Bow Before The PANTHEON

Turns on lights. Taps mic. “Hello? Is anyone still here?”

The end of 2018 was one bitch of a ride. I finished my schooling, changed jobs and started writing RPG material again. In all that mess, this blog got lost — but never forgotten! Now that I have settled into work, school is over (FOREVER!) and I have found a groove with game writing, I hope to get back to this. It’s been too long since I have yelled into the void just to hear my own echo.

 

The first new business of 2019 is The Savage Sign. It is a quarterly publication for Sigil Entertainment  full of all kinds of wonderful goodies for the Savage Worlds RPG system. The Savage Sign is in the middle of a Kickstarter right now to fund its first issue. Go have a look! Among other things, and with plenty of help from some very talented designers, editors, writers and artists, I have been creating the super hero setting Pantheon. The setting is inspired by the work of my favorite comic book creators, including Warren Ellis, Mark Waid, Grant Morrison and Kurt Busiek. It is four color heroics in a world full of secrets. And like any good comic book story, it won’t be done in one. We plan to support and expand PANTHEON all through the year, leading to something big in 2020.

 

Expect to hear more about this project as time goes on, as well as some other cool super hero stuff I have in the works.

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Strange Arcana: The Stars are Right

About a year ago, I wrote a little post about Superman versus Cthulhu.  It was not merely an idle musing on how to marry the bright four color world of superheroics and the hopeless ennui of eldritch horror — it was the thesis for my work on the Strange Arcana universe from Sigil Entertainment and Aaron Acevedo. At the time, I was seriously considering doing some RPG self publishing and knew I would need some art for any such project. I tossed out a call on Facebook to get recommendations for royalty free art. Aaron, with whom I had worked in writing a story for his Maelstrom fiction anthology, suggested we team up and the rest is history. Strange History, in fact.

 

I did my first professional RPG writing for White Wolf Publishing (who didn’t, right?) on the kitchen sink, dialed-up-to-eleven epic fantasy RPG Exalted. Later I did some work for the d20 reboot of the famous post apocalyptic science fantasy game Gamma World. Unfortunately, real life got in the way when my kids arrived and I could not sustain a freelance RPG career. I always missed it, though, and when Aaron proposed an opportunity to get back into that world, I was ecstatic. And terrified.

 

It wasn’t easy. Writing for games is entirely different than writing fiction, and I had spend the intervening years focusing on fiction in hopes of one day Making It Big. (Spoiler alert: I am still hoping.) What was originally supposed to be a short turn around job has become a year long odyssey through this world of super heroes and malevolent forces. While the idea and the world belong entirely to Aaron, I feel a sense of kinship with the world we have developed. Both super heroes and Lovecraftian monsters are easily misused — both are subject to tired tropes and cliched stories. But I think our little team, which has grown well beyond Aaron and I, has found a way to make both new and fresh while simultaneously creating a world that blends the two and is more than the sum of its parts.

Strange Arcana: The Stars are Right is only the first piece of that world we want to share with you. It is a fiction anthology, culminating in a beautifully illustrated comic book, that introduces the weird world and strange heroes. It will be followed in early 2017 with the Strange Arcana RPG for Savage Worlds (and, if we hit our goals, hopefully Mutants and Masterminds and FATE as well!) and, we hope anyway, a long line of support.

I love fantasy and I love post apocalypse and I love cosmic horror, but no genre hits all the cylinders for me like comic book super heroes. It draws on all the genres we love and at the same time remakes them. And more than any other genre, it demands complex characters — those secret identities, love interests and recurring villains are there for a reason, after all. With the infusion of its own take on eldritch horror (far more than a simple Lovecraft retread) Strange Arcana promises to reinvent the super hero genre for years to come.

 

Get in on the ground floor. Back Strange Arcana: The Stars are Right Kickstarter. I guarantee that by the time you finish the anthology you will be clamoring for more.