Karavansara

East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


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The gamification of piracy

Last week, Bride of the Swamp God, the first in the Aculeo & Amunet ebook series, was pirated on a forum.
A link, two servers, my ebook available for free.

It happened on one of those websites where the pirate – but they call them sharers – gets points for uploading items, points that can be spent for a number of services… including requesting a specific title, a book, a movie.

It was a first, for me, and while I did all that was in my power to have the links canceled, I had the opportunity of discussing the situation with a friend, and this led to a number of consideration that I’m trying to summarize in this post.
Mind you, I haven’t discovered nothing new, and I’m not offering any momentous solutions.
But let’s try and see where this gets us… Continue reading


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A community to back my heroes

I’m doing some work on a forthcoming sourcebook for a roleplaying game.
Savage Worlds being the engine, the rules are not a problem.
As long as I do not re-invent the wheel, I’ve ample margin for trying new stuff.

Now, in most “heroic” stories – no matter if we’re talking fantasy, science fiction, historical, western – one of the key elements is, the hero speaks for a group, for a clan or tribe or culture.
It’s a simple mechanism, it has lots of anthropological implications (the hero as everyman, etc.) but it also has a very good, simple  effect on storytelling: the hero (or heroes) have somebody they care abut, and that cares about them.
Maybe non even in a personal, one-on-one way, but community is important.
Think about the way in which Spiderman is an expression of New York and its people… Continue reading


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Outlines and Images

English: A line art drawing of a warrior woman...

I’m doing something I never did before – I’m going through the outline/index of my next book (a roleplaying game supplement) noting the number and kind of images that might be needed for each chapter/section.

This is a first for me, because I normally write fiction – and then there’s only the problem of the cover* – or academical papers – where all the images needed are part of my job: field shots, microscopic photographs, graphs and maps.

I can handle the illustration of my academical work, and I can handle covers (sometimes) – but trying to imagine what images will be needed to illustrate a roleplaying game book… ah, that’s something else altogether! Continue reading


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Across the age divide

Sometimes we have the sheer luck of being witnesses to something wonderful – and I think when it happens we should share it with others.

Cover of "Necessary Evil (Savage Worlds; ...

Cover via Amazon

For the weekend I was in Modena, lovely city, at the local gaming fair, Play – I was helping the Savage Worlds Italia crew, giving game demonstrations.
Short Savage Worlds RPG sessions, two hours to help interested parties to get an idea of the system, the settings, etc.

It was my last game in the very intense two-day event.
I was tired, my voice was going, and I was mastering a game called Necessary Evil – a super-heroes game in which super-villains are all that stands between humanity and cruel alien invaders.
The game is fun, tongue-in-cheek, the sort of game in which to save some innocent civilians, the “heroes” burn down the city hall, blackmail the chief of police, start a huge brawl against alien shark-man warriors and on their way out, they rob a bank.

I had a good solid game ready – some investigation, some devastation, great opportunities for roleplaying.

Continue reading