Writing Update – January

The Traitor and the Thief

The manuscript for The Traitor and the Thief is almost done! I’ve made some great progress on the book, though I did discover a problem that required me to go back and rework a couple of earlier chapters. However, I expect that I’ll have the draft completed by the end of the month.

I’m very excited to see this one done and off to editing.

Short Stories

I had to unexpectedly change plans last month with my free short story. I ran into a snag with the originally-planned Kaus Kagunvar story, and replaced it with a different story, Unhidden.

I’m going to be holding off on The Broken Temple of Yinak for a bit. I want the first Kaus Kagunvar story to be something special, and I need the time to do it justice. Since I’m so focused on completing The Traitor and the Thief at this point, I don’t think I can commit the necessary brain-space to this story at this time.

So this month’s story is going to be another fairly short one. I don’t have a name yet—I’m still trying to come up with something appropriate—so I’ll just say it’s another story set in the Undying Empire and leave it at that.

Tales of the Undying Empire

My plans for the Tales of the Undying Empire Omnibus have been slightly derailed. I had some difficulty with the files for the Kindle version, and I’m working through those. I’m not going to make another release date commitment at this time. I’ll just announce it here and on Twitter when it’s ready to be released.

One More Project

So, almost two years ago, my son asked me to write a story for him. And the result was a 60-thousand-word story that I tentatively called Origin. It’s a story for kids of 10-12 years of age. I read it to my son, and since then it has been sitting on my hard drive and I’ve done nothing with it.

I’ve come to the decision that I am going to release it, once I have time. Needless to say, getting this one out is not a top priority.

Basically, my plans (in order) are:

  • Complete the manuscript for The Traitor and the Thief.
  • Get the Tales of the Undying Empire Omnibus out on Kindle.
  • Complete the Kaus Kagunvar story, The Broken Temple of Yinak.
  • See what needs to be done to Origin (or whatever I eventually choose to name it) to get it ready for publishing.
  • Get working on The Revenant and the Reaper, the conclusion to the Undying Empire: Rebellion trilogy.

So I wouldn’t expect to see Origin until much later in the year. But if it generates enough interest, I might just be interested in doing more of them.

That’s it for this month. It’s time for me to get back to writing!

7th Sea Second Edition

As mentioned before, I’m an avid player of pen-and-paper roleplaying games. I’ve been playing for 35 years, and have at least tried well over a hundred different games at this point.

Because I’m a natural storyteller, I’ve always been interested in games that really work to emulate the feel of the fiction that I read or watch. Games that focus on the minutia of exact distances, specific pieces of gear, or perfect physics don’t tend to interest me that much.

Which leads me to the new edition of the 7th Sea roleplaying game. You may have already heard about the Kickstarter that launched this game, being that it is the most successful Kickstarter for a roleplaying game project ever.

(As an aside, those who claim that RPGs are dead need to take a look at this Kickstarter. More than eleven thousand people raised more than $1.3 million dollars for a single RPG. Yeah, sounds dead to me.)

I’ve had the digital version of the core rules for some time now, and I’ve read it from end-to-end, and then reread parts that I wanted to understand/absorb better. I haven’t had a chance to actually run the game yet—but I’m hoping that this will happen fairly soon.

But my initial reaction is that this is a game written by people who know and understand the source material, and the rules support providing such an experience for the players.

Let’s be honest, the swashbuckling genre isn’t constrained by physics. Someone jumping from a balcony to grab a chandelier and swing across a room to a window ledge doesn’t want to deal with exact distances. If you’re playing such a game, do you really want to have to make a Jump check, figure out if you managed to jump the correct distance to grab the chandelier, then make another jump check at the other end of the swing to reach the window ledge, and then perhaps make a balance check to spin around and drop a witty one-liner before your exit?

Well, maybe you do. If so, there are plenty of games that will give you that experience. This one definitely won’t.

Characters in 7th Sea are competent from the beginning. The rolls don’t determine pass/fail. Rather, the rolls determine how much you can accomplish in a particular amount of time. Sometimes you’ll be under threat of attack, trying to escape, and also want to grab the papers detailing the secret alliance between two nefarious villains. And you’ll only roll well enough to accomplish two of those three goals.

Which two do you choose to accomplish? Do you escape with the papers but take an injury on your way out? Do you escape unharmed but leave the papers behind? Or do you grab the papers and avoid the wounds, but find yourself surrounded and captured?

This is the kind of thing that happens regularly in stories of that genre, and the new game captures it beautifully.

Now, the game isn’t perfect by any means. There are little things here and there that I might have done differently. But that’s fine—there is no perfect game. And John Wick himself encourages that approach in the actual book.

I’m hoping to get a chance to run this over the next couple of months and see how it plays in real life. But so far, I’m pretty happy with the game I bought.

If you’re interested, there are many reviews that go into a lot more detail than I’m including here. And the PDF of the core rules is only $25 at Drivethrurpg.

Once I get a game in, I’ll write up my thoughts (and perhaps a bit of an Actual Play) and post it here.

What about you? What do you think of the new 7th Sea game? Let me know in the comments.