#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

#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... more

#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... more

#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:... more

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 18: Meet

Hi everyone! The thing I miss most about Tabletop RPGs at the moment is the ability to meet in person and sit around a table together. I don't know about you, but there is something different when everyone brings snacks, we sit them in the middle of the table and we start playing. Don't get me wrong, I love the fact that a widespread move to online gaming has let me run and play games with people who could never meet up in person. I'm currently running a game for a group spread across the UK and the US, only one of which could feasibly reach my home to play, and playing a game with a... more

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 17: Comfort

Hi everyone! No-one likes to go outside their comfort zone. That said, it's the only way that things change significantly - sometimes you can be forced out of what you like and discover something new, and sometimes you have to make a choice to do it. Stubbornness was the thing that pushed me out of my comfort zone the first time to publish my first book. After that, I wanted to make more and more. I've occasionally gone out of my comfort zone since - A Titan's Rise, our upcoming Audio Drama, is a good example, as I ended up playing the lead, something I never would have... more

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 16: Dramatic

Hi everyone! I only recently had a conversation on Discord (feel free to join if you'd like to play, by the way! We run regular games! https://discord.gg/JMNnbsB) about my most dramatic tabletop moment. Today, I'm wearing my GM hat, and don't worry, I'm not just going to tell you a story of sessions gone by, I'm going to talk about my GMing style - just a little! I'm of the philosophy that it's not the GM that makes the game fun on their own. I'm also of the belief that the GM doesn't control the situation, lord it over the players or try to kill them. When I GM, I create a... more

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 15: Frame

Hi everyone! In my opinion, one of the hardest parts of writing RPGs is framing the sentences so that they are specific, descriptive, open to a minimum of interpretation, and fit within the layout. Some of you may already know that I am currently working through character creation, equipment and rules editing for Era: Lost Legend, my latest game. During this, I've actually had a total layout change, which means a lot of items need to be re-edited. I've become quite expert at this over the years - page breaks in text can matter a huge amount and, while my proofreader doesn't always... more

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 14: Banner

Hi everyone! I'm fortunate enough to have a banner which shows off all of our Tabletop RPGs very nicely. It's a go-to for me in many situations, and it all comes from one person, Alexander Korchnev, my longtime ally and graphic designer extraordinaire! I thought I'd take a moment today to talk about the importance of graphic design and layout in an RPG that goes out into the world. It's a funny thing - even the smallest amount of graphic design can transform a product from black letters on a white page into a sci-fi datapad showing you the information, or the feeling that you're... more

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 13: Rest

Hi everyone! One of the most common questions I get asked by anyone who gets to know my work situation is "How? Do you just not sleep?" I thought, since today's topic is "Rest", I'd answer that question! First, a little about my average week. I work a full-time job separate to Shades of Vengeance . I am lucky enough (in current times) that this job pays enough for me to need only one, and that it was not significantly affected by COVID-19. That means the time I have to work on Shades of Vengeance games, comics and everything else is limited to my hours outside work. That comes to... more

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 12: Message

Hi everyone! What "Message" do I have for RPG creators everywhere? I know how hard it is. You don't get to the number of books I have published without knowing. It's hard to put your work out there, because you think no-one will like it. Maybe people will laugh? It's hard to bare your soul - you're giving so much of yourself away with your book. It's hard to know when it's "done" enough to put out there. My message to you is: It is worth it in the end. If even one person plays a game you created and enjoys it, if even one person experiences something new sees the hobby in a new... more

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 11: Stack

Hi everyone! I've actually got a "stack" of books on Kickstarter right now, so I thought I'd talk about that today, if that's all right! I'll try to make it not too boring! I believe that one of the most important things about a game that goes out into the world is to provide support material for it. All of our Core Rulebooks include campaigns and sessions for easy gameplay, and several games (Era: The Consortium, Era: Survival and Era: The Chosen) also have separate session and campaign books. There are also things like extra equipment or abilities, new superpowers, random session... more

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 10: Want

Hi everyone! What do you want from an RPG session? I know what I want - I'd like to participate in a group telling a story. That story should have ups and downs, difficulties that are overcome (both mental and physical), and the characters trying to be who they are throughout that. Whichever side of the table I'm sitting on, that's what I'm trying to achieve. I've had some amazing sessions, and some less good ones, over the years. The best sessions have always been the ones where the players committed to the characters and tried to bring that person to life within the situation... more

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 9: Light

Hi everyone! When people want to make creating a career, they often wonder when they will feel they are able to see the "light at the end of the tunnel". I thought I'd talk about that today, because it's something that was on my mind for at least a couple of years. Creating regularly, consistently and producing work you are proud of is hard work. It's not made any easier by a broad lack of feedback from everyone who looks at your work. If you're an artist, you're a little luckier - you can get people to post a comment saying "I like it!" on a piece of artwork relatively easily. But I... more

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 8: Shade

Hi everyone! I'll be honest, I laughed when I saw this one was a prompt. I think it's probably a good moment to reflect back on the last 7 years or so and talk about the "Shade" that means most to me - Shades of Vengeance! To me, Shades of Vengeance is about something. It's about doing better than the what I've experienced in the entertainment industry, it's about going our own way to create and it's about helping others to be creative as well. There's quite a lot to unpack there, so bear with me! Don't worry, I'll keep it brief. I've mentioned before (Day 5: Tribute) that the... more

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 7: Couple

Hi everyone! "What are the top couple of pieces of advice you'd give to new RPG creators?" I take that to mean I'm only allowed to give two, so hold on... 1. Believe in yourself If you want to create something then sitting on the idea for ever will mean that it never happens. Put some time aside and start to work on it. If you've previously playtested a game and want to learn how to publish, then find someone who can help you. I and others offer advice (I do so through ImagineRPG.com) on how to do it, and it can be a lifesaver to have advice. But you can go it alone as... more

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 6: Forest

Hi everyone! Today, I'm going to be talking about this image, which is absolutely the first thing that popped into my mind on the prompt "Forest". Being inspired is often a very hard thing. While I generally don't struggle much with it, I often find it extremely useful to pin down the details by having some images early on in the creative process. That's exactly what's happened here: this image is for an upcoming game (provisional title Era: Legends, which we'll have to change!). This forest is the site of a former werewolf fight against the equally powerful vampires. There were... more

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 5: Tribute

Hi everyone! I found another image for the RPGaDay2020 event, thanks to someone else posting. I thought it was cool, so I'm using it for this post! Today's topic is "Tribute", and I think it's a good opportunity for me to talk about something very close to my heart: credit where credit is due. I think that the entertainment industry, in general, is awful about this (see ghostwriters and ghost art). Roleplaying Games tend to be better, especially the smaller companies, which do usually try to credit the people who did the work. As someone who works in a variety of media (RPGs,... more

#RPGaDay2020 – Day 4: Vision

Hi everyone! I'm back again today, and there's only one thing I want to talk about based on the "Vision" prompt. It probably is somewhat linked to the fact that this game has been on my mind for several days for a variety of reasons! Era: Forbidden was a game I put together with my wife, Immaculate. You might have noticed that she is credited in the Special Thanks in every book - that's because she does a huge amount behind the scenes that lets me to continue to create. Well, this time, I got to sit down with her and build a world which was a vision made by both of us. This world is... more

#RPGaDay2020 – Days 1-3

Hi everyone! I like to do this every year - #rpgaday2020 being the latest - and give my thoughts on various aspects of RPGs, and my experiences within the community. I've missed days 1 and 2 because of GenCon, so I'll do the first three days quite briefly right here and move onto the next days properly! Day 1: Beginning Everyone I've seen posted has been about how people got started in the industry. I think most people reading this know that story already, so I thought I'd mention a new beginning. This weekend, I did GenCon Online. I've never been to GenCon - I don't have that... more

Shades of Vengeance is hanging on!

Hi everyone! We've been super, super busy during lockdown - like all of you, I'm sure! I wanted to take a moment to reassure everyone we're very much still here and talk about a few things we're doing that might interest you! Our team is running daily games (and have been every day since the lockdown began!) on our Discord! You can join in here if you like:https://discord.gg/pDFnCdN As there are very few conventions at the moment, Leo and I are doing gameplay streams a few times a week, where we discuss what we think about the worldbuilding, characterisation and design of a... more

Living Campaign – An Update!

The Era: The Consortium Living Campaign has now been running for just under 3 months and we've seen a lot of changes to the Consortium as a result!(Asking "What is the Living Campaign?"? - read this! https://www.shadesofvengeance.com/era-the-consortium/living-campaign/) We're about to publish the first official update of the position in The Era Zone Issue #5, and I wanted to share it with all of you first! Here's what's happened: A strange group of Sentient Beings, not matching any known race of the Consortium was reported arriving at Ceridwen. They disappeared from the station after... more

Play an Era game online!

Hi everyone! Did you know that we're offering daily games online at the moment? We're trying to combat the insanity invoked by staying inside all day every day - I feel it as keenly as you, believe me! - by offering a wide range of Era games via our Discord: https://discord.gg/6C4H9Cv For those who don't know, Discord is an easy-to-use audio and text messaging system, often used by computer gamers to contact each other. There's also a growing community of Tabletop Roleplayers who use it. There's a web version, but if you want to play a game, I recommend that you download the... more

Store and YouTube Releases!

Hi everyone! We have a wonderful new team member, Angel, and she's been helping me to get several of the books that we never quite got up on the website onto the store! As a result, you'll see quite a few new items if you look at the store now, particularly a lot of "Character Sheet Packs" for Era: The Consortium and Era: Survival. They are all free, so check them out on our Store: https://www.shadesofvengeance.com/store/ We're also doing loads of actual plays for Era: The Consortium, Era: Survival and Era: The Empowered, recorded from the Discord games and edited by yours truly!... more

Era: Survival Expansions – 110% Funded!

Hi everyone! It's been a very difficult month, and I apologise for the lack of posts. Like many of you, I'm self-isolating from the outside world, and that's meant a big change to lifestyle. We're making fantastic progress on Era: Survival - funded, and working towards that vital first Stretch Goal. That will mean that everyone gets an extra expansion for free! Now's definitely the time to hop into our post-apocalyptic world, so join us here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/era-survival-expansions-2?ref=emeiw5 I'm also working on The Era Zone, Tales of... more

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

Spotlight: Era: The Chosen

Today's Spotlight is about one of our newer RPGs that really tackles the psychological and supernatural aspects of horror.You are a member of one of the few defenders of humanity fighting against an unseen enemy. The five clans who became known as 'The Chosen' have been fighting this enemy - the Anonassi - for centuries and an arms race has resulted: the Chosen's modernisation and ingenuity versus the Anonassi's biological adaptation. Throughout with an inter-generational conflict set in the Renaissance, Industrial Revolution or Modern eras. Players have to contend with Terror: every... 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

Welcome to the Era Zone!

Hi everyone! We've just launched our latest Kickstarter, The Era Zone 2020!https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/the-era-zone-2020?ref=aqgkct It's, once again, offering support materials for every one of our games! You can join us on Kickstarter, where you'll be able to get a subscription throughout the year (Digital or Physical) and help this attempt to continue producing material for all of the Era Games succeed. Welcome to The Era Zone! -... more