Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Cold Shadows on Kickstarter has just launched! Whooo hoo!

Cold Shadows is a tabletop roleplaying game built on the ruleset developed in Blood & Honor by John Wick Presents and World of Dew by Woerner Wunderwerks. Cold Shadows is a narrative tabletop role-playing game where the rules are focused on telling a dynamic, personal and compelling story. The game is set in a taut world of espionage, betrayal, and drama inspired by the great spy stories of authors such as John Le Carre and Robert Ludlum.
Cold Shadows is written to evoke the feeling of the Cold War era of spies both in modern and historical context. The game can easily be used to tell espionage stories in any 20th and 21st century time-frame. 
Cold Shadows will have the following in the core game:
  • Rules for playing as high-level operatives in an Agency
  • Rules for one player and one Narrator
  • Rules for Narrator-less play
  • A chapter on generating your Field of Operations with rules that impact your Agents
  • Chapters on fighting styles
  • Information about historical and modern espionage organizations
  • A chapter on women in the Cold War and espionage cinema
  • And much more! Expansions and stretch goals will include rules systems that allow you to tell stories like Bond, Mission Impossible, and even xXx or Get Smart.
This game is being written by Alan Bahr and Ben Woerner, with a talented team of freelancers aiding the primary writers. At the onset, we have Tobie Abad and Elizabeth Chaipraditkul writing on the project with us. As we unlock stretch goals, we'll be adding more talent and authors to this game! 
The Publisher of this game is Nocturnal Media, which recently bought out Gallant Knight Games, and will be distributing and publishing Cold Shadows! The Kickstarter was already prepped and built on the Gallant Knight Games account, so we decided to launch it from here. Nocturnal Media does own Gallant Knight Games, so this imprint will bear the Nocturnal logo and have access to all those resources!

The Kickstarter, as of this writing, has reached $3,620 within the first two hours.  Hope you opt to back the game and support it!    Check out the Kickstarter today!

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Nisab Diary ep08 : 7th Sea

The Nisab Diary

Episode Eight - 7th Sea

Things quickly spiral in other directions as the group learns more about the company they are with. Adeliadis reveals to Jan Volta that she is aware of ways to make one unnoticed by the dievas, admits she lied to him about not having seen one before, but is very curious of his.  She eventually reveals she is here because she was tracking members of an organization known as Novus Ordo Mundi and she was wondering if they were allied with those people.  Reikion and Vasili learn that Julianna Onesta has gone off with her Inquisitors, and Vasili's spies have warned her that the Inquisitor has come upon a house, demanding for them to surrender a sorcerer.  Both opt to head out and see if they can help the family in any way, without gaining the Inquisitor's notice.  Walden Reichart begins to wonder if there were inconsistencies with the discussions with the servant, but gets distracted when he sees Gerhard motioning for him to come close.  The man talks to Walden about having come here to claim something he had neglected to mention in his reports, a discussion that Walden feels is in relation to the drachensteisen daggers he had retrieved from the home of Gamaran.  After surrendering a dagger, however, Walden is walking towards the gallery when he sees Gerhard in another room, staring at the portraits!  He turns back to find the table where the other Gerhard was now empty and panics at the thought it might be the supposed Villain with many faces: Reinhard Vogel!

In the city, Reikion notices the daughter attempting to flee from the rooftops - so he follows her and tells her to hide.  She begs him to help her parents.  He and Vasili use their panache to distract and lure the guards away, knocking down more and more of the Inquisition's men before the high priest begins to suspect something is up.  Reikion distracts the Inquisition long enough to send the parents away.  But Julianna Onesta arrives, and despite seeing Reikion in a hood, she pulls on the threads to twist Reikion's nature and draws out his tendency to act foolishly.  Reikion finds himself unable to help himself and uncovers his face, proclaiming his name to the Inquisitor and warning her never to come back again.  She seems amused, however, that Reikion claims to be of the Eventide.  She admits having wiped them out quite recently. She watches him leave, but not before repeating the name carefully to make sure she never forgets it ever again.

Adeliadis and Jan realize the Villains must have begun their plans, given so many seem to be missing from the place.  She hurries off to search in one direction, while suggesting to Jan to head the way his friend had gone.  Jan runs back to the dining hall and sees Walden running into the servants' quarter's entrance.  Following suit, he does not see Walden take a different turn and ends up going down a different direction.  Walden finds himself in the chamber of the Eisenfursten, and as he creeps close, overhears the man speaking darkly of some kind of scheme in his plans.  When Walden confronts him however, he learns Stefan actually does not know of what is going on, and was merely playing the part he was told to perform.  Stefan actually believes he is a candidate for the New World Order, but Walden doubts a pathetic man such as him would be given such access.  Outside, along the stairwell, Adeliadis finds Jan once more and the two discuss the possible schemes that may be unfolding.  Adeliadis however notices the massive windows - glass portals from ceiling to floor, that exist on every floor - and a realization comes to her.  She realizes the Mastermind behind the Villainous plots might have lured them to this very castle, in order to observe them and gain more knowledge about them!  She pulls Jan close and recommends to him that from this point they find ways to act contrary to their personalities and misdirect their enemies.  She suspects the Mastermind must have some kind of telescopic device to see far differences.  She remembers hearing of such as a present from a Nisab Guissola.  And she suspects the Villains are now attempting to gather her work, to use them for their selfish purposes.

Walden learns from Jan of the possible trap the Villains have laid down for them, and so he terrifies Montano le Blanc, bringing the old Montaigne to tears with his very words.  When Stefan makes a fuss, he fires at him with his pistol to shut him up, leaving him with a not too painful flesh wound.

The heroes soon meet outside, standing in the rain as it falls.  Adeliadis thanks them for their help and promises to help them whenever she can.  For now, however, her task to observe learn more of the Villains and their plans.  Jan and Walden leave, moving through the rain to meet with Reikion at their pre-set meeting ground.

Once there, they opt to leave immediately.  Using his dievas, Jan commands it to create a shadowy doorway to help them travel and reach the Sarmatian Commonwealth sooner.  They do so, crossing the distance in an eye-blink, and find themselves crashing a wedding!    

Dreamchasers Kickstarter is live!

And already fully funded!  Dreamchaser: A Game of Destiny is a tabletop roleplaying game that rewards imagination—rewards creativity. A game that empowers players to immerse themselves into their own desires, their own fantasies. A game that doesn't tell you what you are playing, you tell it what you want to play. Dreamchaser adapts to you.

The game has funded and continues to get more backers!  You might wanna back the game to help nudge it towards unlocking a stretch goal...

Yep yep!  I'm a stretch goal for this Kickstarter and if we break 18k, I'll be writing up a Romantic Comedy supplement for this game.  I'm excited to contribute to this creative project and I do hope you all choose to support the game too!

You can find the Kickstarter page here:

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Victory Condition Gaming talks about Cold Shadows

The Kickstarter for Cold Shadows is launching at the end of this month, and I'm extremely grateful to be part of that project.  Alan Bahr, the brains behind the game, was interviewed on Victory Condition Gaming and even mentioned me, which is super awesome.

Hope you all support Cold Shadows when it launches this January!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Changes, Adjustments, and Learnings

This year is a year born from having survived a tumultuous year filled with numerous challenges.  But from dreaming of leaving a mark on the tabletop gaming industry, I begin 2017 with high hopes of new experiences, new friends, and more games.

There's a few upcoming Kickstarter projects that I'll be part of this year, with one touching on spies and rivalries, while the other explores the romantic side of dreams.  There are a bunch of supplemental projects as well, for people bound to demons, for high action and dramatic epic heroes, and for a few more fiction nods to tuck under my belt.  And there are the talks.

This year opened with me being invited to give a talk for the 2017 Global Game Jam, which I must admit was an unexpected moment of awesome.  A few more opportunities are coming into focus down the line and while I kinda shied away from a possible one set all the way at Cebu, I know more options are bound to show up in time.  Then there's a few more projects both independently, work-relatedly, and completely selflessly being developed in the pipeline for table top releases (a few card games, and a possible board game or two).  And my own projects for TAG Sessions plus the ever awesome dayjob.

I need to update my Patreon account though.  I realize now the previous layout of the tiers isn't engaging people the way I thought, and in hopes of properly thanking people for their support, I've decided to make some changes on what they entail. I'll probably engage the shift come February, depending on the feedback I get.

The biggest change though, this year, is us moving.  Rocky and I have decided to move to a location closer to our respective workplaces.  This means finding a way to reduce the usual two-hour travel time each way to and from work that we lose each day.  The move meant having to make some hard decisions, which includes me having to accept that I'll be giving up some stuff, and make some lifestyle changes, but in the end, reducing the four hours lost each day to traffic will be worth the sacrifices.  When we first moved together way back in May, 2009 to what became our home at Cubao, we named the place Sietch Creare.  It was a funny time, with me breaking a mirror within the first day, but in the end we realized we created a sanctuary where we could create. The term Sietch was borrowed from Rocky's favorite book series of all time, The Dune Chronicles by Frank Herbert. Creare is the Latin word for create.  This new Sietch we have moved to has yet to be officially named.  There's temptation to name it after the Latin word for game, but that kinda just conjures up traumatic visions for me.  I'm tempted to try "Igrat" which is the Russian word for "play" given the roots of the word sietch can also be traced to the Russian word "sech" which was a chief fortress refuge.  Then there's "Qiss" which is Arabic for story, since it can also be traced to "Seeq", which is one of the Arabic names of a desert town that was hard to access.

In the end, I think the name will come to us naturally and we will find what works best in time.  We had our first game session at the new place already, and it seemed appropriate the game would be Houses of the Blooded, with Flip and Carlo.  New beginnings.  New wagers.   Style.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Saturday, January 7, 2017

One week has passed...

...and I have not played any table top games, be it board games or role-playing games.  The first week of January is always a tricky period, with some groups still focused on family events, while others tied up with other activities.  Admittedly, I'm not the kind of guy who is used to having such quiet days, and so this week has been a tad tough on me.  To survive it, I've been diving into Civilization V on the laptop, as well as been writing.  I got a lot of writing to do after all.

I've finished my first draft submission for Witch: The Fated and I'm really hoping that will be received well.  Currently, I've been working on the Martini stuff for Cold Shadows, which will explore a variety of ways to enjoy the game despite having only you and your friend for the game night.  I'm drawing inspiration from shows like The Night Manager, Alias, Infernal Affairs and movies like Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy.  Admittedly, I'd love to have done the same with books but there just isn't enough time as I tend to be a slow reader.  I've also been working on the Tenra Bansho Zero scenario which reads sort of like a Black Mirror episode with lots of Eastern influences.  I'm hoping that goes well too.  And finally, in between projects, I sneak in time to work on Dreamscrapers and A Second Moment.   Sickening Queens, the drag queen Fiasco playset, is pretty much done, save for the artwork and layout which has become a challenge due to my limited funds.

But yeah, I'm no longer just a fanboy who loved gaming and dreamed of some day sharing my own stuff to others.  I've now become a game designer for role-playing games as well, and who knows, maybe within this year, I'll also have a table top game release?    I'm even toying with the idea of working on a Dune-inspired game with Rocky and I writing out the universe and making it our own version of cool.  If we're lucky, it will have an appreciative audience as well.

Here's hoping this coming week will be a more game filled one. Pandemic Legacy is on its last month at our office game.  While the box I got for me, Rocky, Che and Urim has only had its first month so far.  Then there's the 7th Sea twin-campaign which ended with a huge reveal on the Villain's plans, but not their Mastermind yet, there's the Vampire 20th edition campaign with the reveal of the "Sleeper" given the title, and there's our insanely fun Legends of the Wulin game which has taken a mindscape time jump as the heroes try to master their Kung Fu before they face off against the bid bag guy.  There's also the upcoming Houses of the Blooded oneshot game we're playing with Flip and Carlo, which if they turn out to like it as much as we do, might become a monthly thing.  And there's the plans of trying new games, including Exalted 3rd edition.

Later today, January 8, I'll be back with family cause it is my dad's birthday.  I'm hoping to steal him away to try to catch Rogue One on IMAX. Web shows its still screening at SM Southmall, but online postings have been wrong before - so crossing my fingers and hoping it works out.  It is almost 5a.m. so I better grab some sleep, wake up by noon, to have a quick lunch, then head to the south for my dad.

So yeah, 2017. Let's get brighter each passing week, shall we?

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Hello 2017!

So this is officially the first post for the new year. It is now 2017 and we got 365 days to celebrate in various ways waiting to be filled with gaming.  Lots of things in store for us this year, from a variety of games that need to be written, to a range of stories that desire to be penned down, and even a bunch of table top non-role-playing games that are to be released or further developed.  It is gonna be a busy yet fantastic year!

A Second Moment
It feels very apt to call upcoming next book A Second Moment.  As the Companion book to my first game release, A Single Moment, this book has a hefty amount of content in its pages.  When you're designing a game, it is not uncommon to find your mind wandering over a lot of ideas and different approaches that you could have done or wanted to try.  The tougher part comes when you need to "kill your darlings" and edit away parts which you feel over-complicate the initial goal of creating a game that people can grasp, enjoy, and play.  But afterwards, that's when you realize some of those ideas can be repackaged to work wonderfully with the existing rule set and deserve to be brought back as options.  And that's the main key word of A Second Moment: It is all about the options you have available.  The book is about taking a second moment to look at what is happening and find ways you can make it cooler and more awesome. The book offers alternate resolution systems which I initially hinted in the first book, such as systems that use ten-sided dice, or systems that use the variety of polyhedral dice instead of just the six-sided ones, as well as a few diceless systems, such as one that uses playing cards and another that completely removes any random element and trusts the players to resolve things without any random numbers being generated.    The book also offers ideas on running A Single Moment with more than 2 players, as well as running games which might feel almost like traditional role-playing games, with one "GM" being the antagonist, and the rest being a group of heroes... or switched around with one being the lone hero and the rest being the group of antagonists the hero has to go through.

It would be wrong not to admit that works such as Lone Wolf and Cub, Kill Bill, Scott Pilgrim, The Devil Wears Prada, RuPaul's Drag Race and the Super Sentai Series were not huge influences on this coming book.  And if you are all wondering how a confusing set of influences figure into this book, well, I guess you'll just have to imagine for now.  Finally, I've also offering what I call the Forty Minute Face Off, which is a way to play A Single Moment in far less than an hour, which can be perfect for those days when you just want a quick session.

12 New Games for 2017
Continuing my promise to myself to always explore new ground and never limit my experiences in gaming, this new year has once more opened the opportunity to explore twelve new game systems.  To be quite frank, the last two months were filled with instances where I was actually holding back from playing certain systems since I wanted to have them count for my list this year.

Last year's tally has these:  Twelve New Games for 2016
1) Pocket Odyssey
2) Marvel Heroic Role-playing Games
3) Fiasco: Bookhounds
4) Wield

5) #TagRPG
6) Mutant City Blues
7) 7th Sea, second edition

8) Curse of the Yellow Sign #3
9) Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine
10) Inspectres
11) A Single Moment
12) V20

And yes, I haven't really transcribed all of them yet.  I have a backlog of 40+ game session recordings to transcribe into this blog. But I definitely am happy to have tried such a range of games and I experimented with others. I am anxious to try a lot of other game systems, including King Arthur Pendragon, Mistborn, Blood and Honor: A World of Dew, the Star Trek Adventures RPG, the Frost Papers, the various Protocol Games and so many more.

Let's see what will be the games for this year.

More Updates
I'm also looking at making sure I be more active in updating the blog as well. I used to write a lot of articles, but that was eventually replaced by other ways I shared knowledge.  This year, I think it is time to go back to writing more articles, and maybe even having a new webshow with Rocky. Whether it is just YouTube or Twitch or something, we will find what will work best.

But yeah, 2017 is a very promising year!  Let's celebrate more gaming!

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