News / Steampunk Musha

Fat Goblin Games Seeking an Experienced Line Developer for Shadows over Vathak

Fat Goblin Games Seeking an Experienced Line Developer for Shadows over Vathak

**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.**

Hello All,

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 fatgoblingames@gmail.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.

Lucus Palosaari on RPGNow.com, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ & LinkedIn -- and now on Amazon!

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Changes to Blogging for Fat Goblin Games in 2017

Changes to Blogging for Fat Goblin Games in 2017

Hello All,

Lucus here, doing his first official blog for The Fattest of Goblins in 2017! Welcome, you've survived another year, well done.

Last year, despite a total loss of our previous website and all its blog content (see all about it here from last April) we still produced over 100+ blog posts about a range of topics from the latest News to regular updates on Steampunk Musha to other lines of books to even just some of my personal musing on the RPG Industry (see especially the to-be-completed discussion of roles in the RPG industry here!). It wasn't just myself blogging twice weekly either this past year, as J Gray for instance managed his Falkenstein Fridays for the rebirth of Castle Falkenstein here at Fat Goblin Games.

The problem is, all those blogs take time. A LOT of time really. And time spent blogging about Steampunk Musha, for instance wasn't being spent writing for SpM. This lead to a problem, that I was spending 20+% or so of my week just blogging about stuff, and while blogs can be important, and even lead to sales by featuring products and previews, it might be better if I can dedicate more of that time actually creating, editing, and otherwise producing new content.

Likewise, merely bringing on more bloggers isn't the only answer, as time J Gray spends blogging about Castle Falkenstein cuts into his precious time writing adventures in New Europa, or having Rodney Sloan take over blogging duties for Steampunk Musha just means spending a bit of his time that he could have been working on the world of Rosuto-Shima, out here talking about working on it!

So, a New Years Resolution of sorts for Fat Goblin Games. The blogs aren't going away, but we're going to be shifting their focus and how often we blog. I'll still be doing my once-weekly blog on Thursdays, about a wide range of topics. But now "preview blogs" will be more commonly handled as previews via our various Facebook pages:

Join our online communities on Facebook!

Fat Goblin Games -- Our Main Company Page

Shadows over Vathak -- Our Horror-themed Setting for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game

Steampunk Musha -- Our East Asian/Steampunk Mashup Setting for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game

Castle Falkenstein -- Our group for fans of Castle Falkenstein, new and old.

vs. M Engine -- Our group for vs. M Engine, which supports vs. Ghosts, vs. Stranger Stuff, vs. Moon Men, and others.

And we're likely to add to this list in the coming months as we announce and release new product lines in support of other topics and systems.

Additionally, Rodney Sloan and others (more on that later) will be blogging about their respective worlds and settings twice a month here on FatGoblinGame.com, but doing at-least-once-a-week posts (often more, especially as product releases) via their respective Facebook pages.

J Gray has really shown me, at least, how a vibrant and active community can be helpful to the design process AND be much easier for all to engage and be engaging using Facebook as our social media platform for this. If you have even a passing interest in Castle Falkenstein, Victoriana, or steampunk in general I highly recommend you follow that link above to join the group. J's likely to continue his weekly Falkenstein Friday blogs for the foreseeable future, and he posts previews and design questions often on the CF Fb page for gamer feedback, so join him wont you!

To give you an idea of those preview blogs, check out the newest one for Call to Arms: Horses & Mules by Jennifer R. Povey.

So, expect to see leaner, meaner, greener(?) blogs from the Fat Goblin Hoarde and myself in 2017, and join us on Facebook to discuss all things FGG!

Lucus Palosaari on RPGNow.com, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ & LinkedIn -- and now on Amazon!

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Lucus Palosaari RPG.net Q&A LIVE Tonight (7 pm - 9 pm CST)

Lucus Palosaari RPG.net Q&A LIVE Tonight (7 pm - 9 pm CST)

Hello All,

Tonight, Thursday July 28th, 2016, at 7 pm Central time till roughly 9 pm Central, I've been invited to participate in an RPG.net Q&A session -- which you can link any time to the chatroom here: http://tinyurl.com/rpgnetchat or if you're finding this out after the fact, read the collected chat here on The Hardboiled GMShow's Office.

What follows is a "brief" introduction to me that I'll pull from for that chatroom....

YOU MISSED THE CHAT? Don't Fret -- read the transcript here: https://gmshoe.wordpress.com/2016/07/28/qa-lucus-palosaari-vs-ghosts/

Lucus Palosaari -- Tabletop RPG Writer, Editor, Developer, and Designer

"My name is Lucus Palosaari, and I'm a game designer" sounds like the kind of thing you'd start off by saying at a meeting with the word "Anonymous" in its name, but here it's just a statement of what and who I really am.

I should likely follow this up with all the normal qualifiers I need to blurt out when I am introducing myself to someone -- I specifically am a freelance writer of tabletop RPGs <insert a comment about "Do you know what D&D is? Like that, but not that one">, that is fortunate enough to work as an Editor and Project Manager for Fat Goblin Games

My first published piece was "Weapons of Renown," an article in the now defunct Open Gaming Monthly #5 magazine from d20pfsrd.com Publishing. "Weapons of Renown" was a brief article, ~2,200 words or so, written in support of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and it was all about weapons having mundane bonuses for being well known, on a five-tiered system from "Named Weapon" to "Deeded Weapon" to "Renowned Weapon" to "Legendary Weapons" to "Weapon of Lore." and granting them gave various benefits.That was released August 8th, 2013, just about 3 years ago.

My first real publication was Call to Arms: Axes & Picks with Fat Goblin Games and was my rebooting of the Call to Arms line in support of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game by Paizo Publishing. CtA: Axes & Picks had an awesome review, that highlighted its flaws but also happily came after Endzeitgeist got to "know my work" and so its humbling to go back and read it and have him even note my growth since then.

That standalone book was released October 6th, 2013, but I had started writing it back when I had turned in my draft to OGM in the summer of '13. Like so many in writers, I had really been "writing" RPG stuff for quite awhile with hopes and plans to self-publish a book with a friend called The Artisan's Workshop. The books not likely to come out, but I spent nights and weekends and downtime etc working on that book and learning about the "biz" and its made me a much better freelancer today in this industry as it exists.

Since that time, I've worked my charms on the Fattest Goblin Himself, Rick Hershey, and found myself as one of the main editors of Fat Goblin Games (with The Janitor as my counter-part, Troy Daniels), and I've had a chance to work on many different projects as lead or writer, such as:

You can see a "proper" preview of vs. Ghosts here.

Now, trying to promote vs. Ghosts was the impetuous to getting the chance for the Q&A, but I am able and willing to discuss any of my projects for Fat Goblin Games or otherwise. I also like to get all deep and philosophical about things related to the tabletop RPG industry in general. I've also had the chance to work with Flaming Crab Games on a few projects in their Letters of the Flaming Crab line and I can talk about that a bit too. 

Lucus Palosaari on RPGNow.com, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ & LinkedIn

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