TTWLB and other musings

October 27th, 2016

So a couple months (!) ago, i announced that my latest book, The Things We Leave Behind, was available for purchase. I wasn’t entirely clear when i mentioned that, because at the time, it was only for the PDF version.

But now, you can get the print version of it as well, by going to the same exact place, DrivethruRPG. As a bonus, if you by the dead tree edition, you’ll get the PDF for free!

In other layout news, i continue to work on Skinner’s art book. And am in early discussions with Stygian Fox regarding another RPG book, this one wildly different from anything i’ve worked on before. More on that as it develops; i’m not sure what i can or can’t say yet about it.

Part of the whole process of running a business is, you know, actually being a business. Doing so requires taking a lot of not-fun steps, in a very particular order, as i continue to find out. None of it is very difficult, per se, but it does require a fair amount of busywork, mostly involving filling out forms and paying fees to various government agencies. For example, if you want to get your Neat And Really Fun Game to be sold by distributors, you need to fill out an application. To complete that application, you need to have a State Sales Tax license. To finish that application, you have to get your business license. To get that license, you have to…

…etc. and so forth. The reason i bring this up is not to complain, but to explain that, if you’ve ever pondered getting into the gaming business for yourself (or any other business for that matter), it may sound daunting, but it’s really not. There’s just a definite path you have to take, and the process will take a while. If you wonder how to find out what the first steps are, i can tell you that what i did is go to my city’s government website (you have to, it seems, start local and work your way up/out), and i found a well-written guide on how to start a business in my town. Your city’s website probably has the same sort of thing; if not, they will have an office or two in city hall that can help you out.

 

The Things We Leave Behind now available!

August 31st, 2016

At long last, the first publication from Stygian Fox, The Things We Leave Behind, is available for purchase. Currently you can get it on DriveThruRPG as a .pdf here; in a couple of weeks time, you’ll also be able to buy it via print on demand. Once i have the info for that, i’ll post it here.

This is the official blurb:

The Things We Leave Behind is an anthology of 6 modern day scenarios for the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game published by Chaosium, Inc, edited by Jeff Moeller, and written by Brian M. Sammons, Scott Dorward, Simon Brake, Oscar Rios, and Jeff Moeller with art by Davide Como, Badger McInnes, Dean Engelhardt, and Stephanie McAlea.

Taking its inspirational cues from Delta GreenFargoBlood Simple, and True Detective, the book takes a mature look at the horror of human nature and its ability to be just as disturbing as anything from the Mythos.

The scenarios deal with unavoidable fates, dark secrets, and seriously bad choices made by the antagonists. As so often is the case, there are no winners when fate has trapped you in a dice game for doom or destiny. As such, please be aware that some of the themes are quite mature and are suitable for adult gamers only.
In other news, we’ll be at the SF ComicCon Friday and Saturday, running demos of Feed the Shoggoth! to unsuspecting patrons. Games of Berkeley is running the gaming section of the con, and have graciously invited Squamous Studios to show off FtS! there.
We’ll be at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, in Sierra J (wherever that is), Friday and Saturday from noon to 4pm. Please stop by! More info on the con can be found here.

The Things We Left Behind finished

August 16th, 2016

At long last, i can say that The Things We Left Behind is really done. Right now, the interiors are complete, and is getting a once over to check for typos and other issues right now. I’m expecting that, if everything goes okay, it’ll be ready some time next week. I believe the plan is to get the .pdf out to backers first, and then to DriveThruRPG for POD orders.

I’m really rather proud if this book; Stygian Fox really let me stretch myself creatively, and i got to try some things design-wise that i haven’t done before. I believe Stephanie said that it looks “visceral”, which is definitely something i was shooting for when working on the design. I’ll post a couple of pictures here to give you an idea of what the interiors look like.

Meanwhile, i’ve also been working on an art book for my friend Skinner. You may or may not have seen his work; his stuff is gonzo, underground, insane…and completely awesome. I can’t tell you how honored i feel to be working on this project.

Lastly,  i’ve been running Horror on the Orient Express for my gaming group. And, being the handouts/props geek that i am, i’ve been making my own versions of the handouts that are needed for the campaign. As much as i love OE, the production the handouts in the books leave a lot to be desired. Guessing that other people may want to use them, i’ll start posting them here- i might even make a dedicated page for the campaign, if interest is there.

Be seeing you…

It might be starting to pour a bit

June 4th, 2016

You know that saying, “when it rains…”? Yeah…after a bit of a dearth of assignments, i’m suddenly starting to get contacted a lot about new projects to work on, which is awesome.

What is decidedly NOT awesome is the fact that we recently moved, and my work station is all in bits and pieces. Which is not good when you have assignments to finish and now others to potentially start on. Oh, and our internet access isn’t up and running yet. I’m hoping to get this all sorted out this week.

Speaking of assignments to finish, The Things We Leave Behind has been in a holding pattern as a) i wait for more maps to come in, and b) we get our move completed. But Stephanie has been putting more map files in my Dropbox lately, so that’s good. Now i just have to take care of part b.

In Feed the Shoggoth! news, we’ve been slowly but surely expanding the number of stores that carry the game (including one in Denmark!), and our online store is up and running: you can check that out at FeedtheShoggoth.com. You know you want a copy.

That’s all for now. Be seeing you!

Call of Cthulhu 7th ed finally seeing the light of day

May 4th, 2016

After what seems like an eternity, word is coming out that backers of the CoC 7th ed Kickstarter are finally starting to get their copies of the game. I haven’t seen the books myself (apparently my contributor’s copies are on the way), but reactions from people are starting to trickle in, and so far, it’s been very positive in regards to the design and layout.

I can’t tell you what a bloody relief it is to see 7th ed finally come out (and i’m sure that feeling of relief doesn’t compare to how Fricker & Mason, and all of the Chaosium management people feel); i think this the biggest delay from the time when i’ve turned in a book project until it actually saw the light of day. But better late than never, especially considering that there was a real possibility that 7th edition wouldn’t come out at all.

I’ll be really glad to see this hit the stores eventually, too, and hear about people’s reaction to it, particularly when it comes to the new rules changes. There’s been quite enough written on that already, but customer reaction will have a big impact, i think, on how the rules mods play out (pardon the pun) over time.

I just wish we’d been able to save those corner icons, dammit. 🙁

International TableTop Day!

April 28th, 2016

We here at the Studio are proud to announce that we’ve been invited to participate at Games of Berkeley for International TableTop Day. This is a huge event that takes place all over the country (if not the world) to celebrate board and card games. Games of Berkeley, in their mission to stay awesome, invites local game designers as part of their celebration.

If you’re interested in checking out Feed the Shoggoth!, or a host of other games, swing by Games of Berkeley this Saturday, any time from 10am – 7pm.

In other news, layout for The Things We Leave Behind is at a stall right now. I’ve done pretty much everything i can, and am waiting for Stephanie (head honcho at Stygian Fox, as well as cartographer extraordinaire) to finish all the maps. Once those are plugged in, the book’ll be done, but she has other assignments that she needs to get completed first (contractual obligations, ya know).

Beyond that, there are a couple more RPG book projects down the line, and Montag has more stuff lining up for me…but right now, it’s kinda quiet.

A quick blurb about that card game of mine

January 28th, 2016

Something that i’ve been remiss in mentioning; if you’re interested in purchasing a copy of Feed the Shoggoth!, here’s what you need to do. Shoot me an email at badger@squamousstudios.com, and i’ll get you set up (basically, send me 26 bucks via Paypal). I don’t have an online store set up yet, but it’s in development (along with the rest of the website for FtS!). Until that’s all complete, however, Paypal is the only real way that have to take orders.

That’s all for now. Be seeing you.

-=Badger

Weird West Call of Cthulhu Character Booklets

January 7th, 2016

Last month, i had the pleasure of attending a small horror RPG convention. While i’ve been running Call of Cthulhu for years and years, it’s really only at cons where i actually write original material; in my regular campaign, i almost always run pre-written adventures. So, for this convention, i got a bug in my bonnet about writing a scenario set in the Wild West. Previous adventures that i’ve done have covered modern day, the 1950s, World War II, and of course the 1920s, but i’d never done anything in the Western era. I’d been partially  influenced by my friend Dovi, who ran this utterly amazing scenario early last year.

Naturally, as a huge prop geek, i wanted to do more than just the typical character sheet. I did a search online, of course, and found one that was done by the Mad Irishman for Worlds of Cthulhu #2. It looked great, but it wasn’t quite what i was looking for. I wanted a booklet, something really tangible that my players could sink their teeth into. A friend of mine suggested that i make it in the style of an old playbill. Eureka! That was the inspiration i needed, and off to InDesign i went…

I thought it might be cool to make that booklet available for people to use, if they want to, so i’m offering up some files for free download. Some things of note:

  1. You’ll notice that the pages might look a little out of order. This is done so that you can print the booklet double sided. For example, the page that has “One Night Only” is meant to be the front cover; the Gear and Weapons page would appear on the back. “The Main Cast” would be the inside front cover, and so on.
  2. You’ll want to print these out in landscape mode, on two normal 8.5″ x 11″ pages. I used some special marbled paper from an office supply store to get more of an old timey look.
  3. There are a few skills listed, and Draw! rules, from Worlds of Cthulhu #2. I know it’s out of print, but if you can track that book down, i’d advise it. I think it’s all self-explanatory, though.
  4. I’ve made most applicable fields editable, but please note that it’s my first time doing so, so please let me know if i can improve on the pdf.
  5. The “Ace in the Hole” is a house rule i came up with just for the scenario. Each of the six characters has a secret, heroic ability they can use, mostly just once per game. You can read an example of this in August Black’s character booklet.

I think that’s it. Here’s an example of what the front and back covers look like:

August Black example

 

Here’s the link to the editable pdf: Blank Wild West CoC Char Booklet

And here’s where you can download an example of how the final booklets looked: August Black.pdf

Enjoy!

-=Badger

Slithering into the new year

January 5th, 2016

Hope everyone had a fun time celebrating Krampus and the death of 2015. 🙂 Things, as usual, have been busy in the Studio, with most of the time chewed up by packing and sorting and folding and spindling and taping and labeling various things for Feed the Shoggoth!. It’s taken a while to get everything out the door, but as of last week, the last of the copies (and various goodies) for the Kickstarter backers who all live overseas…which felt like a Herculean task. There was a lot of back and forth between myself and the representative from Sans-Detour (who has been awesome, btw- i’m not complaining at all), so it took a while to get everything set up. In the end, it’s all worked out.

So now, i’m actively getting the game into more and more stores, and ramping up direct sales. If anyone is interested in ordering a copy of Feed the Shoggoth!, please shoot me an email at badger@squamousstudios, and we’ll get you taken care of.

I know its something that i’ve brought up before, but i’ll say it again. If you’re doing a Kickstarter, for GOO’s sake, get your shipping costs in order. I cannot emphasize this enough. Shipping has cost me more money for this project than anything else. Here’s just one example of how it’s fucked me- i thought that the cost of shipping the game would be the same no matter where in the U.S., and based my shipping rates off of that. I weighed everything, made a spreadsheet, and thought i had everything correct.

Well, i had it only half right. Up to a certain weight, it was true that the shipping rate would remain flat. However, any shipment that had more than the game, and the counters, hit a threshold; thereafter, the price for shipping the KS fulfillment could vary as much as 10 bucks, depending on where the person lived. Ouch.

I’ve also been hard at work designing the “Things We Leave Behind” book, but i’ve been crippled by my computer having to go into the shop for more than a week. It’s still looking pretty good, if i do say so myself.

Oh yeah, and i’ve been slowly building out the FtS! website. Bear with me, it’s taking a while. 🙂

Guess that’s it for now! Be seeing you.

Shipping Shoggoths

October 27th, 2015

It’s official- the shipment of Feed the Shoggoth! copies arrived from China, and were delivered right to my door (of my storage unit). Over half a ton of game product is quite the site to behold…

…and makes me glad i’m not in the book business. I can’t imagine what schlepping around 1,500 copies of an RPG would be like instead…no, wait! I do know what’s that like, having done so when i used to work the booth for Chaosium at conventions. Ah, those were the days.

Anyway, the inside of my apartment now looks like a tornado hit a warehouse, with piles of boxes ready to be shipped, and other product scattered about, lurking behind shipping and packing material. It’s a glorious mess. This is what i’ll be doing for the next…i dunno how long. Packing and stuffing and taping and labeling. But the end result’s already worth it.

Meanwhile, i submitted my first page design tests to Stygian Fox for that book i’m working on, “The Things We Leave Behind”. It’s a lot…rougher than my previous work. On purpose. This is a collection of modern, deadly, no-holds-barred dark collection of scenarios for Call of Cthulhu. I aim to make this book look mean. A couple of adjustments aside, they’re really happy with what i’ve come up with, which is a great feeling. I’m really looking forward to really diving into this book.