In Our Dreams Awake – Reflections on the Kickstarter

Pretend this says “Funded on Kickstarter!”

In case you missed it, I’m about a month past the end of the Kickstarter I ran for Egg and my comic, In Our Dreams Awake Issue #1. I have a ton of thoughts on the Kickstarter itself and just the whole month.

So this is the 5th Kickstarter I’ve had some level of participation in. I helped out on both the Route 3 and The Fox Chronicles campaigns. I was an active participant on the Crossing Issue #1 campaign, and then I completely ran The Gilded Age one.

On each of these, I’ve learned some things, made some mistakes, learned some other things, and made other mistakes. But you would think that after these previous experiences, I might not make as many decisions that end up causing me some level of heartache, but clearly, the only way I really learn is through banging my head against the wall.

So during the early part of the campaign, I jotted down some of my thoughts. The words that follow are in the moment, edited only for clarity, but they help to show a bit of what my thought process was going through and how easy it is to let the bad thoughts take over.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

***

This first note comes either late on Day 3 (Friday) or early on Day 4.

Day one was decent, but I had a couple of numbers in my head for where I’d like to be at the various milestones of the project.

$300-350 after day 1.

$600 after day 3.

$1000 after a week.

But the first day was $211, the second day was a huge drop and by the time Friday rolled around I was really concerned about the project and rethinking my idea of where to set the goal.

You see, the goal was set in mind to help recoup the art costs, but it actually wouldn’t pay for them 100%. I was fine with that, I’m willing to put “skin” in the game (I think from my calcs that somewhere around $2400 would actually be the break-even point).

I’d done the hustle, reached out to the websites, gotten some articles, and sent a notice to my mailing list (though it might be a bit colder than I’d like). I sent updates to the Gilded Age backers, to our bakers on the Love’s Labour’s Liabilities and Love’s Labour’s Liberated Roleplaying zines (even though it doesn’t directly coincide, it is still something).

With these things I kept thinking can I get 10% of those people to contribute:

185 in the mailing list = 19 people

12x in Gilded Age = 13 people

The Zines = I’m not sure who might come over from the roleplaying side, but it shouldn’t be Zero.

22 people clicked the Kickstarter notifications button = 2 people

I mean, even accounting for some overlaps there, 20 backers early wouldn’t be the craziest thing. And after 2 days we sat at 13 people.

***

As you can see, it was tough going there early on, and it really made me question a lot of things about what I did or didn’t do. And I recognized some of the things (which I’ll likely get into in a future post).

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

***

Now flash forward two weeks. In the meantime, things had been slowly (and I mean slowly) proceeding where we’d have one decent day and then nothing for a couple of days. The swings were beginning to get to me.

Overall we hit the $1000 (50%) mark by the second weekend, which was certainly nice, but it has fallen off a cliff this last week, and I have no idea how to turn it around. At this point we’ve been sitting on $1149 for a couple of days, and we’re 8-9 days left before this thing ends.

I did look to see that approximately 65 people signed up to be reminded and I think 11 of them have actually already contributed, so that’s nice. But I thought the Kickstarter person who talked came on the Comixlaunch podcast mentioned something like an 80% conversion rate on those people (maybe I’m remembering it wrong). So that would be 41 more people to potentially help push us along. If all of them go for the $10 level (plus shipping) then I’d be sitting at $1750ish and we can push it over the last little bit. But if the majority of them are more digital then what, we get to half of that and make it over $1500?

***

And this last one was a few days later. As you can see, I’m still focused on having made the goal too high.

I should have set the goal at $1500.

Stupid.

I mean, I’d still be frustrated at how it is going, but I wouldn’t be worried it wouldn’t fund. Good lord!

The other thing on my mind is that those people get the reminder and see we’re too far away and they opt to not bother anyway, which is the worst-case scenario here.

It feels like I’m missing some avenue to get the word out to ensure this thing happens. But I’m not sure what that is.

Then, on top of everything else, what’s the plan for issues 2-4? I can’t (and shouldn’t) count on only friends and family to support the comic. I need to figure out how to get more eyeballs on the comic. This thing needs to grow. This thing needs to build on itself so that at some point it becomes a bit of a break-even situation financially.

Everything takes so long, and I’m sure that has hurt my path here. If I had the ability to push this comic immediately (within 6 months) of Gilded Age, that would have probably made a big difference.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

***

When you are in the dead zone and the goal looks like it is out of reach, you begin to focus on all the bad that is happening. It’s real easy to lose sight of why you’re putting your work out there. How excited you should be that people are supporting you in any way.

And don’t get me wrong, I was over the moon anytime I saw someone new had backed the project. That was always a pick-me-up. I said it many times during each of the other Kickstarters that this thing is like having another job (at the very least a part-time one). This means by the end of 30 days, you’re burned out on everything.

***

I was on vacation when the project was finally funded. And even though I was doing my best to relax prior to that moment, it was a huge lift of both stress and my spirits. Sadly, I didn’t jot down my exact thoughts, but if I could go ahead and share them now they would have been a lot of internal screaming and yelling, some nice positive four-letter words, and just a sense of accomplishment. I love comics so much, that to be able to do them, even in a small way, is such a blessing.

For all of you who joined me on my journey and supported the dream, thank you.

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

 

In Our Dreams Awake – The Posts

Check out John McGuire’s new Fantasy/Cyberpunk/Dreampunk Comic!

 

Throughout this Kickstarter campaign I’ve written a few posts on In Our Dreams Awake, so this post will put them into a more comprehensive guide so that you don’t have to go stumbling through the Tessera archives in order to locate things.

 

Kickstart the Comic – In Our Dreams Awake #1: A Cyberpunk/Fantasy Adventure

A breakdown of the actual Kickstarter campaign laying out the pitch and story as well as looking at the reward options. I normally try to be as unbiased when doing the Kickstart the Comic posts on other books, but that might be a little difficult when talking about your own work.

 

Behind the Comic: In Our Dreams Awake

This is a peek at the history of the comic book. How things began all those years ago with a series of emails between Egg Embry and myself. It has been a long journey to get to the point where the comic is nearing a real release.

 

Behind the Comic: – Anatomy of a Panel – In Our Dreams Awake #1

A breakdown of a pair of panels from my portion of In Our Dreams Awake. Consider it a behind-the-scenes or director’s commentary on some of the thought processes when looking at a comic page from the point of view of the writer. And then see how the artist takes that and makes it 1 million times better!

 

I tried to put the spotlight on a couple of my collaborators on this comic book through a pair of interviews to try and get into their minds a little bit about their process and history.

Behind the Artist – Interview with Rolands Kalnins

 

Behind the Artist – Interview with Alex Lugo

 

The interview with Sean Hill, who did a variant cover for In Our Dreams Awake, is from a couple of years ago, but has some nice insight.

Behind the Artist – Interview with Sean Hill, Part 1

 

Behind the Artist – Interview with Sean Hill, Part 2

***

Please check out the current Kickstarter for In Our Dreams Awake!

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

 

Behind the Comic: – Anatomy of a Panel – In Our Dreams Awake #1

 

We have about a week left to go on the In Our Dreams Awake #1 Kickstarter, so be sure to check it out!

***

Taken as a whole, a comic book represents the input of multiple people, multiple perspectives, and multiple skill sets before the final product is created. I’ve said many times in the past that one of the reasons I love the format is exactly for that reason. You get to feed off of the creatives who you work with. And what begins as one thing can become something completely different in execution (and making the overall comic that much better).

 

In Our Dreams Awake #1 – Page 7, Panels 7 & 8

The Team

Pencils – Edgar Salazar

Inks – Genaro Olavarrieta

Letters – Egg Embry

Writer – John McGuire

 

Concept

This pair of panels represent the end of a larger conversation within the issue. So much of this world that Jason Byron lives (dreams?) in is dictated by the mages who control everything. They ensure the chaos technology threatens to bring to the people can never exist again. They are Order.

And to go against that would mean going against everything they stand for… and that way lies madness.

So what do we see? We see that Edgar made a choice to not allow for any other colors within these two panels, but instead presented them as a pair of black and white moments. Two men, representing opposite beliefs about their world, are separated by the small table.

 

The Script

Page 7 Panel 7

Annoyed by Peter’s accusation, Jason pushes himself away from the table as if to get up.

Jason – I know all of this, Peter.

Peter – So ask me your question again.

 

Page 7 Panel 8

Same shot as Panel 7 (Jason is still sitting). Jason pauses. No words are needed.

 

Breakdown

As you can see from the script, I actually made a slight mistake between the two panels. In Panel 7, Jason is frustrated/annoyed and pushes himself away from the table. Edgar followed that showing him standing up. His body language is very tense. However, when we come to Panel 8, I note that “Jason is still sitting”…

No, John, he is not.

But Edgar went with it, and I think it actually works in this visual context because of the artist’s choice to make these mirror images of each other (in regards to the black and white). Where Jason was angry in the previous moment, he has sat back down. But instead of either of them furthering the conversation, the darkness envelops them instead pointing two the very ideas that they stand for can not exist alongside one another.

It even mocks the prompt from Peter in Panel 7: “So ask me your question again.” Panel 8 answers that prompt with silence. There is no need to push the issue any longer.

There are no shades of gray here in this place.

***

But perhaps there is another world for Jason to find peace? One he can visit while he dreams?

***

Please check out the current Kickstarter for In Our Dreams Awake!

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

Behind the Artist – Interview with Alex Lugo

 

As we go through this month with the In Our Dreams Awake Kickstarter going on (don’t forget to check it out), I wanted to spotlight some of the people who helped bring these crazy ideas to life. This brings us to the letterer and the person who is going to make sure the comic actually is formatted correctly to get printed: Alex Lugo.

 

***

How long have you been creating/working in comics?

I have been creating and working on comics since about the late nineties and early 2000’s part-time, mostly in the independent comics scene. So, for about the last 25 years as time allows.

 

What made you want to work on comics?

I’ve loved comics since I was about 4 years old and it’s been a dream that I have been fortunate enough to be able to accomplish.  The magic of the stories, the great characters, and being around creative people are what keep me coming back to comics.

 

Who inspires you? Or do you have a favorite artist or creator?

My favorite creators of all time are Jack Kirby and Frank Frazetta.  Those two guys are juggernauts in the comics/fantasy fields.  For me, it wasn’t even about their incredible output, but their amazing creativity that brought forth so many amazing characters and art pieces.

How do you manage your daily/family life with your creative work? Is this your 9 to 5 or is this your 10 to 2?

It’s definitely my 10pm to 2am work.  In the daytime, I have a full-time job, and I am also a full-time dad and husband as well.  But when everyone goes to sleep, I become my alter ego and jump into the comics fray.

 

How would you describe your creative process when it comes to making comics?

I think my process of making comics comes from learning about some of the great 60’s creators: Kirby, Ditko, Lee, etc…I try to do whatever it takes to get the job done. I don’t sit around waiting for inspiration, I go get it and dive into the project. Comics is a commercial art medium, so it needs to keep moving forward, so my process has come from that position.  I do research, interview my collaborators, come up with mock-ups, etc…anything I have to do to keep the process going.

 

Making comics often requires collaboration with others. How do you foster relationships and approach the collaboration process?

Well, I try to touch base with my collaborators/clients and really get into what they are thinking or what they need me to do.  I try to capture their vision if I can or offer them something they haven’t thought about to help and improve their story. I think of us as partners who rely on each other to make the best comic that we can. In order to break the ice, I like to get them on the phone, hear their voices, and let them hear mine.  This way we know we are real people, not just words in an email so that the project becomes as real as possible and we all have a stake in it.

 

What are your biggest obstacles when it comes to making art? How do you overcome them?

Really my biggest obstacles are time and daily life.  I don’t have a lot of time to create, and the daily routine of life threatens to derail the creative endeavors.  It’s tough just to have one job, but I have several jobs at one time.  So once everyone goes to sleep, it’s really morning for me again.  I grab a cup of coffee, play something in the background, and hit the computer or drawing board or whatever to get things moving.

How has your experience been with the indie comics community?

I love the indie comics community! It’s filled with some of the most talented people I have ever met.  They are some of the bravest people I have met as well.  They have chosen to deviate from mainstream comics to put out their own books and show the world their artistic soul.  That takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there like that.  There is no hiding behind known characters or big companies.

 

What advice can you give for people who want to start making comics?

I would say (1) make sure it’s your passion and you love it, and (2) make sure that you have a plan for financial return, or if you don’t, you’re ok with that.  Comics can be a lot of fun, but they can also be tough.

 

Are there themes and/or subjects/genres you find yourself drawn to again and again in your work?

Not really, I think my go to will always be superheroes, but I have done fantasy, sci-fi, new age, etc..

 

If you could go back in time ten years, what advice might you have for your younger self? Something you wish you knew?

Listen with open ears and an open heart to critics, but don’t let their words discourage you from working in comics.  Don’t let the person reviewing your work destroy your soul.  If they are good at what they do, they will enlighten and encourage you to keep going. Also, learn when to walk away from things and start fresh instead of beating dead horses.

Do you have any upcoming projects? Anything you’d like to promote? Anything else that you’d like people to know about you (Hobbies? Passions? Favorite TV Show)?

I am working on a couple of projects through my comic company 10 Worlds Studio, one superhero, and one paranormal, but nothing to announce just yet.  I did letter a comic series that was picked up by Heavy Metal called Mark of Kings, so I am excited about that for sure.  I also love Lord of the Rings, and I am a huge fan of Golden Age comics characters.

 

Where’s the best place to find out more about you and your works?

You can visit my Instagram page at alexanderlugo_10ws or my website, www.alexlugoart.com.

***

Alex Lugo is a first-generation Cuban-American artist hailing from Portland, Or, growing up in Inglewood, CA, and now residing in the outer reaches of Los Angeles County. He has worked in the fields of comics, storyboards, and design.  After reading All Star Comics 58 in a Portland barbershop, he was pretty much hooked on comic books and continues to work on them, and dream about them to this day.  Besides working on comics, Alex loves spending time with his family, traveling, studying the paranormal, and watching films with his son.  His work has been featured on TV, films, comics, and other mediums.

***

I want to thank Alex Lugo for taking the time to answer my questions. And I really appreciate his contributions in bringing In Our Dreams Awake to life. And don’t forget to check out the Kickstarter!

 

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

Behind the Artist – Interview with Rolands Kalnins

Check out John McGuire’s In Our Dreams Awake Issue #1 on Kickstarter!

As we go through this month with the In Our Dreams Awake Kickstarter going on (don’t forget to check it out), I wanted to spotlight some of the people who helped bring these crazy ideas to life. This brings us to the artist and colorist on the Cyberpunk portion of the comic book: Rolands Kalniņš.

 

***

How long have you been creating/working in comics?

I’ve been working in the comics industry since I was 16 years old. And full-time since I was 20.

I’m 26 now.

 

What made you want to work on comics?

As a kid growing up in a post-Soviet country we got our entertainment(films, books, comics) much later than the rest of Europe. So I was lucky to grow up watching original TMNT, Star Wars, Spider-man and the X-men animated series, Power Rangers, Adam West Batman, Tim Burton’s Batman, Pokemon, Digimon…

These shows and films made me love these characters, and later on, I found out that many of them were based on comic books. Unfortunately, the only comics we could buy in Latvia were based on Disney and Hanna-Barbera characters aimed towards very young kids.

So I spent a lot of time drawing and creating my own comics. And when I was living in the UK at the age of 15, I had the chance to buy a lot of Marvel comics. And that moment when I first held a comic book in my hands was simply magical.

And that truly made me take the path to become an artist in the comic industry.

Variant Cyberpunk Cover by Rolands Kalniņš

Who inspires you? Or do you have a favorite artist or creator?

Personally, I have so many favourites/inspirations. Tho the most influential artists on me were/are: Dave Rapoza, Sean Gordon Murphy, Nick Dragotta, Junji Ito, and many others…

 

How do you manage your daily/family life with your creative work? Is this your 9 to 5 or is this your 10 to 2?

My daily routine used to be different. But for the last few years, I’m also a full-time Tattoo Artist at 2 private studios that I own. So my day-to-day is divided.

Most days I work from 8:30-11:00 on comics and tattoo designs. From 12:00-16:00, I work at my tattoo studio. 17:00-19:00 session at the gym (usually 4-5 times a week), and 19:00-24:00 more work on comics/family time.

 

How would you describe your creative process when it comes to making comics?

My process is quite simple. I read the script, gather references and inspirational images, and then I draw the pages, usually coloring them right after.

 

Making comics often requires collaboration with others. How do you foster relationships and approach the collaboration process?

Creative relationships for me are really different with each writer and or company. On some projects, I get complete creative freedom and just create the artwork.

On others, the process is more involved and created on a step-by-step basis. With a lot more back and forth. Visuals changing as the story evolves.

And these things are different on each project depending on my involvement as well. Am I just the artist, or am I the colorist?

In some cases, I design the whole book, spine and all.

For me, the most important thing is to do the best work I can for the client.

Jason Byron makes his way through the flooded streets. By Rolands Kalniņš

What are your biggest obstacles when it comes to making art? How do you overcome them?

Hmm, for hurdles in creating work…

The hardest thing for me is creating art in bulk for my personal projects. Client work comes much more easily for me because it has certain direction-script, or just a description of a piece.

 

How has your experience been with the indie comics community?

I love working on indie comics.

Of course, a dream of mine is to do a Batman book, but for the most part I’m most comfortable doing creative horror books in the indie scene.

The thing I like the most is the “out there” ideas and that there’s no limit to the craziness of the stories I could visualize…

 

What advice can you give for people who want to start making comics?

Best advice is to learn the basics first.

And that doesn’t mean human figure, faces, etc… It means drawing straight lines, perfect circles, cubes… and only then applying those skills to draw objects, and characters.

And of course, drawing non-stop, but doing illustrations, pages, and panels, not just studies for study’s sake.

Applying knowledge and learning on the go is key. Many things I learned over the years I learned on the job doing the actual work.

And of course, finishing things. Many up-and-comers tend to sketch a lot and never do finished work, which grows into a boatload of bad habits.

 

Are there themes and/or subjects/genres you find yourself drawn to again and again in your work?

My favourite genres to create for are usually pulp-fiction, neo-noir, cyberpunk, and horror type of work.

But I love doing most genres.

But dark fiction and psychological mind-bending work suits my style best in my opinion.

Jason Byron and Fem’A Lin kiss. By Rolands Kalniņš

If you could go back in time ten years, what advice might you have for your younger self? Something you wish you knew?

Hmm, I would probably say to myself to never stop drawing and don’t give up. Things will go your way eventually…

And don’t let anyone talk you out of anything career-related.

 

Do you have any upcoming projects? Anything you’d like to promote? Anything else that you’d like people to know about you (Hobbies? Passions? Favorite TV Show)?

I have many upcoming books and personal projects, but I can’t really talk about any of them due to NDA’s. Only thing I can say is that “The Pandora Window” a book I’m co-creating with Ray Chambers is finally announced and being drawn as we speak. And many other projects with Adam Barnhardt of Sh*tshow fame. Hopefully, soon they’ll be announced.

For hobbies, I tend to have many, but the most important ones are Powerlifting and reading. For me, it’s a way to clear my head. And of course, a healthy mind and body are key with this type of profession.

I personally believe you’ll go crazy quite fast if the only thing you do 24/7 is draw. It can become more of a detriment than a strategy to become successful.

 

Where’s the best place to find out more about you and your works?

I’m most active on my website(portfolio), Instagram, Twitter and Reddit.

https://rolandskalnins.carbonmade.com/

https://www.instagram.com/marvelzukas/

https://twitter.com/marvelzukas

https://www.reddit.com/user/Marvelzukas/

Jason Byron’s intense stare. By Rolands Kalniņš

Do you have a Bio that I can post at the bottom of the article?

My name is Rolands Kalniņš

I’m an illustrator, concept artist/designer, colorist from Latvia.

I’ve worked on many projects for different publishers and kickstarters.

Scout comics: Red Winter.

Fracture Press: Tales of Fractured Mind, Tales of Fractured Worlds, Soul of The Sea, The Burning Memory

Tpub: Transdimensional.

Source Point Press: Sirius

Frank Martin’s Pipe Creepers

Scapegoat Press Inc: Pcycho Path, Aeonian.

Roy Burdine’s Reapers.

VMComics: Hotel Hell

Musicians: Varien, Hellhills, Manic, Toracha, Cream of Cthulhu, and many more.

***

I want to thank Rolands Kalniņš for taking the time to answer my questions. And I really appreciate his contributions in bringing In Our Dreams Awake to life. And don’t forget to check out the Kickstarter!

 

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

 

Kickstart the Comic – In Our Dreams Awake #1: A Cyberpunk/Fantasy Adventure

As I talked about last week, In Our Dreams Awake has had a long journey to get from the kernel of an idea all the way to this next milestone: A Kickstarter Launch today!

This is one of those stories that examines that fundamental idea I think everyone deals with, which is wondering if their life is enough or if there might be another one we could live if only the circumstances were a little different.

We are raising funds to get the first issue of In Our Dreams Awake printed and out to readers.

***

In Our Dreams Awake #1: A Cyberpunk/Fantasy Adventure

John McGuire – Writer/Creator

Egg Embry – Writer/Creator

Edgar Salazar – Artist

Rolands Kalninš – Artist, Colorist, Letterer

Genaro Olavarrieta – Inker

Alexander Lugo – Letterer

Sean Hill – Variant Cover Artist

The Kickstarter campaign ends on Wednesday, April 27, 2022.

***

The Pitch:

In Our Dreams Awake is the story of what happens when both of those worlds begin to spin out of control. What happens when Jason no longer knows which world is the dream and which one is reality?

 

The Story:

Jason Byron dreams of two lives. In one fantasy, magi reactionaries won, technology is banned, and Jason is a portrait painter hiding a contraband telescope. In the other world, he leads a cyberpunk gang amid a future of flooded cities and gilled aliens. When he closes his eyes in one world, he awakes in the next. Jason’s only desire is to wake up in the arms of his true love, Laura… Uh, or is it Fem’a Lin?… If only he knew which one was real?!

Cyberpunk Variant – Art by Rolands Kalninš

John’s Thoughts:

I’m obsessed with the idea of What If when it comes to how people live their lives. Those little moments then spiral out to set the course of our lives. How easy it is to focus on the things we don’t have rather than embrace all the gifts we do have. It’s very easy to lose sight of what is important when you always are lamenting the things you don’t possess.

It’s human nature to evaluate and then reevaluate and then wonder about the path not taken.

With In Our Dreams Awake, Egg and I are giving this concept a bit of a twist. Instead of trying to figure out how Jason Byron’s life might have gone wrong, he instead sees a world nearly the opposite of the current life he lives. And that would be fine, we could all use a little bit of fantasy in our lives (or cyberpunk as the case may be), but what happens when those two realities begin to bleed into one another. How would you determine which was the real world and which was the dream world?

And how would you know which one was worth fighting for… or dying for?

The Rewards:

The Kickstarter is for the first issue in what we hope will be a four-issue series. We have the options of either the pdf ($5) or print version ($10) to send to you. We also have two different variant covers, one by Rolands Kalninš and the other by Sean Hill ($15).

And if being drawn into the Cyberpunk world as a potential member of Jason’s gang interests you, we have that for $200.

We also have a number of Add-Ons ranging from a copy of The Gilded Age Graphic novel to the Dreamr by the Apocolypse RPG Zine ($10-$20 each).

Mirror Variant – Art by Sean Hill

The Verdict:

As a co-creator of this little project, I’m so excited for it to become a reality. As my post last week talked about, it has been a long (looooong) road to get here, but we only have a little more to go before this story can see the true light of day and get into the hands of all you potential readers.

The other key piece is that the first issue is completely done. Finished. This isn’t going to be a Kickstarter that lingers on and on. In fact, my hope is that we fund quickly, and I can get the second issue into production while this Kickstarter is actually going on, so that the wait between issues isn’t so long.

***

I’d like to thank you in advance for checking the project out. And be sure to check back in on the project throughout the month as I’ll be posting various interviews with my fellow creators.

And be sure to check out the Kickstarter here!

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

Behind the Comic: In Our Dreams Awake

 

I don’t have the email anymore where I first pitched Egg the basic idea behind In Our Dreams Awake. I basically remember that I had hit upon this idea of someone having to live two different lives, one when they slept and one when they were awake. I know that it happened around the Winter of 2004-2005 in one of many of our daily emails back and forth to each other. Those emails served as both catch-up on the day/week and also a dumping ground for us to share potential writing ideas.

You see, the goal with Egg and I always was to find a way to write comic books. During college, there were many, many, many weekends the two of us would journey from one comic shop to another looking for back issues. And during those trips, we’d talk story ideas. They ranged from some take on whatever Marvel or DC or Image might be doing at the time all the way to our own comic ideas featuring our own characters. But this was in the days before something like Kickstarter existed, back in the days when we were going to have to find a way to do things on the “cheap”.

Egg’s always been good about looking at potential story ideas and breaking them down into a format that might be a little different. And In Our Dreams Awake sent his mind going.

I know/remember a few things about this time:

Egg found the title from a quote by Thoreau.

Egg pitched the idea of the two of us writing portions of the story. One of us would take one dream and the other would write the other.

Egg found both the artists to do what would become a 4 issue mini-series: Edgar Salazar (pencils) and Genaro Olavarrieta (inks) for my “fantasy world” dream and an artist for “futuristic world”.

So we started on the scripts for issue 1. And then the pages started rolling in… this was working… we were going to have a comic book!

We quickly got scripts going for all 4 of the issues, as Edgar and Genaro were rocketing through their work. I learned how to color on the computer (which is a story for another time). Egg’s artist was turning in good stuff. The tone felt great… all we needed to do was find a home for the comic.

We approached Image, I think we sent it off to a couple of other places, but nothing ever came of it. I was working with the Terminus Media guys at the time and had learned enough to know how to get the book printed, but we realized we probably needed to have a complete book before going down that path.

And then Egg’s artist fell off the face of the Earth.

He’d done around 20ish pages out of the 48 or so we’d need to finish things up. But we couldn’t find him. He didn’t return email. I think Myspace was a bust (remember Myspace?). Months went by, which became a year, which became two years. Edgar and Genaro finished their pages and moved on, but we felt hamstrung by this artist. It was weird that one of the original reasons for doing the comic with two artists was so that it would half the load. We thought there was a chance that if an artist disappeared (or ghosted us) that it would be relatively early in the process. Maybe they’ve done 1-5 pages and then make like a wizard, but he’d done enough for 2 issues.

We scrambled. Egg came up with an idea to split his dream in two with the already finished pages and then get a new artist (potentially himself) to do the last 24 pages. We toyed with some other thoughts, but time went on, and like so many things…

In Our Dreams Awake passed into legend…

It nagged at me. Tugged at the back of my mind. Every year I’d look through my files and see the pages and think about what could have been. I wrote the Gilded Age and The Dark That Follows and still, it was there. Egg moved on to RPGs and writing for so many websites that I can’t even keep up with his output these days.

When we were first working on the comic, Egg found the Thoreau quote and it fit perfectly. But randomly during that same Christmas, my mom got me post-its with quotes on them. And while they didn’t have the In Our Dreams Awake quote, they did feature one from Poe that seemed made for our comic:

Things had lined up perfectly until they didn’t.

Then March 2020 happened and the world changed. We had time on our hands. And In Our Dreams popped up in my dreams again. So I reached out to Egg. Told him I wanted to make a go of it. That we knew so much more than we had nearly 2 decades earlier. The biggest obstacle was always having product, but in this case, we had 1/2 the story already done. There was only one hurdle to go: we needed to reach out to Egg’s artist and see if we could use those pages or if we were going to start over.

And after many weeks, we decided to go with someone new.

The thing was, I’m a part of a couple of Facebook Groups where artists post their work looking for their next gigs, so I’d been saving posts of anyone who caught my eye. So when we decided to move on, I shared all the potentials with Egg, and very quickly we identified Rolands Kalniņš as the person who could bring the sci-fi/cyberpunk dream to life. And Rolands has done that and more. And all of a sudden we had issue 1 ready to go.

All of sudden… after 17 years…

The Kickstarter launches one week from now, but we’d love it if you’d sign up for the Notification Page just so that Kickstarter will send you an email when the project goes live. You can find that page here.

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

In Our Dreams Awake – Kickstarter Prelaunch

Jason Byron dreams of two lives. In one fantasy, magi reactionaries won, technology is banned, and Jason is a portrait painter hiding a contraband telescope. In the other world, he leads a cyberpunk gang amid a future of flooded cities and gilled aliens. When he closes his eyes in one world, he awakes in the next. Jason’s only desire is to wake up in the arms of his true love, Laura… Uh, or is it Fem’a Lin?… If only he knew which one was real?!

In a society ruled by mages, Jason Byron is a master artist trying to provide for his family. He has a secret heirloom, a telescope. With it he can see the stars, but can he see the trouble his illegal piece of technology will bring to his family?

In drowning London, Jason Byron deals in chum, the hottest drug among aliens. He and his true love are trying to escape their world. Can they keep the peace long enough to get away before the world is pulled beneath the waves?

In Our Dreams Awake is the story of what happens when both of those worlds begin to spin out of control. What happens when Jason no longer knows which world is the dream and which one is reality?

***

In Our Dreams Awake comes from co-creators John McGuire and Egg Embry. The first issue of this mini-series features two dreams, the first illustrated by Edgar Salazar and the second by Rolands Kalniņš. Both artists provide covers in addition to Sean Hill’s variant cover. Written for fans of love stories, dreampunk, steampunk, and cyberpunk, this comic offers an engaging mystery with amazing artwork. This story is about love and loss and asking the big questions: Who am I? Where do I belong? Who do I love?

***

We are launching the Kickstarter on March 30, 2022; however, you can make sure that you get notified when it launches by signing up at the Pre-launch Page!

***

Over the next month and a half, I’ll have preview pages, origin stories, interviews with the creative team, and probably some stuff I’m not remembering right now. I hope you’re ready to join me on another comic book adventure!

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

Kickstart the Comic – The Fox Chronicles #1

You have to train. You must get better today than you were yesterday. You must be better tomorrow than you were today.

For there is something you are to do for this world and many, many other worlds.

Yet, the world around you is dark and full of monsters that appear the same as any other person who walks down the street. Those are the ones you must guard the innocent against.

You are destined for great things.

***

The Fox Chronicles #1

Publisher – Prime Direction Studios

Writers – Robert Jeffrey II & Leo Patrice Ware

Artist – Fritz Fulo Casas

Cover Artist/Colorist – La’Vata E. O’Neal

Cover Artist – Marcus Williams

Colorist – Candice Han

Illustrator/Graphic Designer – Pao Xiong

Cover Artist – Sheldon Mitchell

Kickstarter Campaign ends on Thursday, April 15, 2020, at 12:00 PM EDT.

***

The Pitch:

A coming-of-age futurist adventure. Full of action, suspense, and intrigue.

 

The Story:

In this coming of age, centuries-spanning story, Autumn Fox finds herself caught up in a galactic power struggle when all she wants is to better her world. As sinister forces, terrestrial and beyond exploit the very systems we take for granted. Our story is going to follow Autumn, an Atlanta teen, as she tries to balance overly protective parents, friends, and the overwhelming need to protect those around her. The series is a must-read for fans of such genre-defining series as “Tomb Raider”, “Far Sector”, “Ironheart”, and “Netflix’s Voltron: Legendary Defender”.

 

John’s Thoughts:

As I’ve noted in the past, I’m with Robert Jeffrey II on anything he decides to write. I’ve watched his skills as a writer grow over the years, and am proud to be his co-writer on The Crossing.

With The Fox Chronicles, he is getting to build a character who appears to have one foot firmly on Earth and another that ties her to something ancient and deadly. This young woman at the center of the story is not only trying to figure out her place in a larger world but in a very large and scary universe.

But maybe more importantly is that this book wants to use its platform to illuminate an ongoing problem: the forced labor of women and girls. From the Kickstarter page:

“Every year millions of people are victims of forced labor with women and girls accounting for 71% of all victims.”

If we can help people gain an understanding of extremely important topics through our stories, then it only makes sense to do just that.

The Rewards:

One of the first things you’ll notice is that there are three different variant covers available to order which will allow you to get exactly the cover you want for this tale ($50 level). In addition, there is an opportunity to get some Original Artwork ($100), and at the same cost, have a one on one with Robert Jeffrey II who has gone through the DC Writer’s Workshop. I have no doubt that he’ll have plenty of things to discuss with whoever goes for such a Reward.

The Verdict:

As I’ve said in the past, I’m with Robert Jeffrey II on pretty much anything he writes. But beyond that, I think that this is one of those true labors of love from the team. Seeing the artwork come in, reading the script, and just listening to them talk has me convinced.

***

Be sure to check out the Kickstarter here!

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

Love’s Labour’s Liabilities – Postscript

So we are about a week past the end date of our submission for Kickstarter’s ZineQuest 3. How did it end up?

 

I think Stress was the watchword on this project with most decisions that we made focusing on how to limit the amount of stress we would have in running the Kickstarter, hitting our goals, and fulfilling the Kickstarter. So you’re going to see that word a lot in the recap below.

As I noted in my Kickstart the Game post, we reached our goal in about 5 hours which made it a lot less stressful (see, there’s that word!) than our first attempt at doing a Zine back during ZineQuest 1. During that campaign, we funded in the last hour or so which meant that for the entire duration of the Kickstarter we were constantly checking and double-checking the webpage. Now, this is a normal part of a Kickstarter… or at least for me it is, but it can’t be both distracting and at times deflating. You get the little highs when you check and the number goes up, but it is almost worse when the number just sits there, mocking you.

In comparison, Loves’ Labour’s Liberated’s (LLL1) goal was set at $1000 and Love’s Labour’s Liabilities’ (LLL2) goal was set at $400.

Why the difference in goals? Well first was the hope that we might fund earlier in the process and not get down to the last few minutes not knowing whether it was going to fund or not. The second was that we knew more about the process. Going into LLL1, between the 3 of us, only I had run a Kickstarter before and that was for the Gilded Age Graphic Novel. This was an RPG-related item that we were still figuring out. And we wanted to set what we thought was an achievable goal… technically we weren’t wrong. But with LLL2, we had learned what to do and what not to do.

Finally, there was the biggest reason for only having a $400 goal. We gave away LLL2 (pdfs) to all the LLL1 backers for free. Why did we do that? Well, we were late on delivering LLL1.

Really, really, really (add about 100 more “really”s and you start to get the point) late. We all dropped the ball on that and really there was no excuse for it.

This giveaway was an additional attempt to make up for all those delays. However, this created a different sort of problem: If you give away the zine to your previous backers then you are going to have to pretty much find all new backers for the new Kickstarter. Normally, when you do sequels to previous Kickstarters, you are counting on some percentage of backers to follow you to the next project. During LLL1 we had 81 backers. Doing things this way meant we were kind of starting from scratch with this one.

I should note that about a dozen backers for LLL2 had also backed LLL1, so it didn’t completely eliminate some repeat customers.

Of course, we didn’t know what to expect, so the $400 with a potential for some stretch goals made a ton of sense. And again, funding so quickly really let us focus on getting the word out rather than worrying so much on the $$.

This brings us to the single biggest difference between LLL1 and LLL2, we had completely finished LLL2 before the campaign went live. Obviously, we needed to have it done to deliver to LLL1 backers, but it was a conscious decision by all of us that we needed to get out in front of this so that there would be no question in anyone’s mind whether they’d have to wait a year or more to receive what they’d paid for. In fact, as we look to the future, I believe this is the best way to do any additional Kickstarters we run.

When LLL2 was all done, we actually eclipsed LLL1 in both total backers and total dollars:

LLL1 – 81 Backers for $1018

LLL2 – 86 Backers for $1134

This amount allowed us to unlock 3 stretch goals which were Bonus Art X-Cards for use at your gaming tables.

We delivered the updated LLL2 pdf immediately upon the campaign ending, and are now in the process of getting the dedications put into the pdf before it gets sent out to the printers. After that, the three of us will get together and pack up the zines and stretch goals to send out to the backers (which looks like it will happen the first weekend in March). All of this means that potentially everyone will get their Zines within about 5-6 weeks of the campaign ending.

***

Now what?

We’ve started talking about what a LLL3 might look like. I know Egg is looking to do another non-5e Zine at some point down the road on his own. And recently I’ve become enamored with the idea of maybe branching out from a 5e zine and looking at some of the other systems. Not sure exactly when any of those will be done, but I’m looking forward to working on them!

For all of you who backed either Kickstarter, I just want to thank you again for placing your faith and your hard-earned dollars behind these projects. The ability to do this is really the fulfillment of some dreams that we’ve all had since we first discovered roleplaying games.

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

 

Kickstart the Game – Love’s Labour’s Liabilities

Check out Leland Beauchamp’s, Egg Embry’s, and John McGuire’s 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons Zine!

We live, we love, and sometimes we lose. All are part of life, and yet the last part is the thing that will not only knock us to the ground but put so much weight on our chest that we may never find a way to get back up again.

***

So I am a part of a new Kickstarter…

And for the first time, it is a sequel to something I’ve already contributed to:

Love’s Labour’s Liabilities.

You can check it out here.

***

We launched on Monday around 11 AM and by the time I’d gotten back from a doctor’s appointment at 2:30 PM, we had funded! It was a modest goal this time of $400, but there is definitely a huge sigh of relief when you hit your goal. It makes it so that you can actually enjoy the ride a little bit more. We’ve now begun to focus on Stretch Goals which will be a bonus X-Card for use at your table.

This year marks the 3rd annual (I’m assuming) Kickstarter Zine Quest for the month of February. What’s Zinequest you might ask? Well, if you cast your mind back to the 60s or 70s or 80s when you would go into a record shop or comic shop or gaming store and had those pamphlet looking things sitting there that were put together by hand… that’s basically what a Zine is. Yes, today we have programs that allow it to be done a bit easier, but the goal is the same. These are ideas that have been percolating since our successful Kickstarter of Love’s Labour’s Liberated during Zine Quest 1, and that Do-it-Yourself attitude has gotten to us again.

But we learned from the last Kickstarter. This time the whole thing is completely done and ready to go. So the only thing you will have to wait on is the actual printings, but the day after the campaign ends, you’ll have your pdf!

***

This time we are focusing on more of a darker part of the love relationships… the loss part… the obsession part…

It seems like when I’m thinking of ideas for the backstories for any characters I play, I drift toward those who might have a little bit of darkness in them. Perhaps there was an unrequited love, perhaps there was something more devious at hand. That’s what we’ve tried to provide for players in this Zine. A Broken Hearted Monk. An elemental force of nature obsessed with it’s Warlock. New spells, magic items, and much more. All options for bringing even more depth to your 5th Edition games.

***

Like I said on the first Zine Quest we did, you never know who is going to potentially read your work. My hope is that everyone who gets it and reads it is able to use at least one thing from it in their home games.

I hope you take the opportunity to check out the Kickstarter!

***

John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow Empire, Tales from Vigilante City, Beyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

Interview with Richard A Knaak

I’ve written about Richard A. Knaak a couple of years ago when his Rex Draconis novels had a RPG Kickstarter running. In it, I talked about Knaak being one of those authors whose work really pulled me in and fleshed out worlds I’d either already invested in (Dragonlance) or he invented (The Dragonrealm series). Well, he has a new Kickstarter going on right now to help fund his newest work/world: Rogues Gallery.

I read in an interview with you that you initially broke into writing by driving up to TSR and just asking to speak to an editor. Which kind of blew my mind. That seems like a very big step to take. What made you think that approach might work for you?

I was young, naive, and very stubborn. It was only around an hour and a half away, but I thought I’d give it a try. Wouldn’t work these days, but I caught them at just the right moment. In a sense, though, it goes with what I often say.  You usually have to make your own breaks.

Before that trip, had you been pursuing more of a  traditional path prior to that? Submitting to agents and editors and crossing your fingers?

Yes, although mostly I submitted to publishers on my own since it’s often hard to get a GOOD agent without a sale. I’d almost sold a book on my own but could not get the ending to the satisfaction of the editor. Sadly, that novel was lost later. with both the paper copies and disks accidentally thrown out during a move.

What’s a typical writing day for you? Do you strive for a certain number of words or hours? Do you have any habits or techniques that allow you to juggle the various projects your working on?

I tend to have multiple writing sessions, most often in the afternoon and evening. I don’t have a set amount of words, but I seem fairly consistent. No real techniques, although a temporary change of scenery between writing sessions is helpful.

How do you manage your daily/family life with your creative work?

Writing is my life.

What’s your process look like when you’re writing? Do you go with the full outline or are you a fly by the seat of your pants type?

I’ll take notes and I likely have a very rough outlines, but nothing is written in stone. I’ll try to write a short paragraph or two about a chapter unless I’ve gotten to the point where I know what must happen. I generally know the basic climax. There is some flying by the seat of my pants, too.

Are there subjects or themes you find yourself coming back to again and again in your writing?

Redemption is a big one. Many of my characters have something in their background that confronts them in the present. It can be a really big problem, too. Also, characters who don’t start out to be a hero, but just do what must be done regardless of the consequences to themselves.

You’ve just launched a new Kickstarter for your next series. What is Rogues Gallery about?

Rogues Gallery concerns an alternate Chicago around 1930, where the sort of costumed adventurers and villains of the pulp era abound. However, the city’s protector, the Legionary, is missing. When it becomes clear that he is not likely returning soon, chaos overwhelms Chicago as various villains act. The police try their best but are failing. However, as the turmoil grows, conflict arises among the various rogues as their differing reasons for becoming who they are come into play. In fact, those reasons may be the only hope that the city has as the thus-far fruitless search for the Legionary continues.

We’ll also explore some of those reasons behind the rogues emerging in general, such as the aftermath of the Great War.

It seems that Rogues Gallery allows you to write in a genre that you haven’t dealt with much with your other novels (other than the Black City Saint series). What about the idea of that pulp era made you want to write this novel?

Well, in addition to having grown up in the Chicago area where Prohibition was something I heard about a lot, I’m a big fan of the Shadow, among other pulp characters.

Have you found it Is easier or harder to write a book that is somewhat set in the real world?

Well, there’s more research, but I enjoy it because it helps make the story feel more real while still giving you an adventure.

What is the plan with Rogues Gallery? Is this a standalone book, or do you have plans to release sequels down the road? How much do you already have mapped out?

This is designed to stand on its own, but I have ideas beyond it and, if the Kickstarter goes well, one of the stretch goals would likely lead toward a sequel. I know where I would go with the story if that happens.

You’re obviously a very successful writer, with many novels to your name over the years, so why go the Kickstarter route? Is there something specific about it that caused you to go this way?

This is a novel that is a little harder for publishers to pin down, as I learned even from Black City Saint. It also allows me to schedule it in a different way so that I can get it done as it needs to be. I will be doing the audiobook in concert with Hydra Publications, so, one aspect will be more traditional.

Your world of Rex Draconis was featured in a Kickstarter last year allowing backers to play in the world you’d devised. Is there any chance of being able to play an RPG set in the Rogues Gallery world?

Actually, the novels were a combination of an independent support setup and later publication through Hydra. The RPG material went through a very successful Kickstarter. I’ve actually had someone ask me about doing something with Rogues Gallery, so, yes, there may be some RPG alongside it. We’ll see.

Where can someone find out more about you?

I have a website, but I haven’t had the patience for it due to personal matters. I’ll get it up and running again soon. The best place to find me is on Facebook on my pro page at: https://www.facebook.com/richardallenknaak

***

I want to thank Richard for taking the time to talk to me and answer my questions. Make sure to check out Rogues Gallery on Kickstarter!

***

Also, just a reminder that my newest book, The Echo Effect is newly released and only $2.99 for the remainder of October! Check it out here!
***

John McGuire is writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow EmpireBeyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

PRESS RELEASE: Acheron on Kickstarter

Acheron

“They say whoever controls the flow of history, can write the future. For centuries, The Council has curated the past. But now they are silent, the Reclamation Act ratified, and history once again open to study. The future has yet to be written and the pen is in your hands.”

Kickstarter Link – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/acheronrpg/acheron-a-grimpunk-tabletop-rpg

What is Acheron?

  • At its core Acheron is about sacrificing your humanity, both temporarily and permanently, to fight against the horrors that inhabit the world. Whether they be cultists, madmen, beasts, or the strange Outsiders.
  • Mystery, monsters, and magic collide in this 1930s era setting where The Government controls the path of History, Factions war for resources, and The Wall looms forever upon the horizon.

Mechanics

  • We think tabletop role-playing should be just as focused on Roleplay as it is on combat.
    • To that end we have implemented a free-form progression system that allows players to build nearly any character they can imagine, from a blind telekinetic to a Demon infested pacifist.
    • Merits and Flaws allow players to spend or receive experience to gain major, character defining bonuses or detriments.
    • A realistic Sanity system allows characters to experience three major categories of trauma: Moral, Violent, and Supernatural. It also allows them to regain sanity through different means such as comradery with friends and psychological treatment.
      • Our Sanity system reflects the fact that this is a mature game with mature themes. It’s important that Players and Game Masters have the opportunity to explore these themes but should also be aware of their potentially triggering nature.
    • There is a huge range of the types of characters that can be created and how they may progress and evolve throughout a campaign will always be different.

 

  • Simplified Realism informs all parts of Acheron. This has led to the implementation of deadly, gritty combat and creation of a believable world and cultures.
    • On average a player starts with 6 health, and a 9mm pistol deals 1d10 damage.
    • Cover and armor play a large roll in combat. Without taking them into account one will surely parish.
    • Many weapons can penetrate armor and cover can be destroyed.
    • A large variety of statuses, both physical and mental, can change the flow of combat and a game session.
    • No one enjoys their character dying due to an unlucky roll, however. So, we’ve implemented a Die Hard system where players can choose to take permanent flaws to keep their character alive.
    • Magic and Mancies (Mancies are akin to sorcery in other settings), are an integrated part of the world and can be used for both Roleplay and combat.

Inspirations

  • Call of Cthulhu, Lovecraft, and Cosmic Horror
    • Bloodborne is an amazing game with an amazing atmosphere. It inspired a major faction in the world (The Hunters Guild) and many of the more classical monsters in our world.
    • Call of Cthulhu has had many iterations but it’s use of Sanity as a primary concern for players inspired us to iterate and bring it to the forefront of Acheron.
    • Lovecraft and other Cosmic Horror was the basis for the Wall, planes of Magic, and Outsider enemies within the world. Giving our setting a strangeness that cannot be understood or fathomed by normal people without suffering madness.
  • Strong foundation from Dungeons and Dragons 3.5
    • 3.5 D&D set the standard for d20 based tabletop roleplaying games. It influenced our core stats and the way skills function and progress in the game.
  • World of Darkness/Chronicles of Darkness
    • World of Darkness was the foundation of our free-form progression system and using experience points to create and advance your character.
  • Dishonored and the SCP foundation
    • Dishonored has an atmosphere we wanted to give to our world, where even the city streets can be oppressive yet there is still a wealth of culture, history, and sense of discovery.
    • The organizations and large body of work the SCP foundation has produced inspired a lot of the secretive aspects of our Government and other factions.
    • Both Dishonored and SCPs were huge influences on our Outsider enemies which can at times be stranger than the Eldritch horrors which roam the world.
  • The Witcher 3
    • The monsters in the Witcher all have a weakness you can exploit if prepared, we wanted to emulate this fact to give the enemies you fight more depth.
  • Numenera
    • Value of simplicity in gaming and putting the focus on Roleplay.
    • Numenera also influenced the way characters level up in Acheron. Instead of getting experience from every monster killed or objective performed you gain it for completing milestones along a quest.
  • Science and History
    • Our core team is composed of a Biologist, Engineer, and Anthropologist. For these reasons we have focused on crafting systems and lore that are realistic and believable. Many historical events, such as the Civil Rights movement, suffrage movement, and Anarchism movement of the early 20th century as well as the governmental reaction to those movements were huge influences on the world of Acheron. As were the industrial revolution and tycoons of the time.

The World

  • Acheron is set in a 1930’s era world dominated by a singular Government and many powerful factions.
  • The totality of the world is surrounded by a massive Wall, thought impenetrable until the Breach which erased centuries of progress and loosed countless horrors into the world.
  • The world is broken up into Districts, all ruled by the Government. However, each has its own Governor, laws, culture, and systems of governance.
  • At the center of the world, in the Central Districts, most do not believe in magic or monsters while those on the fringes of society know the truth about magic, or at least a part of it.
  • History has been covered up and curated since the Breach. Now is the first time it is legal to study the past. This has led to a new age of adventure and societal renaissance. The Reclamation Act, our inciting incident, is the driving force for this shift in culture.
  • Magic has grown stronger in the world after the Breach. All domains of which have their own flavor.
    • Arcane – Anti-magic, direct damage, and buffs for allies. Uses the Arcane energy found in Ley Lines which crisscross the world.
    • Fay – Situational and sly. Controls the lines of fate and allows for trickery and rerolling failed checks.
    • Spirit – As varied as nature. Spirit magic allows for many play styles and has three modifiers for every spell based on the leaves, trunk, and roots of the world tree.
    • Demonic – Fast and dirty. Demonic magic is about hurting the enemy more than you hurt yourself.
    • Eldritch – Terrifying for both the caster and enemy. Sap Sanity and tear at the mind of your enemy ignoring the mundane defenses people surround themselves with.
  • Mancies are inhuman abilities that allow seemingly normal men and women set fire to buildings, persuade even the most stubborn enemy, and move objects with their minds.

“Though the majority of citizens don’t even believe in magic, magical ability is possessed by many in the world of Acheron. Many different organizations and peoples have differing ideals concerning the use of magic. Some say it’s not real but are still cautious and hateful of anything they can’t understand while others believe in its existence but believe it is a corrupting force used for evil.”

The Races

Three “Races” inhabit the world of Acheron: Humans, Darkleechers, and Soulmenders. Each with their own pedigrees.

Humans:

  • Diverse of heredity and place of birth but largely uniform in overarching culture since the Governments rise to power.

  • Creative and curious humans have an eye constantly towards the future. 

  • Humans have many outliers and no singular direction of action unlike other pedigrees such as the Ellsons.

War Born:

  • An ancient, tribal people who manage to retain slivers of their unity even under the boot of the Government. 

  • War Born honor and express their heritage though they know little of it.

  • War is ingrained into every facet of their society from dance and storytelling to education and play. 

Grey Blood:

  • The most diverse of all great families, the Greys believe in passion. Marrying, generation after generation, to the most brilliant and ingenious minds of the age.

  • Estranged and odd compared to their counterparts, the Greys are generally seen as outsiders by the masses despite their diversity.

  • A great stain blemishes the Grey bloodline, the opening of the Breach by one of it’s once most enlightened ancestors.

Ellson House: 

  • Older than the Breach and Government, the Ellson house has stood the test of time.

  • Closed off and suspiciously similar of feature, this family has kept itself in power by controlling the majority of banking across nearly all districts in Acheron.

  • Aristocrats often thought to be stuck in a bygone age, the Ellsons play for future reward, never allowing themselves to be bogged down by today’s issues.

Gripes of the Church:

  • Gripes are children born to those in the Twin God’s clergy.

  • Raised as servants of the Church they may become priests to spread the holy word or Pariahs to protect the faithful.

  • Those among the Gripes with gender neutral features are prized and hermaphrodites honored as the highest human form of Nyx, goddess of chaos, and Darium, god of order.

Exalted:

  • Exalted were once outcasts, lepers, plague victims, outlaws, and banished. Their exile under the shadow of the Wall has twisted and mutated them for generations. Now they are barely recognizable as human in origin.

  • Often Exalted will form conclaves and extensive “families” that perform the dirty work in civilized society others shy away from. Primarily this takes the form of great executioner lineages.

  • Now, with the Reclamation Act passed, Exalted may walk city streets freely for the first time in memory and become a greater part of the society they’ve been shunned from for so long. 

Fae Darkleecher:

  • Colorful of skin and personality, Fae Darkleechers are often outgoing and boisterous which their subculture reflects.

  • Known as the most exotic Darkleechers the Fae often integrate freely into human society where invited or live among Darkleechers as artists, philosophers, and intellectuals.

  • Their natural connection with Fae magic and Line of Fate make them quite crafty and drawn to mysticism such as horoscopes and fortune tellers.

Spirit Darkleecher:

  • Spirit Darkleechers are as diverse both in looks and culture as nature itself.

  • Often these Darkleechers are known for their wisdom but are also known as feral and dangerous among many closed-minded human groups.

  • A deep connection with the natural world and spirit realm give them a great amount of empathy for all living things but can also lead to a stoic cold heartedness for humankind.

Demonic Darkleecher:

  • The most human, both in looks and culture, Demonic Darkleechers are often seen mixing freely between both Human and Darkleecher society.

  • Generally they work as businessmen, lawyers, accountants, and managers. But they are also known for propping up the Freeman family with their hard, back breaking work in factories and fields.

  • Connection with the Demonic plane has given these Darkleechers a strong constitution and that constitution has allowed them to garner a strong sense of community.

Eldritch Darkleecher:

  • The most alien of all Darkleechers, the Eldritch cousins are often positioned deep within Darkleecher society or at the fringes of Human society. Although this is often not by choice.

  • Sly and suspicious due to their connection with the Eldritch plane they also have great insight into people, places, and all things unseen by other eyes.

  • These Darkleechers see themselves as doing the dirty work others do not in many cases, acting as fixers, assassins, and smugglers. However, this is just as often not the case.

Soulmender:

  • Soulmenders are not truly a race of their own and instead are born by capturing a soul within a Soulmetal phylactery. This soul can belong to a Human or Darkleecher.

  • Once the soul is captured however, the being loses all memory of who they were and what they have done. Some skills remain but the mind is blank of all connections.

  • This blankness leads many to call Soulmenders monsters while others welcome those saved from death as dear family and friends.

“Darkleechers appeared shortly after The Breach; hundreds of thousands washed up upon the shores without any memory of where they had come from or who they were. The Human population was split on the issue of what to do with them in many places, while others chose to treat them as a pest to be eradicated. Most people thought that Darkleechers were a dark omen, marking great misfortune to come. There were riots in the streets, mass lynchings, inhumane experiments by science cults, and a wave of mass hysteria. Eventually, the Government intervened, resulting in the First Race War. This treatment molded Darklenchers to distrust, to hate, and to become more cunning than the humans who terrorized them.

Factions

The Government: The Government is run in name by the National Republic House, which consists of five representatives from each District (Anarchist or otherwise). In reality it is ruled by the Council of Thirteen, never seen but always felt. The Council influences everything though Cerberus, the heads of the Agents, National Police, and Paranormal Research division. On the whole people trust the Government in the Central Districts, however Anarchy brews everywhere, and allegiances to the Government are weak in Districts dominated by other factions. The Government would never admit openly that many place their loyalty elsewhere and does what they can to curb dissenters at every level. The Government fights against disorder, watches the Mages, chains the Mancers, and makes sure the nightmares of the world remain at its fringes.

Church of the Twin Gods: When the Martyrs gave their lives for Unity no one thought the Church of the Twin Gods would be the result. However, hundreds of years later the followers of Nyx, Goddess of Chaos, and Darium, God of Order, find themselves sharing the same roofs and working side by side to spread the teachings of the Twin Gods. These teachings are canonized in the Central Districts but more fringe Darium and Nyxian cults can be found in many townships and cities preaching radical beliefs. On the whole the Church values balance of person, where both God and Goddess have equal influence. Therefore, many within The Church try to make themselves more androgynous and hermaphrodites are praised and groomed with care by clergy.

Greys: A lineage born out of pragmatism, the Greys are a family who have become the leaders in industry, science, medicine, philosophy, art, and more. It is through marriages to the most brilliant and dedicated people, generation after generation, that this dominance has occurred. Grey’s attempt to breed with whoever is a protege in their field, no matter what that field is. For this reason, the Grey family is highly mixed in race and social origin. Even Darkleechers and Exalted have made their way into the Grey family. Pragmatic, brilliant, odd, eccentric, dedicated. All these words can be used to describe the Greys. Brutal, absentminded, and unethical are also words that describe many in the family.

Ellsons: An old family, so ancient in origin their history has been lost even to themselves. Ellsons own the majority of banks in all Districts. This gives them the finances to stay in power, even in places where they are unwanted. Generationally minded, they’ve invested in mining precious stones and metals, acquiring art and artifacts, and most recently historical research. Many branches spread out from the Ellson tree, but they all share the same trait of cold calculation that has kept them on top for centuries. They enact their power through their banks, schools of Mathematics, and Tax Collectors – persons trained since childhood to calculate risk and reward on a deadly level and see that debts are paid in gold or blood.

Freemen: The Freemen fought long and hard for their place in the world. Darkleechers who unified after several bloody wars with humanity, the Freemen hold the major crop producing Districts in Acheron. With permission from the Government of course. They value their space, preferring to live a more rural lifestyle. Art, history, and a varied culture are important to the Freemen who feel they have been suppressed for generations. Segregationists mostly, the Freemen live their lives outside the Central Districts farming, fishing, shipping, and more. This, and their innate connection to the magical planes, makes them more likely to partake in magical rituals, spirit healing, and other customs many Humans generally don’t believe in.

Historians of Galilee: An ancient cult of Historians and Researchers. They are perhaps the only group as Dogmatic about studying ancient artifacts and technology as the Greys. While the study of history was banned for generations the Historians of Galilee disobeyed, researched, discovered, and were executed for it. Now that the Reclamation Act has passed and History is open to study once more, many have joined the ranks of the Historians. Universities of all types employ their ranks as professors and researchers, many of which had never been a part of the group, at least officially, until recent years. Their dogmatism is feared by many who think history should be laid to rest, and the Church of the Twin Gods see them as a religious cult. On an individual level however, the Historians seem to want one thing above all else, truth.

Hunters Guild: Many in the world think monsters are just bedtime stories, things that people made up because of too many nights spent in the dark. But Hunters know beasts roam the world and do everything they can to fight against them. Those from all walks of life become Hunters. Many Greys, Ellsons, Servants, and Farmers have walked the same halls, hunted the same game, all without care for their previous station. Hunters keep the world safe in a way the Government attempts to, but too often fails at. Many powerful people fund the Guild or are a part of it. They operate within the law, mostly, but don’t let anyone stand in their way if a Beast needs to be slain.

Wexler Investigation Agency: A relatively new faction on the playing field. The Wexler Investigation Agency gives smaller factions the strong-arm big players have always enjoyed, for a price of course. Their ranks are ex-cops, private investigators, magicians, Mancers, and even Exalted. The pay is good and morals loose. While they would never admit it, the Wexlers deal in death just as much as security and investigation. However, many of their rank still have clean hands and those who don’t get lost in the crowd, buried in bureaucratic anonymity and red tape only Government Agents can cut through with ease.

Game Size and Content

  • Acheron’s Core Rulebook aims to be an all-encompassing package.
    • This includes what would normally be found in a “Players Handbook”
    • What would normally be found in a “Game Masters Guide”
    • And what would normally be found in a “Bestiary”
    • A dozen pre-generated characters
    • And at least one Module and game hooks to get players started.
    • We would like to include more extensive expansions in the future but are focused on making a complete package out of our core rule book.
  • We also aim to deliver gorgeous character art, environmental art, and maps.
  • In addition to all the above content we have a list of extensive, optional rule which can increase and decrease the difficulty of different aspects of the game according to what Game Masters and Players prefer.
  • In the same vein, we have done our best to make sure different mechanics, such as Magic and Mancies, could be cut away completely while still allowing Players and Game Masters a complete experience. We did this because we know many like to play games in their own worlds and while the setting is ingrained with our systems, we also wanted to make our systems portable.

Types of Games Acheron is Suited For

  • Acheron, as mentioned above, is a mature game. This is due to the themes that are in the world. However, we also focus on fun and think a lot of different game types can be enjoyed by players in our world.
  • Adventure: History is open to rediscovery! This opens a lot of doors for daring, Indiana Jones like adventures where you’re trying to beat other groups, or even whole factions, to the punch.
  • Mystery: Magic, Mancies, and even typical abilities lead to many options for mysteries. We have ghosts, artifacts, monsters, murders, organized crime! If it can be investigated, we have it covered.
    • On this note our abilities, monsters, magics, etc. can all be mistaken for others by design. This makes it necessary for players to investigate even if it’s a quest as simple as “a monster is terrorizing this village.”
  • Horror: There are a lot of different settings and creatures in the world. Many cults and madmen. Horror of almost any type can be played in Acheron and the Sanity system, we believe, does a good job of allowing whole campaigns to be Horror based with little to no combat.
  • Thriller/Spy: With the many factions, abilities, and roleplay options in Acheron we think that thriller and spy games are a great fit! While PvP is not necessarily promoted in our system we do keep it in mind while balancing so double or triple crosses can happen while playing games where factions are at war, even if the war is cold.

Kickstarter Link – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/acheronrpg/acheron-a-grimpunk-tabletop-rpg

About Dark World Studios

Dark World Studios is an independent game developer with a small core team of three individuals. We are a Biologist, Engineer, and Anthropologist. Our backgrounds inform the worlds and systems we create. We also have a support network that includes several artists/play testers with their own informative backgrounds such as ex-military and geology. While Acheron is our first major project, we’ve had experience designing other, forever unknown worlds and systems, both independently and together. It is our hope to deliver an intriguing and fresh experience to both new players and veterans alike.

PRESS RELEASE: Get Spooky this Halloween, back the Gruesome Ghoulies™ RPG Kickstarter

Concord, CA — October 1, 2020 – Randy Angle launches the Gruesome Ghoulies™ RPG Kickstart campaign, visit www.gruesomeghoulies.com. Gruesome Ghoulies™ is the spooky tabletop role-playing game of cartoon hijinks. Be a ghoul. Solve mysteries. Drive a hot rod. Play in a rock & roll band. Inspired by the cartoons and kid’s sitcoms popular in the 1960s and 1970s.

Originally a one-page RPG submission for a gamejam on Itch.io, this 64+ page version will have more gameplay, adventures, and spooky artwork and only possible with the support of Kickstarter backers. You can play the FREE one-page RPG version this Halloween – link on the Kickstarter page

This funny, non-violent game of slapstick cartoon hijinks uses a fast resolution system called, VERSES ROLL. It is easy to generate a new ghoulie character and be playing in a schtick (a cartoony adventure) in minutes. This makes Gruesome Ghoulies™ RPG the perfect holiday one-shot game, pick-up game when a party member is missing, or for convention fun.

About Randy Angle

Randy Angle, the Grand Poobah of Hoppsbusch, is a game designer and imagineer on over 100 video games, toys, and tabletop role-playing games. In a career spanning more than 40-years and working on brands like: Star Trek: The Next Generation, Top Gun, LEGO, Lord of the Rings, Dungeons & Dragons, Nicktoons, CLUE, SpongeBob, Scooby Doo, Zorro, Deal or No Deal, 1 vs 100 and many original titles. Hoppsbusch was founded 37-years ago and is Randy’s self-publishing business where he makes tabletop RPGs that are SMAFF: Smaller, Faster, and Funnier. For more information please visit www.hoppsbusch.com.

PRESS RELEASE: Andrews McMeel Publishing Launches Flames of Freedom Kickstarter Campaign

Kansas City, MO (October 5, 2020) – Andrews McMeel Publishing (AMP) announces the launch of a Kickstarter campaign for Flames of Freedom:  Grim & Perilous RPGeffective October 5 – November 4, 2020. Backers of the campaign will have the opportunity to gain early access to game material, play in their own quickstart scenario, and contribute to Flames of Freedom custom incentives.  An American Gothic horror role-playing game, Flames of Freedom is powered by ZWEIHÄNDER RPG.

“We are excited to be a part of this collaborative venture, with Daniel D. Fox leading an exceptional, diverse team of developers to bring Flames of Freedom to life,” said Kirsty Melville, president and publisher of AMP.  “The Kickstarter campaign will enable us to enhance the immersive experience, generate engagement and excitement with players, and augment the experience beyond the publication of the book, slated for release in August 2021.”

Flames of Freedom is set at the dawn of the American Revolutionary War of 1776, as a tangled web of conspiracy spans North America. In the war for survival, creed, color, culture or gender do not matter – all stand together – as the Rebels take up arms against the British Empire. But even as the Revolution has begun, something far more mysterious is brewing in this treacherous world.

Agents of the occult entreat both the Continental Army and Loyalist Red Coats. Freemasons conspire in the City of Brotherly Love. Maryland is in the throes of a witch hunt by the Knights Templar. Amid the chaos, other grim fairy tales have emerged populated by witches, devils, ghouls, and an ancient enemy seeking to consume all.  In this land, players’ grim & perilous tale hangs in the balance – to conquer – or be conquered.

Thoroughly researched by Richard Iorio and enhanced by an exemplary development team led by Fox, Flames of Freedom explores a range of cultures beyond traditional European influences of early America. With considerable attention and diligence, the game was designed, developed and produced by a multicultural team of diverse identities, beliefs and orientation, with Black cultural consultants, Indigenous writers of the nations represented in the work, and RPG safety and trauma experts contributing to its creation.

About Andrews McMeel Publishing
Andrews McMeel Publishing is a division of Andrews McMeel Universal, a global, independent and integrated media partner to creators of inspirational content, comics, and illustrated humor. It distributes creator content through global syndication; book, calendar and greeting card publishing; digital consumer experiences; and entertainment licensing.  For more information, please visit andrewsmcmeel.com.

Interview with Wishful Thinking’s Jack Raines

A little while back I ran across a comic on Kickstarter that just spoke to me: Wishful Thinking. The story was about a ex-Genie who becomes a wish consultant. That Kickstarter went on to fund, and now Wishful Thinking is back with their second issue on Kickstarter.

Jack was kind enough to take a few minutes and let me pester him with questions.

At what point did you sit down and think “I want to be a comic writer?”?
When I was a senior in high school I finally got my license. It was during the same year I learned my small southern town had a comic shop! I hadn’t read a comic in years, at the time I was more interested in manga just cause it was more available online at the time. So when I stepped into my LCS for the first time I was greeted with a wealth of cape comics (superhero comics are my FAVORITE), most notably Mark Waid’s Daredevil, Scott Snyders Batman, and Matt Fractions Hawkeye. Their ability to weave imagery with narrative made it hard to put those books down. When I learned Scott Snyder would be in Charolette for HeroesCon I just had to go.
There I met so many creators both professional and independent that were more welcoming than I could believe. Everyone was so down to Earth and there to showcase/talk about what they loved. It was then I learned that anyone could be in this business, and that’s when I started practicing turning my story ideas into comic form.
I’m a big fan of all those comics, too! And Mark Waid’s run on The Flash is by far and away my favorite run on the character. Who inspires you? Or do you have a favorite writer/artist or creator?
Scott Snyder has been both my favorite creator and biggest inspiration. Everything connects in these wild stories he puts out in such a complete way, all while being a total class act with his readers!
How do you manage your daily/family life with your creative work? Is this your 9 to 5 or is this your 10 to 2?
It’s hard, especially now that I’ve started working 3rd shift and going to school. My biggest key to success is writing down a list of things to do each day. I try to go for 4 things max, and plan my week accordingly. I have a white board next to my desk for this purpose. If it’s been written down I get a sense of satisfaction from crossing it out, and it keeps me from feeling overwhelmed. Doubt I could do what I do without a calendar of some sorts!
I do much the same thing with my to do tasks, but sadly the thing that probably is the hardest to figure out is promotion. It’s often difficult to get word out about independent comics. What do you do to market and promote your books? Anything work really well or really poorly?
Social media is tough for me. I’m moreso a lurker than anything else so it’s been a challenge getting myself out there. So far my biggest success social media-wise has been on Instagram, but even then it’s hard to fight against the algorithm to get the word out there. My mailing list has been the best and my most favorite way to connect with readers. It feels more personal which allows me to write more about what these projects mean to me as well as what I’m up to.
What’s your process look like when you’re writing? Do you go with the full outline? Or are you a fly by the seat of your pants type?
Little of column A and a little of column B. Often my story can change depending on how the pages look. I like leaving character appearance to the artist’s discretion. I’ll write about their personality and demeanor, then it’ll be up to Trigo to handle the rest. When seeing how he frames each panel and designs these characters I find new avenues to take the story. So even if I am a few issues ahead I usually end up rewriting it by the time we get there.  The collaboration between my crew (Carlos, Ester, and Justin) makes writing fresh and exciting!

Wishful Thinking Issue 2, Page 1

I love the idea of Wishful Thinking! What inspired you to write Wishful Thinking?
Thank you! I was introduced to urban fantasy through The Dresden Files. It’s really fun to think of how fantasy creatures would interact with our society. I knew that I wanted my story to be under the same genre, but didn’t know the specifics.
I then began thinking about what I wanted to write about. What kind of feeling did I want to convey? During the time of Wishful Thinkings’ inception, I was around 23, working as a custodian, and not having a solid idea of how I wanted to tackle my goals. I didn’t have much of a grasp on myself either, so the thing I wanted to write about most was identity. It was something everyone struggles with, and I wanted to personify that conflict through comic form.
Around that time I caught wind of a 6-page story contest. The top 3 would get looked at by an editor from some indie publisher (it’s been too long I can’t remember!). I’m not entirely sure what I was looking at when I came up with this, but I remember thinking of how if a djinn was a human it’d be Jim. Why would a genie need a human name? Well, I guess if he wasn’t a genie anymore. What would he do if he wasn’t a genie? Probably the only thing he knows how to do, help with wishes. When I told my buddy this he gave me the name for Jim’s business, Wishful Thinking, and the rest was history.
What’s been the reaction to the book?
So far I’ve heard nothing but compliments!  This project has been in development for 3 years, and seeing that work pay off in the form of satisfied readers has been a blessing. It makes all the stress worth it lemme tell ya! This issue dives more into the fantasy side of things and is a bit of a bigger story than the first one. Very curious on how it’ll be received!
Are there themes and/or subjects you find yourself drawn to again and again in your work?
Definitely identity, as it’s still something I’m figuring out.  It’s a thing everyone must go through on their own, and can only be found with complete honesty of one’s self. I think Wishful Thinking and my webcomic, Spectre Protector (illustrated by Sarah Burgess) talk of different methods of searching for that identity.
You ran your first Kickstarter for issue #1 and funded. I’m interested in the idea that you weren’t using the Kickstarter to fund the comic but instead used it to “introduce” yourself to the greater comic community. Do you feel like you succeeded in that goal?
Yes, I believe it did a good job. It definitely exceeded my expectations for my first Kickstarter! I tried to play it as safe as possible so that I can just get used to running a campaign.
I intend to carry that energy through future Kickstarters. In my opinion, it’s only to fair to fund as much of the book myself before going to Kickstarter. I want you to know this is a story I believe is worth telling! It also helps speed up the fulfillment process which is a plus.

Wishful Thinking Issue 2, Page 2

I’ve found that the difference between having the book done or still waiting on the book to finish after the Kickstarter can be stressful, so I’m going to try and have any future issues done before then. Now that you’ve just launched your second issue on Kickstarter, what have you learned about the process of Kickstarter? Something that afterward you “wished” you knew?
The biggest thing I learned was the process of shipping these books out. I haven’t heard any complaints about damages or packages that never showed up so I’m glad all was well on that front. It was pretty nerve-wracking, but now that I’ve done it once I feel more comfortable with all that’s involved in shipping, and now that I know all the steps I can better plan out how to go about them without any need for stressful crunch time.
What’s the overall plan with Wishful Thinking? Do you have an overall target for the number of issues?
I’m shooting for 7 issues, each one being roughly 32-36 pages long. I have other stories to tell in this world, and if it continues to gain support I wouldn’t mind diving into that. For now though 7 issues is the plan!
Comics is an amazing collaborative medium. Tell me a little about working with Carlos Trigo, the artist on Wishful Thinking.
He’s been amazing throughout the whole process! I tend to give my artists a lot of space in the design department (the only character I’ve been picky on is Jim), and he’s given new light to each character he touches. For instance, the bank teller in this story doesn’t have a name. I just refer to her as Teller given that she’s just a side character. Actually, she used to be a he until Carlos suggested otherwise. After seeing what he’s done with the teller and how her personality comes alive in the panels I was inspired to write her a bigger role in the next issue! His experience has helped greatly when it came to refining how I structure my panels. I feel with each new issue I grow a bit more as a writer thanks to his, Ester, and Justins collaborative efforts.
If you could go back in time ten years, what advice might you have for your younger self? Something you wish you knew?
Honestly, I don’t have anything to tell 16-year-old Jack. Maybe ask if we can switch places? All he had to do was play video games and go to school. No bills no nothin…lucky dog.
Anything else that you’d like people to know about you (Hobbies? Passions? Favorite TV Show)?
Unfortunately, I don’t have much time for them now, but I do really love fighting games. That community has the same vibe as comics. I ran an online tournament with a friend called Bapmasters and met so many cool people! That lead me to go to Chicago to see a tournament live, it was an amazing experience. I’m not too good at them (yet) but I love figuring them out.
Other than that I’m into the gym and hiking. Both are great ways to clear my head. I would recommend either of them to anyone going through a tough time right now. I promise getting your body moving will provide some excellent mental results! Especially when you see physical improvements.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Where’s the best place to find out more about Wishful Thinking and maybe any other projects you have in the pipeline?
The best place would be my email list! During campaign times I try to post once a week. Non-campaign times every other week. That’s if you want to see progress on my work. If you just want to chat with me feel free to find me on twitter @mysticmike8 or instagram @zach_brains.
I have a webcomic that’s free to read titled Spectre Protector. It’s about a ghost named Vera accidentally becoming the superpowers to a high schooler named Liam. Link is below!
Jack Raines is a comic book writer based in Greenville SC. When he’s not writing stories such as Wishful Thinking or Spectre Protector, you can find him writing mile-long notes trying to understand networking.
***
Thanks again, Jack! You can check out Jack Raines latest Kickstarter for Wishful Thinking #2 right here!

Variant Cover by artists Ted Brandt (@ten_bandits) and Ro Stein(RoStein404)

***
Also, just a reminder that my newest book, The Echo Effect is newly released and only $0.99 for the first week! Check it out here!
***

John McGuire is writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Click here to join John’s mailing list and receive preview chapters of upcoming novels, behind the scenes looks at new comics, and free short stories.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow EmpireBeyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

PRESS RELEASE: Introducing ‘SHIVER’ by Parable Games

PARABLE GAMES MEDIA ALERT

Introducing ‘SHIVER’ by Parable Games

WHO: Parable Games, a newly established publisher established by brothers Charlie and Barney Menzies.

PRICE:

Shiver: Core Rulebook – $40 / €35 / £30

Shiver: Tales of the Shiververse – $25 / €22.5 / £20

Shiver: Dice Pack – $20 / €17.5 / £15

Shiver: Art Book – $20 / €17.5 / £15

Shiver: Directors Screen – $20 / €17.5 / £15

WHAT:

SHIVER is launching on Kickstarter October 27th.

SHIVER takes inspiration from Horror and Pulp movies and TV shows to lets players bring their very own cult classic to the tabletop. Put together your cast of characters and delve into your favourite worlds and settings. SHIVER is the perfect sandbox where you can play stories in any time, any place, and as anyone.

SHIVER uses a unique symbolic dice system and stripped back rule set alongside familiar stories and settings to make it the perfect tabletop RPG for new players to get to grips with role playing games without losing any of the depth to give experienced players something to really sink their teeth into.

Shiver Core Book Overview

The SHIVER Core Book is a beautiful hardback tome containing 192 full colour pages jam packed with gorgeous art and rules for characters, enemies, items and everything you could need to tell strange stories in the Shiververse. It is a comprehensive guide for both players and Directors (Game Masters).

The Cursed Library Overview:

The Cursed Library is a gorgeous A4 hardcover volume with even more stunning illustrations to set player’s imaginations going. This book contains pre-generated stories for players to delve into as well as more monsters, items and details about the worlds of Shiver. This book also houses all the unlocked content from Kickstarter in one simple place with it’s own unique cover.

Shiver: Dice Pack Overview:

Shiver uses a unique symbolic dice system which removes all that tedious number crunching to keep players immersed in the game. The Shiver Dice pack contains:

– 10 Skill Dice – Black D6 with coloured faces for each core skill in SHIVER

– 4 Talent Dice – Cream D8s with Talent and Strange symbols

Shiver: Art Book:

A look into the art behind the worlds of SHIVER including comments by the artist on the development of some of the pieces in the book as well as some pieces that are exclusively in the art book.

Shiver Director Screen:

A imposing 3 panel screen with a full art cover on the player facing side and all of the information and quick references you could want on the side of the Director to make running games even easier.

Quickstart Overview:

“Cornwell Consolidated, tech giant, world leader in scientific research, has the resources and wealth to make dreams come true. Medicine, technology, weapons, robotics, they dominate in all fields. Getting to be the best though is a tricky business and the company is rife with secrecy. Their base of operations echoing this, a source of their success, the well spring of ideas. The Hollow.

Deep underground, the Hollow is hidden from prying eyes, its location a well guarded subterranean secret where the bulk of the company’s research takes place. Scientists, engineers, chemists and many other great minds are buried deep in their work, toiling towards a better future. Mostly. Some secrets are more secret than others and the company hierarchy fiercely enforces this.

Which brings us to you, the players. Some employees are high fliers, some are getting by, you however are at the bottom of the barrel. The Rock Bottoms, aptly named as your base of operations in the lowest depths of the Hollow. From dead end experiments to sanitation, this is where careers go to die. Some have accepted their fate and continue to work away whilst others still try to climb the corporate ladder to the higher levels.

The lower levels receive the least funding and care which is what has led to the current situation. Something terrible has gone wrong on the upper floors, an experiment gone awry, something the company doesn’t want getting out. The Rock Bottomers, however, have no idea this has happened, as the alarm system is out of order and not been fixed in some time. The upper floors are evacuated, something has been unleashed, and it’s time for the Rock Bottomers to climb that corporate ladder to survive.”

Author Details

Written and designed by Charlie Menzies and Barney Menzies Art by Ben Alexander

WHEN: Launching October 27, 2020 on Kickstarter

MORE INFO:

Our Website – https://shiverrpg.com/

Our Kickstarter pre launch page – https://pxlme.me/1XuNUOSa

Our Quickstart Guide download – https://pxlme.me/Q80KX3Cb

Our Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ShiverRPG

Instagram – @shiverrpg

Twitter – @GamesParable

PRESS RELEASE: WYVERN GAMING TO LAUNCH KICKSTARTER FOR STARGATE ROLEPLAYING GAME INSPIRED BY HIT TELEVISION SERIES, SG-1 TM

WYVERN GAMING TO LAUNCH KICKSTARTER FOR STARGATE ROLEPLAYING GAME

INSPIRED BY HIT TELEVISION SERIES, SG-1TM

Kickstarter to Launch, with Product Release to Follow at Wonder Con 2021

“Things will not calm down, Daniel Jackson. They will in fact calm up.” – Teal’c

September 15, 2020 —

With a Kickstarter campaign launching soon, things will certainly “calm up” for the new Stargate Roleplaying Game in development from Wyvern Gaming and Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM).

MGM, a leading entertainment company focused on the production and global distribution of film and television content including major franchises such as Rocky, James Bond, Fargo, Vikings, The Handmaid’s Tale and Pink Panther, and game design company Wyvern Gaming are collaborating on a new tabletop roleplaying game based on the popular Stargate SG-1™ TV series.

Fans will have the opportunity to become early backers of the project and provide direct feedback to its development with the launch of the Kickstarter campaign on October 6, 2020 at 2:00 PM UTC. The game has been in public playtest since February and will remain so through the Kickstarter campaign, allowing fans to help polish the game mechanics and story along the way. The finished product will launch and be available to the public in April at Wonder Con 2021.

Brad Ellis, CEO at Wyvern Gaming, said, “As fans of the Stargate franchise, we want to make the best Stargate Roleplaying game possible. That is why it is important for us to include the fans in the development process with Kickstarter as the feedback engine. It is a game for the fans, so it is critical that we get their input in its development.”

In the new Stargate Roleplaying Game, players will explore the galaxy and aid in the fight against the Goa’uld System Lords. The core rulebook will contain all the information needed to create a character and join the Stargate Command (SGC). Players will choose from a set of playable races and classes as they learn the skills, feats, equipment, and technologies needed to make their character thrive as an SG team member as they complete Stargate Missions. The book also covers being a Gatemaster (GM). With the players, GMs steer the story and the non-player characters that interact with the player characters. Players may be asked to capture a point of interest, explore new worlds, retrieve important artifacts, rescue important VIPs, or capture high-value targets.

In addition to the Stargate RPG Core Rulebook, Wyvern Gaming has launched the “Stargate: Phoenix – A Living RPG Series,” a living campaign with additional “Episodes” to expand play with the Stargate RPG Core Rulebook. In these Episodes, your character will live inside a Stargate canon universe series called “Stargate: Phoenix.” Your success and failures will shape the story that plays out over a course of a “Season” of Episodes released over a year, culminating at Gen Con 2021!

For updates on the Stargate Roleplaying Game, sign up at https://stargatetherpg.com/

MGM’s licensing agency, Brandgenuity, is managing the development and roll out of the Stargate licensing program and brokered the agreement between Wyvern Gaming and MGM.

Beyond the Stargate Roleplaying Game, MGM and Brandgenuity continue to grow the Stargate SG-1 licensing program, including an upcoming fan convention from Creation Entertainment and collectible figures from Chronicle Collectibles.

Stargate SG-1 the television series, produced by MGM Television, picks up where the blockbuster film left off. Colonel Jack O’Neill (RICHARD DEAN ANDERSON) and his SG-1 team; Daniel Jackson (MICHAEL SHANKS), Teal’c (CHRISTOPHER JUDGE), and Capt. Samantha Carter (AMANDA TAPPING), set out to explore the mysteries of the Stargate. Each mission through the gate takes the SG-1 team to new worlds in a seemingly boundless universe.


About Wyvern Gaming

Wyvern Gaming is a game design company whose mission is to create “Approachable Games For Everyone.” The company has been producing games since 2015 and have a track record of producing easy to learn card and board games for the hobby game industry. We have the drive to build games that people can enjoy. We love gaming of all types, everything from tabletop role-playing games to 3D virtual reality shooters. Our hopes are to turn our passion into a few gaming classics. For more information, visit wyverngaming.com

RPG Geek: https://rpggeek.com/rpgitem/279302/stargate-roleplaying-game
Wyvern Gaming website: http://wyverngaming.com/
Stargate Roleplaying Game website: https://stargatetherpg.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WyvernGaming.TableTop/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WyvrenGaming

About Metro Goldwyn Mayer

Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) is a leading entertainment company focused on the production and global distribution of film and television content across all platforms. The company owns one of the world’s deepest libraries of premium film and television content as well as the premium pay television network EPIX, which is available throughout the U.S. via cable, satellite, telco and digital distributors.  In addition, MGM has investments in numerous other television channels, digital platforms and interactive ventures and is producing premium short-form content for distribution. For more information, visit www.mgm.com.

About Brandgenuity

Brandgenuity is a leading global independent brand licensing agency headquartered in New York, with offices in London, Munich and Hong Kong and ranked amongst the top 15 licensing agencies worldwide. The agency’s clients include BMW, Church & Dwight (ARM & HAMMER), White Castle, Edgewell (Edge, Banana Boat, Hawaiian Tropic, Playtex), Carmen Sandiego, MGM Studios (The Addams Family, Rocky, Pink Panther, Stargate), ABI (Budweiser, Corona), NFLPA, and others. For more information, contact info@brandgenuity.com.

Press Release: Kickstarter for Twilight: 2000 by Free League Funded in Seven Minutes

Free League Publishing

Free League Publishing logotype

 

Kickstarter for Twilight: 2000 by Free League Funded in Seven Minutes

Free League Publishing – Aug 12, 2020 14:19 BST

 

The Kickstarter for the edition of the classic roleplaying game Twilight: 2000 was launched today by Free League Publishing. The new retro-apocalyptic edition goes back to the roots of the franchise with a boxed set for sandbox roleplaying in the devastation of the World War III That Never Was. The Kickstarter reached its base funding goal in just seven minutes.

A classic roleplaying game returns. The new edition of Twilight: 2000, published in partnership with Game Designers’ Workshop (GDW) and Amargosa Press, will be the fourth in the series, the first being released by GDW in 1984. Just like the original version, the new edition is set in a year 2000 devastated by war – now in an alternate timeline where the Moscow Coup of 1991 succeeded and the Soviet Union never collapsed.

In the game, players take roles of survivors in the aftermath of World War III – soldiers or civilians. Their goal, beyond surviving for another day, can be to find a way back home, to carve out their own fiefdom where they are, to find out more about the mysterious Operation Reset, and maybe, just maybe, make the world a little bit better again.

The core gameplay uses a “hexcrawling” system established in the post-apocalyptic Mutant: Year Zero and survival fantasy Forbidden Lands RPGs (both Silver ENNIE winners for Best Rules, in 2015 and 2019), developing it further to fit the gritty world of Twilight: 2000. The core rules are built on the Year Zero Engine used in those games (as well as in the ALIEN RPG, winner of the Gold ENNIE for Best Game 2020), but heavily adapted to fit Twilight: 2000 and its focus on gear and gritty realism.

[Link to the Kickstarter.]

Free League Publishing is a Swedish publisher dedicated to speculative fiction. We have published a range of award-winning tabletop role-playing games and critically acclaimed art books set in strange and wondrous worlds.

Our game range include the alternate ’80s Tales from the Loop (winner of five ENNIE Awards 2017, including Best Game), sandbox retro fantasy Forbidden Lands (winner of four ENNIE Awards 2019), postapocalyptic Mutant: Year Zero (Silver ENNIE for Best Rules 2015), space opera Coriolis – The Third Horizon (Judge’s Spotlight Award 2017), dark fantasy Symbaroum, and the official ALIEN RPG (winner of the Gold ENNIE for Best Game 2020).

We have also published the art books Tales from the Loop and Things from the Flood  by visual artist Simon Stålenhag, as well as the illustrated edition of the Lovecraft classic The Call of Cthulhu by French artist François Baranger.

Website: www.freeleaguepublishing.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/FriaLigan
Instagram: http://instagram.com/frialigan/
Youtube: www.youtube.com/c/FrialiganSe
Twitter: http://twitter.com/FriaLigan

PRESS RELEASE – Token Terrors: An Uncontainable Gaming Experience

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Token Terrors: An Uncontainable Gaming Experience

New game featuring multi-use miniatures to launch on Kickstarter

JULY 9, 2020, BALTIMORE, MD – A new board game that doubles as a source of collectible gaming miniatures is set to launch a Kickstarter campaign on July 21st. Token Terrors: Battlegrounds, the first gaming creation by Baltimore artist John de Campos and Terrible Games, is a fantasy-themed one-versus-one strategy war game featuring detailed figures that can be used in other tabletop games such as Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons.

The initial Token Terrors: Battlegrounds line will include miniature goblins, soldiers, zombies, wyverns, elves, and flying machines – made by manufacturing company Gameland Importing & Exporting Co., Ltd. – each with their own unique abilities and strategies. Copies of the game, which will come with two of the factions in sets of ten, are $45 for Kickstarter supporters.

Unlike other miniature-heavy tabletop games, Token Terrors are intended to be used outside of the core Battleground experience as minions for other RPGs or as more immersive tokens for trading card games, particularly Magic: The Gathering. The factions for the initial run were chosen specifically due to their popularity in token generation Magic: The Gathering decks.

“I’ve been playing tabletop games and RPGs for many, many years, and I’ve always loved the mechanics of summoning minions and token creatures, but I always felt like the available offerings for representing them on the battlefield were lacking,” said Token Terrors creator John DeCampos. “They were either too expensive or too cheap, so I’m hopeful that Token Terrors will fill a niche for people like me.”

The Battlegrounds game has been diligently playtested by hundreds of people over the last three years at gaming events and conventions such as MAGFest and PAX East and has a rich background of lore and vivid artwork created entirely by de Campos and the Token Terrors Games team. Following a successful Kickstarter launch, there are future plans of a seasonal model that will move on to new factions making older seasons more desirable as collectibles.

Token Terrors: Battlegrounds launches on Kickstarter July 21st for a pledge of $45, and will retail for the same price following a successful campaign. For more information visit www.tokenterrors.com where you will find a mailing list signup for regular updates as well as lore backgrounds and additional game information.

About Token Terrors: Battlegrounds

Created by John de Campos and the team at Terrible Games, Token Terrors: Battlegrounds is a 1v1 game that has been in development for more than three years. Enriched by robust lore and artwork created entirely by the Terrible Games team, Token Terrors is built on established gaming practices as well as innovative and exciting new mechanics, while also providing a series of detailed, sturdy miniatures made by Gameland Importing & Exporting Co., Ltd. with countless applications in other tabletop games. Through strategic choices, well-timed attacks and smart use of each Token, players will alternate commanding their forces and attempt to outmaneuver and outwit their opponent until one player destroys all of the other player’s Tokens, reigning victorious.

Number of players: 2

Time Required: 30 – 45 minutes

Recommended Ages: 12+

Token Terrors Website: www.tokenterrors.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/tokenterrors

Twitter: @TokenTerrors

Instagram: @tokenterrors

Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tokenterrors/token-terrors-battlegrounds

 

Reviews:

The Hungry Gamer – https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2440590/hungry-gamer-previews-token-terrors-battleground

 

Media:

Capitalist.io – https://capitalist.io/token-terrors-kickstarter/

Drop the Spotlight Podcast – https://dropthespotlight.com/21603-2/

On Table Top Preview – https://www.beastsofwar.com/board-games/top-table-token-terrors/

Kickstarters and Good Intentions

Art by Larry Elmore

At the beginning of last year, I was body-snatched and convinced that doing something for the Kickstarter Zine promotion was a good idea by Egg Embry (of this very site among many others). Actually, it was an opportunity to dip my toe into the Roleplaying world that I’ve often thought about over the years. In fact, if you go all the way back to high school, the very first thing I ever submitted to anything was to Dragon Magazine, which was THE Dungeons and Dragons magazine. I read it every month. Anytime my parents happened by a bookstore, I’d search for the latest issue and read and reread them until the covers fell off (literally in some cases).

For those who may not know, Dragon would contain articles about the game. Sometimes this came in the form of how-to-play certain situations that might make an appearance in the game. Other times it was additional weapons or spells that your character might be able to gain access to in your own campaign.

It was in that vein that I decided to make one of my senior independent study class’s goals to write and submit an article to Dragon Magazine.

Now, that class was the biggest blow-off class (I’ll need a whole other post to talk about the goings-on in that class over the course of a year) and a perfect thing for my senior year. But this was something I was passionate about. I spent time crafting my article, which focused on a series of magic spells inspired by one of my characters. Without getting too much in the weeds, I thought the spells had promise and offered a different way to play the game.

Sadly, I received a rejection piece as my response (which I still have upstairs somewhere). And while I wasn’t crushed or anything, I was disappointed. It certainly felt like the ability to get anything potentially published was beyond a longshot.

(Later, after a few years passed, I stumbled upon the file and realized immediately why it had been rejected. There just wasn’t enough meat.)

Which brings me to last year’s Kickstarter: Love’s Labour Liberated. It was a 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons focused Zine around the idea of Chivalry and Enchantment… Love would guide us.

They say that every campaign you run, you should look to learn from. They also say (whoever “they” might be) that it is easier to learn from your failures than your successes. When I ran the Gilded Age Kickstarter, I was definitely learning on the fly. But overall, I was happy with the way the campaign went. The bigger problems came in dealing with the printers and the end of the year holidays. With Liberated, there were a number of things I’ve learned:

Have a clear assignment of roles and duties in regard to the project.

With comics, I’m the writer. I know what it is I’m supposed to be doing. With the Zine, we had 3 writers and once the other 2 had called “dibs” on a couple of things, I was left wondering how best to contribute to the Zine. We all kinda had a “we’ll figure it out as we go along”, but I believe that only caused us to delay things needing to be done.

Have milestones set up for the project even as you are crafting the Kickstarter.

We had our big due date for sending the finished product out (about 5 months), but we didn’t sit down and break down exactly how long we might need for a particular task. This meant that there wasn’t much in the way of check-ins by any of us… which led to the approaching deadline and not nearly enough done on things.

Just because you have time, doesn’t mean you have all the time.

This ties into the above. I think we all thought that 5 months was more than enough time to get everything done. Heck, between the 3 of us, that will be extra time. Maybe we’ll get this thing done early. Yeah, about that.

Communication is key.

Not saying that anyone should look to be late in delivering their projects, but I think Egg has done a decent job of keeping the backers updated. We’ve had a couple of hiccups here and there, but generally the backers get an update every 2 weeks. Sadly, for a long while, most of the updates were “we’re working on it, but we’re behind”.

This is more a personal one, but I think I want to have the Thing completely done before doing my next Kickstarter. There is a stress level that builds the later things go, and I know that with Gilded Age, that part wasn’t as much a concern. The only thing I had left to do was the overall layout and get the book printed. For my next comic Kickstarter, I’m going to basically send to the printers as soon as the thing ends. No delays!

We’re in the process of finishing the Liberated Zine project up. Last week we sent out an artless draft – basically all the meat of the new “stuff”, but not prettied up. This past weekend I mocked up the Zine and would legitimately say we’re 95% done. And I’m very proud of the work we all put into it. I think it will be a good representation of our work.

It just took a bit longer than we would have liked.

***

John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. The Trade paperback collecting the first 4 issues is finally back from the printers! If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Want to read the first issue for free? Click here! Already read it and eager for more?

Click here to join John’s mailing list.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow EmpireBeyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

Press Release: Light Strikers RPG – A Sci-fi/Fantasy Super Hero Story game with a brand new setting & rules system!

IMG_1580 copy.png

“It’s fun, positive and truly heroic!”

What is a multi-platform tabletop roleplaying game?

Light Strikers is a multi-platform TTRPG that mashes up fantasy, novels, retro cartoons, anime, jrpgs & superhero comics into an original synthesis. From its inception, it’s designed to exist within a collection of rulebooks, battlebooks, novelettes, comics, anime, and more.

The setting:

In the world of Adamah, you’ll be a Light Striker super hero for the Altasharon Kingdom. Adamah blends sci-fi and fantasy into an awesome anachronistic landscape. Everything epic you’ve ever dreamed of exists here in some form, with a Light Striker twist. Yet there are so many surprises in store that you’d never expect. You’ll find mystical treasures, enchanted areas, transforming robots, mythic beasts, supernatural powers, evil monsters, and wicked villains. This place will be your other home. You will make fond memories as you enjoy your stay, and protect it from harm. The stories that take place vary between heroic battles, drama, politics, romance, whimsical fairytales, horror, intriguing mysteries, and legendary adventures. With your powers and position, your choice always matters. It will affect others and the world around you.

“Get ready to unleash your Spiritus powers and become a Light Striker. Fight to uphold love, equality, peace & beauty!”

About the gameplay:

Utilizing the customizable Clash system, you can start playing right away with a rules-lite version. You can always add more rules and powers, or play with the entire rules set straight away. All that’s required are at least two 6 sided dice for the rules lite version. Add a full set of polyhedral dice for the complete version.

To play:

You simply describe what you want to do, as your character, in Adamah. Talk to other players and characters, ask questions about what is around you. You can act out what your character says, or simply state it. Next, the game referee/narrator (Sage Commander, who controls the game elements, scenes, and plot points) responds to you. They provide more details, and describe how other characters interact and reply to you. They might ask you to roll dice to determine the outcome of your action, and will explain what happens with the results.

The lore and world-building support an endless campaign. Develop your characters and their stories along with the Sage Commander. You’ll enjoy plenty of ways to roleplay. Your hero will interact with a rich world filled with distinct allies, villains, races, factions, and monsters.

The combat is fast and fun. Keep it simple with the rules-lite mechanics. Or, use all the powers, abilities and options for more skirmish and tactical play. You can even set up your game session to be like a traditional dungeon-crawl and boardgame. Explore, fight monsters and enemies, collect treasures and enjoy the thrill of combat. You’ll love playing in the wondrous world of Adamah as a Light Striker!

“This RPG is configurable in multiple ways for adults, kids and teens of all backgrounds.”

LS sword.png

Launching this summer on Kickstarter, you’ll have the opportunity to support & be part of our origins with:

The Academy Pack

This includes the 1st edition core-rulebook, an introductory battlebook, and a novelette immersing you with everything you need to play!

Be prepared to enter the Light Striker Academy in the world of Adamah, and become a true super hero for the Altasharon Kingdom.

For more info, check out Light Strikers on Kickstarter and join the adventure! Clash

Press Release: Inn between Worlds Kickstarter

“Inn between Worlds” Kickstarter goes Live

Murchison, TX – Texas in August Studio is pleased to announce the launch of a Kickstarter for Inn between Worlds, an RPG supplement book.

The Kickstarter may be found here; http://kck.st/3e90QoT

The Inn between Worlds is an RPG supplement which explores the idea of inns (hotels) and taverns (bars). An RPG book should always provide as much useful material as possible. This supplement doubles down on being useful.

It provides a modern hotel, and a fantasy tavern-inn compound. It can be used in a modern game, or a fantasy game. Both versions of the place stand on damage to space and time. Basically, both serve as a small version of the Bermuda Triangle with its own front desk and room service.

The Inn between Worlds also provides:

·       Seven new powers or stunts,

·       Five new monsters,

·       12 NPCs,

·       And tables for encounters and plot hooks.

Inn between Worlds also has a new subsystem, which helps a gaming group design their own version of the hotel or inn-and-tavern. So, the GM can use the predesigned version that comes with the book, or the group can design their own special take on the place.

The Inn between Worlds provides a unique set of tools for an awesome inn-tavern combo that you can use in a classic fantasy game, or a modern game. It provides a grab bag of NPCs, monsters, and new powers.

It lets PCs connect to dozens of worlds and even more adventures.

It is a place that touches many worlds, some beautiful, some mad, some terrifying.

And all those worlds are calling out for adventurers.

You do not just use the Inn between Worlds as an occasional base between adventures.

It is a home to adventures.

The writing is done, the editing is done, and the layout is done. The art is… not done!

So, yeah, this Kickstarter is to generate funds for the art for In between Worlds.

Please support the Kickstarter.

Kickstart the Comic – Maybe Someday

Anthologies are wonderful, strange, unnerving, hopeful, and a thousand other adjectives to describe them… things. You take all these pieces and cobble them together (in a good way) to be something that is more than they were before. In comics and in prose, they are amazing opportunities to practice your craft because you don’t have to worry as much about your story being the only thing holding the book together. Each party gets to come together and share the load. For the reader, you get so many possibilities to spark your own imagination.

 

Cover art by Max Dunbar with colors by Espen Grundetjern. Logo and cover design by Tim Daniel.

***

Maybe Someday

Publisher – Tyler and Wendy Chin-Tanner

Writers & Artists – Literally too many to name!

Kickstarter Campaign ends on Thursday, July 2, 2020, at 5:00 PM EDT.

***

The Pitch:

MAYBE SOMEDAY: STORIES OF PROMISE, VISIONS OF HOPE is a full-color anthology featuring over 25 inspiring stories about a brighter future. It is also the sequel to the New York Times featured and Ringo Award Nominated anthology, ALL WE EVER WANTED.

 

The Story:

Like its predecessor, MAYBE SOMEDAY features stories full of hope. Instead of focusing on dystopian fiction, these stories help show the path forward to a better world.

 

John’s Thoughts:

My first couple of comic stories were in a black and white anthology by Terminus Media. The excitement as you are building your own story… your own world and then see other people’s contributions cannot be understated. So I’m always interested in anthologies from that point of view if nothing else.

The other thing is that it offers the potential for discovery. I know that many times in anthology books I’ve stumbled upon a story that really sat with me and suddenly I’m trying to find anything else they might have done. I can’t imagine that not happening with a collection like this.

To Wish Impossible Things” by Matt Miner and Rod Reis

The Rewards:

There aren’t a ton of high-end Reward levels as this is a campaign focused on the book itself. If you are looking for an easy entry point, there is the $12 digital level and $25 will get you the print copy. Since this is the second anthology they’ve done at $20 (digital) and $40 (print) you can play catch up and get both. While the $65 gets you Maybe Someday, All We Ever Wanted, This Nightmare Kills Fascists, and Loved & Lost. At the time of this writing, they are about 60% of their way to their overall goal of $25,000 with 22 days to go.

 

The Verdict:

This is one of those where I think you have to at least click on the link and scroll down the page. I have no idea what you read, but I have no doubt that not only are you already a fan of someone on this list, many of the other teams probably sit on your shelves. This is going to be like a present to yourself that is a box within a box within a box. You have no idea what each team is going to bring… but I’m positive you’re going to find a new favorite somewhere in the 25 different stories!

“Allison Wonderland” by Eric Palicki and Sally Jane Thompson

***

Be sure to check out the Kickstarter here!

***

John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. The Trade paperback collecting the first 4 issues is finally back from the printers! If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Want to read the first issue for free? Click here! Already read it and eager for more?

Click here to join John’s mailing list.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow EmpireBeyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

PRESS RELEASE: Limitless Adventures to launch a second DM-less adventure

On May 4th, 2020, Limitless Adventures will launch a Kickstarter campaign for their new 5th Edition adventure path: Journey to Beryl’s Reach (JBR). The three-adventure arc is distinctive because it requires no dungeon master. Take note: this is not a board; there will be roleplay, puzzles, skill challenges, and of course, combat. Our DM-less feels like a standard session. The adventure features unique mechanics that allow for high replay value to ensure that it will be a different experience each time.

This DM-less adventure is meant to reduce dungeon master burnout, as well as provide those groups that don’t have a dungeon master a way to still get together and roll dice with their friends. We’re not looking to put DMs out of work, but rather give them a chance to play a character for once.” said Andrew Hand, co-founder of Limitless Adventures.

 

Journey to Beryl’s Reach will be Limitless Adventures’s fourteenth Kickstarter and it will run from May 4th until May 29th. JBR will be available as a print and play PDF or a premium box set. Both domestic and international shipping will be available.

 

Limitless Adventures was founded in 2016 by Andrew Hand and Michael Johnson. Limitless Adventures offers high-quality 5th Edition gaming products. They specialize in DM-friendly products that minimize your prep time so you can spend more time at the table playing and less time writing.

 

With our new DM-less product, Limitless Adventures helps you battle the ultimate RPG boss fight… the schedule.” says Michael Johnson, Limitless Adventures co-founder.

 

Journey to Beryl’s Reach

End Date: Fri, May 29 2020 11:07 AM EDT.

A new DM-less 5e adventure path for characters of 6th level.

 

Limitless Adventures

Website: limitless-adventures.com

Facebook: facebook.com/Limitless2016

Twitter: twitter.com/Limitless5e

Kickstart the Comic – Burlap Issues 1-4

Sometimes when I get notifications in my email that other people I follow on Kickstarter. They populate my inbox to the point that I can’t always keep up with all of them. But, with some diligence I do my best to at least look at the various projects and see if they interest me in any way. It can be a title or an image or even the cost which grabs my attention and forces me to read further. Regardless, I never know what is in store for me with such a scattershot approach to potentially finding these new indie comics.

Burlap did something though. It kinda stuck in my brain. Not at the forefront, but just at the edges of my mind. That thought of a slasher killer being the potential hero of the story. It’s enough to plant that seed in my mind, telling me to check it out.

***

Burlap Issues 1-4

Writer/Publisher – Jesse James Baer

Artist – Zoran Jovici

Kickstarter Campaign ends on Thursday, April 16, 2020, at 4:45 AM EDT.

***

The Pitch:

The idea was to take the slasher formula we all know and love and flip it on it’s head. This go around, instead of a silent, masked killer stalking and executing stoned teenagers or long lost siblings our slasher killer is the hero! And our doomed victims are the series villains!

 

The Story:

It is fall of 1995 in a small town in New Jersey, where a vicious gang of serial killers, led by the charismatic psychopath Cottontail, are spreading madness and bloodshed. But something happens Cottontail did not intend when he comes face to face with BURLAP, a silent, masked killer with a mission of his own; destroy Cottontail and all of his followers. As the mayhem ensues Cottontail comes to realize this is no random vigilante, but a ghost from the past who will stop at nothing to make Cottontail and his lunatics pay for what they did to him. So begins a twisted tale of murder, revenge ghosts, gypsy curses, forbidden romance…and a homicidal Easter Bunny.

 

John’s Thoughts:

A black and white horror comic that focuses on a slasher trying to get revenge on the maniacs (in masks) who did him wrong. That was enough to color me intrigued. Taking a look at the artwork, there is an unsettling feeling as you see these psychos go about terrorizing a mother and son. The idea that one of them is dressed as a clown who both terrifies and also, somehow, is there to try and help cheer the kid up, tweaks the brain a little bit.

And I think that’s what I’m expecting from the comic – something that is going to tweak my brain over the course of the four issues.

The Rewards:

To get the full series will cost you $5 (digital) or $20 (print). As you move up the tiers there are opportunities to get some very unique things. At $125 you get a Custom Made Burlap Mask Bust with Stand. Nothing like having your own slasher movie mask on your shelf! And, it wouldn’t be a horror comic without an opportunity to have a role where you get killed. At $150, you get to have a personal commission where your comic version gets killed!

 

The Verdict:

They have passed their overall goal, which is no guarantee in these times we find ourselves living in. As of this post, there are eight days left for them to run the score up… so to speak. Mostly, I’d say if horror comics are in your wheelhouse, then you may want to check this one out. I know I’m looking forward to reading it.

***

Be sure to check out the Kickstarter here!

***

John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. The Trade paperback collecting the first 4 issues is finally back from the printers! If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Want to read the first issue for free? Click here! Already read it and eager for more?

Click here to join John’s mailing list.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow EmpireBeyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

Press Release: Free League Launches Kickstarter for Tales From the Loop – The Board Game

Free League Publishing   Free League Publishing logotype

Free League Launches Kickstarter for Tales From the Loop – The Board Game

Free League Publishing – Apr 07, 2020 14:11 BST

Prototype of Tales From the Loop – The Board Game

This news item contains embedded media. Open the news item in your browser to see the content.

The Kickstarter for Tales From the Loop – The Board Game was launched today by Free League Publishing. The game, based on the universe created by artist and author Simon Stålenhag recently adapted to a tv series on Amazon Prime Video, offers cooperative gameplay using robot miniatures by Paolo Parente’s Dust Studio. A complete Print ‘n Play kit can be downloaded for free from the Kickstarter.

Simon Stålenhag is the internationally lauded artist and author of Tales From the Loop and Things From the Flood, narrative art books published by Free League that stunned the world with a vision of an alternate Scandinavia in the 1980s and ‘90s, where technology invaded tranquil landscapes to form an entirely new universe of the eerie and the nostalgic.

In 2017, Free League published a tabletop roleplaying game based on Tales From the Loop, which went on to win five Gold ENnie Awards, including Best Game and Product of the Year. A tv series adaptation of Tales From the Loop was launched just a few days ago on Amazon Prime Video.

Tales From the Loop – The Board Game lets players take another step into the amazing world of the Loop. In the 1-5 players take the roles of teenagers who investigate the mysteries originating from the Loop, a huge underground science facility with strange effects on the suburban landscapes around it – but they also need to make sure they’re home in time for dinner!

Tales From the Loop – The Boardgame is designed by Martin Takaichi and includes high-quality miniatures by Paolo Parente’s Dust Studio.

To let players try out Tales From the Loop – The Board Game for themselves, Free League provides a Print ‘n Play kit of the current Alpha game prototype for download from the Kickstarter page. The Print ‘n Play kit includes four characters and one scenario to play.

You can find the Kickstarter here.

The Free League website can be found here.

Free League Publishing is a Swedish publisher dedicated to speculative fiction. We have published a range of award-winning tabletop role-playing games and critically acclaimed art books set in strange and wondrous worlds.

Our game range include the alternate ’80s Tales from the Loop (winner of five ENnie Awards 2017, including Best Game), sandbox retro fantasy Forbidden Lands (winner of four ENnie Awards 2019), postapocalyptic Mutant: Year Zero (Silver ENnie for Best Rules 2015), space opera Coriolis – The Third Horizon (Judge’s Spotlight Award 2017), dark fantasy Symbaroum, and the official ALIEN RPG.

We have also published the art books Tales from the Loop and Things from the Flood  by visual artist Simon Stålenhag, as well as the illustrated edition of the Lovecraft classic The Call of Cthulhu by French artist François Baranger.

Website: www.freeleaguepublishing.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/FriaLigan
Instagram: http://instagram.com/frialigan/
Youtube: www.youtube.com/c/FrialiganSe
Twitter: http://twitter.com/FriaLigan

PRESS RELEASE: Blacklist Games Introduces Blacklist Miniatures

Click here to be notified at launch.

Los Angeles, CA – March 12, 2020.Blacklist Games is proud to announce a new line of products to be released under a new division, Blacklist Miniatures. Led by Senior Game Designer Adam Sadler, this new division will focus exclusively on producing highly detailed plastic miniatures intended to be used with any tabletop board game, miniatures game, or role-playing game.

“I’ve always been a big fan of miniatures,” said Adam Sadler. “Miniatures are essentially what got me into tabletop gaming when I was a teenager and then later led me to game design. Blacklist Miniatures is a way to both celebrate my love of miniatures and to offer our customers a large number of quality miniatures at a reasonable price.”

The first Blacklist Miniatures product, Fantasy: Series 1, will launch on Kickstarter on April 14, 2020 at 12pm EDT and offer a beautiful set of 70 highly detailed fantasy miniatures at a great price point, as well as exciting exclusives for backers in the form of stretch goals that will add even more value to their pledge once unlocked. Blacklist Games is made up of a small group of passionate gamers and initially began as an overseas 3D modeling and printing company. With our resources and innovation, our goal is to create games and miniatures that are not only exciting, but also unique, thematic, and engaging.

Visit www.blacklistgamesllc.com for more information, as well as the product page.

PRESS RELEASE: Towns & Taverns are on Kickstarter now!

Towns & Taverns are on Kickstarter now!

Towns & Taverns – 2 Modular Books of Battle Mats for Roleplay – is the new modular map book release from Loke BattleMats. A unique product which combines easy storage and portability with up to an epic 2’x2’ map area and an endless number of urban fantasy map combination options.

These 2 beautiful map books are fully Laminated throughout and thus wipe clean. They will save hours of game preparation time and mean no more hastily drawn mid game maps. Just open & roll on our highly detailed maps!

The wire bound spine allows the books to open completely flat or fold in half to fit your space and adventure. It also means you can ensure the books are 100% level so your adventure can move seamlessly across the map.

Our linked designs feature standard entry & exit points so the books line up seamlessly allowing you to create your own maps from hundreds of combinations! Move seamlessly through alleyways, taverns, docks and coaching inns as your adventure unfolds.

The Towns & Taverns Books of Battle Mats feature – 

  • Wipe Clean laminated pages of Urban Fantasy themed Battle Maps for RPG encounters
  • Two Hardback Books presented as a set
  • Portable, adaptable, expandable and modular.
  • Standard entry/exit points and linked designs allow you to create your own maps!
  • Wire Bound format, 360° spine offers unrivalled flexibility and lays completely flat.
  • 1 inch grid design throughout.

So its over to you. Roll initiative……….

Towns & Taverns is the follow up to The Dungeon Books of Battle Mats. Following the same format, with the same standard entry & exit points, Towns & Taverns is full compatible with The Dungeon, along with the entire back catalogue of Loke BattleMats RPG Map Books thanks to consistent scale and modular designs.

Loke BattleMats full range of RPG Map books, including The Dungeon Books of Battle Mats, is available from local gaming stores worldwide.

Kickstarter link.

 

 

PRESS RELEASE: Onyx Path Publishing Launches Kickstarter for Legendlore

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Onyx Path Publishing and Caliber Comics Announces the Legendlore RPG based on the Award-Winning Legendlore and The Realm Comics

3/3/20 — Rich Thomas, founder and creative director of Onyx Path Publishing, in conjunction with Caliber Comics have launched the Kickstarter for the Legendlore RPG Setting for 5th Edition Fantasy Roleplaying. The Legendlore RPG is based on Caliber Comics’ long-running fantasy comic book series The Realm and Legendlore.

“What I love about Legendlore is it’s you, reading this right now, who gets to explore the world. Small but fierce? The portal makes you a warrior. Always talking your friends into things they shouldn’t do? You get to be a bard. Read more books about magic than you can remember? A sorcerer! It’s completely up to you,” stated Steffie de Vaan, developer for the tabletop RPG. “Character creation and setting will be incredibly diverse, so regardless your ethnicity, body, gender or sexuality: the Realm is for you.”

“It’s a privilege to be working with Onyx Path in bringing a Legendlore RPG to a whole new audience. Onyx Path are one of the best in the business in crafting and launching an entertaining tabletop RPG that gamers truly come to enjoy,” said Eric Reichert, President of Caliber Comics. “The Realm/Legendlore property is one of the gems from the hundreds of IP titles within Caliber’s extensive library. And its concept and grand fantasy scope is a natural fit for a tabletop RPG. It will be interesting to see what new adventures await us in the land of Azoth.”

Drawn from The Realm and Legendlore comics, the Legendlore RPG will whisk characters from our modern world to a magical Dungeons and Dragons-meets-Game of Thrones land filled with dragons, orcs, unicorns and hobgoblins. With over 60 comics published covering twelve graphic novel volumes, The Realm and Legendlore comics became one of Caliber Comics most critically acclaimed and popular series. In the RPG, players can choose to play as themselves or create a new character using the Storypath system.

Some of the creative talents featured in the comics were Ralph Griffith (Deadworld/OZ), Stuart Kerr (Deadworld/OZ), Guy Davis (Hellboy/B.P.R.D./Grendel/Aliens), Brian Michael Bendis (Ultimate Spiderman/Guardians of the Galaxy/Avengers/Daredevil), Jim O’Barr (The Crow), David Boller (Spiderman/X-Men/Ghost Rider), Tim Bradstreet (Punisher/Serenity), and more!

About Onyx Path Publishing:
Founded in 2012, Onyx Path Publishing is a Pennsylvania-based company dedicated to the development of exemplary, immersive worlds. Working with a group of amazingly talented creators, we explore print, electronic and other forms of media distribution to produce games and fiction based on the Scarred Lands, Pugmire, Scion, Trinity, Exalted, World of Darkness and Chronicles of Darkness properties. With over 20 years of publishing experience from which to draw, we are industry professionals who love the art of the game and plan to continue making meaningful, innovative contributions in the years to come.

On the web: http://www.theonyxpath.com
Twitter:@theonyxpath

About Caliber Comics:

Caliber Comics has released over 1500 individual comic issues and graphic novels since its inception. With its large library of titles, Caliber Comics became one of the top independent comic publishers in the 1990s and helped launch the comic careers of some of the top artists and writers in the industry today. The company was newly re-established in 2013, and continues to be a hub for comic fans young and old alike with its on-going graphic novel releases. Properties include Deadworld, Legendlore, OZ, The Searchers, Vietnam Journal, Raven Chronicles, Shepherd, and many more!

On the web: http://www.calibercomics.com

###


Onyx Path Publishing
http://theonyxpath.com/