Tuesday, 14 April 2020

MURDER OF CROWS


It is a bad omen when a murder of crows is spotted in the sky. Amongst those who know it is said that when conjunction magics express creation, swarms of crows will flood the skies arranging themselves into strange shapes, and geometric patterns, behaving erratically. Those that search for and hunt Conjunction Infants look to the skies following the crows. 


INTERVIEW - GEORGE DEW OF DARK CITY GAMES



I am talking with George Dew, founder of Dark City Games to talk gaming, products and the road ahead for DCG. George is truly a great guy with an obvious love and passion for gaming and was kind (and patient) enough to answer some questions over email. 

First off I wish to thank you very much George for doing the interview and for all the support and encouragement you have offered me while I journey into The Fantasy Trip and blog about it. In fact if it wasn't for DCG I would never have picked up The Fantasy Trip Legacy Edition or be playing it now. Let alone sucker my group into committing to a Legends Campaign, haha.

Coming off of DM'ing D&D5e weekly for the last 4 years my group and I are really enjoying this new (new to us) rules set.


Before we get too deep into talking about what Dark City Games does, can you tell us when and how you discovered gaming?

My brother Warren is a year older than me. He's the smart one. He skipped a grade in elementary school, and then got accepted for "early admission" to MIT. I'm not sure that he was that challenged at MIT.

When I was 10 years old, and Warren was 11, our GI-Joe's had a cash-based economy. We were using Sugus candy wrappers for currency, but Warren would always set aside a certain amount of candy that he'd never touch.

One day I asked him why he didn't just eat the candy and put the wrappers into circulation. He responded that if he were to do that, there'd be nothing of value backing the currency. I didn't realize it at the time, but at 11 years old, Warren understood monetary policy much better than professional bankers did decades later.

One day we were at Rider's hobby shop off State Street. We had been using "Chainmail" miniature rules for our miniatures, but for small combats, Chainmail didn't have enough of a detailed feel. So on a whim, Warren purchased Metagaming's "Melee" (1st edition/purple by Steve Jackson). We went home and played it, and it was wonderful!

My friends and I completely adopted it for our FRP campaigns, and when Metagaming's Wizard (written by Steven Jackson) came out, we were delighted!


During this time, we were also interested in Avalon Hill's series of really excellent board wargames, with Afrika Korps being the first one that I tried. We loved Panzerblitz and Panzer Leader, and then later on, I love Squad Leader before it self-destructed.

Do you have a favorite or most memorable Campaign world you created for play in?

I ran a campaign with a couple of my best high-school friends. I had just read "Wizard of Earthsea," one of Ursula Leguin's best stories. So the magic in the game was based off magic in Wizard of Earthsea, but using Wizard rules to implement the magic. It's hard to describe the campaign, other than to say that we loved running it, and my friends really loved their characters.

It did however, spur me to seek out and read more fantasy and other literature. I read what I could of the Elder Eddas, which was a basis for a lot of what Tolkien wrote. With other fantasy, I was often unhappy. It's hard for me to swallow a story where the bad guys always lose, and the good guys are always unscathed. It's just too difficult to believe.

That's why I loved the first several seasons of "Game of Thrones," and that's why I'm not a big fan of "Harry Potter."

At what point did you decide to write modules and how did Dark City Games come about? 

In 1980, Warren wrote an early version of "Crown of Kings," and submitted it to Metagaming for possible publication. However, he never heard back from Metagaming, and soon thereafter, Metagaming went out of business. I went off to college, and though I continued to run campaigns in college, upon graduation, I got really busy with my Navy adventure and young adult life.

In 2004, my second son (second marriage) was born. I started thinking about all the things that I had enjoyed as a child, and of course, TFT was one of the first things that came to mind. So in 2005, I completed "Island of Lost Spells," and along with a revised edition of "Crown of Kings," started Dark City Games ("Dark City" because I was living in Manhattan at the time).


Do you still actively game and if so how has your gaming evolved from where it began until now? 

My younger boys are 11 and 15, now. I tell the teenager that I "need his help" to playtest RPG releases for Dark City Games. So he'll jump in and game with me. My 11 year-old loves the games that we put out, and will leap at any opportunity to game with me. You'll see their names as playtesters on a number of the adventures that we put out.

For adventures, we generally play through the DCG lineup, since we have about 25 titles now. It's hard to campaign, since I only get the boys a couple times a week, and every other weekend.

Whats your favorite DCG Module and is it one you wrote?

Wow. That's hard to say. I think all of the adventures that we've put out have been excellent adventures. I just love the stuff that Bret Winters writes. It's got a different flavor to it from what I write, so it gives our line more balance. Nick Gauthier's games have been great, and we've had some other really talented authors, including Chris Brandon, Andrew Greene, and David Shepherd.

David Shepherd's "Dark Star Incident" kind of jumps to mind. It's very tense and also quite original. Oddly enough, it doesn't sell well. Maybe it's because of the cover?

Bret Winter's "Void Station 57" is creepy. It captures that "Alien" feel, but with more of a sense of urgency before time (or rather oxygen) runs out.

Nick Gauthier's "Upon the Wind" explores another world that was very different than what we're used to. It is very original and lots of fun.

Of the adventures that I've written, I most enjoyed "Blood in the Dust." People generally don't like westerns, but for me, it was the most fun to write. Historical games are harder but more fun to write because they required the most research.

Finally, and partly for nostalgic reasons, Warren's "Crown of Kings" has a special place in my heart. Maybe because it carries over from a previous time when life was simpler. Maybe also because it's the penultimate thief's adventure.

Now although these aren't our adventures, but I have to give them credit. I really liked "GrailQuest" (Metagaming, Guy McLimore), Security Station (Metagaming, John W Colbert), and Steve Jackson's GURPS Conan and the Queen of the Black Coast (SJGames, Butch Burcham & Robert Traynor).


You have written numerous modules that cover multiple genres, what is your favorite genre to write for?

I liked writing the Western the best. They're the hardest to write, and require the most research. You also learn a lot about the times when you write a western. However, because westerns don't sell well, we've only put out two westerns, though we have one in the works. After westerns, I like writing science fiction the next best. Partly because it's a little different, and partly because I feel there needs to be more sci-fi material out there.

Did the Ancient World or Time and Space begin as someones campaign?

Neither one began as a campaign. Bret has done a very nice job creating a region in the fantasy world, with Redpoint. However, as a company, DCG has an "open" format. That means that writers are given more leeway in what they want to write. However, it's much harder to write an adventure than people realize. That's why there aren't that many adventures out there. From start to publication, an adventure probably takes about a year or more to complete.

Are there any cool projects on the horizon or things you would like to perhaps eventually tackle?
In an effort to keep a steady flow of titles coming, here's what we have coming up. Nick Guathier's "Deceipt and Betrayal" is complete, and is currently being edited. I very much like Nick's work, and I'm hoping to get that out the door within several months.

Bret is about half way through a fantasy adventure, though he doesn't yet have a name for it. It's set on the Stormspeake Penninsula, so it fleshes out an area which hasn't yet been explored that much.

We have another western in the early stages, which will comprise three mini-adventures. This way, players can complete a segment in a single night, and not have to find a stopping point.

In the "Combat Boots" series of games, we have "Operation Battleaxe" coming up, which is very close to release. It plays very differently from "Guadalcanal," because the terrain in the North African campaign was very open, especially compared against the closed-in terrain of Guadalcanal. After Operation Battleaxe, Bret will be doing a Stalingrad game, and this fall, we should see a Combat Boots game called "Fighter Command," dealing with the Battle of Britain.

As players and GMs play in the worlds you have created, is there any talk of an official rules book or setting book to expand upon the Ancient World. Or do you prefer to leave it to gamers to do with it as they will?

Settings books yes, and there are a couple in the works.

However, with respect to an expanded rules set, it's a different story. Over the years,we had a lot of requests for an expanded set of rules. We discussed this thoroughly over time, and we went as far as to make several attempts at doing this. However, it's never happened.

The "Legends" rules set is a "minimal" rules set. It emphasizes simplicity and playability. The core rules are only four pages long (excluding magic), and that's not even full-sized 8.5 x 11" pages. The Legends rules provide a framework to play the game--nothing more. We've found over the years, players implement their own house rules.

As we tried expanding the rules, people championed their favorite rules to be included in the expanded version. This kept growing, and oftentimes one person's favorite rule would be opposite of another person's favorite. We looked at what we had, and realized that rather than making everyone happy, we'd be making everyone mad. Even Bret and I disagreed on some expanded rules.

Then a couple years ago (2017?) Steven Jackson got his rights back to TFT.

Though there are several significant differences between Legends and TFT, Legends is based on, and compatible with TFT. We don't compete with TFT. In fact, we complement TFT. If someone buys the complete TFT set (I bought the "I want everything" kickstarter version), then Legends gives those people adventures to work with. If someone likes the Legends adventures and they want more structure and resources, then they can buy TFT to get more advanced rules. I'd be happy to put links to the SJGames website for more resources, but I don't have Steve's permission to do so, and I don't want to offend anyone.

What is your process of creating a module from initial concept to finished the finished product?

Ugh. It's a lot more work than people realize. The entire process (part time of course) takes in the neighborhood of a year, and maybe longer. But first, let me take an excerpt from our writers' guidelines, which nobody seems to read:
-----

Writing a programmed adventure (PA) is different from writing a story. A story follows a linear path. In a PA, the players determine where they will travel and what actions they take at what time. As a result, a PA must accommodate random movement, time and decision making.

As a result, the building blocks of PAs are frequently locations (often referred to as encounters). For example, if the story's plot involves uncovering a murder, a PA will detail a number of locations that the party can visit, each with a different clue as to the resolution of the murder.

One way of translating a plot into a programmed adventure is to identify significant events in the storyline and translate those events into locations. For example, take a plot where professor Purple bludgeoned the victim with a hammer and then dragged the body away and buried it in the garden.

The author would write one encounter for the kitchen, where the murder occurred. There might be flecks of blood on the floor that suggest murder. Then there would be an encounter for the garden, where loose dirt gives away the location where the body is buried. Finally, there would be an encounter for the library, where behind the bookshelf, there is a bloody hammer that belongs to professor Purple.

-----

Anyway, once the manuscript is complete, we have to get the artist to do the pieces, and then we do the board, and select a cover. The entire process takes about a year from when pen meets paper, to production.

We used to pay artists for original cover work. I especially like Dave Miller's work, and the work of Dario Corallo and Danijel Firak. My favorite covers were David Miller's "Blood in the Dust," and Danijel Firak's "Shadows in the Dark." However, the games don't really make money, and after paying the cover artist, the piece artist, and internal drawings artist, and then paying the writer for the manuscript, the games barely break even. And that's after having been on the market for years. So in order to save costs and be able to afford printing games, we have been using more and more clipart lately. It's sad, as the original cover artwork is so much better. It's just a sad reality.

With the tremendous success of the recently kick-started Legacy Edition of The Fantasy Trip have you found many new gamers being drawn to the DCG product line up or perhaps a renewed interest from long time fans?

We had a boost in the two months following the TFT release. But since that time, thing have been pretty much the same as before. My fear is that this genre of RPG might be limited to a old-timers. We can tell the age of who orders our games based on their email addresses. If the customer has a yahoo mail or hotmail account, they're old like me. If they have a gmail account, which is rare, then they're from a younger generation.

I know that the younger generation would enjoy these games, as witnessed by my 11 year-old and his brothers. However, I fear that we are competing against video games, which require much less overhead it terms of record-keeping and progress tracking.

I think that if more people knew about these games, we would flourish. So maybe it's more as a matter of marketing, than quality of the games.

Any last word for our readers?

Please enjoy the games, they are gems. What Crimson has done here too is wonderful. He's making play-throughs available for you to look at and enjoy. Please appreciate the hobby while it lives.

Some of the best times of my life were spent playing Melee and Wizard as a kid. Now that I'm older some of the best times of my life are playing these games with my sons. People don't make money in the gaming industry. They do it for the love of the games, and to spend time with best friends.

As a big fan of DCG I really appreciate you taking the time for this interview and I cant wait to play the upcoming releases.
  

Sunday, 12 April 2020

The Greywater Chronicles Issue 9


Bret Winters, one of the partners over at Dark City Games does a great comic book format re-cap of his TFT/LAW Campaign featuring all the minis and terrain from his home game. You can check out his blog Swords Under Distant Suns to follow along and for back issues. These are absolutely fantastic and I cant get enough of them.

Bret is a long-time player with a tremendous passion for the game and his modules were instrumental in getting me into TFT. Especially Dark Vale and Echoes Of The Old Onesboth of which are available over at Dark City Games.

LAZY GM TOOLS - NPC LIBRARY


Image result for dark fantasy seerImage result for dark fantasy npc'sImage result for dark fantasy  npc's

My years of pouring tremendous amounts of time into building lavishly rich worlds are far behind me. The reality is I work 50+ hours per week, I'm a husband and have two young children. So any tools I can utilize to minimize the amount of time I put into my Campaigns are greatly welcome.

So imagine my surprise when I came across this NPC Generator over at inthelabyrinth.org. This library pulls from a database with over 20,000 NPCs, including heroes, wizards, and various types of both.

Since coming across it I have used it for nearly every single game I have run since getting into The Fantasy Trip. Marko has done a great job with this and provided a great resource for lazy GM's such as myself. I really appreciate the time and effort he has put into this.

Friday, 10 April 2020

Adventure Locations

The Pits of Tar'Mahell

It is believed that the most powerful Aghori Blood Gods ascended to the moons, pervading them with their magics. It is here those moons now come to die, their Viridium blood tars dripping endlessly.




Strange Monoliths stand sentry before the Estuaries of the lotus eaters, distorting the valley around them.

















The Forest of Wasn't

A fog shrouded roaming forest where the spirits of undead children roam. 
Deep within its lichen embrace it's heart beats. Powered by the abandoned technology of creation, awaiting discovery. 



Beware the Tall Girls, swallowers of fear- for they are children of the Dark Whale, an eldritch entity called down from beyond the stars.





Favors Flesh Market

Residence of the Master skin smith and Favor - the flesh trader. The market is known to appear in various places throughout the land with the new moon. The rarities here are purchased not with silver but by oath, an exchange of services with a high price to pay should an adventurer not uphold the agreement. There are things far worse than death and the Flesh Market favors them all.




The Scrap Sea

An endless sea of rust colored razor sharp metallic sand shards that surrounds the land for as far as the eye can see. Tides that ebb and flow, slowly eating away at the land. Inhabited by giant Kraken Rust monsters. Un-passable.

The metal is highly volatile once removed from the sea and has been know to liquefy, combust, and become highly magnetized while emitting searing light. Removed metal will always seek to recombine with the sea. It will flay skin upon contact.



The Dissolution of of Maladies

Three ivory towers activated through the Conjunctions of Fate ritual. They now devour the light of all stars. Attracting the Coyer of Bulse, the World Eater.

They must be found and deactivated if the Womb Realms are to survive.



Lake of Dreams

Here in their slumber beneath the tranquil waters they dream themselves beautiful, great and wanted. It is within the depths of a laboratory below it's waters that the first In-Create were made, defying the limitations of flesh through screams of unholy birth.





The Tower of September

The endless Dungeon of the Exalted Ones, keepers of the gates and the Domain of the Lord of September. Inhabited by the Pipers Of Dawn.




The Zenns of Benz

One could spend their entire life searching for the Zenns only to lay eyes upon them in a final moment before perishing. This would be a worthy life not lived in waste.

Each Ben represents an aspect of the first Ben who's goal was to triumph over the timelines-all. He left as one and returned as two, two left as one and returned as four, on and on until the timelines-all were explored.....

The Zenns Of Benz, also known as the Wall Of Epoch, is a living wall stretching for miles. A blur of connected bodies, identical in appearance. Each staring off into some unseen time, muttering strange incoherent similes in hushed and astonished voices. Many scholars come to sit and listen, spending an entire lifetime decoding and recording the words in hopes of re-discovering the lost secrets of Epoch. The fallen Lords of Time.




The Coyer of Bulse

The Destroyer. A galaxy spanning world eating ship manned by the No-bodies. Home to a collection of taxidermed worlds that rest upon the shores of its vast and endless decks. Worlds preserved in their last dying days.


The God filled Plains

A dead world that holds the key to continued existence. It's ash laden surface sits in the shadows of the floats, where petrified titans float endlessly in zero gravity twilight skies- while war is waged upon them between the cannibalistic tribes of the Dar'Corum. The petrified prone titans are propelled through the skies on skin sails stretched upon masts of bone that ride upon the updrafts issued forth from the surface below.

Here a tower of dissolution sits.




Kryborum- City of the Incubation

Home of the Yig (Egg keepers) an Elephant like enslaved race from the distant future. 

















What is it that incubates in the Eggs? Dwarfing the ruins of city skyscrapers that fall in obeisance before them, awaiting thearrival of their prophecized births.




The Welm of Wyrms

Beyond the White Fangs there are endless steps that descend through the Seven Visions leading to the resting place of Varkruul the White Wyrm and his sleeping city. Locked within his ancient, alien daymare vaults of hope he awaits.




The Mountains of Metal

Beyond the Scrap Sea's lie the lands of the Metal Mages.

A ancient and noble machine race that exist in the shadows of Taboom Cog, serving the Ordinance of Assemblance. Striving to summon and incarnate PRAXIS the false machine, called forth to be imprisoned into the assembled God Engine. Their failed summonings resulting in the raining metal from above known as the Glitterdoom. Endlessly falling upon the mountains and feeding the Scrap Sea.




The Fear Of Sorrows

Frozen haunted wastes of heavy snowfalls. The cry of sorrowed winds constantly attack the ears in hopes that some may listen. It is here in this haunted tundra that the Duke sits upon his throne extending his reach into the lands beyond. The Duke alone controls the slave trade throughout Almost and remains unchallenged. For he possesses the Sword Of Nine Hells, and their are none who can defeat him.

Within it's maelstrom of battering winds and snowstorms lie the ancient colossal bodies of winged serpents, lying buried beneath the snows, frozen in time, shaping the landscape around them while the undead Winter Lord roams shackled amongst the Frost Graves, the long dead city of giants.




Axiom of Ocryphia

A Dead city summoned by song where the most powerful Ruathain and may be scavenged. But beware the Holder of each city who's guidance you will seek. One never knows from which time and place the city shall be beckoned nor if the world can contain the treasures wrought from it.




Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Important Places

Light-haven
The City of Temples is ground zero for the mysterious blazing column of light that descends from the sky, bathing the city’s largest central temple in a glorious luminescence, permeating the entire city in blinding divine light. It is here the Lesser Heralds of the 2nd Legion and the Greater Heralds of the 1st Legion are based. Only the ordained are permitted within the walls. All touched by the light posses albino features, their faces hidden behind masks that shield their eyes. These are the Lightborn.



Under the banner of the Radiant Sun, The Greater Heralds are oath-sworn never to reveal their faces as they crusade against the remnants of decaying magic and hunt the now mortal pantheon of Aghori Blood Gods.



Laddernack
The tiered city. The only entrance to its upper levels is through a rise in status or increase in nobility. Five tiers ascend the floating marvel known only as the rock, from which it’s built.

At ground level and within the cast shadows of the rock are the Slums. Notorious for it’s cut throats and thieves guilds. It is here one will find the Skaag rookeries, for the beasts are not permitted within the city proper.

A central lift is the cities most prominent feature and serves as the primary access between it’s levels. Reserved exclusively for nobility and permitted merchants.

It is whispered that hidden behind their estate walls forbidden rites are practiced amongst the noble houses as the cultists offer sacrifice and worship to the Old Ones. Street urchins are regularly lured by recruiters with the promise of silver and luxury to work the estates above, most never return to the Slums.



Ridoom
High up on a bare mountain plateau sits an ancient ziggaraut city carved from the mountain rock upon which it sits. A labyrinthine system of booby-trapped passages and cave tunnels acts as the only entrance up to the plateau. It is here that all lineages of Armiger clans descend from.



Dar'Forge

A borderland stronghold and home to Forge Master Kragus. Famed and feared forger of Sentient blades.




Bordello
The vile city of flesh corrupt, built into the remains of a dying Aghori Blood God. Where all needs are satiated. Home to the Thaumaturgs and their creation Vats. Blood, flesh and addiction are the currency here, but beware you may not leave. The city is a prolific exploration of dark desires. Pushing the boundaries of the flesh and the ecstasies it can endure. It is here within the Flesh Parlours, Amanaya- the Goddess of Love is to be found. Pimped and poised, a tragedy of desire. Her addictions many. Slave to any- for a fix.

Chained by the awakening of the flesh.



It is here that the roaming blood towers return upon each new moon to satiate the cities hunger.


Tuesday, 7 April 2020

INTERVIEW - BRET WINTERS OF DARK CITY GAMES

I am talking with Bret Winters of Dark City Games to talk about gaming, their products as well as the future of DCG. Bret was kind (and patient) enough to answer some questions over email. 



First off thank you very much Bret for accepting being interviewed.

No problem! This is the first time I have been interviewed since 3rd Grade, so it is an honor!

Before we get too deep into talking about what Dark City Games does, can you tell us when and how you discovered gaming?


Without getting too boring, I picked up an issue of Wargamers' Digest in '77 when I was 11, and was amazed that people did more than just throw pieces of plastic at their army men to determine battle outcomes. I had a bunch of Airfix dudes, and started rolling six-siders to determine firing and morale, like the magazine talked about. I got the boardgame Afrika Korps after that. I was into fantasy as well as WW2, and was blown away when I heard someone talking about D&D. In early '78 I went to the local toy store and could not afford it, but they also had Melee which I could. I played with it and on my birthday got the White Box of D&D. Not having a lot of guidance, I mashed it all up. I've been doing it wrong ever since.

At what point did you decide to write modules and how did Dark City Games come about?

I created adventures all that time, though never professionally. Long after the demise of Metagaming, I still thought about the Death Test style of solitaire adventures, though I never played Tunnels and Trolls which originated the programmed adventure (Buffalo Castle was the first). In the mid-2000s while surfing the net I found some TFT fan groups, notably George Dew's site. He wanted some play-testers for Island of Lost Spells, and I volunteered. I gave him a bunch of feedback, and we communicated regularly. He asked if I wanted to write one, and I jumped on it. Sewers of Redpoint came out the next year, and after going to GenCon in 2006 to help man the booth, George asked me if I wanted to be a partner. He had founded DCG a year before, and his early partners had a little different vision for the way things should be done, but he and I were both pulling in the same direction. I'll let him talk about the earliest days, but since 2007 it has been the two of us.

Do you still actively game and if so how has your gaming evolved from where it began until now?

I still game every week, though it is usually solitaire. Most of my friends have job and family schedules that prevent them from rolling bones. My best friend and I record music together, taking more time. But I have several thousand lead figures, so I still set them off against each other, either in battles or exploratory, dungeon-style adventures. A lot of the adventures I have written have arisen from just messing about with figures and a blank hex map, though I now use the Dwarven Forge tiles a lot. I also played a whole lot of Advanced Squad Leader, though the last time face-to-face was two years ago. As far as evolution goes, I have probably devolved.

Whats your favorite DCG Module?

Ha! Tough to say, I like everything we have published. The Dark Star Incident is great, by Dave Shepherd - I enjoyed playtesting that one more than any others we have done. My favorite that George has written would probably be At Empire's End. Both of those are SF! For fantasy, George's best I think is Oracle's Breath. As far as mine, maybe Emerald Twilight? Raid on Cygnosa? Void Station 57 is pretty unique.

Most of your modules seem to be for the Ancient World setting. Is fantasy your preferred genre? And did the Ancient World begin as someones campaign?

We have found over the course of time that fantasy does sell better, and it is a bit easier to write for than SF, for which our setting is still loose, and Old West, which we insist on being grounded in history. George and others who have written fantasy for us don't really place it in a common world. The Ancient World is more a vibe in that sense. But when I wrote Sewers, I did want to create a common world for us all. One of the early partners had a continent map, and I took a large peninsula in the northeast to be the setting of my adventures. So the rest of the world is kinda misty, but every fantasy adventure I wrote has been set somewhere on the Stormspeake Peninsula. As far as preference, I do prefer fantasy over the other genres, though I still slip some SF into my fantasy modules.

Are there any other projects on the horizon or things you would like to tackle?

George and I talk about projects all the time, as we would love for DCG to become a full time operation. So far, though, programmed adventures are our bread and butter. George has written two World War II combat games, centering on the Battle of the Bulge and Guadalcanal. We'll be doing more with that line.

Can you give any hints on upcoming releases?

I always have a couple of projects in the queue. One generally starts writing itself more clearly and takes precedence. I don't want to go into those too much, as my muse is fickle. George and I have both announced things that took a lot of time to come to fruition, and some that never did, so we learned a lesson there about counting unhatched chickens. One of the main things I want to do now is write a monster manual from our adventures, as there is a bit of inconsistency across the Ancient World line, because we let authors do what they want. I also want to get our games sold as pdfs, which we have been dragging our feet on. We are both hard copy dudes.

As players and GMs play in the world you have created? Is there any talk of an official rules book or setting book to expand upon the Ancient World. Or do you prefer to leave it to gamers to do with it as they will.

We do have have the Redpoint Campaign Guide, which is one half of the book Fire In the Streets. It is very general, like the old Judges' Guild stuff. We will probably never get more detailed than that, because I definitely want people to let their campaigns grow as they will. I remember hearing people in game stores arguing about Greyhawk or Forgotten Realms canon. Not that Redpoint would ever attain that level of popularity, but I feel strongly in just giving some general guidelines and letting people go from there. Might be because I am such an eclectic gamer.

How much work goes into a module behind the scenes? Are there others who contribute to getting everything ready on time if you follow deadlines.

Deadlines can't exist with us at this point, unfortunately. Long ago we wanted to come out with 4 modules a year; the most we ever got was three. Playtesting is critical for us; the module has to make sense, and be playable and enjoyable. We have gotten a lot of submissions over the years, and all have required extensive rewriting. That is partly on us, as our Writers' Guidelines need to be better, but it also clear that some people who submit have never looked at one of our adventures to see the flow or the structure or the wording. One of George's or my modules will take a few months from the time it is tentatively "finished" for playtesting and editing. Others will usually take a year or even two, as we rewrite, delete and add things, given that it is all done in our spare time. I know it is frustrating for some of the authors; I have received some angry emails at my editing. But we have standards we want to adhere to, so the process is slow, particularly when we have to rewrite entire sections. As someone who has submitted stories for publication, I do get the difficulty and disappointment in having your words changed. So I have been on both sides of that ledger. But we have a definite idiom that we strive to maintain.

With the tremendous success of the recently kick-started Legacy Edition of The Fantasy Trip have you found many new gamers being drawn to the DCG product line up or perhaps a renewed interest from long time fans.

The month after the Kickstarter for TFT ran, we had our biggest month ever. We were actually able to pay ourselves! It was from both renewed interest from old fans, and totally new people that somehow found out we existed. We have not hit that peak again, but we have been slow releasing new titles the last couple of years because of Real Life issues for both of us.

Any plans on contributing material for The Fantasy Trip now that Steve Jackson Games have opened The Fantasy Trip to creators via their limited publishing license?

I don't think they have finalized the license yet, have they? Last I looked they were still working on it. I would love to contribute some material for TFT, as it has been a huge part of my life, even the bastardized version I have come to play. There was some communication between Steve and George at one point, and I had contacted Guy McLimore once about submitting a solitaire adventure. We sent them some of our modules, but have not any other communication with them. I hope that changes.

Any last word for our readers?

Hey! Check out my blog! It is a mix of Sword & Sorcery gaming and fiction. Come by the DCG forums! They are pretty quiet usually, but there is some good, useful stuff there. And, most importantly, thanks to everyone that has bought our games! We genuinely appreciate the support!

https://swordsunderdistantsuns.com/

https://darkcitygames.proboards.com/

As a big fan of DCG I really appreciate you taking the time for this interview.
My pleasure! Thank you for the opportunity!

MURDER OF CROWS

It is a bad omen when a murder of crows is spotted in the sky. Amongst those who know it is said that when conjunction magics express creat...