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May 15, 2013
Last night’s Toronto launch of our modern fables anthology The Lion and the Aardvark exceeded expectations, thanks to a packed house of fable enthusiasts. Our supply of the book sold out at half-time. Writers Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, Ann Ewan, Heather J. Wood, Daniel Perry, Jim Zub, Richard Scarsbrook, and Laura Lush hit the stage to read from their work. Special thanks to Kathryn for bravely persevering through a scratchy throat. Also, if you haven’t heard Rich Scarsbrook impersonate a trout, you have not yet really attended a literary event.
Jim received double accolades, as he is also our cover artist. Interior illustrator Rachel Kahn was on hand to take a bow, as was author Julie McArthur. Toronto-area authors who were unable to make it were toasted in spirit.
After the reading we gathered onstage for an impromptu mass signing. Collectors showed gratifying appreciation for the book, and for the beautiful work of our production team.
From left: Rachel Kahn, Laura Lush, Jim Zub, Heather J. Wood, Daniel Perry, Ann Ewan, Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, Julie McArthur, Richard Scarsbrook. Together they comprise 12% of the Lion and Aardvark creative team.
Thanks to the Rowers Reading Series and its artistic director Heather J. Wood (see above) for their event organizing prowess, and to our venue hosts, the Victory Café.
May 14, 2013
We will fulfill electronic editions as soon as layout is ready, so everyone will have the PDFs in hand even as the presses are rolling on the print copies.
So raise your cups of mead, raiders. The snows of an overlong winter have delayed us, but we have finally equipped our forces. We now ride off into the badlands, to claim our victory.
If you missed the Kickstarter but want to jump on board now, stay tuned for pre-order details.
And here, apropos of nothing in the first paragraph, is John Kovalic’s illustration for his Blood on the Snow Series Pitch, “The Dagon Bar and Grille,” which brings to DramaSystem the vibe of an animated sitcom. Plus tentacles, natch.
May 10, 2013
May 07, 2013
In The Lion and the Aardvark, 70 writers from across the creative spectrum bring their modern sensibilities to the classic fable format. Zombies, dog-men and robot wasps mingle with cats, coyotes and cockroaches. Parables ranging from the punchy to the evocative, the wry to the disturbing, explore eternal human foibles, as displaced onto lemmings, trout, and racing cars. But beware— in these terse explorations of desire, envy, and power, certitude isn’t always as clear as it looks.
Update: Ed Greenwood has had to drop out to attend to a family medical matter. He'll be there in spirit.
May 03, 2013
April 16, 2013
If it’s mid-April it must be time for another Hillfolk progress report. Here’s where the project stands.
I am still awaiting submissions from three Series Pitch writers. Once those are in I’ll be know how the actual word count compares to the goal. This will allow me to edit two other pitches that came in over the requested length, because I’ll then know how much of these I have to cut.
That’s the work of a few days. Once everything’s in and proofed, layout will take about three weeks. We can’t assume that Christian can immediately clear his schedule of other projects when I drop the manuscripts on him, so there’s an indeterminate amount of time there. Once he’s able to start work, we can estimate a hard release date. Turnaround from layout to print is eight weeks. Then the shipping starts.
So our current timeframe looks like [waiting for final submissions] + approximately 1 week final editing + [deck-clearing for Christian] + 3 weeks layout + 8 weeks printing.
Absent a hard release date, let me see what else I have up my sleeve…? How about the long-teased identity of Hillfolk’s mystery contributor?
That would be Ed Greenwood, whose pitch “For Queen or Country” mixes espionage and faery folk in Elizabethan England. Ed surprised me with this over-the-transom submission of piracy, subversion and the Horned Man. This will appear in the main Hillfolk book. The illustration is by Aaron Acevedo. Looks like the original inspiration for Tinkerbell preferred Tudor-era court dress to a miniskirt made of leaves.
April 15, 2013
Robin's Laws of Good Gamemastering
This is a seminar no GM should miss: Our Guest of Honor Robin D. Laws introduces us to the techniques and principles of his celebrated guidebook Robin's Laws of Good Gamemastering. Afterwards you will be able to ask Robin for invaluable advice how to solve your unique or everyday GM hassles. The book Robin's Laws of Good Gamemastering will be available at the Pegasus booth. Hillfolk Seminar
Saturday 14:00Robin D. Laws presents his newest creation: Hillfolk - A game of Iron Age drama. With its innovative DramaSystem Engine it might become a new milestone for our hobby. This unique system allows players, with a little help from the GM, to include not only procedural action into the gameplay, like fighting enemies and investigate mysteries, but also dramatic scenes where characters have to confront their internal obstacles and seek emotional reward from people they deeply care about for good or bad, like other players. The result is a dialogue-driven game without a lot of of boring flailing about and arguing over what to do next.
A Bier with Robin
Late but not long ago Robin D. Laws discovered his fondness for beer. Shame on us if we would miss this great opportunity to familiarize Robin with the most valued treasure of our Vaterland: Bier. Mind you Robin will have to pick and sample as many brands as he needs to find a favorite. Of course we will take care of the rest. Apart from that you have the chance to chat with Robin in a casual atmosphere about everything you or rather he feels like. We would bet on games and movies.
Waffles with Robin & John
Our Guests of Honor and fast friends Robin D. Laws and John Kovalic invite you to a breakfast brunch. While we make fresh waffles they will waffle about the hobby gaming industry, their Kickstarter projects, the state of the gaming hobby and the part roleplaying games played to help making gaming an universal, popular and ever present, almost inescapable cultural phenomenon. Do not forget to bring your curiosity and your Hspielt!20-mugs for free coffee.
Story by Accident?
If you are familiar with the work of Robin D. Laws you can not help but recognize his interest in the narrative structure of films and games. Even before his analysis of film classics to find clues and elements for storytelling in games, published as Hamlet’s Hit Points, he was looking for ways to make the byproduct story an integral part of the gaming experience. He succeeds in designing rules and game elements that enable even gamers and gamemasters without strong storytelling skills to experiences fascinating games stories. A seminar that no enlightened roleplayer should miss.
Yes, folks, beer and waffles and John Kovalic too. I shall struggle manfully (personfully?) to meet the rigors of the above agenda.
April 11, 2013
April 08, 2013
I’ve had a lost of requests for an actual play series to introduce people to Hillfolk and DramaSystem and have kicked around various ways of making this happen. Turns out all I had to was to wait for the NYERD Podcast to take care of it for me. And they found a great twist, too—rounding up a player group made up of experienced actors who have never roleplayed before. The series kicks off with a fab character creation session that really captures the creative process that emerges as a group finds their concepts and builds a web of relationships. The group’s actorly training kicks in as they zero in on strong choices providing plenty of grist for drama.
Also, kudos to the team for a well-recorded show, not an easy thing in Actual Play.
April 05, 2013
April 04, 2013
March 28, 2013
March 22, 2013
March 21, 2013
March 20, 2013
Attention, Germans and germophiles: I’ll be doing the guest thing at Hannover Spielt!, on April 20th and 21st. Check the site for venue, admissions and other details. I’m very happy to return to this cozy and welcoming event and looking forward to seeing more of the city this time around. Adding to the excitement will be the presence of the Muskrat Lord himself, John Kovalic. Along with the usual chat and panels, I’ll be running a game of Hillfolk as a convention fundraiser, so start hoarding your Euros in a context where they’re still worth something. The last time I was in Germany I had not yet been converted to the ways of beer, so some might say I have never really been there at all. I know you’ll be pleased, German gamers, to see me rectify that grievous omission against your national heritage.