Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Very Basic Status Report

I see that it has been two weeks since I last posted, so I should let you all know that I am still alive.

Here's where things stand:

Monsters & Treasure of the Wilderlands 1 (32-page saddle-stitched book, color cover): At the printers. Hopefully in-house and ready to ship sometime next week. No promises. M&T1 runs $10.95 plus $4 shipping and handling (US/Can; $8 most International). Subscribers can use page credit to purchase M&T1 with FREE shipping.

Gazetteer of the Mystic Wilderlands (32 page saddle-stitched gazetteer, color cover, includes map, price TBA): In progress.

Guide to the Mystic Wilderlands (128ish page soft-cover perfect-bound book, color cover, includes map, price TBA): In progress.

Adventure Games Journal #2 (48-page saddle-stitch book, color cover, price TBA): In progress (yes, really).

Two copies of the Rhadamanthia Continental Map ships out to each subscriber with the Gazetteer or AGJ #2, whichever goes first. An extra copy of Rhadamanthia District 9 Map: Western Karak ships out to subscribers with the Gazetteer.

PDF-only products are on hold until I get a print product out the door (other than M&T1) OR something hits me upside the head demanding to be written immediately (not likely, as PDF sales are very soft right now).

Printing prices are fluctuating rapidly, as are all things in this economy, though unfortunately for some reason it seems they are still experiencing price inflation rather than the general monetary deflation that prevails. Ain't that the way of it? So I'm waiting to get a price quote at the last minute before I set my MSRP on new products. M&T1 ended up costing more than I thought it would, so my MSRP is lower than my calculations normally would have required. Live and learn, hopefully...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Monsters & Treasure of the Wilderlands 1 Expanded PDF and PRINT!

Monsters & Treasure of the Wilderlands 1 has been revised and expanded. It now includes 27 monsters, 16 treasures, and two maps. Most importantly, it is now extensively illustrated by Peter Bradley, including an awesome full-color cover! The price has risen to $10.95 ($8.00 in PDF), but those who already purchased it should be able to update for free (if you have a problem, let me know). Yes, the $10.95 MSRP is for the PRINT version, which should be heading to the printers tomorrow.

Subscribers can get a 50% off coupon for the PDF if they have not already purchased it (contact me at the Super Secret Subscriber E-Mail), and can use their print page credits toward the print version of the M&T when it becomes available.

Here's the complete sales text...

Over time players become complacent, sure in the knowledge that they have encountered every creature in the book and catalogued all treasures to be found. They won’t be so certain when the judge pulls out a new book of 32 pages of monsters and treasures that they’ve never seen before!

Monsters & Treasures of the Wilderlands 1 includes 27 new monsters designed for use with Castles & Crusades® and the Wilderlands of High Adventure™. Running the gamut from pesky 1 HD faeries to fallen 15 HD demi-gods, each monster includes details on ecology and society, powers and treasures. Some are hauntingly familiar, just enough so as to trip up the unwary adventurer, while others are entirely new and created from whole cloth.

Maps are included showing the most common locations these monsters are encountered throughout the Wilderlands and beyond. Though designed for use in the Wilderlands, every monster can find a home elsewhere, and is easily adapted into just about any fantasy campaign setting.

Also included are 16 new treasures, ranging from the least bauble to great and potent (and usually, most dire) relics. Each is tied to the Wilderlands, adding more detail to your Wilderlands campaign, though the histories can readily be altered to suit any campaign.

Monster List
Angrasinamru (CE 15 HD Large Extraplanar)
Bat, Giant Vampire (CE 2 HD Medium Magical Beast)
Beetle, Giant: Burster, Fire, and Razor (N 1 to 3 HD Small Vermin)
Cait Feall (CE 2 HD Small Magical Beast)
Cat, Saber-Toothed Tiger (N 7 HD Large Animal)
Centipede, Giant Wooly (N 6 HD Large Animal)
Chicken, Dungeon (N 1 or 2 HD Small Animal)
Glashtyn (NE 7 HD Medium Elemental (Water))
Gorgosphinx (CE 12 HD Large Magical Beast)
Gourandrouni (CE 4 HD Medium Shapechanger)
Gràdhcronaím (CE 6 HD Medium Undead (Extraordinary))
Grue (NE 9 HD Medium Extraplanar (Shadowlands))
Hound of Hades (CE 6 HD Large Extraplanar (Netherworld))
Imp, Chasm (CE 2 HD Small Elemental (Earth))
Karcajou (N 1 HD Humanoid)
Malicorn (NE 2 HD Medium Magical Beast)
Moppet, Witch’s (NE 3 HD Medium Construct)
Nomgoblin (NE 1 HD Monstrous Humanoid)
Sloughree (NE 10 HD Large Giant)
Sprite, Brownie (N 1 HD Fey)
Sprite, Cràigeanetlagh (N 1 HD Small Fey)
Sprite, Gobling (CE 1 HD Monstrous Humanoid)
Szaltys (NG 1 HD Small Magical Beast)
Teknatzou (CE 5 HD Medium Fey)
Tlahtocelotl (N 1 HD Humanoid)

Abacus of Instant Calculation
Beggar’s Bindlestick
Blade Belligerence, The
Dagger Divine, The
Demon-Die of the Mandarin-Lords
Dragon Shield
Gwyndolyn’s Mail
Hag’s Eye
Icon of the Bloodstained God
Maed’s Walkin’ Hat
Peasant Talisman
Potion of Partial Polymorph
Power Pearls
Rune of Protection
Wand of the Toad Prince
Zudnak’s Finger

Monsters & Treasures of the Wilderlands 1 weighs in at 32 pages, with a full-color cover and many interior illustrations by Peter Bradley. The PDF is now available, print version is at the printers. MSRP $10.95 Print, $8.00 for the PDF.

Buy it at DriveThruRPG

Buy it at RPGNow

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Scrye magazine ends with #131 (April 2009)

Well, it is finally breaking publicly what I have known for a little while. Scrye magazine is shutting down, its last issue to be #131 (April 2009).

I haven't been associated with Scrye since F+W Publications canned me back in July 2007, but I've remained friends with the crew there ever since. For the last year or so, it was down to just Joyce Greenholdt, the editor, and frankly the writing was on the wall when they went from full-color to a single color signature and a whole lotta black and white newsprint.

I joined up with Scrye the first time back in 2000, back when it was still Krause Publications. I had been in regular contact with Joyce and then editorial director John Jackson Miller at various times prior, discussing the impending release of Mage Knight and other game issues. When they ended up needing another editor, I jumped at the chance. And so in late October I made the trek up to Iola from Madison, where I had until then been employed as the marketing director at ACD Distribution. My first impressions of north-central Wisconsin were similar to what I had, over the years, come to believe Conan's Cimmeria to be like: cold, snow-swept, and gray.

I would find as time passed that indeed, it could get warm and sunny and green, for a few days in the midst of summer at least. But when I arrived, in the midst of the bleak onset of winter, I was also dropped into the grinder, as we began the process of putting together the first Scrye Book. As they say, this was one of those times that try men's souls. But I survived, and together with Joyce and John put together a damn fine book. And we even put together some really quality issues of Scrye, as well.

And so things went for some time, and I finally felt that I had found a home, after wandering for several years from company to company, seeking a proper niche. And then the offer came from WizKids, the kind of once-in-a-lifetime-offer that you just can't refuse (though in retrospect, probably should have). And so in early 2002 I took the position with WizKids.

That didn't work out so well. I worked with some really great folks there, but it just was not meant to be, and ended by the end of the year.

2003 and early 2004 were a time of trials and travails. Fortunately, I found a safe haven again in Iola, this time working first for Comics Buyer's Guide, then again for Scrye, and finally as editor of Comics & Games Retailer (all three at once, actualy). And for a time, again, I thought I found the place I was meant to be. But as with most things, in my experience, life just didn't turn out the way one expects, and one fine day in July 2008 I walked home from the old Krause building one final time and never, ever looked back.

But in the years that I worked with her, Scrye was a whole lot of fun. A lot of blood (mine and others), sweat, tears, no little pain, and much, much lost sleep... but still overall in the balance, great fun, and an experience I will always remember.

My only regret is that after we picked up Gaming Report in late 2006, we were never really given the resources to turn it up to 11. Dan Sivils and crew had done an amazing job building the site into the #1 site for gaming news on the Web, and with the support, time, and resources we were given by F+W (i.e., absolutely none), we just were not able to continue on their legacy. I hope that wherever Gaming Report ends up, its new owners are able to do it justice.

I wish Joyce and all the writers from Scrye nothing but the best in their future endeavors. They have a tremendous legacy to follow.

Wm John Wheeler of The Companions has passed

William John Wheeler, game designer and co-founder and publisher of the Islandia Campaign through his game company The Companions, passed away on June 3, 2008, at 66 years of age at his home in Chicago, Ill.

John authored The Curse on Hareth, Plague of Terror, and with his friend Peter Rice, Brotherhood of the Bolt and Gems for Death; John also edited the complete line of The Companions products, including Treasure Trove, Companion Pieces, and the Places of Mystery series. John was well-regarded for his very popular fantasy role-playing game campaign seminars given at conventions across the country during the late ’80s, especially at Gen Con, where he often gave his presentations in conjunction with Peter Rice.

A man of great intensity and intellect, he will be missed by his friends and students, including Peter Rice, Scott Thompson, and many, many others. Memorial donations can be made in his name to the American Diabetes Association or similar organizations, but the best way to remember him would be to get together with some friends and play some games.

On a personal note, I was fortunate to have been at one of the seminars that John and Peter gave at Gen Con many years ago. At the time I was just starting out as a Dungeon Master, and had fumbled around quite a bit trying to build my own campaign. I was greatly inspired by the Wilderlands and Greyhawk, but had no tools with which to further develop them, let alone develop my own campaign setting. The seminar by John and Peter gave me those tools, which eventually led me to where I am today. For that I will be eternally grateful. Thanks John!