Courtesans Soapbox


Courtesans is Ian’s latest history farce game, a partner game to Tough Justice but this time about the wheeling, dealing, ducking and diving of the ladies of the demi monde. Ian took what I said to heart about my offer to let people who wanted to say their part through games and that I’d be willing to publish them. Don’t think that I’m saying ‘Ian does not speak for the company’ because the company is, if anything, about free expression and ideas.

However, given that people lately seem determined to misinterpret everything and hurl blame around, it’s probably worth me mentioning that I don’t share a lot of Ian’s views on marriage, politics and certainly not religion.  Despite this we manage to work together just fine, as I work with a lot of people with different points of view that conflict with mine.

That said ‘Dude, whatever so long as nobody gets hurt’ is pretty much my motto and I believe in legalisation for most vices as a way of making them safer, in this case largely for the sex workers themselves.

Courtesans examines an interesting period of history and some interesting people. Where Ian’s restricted it to female characters I think you could just as easily include a few ‘male companions’ particularly in the Victorian era. It’s risky for them, but it’s eminently doable. A male Landlady is also more than possible, just takes a little imagination to bend the rules and the game as written to make it all fit properly. Of course, the sodomy laws of the time make same-sex relationships risky, especially for men.

I think Ian’s hit on a good formula going here for games to be played over forums or e-mail, which is a formula I’ve been trying to crack for a while. The structured play – and the theme – would seem to lend themselves to this form of remote play and from what I’ve seen in the playtesting, that does – indeed – seem to be the case.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the game and you can buy it HERE

Freelancing is fuckin’ awesome

There’s a lot of people out there who, jokingly or otherwise, will give you a lot of negative feedback about writing, freelancing and everything else. Despite appearances they’re not just trying to stop you entering the already crowded marketplace to keep all the money for themselves, they’re genuinely telling you that it’s hard work and that it ain’t easy. That’s true of anything worth doing.

Still, there’s enough negative crap out there, so for a bit of a change I’m going to go over what’s good about it all and why you should – rather than shouldn’t.

1. Freelancing is Awesome
You get to work with all sorts of interesting people on all sorts of interesting projects. You get to make contacts, you get some respect, your name gets out there and you get to practice writing in different ways for different people. It broadens your mind, spreads your writing wings AND gets you money. You can also fit it in around other things that you do, like ‘proper’ work or other RPG writing. The best thing is some other bugger gets to handle all the editing, layout and art direction and you don’t have to give a tinker’s cuss about it! SCORE!

2. It’s not that Hard
Any bugger can write, the advantage is mostly in the fact that you do and most people don’t. Even texting you can get a message across, even if it’s just ‘C u l8r’. Writing well takes some time and practice and you can only get that by writing. Writing for other people is good for that because you get some direction. It’s almost like being back at school and being assigned an essay. It may not be your cup of tea but you get motivation and help when you need it – quite often – and best of all, you get paid which is something that doesn’t happen at school. SCORE!

3. It’s Satisfying
Freelancing is pretty satisfying, about as satisfying as a third orgasm you weren’t sure you could get to, followed by half a cake. Freelancing you’re combining the best aspects of working for yourself and of being employed. You are your own boss about 75% of the time – after all you don’t HAVE to take jobs – and at the same time the other guy is taking the risk over the outlay, the marketing and everything else so you can just write and that’s it. Most of the payoff, much less of the work. SCORE!

4. It’s Great Training
Want to set up in business for yourself? Freelancing is a great way of easing into it, seeing if you can do the work and learning how various companies go about it. It’s not like you can really get formal training in game design and setting up in business for yourself right from the get go is a risky thing to do. Sure, you MIGHT make more setting up your own company but that’s a pretty big might, which is why it’s all in caps. This way you can pilfer everyone’s ideas and hone your mighty literary skills until you have a +5 Laptop of Vorpal Cutting Remarks. SCORE!

5. Chicks* Dig Writers
Writing credit? That’s like a tractor beam for literate poon and as well all know, literate poon is the best kind of poon because they say something like “Mount me my glorious man-stallion!” rather than lame, uninspiring crap like “Oh yeah, like that.”. SCORE!

*Or men, or both, or consenting goats, whatever floats your particular boat.

OK, slightly more seriously, if it’s something you feel that you want to do, you should go for it and if you can’t find someone else to publish what you write, do it yourself. If I can do it, any bugger can!