#RPG – A Thank You to my Fans


The recent nonsense directed at White Wolf/Onyx Path and the new edition of Vampire has made me step back a little and think about the situation this hobby, and I, find myself in. It’s my hope that the sheer ludicrousness of what’s been done to them, and especially the absurd accusations levelled at Mark Rein•Hagen, will wake a few people up. He’s a sweet, nice guy who – while a little naive – is the very opposite of what they accuse him of being.

I look back at everything that’s happened to me since 2010, but especially since 2012, even more so during Gamergate, and it seems incredible; beyond parody. There’s been a slow slide into insanity and while I noticed it creeping into my political and artistic home on the left first, the insanity is now on all sides.

Finding any kind of peace or comfort, creating anything in this kind of atmosphere, is difficult. It’s difficult, even without the other struggles and issues I’ve faced in that time and, thankfully, overcome.

Now I find myself at a bit of a loose end, not quite sure what I want to do with myself creatively – and how or why to go about doing it. Completing the Gor project was exhausting, not just in terms of the work and the (anticipated) negativity, but because I was acutely aware of how late it was every single day, and did everything I could to get it out sooner.

Now I’m aware that I have a rod I have made for my own back, the necessity of supporting a successful game, acclaimed by fans of the series, but knowing it’ll never get any recognition outside of that, not that I particularly seek it. Finding the energy to start or complete another project is also tough, and my hard drive is littered with drafts of short stories, another novel and a half dozen abortive game projects.

On the one hand, it’s heartening, in a way, to see that nobody is safe from these spurious accusations. On the other, it’s depressing to exist in such a stifling, judgemental, censorious and puritanical atmosphere, let alone to create anything in it. I find myself self-censoring (believe it or not) and hating myself for it. After all, if anything you do is going to be considered problematic (or degenerate) then what is the point of holding back? Yet still that pressure is there, and I hate it.

I value, more than I adequately have words to express, the people who have stuck with me throughout this journey. Professional and personal friends, customers, players, artists, writers. Your support and appreciation mean the world to me, and I’m sure it has been a crazy ride this past half-decade for you too.

I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know – for the first time in a long time – what I actually want to do next. I don’t know where to go next, whether we’ll ever get back to just having fun, sharing stories and creating worlds in our imaginations. I do know that wherever I end up going, whatever I end up doing, there are good people out there still, who appreciate the principle, honesty and integrity I try to bring to my work. Even, even especially, when it costs me.

Love to you all.



1666 and All That

DEFOE FIGURE BG1666 was a rough year for England. There was plague, the Great Fire of London, Charles the Second was re-establishing monarchy and zombies were rising from the grave to feast on the flesh of the living.

I may have made that last one up.

‘Annus Mirabilis’ means ‘Year of Miracles’ and it is the poet Dryden who applied that to 1666 with the deft illogic of the theist ‘God spared us even worse’ and what we would now recognise as typical, British resignation to our lot ‘Mustn’t grumble’.

2012 has been a bit of an Annus Mirabilis for me, in the sarcastic sense. Sure, I’ve got a lot done, covered some new ground, gotten some fiction out (finally!) but it’s also been a shitter of a year as well.

Fuckbrain: My depression was overwhelming for large portions of the year and so it amazes me that I was even half as productive as I have been. I looked death in the face a couple of times this year and stepped back from it. I’m in a much happier and healthier place than I was but this thing still dogs me. I hope me being ‘out’ about it has helped a few people.

DRAAAAAAAMA: This year – and some of last year – has been a time of great drama. I’m not an awful guy, I just like some transgressive things and I tend to try and think and look at things objectively rather than getting my knickers in a twist. Needless to say, when you’re offering an opinion on something controversial this is a recipe for disaster and for being accused of attention seeking. Boy did I ever get a beasting this year from people who self-proclaim to know better.

Consequences of Drama: As a result of people being terrible human beings I’ve had to cut off contact with a lot of acquaintances who couldn’t get past outrage and into substance. It’s just been too wearing. I hated having to do it, I hate cutting off dissent, but if it’s not productive or coherent its no use to me. As a result of being an internet pinata though I’ve made a lot of new friends and the activist side of me, dormant since the 90s, has woken up. I’ve gotten far more involved in anti-censorship issues, sexual freedom issues, mental health and disability issues and other things all because other ‘moral crusaders’ whom I thought of as peers (writers makers, gamers)  have turned out to be dicks. I guess I should thank them really.

Wonderful People: On the plus side, I’ve worked – or begun to work – with some wonderful people over the course of this year. I’ve finally started to feel like what I do contributes or matters or reaches people, and that’s good. I want to single out and embarrass a few people in particular. Family goes without saying and there’s others who need no special mention and know they’re special. I want to give a few particular call outs though..

  • The Missus: Has always stuck by me an believed in what I do even when nobody else has. May this faith finally pay off for her this year!
  • Barbara: The first person to really and truly believe in me as much as my wife. Her moral support has been literally life saving this year.
  • The Crazy GM: He’s had as tough a time as me, probably more so this year. In him, though, I’ve seen how I can have a positive effect on the lives of others. The first to really make me realise that – or to accept it.
  • Rowena: A fabulous artist and someone else who’s had a tough time lately as well. When professional relationships become strong friendships you know you’re doing something right.
  • Brad McDevitt: Brad bought into me and Postmortem Studios right from the very beginning and I owe him a great deal in terms of having the confidence to move forward. His art has inspired and illustrated many projects and its been great to see him back on top.
  • Tim & Salome: You pushed me to take the jump and get into my writing – outside games. You supported my efforts to get ImagiNation out and gave me the oomph to write my first full length novel. I owe you both so much and I wish we’d been closer friends sooner. A good editor you can work with and someone you respect who likes what you do… these things are priceless.
  • Satine: I’ve wanted to work with Satine since I saw her art and I’ve finally gotten to do so thanks to our mutual fans who backed Machinations of the Space Princess. Satine is one of the loveliest people I’ve had the good fortune to work with and she has an infectious enthusiasm that cuts through my weariness like a razor. I think each of us has gotten a little shit over working with the other (see Draaaama) but that’s all the more reason to do it.
  • Nightfall: Dave, Jared, everyone have been great about the bits and pieces I’ve done for SLA. I came up playing it and respecting their work massively so to end up working on it, to be in synch – creatively – with the originators of it and to have your own ideas taken up and writ larger… wonderful.
  • The Indiecon Family: Indiecon is my ‘home’ convention and now I’m known there… to see people actively searching for the games you’re running and bounding with enthusiasm to your stall is great. Dragonmeet is also fantastic, but Indiecon is home.
  • Ms Scary Boots: Here’s to new friends who ‘get’ you, without needing to be faxed a three-ring binder of instructions.

There’s big changes coming for me and Postmortem in the New Year. I hoped to be able to tell you sooner than the new year but things have conspired against that (Christmas… damn you!) All in good time you’ll be informed though and while it will disrupt things a bit for Postmortem, I hope you’ll all be as excited a I am.

No, it’s not a baby, yet.

Going into the new year, I have a few aims which I’m making public so I can be shamed into fulfilling them properly.

  • Write more fiction.
  • Start drawing again.
  • Get back on the exercise kick.
  • Illegitimi non carborundum.
  • Futuaris nisi irrisus ridebis.
  • Take more risks.
  • Do more things for me.
  • Accept – and seek – praise and positive reinforcement rather than ignoring and brushing it off.

I made more money this year than last, despite the ongoing economic problems. I also spent more, investing in more art. Doing charitable projects. Contributing to start-ups and helping out friends in need. Money well spent. As well as assorted freelancing gigs I can never keep track of I released:

  1. Several short stories.
  2. Lots of Clip Art.
  3. Agents of SWING: Minifigs.
  4. Agents of SWING: Gosh, Spies!
  5. Urban Faerie: Pocket Edition
  6. 6-Pack Adventures: THULU!
  7. Traveller: Alienist
  8. Lady Bexington’s Home for Wayward Zombies
  9. Blood Tales: Windycon
  10. Agents of SWING: Untouchable
  11. Blood Tales: Clearing
  12. Camelot Cosmos & several supplements
  13. Colony: Moon
  14. Irrepressible
  15. Steamed
  16. Filthy Shades Cliché
  17. Several ‘Fistful of Fantasy’
  18. Call of Cthentacle: Spankham Asylum
  19. The Big Bad Cthentacle Art Book
  20. ImagiNation
  21. The Description System

Not bad all things considered, eh?

Please continue to support and help me as we go into 2013. Your feedback and appreciation is very much wanted, even needed. Tell me about your character, tell me about your games. Tell me the things you like, the things you want more of, the things you think are missing.

Here’s to a great new year for us all and not another 1666!

ImagiNation Thank Yous