Back from GenCon!

22 08 2008

Hey! Shreyas and I are back from GenCon, and wow, it was a truly amazing experience. I’m so glad I got to put faces to names, and meet all kinds of new and amazing people– plus spend a little extra quality time with already-close friends. The whole experience of working a booth and selling my game was overwhelming and humbling and cool, and I especially owe Vincent and Ben big time for that. The highlight, for me, was probably Ryan Dancey coming over and buying a copy of It’s Complicated, probably with money he got by developing D&D 3 or inventing the OGL or doing something else equally amazing.

Meeting the people, though, man. I made so many friends that I am now bummed I don’t get to see every day. Our “little” community is huge and diverse and wonderful, and there’s not a single person I met that didn’t make my day a little brighter. I’m so glad to be in it with all of you.

That said! Two Scooters Press did amazingly well. I came home with a single copy of It’s Complicated to my name, and Shreyas came pretty close to selling out of Mist-Robed Gate, as well. Now, if you’re interested in some wuxia fun, you can go bug Shreyas for a copy over at summerbird— but if you want a copy of It’s Complicated, you’re in luck. I should be ordering a second print run next week, and you can order your copy for $16 (with $5 shipping) here.

Other things!

Two Scooters Press should be launching our website soon, along with a forum on The Forge. Also, we’re so jazzed and energized from the con that we’ve got a bunch of projects which are swiftly gaining steam..





Belatedly Jiffy

13 03 2008

So last weekend, Shreyas and I headed to Boston for some great gaming and great friend-time at JiffyCon. It was a fantastic time, and I got to see a lot of my favorite people and play two of my now favorite games!

Annalise, by Nathan Paoletta: I hate horror games for two reasons– I’m easily scared, and horror games either are scary or stupid. I don’t like cheesy suspense or ridiculous tropes, and I don’t want to be up all night freaking out or have nightmares. I’d heard excellent things about Annalise, including stuff about the “secret” mechanic which I thought might be a great jumping-off point for an issue we’ve been having over at Two Scooters with Thousand-Leaved Grass, so I decided I’d risk being scared silly or bored sleepy and sign up for the playtest. The system sounded cool, and I figured even if the game wasn’t my thing, I’d get to see something interesting in action.

The game was an obscene amount of fun. Obscene.

Annalise isn’t just a vampire game; it’s hard to describe what it is. It’s a puzzle, it’s dark and lovely but not sad or spooky: it’s suspenseful without nailbiting, introspective and badass at the same time. There’s a surprising amount of revelatory moments for a GMless game; you never know what’s going to happen, or how things will turn out. It was one of the finest play experiences I’ve had in a long time, and I want to play again soon, and badly.

Mist-Robed Gate, by Shreyas Sampat: You might claim that I am biased when it comes to this game, since its origins are rooted in me tugging on Shreyas’ sleeve and saying “Could you write me an Exalted game without all the suck and superpowers? You know, something sad and wuxia based, all tears and kung fu?” And you’d be right. But as anyone who was at JiffyCon (or anywhere in Central Square, I think) can attest due to the insanely loud, boisterous playtest, any bias I have is totally irrelevant in the face of the awesomeness that is this game.

What is there to say? There’s a knife-passing ritual with an actual knife that is one of the most viscerally affecting experiences I’ve had in a roleplaying game. The game generation system creates stories which are complex and nuanced and still familiar somehow. The color is astonishing. The game needs a combat system, but other than that, it was essentially completely finished out-of-the-box, which is a hell of an accomplishment for a first playtest. That was the single best playtest I’ve ever experienced, and one of the best game sessions of my life, period. I want a weekly game of Mist-Robed Gate so badly I can taste it.





Game progress: mine and others

17 01 2008

I’m currently working on the latest (and hopefully final) draft of It’s Complicated, complete with shiny new layout. Page numbers! Table of contents! It’s going to be crazily easy to follow! And the long-promised sections on scene framing and sample scenarios will be there, too.

Also, work on Thousand-Leaved Grass (which needs a new title; we named it after the wrong species of yarrow) is going amazingly well, and I’m so very excited about that game. We’re almost done with character generation and setting up the adventure. But since there’s not really any new content here, I want to talk about the things my friends are working on, that I find particularly exciting.

Over at Thousand and One, Jonathan’s working on his own ancient China game (and unlike me, he really knows what he’s talking about!). He’s hacking Vincent Baker’s new fantasy heartbreaker, In A Wicked Age, to play stories based on The Water Margin. I’ve been playing my share of IAWA lately, and I’m really excited to try out Along the Water’s Edge once it’s out of Jonathan’s head and on the page.

And Shreyas is working on a game that, in my opinion, will change the way people look at storytelling games forever. Keep an eye on his hugblog, summerbird,  for a post about this game. It’s based on a series of stories he’s written called The Water-Seller, some of which are viewable on his fiction blog. He’s got the good pitch, but let’s just say it covers every single thing that I feel makes art important and special and beautiful. While you’re waiting for him to get around to writing about it, you might as well check out Mist-Robed Gate, which is in playtestable form. Just make sure you have a sharp knife..