All posts by Ed Jowett

A Cascade, Five Years in the Making!

Hi everyone!

Cascade is finally here! This team-up comic is on Kickstarter now, and we’re hoping you’ll join us to make the dream of bringing our separate superheroes together a reality by joining us: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sovcomics/cascade-part-one?ref=8p9nvx

We’ve been publishing comics for some years now, and I’ve spoken several times on interviews about Lacuna, Blue-Shift, Violete and Penumbra being destined for a convergence. It was important to the entire Empowered team, however, that this didn’t happen too soon.

We have been more patient than I ever imagined possible, waiting five years to reach this moment! From Lacuna’s first appearance, through two comics with Blue-Shift, two more with Violete, Penumbra: Tide, which pushed us the last little way and now we’re there.

Cascade is going to be a three-issue arc, written by Johnathan Lewis and I, with contribution by Amy Allworden and Jennifer Martin to ensure that all of the characters we have written together are consistent and true to themselves. Rahmad Wisnubroto, who has illustrated all of the comics that lead up to this, has returned to bring this adventure to life in vivid detail.

We couldn’t ask for a better team, and I know you’ll love the world we’ve built. If you want to catch up, we have the ability to get hold of all of the comics, both from our store and from the Kickstarter itself.

Join us to make this dream a reality!

– Ed

Penumbra: Tide, Era: Forbidden and The History of the Future – a busy month!

Hi everyone!

We’ve been more productive than ever over here and I wanted to give you a quick idea of what’s going on!

First and most importantly, we have Penumbra’s first main storyline comic on Kickstarter right now (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sovcomics/penumbra-tide?ref=6keqhr). It’s almost 300% Funded and things are looking great for another sequel, so please check it out and consider supporting it…
Particularly if you like the image at the top of this post, which is the cover!

Secondly, work is continuing on Era: Forbidden! There’s a lot to do, and we’re going to make sure this book is amazing so that you can enjoy the game for years to come. Sophia is still working on the artwork, and I’m pushing the writing along nicely.

Finally, I’ve got a brand new project coming very soon, which is a novelisation of the stories in the Era: The Consortium Rulebook and Expansions! You can take a quick look at the project here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/the-history-of-the-future-novel
I expect to launch that before too long, because I already have a print run of 40 right here as a test!

So, as always, we have some exciting things happening and I look forward to being able to show you more over time. Thank you so much for your ongoing support.

– Ed

Penumbra: Tide on Kickstarter Now!

Hi everyone!

Johnathan Lewis and I have been extremely busy recently! We have completed DISARMed and are now ready to bring out a comic I’m incredibly excited about, Penumbra: Tide (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sovcomics/penumbra-tide?ref=6keqhr)!

This is the final comic before a crossover between characters we have been planning for 5 years, and I can’t wait to bring this into the world so that we can then show you what’s yet to come, the “Cascade” event!

I hope you’ll consider joining the campaign to fund this issue, because you’ll definitely want it when we reach the crossover!

I’ll see you there!

– Ed

Blue-Shift: Frenemies – Now In Audio!

Hi everyone!

Great news today for all you Blue-Shift fans out there, because the amazing EraScapes team has voiced and produced an enhanced and extended audio version of one of our best-loved comics, Blue-Shift: Frenemies!
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/erascapes/blue-shift-audio-drama?ref=ajmg3e

For those of you who don’t already know the plot, it’s all about a speedster who goes out for a date, then finds herself in the middle of a group of supervillains robbing a bank… who then rescue her! Confused and lost, Blue-Shift will have to decide where the difference between “good” and “right” are.

I was honoured to be able to work with that team, and I have added additional scenes (including more from everyone’s favourite newscaster, Rajesh from Metro News!) during my adaptation of the story to audio. I’d definitely say this is a fantastic accompaniment to the current comic (which you can grab from the Kickstarter if you don’t have it yet!), even beyond what we achieved with the comic.

I hope you’ll join us there and, just in case you need more persuading, here’s a playlist of some awesome snippets from this project:
https://soundcloud.com/erascapes/sets/blue-shift-frenemies-audio-drama-samples

Enjoy, and please join us in making this story a reality!

– Ed

What’s Next?

Hi everyone!

I have a tradition, when coming to the end of a year, of talking about what we have done and what’s coming.

There are more games, more comics and more audio planned, everything you would expect, along with some things you might not. But the most important thing that’s coming is none of these…

We’ve struggled through 2020, as many small businesses have. We’ve done our best to make ends meet and continue production as sales fell through the floor and in-person conventions halted. Online conventions, unfortunately, do not favour smaller “stands” in any way, because the majority of people look at the shiny things and then leaves the site – we have made no convention-related sales this year, despite being present and running games at several online conventions.

I don’t have good news coming at the end of this, but I don’t have bad news either.

We’re struggling on, continuing to do our best and trying to put new things into the pipeline. We’re working on several comics, getting some audio dramas finished and a few games projects that have been waiting for a while finished and out of the door.

We’re only able to do this thanks to your help, so rather than talk about all the amazing things we have planned for next year, I wanted to say thank you.

We’re only able to continue creating because of people like you. And we love creating, we don’t want to stop. So please don’t forget to check out Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/SoV) if you have something spare, watch our for our Kickstarters next year and be ready to get some more of our games if you want us to continue making them. I know that a lot of people out there do.

– Ed

Stretching Our Creativity, Learning New Things!

Hi everyone!

Today, I wanted to take a moment out of your day to talk about something that I believe is very important.

Sometimes, you need to extend beyond what you would normally do. There are a number of ways you can do this, and I try to do as many of them as I can as often as I can:

Step outside your normal medium – Audio Dramas
Yes, really! Audio Dramas are not something I find inherently comfortable yet… doubly so if I’m acting in them. A Titan’s Rise was very educational in that sense, and Infiltration: The Bug War #2 (still on Kickstarter for a few more days, so please support it: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/erascapes/infiltration-bug-war-2-audio?ref=5pafkr) has been very difficult in the way I had to tell a story that primarily relied on a massive amount of visuals in the comic format.

I think we’ve done really well on each EraScapes project, but I would not call it a comfortable thing at this stage, so I’ll be continuing for some time. We have a lot more amazing audio for you to enjoy!

Try a new genre – Era: Dragonsong, DISARMed
While I won’t try to claim that the fantasy genre is a complete unknown to me, actually delivering things in that genre is relatively new to me. I’ve never done a full High Fantasy Core Rulebook in the way that Era: Dragonsong is going to be. Instead, I’ve always dodged around it and done something to subvert the genre (Era: Lyres, Era: Silence). Era: Dragonsong is going to be a real challenge and, while I can’t wait, I am also a little nervous as we get started on the worldbuilding.

There’s more, though. DISARMed, our next comic, is a genre that I’m not very familiar with beyond the aesthetic. It’s not a secret that I am not a big animé consumer – I have nothing against it, it’s just not the way my life has gone, and now I’m a little short on time to catch up with everything I don’t have experience of. One of the ways you can get around a lack of knowledge like this is to have a team to work with, as I did on DISARMed. Even if you don’t know much about what you’re doing, you’ll learn very quickly from others!
You can sign up to follow DISARMed, ready for launch, if you like: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sovcomics/disarmed/

Increase / standardise your volume of work – EraMo
We recently finished the Shades of Vengeance version of NaNoWriMo, which we call EraMo. A large number of the community got involved, which was truly inspiring to me. I, personally, wrote almost 100,000 words during the month of November, primarily focused on the Era: Survival Expansions and writing one session per day for one of our games, along with a few other bits and pieces. The members of the community roughly doubled that, coming to a total of around 180,000 words and 45 total sessions written!
It can be very challenging to increase the amount you are writing, but also extremely rewarding to put the time aside and see what results from it.

There are no right or wrong answers in the quest to push yourself creatively. Find something that’s different for you and try – you never know, you might even like it more than what you’re trying to do now!

– Ed

#AudioDramaSunday – How to approach the booth.

Hey Folks!

It’s been a while, but I’m back with another how-to for #AudioDramaSunday! We’ve been doing some recording for an upcoming project, so all of this is rather fresh!

Today, we’re talking about the all-important things you should do to make sure your time in the booth is the best possible!

1. Get Physical (No, I don’t mean punch the director!)

Before recording, get a full body warm up going along with your vocal warm up. Shake yourself out from your head to your toes, do some push-ups or squats.

If you want to challenge yourself, singing while planking can kill two birds with one stone! (It’s really difficult, though!)

2. Take care of yourself in the booth

Stretch out and stay hydrated between takes. Depending on the weather, your soundproofing or size of your recording space, it can get hot (Our studio is nicknamed the hotbox for a reason)! Be prepared to take small breaks and step out to cool down instead of rushing because of the heat!

Speaking of staying hydrated…

3. Swallow the right way.

Yes, before you look at me like I’m mad, just listen!

Swallowing before a take or taking a drink without rinsing it around your mouth will often reduce your mouth clicks. Not rinsing it around your mouth is very important, because that tends to cause a massive number of clicks.

Mouth clicks are well-known as one of the worst things a voice actor can do, so simple techniques to ensure they are minimised are super important! People have been dropped from projects (in the wider world, not from ours yet!) for the number of mouth clicks, so it’s definitely something to watch out for.

4. Use warm ups to prepare – and be ready to improvise

Get in the zone before you hit the script!

Whether it’s warming up in character or discussing key moments an the emotions in them with the team, if you keep your mind on the world you’re building it will give you more confidence to nail those takes and make you more familiar with the material.

Improvising a few bits as the character you’re playing can let you build more of a personal connection with them, as well! It can be great fun and even produce additional material you might use later – we recently did several minutes of improv for both Midnight Terry and the Edvertiser while recording Season 2 of Radio Free Taranis!

This is part of an ongoing series of articles I’m writing about our experiences of writing and performing audio dramas for the EraScapes division of Shades of Vengeance.

We’re always looking for more help, so if you’d like to get involved with our projects in some capacity, please contact us at erascapes@shadesofvengeance.com!

Coming Soon: “Melqart: Unity”

I’m tremendously looking forward to this comic, which is the first I’ve ever written completely alone, coming out on Kickstarter.

With the help of the amazing Robert Nix on artwork and Keith A Johnston on lettering, I have started to see a semi-Sci-Fi story in my superhero universe come to life… and there’s basically nothing better than that!

Melqart: Unity will hit Kickstarter next year with the aim of delivering a 12-page comic and a 24-page comic as the Stretch Goal. I hope people will support it, because I think it’s one of the best comic arcs I have ever written!

If you want to know more about it, make sure you tune into Wayne’s Comic’s this Sunday (with Wayne Arthur Hall), where I speak about it a little!

– Ed

Era: Survival tabletop rpg game

Near the end of #EraMo now!

Hi everyone!

We’re in the last week of EraMo, and the community has produced a massive amount of work!

I’ve spent most of my time split between Era: Survival expansions (now there’s only one left to finish writing!) and writing sessions for the various games each day.

Between the group contibuting, we have written over 130,000 words, more than 40 sessions for gameplay in the era universe, an entire RPG that will gain artwork and be released as soon as we can, 3 comics, online, automated character sheets and even work on a bot that will help us administer our online game sessions on Discord (join us there: https://discord.gg/A6Hx8bAMpf )!

When I think that this idea started with me wanting to do something “like NaNoWriMo, but I usually write short stories”, I’m extremely proud that so many others feel like they would like to contribute. Of course, I’m hoping it will get even bigger next year, but I think for now, I can just thank everyone who has been working on it, encourage them to finish the week in the way they have worked until now, and focus on my work to make sure I don’t fall behind!

Please don’t forget to check Patreon for the best of the sessions I have written this month! https://www.patreon.com/SoV

And don’t forget to check out our latest Audio Drama Infiltration: The Bug War #2 on Kickstarter now (don’t worry, you can still get #1 if you missed it!): https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/erascapes/infiltration-bug-war-2-audio?ref=5pafkr

Thanks for reading and have a fantastic day!

– Ed

A Very Brief Update!

Hi everyone!

I’m going to keep it short this week. Last week, I was not able to join you because I have just moved house from my home of 5 years and that was pretty exhausting! Even so, creation halts for nothing, so I have delivered Violete #2’s Digital Rewards this week, along with preparing a new comic project, which I hope to launch imminently!

I’ve recently reached out to a few indie writers to collaborate on comics and I’m obviously working through the last of the Survival expansions (3 to go, all almost done!). Beyond that, I’m looking at Era: Forbidden’s Core Rulebook and trying to expand the range of sessions that we have available for people who want to run games.

Beyond that, we’re looking forward to offering more multi-table events for CON-Tingency 2021 (along with a number of other things), and running our ongoing games… plus getting a new card game ready for launch, Era Zone 8 finished off and a few other bits and pieces for 2021!

It’s always busy here, but we’re well-organised and things are going very well!

– Ed

Era: The Consortium – Revival

Hi everyone!

I wanted to take a moment this week to talk about one of my favourite books that I’ve ever written, which is an expansion for Era: The Consortium called Revival.

Initially, the plans were relatively modest – a 5-session campaign which explored the intersection of Era: The Consortium’s Science Fiction and Era: Survival’s Survival Horror universes. I planned to work with Johnathan Lewis on writing it and we set up a set of sessions and a storyline.

John wrote the majority of the stories, with a little help from Jennifer Martin. As they did so, I wrote the campaign end and quickly realised what I could potentially offer within this campaign.

It transformed from a fairly minimalist 30-page book into a huge 150-page masterpiece, supported amazingly by the story, isometric maps of every room within the spaceship that the characters might explore, a full bestiary and 13 sessions for players to enjoy. It is the single expansion which I immediately point at when I’m ask which is the best.

This is how I believe sessions and campaigns should be delivered and it is my fond hope that I’ll be able to do more of this in the future.

Why am I talking about this right now?

I’ve never been able to run the campaign in full – I ran sections to make sure everything worked, but it was before the story was finalised and it wasn’t able to finish.

For the last two weeks, I’ve been running Revival in full for the first time with a small group, via Discord, and it’s been an incredible experience: everything that I always hoped would work well has been excellent and the group are embracing the essence of the campaign in the way I had always intended.

You can get hold of Revival and play for yourself (it’s got everything you need, all you need is the Rulebook Primer or Core Rulebook) from our store. If you’re a fan of Dead Space, Aliens and similar genre intersections between Sci-Fi and Survival Horror (as I am!), it’s a must.
Digital: https://www.shadesofvengeance.com/product/era-consortium-revival-digital/
Paperback: https://www.shadesofvengeance.com/product/era-consortium-revival-paperback/
Hardback: https://www.shadesofvengeance.com/product/era-consortium-revival-hardback/

Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy Revival if you choose to look into it!

– Ed

Join us for EraMo!

Hi everyone!

Before I go into the primary part of my post today, I’d just like to remind everyone that Era: Forbidden ends this weekend. We’ve had a fantastic month, with loads of actual plays and a lot of games on our Discord (link at the end). I hope you’ll consider joining us and supporting our latest game: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/era-forbidden-an-rpg-of-hope-in-an-invaded-world?ref=3j18oq

Some of you may be familiar with NaNoWriMo, where the aim is to write a novel in a month. Unfortunately, because of the nature of what I do, I find it very hard to focus on a single game for a month – other things would go by the wayside.

However, I strongly believe in the principles of NaNoWriMo, which is to rapidly get stuff out into the world – writing 2000 or more words per day.

So I came up with EraWriMo, where I write 2000 words per day minimum, but it can be about anything relating to Era universes – sometimes it’s short stories, sometimes it’s rules… That works super well for me.

When Leo got a little more involved and we started producing audio dramas, he decided to do 5 minutes per day of audio material, almost like “sketches”, which we would later edit together into a piece. At that point, I couldn’t call it EraWriMo any more, because it’s EraAudioMo as well. The great thing about this sort of thing is that you can motivate each other when things are hard. Last year, we had someone else join us who did audio drama work, inspired by Forbidden.

We would like to open this up to anyone who would like to be creative, whether it’s writing, audio, artwork, composition, or anything else that works for you! Obviously the focus for us is on Era games, but it’s really about creating. We’ll be happy to guide you where we can as well, if you’re unsure!

We’re mostly coming together on Discord, where I’ve made a special channel for it: https://discord.gg/6C4H9Cv

I hope you’ll consider joining us for this celebration of creativity!

– Ed

Loads of New Releases… SOON!

Hi everyone!

We’ve been busy all through COVID-19, and various other factors have brought a number of projects together at the same time. This is both good and bad, but I don’t think any of it is going to affect delivery in a significant way: I’m still only working on one thing personally (Era: Survival Expansions).

So, what’s this whole load of stuff going on?

A Titan’s Rise Audio Drama Credits
We’ve had A Titan’s Rise ready since before the Kickstarter, except for the credits, which could be influenced by the backers. On Monday this week, I recorded the credits and they are now with our editor, Zulian. I expect to have the final version of A Titan’s Rise pretty soon – perhaps within a week or two? That’s looking to beat the expected delivery date by quite a lot, so I’m very pleased!

A Titan’s Rise Script Book
Another from the Kickstarter, the script book for our latest Audio Drama is just awaiting the money to arrive from Kickstarter so that I can kick off the print run with our usual printer! It’s looking great, and I can’t wait to get that sent to me.

Era: The Consortium Short Story Collection Novel
This is the stuff dreams are made of – a 612 page novel which has every Era: The Consortium story we’ve ever written, in chronological order in standard novel format. I’ve sent the files off to a new printer today and am looking forward to a proof within a week or so! Honestly, I can’t wait…

A Titan’s Rise OST
This is sitting on my computer ready to go at this moment! There are 14 amazing, unique tracks that were specially written for A Titan’s Rise that are ready to go as soon as other rewards go out.

A Titan’s Rise Art Book
This is still being laid out by Keith Draws, but we’re ready to print it as soon as he’s done with that! I think it’s going to really show the beautiful artwork that is synonymous with the Consortium well when it’s ready.

Violete: Backlash
The second comic in Violete’s series (as well as the rest of the series that led to this point!) is on Kickstarter right now: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sovcomics/violete-2-backlash?ref=77zohq. I have been waiting for a year or more to release this comic, and it’s one of my favourites I have ever written. People seem to agree, because it’s already blasted through Funded and the first Stretch Goal, as well as being chosen by Kickstarter as a Project We Love. It’s well worth a look if you didn’t already!

Era: Survival – Foundation Campaign
These session books are currently being proofread by our team, and are going very well. I’ve only got the changes to do, then sending them off to the printer, so it should be very straightforward to finish these two!

Era: Survival – Diaries of a Madman
Jennifer Martin has now written all of the stories for this book, and is now doing her second draft pass. I expect that to be done soon, so I will pick up the adventure seeds and Equipment parts of the book after I am done with…

Era: Survival – Settlements & People
This expansion is going really well! It’s got my primary focus at the moment, and I’ll be also working on it as my first task during EraMo (I’ll be writing more about that next month!). I’m looking forward to finishing it, as it’s the last large expanse of writing for these expansions that’s still to come.

Era: Forbidden – Core Rulebook
I’m still doing interviews and conversations about our latest Core Rulebook, which is on Kickstarter at the moment: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/era-forbidden-an-rpg-of-hope-in-an-invaded-world?ref=plx5bx. Support for this game has been fantastic, it’s been an absolute pleasure to run this Kickstarter and talk about it. We’re also seeing games played across the Discord server, so feel free to join us if you’d like to try it or any other Era game!

Era: Lost Legend Core Rulebook (Paperback) and Players Guide
These now have signed-off proofs and I’m looking forward to receiving them from the printers in the next 7 working days. Unfortunately, there’s been a bit of a row over the design, because they took a few iterations to follow instructions, but we’re finally there, and I know everyone will love our latest game!

Era: Lost Legend Core Rulebook (Hardback)
I’ve also just signed this off this morning, but the print run will take a little longer, so I’ll be waiting more like 3 weeks for these. I’m equally looking forward to them – I think this will be a really nice-looking book.

Penumbra: Heist Lettering
Keith Draws is working on the lettering for our next comic in his off time, between his various other ongoing work. It’s looking good so far – I’m certain you’ll love it!

Infiltration: The Bug War #2 Audio Drama
The sequel to our welcomed Era: The Consortium Audio Drama is now edited and will be ready to go on Kickstarter when I’ve delivered A Titan’s Rise and its rewards! It’s come out really nicely, and I’m very pleased with it!

Recording Radio Free Taranis, Season 2
The second season of our audio drama set on Taranis is now fully recorded by Leo Cosh and I (who are the only two main characters in that series). We’ll be on the lookout for people who want to record brief (scripted) messages to “call into the show” with, but otherwise, we’re very happy with what we have, and will be working on editing it in the near future!

Blue-Shift and Lacuna Audio Dramas
Both of these are being edited at the moment by two very talented editors, and you can look forward to adding superheroes to Sci-Fi for the EraScapes portfolio very soon!

Patreon Release 2020-10-25
This is all done now, but I thought it was worth mentioning, as I did it earlier this week! You can get the latest session (which is the start of a Resistance Campaign intended for the Living Campaign), as well as nearly 100 other Era: The Consortium, Era: Survival and Era: The Empowered sessions right here: https://www.patreon.com/SoV

That’s pretty much all I have active right now. You’ll see that I’m waiting on other people for most of this (especially the printers), so I’m not really moving much forward except what I am writing, Settlements & People!

Thank you for reading! I hope that was an interesting insight into how I’m able to juggle so many projects, and feel free to let me know if you have any questions! I’ll be back next week to talk about EraMo in some more detail, so I’ll see you then!

– Ed

New Releases, New Challenges!

Hi everyone!

I’m going to keep my update a bit shorter this week, as I’m a little short of time. I’m sure most of you are aware already that Era: Forbidden has been released on Kickstarter this week, and we’re already almost (87%) Funded! Launching a Kickstarter tends to make me very busy, and that’s why this Update is very slightly late – sorry about that!

The other primary thing of note this week is that The Era Zone issues 6 and 7 have just been released on the Shades of Vengeance Store!

Issue 6 is a “Crossover” issue, where I combine many of the different Era games together and explore what new mechanical and storytelling options that can give a group: https://www.shadesofvengeance.com/product/the-era-zone-issue-6-july-2020-digital-version/

Issue 7 is more like the normal issues, and features the first part of a new Consortium session, as well as a new segment we’ve launched in this issue called the “GM Toolkit”. This ongoing segment aims to offer insight into how I handle certain situations, such as traps, enemy encounters and so on – definitely worth a look if there’s anything you’re not sure about when running Era d10 games! https://www.shadesofvengeance.com/product/the-era-zone-issue-7-september-2020-digital-version/

If you have any questions you’d like answered in the GM Toolkit, you can get in touch with us on the Discord (https://discord.gg/6C4H9Cv)!

I’ll be back next week with some more news, so until then, stay safe!

– Ed

Era: Forbidden – On Kickstarter Now!

Hi everyone!

We’ve been working hard over the last couple of weeks to finish off Era: Forbidden’s Core Rulebook Kickstarter and putting the content together!

I’m so proud of what this game has blossomed into – it’s genuinely one of my favourites out of what I have created. I hope you will consider joining the Kickstarter here to support this dream becoming a reality: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/era-forbidden-an-rpg-of-hope-in-an-invaded-world?ref=ecjtjn

If you have any questions or would like to try out the game, you can do so right here: https://discord.gg/6C4H9Cv

– Ed

Legends and Titans and Expansions, oh my!

Hi everyone!

I’m back with another update on the general state of Shades of Vengeance! As I said in the last post, I’m hoping to do these every week from now on.

A lot has happened in the last week (it’s amazing how often I say that sort of thing!).

Era: Lost Legend has now gone in Digital Format to all Kickstarter backers. This is a tremendous achievement – I can’t easily express how it feels to complete a game after 11 months.

There’s a lot more work still, of of course – the files have been sent to the printers and what they produce will need careful checking, as well as dealing with the distribution for hundreds of books. I’ve done it a lot of times before, of course, but it’s nice to take a moment and look over an achievement like this.

The Era: Survival Expansions are still consuming a lot of my time each day! Backers will be pleased to know that Encounters En Route is almost ready to go out, and that the Foundation Campaign Books 1 and 2 are currently in the first round of proofreading.

That only leaves me Settlements & People (which I’m working on next), Diaries of a Madman (which Jennifer Martin is currently writing the stories for) and Aqua (which I have long said would be the last book, because there’s not a lot more to do with it). I’d say things are going well with these Expansions in general, and I am fairly sure I’ll be able to give you more news soon.

A Titan’s Rise has also taken a lot of my time this month, which will not be a surprise. The Audio Drama is finishing on Kickstarter on Sunday and I’m getting the chance to work on a whole bunch of awesome Era: The Consortium goodies to go out with it, which is good fun. If you haven’t joined us for our latest awesome audio, check it out here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/erascapes/a-titans-rise-a-cyberpunk-full-cast-audio-drama?ref=1nausx

As always in the last week of the month, Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/SoV) released last Sunday with yet another awesome session for Era: The Consortium. This is one we ran on Discord, just for fun, during the week before. I got to play and it was an absolute blast!

That’s about all I have for you this week, but hold onto your hat, because we have some amazing stuff for you next week, including the launch of a new games Kickstarter, with a comics Kickstarter not far behind it!

See you then!

– Ed

Update – We’re Back!

Hi everyone!

It’s been a while since I last made a post, and I thought it was about time I got things moving again in terms of updates, because we are still working hard!

COVID-19 has been very hard on everyone, of course, and it’s changed the landscape a lot for us. We’ve done a lot this year, but it’s been very, very different to our plans for 2020.

Our Discord (https://discord.gg/6C4H9Cv) has been running games like crazy! We’ve grown our community there, and we’re offering several games a week still, so if you’d like to play some Era games online, you are welcome to join us. We’re playing Era: The Consortium, Era: The Empowered and Era: Forbidden the most at the moment, but we’re also open to any game you’d like to play!

Era: Lost Legend is almost complete as I type this, we’re just waiting on the final Power Web from the graphic designer. What we’ve achieved is stunning, from the artwork to the fun people have by playing, and I could not be more proud.

Era: Survival‘s expansions are moving along, with the first currently undergoing its second proofread! Encounters En Route will be the first to go to Kickstarter backers and ultimately be released on the store, but I’m currently working on the edits for the Foundation Campaign. I’m about 3/4 of the way through the two books as I write this (I’ve done all of the “player” segments first and am now working through the “GM” segments where the sessions are described!). After that, it will be Diaries of a Madman or Settlements & People – I haven’t entirely decided yet – and finally moving on to the Aqua Source book, as that was the closest to finished when I started the project!

I’m still confident that I’ll be delivering these expansions by the end of the year, something I believe all of the backers are looking forward to!

Era: The Consortium’s Living Campaign has been amazing! With the extra games on Dicsord and many groups from around the world sending in the results of their sessions, the situation has changed significantly, just as we had hoped when we started!
You can find all the updates here (https://www.shadesofvengeance.com/era-the-consortium/living-campaign/), but suffice it to say that things are not going well for the Resistance at this stage! With the Consortium now willing to lock down entire planets and stations, preventing travel, it’s caused some serious problems for Resistance operatives who can’t reach their resources any more.

Inspired by that, I’m releasing a new Patreon campaign this month (https://www.patreon.com/SoV), which explores what it’s like to be a border patrol officer on the newly locked down Clota. We played the session last night on Discord, and I think it’s fair to say that it was a massive amount of fun for all involved!

The Era Zone has been going strong with 3 of the 4 episodes for the year now out with everyone! September’s issue, sent last night, was a fantastic addition to the series, which included not only a session from the amazing Alison Cybe but also the first of our “GM Toolkit” sections which talk about how I recommend handling various aspects of the game. On this occasion, it’s traps, answering questions from ShadowsOverScotland, one of our most prolific GMs on Discord!

There’s loads more to come from The Era Zone, so don’t miss out when they become available on the Store!

Now that Era: Lost Legend is about to be sent to the printers, we’re gearing up for our next major rulebook – Era: Forbidden‘s Core Rulebook is finally coming! This Pocket Game’s popularity is undeniable, and we’ve decided that it’s time to fill out this world in the way we always wanted!

I’ve got a treat for you in a week or two when it goes out as well – we have about 30 episodes of actual gameplay recorded from early in the COVID lockdown, which I’ll be publishing daily to celebrate the campaign! Keep an eye out for an adventure that is truly unlike any other!

We’ve been working on audio a lot this year. EraScapes is something that’s very important to the team, and we have a lot of material recorded and awaiting editing from last year. The first of those, A Titan’s Rise, is on Kickstarter now (as you probably know! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/erascapes/a-titans-rise-a-cyberpunk-full-cast-audio-drama?ref=32nerm), but we have loads more coming, including a sequel to Declaration: The Bug War #1, several Empowered stories (Lacuna, Blue-Shift and Violete) and a few others. Of course, I’ll tell you a lot more about those when we’re a little closer to their release. For now, please check out A Titan’s Rise when you have the time!

We’ve also been working on our backlog of comics! Violete #2: Backlash is now almost ready, and we’re expecting it to get to Kickstarter before the end of the year. I’ve shown the latest adventure to a few Violete superfans and they think it’s even better than the first comic! That’s a lot of pressure, but I feel certain that our new regular artist Linggar is up to the challenge of providing an amazing cover, sitting on top of a comic written, drawn and coloured by veterans of Era – with a team like Jennifer Martin, Rahmad Wisnubroto and Keith Draws, there’s very little that can turn out badly!

I’d like to apologise for how long it has been since my last update – things have been crazy (as you can probably see!). My plan is to return to regular weekly updates to keep you on top of all of the latest over here. We have 3 card games ready to go to Kickstarter, another 3 Tabletop RPGs ready for some intense development (one of which is just finishing the last piece of artwork!), issues of the Era Zone and our miniatures game all coming soon, so keep an eye out here for more info!

– Ed

A Titan’s Rise – Epic Audio Drama

Hi everyone!

Today, I want to talk about A Titan’s Rise, an Audio Drama that has been in production for 2 years now, and has finally make it to Kickstarter!
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/erascapes/a-titans-rise-a-cyberpunk-full-cast-audio-drama?ref=esgm94 It’s currently 33% Funded (just 24 hours in!) and we’re hoping it’ll go to the goal and beyond by the end of its 34-day run.

Leo and I had worked on an audio project – Life on Gaia, the Era: Survival Audio Book – but we both had slightly higher aspirations than reading the stories that had already been written for the universes. That’s not to say that Life on Gaia wasn’t great (check it out on Audible: https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Life-on-Gaia-An-Audiobook-of-Post-Apocalyptic-Stories-Audiobook/B07XVCTS4J), it was just a little limiting on the writing side of creativity.

We decided that something more ambitious could be done with a small voice actor cast (and, like everything, that spiralled and became almost double the originally intended size!), and we set about writing the story of Elliot Draigon, one of the most important characters in Era: The Consortium history.

We finished writing the script (about 150 pages) in November and recorded between November and December 2018, which was a huge amount of work… and then the editing, composition began. We had everything that could possibly go wrong, from sudden illness to people involved having to leave the country because their visa ran out!

In the meantime, however, we repeatedly aimed out sights higher, recording our own foley and working hard to make the story as real as we imagined it.

I’m very proud of what we’ve produced and I hope you’ll consider joining us on the Kickstarter or even just spreading the word of this amazing Sci-Fi Cyberpunk Audio Drama!
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/erascapes/a-titans-rise-a-cyberpunk-full-cast-audio-drama?ref=esgm94

See you there!

– Ed

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 31: Experience

Hi everyone!

It’s the end of RPGaDay2020 and, once again, it’s been an experience. It’s especially true this year, because the sorts of things I’ve said in these posts are the kind of thing I usually say at panels on convention weekends.

With no in-person conventions, I’ve not had any panels this year, but it’s nice to have the chance to talk about all of these things.

Thank you so much for following me through the last month, and I hope you have found what I’ve been posting interesting and useful!

– Ed

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 29: Ride

Hi everyone!

Tabletop RPGs are a way to do whatever you want within the world, and there’s one particular occasion that will always remind me of that.

Some years ago, I was running a training day for GMs, back when we had in-person conventions. We were practising to run 30-40 minute taster sessions, as we often did for that convention.

Some of the people who were going to be more “talky” than the GMs and help out with explaining the games were also there – to play the games for the first time, get to know the rest of the team and so on.

One of those decided that riding the Infected Deer, bronco-style, was a good idea. It might have been suicidal, it might have been risking Infection (the game was Era: Survival), but she wanted to do it, so she did!

In any other form of game, you just couldn’t have done that. A computer game would have stopped you, or let you glitch standing on top of it.

Tabletop RPGs are an incredible medium for storytelling, and I love them for it!

– Ed

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 28: Close

Hi everyone!

I’ve spoken already in this month about being close to the end of a project and how hard that can be (where the last 20% seems to take 80% of the total effort). I thought I’d cover something slightly different today.

I’ve thought, quite a few times, that I was close to the end of my creative journey. I thought that when I published my first book, then after I published a couple of others (maybe 4 games is enough?), and another time more recently.

Currently, I’m not certain that the creative process ever really “ends”. I might stop someday, but I don’t think I will ever run out of ideas.

So, if you’re struggling for inspiration, watch my YouTube video about “How to be Creative”, let your mind wander and try not to think about it too much!

– Ed

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 27: Favour

Hi everyone!

The hardest thing (for me, anyway) relating to creating is getting the word out into the wider world.

I’ll often ask if someone can “do me a quick favour” and share a project that I’m working on. Sometimes, I get told yes, sometimes no and sometimes it’s in return for something I did for them so that they have to say yes!

My point is that you should do this whenever someone gives you the opportunity. The indie RPG community is nowhere near as powerful as the big companies because they don’t have the same kind of reach. The only way that I can see to do better is to work together to build that reach.

So share a project if someone asks you to, even if you think you don’t have any followers who will notice. Even one extra backer can make a difference to a struggling project. If you’re a backer, share the project and explain why you were interested in it.

It can make a huge difference to the project, even if you don’t think it will…

– Ed

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 26: Strange

Hi everyone!

I think the strangest thing about being a creator who has made a lot of different things is that there are things that feel obvious to me now, but I learned through doing – often the hard way, and sometimes by doing it right first time by luck!

I’ve recently been approached by someone I respect a lot in the RPG creation field. He’s been doing this a lot longer than I have, but doesn’t have the same kind of experience, because he chose a different approach. I’ve been able to advise him (and hopefully help!) on a project he is working on at the moment.

My point is, no matter how experienced another creator is, I think any creator can give another perspective to them, and possibly even advice on things that did or did not work for them. Everyone’s creative experience is unique, and that’s fantastic, because it means that there are always other ideas.

So, if you’re experienced, let people pick your brain. And if you’re inexperienced in the thing you’re doing… ask someone what they think!

– Ed

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 25: Lever

Hi everyone!

What technology should you include when worldbuilding? Is a lever acceptable in a High Fantasy setting? What’s the lowest level of technology you can have and still call it science fiction?

I’ve been asked this sort of question quite a few times on my various panels and I honestly believe that it’s not as straightforward as “this genre has these rules”. I’m a big believer in magic and technology being interchangeable in any setting, and Era: Dragonsong is, I hope, going to be a good example of that when we are able to show it to the world.

Do what works for your setting and your story. If you need the general population to have magic in a Sci-Fi setting, you should think about how that came to be, but never wonder about whether it is “okay to do it”.

Just like no-one ever really thinks too much about overly complex machines for the technology level in D&D!

– Ed

Era: Lyres tabletop rpg game

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 24: Humour

Hi everyone!

I think humour in a roleplaying game is super important, pretty much no matter what you’re playing.

In a serious game, a little humour – preferably set within the game, rather than breaking immersion – is a way to release any built-up tension, so that you can start to build more. There’s an upper limit to the tension you can build at any table.

The best sessions I have ever played or run have been a combination of humour and tension. The balance doesn’t always work out, and that can mean that the game falls too far in one direction or the other.

Consider the balance when constructing your session, and give the players something that will allow them to let off steam… even if it’s a guy with a wheelbarrow who sells vegetables and has a sense of humour in the post-apocalypse!

It would be remiss of me to end this post without mentioning Era: Lyres, which has facilitated some of the most humorous games I’ve ever played – the night in the mansion with S’coo’b’y-d’oo and the group’s evil twins who all are the same but have moustaches is, reluctantly, a high point…!

– Ed

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 23: Edge

Hi everyone!

What should you do when you approach the edge of giving up on your creative project?

I’ve talked about this a few times at conventions and such – it’s often hard to keep going full-tilt for weeks and months on end. Sometimes, you need to walk away.

When I get like that, I set a time on my phone – an alarm or calendar entry – for 2 weeks. Then I step away from that project and do everything I can to forget about it.

Quite often, the demoralisation happens for one of two reasons: either you don’t have the skills to proceed and you need to find someone to help you, or you have lost the project paradigm.

What should you do in those cases?

Give your subconscious time to process and realise what’s wrong; you’re too close to the project to see clearly. That’s why I walk away, but keep a timer to remind me to come back. It’s worked for me countless times, so I strongly recommend you try it.

– Ed

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 22: Rare

Hi everyone!

I went back and forth on what to write about for this one. It’s not something that instantly speaks to me. However, I think it’s worth talking about those rare moments of creativity that push someone to create a universe.

Inspiration can come from literally anywhere, in my experience. I came up with an idea while walking along the street and having a Facebook chat with someone about a mundane topic. Something about the way they (or maybe even I) chose what we were going to say prompted me to build a universe and create an RPG.

One of the things about inspiration that’s rare for me, however, is you often need to be doing nothing else. I’m constantly busy (I covered that earlier in the month with “Rest”, I believe!), and often all of my brain space is subscribed to capacity with everything going on.

So, if you want to get inspired, take a break. Walk around and observe the surroundings (in a mask, please, in the current environment), pick up your favourite book, or chat about something totally irrelevant with someone.

You might be surprised how much good it does you. Only… don’t spend all of your time trying to get inspired – a lot of creating and publishing is still the hard, boring work part!

– Ed

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 21: Push

Hi everyone!

The final push of a project is always the hardest. In convention panels, I’ve been known to say that it’s 80/20 – the latter half of that being that the last 20% feels like 80% of the work!

It’s not helped by the fact that it’s usually a deadline that makes you buckle down and actually do it.

For me, that’s usually a convention rather than a Kickstarter deadline – I like to launch my latest books at conventions. I always recommend you consider carefully about what your deadline is if you’re making a project for crowdfunding – I’ve delivered 50 projects on time without any significant issues.

I happen to be in the middle of the final push for Era: Lost Legend as I write this, so I’m going to leave it there, but I am more than happy to answer any questions you have on this subject, just leave them in the comments!

– Ed

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 20: Investigate

Hi everyone!

I believe that every rule set has limitations. No, really – I’ve built Era d10 to have as few as possible, but there are things that it will not do very well without a significant rewrite to the core. I thought I’d talk today about the first time I realised what one of those was, as it happens to be centralised around “Investigate”!

It was while I was investigating the possibility of using an IP that I suddenly realised was available…

That IP is Sherlock Holmes – now a public domain property which can be attractive, on the surface of it. However, the core of Era d10 is focused around making Combat easier for the players. Sherlock Holmes stories are about laying breadcrumbs and having the group figure out what’s going on.

I’ve done some limited things along these lines – there’s an “Insight” Empowered ability in the Enhanced Intelligence Power Tree, for example. That lets me give the players a lot of clues. That said, there are a lot of Skills in the game, each of which is focused around a specific area, and Investigation is just one of those. I feel that I would have to redefine many, many Skills into different categories of Investigation.

The other problem is that I’m, personally, not good at running those sessions (yep, people have limitations as well!). The balance is extremely difficult between not giving enough and giving too much so that it’s easy. I’ve always found it relies on a certain group of players… and that makes playtesting such a radical change to what works well much more difficult.

The Skills in Era d10 can be changed to fit the genre (I have done that many times, for various games), but they all have a core intention that they are for something else.

It’s not impossible, but I feel that it would be stretching the Era d10 Rule Set into a specific shape, one that the core paradigm is not suited for, so I decided to pass on the idea for the time being.

Is that because it’s out of my comfort zone (see Day 17!)? Am I right that it’s too big a paradigm shift? I am truly not certain. As a creative, I often go with what feels right to me, and this doesn’t feel like a good place to be headed… for now, at least!

Whether you’re making a rule set or using an existing one (I’ve worked with FATE and Savage Worlds a few times myself), I always recommend thinking about the limitations of the rule set you are choosing!

– Ed

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 19: Tower

Hi everyone!

“Huge in scope, towering in concept, it is a work that will live on in the reader’s imagination.”

Boy, were they ever right. I first read those words almost 25 years ago, on the back of a novel. That novel climbed Kilimanjaro with me, went to university with me on my first day and it took me exactly 3 seconds to locate it on my bookcase when I saw today’s topic.

Those words are on the back of “Dune” by Frank Herbert, written decades after he wrote the novel.

I’ve always aspired to do the same sort of thing with worldbuilding and I’d like to believe that, with Era: The Consortium, I’ve got close to a concentrated area which has the kind of detailed universe which I respect so much in his work.

I’m here to tell you that it’s fine to have inspiration from whatever works from you.

– Ed