So, I just wrapped up revisions of my sections of the new Demon core book. I’m really excited to see how this game is received. I’ve played tabletop RPGs since I was a boy, and seeing my name listed in the credits as a writer for games I enjoy running and playing never gets old. The extra income is nice, too – helps pay for the awesome cover art on our novels.
I also volunteered to run some of the early playtests – four sessions that start out as an espionage-ish murder mystery and wind up as an action movie. Despite some mechanical hiccups here and there, the story unfolded quite satisfactorily. I took some time writing up the events of each session, the first two of which are available on the Demon blog here and here. I’ll be writing up the other two sessions soon. My deadline for final drafts was yesterday, and given the choice between a hard deadline and a “whenever I get around to it” deadline, I have to serve the more demanding master. I’ve gotten some good response to the posts so far, and I hope to write up one or both of the remaining sessions some time this week.
Speaking of freelance assignments, it looks like The God-Machine Chronicles will be coming out very soon. The weekly Onyx Path blog post says it is at Drive-Thru RPG for file review, so hopefully that means any day now. When I got the assignment to write a short story for The God-Machine Chronicle Anthology, I really had no idea how deep the conceptual rabbit hole was supposed to go. In my day job I am in essence a bureaucrat. My decision to take a personal interest in helping someone or to refuse to take a problem seriously has the potential to save or destroy someone’s financial stability for months or years. So when Matt McFarland came to me with the premise that an indifferent machine secretly manipulates many people and events in the world in order to achieve a goal that was beyond the capacity of the human mind to understand, I immediately latched onto the idea of a guy working a boring desk job who discovered that a seemingly innocuous action he took resulted in dozens of entirely preventable deaths. Worse, he had come to the conclusion that someone or something had planned for those people to die and used him to execute its will.
I swear I don’t hate my job, but it has certainly made me aware of how little mistakes and acts of indifference can add up to catastrophe weeks or months later. They say that when we write horror we often to go the well of things that scare the ever-living piss out of us, and maybe I’m weird, but the idea of someone with supernatural foresight exploiting the tiny lapses in judgment all humans have to visit terrible fates on innocent people is kind of terrifying as far as I’m concerned.
What is next on my agenda? Well, the playtest logs are a part of the short-term stuff. While I can work on two projects simultaneously, I find it a lot easier to focus on a project if I can mentally clear my plate of every other project already on it. Getting Demon out of my brain is an essential step toward getting back to work on Nosamae Ascending edits, which I’ll admit have gotten subsumed by other responsibilities at home, at work, and at freelance assignment. Beth and William are going out of town this weekend (Beth is performing at No Brand Con in her home town), but I still have to file taxes and do some other essential errands before I can take full advantage of that whiff of freedom from parenting responsibilities.
Looking back on the last nine months, I’ve done a lot of writing-related work. More than 50,000 words of it was paid freelance assignments, and it isn’t as if I’ve done nothing on Nosamae Ascending (75% of a final draft, less copy edits) or How I Destroyed Civilization (60,000 words). But it never feels like enough. There is always more work to do. That’s not a complaint, either. Writing is my passion, and anything that gives me a reasonable excuse to engage in its pursuit feeds my soul and fills my heart with song.