I got to talk with Che Webster for the third time about a month ago. We talked about adventure design and a few other topics of interest.

As always, Che is a delight. The interview started at 6am my time, so he helped me focus. Some. That was important.

604 Adventures With Douglas Cole

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.

 

I thought I’d try something new: an “unboxing” video for the new adventure books. Overall, I’m quite pleased with how they turned out!

 

That means I now have all four of the Nordlond Sagas physical products in hand. They should be arriving in the UK for shipping Real Soon Now, but overseas transport probably means another 4-6 weeks for the US.

Now there are seven Dungeon Fantasy RPG products by Gaming Ballistic . . . with still more planned.

With the world currently pressing the “pause” button, many conventions have been cancelled, Steve Jackson Games’ FnordCon being one of them.

Originally scheduled April 3-5, it has been re-imagined as a Virtual Convention, to be held on Discord.

The schedule is firming up, and I’m sure SJG will have more to say about it in the coming days.

Virtual FnordCon

April 17-19 on Discord

Gaming Ballistic will be there! I’ll be on a few panels (TFT and GURPS), and my understanding is that there will also be some sort of dealers’ room, with a dedicated channel for dealers, pinned links, and plenty of opportunity to interact with the creators.

In any case, put it on your calendars…and drop on by when the time is right!

I joined Che Webster this morning on his Roleplay Rescue podcast.

He’s in the UK, so the best time for us both was 6am for me, noon for him. It is, after all, a work day.

This means there were a few times I lost the thread; too much blood in my caffeine stream. But by and large, we had a great chat.

Topics?

  • We talked about the Nordlond Sagas adventures
  • This lead into sandbox vs railroad/roller-coaster [1] discussions
  • We touched on The Fantasy Trip and the adventures produced by the Four Perilous Journeys campaign
  • There was a lot of discussion on how RPGs are not TV, and while adventure movies and television have great elements to be mined, translating that into RPG awesomeness requires a different lens

The conversation was pretty wide-ranging, and there were some really fun moments; Che’s a good interviewer and the topic was interesting to both of us.

Look for it in about a month.

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Reviews Starting to come in!

Over at GreysonWHY, we have

Quick Review(s) of The Dragons of Rosgarth, Forest’s End, Norðlondr Fólk, and Hand of Asgard from Gaming Ballistic for the DFRPG

Then high praise over at Don’t Forget Your Boots. To the North!

If you write a review, let me know. If you use the character-building books, let me know. If you play the adventures, link up your session summaries if you write them!

If you’re interested, you can find the books set in Nordlond on the GB Store:

Adventure/Setting

Rules/Supplement

 

After much toil, four new books in the Norse-inspired Norðlond setting for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG (Powered by GURPS) are now available on the Gaming Ballistic web store in PDF form.

The Dragons of Rosgarth

A dragon has come again to Rosgarth Castle. He hopes to ascend, becoming an Elder Dragon. They ruled the world for countless thousands of years. He believes he has found the way to do it. He may be right.

In the Norse-inspired realm of Norðlond, 100 miles south of Rosgarth, signs and portents, rumors, and reports all say the same thing: If brave thegns do not stop the threat of the dragons of Rosgarth, a new Ragnarök threatens.

112 pages. Full color.

Forest’s End

Far beyond the safety of Audreyn’s Wall, the ambitious noble Dalmar, his wife Freythor, and their lifetime friend and lieutenant Tobias carved a new settlement out of the dragonkin-infested wilderness. The planning and struggle is to come to fruition with a grand celebration in front of the King’s representative. Dalmar will offer up the Konungsgjöf and petition to be named Jarl of Skógurenda: Lord of Forest’s End.

Skógurenda is in peril and does not know it. The only questions are if external or internal threats rip the town apart first … and if a party of adventurers, newly come to the town, are mighty enough to save it.

96 pages. Full color.

Hand of Asgard

Within the book, you will find

  • Customized cleric templates for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG, one for each of the Aesir
  • Suggestions for modifying the holy warrior traits to better suit each god, whether they serve the Queen of the World, the Lawgiver, or the Snow Queen
  • More than 20 new Holy Might powers, available to any cleric or holy warrior
  • A guide to the major festivals celebrated during the Norðlond year, honoring each of the Lords of Asgard

16 pages. Full color.

Nordlondr Folk

Inside Norðlondr Fólk, find a whole new world of playable races for your character!

  • 16 templates to supplement and enhance those from Dungeon Fantasy Adventurers.
  • Alternate versions of elves, dwarves, and other races specific to the Norðlond cosmology.
  • Honor your gods: Take on the visage and abilities of their totem animal.
  • Become one of the many hybrid races walking Nordlond: the half-demon eldhuð, dragon-blooded, and more.

16 pages. Full color.

A Word of Thanks

The Nordlond Sagas Kickstarter campaign offered all four of these books. Production was delayed a bit, and then the COVID-19 pandemic made things even harder. Hard-copy versions of each book will be made available, but printing and shipping are probably going to stretch out until May or June at best. The wonderful backers of the project allowed – and in many cases insisted – that the PDFs be made available even without the print books being shipped. So thanks to them for understanding!

Just a reminder: the GURPDay blog roll updates continuously.

You can always check it out here:

GURPSDay Feed

 

 

If you have a blog of your own, and you tag/categorize (pick one for your feed!) your posts “GURPS,” then I can add you to the list.

I do ask that you keep your feed tagged, and GURPS-only. Otherwise: check ’em out. Well over 100 are on the list, though not all publish frequently.

Printing

Today I made the final edits to Hand of Asgard and Nordlondr Folk. Both of these books are being printed by Mixam, and will be done in the US for US people and in the UK for the Rest-of-World. I have placed the US order, which they tell me will arrive on my doorstep next week (!!). I wound up ordering 300 copies of Folk and 165 of Asgard.

The UK order is much smaller: 80 for Folk and 55 for Asgard. I’ll be placing that later today as well.

In both cases, reprinting is fast and easy, because they’re small, stapled, and local. So I don’t have to worry about “how many to order overseas or local so I don’t run out?”

I have also received the final round of quotes for Forest’s End and Dragons of Rosgath. I’ll be ordering 500 of each, 150 to be delivered to the UK (for about 75 orders), and 350 to the USA (for about 210). They’ll be sewn-binding, digital print…same paper quality used in the 2nd edition of Hall of Judgment and Citadel at Nordvorn.

I anticipate a month to print, and another month to six weeks to ship to me. As usual, getting them to the UK is likely faster, and Kixto will be handling fulfillment for me again when they get there.

Even so: that means it’s probably going to be mid-May before Rest-of-World fulfillment begins, and maybe late May or even early June before the US books start going out.

Pre-Order Store Closed

In anticipation of putting the PDFs up for sale – and thank you for your understanding on that front – I have closed the pre-order store. Once I get Forest’s End and Rosgarth finalized and spun out for printing, I’ll first send out “last” updates for the PDFs (there always seems to be one or two formatting things that creep through; some of that is the ‘style guide’ is (a) a moving target, and (b) somewhat subjective at times), then put those files up on Gaming Ballistic.

Some time later, they’ll be available at Warehouse 23, but that will probably be a month or so. Print copies at W23 and Gaming Ballistic will obviously be in the summer.

Say Nice Things?

All of this is to say that the general public will be getting a look at the books later this week if things continue to go well.

Should they pick up copies? What about Hand of Asgard, which lags behind the other books by a third or so?

Folks won’t know unless you tell them. So if you have reviews, comments, play reports . . . please throw them up online. If you have a blog . . . make sure I know about it so I can put it up on the GURPS Blog Roll that I keep on Gaming Ballistic. If you don’t, but still want to say something . . . send me an email and I’ll publish it on my own blog.

So, major milestone today, with a few more coming later this week.

For now . . . I’ve actually got to hit up the Day Job for a bit. Later!

Today the last of the art came in for the Norðlond Sagas books.

Nordlondr Folk and Hand of Asgard, both by Kevin Smyth, wound up right on target at 16 pages.

Forest’s End, by Merlin Avery, grew to 96 pages by the end.

The Dragons of Rosgarth, by Kyle Norton and Douglas H. Cole, came in totally swole at 112 pages.

I’ll be taking a short breather, seeing if my outstanding proofers catch any remaining errata, and then getting these to the printer.

I will probably offer the PDFs for sale on GURPSDay this coming week: Look for them on Gaming Ballistic on March 26 in PDF.

Pre-orders for printing will come shortly. I may open Forest’s End and Rosgarth up so that if many not-the-USA orders come in, I can compensate with a slightly larger splice of the books to the UK for international shipment. The smaller books are easy: they print at Mixam in both the UK and USA, so if I need more, it’s a piece of cake.