Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Done, Done, Onto the Next One!

I've been a bit quiet on here recently - sorry! Been busy. I had a writing project come in - not a huge one, but it was a major one for me - and I was already a month or two late in delivering what was promised.

Why was it a major one? Well, that's two-fold.

In a strange way this is almost the anniversary of my stepping back from the Line Developer role working on Modiphius' Star Trek Adventures. A dream job, working on a license I love. I didn't want to withdraw my involvement, but circumstances meant that if I didn't I would have made myself seriously sick - certainly mentally, if not physically. I was doing too much and I just wasn't handling it as well as I should.

Backing out was hard, but necessary. Afterwards I kept questioning myself, asking if I'd done the right thing? And then came the desert that was writing work. It just wasn't there - I started to worry if word of my failure had spread, and now no one would hire me to work on their games. I'd shot myself in the foot, no one would touch me. Gone were my chances of ever helming another game, let alone my dreams of writing Harry Potter...

The other major thing about this writing job was that 60-70% of the gig was an adventure.

Back when I started trying to get into RPG writing, back in the late 1980s, the only thing I thought companies wanted was adventures. I wrote a couple of adventures for WEG's Ghostbusters RPG, which got some pretty positive responses - though they never saw print. Just wasn't suitable (I foolishly steered a little close to other movie copyrights). I started work on another Ghostbusters adventure, and a Price of Freedom one, but then life got in the way - I went to work in cartography and archaeology, and the worlds of gaming faded to the background for a while.

When I tried to get back into game writing again, it was with Eden Studios. The first thing I wrote for them was a sample supplement for All Flesh Must Be Eaten called "Summercamp Stalkers and Unstoppable Evil" - there was a sort-of adventure at the back of the book. More a setting for teens to run around and avoid a horrible undead nemesis. Not really a proper plotted adventure with a story, as such.

From there, everything I did either had adventures written by other people or didn't need adventures. Even for Doctor Who I got a handful of more qualified adventure writers on board to come up with that section, and I'm glad I did. I've always been a bit crap at coming up with adventure ideas.

This reluctance to write adventures (because I'm convinced I'm crap) even lead to my turning down one of the most high-profile adventure writing gigs around - Wil Wheaton's Titansgrave. I know... what a dumbass.

So I was cautious when it came to the new gig. I hadn't written for a while, and the last plotted and storied adventure I'd worked on was around 1989... But, the subject was fun, and I couldn't turn it down.

And I'm glad I worked on it. I just sent off the completed thing this evening. Now it's onto edits, revisions, layout and illustrations. I'm sure I'll mention it a lot in the following months, especially when the Kickstarter begins.

I hope the company likes it, and I hope you like it when you see it. I had a blast writing it, and it's reassured me that I can not only have a go at adventures again in the future, but also that I can actually finish something. That was a big part - actually finishing something. With WILD taking so many years and failing to get anywhere I was starting to think I was incapable of doing anything anymore.

Anyway, I can't say what this project was, I'm sure it'll be announced soon. But, thanks to it, I'm back on the horse.

Monday, January 1, 2018

I think we must expect great things from you... 2018 long as they're not terrible.

I started writing a lengthy "end of year" blog post, filled with the usual "I didn't get this done" and "this is what has happened" nonsense. I even started thinking about my films, games and TV of the year. And you know what? It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what I thought of the year, what movie I thought was good, or any of it.

What matters is what YOU thought of the year.

More importantly, what matters is what you make of the new year.


Reflecting on 2017, I just wanted to thank some people.

Thanks to Chris Birch and Sam Webb at Modiphius, for letting me play in the Star Trek universe for a bit. For giving me the opportunity to work with cool Trek people like Dayton Ward and Scott Pearson, and for letting me shape the game a little. Many, many congratulations to them for how the game turned out and for the critical response to it.

Thanks to Dominic McDowall and Jon Hodgson at Cubicle 7 for putting up with my stupid emails.

Thanks to Anthony Boyd for his hard work and dedication running 2017's #RPGaDAY, making it the most far-reaching and successful campaigns spreading the positive message of RPGs to the world.

Thanks to Eric Campbell at Geek & Sundry for hosting some of the coolest actual plays around online featuring the aforementioned Star Trek Adventures and, before it, the game I designed for C7 - Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space (or Doctor Who Roleplaying Game as it is now). The exposure of the Twitch streams have sent the popularity of both of these games into the stratosphere.

Thanks to all my friends and family who have put up with my constant crap all year, and especially thank you to my lovely wife, Debs. Together, we're going to grab 2018 by the proverbials and show the world what we can do.


2018 is a big year for me. I just hope I can make it even bigger by doing something really special.

Take care of each other, roll well, stay multi-classy and as Neil Gaiman said - "make good art."