New Year, New Beginnings

Welcome to my first post of 2015; what a start we’ve already seen! Christmas and New Year passed seemingly in the blink of an eye, followed swiftly by three members of KPLangers celebrating their birthdays over one weekend. We’re slowly settling into some kind of rhythm for the year now that festivities and preparations have successfully borne fruit, and as a family are looking ahead to some great times together. Hopefully you’ll enjoy sharing some of these moments with us as our year progresses.

 

Both Helen and I have seen our year start successfully as we take our first steps along our independent, yet mutually supported, business ventures. Helen created Happy Feet Childminding towards the end of 2014 following a successful and outstanding Ofsted inspection of our home. It didn’t long for Helen to gather her first children to mentor following receipt of her official certification as a childminder; I have no doubt that Helen’s passion, creativity and diligence eased any doubts prospective parents may have had at leaving their little one in someone else’s care, and have absolutely no doubt that Happy Feet will continue to grow – particularly as the whole of KPLangers continue to show their character by helping and supporting when they can. Helen has continued to build upon these initial foundations by taking steps to create Happy Feet’s own website, which is already very much taking shape!

 

Alongside Helen’s and Happy Feet’s success I’ve had my own personal success, which is coupled closely with outstanding news for Red Scar. Founding a business has been a steep, sharp learning experience, although I’ve had invaluable support from both Chris Birch, founder of Modiphius, and Toma Feizo-Gas, founder of Vulcan Design Forge and Senior Art Director for Red Scar. I make no apologies for mentioning this again if you’ve been following my posts from the start; I’m honoured by (and slightly in awe of) the support these two industry stalwarts have shown me since the outset. To cut to the quick: Toma, myself and Red Scar have been presented with the opportunity to produce a full-fledged adventure for Modiphius and the Mutant Chronicles 3rd Edition Roleplaying Game. Add to this the fact that we’ll be creating one of the first official standalone adventures produced for Mutant Chronicles since its 2nd Edition days, and you may begin to appreciate how truly honoured I am to not only be able to write for Modiphius, but also to be able to work alongside Toma on Red Scar’s first official venture as we create almost everything Modiphius will need to put together an outstanding adventure. We’re already hard at work as we look to create a product fit to take its place amongst their award winning catalogue of roleplaying game material. Check back in for regular updates both here and at Modiphius as this progresses.

 

We’re also in the very final stages of wrapping up a presentation to an established American publisher of roleplaying game material. Again, I can’t give away any specifics, but I can tease you with two outstanding character pieces which have been produced by the team over at Vulcan Design Forge. It’s really something to see my original visions and initial tentative direction become a reality, particularly as it’s hard to convey how much work and direction takes place to bring an image like this to you. I really only have Toma to thank  as I present these to you: for placing faith in me, for invaluable guidance and instruction, and for stepping in when my direction lacked…well…direction! The first of these pieces is the final render of Red Scar’s very own Kyra Red – I think you”ll agree this is a fitting character piece to the very lady who lends her name and background to our company. The second character piece is of someone I very much enjoyed creating as I wrote the material for this work – Red Scar present to you Perseline: local soothsayer, witch and potion-maker extraodinaire. More than that I cannot say unfortunately 😉Kyra RedPerselineFinally then, over on the KPLangers facebook page, I revealed the fact that I had entered Paizo‘s RPG Superstar 2015 competition. I was very happy with my submission – which I can now reveal below – until I realised I had committed a basic and cardinal error in my submission. I set to voting with a vengeance as soon as the first round allowed, yet slowly began to question why I hadn’t come across my own item as I did so. I appreciate there is a cull prior to voting being opened, yet I had been quietly confident that my item would have had at least made it past this first obstacle. A few niggling clues in some of the entries I had been furiously voting on led me to re-examine both my own entry, and the submission guidelines. To my horror, I realised I had busted the 300 word limit by 34 words. My tired eyes had assumed the entry required 300 words of descriptive text, exclusive of the statistical format surrounding it. On a second read, with more attentive eyes, it became clearly apparent that the 300 word limit was inclusive of the format surrounding it. Game over then, I thought. To the credit of Owen K.C. Stephens, game designer and lead judge for the competition, I was advised to wait for the round finalists to be revealed, as there was an outside chance my entry could be chosen as one of the four wild cards. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case, so it only remains for me to say best of luck to those who did make it through. I shall strive to make a better account of myself next year following this  simplest of errors. Lesson very much learnt! Here then is the final edit I submitted:Rod of Sinful Torment

I hope you all achieve your own goals and personal success throughout 2015, best of luck in your endeavours! As always, please feel free to leave a comment; I’d be particularly interested in your thoughts on Kyra, Perseline and my RPG Superstar entry 🙂

 

(Un?)Necessary Disclaimer:  I can take no responsibility for any of the links highlighted in this post. Where possible, I have provided a link to an author’s official page or a company’s official site. Where this hasn’t been possible, I have provided a link to the relevant Wikipedia page. The links provided are used at your own risk.

The conflict of solitude

Has it really been that long since I’ve posted? Time  has certainly flown! It’s not been down to a lack of commitment or loss of momentum; more the opposite in fact. The demands of my undertaking have been pretty relentless to be fair. I wouldn’t like to be misunderstood here as I’m not bemoaning my circumstance or seeking pity. I’ve made a choice to change my life and I’m working hard to make it a reality, but there certainly is a lot to juggle. That said, I’d like to start this post by again thanking my wonderful, understanding, supportive and insightful partner in both life and love. My enthusiasm sometimes loses you, yet you always try your best to follow my thoughts. Big kudos also for the unremitting support Mr J has provided, including some wonderful contributions to my efforts. I’m working hard to see them in print for you. Again, also a big thank you to Chris Birch for his continued help in many aspects, despite being extremely busy himself on many of his own projects.

 

Working on this project has left little time for other pursuits I’m afraid, which means I’ve had no time to continue the story of Shaemus over on wattpad or even to produce the review of Fate Core that I’ve been promising. I have had a chance to read through the system though and I must say, I’m immensely impressed. So much so that I intend on making use of Fate Core in my project, though more on that later. Now, you may be asking yourself why such an established and polished system as Fate Core could possibly need another review. You’re probably right in thinking that it doesn’t, but I’d ask you to bear with me on this one please: think of it more as a learning process and chance for me to practice my reviewing skills. Which leads me neatly in to the title for my post. If you manage to find some time for some research I would highly recommend foraging for other people’s writing experiences. By that I mean how many different methods writers employ to allow their creativity to flow to you, the reader. I don’t just mean the methods they employ, which is clearly an important part of the process, but the whole experience: surroundings, mood, research, musical influence, et al. I’m of the opinion that there is no right or wrong answer, it is very much down to the individual. I prefer to write in solitude, sometimes in complete silence, other times with music which suits the mood for the piece I’m writing. My current employment will also sometimes see me complete an entire shift without having spoken to another living being. Although this respite from human contact is occasionally welcome, writing can sometimes be a lonely experience. Where am I going with this? Let me cut to the chase – please feel free to leave a comment, just so I know you’re out there and interested in what I have to say. You’re support in any small way through critique, suggestion or positive reinforcement makes this whole process more than the mere ramblings of an as yet unpublished writer and will let me know that I can overcome my enforced solitude by reaching out to you through the power of the written word.

 

On the gaming front it’s been a case of our group getting together to plan ahead and look at a date for a fresh start. I like to run games for my group which have sprung from my own creativity but unfortunately my undertakings have left me with no time in that area either, so we’ve taken the collective decision to run more pick up and play type games for the time being. To that end I’ll be rebooting the Carrion Crown Adventure Path from the third module, after having stopped near the end of the second some time ago – perfectly in time for Halloween. I’m very much looking forward to this as I enjoy a sense of horror and tension in my games. I’m sure you’ll hear about this in future posts! We did manage to squeeze in a play-test of the Mutant Chronicles 3rd Edition beta rules, using the short adventure and pre-gen characters provided with the RPGNow download. Chris Birch, founder of the Achtung! Cthulu and Mutant Chronicles publisher Modiphius, kindly sent through some updated character sheets for us to use, so we’re looking to further play-test Mutant Chronicles in a mass combat situation very soon. More to come on that also in future posts, particularly as the much anticipated finished product will be with us in November.

 

Lastly, I’d like to talk about the all-consuming project. It’s still very much progressing, though it will soon be taking a very different direction – self publishing through the power of Kickstarter! Before I continue in more depth on that, I’d like to tell you that the Paizo license submission was finished and submitted. Massive thanks to Toma Feizo Gas and the Vulcan Design Forge, Arthur Tanga and his creations and our map artist for all of the hard work to see that finalised! If I’m able to at some point, I will post it here for your comments as we were quite proud of the finished piece. I’ve had a tentative email response from Paizo and am awaiting further events, though I haven’t sat still. My intention has always been to take a step into the world of self publishing and, having had several conversations with experts in various fields, this will soon be a reality. Our team is hard at work on various iterations of the overall idea and product. We will very soon be releasing a small, free PDF which will introduce you to a kingdom building campaign employing the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Ultimate Campaign and Mythic Adventure rules; that’s right, a kingdom building campaign of epic proportions! Set on my home-brew campaign world of Tanrisal, this will be the first of a series of campaign arcs introducing players and GM’s to this rich setting. There will be seperate posts, pages and updates for this as we progress so please add, like or follow to receive your updates and pass the word around. As mentioned earlier, you can also expect Fate Core variants of this in the future! We are all massively enthused by this project and are very much looking forward to unveiling it to you as we progress. I don’t want to say too much more, as it will be the subject of future posts, but I’d like to leave you with a concept image produced by Toma for the central character from one of my stories over on wattpad, who will also be making an appearance in the forthcoming adventure series : Kyra Red. Bearing in mind that this is a concept sketch and not the finished piece, I think you’ll agree it’s a stunning piece and certainly does her justice.

Kyra Red concept sketch

I’d like to sign off with a challenge. I challenge one of my friends or followers to leave a comment on anything related to this post, be it your own writing experiences, thoughts on my self-publishing quest or the concept of Kyra. I shall look forward to replying!