Developing NOW/Veranthea Codex, Paizo Developer position, and some words about #Gamergate

The first draft of N.O.W. is moving along quickly and I’m keeping on schedule!
I’ve done things before where I set up the framework and watch those elements come together, but it’s never been as cathartic or far reaching as this is. 😀 You’ll see what I mean when its playtest comes out early next year.


Veranthea Codex is developing on track!
Tomorrow is the…fifth big developmental writer’s meeting and we’ve got the vast majority of artwork sequenced, along with word counts. I’ve got a bit of work cut out for me next week but we should have a playtest document for the PC options/GM resources together by November 1st, giving backers two months or so to get us some feedback.
Also, artwork. Indi Martin is doing up the gods and they are amazing thus far! Nathanael Batchelor’s chugging along, and Jacob Blackmon is working on something big. 😉


Paizo has a Pathfinder Developer position open!
It’s true! Of course I’m applying, but if you’ve got the qualifications they’re asking for and interested in the job, I encourage you to do so as well.


I’ve been avoiding actively saying anything about this for months, and I was going to continue not saying anything about it before I ran into an article about this (ridiculous god-forsaken) catastrophe by Felicia Day (it is a great piece you should read).

One of the core tenets I keep to as my career develops is a piece of advice an industry veteran gave me: “always put yourself in as positive a light as possible,” and to paraphrase a bit of the rest, “don’t initiate any negativity; it will find you anyway.”
So watching this crazy thing explode has been terrifying because I feel like I’m walking on eggshells every time it comes up.

I can’t even imagine how bad this would be if my genitalia were on the inside.

This is seeping farther and farther away from the source and I honestly don’t understand it. I really don’t.

Hand One
I understand being upset, rebellious, and an adolescent. I understand being ostracized by society at large and finding refuge in a niche culture with only a few instances of proper socialization every year. I understand envy, misdirected rage, thoughtless targeting, and fearing change.

I get all of those things and I can see them at work as motivations for the senseless vitriol being spewed at female game creators and gamers, I just can’t work it out in my head how it actually resolves. People are taking these ridiculous expressions of rage and acting on them, making threats (which whether real or not, when you get a dozen or so, you’re going to leave your house) against people that do not even remotely deserve anything but respect.
What the f#$%?

The Other Hand
The fact that people are being made to suffer—some literally having to move from their homes or alter their professional lives in response to this unfathomable barrel of asshats—is abominable, but there seems to be an air of actual change.

Last weekend Stephanie and I finally watched American Pop and the throughout the film, Ralph Bakshi (wonderfully) goes through the gamut of American culture; at one point he touches upon the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and I said, “oh you just couldn’t resist yourself, Ralph.” Stephanie was confused, and after about two minutes I spelled out what it was and how it played an important part in American history.

This is a wide, blaring, disgusting bullhorn of ridiculous shit, but at least nobody’s been burned alive and I think we should take a brief look back on history and reflect—hopefully something good is going to come out of all this.
Felicia’s philosophy of not feeding the trolls seemed about right, but I just couldn’t not say something at this point.

This is a really ugly horrible episode; here’s to hoping it picks up before the credits.
Stop being dicks. Tell people about this ridiculous bullshit. Don’t tolerate it. Don’t encourage.

And another piece of advice I live by: Love and Peace!
Vash: Love and peace!


Back in the Saddle!

bubbly and blue cakeAfter a delightful, wonderful weekend in the idyllic rural city of Warren—with bubbly, a fantastic blue cake, and more than one Ralph Bakshi film—I feel fantastic and am enthused to get back to work!


The inbox has been cleared out and I’ve picked right up where the writers left off from while I was gone; between the lot of us we’ve made strong in roads on the organization of the Codex bits of Veranthea Codex (no small task).


Guess which one is the new chair.
Guess which one is the new chair.

Maybe it has something to do with this sweeeet chair my mom grabbed up (thanks mom!) for a steal at an estate sale ?


N.O.W. (*wink*) I’ve got some other important business to attend to…



Bad Omens in Ominara has finished playtesting!

One of the adventure scenarios in the Veranthea Codex finished its big story arch tonight: Bad Omens in Ominara. You can read some of what goes on here, but today’s game was just too god damn good not to document.

The PCs, having been seemingly foiled by the doppelganger that survived their assault along the Bedim Wall while trying to retrieve the Shard of Ika, returned to the Order of the Plain Spirit dejectedly. Along the way Astral receives a message through a sending spell; High Priestess Relyk Sheydri has awoken and become aware of a great danger approaching Moenio with a wing of Goblinvanian vehicles behind it!

Rushing to her chambers at the top of the tower, the PCs quickly find that the halfling they were looking for—Kat Gosail—not only lives, but has found her way to the High Priestess! After some hurried discussion, they reach the heart of the matter: though the PCs believed the doppelgangers had acquired the Shard of Ika, they merely grabbed the first thing Kat hid inside the Bedim Wall (a valuable gemstone) and not the artifact—no force on Veranthea could remove it now.

The adventurers are astonished (and quite pleased) to hear that the Shard of Ika hasn’t been recovered by the saboteurs, but are rushed to use the powerful artifact to fight whatever mechanical monstrosity approaches Moenio in a spearhead formation meant to create a beachhead for a huge offensive on Ominara! If the PCs didn’t stop the approaching Destructinator™ in its tracks, the Free Isle would be utterly overcome by the Monstrous Folk!

Bedim Ika conceptRushing back to that part of the Bedim Wall, each took a pouch of dust of emulation and a potion of reduce person to reach the artifact where the halfling hid it, pooling together their collective power to activate the enchanted device. Temporarily losing consciousness, they awaken in one, truly massive body that towers even over the 100-ft. high barrier that protects Moenio and all the southern city-states.

Wading out into the coastal waters, the target of their ire quickly became clear—the Destructinator™ was hunched over, all four of its massive wheeled appendages churning the seawater fervently as it rushed toward Ominara. Opening up with a salvo of cannon fire and ignoring the Explodicus® planes swarming around them, the party (now Bedim Ika) engaged in a fierce boxing match with the mechanical titan, slamming into it with their huge limbs.

Destructinator™ concept artAs the situation became dire and it seemed that the day might be lost should another one of the Destructinator™’s vicious attacks strike home, the magus Vaylik realized that he carried adamantine bullets; coaxing the power of the artifact, he morphed these into powerful cannon shot that ripped through Goblinvania’s enormous diesel monstrosity and convinced its operators to turn back. Injured from the combat, Bedim Ika leapt upon its foe as the goblins within attempted to limp back to Trectoyri, heaving it into the air before slamming it down into the water once more, breaking the colossal vehicle in half.






The Idea of Balancing Classes

I’ve had something in the hopper for about two years that *might* change Sean’s mind a bit about balancing classes (I declare that you can have it all!), but this is still a great article for most games.
Read it! Back the Five Moons RPG if you haven’t yet! 😀

Sean K Reynolds

The previous discussion about John Wick’s article reminded me of a tangential topic–something I said a couple of years ago about balancing classes, which was:

It’s impossible to perfectly “balance” a roleplaying game and still have any sort of recognizable individuality in the classes.

Is a
healing-focused cleric
balanced against a
sneak-attacking rogue
or against a
rapier-using fighter
or against a
bard whose focus is buffing his party
or against a
paladin with smiting greatsword
or against a
enchanter wizard
or against a
blaster sorcerer
or against a
combat maneuver monk?

How can you measure if something is “balanced” if its focus is something other than dealing damage per round?

You can’t.

Is a baseball pitcher “balanced” against a catcher, first baseman, or outfielder? They all have very different roles to play in the game, and have strong or weak skills and abilities to reflect those roles.

You just have to…

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The Veranthea Codex has funded—Wowsers.

Early in the morning on Sunday the Veranthea Codex broke $8,000, and just minutes before the project’s funding period came to a close, crossed the threshold to $9,083 (and 206 backers)!


I’ve said it several times and will do so many more times, but—THANK YOU ALL for backing my world and spreading word about the Kickstarter! We are going to make a truly fantastic tome and if you missed the boat, you’ll be able to grab a copy up in the first quarter of 2015 from Rogue Genius Games.

Artwork is pouring in already and it is amazing. 😀


I’m getting things organized, but I’d gotten so used to pushing the Veranthea Codex all day that I feel like I’m coming home after a long stint away, and the sensation is both strange and worth mentioning. The fact that we are funded and that the road ahead is set still hasn’t sunk in!
Such strangeness!

This weekend I’ll be unavailable (it has been requested of me that I “decompress” so we are going to Pleasantvill…er, Warren PA) so if you are a publisher or someone else that needs to contact me, please do so before Friday or after Sunday. 🙂


I can tell you this for certain though: tomorrow’s game in Ominara is going to be even more awesome than normal!

6 HOURS LEFT, Halfway to the first stretch goal, and the Pilot skill!

Chainz biker lineart JBThe project ends in 6 hours and this is the final post to the vast Veranthea Codex tumblr: the Pilot skill!

Not only that, there are a few select vehicles from Trectoyri as well as gorgeous lineart for an orc motorcyclist, courtesy of the talented Jacob Blackmon! Check it out!

Then get your pledge in for the Veranthea Codex—there’s not much time left!!!