Inclusion in RPGs

First off, spreading the Kickstarter love: Heartbreak and Heroines, a fantasy RPG specifically designed (in the words of the author) to be much more inclusive:

Heartbreak & Heroines is first and foremost a fantasy adventure game. It’s not preachy and it isn’t a textbook about feminism, but it’s written from a feminist point of view. It challenges some of our assumptions about the role of gender in gaming but at the heart of H&H, it’s about being a heroine (or hero) and finding your way to happiness in a dangerous world.

I think that this is great, a laudable goal, and also pretty much exactly why Kickstarter exists. Come up with an artistic project concept, tell people about it, and get the project funded if enough people are interested.

So naturally, there is a 200+ message thread on RPGnet, bitching about it. Now, to be fair, most of those messages are in defense of the project (or at the very least “WTF”-ing the detractors) — but still. The “conserva-gamer-libertarian-anti-‘political-correctness’-warrior” stereotype is out in FULL BLOOM, kids. Because making an effort at inclusion? “Extreme.” “Silly.” “Insulting.” “Condescending.”

I pledged just because they pissed me off. I want to see this game funded because it will stick in their craw like the ashes of defeat.

When the thread started, I saw that the designer had only raised $300 or so. She’s asking for $3K. I’m pleased to report that it’s almost to $1K now, less than a day later — and the Kickstarter runs for another 29 days. So please, consider chucking a pledge their way.

Couple of things:

1st, it seems that the original poster also has a problem with what he calls “the Kickstarter Gold-Rush” — I’ve seen him bitch elsewhere, terming it “the money-grab”, etc. The less-socialized corners of the geek community has always had a problem with people obviously enjoying something that they don’t, and therefore railing against it with as much vitriol as they can muster. Kickstarter must really push that button even harder, because the enjoyment of others now has a visible dollar-value tagged to it, making it more of an incitement to rage to these folks.

To which I say: Fuck you, grow up.

People like things you don’t, and sometimes they ‘like’ with money. Nothing to bitch about here (without waving the “I have problems with mature interactions in public” flag wildly, at least).

Second: Inclusion? Important. Just as important to those of us who have chosen not to make it an explicitly-stated mission statement of a project, in fact. I draw your attention to the artwork that we’ve presented from Far West:


We didn’t come right out and say it. We were sneaky. But everything we’ve done, we’ve done for a reason.

(So I guess now the Usual Suspects will grouse about our ‘political correctness’ and give us an upward spike in pledges, too!)

What’s Up, Gareth?

Seriously need to kick myself into regular updates of this thing. Easier, I think, once I finish the redesign.

So what’s been going on in my world recently? First of all, The Far West Kickstarter proceeds apace. We’re about 30 minutes shy of our first full week, and we’re over 200% funded. $10.3K, with another 5 weeks to go. We’ve passed our second goal (10K), which means that all backers are now getting the LEGENDS OF THE FAR WEST supplement (which will be exclusive to the Kickstarter — never to appear for sale in any other venue).

We’ve also set the next goal ($13.5K), and if we hit that, all backers will receive the first in the FAR WEST fiction line as an ebook, Kindle edition, or PDF. The line will launch in December with TALES OF THE FAR WEST, an anthology featuring folks like Tessa Gratton, Aaron Rosenberg, Chuck Wendig, Will Hindmarch, Dave Gross, and more. If you’re a writer, and I know you or your work, feel free to drop me a line — we’re always looking for a good penslinger.

Made the big announcement over at the Adamant site just now: We’re doing the Buckaroo Banzai Adventure Game, coming in Spring of 2012. Another one of my dream projects, crossed off the list. 15-year-old me is ecstatic. If I can eventually work on JAMES BOND or STAR WARS, I’ll have no worlds left to conquer.

We’ve got a gorgeous cover by the massively brilliant sci-fi/fantasy illustrator Dave Dorman, which you can see in its mock-up form over there at the right.

Semi-related (at least in the sense of late-period pulp), I stumbled across a gem during a visit to Half Price books this weekend. Dovetails with last year’s post that I did on ePulp — my idea that the adventure “trash paperback” could make a comeback in ebooks — something I plan to move towards once Adamant gets its Kindle legs under it a bit more firmly. Sure enough, I found one of the books whose image appeared as an example in that story (reproduced at left): BLACK SAMURAI #6: THE WARLOCK!

Seriously, folks — this thing is like a Greatest Hits package of early-to-mid-70s pop cultural crazes: Blaxploitaton, Martial Arts and Satanic Horror. Listen to the back-cover copy:

The Warlock ruled an occult empire that stretched around the world. This evil genius giant of a man with his slavelike army of hideous killer dwarfs, gorgeous women, sadistic perverts, and all the other devotees of his devil-worshipping religion now reached out to grasp ultimate power over all the nations of the earth. Satan was in the saddle and was riding mankind to doom — and only Robert Sand, Black Samurai, could hope to exorcise this monstrous threat, or else himself be thrown screaming into the bottomless put of soul-destroying pain and body-mangling death….

The Black Samurai tangles with a human Satan in a hellish den of torrid sex and deadly violence!

HOLY CRAP. How could I not get it?

Plus, it’s got that disintegrating-pulp-paper smell, which is like crack to me. Sweet, sweet crack.

So that’s what’s going on my world. I live an interesting life.

Fastest Gun In the FAR WEST

Wow, do I feel sheepish.

The Kickstarter for FAR WEST went live yesterday, and I completely forgot to mention it here… and reached it’s minimum funding goal in only fifteen hours!

As with usual for Kickstarters, of course, it stays open and accepts further bids above that total — so the push now is to try to see how much we can raise. The more we raise, the more we can do…. I would love if we come anywhere near the 25K-ish figure that Daniel Solis and Co. managed with Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple. I try to be a curmudgeonly cynic — but a small part of my brain is now whispering to me that it might be possible.
Check out the promotional video (and feel free to spread it around — I’m really quite proud of it):

You can visit the Kickstarter by clicking on the link below the video, or by following this link.

In the meantime, I’ll be over here — hitting “refresh” on my browser and trying desperately to wrap my brain around just how drastically business models have now changed for creatives. I was intellectually aware of it before, but I’ve gotta tell ya: Actually doing it, and seeing the result? Mind-blowing.