So Many Projects

While we’re all sitting at home, Gaming Ballistic has not been idle. Lots going on in the background, some of which I can talk about, some I can’ or it’s not yet time.

Confirmed and Upcoming Projects

In the immediate future, I’ve got three things on my horizon, though some of them may break into smaller bits.

More Perilous Journeys (2020)

The first thing up, and sooner rather than later, is the next installment of projects for The Fantasy Trip from Gaming Ballistic. It features more works by the same author group as last time, and features five more books.

Two are solos by David Pulver. I should be getting the first draft of one of them Any Day Now, and he’ll turn to the other immediately thereafter.

Three are the continuation and conclusion of the Jok Sevantes adventures by Christopher R. Rice and J. Edward Tremlett. I have read and reviewed all three of their submissions. One is in editing with me, the other two went back for revision to the authors with extensive feedback. That is a very normal part of the writing process, and I definitely think that if we can pull off the shared vision of agency, action, and freedom of choice that the revised books promise, they’ll be really fun to play.

One thing I’m going to do a little differently for this project is to have the “books” part of the project run differently than the “stuff” part. So counters and cards that appeared in the Four Perilous Journeys project are still on the docket, but staggered so that the “books” and “stuff” supply chains don’t cross. I think, overall, this will make the projects go more smoothly.

I also have a thought in mind for that “stuff” project, and I’ll bring that up later.

Norðlond Bestiary (2020)

With the bestiary, called the Norðlondr Ovinabokin (Nordlond Enemies Book), I hope to provide a resource for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG that allows folks running games set in Norðlond to just play. Coming up with good adversaries can be very time consuming, and being able to just pick from a list is really handy. That Other Game has had the Monster Manual since I was eight years old – it was published in 1977 – and having that for inspiration and reference was quite handy.

Most readers of the blog know that originally, “The Book of Foes” was written for my stand-alone RPG Dragon Heresy, and has incorporated many of the creatures found in the SRD, eliminated others, and plussed up the sections on regular flora and fauna. Perhaps a third, maybe fewer, of the monsters appeared in the bestiary section of the Dragon Heresy book. But every word of fluff text was new, or modified, to fit the setting.

So there’s a LOT done already, and the biggest job is monster stats. As envisioned, this will be a mighty tome. Lots of critters, lots of stats, lots of art. It’s going to be a big lift and I hope that folks help me by backing the project heavily!

Mission X (2021)

If you were at virtual FnordCon 2 and attended the GURPS panel discussion, you may have heard the wonderful news (for me, anyway!) that SJG has agreed to allow me to create a stand-alone RPG using the GURPS core. It is technically a “Powered by GURPS” product much like the Dungeon Fantasy RPG.

Tentatively titled “Mission X,” though it may change by the time it launches, it will be a modern-day action-oriented game featuring a party of trained operatives heading off into the great beyond to obtain technology and intelligence from a hostile universe. If you read my writeups and notes from my Alien Menace campaign (short-lived due to the arrival of my second daughter), you can see that it grabbed concepts and missions from diverse sources, but featured modern weapons, gear, and tactics plus a “kill aliens and take their stuff” theme to help it feel like “the Dungeon Fantasy RPG in space.”

Mission X is going to be more than that, though. I’m envisioning a setup that allows a GM to run modern day Special Ops or SWAT missions, super-spies, and other genres that involve guns. Lots of guns.

My vision for the series is evolving, but I want a faster “on-ramp” for new players, but I also want folks to look and see my imprint on the game, as I finally get some real ballistics in the Gaming Ballistic product portfolio!

Stay tuned. I have to get through quite a bit before I really turn my mind to this, and until I have my own outline for what needs doing, announcing titles or contents of books is premature. Even so: there are several worked-example books already to give the overall ‘what does this need to look like?’ feel. The Dungeon Fantasy RPG obviously; the Dungeon Fantasy GURPS series, Action (the gift that keeps on giving; read my reviews here), Monster Hunters, and After the End all provide a structure that I would be remiss to ignore.

But there are also things I’ve written for Pyramid that are very on point, and other things written by Sean that are even more so. My mandate to borrow is pretty wide, but not all-inclusive. I can’t hardly wait to get started on it, but first things’ first.

Other Projects (2020 and 2021)

There’s a lot more going on behind the scenes, too. While the three items above represent the BIG projects already announced, there are others in the works.

  • I’m chatting with my authors about at least one Nordlond project. All are short-ish, featuring about two dozen pages, providing drop-in flavor to the setting, but exportable outside of it with little work. Some stuff. Some people. Not tied to a particular location or adventure, but rather ready-to-use help in running free-form campaigns. Or inspiring new adventures.
  • I’d also like to port Nordvorn, Forest’s End, and the Dragons of Rosgarth to Dragon Heresy. They’re pre-written and filled with art already, so expanding the ability of folks to play the Dragon Heresy game – with its blend of 5e and GURPS concepts – is handy.
  • There’s another big project still in the discussion and development phase; so much so I can’t discuss it at all. Next year maybe.
  • Venture Beyond is under discussion again with David. We both want to do it and it’s a matter of time and priority. It’s a full-on RPG, and not based on any existing system! Nothing firm as to timing, but it was well advanced when it was back-burnered.

Alternate Crowdfunding Platform

I intend in late 2020 to explore other crowdfunding options more tailored to the RPG space. Some of the post-mortem from 2019 showed that while Gaming Ballistic is capable of producing many volume projects at once (Four/Five Perilous Journeys and Nordlond Sagas), tying them all together in a bundle is complicated and doesn’t allow the kind of delivery flexibility that my backers deserve.

So I’m going to look at Game On Tabletop for at least one project, as the platform combines the crowdfunding capabilities of a Kickstarter with an integrated pledge manager and add-on capability, as well as phased approaches to handling shipping. I want to start small, so I get a feel for the platform on my end, as well as ensuring that the slide over to a new spot that’s not Kickstarter or IndieGoGo doesn’t put too much at risk.

 

11 thoughts on “So Many Projects

      1. While I’m mostly a fantasy guy when left to my own devices and wear my Very Serious Historian Indeed hat ™ for part of it, a lot of my gaming has been space guys in blowing-things-up-good adventures. Indeed, my first official contributions to GURPS waaaaay back around 1990 arose out of a long-term space mercenaries campaign I was heavily involved in. This would be just the thing to get back into that some. There’s nothing like sci-fi weaponry for blowing things up good.

        (And, of course, from a more general gaming point of view GURPS can be a great basis for SF gaming and official product offerings have been sadly deficient in that area for quite some time.)

        1. Thanks for this. I hope many feel as you do. It’s going to be the proverbial Big Lift, but I can think of no project that is more in my wheelhouse for WANTING to do that lift.

          1. Sounds like a GURPS X-Com hack. Go ahead and take my money now. Especially if you can figure out some way to do science tree/base building/tech trees.

          2. I won’t lie: I played a lot of XCOM when the original campaign (Alien Menace) happened (Edit to Add: and I’m playing a lot of XCOM2: Long War right now). I also had read Scalzi’s Old Man’s War and (at least in that book before I’d read the sequels) was intrigued by the concept of an overtly hostile universe, and one where certain powerful races (be they the Consu from that book, or the Vorlon and Shadows from Babylon 5) could simply curb-stomp any lesser race. Combine that with a bit of Stargate SG-1 (though I’ll really need to re-watch the series for “research”) and some Aliens (“Is this a stand-up fight, sir, or just another bug hunt?”), and I predict a lot of fun. I want a bit of the old Black Ops feel without 1,000 point characters (700 pts in 3e). I also want a faster character ‘on ramp’ to help new groups get playing right away. GURPS can do all of those things, some of which I’ve done myself, others I’ve seen done by others. Toss in that I believe that this is really playing in GURPS’ #1 unexploited wheelhouse – high octane military adventure – and I hope a lot of folks feel that way.

  1. ENWorld did an interview with Owne K.C. Stephens a couple weeks ago that touched on KS alternative crowdfunding platforms, particularly those that cater to the rpg crowd.

  2. Boy, if only real to dollar ratio hadn’t skyrocketed lately, I would like to buy all your books. The are so high quality. Congrats and Jesus bless your work.

  3. I am definitely intrigued by your Mission X project, and what your concepts for an “on-ramp” for new players are. In particular, how bold are you willing to “change” the system to make it easier?

    While I love the Dungeon Fantasy RPG line and think it’s an amazing product – and actually use it – as it did a great job at “re-organizing” the rules to make them appear simpler, it wasn’t a drastic departure from the core of GURPS, and thus still has some of the same “issues” (I use that term loosely); i.e., lots of decision paralysis on what traits to get. Yes, it is definitely much less an issue at character creation thanks to how templates are made, but the choices still remained, and become more prominent with character development once you start to stray away from the starting package.

    On the other hand, you have “Pointless Slaying and Looting” from Pyramid #72 – Alternate Dungeons, which is still GURPS, but has a completely different flavor on how to build characters. Rather than having hundreds of skills, you have a couple dozen Wildcard skills; rather than having hundreds of independent traits, you have them nicely packaged at values of roughly 10 or 20 points. (Monster Hunters did the same with “Pointless Monster Hunting” in Pyramid #83 – Alternate GURPS IV). You’ve effectively streamlined advantages and skills with this method.

    I’ve always wondered whether this approach would be easier for new players. Instead of worrying about exact point costs and exactly how to modify a given trait, you have a certain number of major and minor abilities to pick… it would be like picking feats from a list of feats in D&D. Then, instead of gaining points, you “level up” and get a new minor ability or wildcard skill choice.

    The pyramid articles didn’t have professional templates, but it is would in theory be easy enough to limit the list of available minor and major abilities by template. Your templates would just have to have a different format.

    But despite this change of approach in character design, the rules on how the game plays is still GURPS. It still uses the GURPS rules – and thus, for your intent, having the guns and ballistics. It’s a “powered by GURPS” with a unique character creation/leveling up process.

    That said, if having a different skill for every single type of weapon is important in what you envision, then this method definitely would not work.

    Disclaimer: I admit, I’ve never actually tried it. My players and I know GURPS well enough that we dive in without fear. But that type of approach, at least in my opinion based on my reading of it, appears easier. Would this therefore not be a good way to introduce new players?

    And for the diehards, you create an Annex at the end of your product – or a website post? – with an “under the hood” on how each of your abilities were built. It can also include any considerations if someone wants to use the core GURPS rules for their character creation (which are still compatible with this approach); e.g., instead of gaining a minor ability when you level up, you gain 10 character points.

    I’m not saying this is the way to do it. I’m just throwing out an idea for your consideration. If the goal is to bring in more people to GURPS, maybe something different will work better… or it might scare off the normal GURPS players… alas, my magic 8-ball seems to be on the fritz as to the outcome here.

    Happy to bounce around such ideas if you want.

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