Saturday, January 4, 2014

Announcing a Summer 2014 release of THE HOUNDS OF HALTHRAG KEEP for DCC

In my line of work (mental health therapy), we tell people that unless you have clear and concise goals and have written them down somewhere (anywhere!) then you don't really have goals.  You have ideas.

I had an idea early last year to self-publish, under the HAPLESS HENCHMAN imprint (maybe), a solo game book that captured the terror and distress that trying to stay alive in a fantasy world with no training ought to be.  Essentially, the DCC funnel, but all alone - like that first lonely Kai Initiate except without all the cool powers.  Merely a dagger and a spool of twine.

Well, my idea is a goal, and (lucky for me), I have successfully acquired a limited amount of mastery over some fundamental tools needed to make the thing a reality.  I'm drawing again, and when I am not Spelunky-ing or holding the baby or drinking whiskey, I have picked up the arts of layout via InDesign in a rudimentary fashion.

So, work proceeds!  I have acquired permission to pursue the thing from Goodman Games.  I've written the first draft of the rules.  I've written the first draft of the random encounters section of the book.  I've gone over many of my initial influences which are

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maybe here, too

Next, in no particular order, I need to:

It takes a while to get the hand uncramped after 30 years of not drawing.

1. Finish the clumsy black and white scrawlings I call 'art'

2. Finish the game map and decision nodes - the setting itself hangs behind my eyes almost every free waking moment
3. Write the 300-400 more entries it takes to make an exciting and arduous 0-level solo funnel for DCC

Mr. Goodman (and a couple of others) have advised me - quite rightly - to seek help.  And a number of particularly cool people have offered it unsolicited, and I thank them deeply and graciously.

Here is what I propose, before motivation slips away tonight.  I must write and for that the map needs finishing - this weekend (probably tonight) I will scour the house for my first-draft map of the ruins of Halthrag Keep, outside of which the Jackal Gang holds a number of innocent people captive, forcing them to enter in and search for... Something terrible.  I know what this is, and I even have a couple of low-level endings (like you would get in the CYOA games if you didn't make a lot of good choices).  The random encounter entries for both day- and night-time are written and include a dozen or so new monsters for DCC that will be quite harrowing for your average level-0 medieval Joe or Jane.  I may release a bestiary as a teaser or something very soon.

What I need is to have goals established or else (like many other things) I will dilly dally with Spelunky and babies and never finish this thing.  So:  the official goal is to release the PDF version in the Summer of 2014, with a print-on-demand of the thing if anybody is interested.  If it sells even a single copy at PWYW then I might make a DCC module for a funnel and append it to the printable version or release it as a standalone, since most of the work will be done already (actually, that part is mostly done now IN MY HEAD)

I figure once I've gotten the map and outline, the simple thing will be to untangle the knot of entries, and that's taken care of mostly but I'll speak to it later.

Anyways, the big goal is out in the world.  Twist my arm or ear or whatever as you will.  Subgoals, officially (and I am sure there are many that are hidden to me)  Map -> Static Encounters Keyed -> Write/Edit the Entries + Draw the arts + Lay out the document -> Submit to Goodman Games for approval.  By the by, I'm trying to find a way to enable a particularly old school favorite of mine to do the cover, but we'll see how it goes.

My birthday is in May, and I have selected that as the submission date, so I hope the hellish deities that hound desktop publishers will yap at me in my sleep.

That said - I need to get off of here and write/draw/make! Or game, or something.

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