So, what’s been going on since I last updated?
Well, Purple Mountain X has been finished off – despite a load of extra work being needed on the stat blocks to make it more dangerous, it seems that the man at Purple Duck was pleased enough to offer me a second piece. That is now the Crimson Caves, a stand-alone dungeon for level 1 characters which I’m having trouble rounding up people to playtest. Still, it’s pretty much finished except for a little polishing.
I’ve also (today!) finally finished the overhaul of the magic system for Fatescape. Now all I’ve got to do is add it to the main file, rewrite the rules so they’re easier to understand, and redo the Equipment section according to the notes I’ve already got. Man, this fantasy heartbreaker thing is hard. (On the plus side it’s back to a playable state again, so maybe I’ll run another playtest game.)
What else? Another short piece of mine is being published in Schlock Magazine, and I’m waiting to hear back on two other submissions – one is a writing contest which I have no hope for at all, but since the prize was £1000 I figured it was worth a stab anyway, and the other is a pulp fiction story for royalties (i.e. bog all) which I reckon is much more likely to make the cut.
Oh, and I reckon I might start my own pulp fiction publishing enterprise. All I need is £800 and a name…
Well, that’s Purple Mountain Level 10 (a Pathfinder dungeon written for Purple Duck gaming) finished and under the editor’s red pen even as I write. It clocked in at 35,000 words in the final analysis, but we’ll see how much of that survives the transition to the final version.
Still, one more thing with my name on.
I wrote a modern-day pulp story for submission to an anthology produced by Pulp Empire, featuring a hyper-competent lawyer, a Chinese criminal mastermind, a psychic Russian, and an indestructible idiot who can also shoot fire. It’s modern-day, fast-moving, high-action and ridiculous, but I’m not sure it’s the sort of thing they’re looking for. Oh well: just got to run it past a bunch of test-readers to get some feedback, polish it up a bit and submit. Fingers crossed.
I have so many ongoing projects! Including one which I started in response to feedback on a previous piece which said “nothing happened for 10,000 words”. (Fair criticism, really. Sigh.) So this one is split into 1000-word segments, and something happens in each one. It’s my homage to the Traveler in Black, which I’m very deliberately not re-reading in order to avoid inadvertent copying. On the plus side, short works are easy to finish so it’s unlikely that this one’s going to get put aside halfway through.
Burning Wheel Now Burned Out
We finished up the BW game we were playing – it was fun, although I put more of that on the group I was playing with than any properties of the system itself. I still think it’s fundamentally flawed in a lot of ways.
Maybe I’ll try to start a Burning Empires game with the same group. Maybe I’ll test-run Fatescape again. (The all-new magic system is about 50% complete.) Maybe I’ll try to keep Fridays free for socialising. Truly I am a creature of unlimited whimsy.
So, plenty going on on the writing front at the moment.
I finished Nanowrimo for the first time in a long time, knocking out ~51,000 words about monster hunter Amelia Thorne. It needs serious work, but unlike most of my previous Nano efforts I feel the core is solid enough that any editing work I do on it won’t be wasted. Anyway, I’m going to let it sit until at least the new year while I refresh my mind with other things.
Purple Ducks gaming have commissioned me to write level 10 of their Purple Mountain megadungeon. Production is going well: I’ve knocked out 16,000 words covering an asylum in the depths of the earth full of crazed undead, some mad priests sent to recover it, mushroom men, a magic item, three feats and some other odds and ends. Just the temple of ooze to go, squish squish. (Oh, and about 20 stat blocks which currently exist only in super-sketchy format.)
Fatescape… Progress, Technically
Still working on the magic system. Slooooooowly. I might try to run another playtest game in the new year, which means I’ll need to polish off all the ‘under construction’ bits over Christmas.
Joan of Arc, Superspy
Candlemark and Gleam have an anthology coming out where the theme is ‘alternate history espionage’, which I’d like to submit something to. My basic idea is that Jeanne d’Arc never reached Orleans in 1430 so the English stomped all over France and now she’s part of an underground resistance organisation – religious visions, badass attitude, remarkable intellect and all. Sadly the execution isn’t coming together at the moment, but I’ll keep poking at it.
The Return of Mr Q
Also on the short fiction front, Pulp Empire are angling to put out an anthology about pulp heroes – either classic ones or entirely new ones – reworked for the 21st century. Since this features both reimagining of old things in a modern context and pulpy goodness – two of my favourite things – I’m all over this.