GenCon Trip Report 2013

Yea though I walk through the valley of suspect hygiene, I shall fear no body odor...

Yea though I walk through the valley of suspect hygiene, I shall fear no body odor…

Well, we’re home. That’s right, The Wife, The Littlest Tsarina, and I have returned from Indy with sore feet, frayed nerves, bags full of awesome junk, and a handful of good work contacts. Oh, and stories. Lots of stories. Sadly, Eldest Tsarina couldn’t attend this year because, seriously, wrangling a three month old and a bright, willful, opinionated, highly motivated three year old at GenCon is crazy talk.Neither the wife nor I are that strong. Anyway, we got through it without losing our minds, without getting con crud, and with Wil Wheaton spending ten minutes chatting up the Littlest Tsarina. You, however, don’t care about that. You’re here to hear about stuff like how Accursed did and Space Hobbits eating a servitor. So, without further ado, here’s the Amalgamated Fiction – Detroit GenCon 2013 Trip Report. (Spoiler Alert – You’re going to hear about Wil Wheaton and the Littlest Tsarina)

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In the Town that Walt Built…

Pretty as an airport.

Never in the history of mankind has anyone described something as “Pretty as an airport”, and with good reason.

(Note: I did, in fact, write this in the air. Sadly, I couldn’t actually figure out how to post it from there, so you get it from my comfy room in downtown Orlando. Enjoy.)

Well hey there, friends! So, here I am, somewhere around 25,000 feet over Ohio in a cramped, oversold 757 speeding south to Orlando. Now, truth be told, I don’t care much for Florida. In fact, my opinion on the whole state can pretty much be summed up by Bugs Bunny and his giant saw. Having said that, I’d suffer all kinds of indignities for this trip, including sitting behind an incredibly obese, red-faced, middle-aged meathead with his seat back aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall the way reclined, encroaching on what little space is available to me for work. But I digress. Anyway, here I am on my way to the Sunshine State to talk about space. Yep, tomorrow is the day join some of the greatest minds of our generation to talk about what to do with the International Space Station. Crazy, right? I mean, seriously, it’s like a reverse of the “not my job” segment on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. You know, where a bunch of radio dorks invite someone super important and accomplished onto their show to ask them ridiculous questions about the history of astrology or butts or whatever strikes their fancy. In Orlando, it’s going to be all this brain power, all these eminent scientists and engineers and rocket surgeons and thinkers….and me. A dude who writes about spaceships and giant robots for a living. I’m not going to complain, though. Because, seriously, I’m super stoked about it. Honestly, this is as close to being an astronaut as I’ll probably ever get, and being an astronaut was the end-game of my whole life plan when I was in fifth grade. That was a good plan too, man. Waaaaaaaaaaaaay better than the Cylon’s plan. Good grades, Air Force Academy, flight school, F-16 pilot (I’ve always had a soft spot for the Viper, but now I’d probably rather be an A-10 driver), major by the age of 36, then bam!, astronaut time. But then reality set it, it turned out I was terrible at maths, then what with the distractions from girls and RPGs and model airplanes and books about dragons and obsessively reading about aircraft and all I got kind of sidetracked and here I am. I guess I don’t have any complaints, though. Hell, in hindsight, I’d have made a terrible military man what with my low tolerance for bullshit and even lower tolerance for authority. Anyway, so, yeah. Gonna talk about Space. I’ll write more about it tomorrow night after the conference, give you guys a taste of what went on, then probably do a larger post about it next week sometime in between writing about Orks, SPEHS MARINES, and future-past wild west demon apocalypses. So, stay tuned. This should be pretty good. You know, if I don’t just break down and start babbling about space like the Space Core.

The Big Announcement and Other GenCon 2012 Ephemera

Let’s just cut straight to the point, shall we? GenCon 2012 was a riot. It was also very, very good for me. I’ll admit, before the show I was kind of reticent about going. You see, and I’m not gonna lie to you kids, I’ve been feeling both burned out and discouraged these past few months. GenCon fixed that problem for me, and quite handily. So, what all did I do at GenCon? What games did I play? Did I run anything? What’s the big announcement? Well, I’m glad you asked!

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This Just In from HQ!

So, just a quick shout to talk about some upcoming projects/products from Amalgamated Fiction. I’m currently working on a sample to send to Shane and Clint at Pinnacle Entertainment to show them that Amalgamated Fiction – Detroit is worthy of using Savage Worlds as an officially licensed SW company. If the sample is good enough and they agree to let me use the license, I’m going to dive straight into bringing AEGIS vs. SPIDER to market. What’s AEGIS vs. SPIDER? I’m glad you asked! AvS is a setting I’ve been dicking around with for years. Taking place square in the middle of the Cold War in the 60s, the players are super-powered espionage agents working for the American Espionage Group for International Security, a super-secret organization put together in the wake of World War 2 to deal with a perceived “Super Gap” with the Soviet Union. Their primary antagonists are their opposite agents within the SPDR, a shadowy Soviet espionage group not officially part of the Politburo whose motives are unknown to nearly everyone, including the leaders of the Soviet Union itself.

The world in which AvS takes place is mostly our own. Technology is slightly more advanced, but there aren’t any laser rifles or space stations or teleporters…at least not that you know about.Supers in AvS are relatively low-powered. No cosmic entanglements, no alternate timelines, no aliens, no gods. It’s more Batman than Superman if you will. It’s a bit James Bond, a bit Secret Six, and a whole lot of Cold War cloak and dagger skulduggery. It’ll be full of exotic locales, devious and dangerous opponents, double and triple crosses, and tough looking Slavs in trench coats and fedoras demanding to know where you’ve hidden the microfilm.

I’m shooting to get my first product, a pack of playable AEGIS agents, out by the beginning of July through DriveThruRPG. If those sell well then I’ll do some SPDR agents, a canned adventure or two, hell, maybe even a full setting book. So, yeah. Keep your eyes peeled.

 

You Guys Will Never Believe What I Found…

Big ol' stack of nostalgia

Look. At. This.

Oh man, you guys. You’ll never believe what I found! Well, I didn’t find these, a friend of mine did. Anyway, that right there in the picture is a stack of Dragon Magazines! Twenty-five Dragon Magazines to be exact, from the years 1982 to 1985. Can you believe it? My buddy and bandmate Stephen scored the lot of them in a used bookstore in Nashville for the princely sum of twenty American dollars for the whole lot. He called me from Nashville and was like, “What’s Dragon Magazine?” and I was like, “Why do you ask?” and he was like, “Cause I’m looking at a box full of them, and they’re, like, a dollar a piece.” Then I blacked out a little because I think I had a joy-induced aneurysm. When I came around Stephen was still on the line, and I believe I said something like, “BUY THEM ALL FOR ME!” which he was kind enough to do. And now here they are, twenty little time capsules from the golden age of gaming. What does this mean for you? I’m glad you asked! Starting  Friday I’m going to begin a weekly review section called “One from the Vaults”, wherein I’m going to review old-school gaming literature. I’m going to start with these Dragons, then branch out into old games and modules and such, many from my own collection. So stay tuned, we’re gonna get our grognard on.

Pick of the Day!

Look here, kids! My latest book, Chaos Commandment for Dark Heresy, was picked as Sean Patrick Fannon’s (the mastermind behind DriveThruRPG) pick of the day! It’s a canned adventure, the final book in a trilogy of adventures wherein the players take the fate of the Calixis Sector in their hands. There’s a little bit of sneaking, a little bit of shooting, and a whole lot of mind-bending, body-twisting terror. Get it while it’s hot!

A Problem of Perception

The Pros from Dover

We’re the Pros from Dover.

Once upon a time when I was just starting out, a document came across my desk that I was asked to edit. I was the second set of eyes on the document, the first being the company’s “Head Editor”. I’m not gonna mince words here kids, it was a fucking disaster. It was still full of misspelled words and crimes against grammar. I brought this up to the boss, who immediately jumped to the Head Editor’s defense with the statement, “You have to remember, he’s not a professional editor.” Excuse me? This is a man who, for twenty years, worked as “Head Editor” for this company, a position he still holds today. His name is in countless gaming supplements as “editor”. He gets paid to do the job of an editor. That’s the fucking definition of a professional! So, what is this? I’ll tell you what it is, it’s a problem of perception, of ourselves and our industry, that absolutely pervades this business.

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The Worst Blogger

Easy joke is easy…

Holy shit! Has it really been since January since I updated this here ‘blog? God almighty, yes it has. Well, I’m sorry Gentle Readers. A combination of being busy and apathy toward ‘blogging has been my downfall. But, I’m back now if you’re still interested. It’s been a long and interesting seven months since we last spoke, and shit has most definitely gotten real since then. If you’ve got the time, I’d love to tell you about it.

So. Where to begin? Well, I spent the first part of the year cranking out a bunch of books for Fantasy Flight, playing in my band, and generally being as aggressively indolent as possible. It was a time of ups and downs, strikes and gutters. Honestly, a lot of the time I spent wondering what the hell I was doing, and wondering if I shouldn’t just go to sea or take up driving a truck or something. Then, out of nowhere, came Gen Con.

Gen Con was great to me this year. I came away with three paying jobs, including two rad assignments for FFG and rebooting the Heavy Gear RPG for Dream Pod 9, the potential for some work with Cubicle 7, Third-Eye GamesPaizo and Privateer Press, and a bunch of new contacts. 
Apparently all the hard work and worry and stress I put into my writing over the past two years is paying off and the chickens are coming home to roost. I’ve got name recognition in the industry now, which is at once awesome and weird, and people know me and my work and like what they see. It’s still touch and go though, it’s not like people are knocking down my door to have me write about spaceships and giant robots for them, but it’s a much better showing than last year.
So there, that’s sort of my year in a nutshell. My plan now is for more shameless self-promotion, more blogging, and a lot more book making. Also, I’m going to redesign this site ’cause it’s ugly as day-old sin. Stick around, won’t you? I’ll do my best to update at least once a week and run my yap about games and writing. ‘Cause seriously, if it’s one thing I’ve got it’s a lot of grossly uninformed opinions about gaming!