Only two short weeks ago, we posted this blog talking about how we were looking for a Shadows over Vathak Line Developer. And in those two weeks we've had a number of very strong applicants -- so thank you everyone that applied.
The Fattest Goblin and myself are reviewing these now in detail, and then consulting what Old Ones we hold sacred for divine inspiration -- and we'll be reaching out to the potential LD's we need to for follow ups. Expect to hear our announcement of whom we've chosen very soon, and then they'll be blogging for us and letting you know all about the latest and the greatest in Vathak as soon as we can get them up to speed!
Thank you everyone!
In the mean-time, check out Fat Goblin Games' latest entertainment:
Roll & Move Boardgame: Dungeon of Kar-Kass the Dragon is a fun and simple game where you roll the dice and move a token, follow the directions on the space you land, and try and be the first to the finish.
This is just a fun little project for you to collect, enjoy the nostalgia, and play with friends and family.
Today's blog is going to be a grab bag, covering a number of topics. First up!
GM's Day Sale On Now!
Saturday, March 4th is GM's Day! Started in 2002, it's a day dedicated to celebrating those that run our games of tabletop, and most companies like to cash-in with GM's Day Sales! (that last a week+)
So, on OBS sites like RPGNow.com, you can find almost all our products (imprints too!) marked down 30%, and you can find the same on OpenGamingStore as well! The Fattest Goblin had The Janitor set up a similar 50% off sale on our fatgoblingames.com store too. Use the code GMSALE on fatgoblingames.com to get 50% off your total order, good through 03/15/2017.
Also, last year in honor of GM's Day, which is also the anniversary of Gary Gygax's passing, The Fattest Goblin made this tribute piece available PWYW (including free):
Speaking of The Fattest Goblin's Art...
Rick Hershey's Art Rates for 2017
You can download a free copy of Rick Hershey's Art Rates for 2017 today and start planning using some original pieces to help augment your stock art from Fat Goblin Games today! And while we're on about Stock Art...
New Stock Art Maps!
We've got some new blood here at Fat Goblin Games delivering even more incredible stock art -- this time some wonderful isometric stock maps, like these lovely pieces:
And on the matter of "fresh blood"...
Still Looking for That Shadows over Vathak Line Developer
We've had some really great applicants so far after our announcement for the Line Developer position last week, but we'll still be taking new applications for at least another week or so -- SO YOU STILL HAVE TIME!
The "And More"
We've got a lot more going on here at Fat Goblin Games of course, from new products like RPCheese (more on that in a future blog) and dipping our toes into the Starjammer Roleplaying Game compatible field, to we're trying to help organize a Bundle in support of Liz Court's Section 15 IndieGoGo campaign, to so much more. You'll just need to be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up-to-date!
**Note: The “job posting” is at the bottom of this blog, but understand — I, at least, assume you need to know all the things between here and there to “get” what the job is that we’re actually posting about.**
We’re in a time of transition, both here at Fat Goblin Games, and just in general in the tabletop RPG publishing business.
When you look at Fat Goblin Games’ catalog, you will see we have been a serious supporter of especially the venerable Pathfinder Roleplaying Game system. I say “venerable” because, as of August 2017, the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game will be 8 years old, and looking back on the many editions of The World’s Most Popular Roleplaying Game as it is known, you’ll see times as short as ~3 years between revisions (happened for both 2nd Edition & 3rd Edition) up to as long as ~12 years between 1st Edition and 2nd Edition (and ~11 years between 2nd Edition and 3rd Edition) for an average of ~8 years per edition over the game’s 40+ years.
Additionally, if you’re really one of those folks that see the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game as merely 3.6/3.75 etc, then you’re talking about a game that is closer to 17+ years old. So just like the age categories in the game itself, many people look at 8+ years and are getting ready to roll the dice to calculate the system’s Maximum Age.
And so it’s logical for people in the Third Party Publishing business, whom have often explored things like 5th Edition to mediocre reception, or branched out into numerous other X+ Editions of the game, to look toward Paizo Publishing’s latest game the Starfinder Roleplaying Game (coming out August 2017) as at least a soft-reboot of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, if not a testing ground for Version 2.0.
We’re not looking to speculate here. We have previously announced that we plan to support the Starfinder Roleplaying Game, as well as push our Castle Falkenstein licensed materials, and continue to explore other open game systems and even get into creating our own. But the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game is also still a solid seller for us, and we have no desire to “give up” on it anytime soon. Instead, we’re refocusing our efforts.
A Focus on Settings
In the past, we’ve split our releases between successful world-neutral books like the CLASSified line of new classes and options or the Call to Arms line of world-neutral items and weapon expansion books, and our Shadows over Vathak horror setting.
Going forward, we plan to transition more of our world-neutral materials into setting-specific books, even while we keep the general design and tone of the others. The reasons for this are many, but a key bit is that it is easy enough for interested gamers to remove the important setting specific comments and language, and play with new weapons, classes, etc. in their homebrew. Most do it all the time, pulling from many settings to make their own amalgamation world.
It also allows us to add a lot more flavor to our texts.
An existing manuscript for the Call to Arms line, Daisho, was written originally as a world-neutral text about the various Japanese bladed weapons (katana, wakizashi, nodashi, yari, etc.), but keeping it world-neutral meant a lot of the magic items lacked real flavor. Releasing it instead for the Steampunk Musha line will allow us to ground some of the ideas on the island of Rosuto-Shima, and give some added design direction — while also just exploring the basic premise overall.
Antikthon — the World of Fat Goblin Games
The Fattest Goblin Himself-Himself, Rick Hershey, has had both the settings of Shadows over Vathak and Steampunk Musha in various forms of development and production for nearly a decade. For him, these two settings had always been on a shared planetoid, and we’re now making that much more clearly true by developing fully the world of Antikthon.
At present, we have our own Shadows over Vathak setting, which has been revised with our Shadows over Vathak: Player’s Guide. SoV can be summated as:
|Shadows over Vathak blends the Otherworldly, Cosmic Horror themes of New England's Lovecraft, the Macabre Mysteries of Poe, and the sensibilities of Victorian, Gothic Horror Adventure into an original fantasy setting for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.|
The other line, long in development, and finally seeing its first major re-release under its new Line Developer Rodney Sloan in the next month is the Steampunk Musha setting:
Where Industrialization and Tradition Collide in an Asian-Inspired Fantasy Setting
Steampunk Musha is a setting in conflict with itself, seeking balance. Ancient traditions developed in natural isolation from other cultures are put at odds with an industrial revolution imported by outsiders from beyond the sea. A war-torn land enjoys a cold-war’s peace as the rulers of a dozen city-states vie to reform a once golden empire to their liking; some choosing tradition and magic, while others choose science and technology, and others still stranger things. New lines are being drawn as the uneasy peace is tested time and again as even the individual becomes caught in the confluence of a land in revolution.
And finally, we have Jason Owen Black working as the Line Developer for the island of Neiyar:
|Neiyar is a land on the edge of turmoil. The collapse of the unifying Neiyaraja Empire has left people unsure of what to expect. Stability and tradition are of great importance in a land where merely surviving is difficult, and that stability has usually come in the form of one great empire after another. The unraveling of Neiyaraja has granted room to new powers and old dangers, and behind it all an ancient war for the very souls of Neiyar’s people threatens everything. Set on a vast jungle island and inspired by tales and legends from the Indian subcontinent, Neiyar is a land in need of heroes.|
Beyond these three currently-in-active-development settings, we have various plans to still flesh out our Kingdoms of Sand setting inspired by the great, ancient civilizations of the Nile River and Fertile Crescent river valleys, as well as our own take on the popular “pirate” setting, a more classic Western setting, and many more!
An Open Call for a Shadows over Vathak Line Developer
So now to the heart of the matter. We find ourselves in need of a Line Developer for Shadows over Vathak. In the past, John Bennett did an amazing job at it, starting with a series of books and adventures based in The Colonies but by about the time we decided to do a proper revision and expansion with the Shadows over Vathak: Player’s Guide, he largely needed to step away for various reasons. And while I “filled in” to get that text through full development, we really need someone else to drive the charge and do the footwork on completing the started design and manuscripts for Shadows over Vathak: Gamemaster Guide and continuing to develop and release (and re-release) books for the series.
In a previous blog-post, I’ve been expounding on what a Line Developer is or could be, but I’ll copy-paste the important part here:
|A Lead on a project (like Lead Writer, Lead Developer, Lead Artist, etc.) is typically the person in charge of some aspect or specific project, possibly with subordinates of the same type. For instance in the case of a Lead Writer, the LW would be "leading" the group of writers in producing the manuscript, reporting to the Project Manager as needed. Leads are often "experts" in their area or on their project, with the assumption that "no one knows the material like they do." A Lead Developer may also go by a name like Line Developer, which typically refers to them being charge of a specific "line" of books related by game system, topic, etc.|
|A Developer is the creator of subsystems for an existing roleplaying game system. Developers are creating new content (instead of merely editing existing rules to new purpose), most often "writing" it themselves. Development is distinct from merely being a Writer in that, while you can "develop a world" by expanding fiction and lore, developing for a game system implies a harder, game mechanical edge. The new development can be as small as a single new feat or magic item, to as large as an add-on subsystem that works with existing core or alternate mechanics.|
So for our purposes, we are looking for someone to become the content expert on the world of Shadows over Vathak, doing so in line with the larger project (managed by myself as the Project Manager) of developing the world of Antikthon. In this role, the LD will be expected to be able to write and develop both world lore and mechanics as requested, and/or to work with other writers and freelancers to write and develop these topics instead. They will work with a team of our freelancers from the Goblin Hoarde to first finish the Shadows over Vathak: Gamemaster’s Guide, then work as a Content Editor and Line Developer for both revising existing texts as well as releasing all new books.
As a “for instance,” we have a collected outline for the SoV: GMG, and in it are a number of new subsystems that need to be fully developed, often based on some existing notes — like creating our planned Mental Trauma system that works as an alternative to traditional “Sanity” or “Madness” rules for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Certain sections of the book, like expansions on curses and cursed items, we have in-house writers assigned to but their various texts need to be revised and brought in-to-line with the overall vision of the setting.
Additionally then, we have entire manuscripts “ready to go” but waiting for a new LD to come in and a) make sure they are in-line with the current vision of the setting, and b) make sure they fit the style guide and templates we provided work then as Content Editor.
Duties beyond development of the Shadows over Vathak line include help managing the Shadows over Vathak Facebook page, at least monthly blog-posts about current developments in the line, promotion of the line on various platforms especially with each new release, and working with myself and my other LDs (Rodney & JOB so far, but others to join) on helping to make sure all of our works hit Fat Goblin Games’ overall plans for the world of Antikthon.
Fat Goblin Games sees this as a hopefully long-term commitment and the establishing of a relationship, as we hope you will become our SoV expert and help us continue to develop the line and similar products for as long as we are all able.
The Actual Job Posting
Fat Goblin Games is seeking a Line Developer for its successful Shadows over Vathak cosmic, Gothic horror setting for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Duties will include writing and editing multiple books in an ongoing series, that range from short 10 page adventures to full setting resource guides upwards of 500 pages. Compensation will vary depending on specific role for each book in the line (primary writer, content editor, line development only, etc.) but typically be paid as percentage of profits. Opportunities exist to revise and re-release many existing books as well as develop all new texts. Once part of the Goblin Hoarde of Fat Goblin Games’ freelancers, additional writing and development opportunities are possible depending on your availability and aptitudes.
Interested parties should contact Rick Hershey at email@example.com While no specific, minimum previous experience in tabletop roleplaying game writing and editing is required, you should plan to provide samples of your writing for both lore (fluff) and game mechanics (crunch) specifically for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, and provide evidence of your ability to work in groups as well as manage a team of freelancers on a large project of this nature.
Note: Shadows over Vathak is a HORROR setting, and many of the topics and themes that the setting works in are… horrific. Providing clear evidence that you “understand” horror as a genre and are both comfortable writing about it, but also able to evoke the needed feel and terror of writing horror are clear asset we hope to find.
So Paizo Publishing made their official Starfinder webspace available, and set up preorders for Starfinder Roleplaying Game as well as released its own Compatibility License -- so if you've been on the Internet for the past few days and paying any kind of attention to Third Party Publishers of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game -- you've seen everyone and their sibling saying they are looking forward to "supporting Starfinder" etc. etc. etc. I mean, it feels like everyone has been talking about it...
And so as to be clear and get in on the bandwagon -- of course Fat Goblin Games is excited to get on the Starfinder 3PP Support Hype Train -- so much so that we've released stuff that's in the same vein as Starfinder long ago.
Call to Arms is a book line for players and gamemasters alike. Each book focuses on a different type of item, expanding rules for those items and adding everything from new mundane and magical examples of the item to new character options related to the item. Call to Arms: Fantastic Technology brings new eras of scientific advancement into your setting, including rules, setting, and plot options for researching and developing new technologies and applications. New kingdom-building rules let rulers build their fantasy nations into technological juggernauts, and new crafting rules help engineers bolt and tape technology onto their favorite mundane and magical weapons and armor. New setting concepts ease the gradual introduction of tech into fantasy worlds, gremlin-tainted crafting materials offer new ways to “curse” technological gear, and new artificially intelligent item options help get digital life out of its shell and into your sword. Capped with a new artifact, new legendary item abilities, and new feats, Call to Arms: Fantastic Technology makes it easier than ever to add super-science tech to classic swords and sorcery.
CLASSifieds: The Technopath
Artificial intelligences—strange consciousnesses made of code—can lurk in the circuits and processors of robots and other fantastic technologies. When combined with the soul and arcane powers of a technopath, however, an AI can gain new ways to influence the material world around them, transforming into a new sort of entity: a technogeist. Capable of possessing robots, unlocking new powers in technology, and even manipulating reality from a virtual demiplane, this summoner alternate class is well suited to fantastic settings where iron robots and technological gods run rampant.
CLASSifieds product line is devoted to bringing you new and exciting classes for your Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Each product includes complete rules for a single class, feats, archetypes, equipment, and an assortment of other rules to bring your characters to life.
But ok, ok -- from everything I've read (single best article if you're not up to day IMHO), the Starfinder Roleplaying Game is going to be about as "different" from the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game as Pathfinder was different from the 3.5 era, so we'll need to do a bunch of work to port stuff over. That said, I have a second comment RE: Starfinder that I haven't seen people talking or thinking about as much, and that's this:
Even more than fantasy, science fiction requires you to make some pretty big assumptions about "how things work" and thus it might not be as easy to release "support" for Starfinder as it has been for Pathfinder (where a multitude of voices has been fine echoing into the room).
The Importance of Settings & Assumptions in Sci Fi
Without something better to go off, lets look to the Guide for Technology or G4T (as we at Fat Goblin Games variously took to calling it) that Paizo Publishing released for their Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Specifically, lets look at how that book plays with a single idea that's taken from both real-world but really science fiction: gravitons.
From Wikipedia (linked above, emphasis mine):
In theoretical physics, the graviton is a hypothetical elementary particle that mediates the force of gravitation in the framework of quantum field theory.
Gravitons are used in the G4T a lot of different ways from weapons to armor, and even have an entire type of lab named after them. And that's not in the least a bad thing, BUT there are whole set of assumptions you need to make about gravitons, how they work, and what you can do with them to make force effects that grant armor bonuses or to use manipulation of them as a weapon. And its fun. And its fine.
But Google "alternative theories of gravity" and you can find a LOT of great ideas:
- Alternative theory of gravity explains large structure formation -- without dark matter
- New theory of gravity might explain dark matter
- Beyond Science, Good to Know 9 Scientists Who Dispute Theory of Gravity
And see, here's the rub (typically speaking) -- science fiction, at least "hard science fiction" is built on assumptions about scientific theories being "right" -- and normally only one set is right, universally (so these alternate theories, etc. are "wrong").
Now, I've read that Starfinder is going to be more "science fantasy" which makes it a "soft science fiction" type to even speculative fiction type of world, and I think that Paizo Publishing trying to say they are going to almost exclusively release "world-specific books in support" makes a ton of sense -- they need to make assumptions, they don't want to try to "design for everyone."
What Is My Point?
My point, my TL;DNR is that Starfinder may be harder to offer "generic" support for the way everyone does for Pathfinder, AND it wouldn't surprise me if more companies make a specific "breaking point" to even "setting" that "diverges" from the assumptions of the Starfinder Roleplaying Game and Golarion circa year 3,000 (or whatever the right date is).
Just a quick one today -- I'm a week+ behind on turning over a completed manuscript for the next vs. M Engine game, and I know I still have days worth of writing before me.
But it's Thursday, and Thursday means a blog! But here's the thing -- blogging isn't "publications" and that's what we all need more of, right? Fat Goblin Games has a lot of BIG projects on the various burners in our kitchen, but all of them need to be finished up, scrubbed up, and put on plates in pretty presentation to be served to you fine folk.
As for me, and why I'm a week behind -- I recall a mantra drilled into my head during graduate studies at Michigan Tech -- "Research is not writing." And that's certainly been part of my problem. The current project is... research intensive, for good reason(s). But I need to stop letting myself get lost with 50 tabs open to answer a question like "how do you even pronounce that word?"
Then again, I also am having to chime in that fact to various writers... yes, we want you to feel confident you got the best rules language, you are making it as simulationist as possible, or that's a fascinating fact about the "true origins of the XYZ in D&D" but what we need is words on the page!
And with that, I'm back to it!