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... more

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... more

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... more

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"... more

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... more

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 DramasYes, 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... more

#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... more

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... more

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... more

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... more

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... more

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... more

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 CreditsWe'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... more

#AudioDramaSunday: Finding Your Voice

Hey folks, Leo here, with some more sound advice for this Audio Drama Sunday! This time it’s about characterisation  then a little focus for creating those voices in the booth. First things first: remember that inspiration can come from anywhere, not just a character’s backstory or the universe's preconceptions. Ask yourself whether anything else inspired the way you imagine that character's demeanour – a friend? a family member? the mannerisms you once heard a celebrity used during an interview? Then, take a note on how that builds the character in the mind of others in... more

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... more

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:... more

#AudioDramaSunday: Audiobooks, fear, and you!

Hey folks! Time for another #AudioDramaSunday post. This time, I want to talk about how to record audiobooks. In particular, on our Survival Horror anthology Life On Gaia (https://www.shadesofvengeance.com/product/life-on-gaia-audio-book/) - there were a lot of lessons I learned during and after recording! Preparation is key! Warming up is ideal to set the scene. Vocal warmups can help with your overall headspace as well - plan for it every time and recording will go more smoothly. Pacing takes practice. In a sequence of short stories, like Life on Gaia, every story will... more

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... more

#AudioDramaSunday Music: How to work with it and where to find it!

Hey Folks! Last week, I talked about the sound design of A Titan's Rise. Today, I want to dive into how music can make your world pop. We've used music to boost our Audio Dramas since before we had brilliant composers on the Erascapes team – I want to show you how we found them by looking at the original Radio Free Taranis episodes. Our podcast set around Midnight Terry's anti-establishment rants needed music to break things up, so the writers' room started by talking about what genres would best suit the mood and then I went on a journey! Enter http://dig.ccmixter.org/ This... more

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.... more

#AudioDramaSunday Spotlight: The Sounds of A Titan’s Rise

Hello everybody! Now that the Kickstarter is funded I wanted to dig a little deeper into a few aspects of A Titan's Rise (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/erascapes/a-titans-rise-a-cyberpunk-full-cast-audio-drama?ref=1tx0ci)! Did you know that we recorded our own sound effects? We felt it was important to fully craft the unique nature of the Consortium setting and give extra support to our fabulous voice actors. We spent two days recording SFX that included combat, footsteps and even machine parts for the tech, appliances and vehicles that you hear as we explore the Consortium.... more

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.... more

#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! -... more

#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... more

#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... more

#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... more

#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... more

#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... more

#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... more

#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... more