What’s The Past Year Been Like?

The past year has been a busy one for me. Not only did we (Daring Entertainment) have a successful Kickstarter for the Daring Comics Role-Playing Game (Fate) last July/August, but we spent many crazy months putting the final product together. Despite best efforts, though, even that didn’t go as smoothly as I’d wanted. But the game released within my expected two or three month margin of error on the estimated release date, so it all worked out in the end. In the next week or two, the Daring Comics Spotlight series starts, which is a small PDF support line that takes a look at different powers, rules, and whatnot within the system.

Then this July (through August), we’ll be launching a Kickstarter for our new Savage Worlds dual book project. The main book is the Apocalypse Campaign Guide, and it not only takes a look at how to design and run an apocalypse setting campaign (for you GMs out there), but also goes into how to create characters for an apocalypse campaign, and what to expect from an apocalypse setting (for you players out there). It has new Genre Rules, Hindrance & Edges, resource management rules, and how to create and run your own survivor community— with the community having Traits all its own just like a character.

After all that, the book then goes into different apocalypse subgenres, such as the zombie apocalypse, alien invasion, vampire apocalypse, bridged dimensional apocalypse, a fantasy world apocalypse, and even the more realistic styles of a nuclear war or massive EMP attack. What I do there is go into the tropes and expectations of each subgenre. Each subgenre also offers different threats as seen in post-apocalyptic fiction and films, such as for a zombie apocalypse the difference between a viral zombie and a supernatural/demonically possessed zombie, and then offers NPC templates for creating the different types.

The companion book is called Apocalypse Unleashed, and offers roughly a 12 page (each) setting framework for some of the subgenres from the Guide. These are mini-settings that GMs can plug into and expand at their table, getting them started on creating their own apocalypse campaign right away.

If the Kickstarter funds, then after the books eventually retail release, I’ll be doing small PDF support for more setting frameworks, in many cases offering some interesting twists by combining two or more subgenres into one concept.

So that’s where I’m at on the role-playing game front, and both apocalypse books are almost done. They’ll be written in full before the Kickstarter launch date.

Other than that, it’s been getting some changes at home fine-tuned and daily adjustments gotten used to, and working on fiction.

It’s been a long, slow road getting the fiction to where I’m comfortable starting the release schedule. Though I’ll be talking quite a bit about fiction writing in upcoming posts, having focused on RPGs for so long, the transition back took longer than I’d expected.

Much longer.

It’s an entirely different mindset and skillset to write fiction than role-playing games, and I had to go back and practice, and retrain my mind to get the basic skills back down to a reflex. I’ve finally got things just about to the reflexive stage, but the more I write the more ingrained it’s all becoming again.

I also had to decide which stories were actually ready, and which definitely needed more time on the creative stove. Again, having been away from fiction for over a decade, I had many false starts on that one. The outlines looked great, but it was once I really started writing the stuff that I realized there were holes, some characters not yet developed enough, and other issues that just made the story not yet ready.

Back on the stove it went, heat turned to a steady simmer. Stir occasionally.

I’ve learned not to rush these things.

In the end, the first novella series that became ready to serve was the Daring Comics Presents (After the Fall) series. The first leg of the series is a combination of six novellas, each with the subtitle of a character name. For example, Daring Comics Presents (After the Fall): Night Sentinel, or Daring Comics Presents (After the Fall): Xombehemoth. Generally speaking, each novel has a storyline directly about that character, but there’s also an over-arching subplot that will tie into the first full-length novel involving a character hinted at in the series. You don’t have to read each novella to enjoy and understand the novel, you’ll just see some set-up for it in the initial series.

So what is After the Fall? Well, the series is a post-apocalyptic super-hero setting. It’s been roughly six months since an alien race with strange biotechnology invaded the Earth and won the initial war. Now the world lies in tatters, millions of people have been transformed into . . . something else, and the heroes we focus on are struggling to not only protect the survivors they’ve taken under their charge, but to finally defeat the alien occupation, while at the same time battling traditional super-villains taking advantage of the mess. You’ll see some villains acting in the vein of marauders and fiefdom lords in the apocalypse, and some true megalomaniacs who plan to position themselves into near absolute power— ready for when the alien occupation is finally defeated (as they’re certain it will be).

Like in true post-apocalyptic fashion, I want the stories to focus on the individual characters. I want to explore not only why they’re heroes, but also how they deal with some of the tough decisions they have to make. What I don’t want is a super-hero deconstruction storyline. I want these characters to be four-color heroes in the traditional sense, just thrust into an impossible reality.

I want them to still possess hope, and to act on that hope.

And there’s a lot more to the storyline as the series goes beyond the initial six parts. For example, a potential for the heroes to eventually discover a means of actually restoring the Earth (it is a comic book setting in prose fiction form, after all). But I’m naturally not going to reveal that stuff.

There’s also a companion series in the works called Before the Fall. In that series, we go back to before the invasion and occupation, and explore the setting and characters in more traditional super-hero terms. In this series we’ll be able to see what things used to be like, and what the heroes are fighting daily to restore.

That’s where I stand on what’s releasing within the next few months. I also have many, many other fiction works and worlds on the plate. Some other post-apocalyptic stuff, some possible steampunk novels, maybe a fantasy style series, and some horror stuff.

And that’s what’s been going on with me during the past year. Next week, the blog continues with Part 1 of a three part series on what went into creating the Daring Comics RPG. After that, more on fiction writing tips and tricks.

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