Forward Motion on ESPionage

My submission email to Evil Hat was ready to go. I checked the guidelines one last time to make sure all my ‘t’s were crossed and ‘i’s dotted. And right there, at the top of the page,

As of August 17, 2023 our submissions are currently closed. We don’t anticipate re-opening them until late 2025.”

Well…crap…

If I hadn’t spent months developing all the ancillary material I could have submitted back in August. But I’m not going to wait ~18 months for a chance at acceptance. After careful consideration, I’ve decided to publish it myself, financed with crowdfunding.

Step one; get a new cover and temporary layout. The hostility to AI art has grown since I first did the Betawave edition. I’m going to purge all that imagery. I still feel I applied the technology as ethically and legally as anyone can, but that’s a hill I’m not willing to die on. Crowdfunding depends on goodwill, and I need as much as I can gather. I’ve contacted cover and layout artists. The text has already been through an editor, so a minimum viable product is close. Stretch goals will include interior art, and additional materials (most likely adventures) contributed by interested, professional game developers.

There will be four crowdfunding campaigns, three quickstart ESPionage adventures building momentum toward the full book. Two of the adventures are good to go. I ran The King in Giallo and Sunny Days and Rain a dozen times including at Gamex last month. I feel they’re both ready for publication. The third adventure, originally Petty Acts of Retribution, wasn’t nearly as strong and I’m re-purposing the NPCs from it into a new adventure, Operation 61, which is currently a page of notes.

The adventures should be crowdfunding through early next year, and the full game will this time next year. There’s a light at the end of this tunnel. Thanks for sticking with me so far.

Music: AD4PTION by woob

Looking like it was pulled from the Sam Goody bargain bin an sounding like the soundtrack to a lost John Carpenter movie. This album managed a horror movie narrative while remaining ambient enough to work to.

Role-Playing Games: Dogs in the Bark

If you know the legendary role-playing game, Blades in the Dark, this is exactly the same setting. The dirty, dark, crime ridden fantasy city of Duskvol. Except you’re a pack of dogs. I ran this at Gamex where the party found the victim of a murder and had to eat enough of the corpse before the rats showed up, the crows brought the Spirit Wardens, or the victim’s ghost manifested. With that premise, the characters spent most of their time rolling to eat corpse, so I need a better premise for next time.

Comics: Local Man

What if you’re legally bared from doing the one thing you’re good at, the one thing you’ve dedicated your life to? If you’re Crossjack, you move back to your hometown where everyone hates you and try to start over. Should strike a cord with everyone who did everything right and ended up failing.

Podcast: Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff

Consistently my favorite podcast. Not only are Robin D Laws and Ken Hite two of my favorite game developers, their interests in esoteric film, fiction, and history overlap my own.

Tech: Espanso

If you really need a typo fixing service on your PC, but you’re like me an don’t trust a key logger that sends every thing you type off to God knows where, get Espansso. You can use it to build text shortcuts, like today’s date or that email address you enter 20 times a day. I also use it to fix the fact that my finger can’t reach the apostrophe. Noe every time I end a word with “n;t” Espansso fixed it to “n’t.”

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