November 29, 2012

Call for Submissions: DramaSystem Master Class

Now that Hillfolk Kickstarter backers have had time to digest and play the game, it’s time to solicit submissions for the Master Class section of the Blood on the Snow Companion book. This is an opportunity for the emerging game writers among you to gain some experience and see your name in print.


The Brief

We’re looking for contributions of approximately 300-1000 words in length that will help readers understand, play, and expand DramaSystem.

The theme: challenges you encountered during play, and how you overcame them.

If you wish to submit a piece taking another angle on DramaSystem play or design, feel free to do so, with the understanding that pieces adhering to the theme are more likely to be accepted.

Whatever your subject matter, all pieces must show that you have actually played the game. Armchair ruminations will have to seek other homes.

The Context

These submissions will appear in a 20,000 word section of Blood on the Snow, interwoven with commentary by Robin.

The Process

This is an open call for pieces written on a spec basis. We will accept as many quality submissions as fit within the section’s word count. In the case of similar submissions, we’ll pick the one of greatest utility in DramaSystem play.

Deadline for submissions is Jan 14. Send submissions in .doc, .docx or .odt format to the address given in the About/Contact banner entry above.

You will not be asked to perform rewrites. Instead, Robin may adjust your prose for clarity, brevity, and maximum impact, allowing you the opportunity to comment on these changes.

The Deal

Authors whose pieces are accepted for publication will receive 3 cents a word US, due on acceptance, in exchange for all rights to your text. You will receive credit both as a byline and on the table of contents. Due to the brevity of these pieces our budget does not permit us to offer complimentary author’s copies. (Remember that all Hillfolk backers already receive the book in electronic form, whether you purchased the print copy or not.)

Note to Established Designers

This open call addresses new and emerging game writers. If you are an already established designer and wish to submit, contact me with a concept brief and we’ll discuss alternate terms.

November 28, 2012

The Blood on the Wall in the Fortress

New Tales of the Yellow Sign, my anthology of weird tales conjuring Robert W. Chambers’ classic King in Yellow mythos, is in print as of September from Atomic Overmind Press, and in ebook form from vendors including Amazon/Kindle, DriveThru, Nook, Smashwords, Apple iTunes, and Paizo.

This post is third in a series looking at the individual stories.

In true weird-tale tradition, the germinative image of “The Blood in the Wall in the Fortress” pressed itself on me in a dream, where I was a member of an artillery unit shelling a tower across a river, knowing there were innocent people inside. The story, of a soldier’s guilt and the madness of self-justifying war, sets itself in 1947. But it’s not our 1947, as Loyalists battle Alsatians, to the incessant clattering of a black box issuing incomprehensible orders. This is a world made, or unmade, by the destabilizing influence of the Yellow Sign.

From Kenneth Hite’s introduction: Although the war in “The Blood on the Wall in the Fortress” begins in 1947 in another history, the fortress sits in Alsace, target and symbol of the Franco-Prussian War that Chambers used in a more personal catastrophe in “The Street of the First Shell.” The plot echoes “The Yellow Sign” in its portents, its artistic protagonist, and its inevitable approach of death; the tone is post-Remarque, post-trenches, almost documentary realism approaching the unreal.

November 27, 2012

Dragonmeet Ho!

Once again, through the promotional largesse of Pelgrane Press, I’ll be doing the guest thing at Dragonmeet, this coming Saturday at London’s Kensington Town Hall.

At 3:30 I’ll be teaming with my partner in podcasting crime, Kenneth Hite, and guest star Simon Rogers, for a live edition of Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff.

For the rest of the day you’ll find me at the Pelgrane stand, ready to chat, sign books, and answer any questions that would otherwise go unasked.

It’s going to be a bumper show this year:

James Wallis will be back in the saddle, demoing the new Once Upon a Time.

The Moon Design crew will be there to stoke anticipation for their increasingly titanic crowdfunded dream project, The Guide to Glorantha.

And both Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson UK will reunite at the seminar table to celebrate 30 years of Fighting Fantasy, and share Games Workshop creation stories.

In other words, this is one show no London-area gamer should even consider missing. I look forward to seeing you there.

November 23, 2012

Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff: As Kenya is to Running

In this week’s episode of our Golden Geek-winning podcast, Ken and I talk time and pacing in RPGs, wrap up the election, propound my theory of the one okay game store, and open up the Spycraft Hut for a Petraeus-inspired survey of sexy security scandals.

November 09, 2012

Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff: Undetectable Notes of Irony

In the fourteenth episode of our above-named podcast, Ken and I talk Chicago film fest, DramaSystem vs. Skulduggery, gangland mapping and the burnings of the Libraries of Alexandria:

November 02, 2012

Hillfolk Kickstarter in its Final Hours

If you get your Robin Laws information only from this blog, you may wish to be reminded that the Hillfolk Kickstarter is counting down to its astounding conclusion. This offer will not be repeated, so if you haven’t grabbed your tons of electronic content for $10 or two full-color 240 page hardcovers for $41, lurch on over there before 8 pm Eastern tonight.

Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff: That Time We Burned Down the White House

In the latest installment of our eponymous podcast, Ken and I talk food, imagined worlds, Kenneth Grant, and the War of 1812.

November 01, 2012

Blood on the Snow Contents Description

[My Kickstarter page has reached its character limit. To give it space to breathe, I’ve moved the original contents of the Blood on the Snow: A DramaSystem sourcebook here. Blog overflow, if you will.]


How To Write a Series Pitch: Robin shows you how to design a Series Pitch for publication—and tells you which pitches not to bother with. Approximately 2000 words. 

DramaSystem Master Class: design notes and troubleshooting tips. Approximately 21,000 words. For this section we’ll be soliciting contributions from the early adopter community—yes, that means you—describing issues that confronted you in DramaSystem play and how you overcame them. Robin will then respond with his own notes and observations. Think of it as Actual Play Plus. (In addition to providing nuts and bolts troubleshooting and inspiration, it also provide an opportunity for emerging roleplaying writers to establish themselves with a paid professional credit. Stay tuned for details.)

LARPing with DramaSystem: a 5,000 word exploration of DramaSystem as a LARP engine, from designer extraordinaire Emily Care Boss. 

Series Pitches: (~2,000 words each):

Pedro Ziviani (Chaosium’s Mythic Iceland) shows you how to weave an Icelandic saga in Blood on the Snow. Justice, feuding and strangeness as only the Norse can do it!

John Rogers (co-creator/producer, Leverage) brings you all the glamour, opium and intrigue of Shanghai 1930. Gangsters, spies, imperialists, revolutionaries and emigres strive to survive the 20th century's most dangerous time and place.

Scott Bennie (Testament) intones Darke and Stormy Nights: feuding aristocratic families are confronted by terror when an implacable supernatural evil awakens!

Steve Darlington (Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2nd ed, There Is No Spoon) cries “stat!” in System Shock: Galatea General Hospital has always been on the cutting edge of cybermedicine and bionics, but now its new staff have patients wondering: can I trust a robot to save my life?

Paula Dempsey (The Book of Smoke) lays on the equestrian glam for The Chase, a soap opera set in the glossy, moneyed world of high-end horse racing.

Cedric Ferrand (Wastburg) changes your name at Ellis Island in Grave New World, as banished European vampires seek refuge in 1850s New York.

Richard Iorio II (Colonial Gothic) presents Dolphin. The Blue is threatened. The Blight and its warriors amass. The only thing standing in their way are the dolphins dedicated to dedicated to The Way. Finding Nemo meets The Lord of The Rings.

Jack Norris (Marvel Heroic Roleplaying: Civil War, DC Adventures Heroes & Villains) presents Gangs of Old York: Saxons commoners and deposed Anglo-Danish nobles plot, battle, intrigue, and turn outlaw while battling starvation and Norman conquerors and their supporters in the shadows of William the Conqueror's Harrowing of the North.

Aaron S. Rosenberg (Asylum, Spookshow) runs the Family Business: A family of crooks, con artists, and thieves has to rely on everyone's skills and loyalty when the Law closes in, trying to shut them down for good.

Plus two more Series Pitches from Robin:

Mutant City HCU: Ten years after 1% of the population acquired super-powers, the cops of the Heightened Crime Unit live, love and occasionally put away a genetically enhanced perp or two. A dramatic game set in the heretofore procedural world of Pelgrane’s Mutant City Blues.

Against Hali: Student revolutionaries mix love, ambition and revolution in a dictatorial alternate present warped by the eerie power of The King in Yellow.

The book starts at 128 pages (6 x 9 format) with room for expansion as our final-week stretch goals take us beyond Pagemageddon and into the great unknown. Creators standing by on deck to be stretched into the book include: Josh Roby, James L. Sutter, Andrew Peregrine, Lester Smith, David L. Pulver, Kevin Allen Jr., Jeff Richard, Gareth Hanrahan, Mark Diaz Truman and maybe another superstar or two we’ve yet to fully wrangle.