East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Playing along the Frontier

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So you are working not on one, not on two, but on THREE big huge projects, each on of them with a deadline ticking. One project is fun, another is just what you always wanted to write, and the third you hate every minute of it but is paying the bills, so bend on that oar and push!
What do you do, then?
Simple, you invent a fourth big huge project just for yourself.

Right now I am reading Ray Vallese’s Writing with Style: An Editor’s Advice for RPG Writers, because I like to know what I am doing, sometimes, before I start doing it.
Now, when you write for a gaming company, you usually get a nice style guide with all the rules you are to follow to write the sort of material they will publish. It’s not a matter of content but of form, and in a roleplaying handbook form is important, because consistency and transparency of form help the players get the most out of the rules and the setting described in the book.
But when you are going the indie way, and writing/producing/publishing your own game, there is no pre-cooked style guide. You have to design your own, and stick to it. And Vallese’s handbook is just what you need for the job.

So yes, I am slowly (oh, so slowly) building the basic handbook for a swashbuckling fantasy game set in the same universe as my Tales from the Frontier.
With a tip of the hat to Talbot Mundy and Harold Lamb, I would like this game to allow the players to explore the borderlands of the Abode of the Snows, fight the demons that hide in the mountains and the evil that lurks in the heart of men (and women!) while enjoying an exotic, very pseudo-historical setting. There will be flashing swords and strange magic, but I also want intrigue, diplomacy, commerce and roleplaying.

So here I am, putting down notes in a Scrivener file, and building a style guide. I have no ETA, I have no artwork, but I do have a gaming engine, and that’s a first step (but it would also be good to do a system agnostic version of the setting).

Because the Tales from the Frontier are at the moment an exclusive perk for my Patrons, they will get previews, will be involved in the development of the game, and in the end will get playtest file if interested, and a free copy of the finished work.
Because it’s good to be my patrons.

So, now I have FOUR big huge projects going.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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