Thursday, April 24, 2014

Fanzines, The Complete Illusionist, Norse God Classes, And More

Another update/round-up post. I think you'll like this one. It'll also be the last of its kind for a bit; I want to get back to gaming content.

Secrets: Omens & Artifacts has done...pardon my french...fucking fantastic. My plan was always to print twenty copies and reprint as necessary. I hoped to sell twenty in a month, at best. Right now, in less than a week I've sold 17, have one "on hold", and have two left. I'll gladly and gleefully print more, but...yeah!

(Paypal for the print version is in the right sidebar, or buy the black& white pdf here.

This means I've made enough to cover the costs I wanted to cover, AND I can buy the license for Scrivener. So what, you ask?  So...The Complete Illusionist, people!  Work on TCI has been stalled because I really love Scrivener, and all my illusionist stuff is in it, and I'm 3/4 of the way through the trial period, and I didn't want to use up the trial before I had a license ready. Well, no more worries, people! IT's handled! Because of you, The Complete Illusionist is FULL STEAM AHEAD!

What else? You know what would rock as the next issue of SecretsStrange Races. That's the official title, btw. The race compilation is more than half-done, and while I will be full-steam ahead on The Complete Illusionist, Secrets: Strange Races will almost certainly be the next thing out the door.

And, well... it turns out I really like this 24-page booklet format. Who knew, right? The wee little pages make me feel like I'm Making Progress every time I write something, and that makes me really enthusiastic. Also, I work in cycles, and while I'm kinda sick of monsters right now (but not too much), you know what I'm really getting interested in again? Norse Gods as Classes. Yeah. And it would totally rock as an issue of Secrets.

There are a few other things kicking around too. I've been keeping it quiet, but I've got a bestiary with 80+ monsters kinda sorta finished. But not. The monsters are all done, but the adventure seeds aren't. They're a wicked lot of fun to write, but take longer than I expected, so I work on them when I need a break from something else.

And the 24-page booklet concept has conflated in my head with Pars Fortuna and Jon Stater's recent musings about different versions of  Bloody Basic to create -another- sideline/can-I-do-this? project, so that's at least 3 issues of Secrets right there.

Oh, and the hexcrawl. I wanted to do a random hexcrawl thing. It was going to be the bonus pages in Secrets #1, but the outline alone was way too big.

And Secrets. I'm not doing the two-format pdfs again. I won't change it for Secrets #1, but I figured out how to do the layout that I wanted and not require people to print a ink-buster cover, although they can if they want to. I will keep doing the stickers for the prints because it's fun.

Here's the mixed news. I did Secrets to see if I could, and because I had a lot of the materials available and just sitting around, unused. Paper, cardstock, several new ink cartridges, envelopes, etc.  I'm hoping to do at least 5 issues right now, but we'll see. It looks like I'll be able to cover costs after that if I wanted to. What I'd really like to do eventually is migrate to a Patreon model, and make Secrets - at least the pdfs - free. Before I can do that, however, I need to prove to myself and everyone else that I can produce consistent quality and figure out how to package it. The two Patreon blogs I'm most familiar with are Dyson's Dodecahedron and Lapsus Calumni, but their primary currency is maps, which are a bit more consistent/discrete a unit than what I usually produce (but see below...). If I post 3 spells, is that worthwhile? A class? 5 spells? 10? How many magic items equal a PC race?  Do I only do it per issue of Secrets? How does that play for something larger, like The Complete Illusionist (or even The Basic Illusionist, which would clock in at roughly 70+ pages in booklet format).

Basically, if I can make enough for my wife to view this as a worthwhile endeavor, AND release it for free, I'll be happier than a clam. (My wife, bless her calculating soul, has not a whit of interest in gaming or what I do, unless it makes money or costs money.)

And finally finally....  I'm not a "natural" doodler. If you put a pen in my hand, I will scratch my head with it, and eventually start writing. I won't draw. My daughter's stick figures are more advanced than mine.
I have a masters in landscape architecture. I studied set design. I worked in construction for 12 years.
I can draft your ass off. And drafting is drawing plans. And plans are really maps. And I actually really really like drawing maps, but I forget it because when you put a pen in my hand, I write with it. So I'm going to try to remember that maps are awesome fun, and do more maps.

That's what it really boils down to. Those are my goals. Writing and mapping.  Stuff. Lots of stuff. Stuff I haven't even come close to mentioning yet. Awesome stuff.

Wicked cool stuff.



  1. Well done Nathan! I wish you every success in your endeavors. Your enthusiasm is contagious!

  2. The Basic Illusionist was one of the best things I got from the S&W Appreciation event.

    I am certain that The Complete Illusionist will be a worthy followup and I can't wait to see it.

  3. I just started leafing through the Base Illusionist again. I really want to add all these spells to my campaign.