Three Top Tips on How to Direct an Audio Drama!

Hi everyone, Ed here from shades of vengeance. And today, I'm going to talk about how I and today I'm going to give you my top three pieces of advice on how to direct an audio drama. 1: Live the universe! When you are directing an audio drama, you are bringing that universe to life for the people who are listening to it. If you don't understand the universe, or at least your take on the universe, to a high degree, there are going to be tiny things that slip through. You shouldn't let those things go unless you feel that they contribute and build on your view of the universe because... more

How to Make Your Characters Real – Part 6: Acting

Hi everyone, and welcome to the final part of "How to Make Your Characters Real"! In this part, I'm going to be talking about how you decide the way in which characters act, focusing in some simple techniques to ensure that your character acts in a realistic and consistent manner.  Let's assume you have your character and have established their appearance, the hidden information that they have the various other bits and pieces that we've been talking about throughout these articles. You want to put them in a situation you have devised and you'll therefore be thinking about how... more

How to Make Your Characters Real – Part 5: Hidden Information

Hi everyone, Ed here, and I'm back with another “How to Make Your Characters Real!” Today, I'm going to be talking about how characters won't always share all of the information that they have about themselves from the very beginning. They might have very detailed reasons for being the way they are, but most people won't share them for no reason. You have to be in a situation where they're willing to open up about certain facts about themselves. From a writing standpoint, it also has to be relevant to what they need to tell other characters in the story: it has to be emotionally... more

How to Make Your Characters Real – Part 4: Visualisation

Hi everyone, Ed here from Shades of Vengeance again!I'm back with another entry in my "How to Make your Characters Real" series. I hope that you are finding these useful and interesting. Of course, if there's any subjects that I've not covered that you'd like me to talk about, please just ask, I'll be more than happy to speak about it. When you are creating characters, remember that humans are visual creatures. The fact that a beautiful picture of a sunset is more likely to sell a game than brilliant mechanics is something that I've struggled with for a long time as a game... more

How to Make Your Characters Real – Part 3: Hero of Their Own Story

Hi everyone! I'm back again to talk a little more about how to bring your characters to life in an engaging and realistic way.  The reason that I think this is important actually relates to the fact that, when you have a character which is solid and believable, it makes the story that you're trying to write almost able to tell itself. All you have to do is follow that character and understand the choices that they make. But I'm going to be talking a little more about that in the future!  Today, I'm going to focus on how characters live inside your universe, along with several... more

How to Make Your Characters Real – Part 2: Building up your Characters in the Right Way

Hi everyone, Ed here again! I'm back to talk more about making your characters real. The advice in these posts could apply to roleplaying games, when you create a character, or it could contribute to your storytelling or novel writing. It could even help with designing a world, or writing a movie or any number of different things! I hope you're finding these useful, and please check in again next week when I'm going to cover some more subjects.  But, for this week, I'm going to be talking about how you build up your character in the right way, so that they can achieve what you need... more

How To Make Your Characters Real – Part 1: Inspiration

Hi everyone!  Ed here, and today I'm going to kick off a multi-part set of articles that are based around ideas I have on how to make your characters real. The first thing I'm going to talk about is inspiration.  How do you arrive at your character? Also, how do you make sure that when you are working on it you create something that is along the lines of what you envision?  The first thing is something that I've said a lot of times in previous articles and Webinars about inspiration: consume media! Read books to find characters who are vaguely similar to what you're doing.... more

Building a World: What Makes It Survival Horror?

Hi everyone! When I started both Era: Survival and Era: The Chosen, I asked myself one simple question very carefully: What is the difference between Survival Horror and Horror? I thought I would write about my thoughts on this today, and try to explain my answer to that question! The Survival Horror genre is different from the action genre in terms of both the atmosphere and the events that befall the characters. While the Action genre is about overcoming impossible odds and blowing away the bad guys, Survival Horror is about the suspense, the threat of... more

How to Begin Building a “Hero’s Journey” Story.

I think most writers have heard of the concept of a hero's journey. For those that haven't, the idea is that the hero begins in a negative, or non optimal situation, and progresses through adversity to become the hero that the universe needed, whether it knew it or not.  The hero's journey is one of the oldest forms of stories and, although I've heard it said that there are seven coins of story, I personally don't subscribe to that. I don't think there are really more than one: every story involves the hero's journey in some way. That's why I think that being able to build a... more

3 Reasons I Use a Timeline to Plan when I Create a Universe

Hi everyone! Ed here, and today I'm going to talk to you about three ways that a planned timeline of events can make your work seem especially awesome. 1: It helps you figure out how the story will progress This is a really important part of writing; knowing where your story is going to go allows you to ensure that it follows a direction that you intend right from the start. I've written previously about character-driven stories, but I also mentioned that sometimes you need an event to push that character forwards. If you're planning out a... more

How To Build a Hero

Hi everyone! Ed here and today I'm going to talk to you about how to build a hero. There are a few things that I think you ought to realise when you're trying to build a protagonist for your story. I'm primarily going to focus on heroes as opposed to anti-heroes in this particular article. A hero is someone who is going to fix the problem with your world. If you've read some of my previous articles or attended my webinar, you will know that the central conflict of the world is the driving factor for your story. The hero is going to go out and they're going to fix that central... more

Why Your Personal Limits Don’t Have to be a Barrier to Creativity

Hi, everyone, Ed here! Today I'm going to talk about what you're what you need to do if you're going to reach the limit of what you're capable of. Every creator will run into a blocker from time to time - you will find something that you're not able to do. Personally, I'm not much of an artist! So when I reach! the limit of my capabilities, I have two choices. There's a saying that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. I have found this to be broadly true. Interestingly, if you multiply as up to 40 hours a week, every week, you come to roughly five years of time. So you need to ask... more

5 Reasons that Writing The Book You Always Wanted To is Worth Your Time!

Hi everyone, Ed here! Today, I'm going to talk about five reasons why writing the book you always wanted to is definitely worth your time.1. You don't have to write it all at once...There are methods by which you can prompt yourself to write a book all at the same time. NaNoWriMo is an excellent example of that, where people are given encouragement to write 2000 words per day for the month of November, so you end up with a 60,000 word novel at the end of that month. However, if you're aiming for a 60,000 word novel, and you don't feel like you can commit an hour or two every day to... more

Three Quick Tips to Make Sure YOUR Story is the Best You Can Write!

Hi everyone, Ed here from Shades of Vengeance! Today, I'm going to be giving you my three best quick tips for writing your story. 1. Start with Feelings Begin what you are trying to create with the feelings that you want to evoke within the universe (not necessarily within the reader!). How does it feel? Is it positive, is it negative? Are people optimistic, or are people angry and at each other's throats. What is it that people feel like when they live within this setting? That may include details on the size of the setting, because depending on the size,... more

Five Ways to Make Sure that YOUR Universe is “Complete” and “Immersive”.

Hi everyone! Today, I am talking creativity and universe building. Here are 5 simple things you can do to make sure your universe is as complete and immersive as possible:  1. Understand How it Feels to Live in the UniverseStart with the feelings that people within the universe experience. This is an absolutely vital part of building a universe, because it is the feelings that people will connect to when they experience something. Whether it's a fantasy universe with wonder and magic or a cyberpunk future where the corporations suppress everyone who just wants to live their... more

Three Things YOU can do Today to Break your Creative Silence.

Hi there! Everyone has spare energy at some point during the day. And it's often very difficult to know the way in which you can change this into actual productivity and break that silence in your creative life. Here are three thing that I do in order to ensure that I remain creative and use that energy in the best way possible.1. Identify your "Spare Time" and Use It! Most of us spend a lot of time travelling on public transport or driving, or even washing up. While we are doing these things which are relatively mindless, we're often able to use that time to actually create... more

New YouTube Video – How to Create a Game – A Game Ed-inar! (0:0:0)

Watch it here on YouTube: Hi everyone! I've been speaking about how to be a game creator for a long time at conventions, and we've decided it's time I start giving some advice to long-time fans of our work who want to build their own games. Here's the first of what I expect to be a few videos, which feature me speaking about that! Don't forget to Like and... more

Spotlight on EraScapes – The Oracle

Right now, we have two big Kickstarters happening at the same time! Era: The Empowered’s Core Rulebook and Blue-Shift’s first ever comic have both been doing amazing and with just above one week left to gather more support there’s a good chance that either of these projects might achieve another Stretch Goal. If Blue Shift breaks the $1200 Stretch Goal, then the entire comic will double in length! That would be a fantastic addition for everyone supporting this story. To read more about the Blue-Shift comic Kickstarter head over here:... more

Our busy year isn’t over yet. Here’s what’s still to come! – The Oracle

It may sound like I’m saying this all the time, but that’s only because it’s true. We are currently working on more games than we ever have before. This is great news for all you game lovers out there. Over the next couple of weeks, Ed is going to be giving us glimpses of what’s in store for the future of Shades of Vengeance. I can’t wait to give you all the details. For today, I’ve been given the go-ahead to let you in on two new things coming your way. This month we’re releasing Evil Overlord at MCM Comicon in London. Have you ever wanted to run your own evil empire? This... more

#RPGaDay Challenge – Day Thirty-One

Hi everyone! It's the final day of #RPGaDay! I'd like to thank everyone who's followed these posts. I hope they have been informative and a little bit of fun! I'd like to thank the folks over at for their alternate questions as well as for the list in the first place. #RPGaDay 31: What do you anticipate most for gaming in 2018? Wow. I don't even know where to start on this! I have a lot of new releases planned... Era: The Consortium is going to have a Kickstarter towards the end of this year, where we'll be aiming to unlock some additional... more

#RPGaDay Challenge – Day Thirty

Hi everyone! This is a tough question for me, because most of the things I want to see, I'm working on! #RPGaDay 30: What is an RPG genre mash-up you would most like to see? Well, as Final Fantasy is a mash-up of genres in itself, I'm going to cop out and say that the thing I'd most like to see is a game in the Final Fantasy VII universe - a healthy dose of Sci-Fi, lots of fantasy magic, primarily grounded on a single planet or in orbit, with a bit of a cyberpunk feel thrown in. I find those kinds of genre mash-ups a lot of fun... Which, yeah, is sort of why I'm working on... more

#RPGaDay Challenge – Day Twenty-Nine

Hi everyone! #RPGaDay 29: What has been the best-run RPG Kickstarter you have backed? I was impressed and happy for James and his team for the recent Ghost-Ops RPG [ ]. They did a fantastic job of putting the concept across and deserved all of the success that they got! It's great to see someone like James doing so well - he and I have spoken several times in the past about game design and I hope to see him continue to have success in the future! We also share several writers,... more

#RPGaDay Challenge – Day Twenty-Eight

Hi everyone! #RPGaDay 28: What film/series is the biggest source of quotes in your group? Well... uh... We're a pretty varied source of quotes, actually. The one that sticks in my mind is Firefly/Serenity... sort of. "It gets you right here" comes up relatively often, as does the phrase "Big Damn Heroes". That said, we get loads of different quotes and it depends a lot on what game we're playing at the time. A lot of them are rather classic, but not from any film or series... the one that comes to mind is: The party were standing outside wooden walls in an early playtest of... more

#RPGaDay Challenge – Day Twenty-Seven

Hi everyone! I usually travel pretty light when gaming - a pile of D10s and character sheets. However, I do have one further thought... #RPGaDay 27: What are your essential tools for good gaming? I think there's only one thing you always need: a character concept which is thought-out and understood in your own mind. Dice are replaceable with software now, character sheets can be roughed out on blank paper if need be (I've done that a lot with Era: Lyres!). If you have a character idea, you know how this individual would act in a situation, and where they would and would not be... more

#RPGaDay Challenge – Day Twenty-Six

Hi everyone! Today, I'm talking non-rulebook resources for my games, and there's a clear stand-out here! #RPGaDay 26: Which RPG provides the most useful resources? The resource I'm most proud of at the moment is the work that I've been doing with Matthew Knighton on our Patreon. I should say right now - this stuff is FREE, just go onto the Patreon and download it! The first one is here: Together, we decided that it was about time aliens and space creatures existed for encounters the way that Fantasy Creatures do. We've... more

#RPGaDay Challenge – Day Twenty-Five

Hi everyone! As a perpetual GM, today's question is not necessarily the easiest one for me... however, I have a few suggestions... #RPGaDay 25: What is the best way to thank your GM? Well, it depends a little on the type of game! Personally, when I'm running a campaign and it gets to the end (see earlier entries - I usually plan things of roughly set lengths), there's no greater reward for me than for someone else to stand up and say "I'll GM the next one so you can play, Ed!". It's happening at the moment, actually - I just finished an Era: The Chosen Campaign, and now I'm... more

#RPGaDay Challenge – Day Twenty-Four

Hi everyone! Although neither of the main games I'm about to link to you actually answer this question. However, when I first encountered them, they absolutely did! #RPGaDay 24: Share a PWYW Publisher who should be charging more. When I first met Sanchit Sharma and John Serembe, they both had some great ideas for games and were allowing everyone to have their drafts at PWYW. I spent the time with them to get their games up to production standard and I'm pleased to say that now both Order of the Link and Marked For Death are available on DriveThruRPG for more than PWYW. They were... more

#RPGaDay Challenge – Day Twenty-Three

Hi everyone! Just a reminder that I'm primarily talking my RPGs in this #RPGaDay, so if you have any questions about anything I mention, shout, I'd be more than happy to answer! #RPGaDay 23: Which RPG has the most jaw-dropping layout? I have always loved the amazing work of Keith Draws, right from his first submission of suggestions for Era: The Consortium's Core Rulebook. I think the single book I'm happiest with, though, is the Era: The Consortium expansion, Revival. We combined the elements of Survival Horror, which we carefully chose for Era: Survival, with the Era: The... more

#RPGaDay Challenge – Day Twenty-Two

Hi everyone! The subject of my #RPGaDay today is a game I'm hoping to run at AetherCon! If you don't know about AetherCon, it's an online convention which runs at the beginning of November. I hope you'll think about joining us there, we'll have some great deals on our Era games! #RPGaDay 22: Which RPGs are the easiest for you to run? It's probably not a massive surprise that anything on the Era d10 system is easier for me than pretty much anything else! However, the easiest of those, by far, is Era: Lyres. In Era: Lyres, the players work together to tell the GM a story. As... more

#RPGaDay Challenge – Day Twenty-One

Hi everyone! As we enter the last days of the #RPGaDay Challenge, I'm going to mention another different game today! #RPGaDay 21: Which RPG does the most with the least words? There's only one answer to that for me: Era: Silence. In Era: Silence, you're not permitted to speak, meaning very few words indeed, as you pursue your dangerous quest to earn your name as a warrior! Enter the Isle of Silence, a strange and mysterious plane where challenges are dotted around... and work together to overcome them, despite being unable to speak. Are you worthy as a warrior? There's only... more