While you’re all temporarily paying attention to me please go and support the Kickstarter for Red Phone Box, a story cycle to which I’m a contributor and also includes Warren Ellis.
Chronicle City Expands
Chronicle City is expanding its operations with the hiring-on of James ‘Grim’ Desborough as the Creative Director of the company alongside its founder, Angus Abranson.
James will have particular focus on developing new intellectual properties for the company, overseeing product line development and moving forward with licensed properties as the company matures and develops.
“I am excited – and nervous – to be working for Chronicle City. I have known Angus a great many years and have worked for and with him in various guises in the past. I believe Chronicle City has the potential to become a driving force in modern role-playing and I relish the opportunity to work in other arenas such as card and board game development. I particularly hope to bring some innovation and attention to licensed properties and hope that I can bring some of my particular style and thought to everything that we do.” – James said.
James is an Origins Award winning writer and has worked for Wizards of the Coast, Steve Jackson Games, Cubicle 7 Entertainment and many others. He has been freelancing since the 1990s and has worked full-time with his own indie company, Postmortem Studios, since 2004.
“Chronicle City has a lot of plans this year, both with the expansion of our third party publishing programme as well as with licensing and in-house design of our own settings and game lines. Appointing James as Creative Director will give our own properties, and the licenses we’re working, on a dedicated overseer who can work day-to-day with our design teams and developers. James is the first fulltime appointment to the company and we have a few more team members to be announced in the coming weeks. 2013 is going to be a very interesting year for the company and I’m glad James has been able to join us for the journeys ahead.” – added Angus.
Chronicle City is a new British based games publisher set up by multi-award winning publisher Angus Abranson (ex-Cubicle 7; Leisure Games). Chronicle City are working with a number of companies and designers to publish their games, as well as designing their own role-playing, card and board games.
You can find out more information about Chronicle City, and their games, at:
If you want to contact James (Grim) directly with questions please contact via twitter – @grimachu – or via email to grim AT postmort DOT demon DOT co DOT uk
I’ve been itching to make this announcement for some time but legal and financial details take ages to sort out. This has also been part of the reason I’ve been less manically and publicly busy for some time – despite working away on Machinations of the Space Princess.
Postmortem Studios will continue, albeit much slower and much more self-indulgent in terms of pace and content. Machinations will be finished and I’ll be taking other outstanding projects with me to Chronicle City where they can get a much greater amount of exposure and a wider audience.
January next year would be Postmortem Studios’ 10th anniversary but running your own company, however small, is exhausting. Especially when it’s just you. I have become increasingly frustrated by the level of quality and the amount of output I’ve been capable of doing as a one-man show and yes, my depression has been a factor in this. Working with others – while being higher stakes – should be much better for my mental health and take a great deal of pressure off me.
Working with Chronicle City will give me an opportunity to reach a wider audience, to develop new, exciting and quality RPGs and other games to the hobby, to travel and to pay back a hobby and a number of fellow freelancers and co-workers who have been very good to me since I first cracked open a Fighting Fantasy book in the 1980s. Special thanks are also due to my wife and my anonymous patron, both of whom have been unflinching in their support of me.
I also hope to be able to devote a little more time to my fiction writing, perhaps tying in with some of our products.
I’ve always been an idea person and I hope that as Creative Director I’ll be able to bring that capability – interesting, deep and innovative ideas – to everything that we do.
Machinations of the Space Princess Supporters
Work for Chronicle City is going to take up an increasing amount of my time which ma delay completion on the project. I was going to be aiming for May at latest before but this shift in roles and responsibilities may delay that by up to another three months. I hope you’ll be understanding, happy for me and will consider that – on the plus side – it gives Satine more time to work on the art.
I have been very busy, beavering away on my novel, which is almost complete and should be finished by the end of next week. This has taken time away from games writing quite a bit and as I’ve been busy two weekends in a row and have had a bit of a bout of depression things haven’t been proceeding entirely according to plan. Please bear with me!
I’ll be posting some more ImagiNation previews, everything is now done save for a few pieces of art so, fingers crossed, ImagiNation should be out by the end of the month. This will be released FREE on PDF and AT COST via Print on Demand. I’d like to get as much press as possible for this game – since it deals with depression and is intended as an aid/boost to fellow sufferers as well as a game. If you’d like to help me out with that, please get in touch.
I’ve received proofs of all the board/card games I have made – apart from Lady Bexington’s Home for Wayward Zombies on The Game Crafter (links in the side) and I have to say I am very, very pleased with the quality and results. I can’t recommend purchasing outside the US unless you’re willing to spend over the odds but if you are a US customer and want a shiny, awesome copy of Steamed, Final Straw or Cthentacle then go buy! If there’s enough interest there I’ll work on more board and card games.
When the novel is finished, because ImagiNation has been slightly delayed, I will put together the generic version of The Description System (that powers both Neverwhere and ImagiNation) and get that out ASAP.
The last bit of news is that myself and Satine Phoenix will be going ahead with Machinations of the Space Princess but as a FULL game, derived from the Lamentations rules set and aimed at providing fast, furious, simple, Sci-Fantasy adventuring weirdness in a Metal Hurlant style. Sexy, Sleazy, Swords & Sci-Fi. You can get some ideas on where my thinking for the game is going by looking at the Maksa-Jazra blog posts here (though those are more fantasy than SF). This will be an IndieGoGo fundraiser aiming for $1,000 to go to Satine for art. We’re still working out the details but look for a proper announcement sometime next week. Excess money will go to stretch goals, more art and some money going to me for the time it will take to write. It’ll be a ‘whatever amount is raised’ fundraiser.
After that, it’ll be on to a second novel and I hope you’ll all be as supportive of that endeavour as you have been of my games writing!
I have, now, effectively cleared my desk of RPG work, something I was hoping to do two months ago but between health and internet drama issues that didn’t happen.
There’s been one casualty, the Gilder project, though I would like to get back to that at some point.
I’m winding down my role-playing output to concentrate, for a while, on my writing instead. I want to get an actual novel (or two) done and out there and to see if I can build a successful writing career in the same manner I’ve built a reasonably successful RPG publishing venture. I hope I can take a few of you over with me.
What does this mean for Postmortem Studios?
Not a huge amount in the immediate future, there’s a bunch of projects winding down but they’re things I’ve farmed out to other people or things that have been on the cards for a while.
In the pipeline for future release are:
- Cthentacle: Spankham Asylum
- Agents of SWING: Section Books
Other than that I have no concrete RPG plans or freelancing and my involvement in the above will be (limited to) layout, editing and art direction.
This has been the plan for a while now, since January in fact, but I’d be lying if I said recent events hadn’t also taken their toll on my enthusiasm and my desire to provide material for an apparently ungrateful and hyper-critical audience. I also acknowledge a real need for me to work at a more relaxed and less pressurised pace on things that enthuse me in that moment. I’m also awaiting some results on a mass of blood tests that may try and tackle my exhaustion issues that are ongoing, even if my depression is considerably better.
I’ll be taking the next couple of weeks semi-off, other than working on a Legacy of Frankenstein short story and finishing off primary writing on my pulp story collection. I need a rest, I’ll be getting my blood test results and I’ll be taking the first part of my driving test soon, which I need to bone up on.
Don’t worry, I’m not giving up on gaming. It’s in my blood, it’s what I love and I’ll continue to pump blogs and short mini projects out as well as still attending at least two conventions a year. Maybe I’ll even use some of this reduced hecticity to run more games over Google Hangouts. Who knows?
If you want to follow and support my writing career, the blog for that is Tales of Grim.
While I have your attention:
- I’m always looking for fans and volunteers to run my games at cons around the world since I can’t get to many. If you want the opportunity to do that, let me know.
- I’m happy to sell stock of my books direct to gaming stores. If this might interest your store let me know.
- I’m trying to get more comfortable with ‘putting myself out there’ more. So if you’d like me to appear on a podcast, hangout, internet radio show, guest blog or whatever, please do get in touch. I have opinions on most things and will try to be interesting/funny/controversial (delete where applicable).
- If you have any questions or requests about any of our games please leave them in the comments and I’ll get to them as soon as I can.
Thanks all for your recent support and appreciation, wish me luck as I shift gears!
So the boys at Nightfall made a pretty big announcement:
Romark Entertainment has acquired the film and television rights to the critically acclaimed Role-Playing Game, “SLA Industries,” from publisher Nightfall Games. As part of the acquisition, Romark and “SLA” creators Dave Allsop and Jared Earle are also announcing a partnership that will see the two sides come together under one banner to focus exclusively on the expansion of the 20-year running series into the comic book, video game and art worlds.
This is actually a huge thing. Not that many games or game worlds end up optioned like this. D&D, Heavy Gear, Shadowrun…. that’s about it really. Lately video games become TTRPGs more than the other way around.
SLA is a wonderful game and world, a great ‘place’ to write about and for. Having been involved working on the Hunter Sheets, Cannibal Sector One and other aspects of the game in the past I’m very excited to see what occurs out of this.
Personally I’d love to see a procedurally generated, mission-oriented tactical CRPG come out of it. What do I know though eh?
Guys, if you need a writer, let me know!
It’s been a tough couple of weeks in my personal life as those who follow me more closely will know. I’m not going to be able to do a great deal of work for some time while I recover, but there’s at least one thing I wanted to talk to you about.
If you’re not already aware from other sources Paypal has decided (perhaps under pressure from credit card companies) to use its financial pressure to censor the publication of certain erotica.
This has not yet impacted on games and comics material, but it can only be a matter of time before it does. As a producer of games that include adult material and themes I am at risk of being censored.
This is already having an impact on many small press authors of erotic material and while you may not have a taste for such material it is setting a dangerous and disturbing precedent where you potentially can’t spend your own money on what you want.
This is now directly affecting me. One project I wanted to do this year (health permitting) was a Science Fiction/BDSM game which would touch on a lot of transhuman themes and the boundaries of human sexuality enhanced/perverted/changed by technology.
In this current environment, with margins being what they are and with the risk looming of being unable to sell this material I don’t think I can take the risk at this time.
- You don’t get your game.
- I don’t get to make an experimental game.
- The artist I was going to employ doesn’t get her money.
Needless to say, this all fucking sucks.
I’m looking into other ways to go about it, such as crowdsourcing funding and releasing it for free, but to do it justice and be worth the effort I’d need to get something like £2,000. So we’ll see if that’s remotely possible.
Meanwhile, the art in this post is taken from Satine Phoenix’s portfolio, give her some work, admire the pretties and here’s hoping this problem goes away in the near future and freedom of expression wins out.
Please support Satine and please think about getting involved in the fight against financial censorship.
- Irrepressible! (Just waiting on art from Claudia) – This should take 2-3 days once the art is in.
- ImagiNation (I need to collate, edit and put together my notes) – This should take 2-3 days.
- Blood!: Windycon (Adventure for Blood! needs an edit and layout) – This should take 1-2 days.
- Blood!: Clearing (Adventure for Blood! needs an edit and layout) – This should take 1-2 days.
- Untouchable: (Agents of SWING adventure – needs an edit and layout, and probably a couple of small pieces of art) – This should take 1-2 days once art is in.
- Steampunk Mech-Fight Boardgame (Waiting on art) – This should take 1-2 days once art is in.
Camelot Cosmos is just waiting on art now, then all it should need is layout. Raven’s on that and her preview stuff looks pretty good.
PROJECT & Gilder will be the big projects once all this other stuff is out of the way!
After that I’m taking some time out to finish my short fiction and to work on a novel.
I’m going to take tomorrow off though I think. I’ve made pretty good progress on clearing the decks and today’s been a lot of paperwork.
Alex is thirteen years old and very much a tomboy, so much so that she often gets mistaken for a boy and that’s something that makes her enormously happy. Fierce, fiery, almost perpetually scowling Alex is – nonetheless – a loyal friend and very protective of those she cares about, especially her dog, Jimmy. Alex is very athletic and physical and cares not a jot for academics despite the scientific bent of her father.
Concept: Fierce tomboy.
“No, I’m a BOY.”
“You leave my dog alone, you prig!”
Stubborn as two mules in an argument with each other.
+1 Cool: Alertness, Athletics, Endurance, Fists, Intimidation, Investigation, Might, Resolve, Stealth, Survival.
Boys will be Boys – You can spend a FATE point to unquestionably get away with convincing someone that something you were up to was simple, boyish hijinx.
Secret Club (Prying Pentad) – The characters with this Stunt share a special, communal pool of FATE points that any of them can tap into. Whenever a character from the team gains a FATE point they can, instead, choose to donate it to the group fund.
Physical Stress: OOOOOO
Composure Stress: OOOOOO
Social Stress: OOOOO
Prying Pentad FATE: OOOOO
I’ve been taking December off in order to reassess where I stand on work, depression, how I go about working, promotion and so in. Introspection often isn’t a good thing if you suffer from depression as you will tend to ruminate and be extremely self-critical which really isn’t any good for you. At all.
Still, I’ve come to a few conclusions about what needs to be done to make some changes and how I plan to attack these changes come the new year.
Plucking a stereotypical definition of your average working stiff out of thin air, at least in the UK, he’s going to be working 9-5, five days a week, 52 weeks of the year with something like 20 days off as holiday per year, not counting bank holidays and so on. That amounts to a working schedule of 240 normal work days per year, minus some, but let’s go with 240.
If I wanted a modest income of, let’s say, £12,000 at the best rate I can expect for my work ($0.06/£0.04 a word, sometimes more, usually less, self-publishing is harder to track) that would entail writing a minimum of 1,250 words per day, of sale quality.
Here’s how my days currently run, when I’m fit and able:
- 7:40am – Get up, check e-mail, reply to work mails where possible. Mess about on social media games/work related topics mixed.
- 8.00am – Start work properly.
- 12.00pm – Lunch
- 12.20pm – Back to work.
- 1.00pm-2.00pm – Sometimes a nap, otherwise working. The nap is something that came in with the depression which often manifests as exhaustion.
- 7.00pm – Finish day’s work. Cook evening meal.
- 8.00pm – Blogging/Reading, semi-work related.
- 11.00pm-12.00am – Bedtime.
Thing is, I’m often not fit and able. I’m not sure when I became such a workaholic, it doesn’t sound like me. Somehow though, I did. Other writers/creators tell me they’ve never worked as hard as I do and that I even put them to shame. I am, quite literally, killing myself by exhausting myself this way though. Things seriously need to change and I need to learn to relax again, to regain focus and to put it onto one main project at a time so that shit gets done.
To that end I’ll be making the following changes next year:
- Assisting/fronting for more creators under my ‘brand’ as Ian and Uri, and others, have. This is less work for me, keeps a good product flow and lets me help people out and even mentor new creators.
- Working on more fiction. I enjoy writing. I want to spread my wings this way some more. You can see some of the stuff I’ve written over on talesofgrim.wordpress.com
- Setting my workday target to a ‘mere’ 1,250 words. I know I’ll go over that (I’ve been known to crank out 10,000 a day) but as a target that’s achievable even when I feel bad and a mark of progress day to day. Achievable goals are important.
- Concentrating on one project at a time and once I hit my goal spending my time on projects that my brain WANTS to work on. (I will finish all my outstanding projects before this new regime starts).
- Picking up my exercise regimen.
- Learning to relax and ‘consume’ media as well as produce it again.
- Less freelancing. People can come to me, I shouldn’t need to pursue them for work any more. I’m known now. Hopefully somewhat respected and valued as well but I’ll settle for known.
- I tend to undervalue my work. A common comment at cons is that people expect my material to cost more. I need to value what I do more and bring myself a little more in line, price-wise, with other indie producers.
I’m telling you guys this because it means that things will likely slow down, but quality should go up. Also because I need the support and understanding of my customers, friends and fellow professionals to make this change. I hope you will indulge and assist me as Postmortem Studios moves forward.
Quiet around ‘ere, innit?
Couple of reasons for that:
I’ve taken the month off, in order to catch up on my stack of computer games and just to do the ‘take time off’ thing, which I never normally do.
I’m reassessing a bunch of things about how I work and what I do, trying to find a healthier way to proceed that’s easier to fit around my depression and doesn’t put so much stress upon me.
In practical terms what that’s going to mean is that I will be:
- Finishing outstanding projects as swiftly as possible starting next year.
- Taking another short break.
- Upping the prices of new projects as they come online. The increased cost of living and various other factors make this a regrettable necessity and I’ve always ‘undervalued’ my products compared to other Indie authors. Part of this is about valuing my own work more to help fix my brain.
- Writing fiction.
Products are likely to turn out slower because of these changes but, hopefully, the quality of them will be better, in part because I’ll be working more on what I want when I want.
I hope my fans, friends and audience will continue to be supportive and tolerant as things move forward. Don’t forget that I crave feedback and interaction and the more you talk to me the better I can gauge what people might want.