Sunday, August 27, 2006

Livejournal anyone?

So, it seems that everyone thinks that livejournal is the way to go, so I am dropping this blog and trying out my luck on the other side of the hedges. It will also mean a fresh start, and hopefully a bigger crowd of readers, but who knows...

You'll find me here at wandermansrealm.livejournal.com

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Adventure ideas

Now that the writing on the Crown book has come to an end, I find myself thinking about creating an adventure module for the grand city (or perhaps even two). I have never created a written adventure and is not really a big fan of reading others, so I think my first plan will be to examine why. Will I have to find my own footing in adventure writing, making a structure of my own, which may in fact only work for me? I am not sure, but it would be nice to come up with some highly original ideas that may inspire others.

My first idea was to actually make two adventures, which is in fact one adventure but with two different angles, a good and an evil. The idea came from an evil chat game I am about to run on Barroks Tower, but after seeing it on paper, I understood that it could be played out from the perspective of a group of good guys as well.


(SPOILER WARNING!)
The basic idea is that the party is hired by an evil noble necromancer named Urion Hes'thar, to enter the dangerous prison underneath the famous White Gate and free a saruulan cultist named Erath'Dar Tarnn. There will be plenty of encounters, but battles and traps, and the stories they will experience!Just think about all those lost souls sitting and rotting in a prison deep underneath the ground... now, the other angle, the good guys, they will take over after the evil party has set the cultist free, and story-wise, we will learn why Lord Urion wanted to free his old enemy...

Crown update: I received the first artwork from Ricky L. Hunter and was blown away by their superiorness. The quality is just...amazing. He has been given some extra time to finish the last three, as its better to get the best possible result than a couple of rushed illustrations. Also, I just came up with a small (last minute) idea for the Gate Golem, and I think it will be great! :) Just a little something that will add a lot of flavor and really show their creators, you'll know what I mean when you see the final illustration.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Rings of Power

A long time ago, I created this product called Rings of Power, which was originally intended for Crown, but then the Forge wanted to publish it, and that was a great opportunity to work with those good polish guys who make excellent artwork and layout, so I accepted and now its finally here! I guess it took so long because of their work with Monte Cook's Ptolus, but its all been worth the waiting, those illustrations are great!

You can find the product here, at RPGNow..

Also, this work is a copporative effort. I write for them and they make artwork for me, well, for Crown anyway. There will be more to see in the future, so hang around! :)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Officially done..

As of yesterday, the Crown Campaign Setting was officially finished. Unofficially, there is still plenty of stuff that we'd both like to cram into the core setting, but we have until the end of august, so that gives us some time, but we probably have to remove some stuff in the end. Oh well, we'll cross that bridge when we get there.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Worlds of Adventure

I don't remember exactly how I came to write for David Jarvis, on his True20 project, but I know I spent 2 weeks emerging myself in this dark and twisted world, primarily designing the races and classes. It was in the beginning of my d20 adventure, and I had just done the Monsters of Illusion pdf for David. I remember that I almost read his entire Blood Throne bible in one sitting - it was just that good. I am not sure that I would have helped him out had I believed it wouldn't get chosen by Green Ronin, so it didn't come as a surprise to me when I saw the Blood Throne on Green Ronin's homepage.

And now it's out! I just spotted my name on RPGNow, which was great. I have a lot of Green Ronin's products, one of which is of course their True20 system, and its not bad at all, although I don't think I will ever play that game. The d20 system is just too good!

On the design front, I just received the first batch of sketches from artist Ricky L. Hunter, and they were great. There was just one illustration that I had comments to, and that illustration is one of the key illustrations in the book, so it has to be perfect.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Superman Returns?

I have never been a big fan of this boy scout, but somehow, I ended up in the cinema watching this young lad in a pair of blue tights. I had to see what all the fuss was about, you know, this being the most expensive movie ever, but that can't be right, I mean, why? Sure there are some spectacular effects, but certainly not a lot. Oh well, there were a few good points, like one of my favorite actors, Mr. Kevin Spacey, who really had his brilliant moments.

Ok, so there was a few points that I wondered about, most importantly, why the young kid was wearing glasses (didn't he?) in the beginning of the movie, I mean, doesn't Superman has super-sight? Also, if he can just move about in the air as he wish, why does he clench his fists in front of him? I friend of mine tried to convince me that this must have been a leftover from the first movies, where Superman was hung in ropes and whatnot, you know, for balance. It certainly sounds plausible.

And then there were the endless cliches...

On the game design front, I am currently writing the last part of Crown, which is the history chapter, and then I have promised Neal, that the final draft of the setting will be turned in for editing by the end of August. I have also found the wonderful artists who is going to illustrate the Crown Setting and a few of them have already begun drawing the first sketches. Also, we have hired Doug Kovacs (www.dougkovacs.com) to make the cover, which is going to be a beautiful wrap-around, displaying Crown seen from a small square window high above the streets. Its going to be filled with small details and I am sure the viewer will find enough to inspire him.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A world in itself...

So my computer is up and running, which has taken me almost a year. So, now its time to think and talk a bit about my first really big d20 project...Crown.

The idea started out when my rpg group started playing d20. We wanted to create a whole city, which would be a world in itself, with enough opportunities for adventure to last a lifetime. The wards would be small kingdoms ruled by the different races, and thus we created the great city called Kalidor. There was another city underneath called Xarnakon ruled by the Cloaked Man and in between, the dwarves had build a great city of their own, when they was forced to flee the Black Mountains. For two years, this city was our home and in many ways it still is, though we have left it to explore the mighty Lost Lands, just outside the gates.

Then, one day I read that Monte Cook had begun creating a mighty city called Ptolus, which would become the world's greatest city. His idea was not unlike ours, and so I found myself forced to create Kalidor anew,but this time I named it Crown. I was going to take up the gauntlet that Mr. Cook had placed in front of me, showing that I too had a right to cool ideas! Let it be said here, that Crown looks nothing like Ptolus and that the city is all our own making, of course!

So how did Crown get its name?
Well, in those first days I tried to write a lot of different ideas to publishers, hoping that someone would say "hey! great idea!". One of those ideas was for Goodman Games, and their Dungeon Crawl line. It was a crawl set in a strange labyrinth underneath a mighty city called Crown, where the Queen would challenge her champions to go into that dark place and prove to her that they could face the challenges and survive. Sad to say, it was not accepted, as they already had something "like that under development"! Hmm... well, couldn't I just take the city idea and make it into a game on its own?

The first idea was to make short pdfs of up to 30 pages, detailing different topics in Crown, like "People of Crown", "Magic of Crown", "Champions of Crown", "Evil in Crown" etc. Each of these would help build the city, making it a grand place to go adventuring. I started out, but was then told by a good man named Tom Ryan (of LichHaven Games) that this could be a great city setting. I thought about it and then began writing it in more details, starting with the unique races; oltreggans, lumilons, ethereans and saruulans. I good friend of mine named Peter then teamed up with me in giving this city life and now we are almost there.

So, the basic idea of Crown is that you don't really need to leave the city to find adventure. Here are great earth-shattering events, strong enemies and strange monsters. The streets are never boring and there is always something new to see and react to. Sure, you can leave the city by one of the gates, or by boat (perhaps even by one of the flying mageships!), but if we have done this right...you wouldn't want to!