2018 Retrospective

Hi everyone!

We’ll be taking the rest of the year off making posts (although I’ll still be doing game development, of course). However, I wanted to indulge in our usual end of year tradition: the restrospective of this year.

So, what have we actually produced this year?

  • Era: Balam – Fate and Savage Worlds versions
  • Era: The Consortium Wave 2 Expansions (Free Trader, Predictive Genetic Algorithm, New Worlds and Home Base, Expansions Volume 2)
  • Era: The Empowered Core Rulebook and Player’s Guide
  • Tales of the Empowered
  • Evil Overlord
  • Infiltration: The Bug War #2 (Part 1)
  • Blue-Shift: Frenemies
  • Violete: Unstoppable
  • Infiltration: The Bug War #2 (Part 2 / Combined Version)
  • Lobo: Dauntless
  • Kazuki and the Deathseekers
  • Era: The Consortium – Stiletto Unit 447CE real play Videocast / Podcast

This is a pretty impressive list, all told: 9 RPG books, 1 card game and 4 comics.

We’ve been working extremely hard for the whole year in an attempt to continue to not only produce material at the same rate but to improve the quality of what we are offering.

This is particularly visible on the comics front, as we’ve seen reviewers and critics increase their praise with each comic as it arrives – from Lacuna, to Blue-Shift to Violete, we have seen nothing but more support and excitement for our next comic!

Era: Balam had already been released in Era d10 format, but the stellar work on the Savage Worlds and, particularly, the Fate version has made it more accessible to existing RPG players than any other games we’ve made. I’d like to make a personal note here that working with Nick Bate on the Fate version has been one of the highlights of my year!

Era: The Consortium has continued to be a solid offering and we’re beginning to notice a lot more people who have heard of the game at conventions. The new expansions have been met with delight from existing and new fans alike, with Predictive Genetic Algorithm and its offer of building any alien race you choose our most popular expansion of 2018.

Era: The Empowered finally having the complete Core Rulebook has also been welcomed with open arms – there are fans out there who have been waiting for as much as two and a half years for this book to arrive! The stunning artwork by Keith Draws only helps to draw new people into both our games and the hobby in general, something which we are very proud of.

The transition from “Rulebook Primer” to “Player’s Guide” has also been welcomed among fans, with the full character creation and equipment, along with an expanded briefing on the world roughly doubling the number of pages in the book.

Tales of the Empowered was a fascinating experiment, brought on by the “Make100” creative prompt from Kickstarter. Giving people the opportunity to create their own heroes gave us both the chance to incorporate other peoples’ creativity into the Era: The Empowered universe but also to figure out a way of fitting some of the wackier ideas into a relatively serious superhero universe (I’m looking at you, Power Panda!). It was an interesting challenge and I think the “Tales of the Empowered” book which resulted from it is one of the most interesting and fresh story books we have ever written.

Evil Overlord has proven a massive hit with more copies of this game sold on the Kickstarter than anything we have put up there before! The simple party game for 3-10 players captured the imaginations of a fanbase which, honestly, we never even knew we had. Catapulted to success on Kickstarter, we’ve had several requests for decks from retailers… so watch this space on that front!

Infiltration: The Bug War #2 was a comic I was not 100% sure about when John (Johnathan Lewis) and I first spoke about it. Together, we developed the story of the Bug War to involve Hai-Xang Hayden, the hero of the first comic, but not focus on her directly. It’s very clear she is pulling the strings behind the scenes, but there’s a lot more going on she does not have direct control over. All in all, it’s a great additional offering for the Era: The Consortium comics and I feel that the support it gained on Kickstarter and since is a sign of that.

Blue-Shift: Frenemies was a fascinating chance for John and I to write a speedster. I am a fairly energetic individual and being able to bring the kind of fast-thinking I am quite used to in real life into a character and then hype it up slightly so that it happened at super speed was fantastic fun. Her opposition being people who aren’t entirely evil was also an interesting story point to include… and one which I’m pleased to say we’re continuing to develop in Blue-Shift #2 (which is being completed right now! Watch out for it soon…).

Violete: Unstoppable was my chance to work with Jennifer Martin (Era: Survival, Era: The Chosen, Era: The Consortium) on a comic. I loved every minute of it, to be honest, and we have already begun collaboration on a Violete #2, which we hope to release during 2019. Violete was our chance to explore a character who could so easily have turned silly – someone who does the right things for the right reasons… but everything goes horribly wrong. Her fight against Rampage stands out to me as one of the best scenes I have ever written in a comic.

Lobo: Dauntless was an experiment for both Leonor and I, I think. She had never written a comic before and I had never done such intricate, detailed fight scenes. She took to it right away and I think we have produced a solid comic with a compelling villain. I’ve also had a huge number of comments about the detail level of the fight scenes and the immersion of the story at those points, which I take to mean I also succeeded! Either way, it was a fascinating challenge and I look forward to carrying what I have learned into our future projects.

Kazuki and the Deathseekers was actually started over a year ago, but never finished. The project was halted because of the lack of communications within the team and faded away to nothing. When I came across it, we decided that we would resume and this comic is what resulted. Working with Kellik was a fantastic experience and we have actually moved into creating more comics with him (Fauna: Community is coming out next year…!). I’m proud of what Kazuki and the Deathseekers became – a great Halloween comic and a good read!

In a lot of ways, the Era: The Consortium actual play podcast, “Stiletto Unit 447CE“, is one of the most ambitious things I have done this year. Putting my GMing style out there and running a game with 4 players entirely online, recording it and then editing the result into something which people can follow was something I was not sure I could achieve. My video editing skills have certainly improved a lot and we’ve been having a great time with the adventures of this “rogue” group who either know much too much or not anywhere near enough. I am currently not sure which it is!

There are also several projects of note which are “Funded” on Kickstarter, but development is still underway, so I thought I’d include a little information on them as well.

  • Battlecruiser Alamo
  • Era: The Chosen
  • Life on Gaia (Audio Book)
  • Era: Survival – Colony

The Battlecruiser Alamo RPG has proven a fantastic experience. Working with an author like Richard Tongue, who has absolutely huge amounts of knowledge when it comes to writing fiction, has been awesome and inspiring. The fact that he and I have similar design paradigms for a universe has only made it more so. He provided over 100,000 words for the Core Rulebook and I’ve been working to bring that vast amount of work together into the book, ensuring it meets the kind of quality that both Richard’s readers and fans of the Era universe can expect. With artwork and layout provided by Keith Draws, we’re in excellent hands on that front, and I expect to complete this work before much longer.

Era: The Chosen has been a great experience with so many writers, stretching across over a year. With Jennifer Martin, a regular writer on our team, Darren Pearce (Judge Dredd, Dr Who), and Hande Barutcuoglu – who has worked as a proofreader on the team for years – all working with me, I think we have created something unique and special within the Era universe. My dream of “Turok meets Dr Who” has come to life and is roaming the streets, so watch out! I expect this to be out by our mid-year conventions…!

Life on Gaia was the first large project which Leo Cosh and I have attempted together. Bringing 45 stories about the Era: Survival universe to life through audio is a massive job – well over 4 hours of cut sound, so more than five times that in recording! Leo is working on editing the remaining stories at the moment, and we hope to finish before much longer.

Era: Survival – Colony was a silly idea I had about 2 years ago which developed and grew during that time. The idea of a more portable co-operative game which really puts the players through difficulties, forcing them to work together, is one that fascinated me from the start. It’s nice to win, of course, but I see very few games in the groups I play where people must work together… and that’s what I wanted to build. I think I’ve succeeded and the support the Kickstarter has received supports that. I’m looking forward to putting that out during next year and seeing what everyone else thinks…

Of course, we have a lot more things in progress, but I think this is a good lot of things to have accomplished during this year. Shades of Vengeance is continuing to grow, especially with SoV Comics and EraScapes. I’m looking forward to 2019 and I think you’ll be excited to see what we have on offer!

– Ed