Thursday, April 26, 2018

Book of Demons: using symbols from @GameIcons

In the last chapter of Book of Demons, Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan wrote some deceptively calm text describing things that can be found in the Citadel of the Diabolist. I loved his understated approach to iconic horrors, and realized that using a traditional illustration style wouldn't fit. Instead, I decided to try understated silhouette-style symbols to maintain the contrast.

I asked layout artist Badger McInnes to play symbol-artist, but before Badger started, ASH LAW pointed me towards the treasure trove of Creative Commons symbols made available by @game-icons/. They're up to over 3300 symbols tailored for gaming, wonderful stuff for both published games and prototypes.

The site is searchable with tags and it was no problem to find ten symbols that worked by Lorc and Delapouite. Badger slightly modified the symbols, we handled the Creative Commons licensing text in the credits, and you can find them on page 103 of Book of Demons. Here's a snippet of the page with Gareth's text and three of the symbols . . . .

My stupid mistake was that I miscounted and only credited them with nine symbols. I left the Cultist icon by Lorc out of my count, the symbol just above. We ended up using ten symbols from game-icons, not nine. I didn't discover the error until I was writing this blog post and realized I wasn't going to be able to simply recommend the game-icons site, I also need to apologize for screwing up the count.

Apology: I apologize. I got confused. Gosh darn demon cultists.

Recommendation: Game-icons is a wonderfully useful site. Follow them on twitter at @gameicons. Design a game about prehistory because they just uploaded wonderful prehistoric icons. Have fun!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Interviews & Lists

broo minis painted by Richard Bark, octorilla/walktapus mini from when Jonathan and I designed Dreamblade

I've done a few interviews in the last couple weeks, two about 13th Age Glorantha and one about monster design.

JM, Mark, and Nick's Iconic podcast on all things 13th Age-related has started up for a second season! Jonathan Tweet and I were guests for the first episode. We started by discussing the biggest design challenge we faced on 13G: fitting everything into a 190 page book. (Spoiler: we failed!) Our hosts were funny and fun and I'm looking forward to joining them again some time.

Also in the world of radio podcasting, The RevEnFuego interviewed me about 13th Age Glorantha for a BJ Shea's Geek Nation segment. Unlike the Iconic trio, the Rev wasn't familiar with Glorantha before he got hold of 13G, so we started with some of the runic, mythic, and Staffordian basics. As with the Iconic chat, we eventually landed among ducks. Along the way we talked a lot about 13G classes like the trickster that might also be used in 13th Age games that aren't set in Glorantha.

That was also the subject of a column I wrote for the Pelgrane Press website, New 13th Age Classes: A Swordmaster & an Earth Priestess Walk into the Dragon Empire. Originally I was going to write about all the new classes in 13G, but I opted to go in-depth into two (Humakti and earth priestess) as examples of what's possible.

Meanwhile in a text interview that had nothing to do with ducks, but one good question about Glorantha, Phil Pepin of High Level Games asked me questions about monster design, including a question that led back to designing miniatures games at WotC. That ties nicely into the miniature photographed above, a walktapus-by-another-name that Jonathan and I made as part of a Dreamblade set while at WotC.

Another thing we took along with us from WotC was a fondness for the OGL. We used it for 13th Age so that other people could create compatible products with the system and I enjoyed Wade Rockett's recent round-up of notable books compatible with 13th Age published by third-party publishers. There's a lot of great stuff here, and it didn't mention some of the cooler free stuff, like Tim Baker's Escalation fanzine.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

13th Age Glorantha: Delicious (to Trolls)

Of the little things I like about our 13th Age Glorantha book, one of the silliest is how pages 347 and 348 look like they've been eaten by moths. It’s the o Darkness section of our runic geography chapter. o Darkness is the rune of the trolls, and trolls a) eat anything; and b) herd giant insects. So it always makes me happy that pages devoted to troll territories look like they’ve been nibbled by bugs!

But did I say this was silly? It’s not really. It’s the kind of thing Greg Stafford planned when he envisioned Glorantha’s runes. It’s more cosmic than it is accident.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Heinsoo: Rainbow over the Wine-Zoo

How do you pronounce my last name? Yes, you, the reader, the comrade sharing this line.

If you pronounce the first syllable to rhyme with ‘wine’ and the second syllable to room with ‘zoo,’ you’re agreeing with nearly all English speakers. Well, American-speakers, at least.

If you pronounce the first syllable to rhyme with ‘rain’ and the second syllable to rhyme with ‘bow,’ you’re either Estonian (or maybe Finnish or Dutch), a member of my circle of family or friends with a good ear for language, or someone who has had me correct you two or three times already.

My wife Lisa (not a Heinsoo, by the way, she has a very cool name of her own that’s marginally easier to pronounce) advises me to give it up, and just let people pronounce my name the way they’re going to read it, because come on, who am I kidding? She’s probably right. When Shane Ivey of Arc Dream asked me last week about the pronunciation of my name for the upcoming Wrestlenomicon Kickstarter video, I could have let the original wine-zoo pronunciation roll. Because really, I don’t care if people say my name wrong. 

I just can’t bring myself to ignore our Estonian selves, not when I say my own name, or when someone asks. Who would I be if I’d grown up with a name that other people could pronounce properly? Maybe less of an unusual person, I say, being polite.. I suspect I wouldn’t be me, not in some odd ways that matter.

So it’s OK if you pronounce the name of my company to rhyme with Rob Wine-Zoo Games. I don’t mind, I expect it. But if you hear me talking, I’ll continue to rhyme my name with rainbow. And in honor of that pronunciation, here are four beautiful color treatments Lee Moyer (rhyme scheme starts with Wheee!) created of the logo for the new company, and two black and white versions like the one that appears on the cover of 13th Age Glorantha.