Thursday, October 28, 2010

Vigilance Press at Paizo

Our products are now on sale at Paizo's download store.

I've added a few of our most recent PDFs and will be uploading more as time permits.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Trail of Links

So, it's 4am and I am working on the USHER Dossiers, my upcoming ICONS superhero setting.

I paused for a moment to fire off an email about art, and when I closed that tab, I noticed I had the following google search tabs open:

1. Natty Bumpo

2. Dime Novel

3. Colorado Territory

4. Trail of Tears

5. American Civil War

I don't know about you, but seeing those open tabs involved in writing a supers setting would make me stupidly excited even if I was NOT the one writing it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Blitzkrieg London (ICONS) WWII adventure

Spring, 1944.

The war is going very badly for the 3rd Reich and Nazi commanders decide the only hope lies in a daring raid conducted by their elite Eugenics Brigade.

The target: British and American commanders conducting planning sessions in the heart of London.

Your goal: defeat the Eugenics Brigade and protect Allied commanders, regardless of the cost.

Check it out!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

USHER Dossier: Old Gods

You often hear superheroes referred to as "new gods".

In fact, during a period after he co-created the Marvel Universe, Jack Kirby went to DC and created a group called the New Gods.

I knew for my upcoming ICONS campaign setting, the USHER Dossiers, I would be treating the "old gods" as supers (not that original) but I decided to lay down some ground rules to give it an earthier and more realistic spin.

First, I thought it would be awesome to go WAY back.

The first metahuman in the USHER campaign was born in 70,000 BCE and he still walks the Earth today. At least, everyone assumes he does. He hasn't been seen in over 10 years.

Second, I have fully embraced the "1 in a million" concept- well, actually, I embraced it about 20 years ago when Roger Moore first created it in an article he wrote for the Marvel-phile in Dragon magazine, but it's on full display here, going all the way through the setting.

I used some world population statistics to give a guideline on the number of metahumans alive at any given point in human history, one per 1 million population.

Of course, no one has hard data on world populations that far back, but I picked an estimate and treated it as gospel.

So if I want to set the Titanomachy (the war between the Titans and the classical Greek Gods) in 4000 BCE, that gives me a total of 7 metahumans to work with worldwide.

So there ended up being a grand total of 4 metahmans involved in that fracas, preventing me from doing the obvious (and imo less interesting) thing of taking every single titan and every single greek god and making them supers.

I will say though, that I have noticed the Law of Conservation of Ninjutsu in effect for my burgeoning ancient-supers history.

For those who aren't familiar with this seminal storytelling device, it basically says that there's only so much Ninjutsu to go around. So if one ninja shows up, he's amazingly deadly, whereas if 100 ninjas show up, they're cannon fodder and you cut through three of them with one sword swing.

In other words, the heroes and villains around when there were only 5 total metahumans tend to be AMAZINGLY powerful.

Ok, done rambling, time to write my version of the Aesir-Vanir War.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Public Enemies (ICONS)

To all law enforcement agencies: this confidential profile of offenders incarcerated in USHER's Rock City facility is provided in case of escape.

These criminals are superhumanly powerful and should not be approached without assistance from USHER, the Crown Guard, Aegis or the New Coalition.

After these agenices have been notified, assist in clearing civilians from the area and setting up a perimeter.

The current population of Rock City includes:

  • Armory: a mutant weapons master further enhanced by alien energy weapons
  • Atrocity: a tragic legacy of World War II, this horror was further enhanced with modern science during the dark days of the Scion Invasion.
  • Brainstorm: heir to a great legacy of wealth and heroism, this so-called "smartest man alive" believes he alone should rule the Earth
  • Garrote: able to slip under any door, this superhuman hit man has given humself many names, most of them silly, including "the elastic assassin" and "the human noose" but his glib banter hides a cold-hearted killer
  • Equinox: this team of genetically modified children killed their father and took control of Equinox Industries before embarking on a brief but terrible killing spree
  • Ground Zero: a living atomic bomb that has to explode every 48 hours if not contained, in addition to USHER personnel contact FEMA immediately if sighted
  • The Hollow Men: these time travelers are the most dangerous villain team in the world and their mission, to "save" the Earth by reducing its population by at least 90% is almost too terrible to contemplate
  • Omega: perhaps the world's deadliest assassin, this killer seems to care only for money
  • Overtone: a being of pure sound, this mad scientist will try to convince you that he is a hero but do not approach, engage or allow the subject to assist law enforcement
  • Shillelagh: this extra-dimensional conquerer seeks to return to the Earth to its "rightful" rulers, the Fey
  • Skullcap: this mercenary turned third-world despot considers himself a soldier and a hero but he is really a mass murderer
  • Stigma: subject is almost identical to Aegis leader Big Ben; once facial scar is identified handle with extreme caution and notify USHER, Aegis and FEMA immediately; extremely dangerous and unpredictable
  • Tower: this robot construct is confused, unpredictable and very likely to kill any human who gets too close
Buy it here.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Confession: Fallout 3 is the best Fallout game

AKA The Bed Under the Bridge

Like all right-thinking gamers of a certain vintage, I am completely in love with the Fallout series. I played the crap out of1 and 2, played through the "Tactics" game just to see how it furthered the story, and even suffered through (all the way to the end mind you) the bad, bad, verybad action RPG on the PS2, which I bought sight unseen because- dude it said Fallout right in the title!

However, my feeling that Fallout 3 trumps Fallout 2 is nigh-heretical in some circles.

The reason is two-fold, but it's simple: first, the depth of the world and the change from isometric to first person view.

Now the first part is not unique to Fallout 3. In fact, the world is what draws me back to Fallout 1 and 2, games I will *still* find myself playing from time to time.

But when you combine that world with a first-person perspective in Fallout 3, you get a place I love to visit, a place I feel like I know by heart.

Catching some Z's

My first encounter with this is what I call the "bed under the bridge". On your map I believe it's called the "hunter's camp" or some such.

Near two of your first big "dungeons" in the game, the Springvale Elementary School and the supermarket, now both overrun with raiders, there's a cozy little camp someone left under a bombed out bridge.

It's screened on four sides with plywood for privacy, has a footlocker to temporarily stow some gear, a mattress, and even a table with a book about explosives on it. Oh and a landmine right at the entrance.

It pays not to be a people person in Fallout and apparently the guy who made this camp knew it.

Throughout any game of Fallout 3 I will probably sleep in the bed under the bridge a couple dozen times as I explore the environs around Megaton. Sometimes I'll need to heal, sometimes I just want to wait out the day so I can better skulk at night.

There are many places like this scattered around the play area of Fallout 3. Little safe zones (usually safe because you made them that way) where you can slip away and grab some much needed rest.

Besides the bed under the bridge, there's one of the abandoned homes in Minefield (once you clear out its deranged sniper resident anyway), the luxury hotel in Rivet City (when you can afford it), or the mattress tossed into subway alcove nearby (when you can't), and of course, your home in Megaton.

Every single one of these locations is optional, you never have to visit them at all. But if you have, it gives you another little resource in the game, a number of added rest areas that feel safe and familiar.

These locations make the game feel much more like a living place, a familiar place and in combination with the first person "you are there" perspective, they make Fallout 3 the best in the series so far.

And oh yeah, I am very much waiting for Fallout: New Vegas, so hurry up!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

People's Revolution for ICONS

The Soviet super-team, the People's Revolution, was formed by the Kremlin in 1941 in response to demands from the Red Army for an organized force to counter the Nazi's super soldier forces. Although the British and American super soldiers receive the most attention and glory (at least in Western histories), the WW2 era People's Revolution team fought arguably the hardest, bloodiest and most prolonged struggle of any metahuman force in recorded history.

They were Red Hammer, Night Witch, Ice Fang, Trans-Siberian Express, Red Legionnaire, Battle Czar, Sovi-Ape, Revolutionary Fire and Kasatka.

This is a character folio for ICONS detailing the villains listed above.

Note: In the main chronology of the first four products in this series, the Soviet Union had no metahumans.

This product can be used as an alternate reality book for those who would rather the Soviets have metahumans, or for a Soviet team set during the Cold War.

You can pick it up here.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Huh, I guess I like Civ 5

So... this game has been out... 18 days. In other words, I've been playing an average of 4 hours of Civ 5 every day.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Chuck is moving- so a special, probably once in a lifetime sale

Ok, as some of you may know, as I've mentioned it on Facebook, I am moving from Massachusetts to Florida in a couple of months.

So I need to get rid of some stuff, and raise some cash.

So, I am selling some things that are near and dear to my heart, that might have some appeal to you folks.

I am going the PBS route and offering autographed author's copies of books I've written over the years. I'll sign the inside cover of each book, and include a note about each book, whatever occurs to me.

These books have varying amounts of light wear, because they've mostly been sitting on a bookshelf, for varying lengths of time, and some have seen light use.

Blood and Space 1e is in the worst condition, the rest are in really good condition, but I'd only call a few "mint".

Finally, the astute, long time fans among you will notice some omissions in the list below, such as my first attempt at d20 supers, which was printed by Mystic Eye, Vigilance: Absolute Power, Blood and Relics (first and second edition) and Blood and Guts 1e.

If it's not listed, I don't have it, I'm not holding out. In pretty much every case a family member wanted something I had written, and that's where my copy went.

I have author's copies of the following books, all softcover unless otherwise noted:

  • Raw Recruits: I believe this is technically my first print credit. This was a short adventure path of four related Dragonstar adventures that I wrote for Mystic Eye Games. I wrote this after Vigilance: Absolute Power, but it may have come into print first.
  • Blood and Space (1st edition): This is technically the first d20 Modern book RPGO released.
  • Blood and Fists (1st edition): If you're reading this blog, chances are you know about this one. Probably the best book I'll ever write.
  • Legends of Excalibur (Hardcover): Really proud of this one. Great color maps and I think my first ever hardcover.
  • Legends of the Samurai (Hardcover): Again, a lot of nice feelings toward this one. A lot of research, and what I felt were interesting classes and setting material.
  • Blood and Cicruits: My take on super-science and bionics in d20 Modern.
  • Blood and Fists Master Edition: This is Blood and Fists, Hong Kong Knights, Wasteland Fury and Cosmic Fury. Basically the entire B&F line in one.
  • Modern20: My first and only full-fledged modern game. One of my best selling books ever, up there with Blood and Fists, and Blood and Guts.
  • Supers20: The supers supplement for Modern20.
  • Martial Arts20: the martial arts supplement for Modern20.
  • Legends of Sorcery: My take on a skill based d20 magic system.
  • Legends of the Dark Ages: My take on historical fantasy in Europe from 476 to 814- from the fall of Rome to the end of Charlemagne's reign.
  • Blood and Fists True20: If you like martial arts and you like True20, then this is for you.
  • Blood and Time: Time travel and historical gaming for d20 Modern.
  • Blood and Guts, General Edition: This is everything for the B&G II line in one softcover- Military Training, Special Ops, Combat Procedures, Vehicles and War on Terror.
  • Blood and Vigilance: This is my d20 Modern supers definitive edition- containing all the dispatches we did for B&V, as well as Blood and Secrets, the superagents add-on that descrobes U.S.H.E.R.
  • Blood and Space 2 Galactic Edition: This is the complete d20 Future add-on, containing High Fliers and Ground Pounders, Starship Combat and Construction, Space Monsters and the expanded version of Prometheus Rising, my sci-fi setting.
  • Darwin's World True20: My conversion of Dom and Chris' d20 Modern post-apoc setting to True20.
  • Fertile Crescent: This is for the d20 Modern Darwin's World. It's my little slice of the Twisted Earth, which has been featured in two GenCon adventures. The first of these, the Feeding Grounds, is included in this softcover.
  • Legends of Excalibur True20: If you like Arthur, and you like True20, you'll love this.
  • Two Worlds Tabletop RPG (Hardcover): This is a tiny hardcover the size of a XBox 360 case and is a book Chris and I did for the Two Worlds computer game. These game with the deluxe edition of the game.
  • Other Stuff: In addition to the books above that I wrote, I have other early RPGObjects books in which I have editorial credits including, Darwin's World 1e, Terrors of the Twisted Earth 1e and Metal Gods 1e, as well as a book where I have a creative director credit, Modern Backdrops.
  • I'll throw these in with donations on request. Some of these are really, really bogarted for some reason and are the worst of the lot condition-wise, but they're throw-ins anyway. Just be aware that for some reason, some of these seem to have been unintentionally whammied to heck and back.
So, 40 dollars (a bit more for folks outside the US) gets you one of these, while supplies last, autographed along the inside cover by me, with a little note giving my thoughts on the book.

I'll be handling the shipping directly, which is why I have to ask a bit more for folks outside the US.

I don't delude myself into thinking these are worth anything more than cover price but I need some cash to help with the move, especially since I'm not going to be able to take any of my furniture with me and I figured this was a good way to show my appreciation to folks who were willing to help me get a furniture fund together.


Thursday, October 07, 2010

Battlescenes: Undead Stormtroopers for ICONS

That's right, the fall of ICONS-y supers-y goodness from Vigilance Press continues with Battlescenes: Undead Stormtroopers!

What's more guilt free than killing Nazis? Why killing Nazis that are already dead of course!

As the Allies close in from the East and West, Nazi mad scientists and cultists at Castle Grunerwald have unlocked dark secrets and are raising undead legions to save the Reich from its enemies.

Can your heroes storm Castle Grunerwald, thwart the Nazis and bring their unholy experiments to an end?

The Undead Stormtroopers of Gr├╝nerwald! is a Battle Scene; a fleshed out adventure hook. It provides enemies, an expanded plot hook and advice on running the scenario. It's designed for short, frantic, fun play sessions.

Pick it up here!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Pearl Harbor December, Villains of WWII for ICONS

We have driven your navy from the seas. We have seized all strategic points to allow us to project power over waters that will belong to us for 1,000 years. Soon, we will unite Asia and the South Pacific into a Co-Prosperity Sphere. And we know of the force you are training, the so-called Vigilance Force.

Do not bring this force, or any of your ships into the Pacific or they will be destroyed. We are: Desumasuku, Ikkitousen, Kaibutsu, Katanamochi, Kogoejini and Kojiki.. We are your American Nightmare. We are Shinjuwan Juunigatsu. Pearl Harbor December.

Message delivered to the Top Secret Tuskeegee Superhuman Testing and Training Range, home of the United States Headquarters for Emergency Response, December 8th, 1941.

This character folio for ICONS details the Japanese villains of World War 2.

Buy it here, buy it now.

Night Ride Part 1

Night Ride Part 1 “Look, Pa, it’s my turn. Also, Nana is having one of her spells again and she has no idea who I am when she gets this w...