the way Torg balances the game.
Of all the “realities” (Torg’s term for the different worlds invading our Earth and carving out areas where the world works as it does on their homeworld), my favorite was always the Nile Empire. This was a gonzo world of 1930s pulp action serials – gangsters, masked crusaders, tomb-robbing archaeologists, rocket rangers, weird scientists – set in a version of Egypt ruled by the fascistic and clinically insane Pharaoh Mobius, also that world’s most accomplished supervillain. It’s really as amazing as it sounds. Nowhere else in the Torg universe could you have such amped-up adventure: Trap-filled tombs, fistfights atop burning locomotives, strange gadget belts that let you fly, ancient curses that bring mummies to life… It was basically a supermix of Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Mummy, The Rocketeer, Dick Tracy, and The Shadow, with a healthy dose of Stargate tossed in there for Egyptian spice.
So when Deanna contacted me and asked if I would be interested, I didn’t even have to think about it. YES!
We scrapped an earlier draft, ending up with something even stronger. Then, as the project changed, my share of the writing grew from a couple of chapters (we call them “acts”) to four, not to mention the introductory material at the front and a supplement detailing a lesser-known location in the Nile Empire. In the end we settled on a title: Fires of Ra. Perfect, considering the dramatic battle at the climax of this adventure.
This project was my passion, and I’m incredibly proud in how it turned out. On November 20th, the Kickstarter will begin. After it ends the first digital copies of all the content will go out to backers, including this adventure.And next year the adventure should be available in gaming stores! I’ll be able to offer more details as we inch closer to that time.
I have two pieces of big news. First, I’m now being represented by Beth Marshea of Ladderbird Literary Agency! She will be looking for a home for my new novel, Sun Dogs, as well as handling my screenplays (I have one for my self-published novel, A Chant of Love and Lamentation, as well as The White Witch of Rose Hall, set in plantation-era Jamaica).
Second, I’m now the Fiction Editor for the literary journal Sand Hill Review. This was the journal who took my first published story (“Wild Horses”) and who nominated that same work for a Pushcart. SHR has been very good to me, and I’m happy to give back as they make some new exciting changes to their format.
Fellow writers, we are open to submissions! We have a submission fee, but (for now) as we begin the process of soliciting submissions, the competition is minimal. We’d love to see your work.