Press Release: New Shotguns & SorceryTM RPG to Feature MCG Cypher SystemTM
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SUMMARY: Matt Forbeck’s upcoming Shotguns & SorceryTM roleplaying game will be the first to license the new Cypher SystemTM from Monte Cook Games. The innovative tabletop game will be funded through Kickstarter beginning Tuesday, November 18th.
TOPEKA, KS, NOVEMBER 15, 2014, — Monte Cook Games, LLC, is pleased to share in the announcement that the new Shotguns & SorceryTM roleplaying game is the first to license the Cypher SystemTM. The Cypher System is best known as the game engine behind Numenera and The Strange. Monte Cook Games developed the new rulebook to be used with unlimited settings. “We’re really excited to share in this announcement and help unveil the Shotguns & Sorcery RPG to the world,” said Charles Ryan, COO of Monte Cook Games. “The team Outland has put together—particularly Matt, Jeremy, and Rob Schwalb, who’s done excellent work for us on Numenera, is going to result in a creative and wonderfully fleshed-out realization of the S&S world, and we’re really proud to see it powered by the Cypher System!”
The Shotguns & Sorcery roleplaying game is based on the acclaimed fantasy noir series by Matt Forbeck. The award-winning author partnered with Jeremy Mohler of Outland Entertainment to adapt the novels into an RPG setting. “I couldn’t be more thrilled to be able to use the Cypher System for our game,” Mohler said. “MCG is known for the quality of their games, and we’re honored to be one of the first to develop a game using their amazing rules system.
Robert J. Schwalb is the game designer for Shotguns & Sorcery. He is a writer in the roleplaying game industry best known for his work on Dungeons & Dragons, A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying, and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. Schwalb recently expressed his enthusiasm for the new roleplaying game. “I’m super excited to be working on this project. Not only am I a big fan of Monte Cook’s Cypher System, I also adore the world Matt Forbeck created.”
For more information about the new Shotguns & Sorcery roleplaying game, see the original announcement, check out the Kickstarter preview to launch on Tuesday, November 18th, or visit Forbeck.com and outlandentertainment.com.
So, things have been quiet the last few weeks in regard to Shotguns & Sorcery. However, that’s not because we haven’t been working!
I’ve spent the last three or four weeks working on the drawing for the cover of the RPG. It’s a big image, planned as a wrap-around cover, and measuring around 23″x18.5″. So, it’s a large, involved image. I’m currently working on the colors and I expect to have those wrapped up sometime toward the end of this week or over the weekend.
I had a lot of fun with this and I think it shows! I also hope this shows how much fun I’m going to have illustrating the whole book. I can’t wait to really dig in!
We’re getting really close to the Kickstarter. In fact, I expect we’ll be launching sometime mid-week next week – we’ve just been working out some final details and I’m excited about some things happening behind the scenes, which I’ll talk more about closer to the launch of the Kickstarter.
In the meantime, I hope you guys dig the cover! I’ll be premiering the colors when we launch the Kickstarter!
Here is a cover I completed for Kraig Dafoe’s latest novel, Skorch, earlier this year.
It was a fun piece to do – I don’t often get asked to just do images like this with a single figure and a fairly uncomplicated background. Though, perhaps that’s partially my own fault for making many images more complicated than they need to be, I dunno. Anyway, I think the most fun I had with this piece was the background, which admittedly, isn’t that abnormal. Especially when it comes to drawing nature, which I love.
Part of the fun is doing the research and looking at all these inspiring images of forests – I take a lot of inspiration from nature and I absolutely love doing pieces that have trees, rocks, leaves, etc.
Below are my initial sketches, the drawing, and the final with type.
You can see that this went through a variety of different approaches until we landed on something the client liked. Personally, I would have loved to do the second background with the twisted up old forest with mossy rocks, but ultimately, it didn’t fit the material as well. With that said, I do really like how the trees, vines, and leaves in the final turned out. And over all, I’m pretty darn happy with the colors.
I’m also not a designer myself and I always feel a little nervous about sending something out that I set the type on. It’s nothing too fancy and the client was happy, so at least there’s that!
It’s been a year or two ago at this point, and I don’t recall exactly how we connected. Whether it was through an ad I answered online or if he found us, we’ve now worked on several projects with Martin Smith of Attackosaur Comics.
Martin has not only been a pleasure to work with in both instances, he’s also an extremely talented writer and designer. His stories are pretty fun and tend to be short, self-contained books, which I think is great. He’s not weighed down with trying to stretch a story out over a long period of time and he can release each book all at once. I think that’s a great way to self-publish comics and I love the fact that you can pick up the book and get a full story.
If you would like to read more about the project and see more samples of the artwork we completed, please head over here or check it out on our portfolio page!
The next character in the series is Moira, the halfling.
Moira, like all the characters Matt writes, has a lot of personality. And I had a lot of fun with this character – in particular, I felt that the way her hair is tied up turned out really well. I sort of stumbled on that, which is part of the fun of art in general – the happy mistakes. The various pouches and belts are always a lot of fun as well.
Below are two versions – the initial sketch and then the final. As you can see, there wasn’t a great deal of edits. I believe in the final version, we wanted to make her seem a little more worn out and tired from the drug use she goes through in the series.
More art to come in the next weeks!
So the next in the line of art generated for the Shotguns & Sorcery project is one of the assassin’s of the Black Hand. I had fun designing this fellow.
These guys are supposed to be some of the most deadly and dangerous groups in the series. I loved designing the ninja gear and the slightly different weapon designs – I picture everything a dark grey or black, including the weapons and gloves. The tattoo on his arm was also fun to create – I wanted to try to generate a sort of refined roughness to them. That sense of implied danger. I’m not entirely sure I managed to pull it off, but I tried!
You’ll see that we went through several revisions. My initial impulse was to make it clear that these were orcs. Hard to do that when you cover the face. But, leaving the face uncovered sort of went counter to the essence of these characters and ultimately, Matt suggested that we cover there faces. He was right – I think he seems more dangerous with the cover over his face. Of course, I liked the orc face I drew! It was hard to erase it!
When I get to the colors, I think I’ll make the orcs have yellow eyes – the yellow against the black could look pretty good, I think.
Hope you like it! There will be more characters and artwork forthcoming!
When we were initially putting the Shotguns & Sorcery project together as an enhanced ebook through Noble Beast (and before I broke my hand), I worked closely with Matt Forbeck to put together a variety of the major players in the novels. These were a lot of fun! There is a lot of character in the different…characters. And being able to blend some interesting noir elements with fantasy elements made things interesting.
First up is the main character, Max –
These went through several revisions, as you can see above. My initial design didn’t have a fedora, which I think adds a lot to the design. He also had a tattoo on one arm, which we ultimately dropped. I also think one of my favorite elements is the holster for his wand! Fun details.
Next is Belle –
Belle went through a more drastic change. We decided that the first design didn’t quite have the right look or attitude. She wasn’t elegant or confident enough, which I definitely think I managed to work out in the subsequent character drawings.
I’m definitely looking forward to drawing these characters more!
More characters next week!
2013 saw a lot of work for Th3rd World Studios, from the Orange Man + Orange Woman material, to The Mortal Instruments, and the Aegisteel project. Another project I did for them was an alternate cover for their book, Finding Gossamyr.
I love doing covers, but traditionally, I get asked to do work that is pretty involved with landscapes and complicated backgrounds. And don’t get me wrong, I really love doing that kind of work, but I rarely get a chance to just do an action piece. So, when Mike Devito approached me about doing an alternate cover for one of their books, I thought this would be a great opportunity to do something a little different!
Below you can see the process – the initial layout, the finished pencils, and the final color work.
Not only did I have a lot of fun with the action in this piece, but I also enjoyed drawing the creatures. I don’t believe I’d ever actually drawn a rhinoceros before, so researching those and trying to convert them into these rock-like creatures was a blast. I absolutely fell in love with how craggy and wrinkled a rhino is.
Anyway, it was a fun project to be involved in! The book is a lot of fun too, so be sure to check it out!
I come across many up-and-coming artists and students who are worried about posting their work online.
They’re afraid that somebody is going to either steal their ideas or their work. While it does happen, it’s not nearly as widespread as people think. Personally, I’ve been posting my work online since I was 16 or 17. I’m 35 now and I’ve never, at least to my knowledge, had any artwork or ideas stolen.
I’m here to encourage you to post your work online. Post your work everywhere, in fact! You want to get your work out there. You want people to start associating your work with your name. Only good things can come of it.
Still worried about theft? Read on:
- Protect yourself by posting lower res images. Simply don’t post high resolution, print quality (300 dpi or dots-per-inch) images online. Use 72 dpi images, which are standard for viewing on the web. These don’t print well at all; they look pixelated and ugly. An art thief would have to be very committed and talented to convert a 72 dpi image found online into something salable.
- The world is full of ideas. The odds of anybody trying to steal your specific idea are pretty low. As artists, we have to let go of the conceit that our ideas are completely unique. There are projects in development right now that are pretty similar to the ones you’re working on. Don’t worry. They won’t turn out the same.
- Furthermore, while your art may inspire others, it’s highly unlikely that anyone else will want to put in the effort it takes to develop your ideas into fully finished works. Everyone has their own ideas to develop. If you’re worried about it, try to relax. If you continue to worry about it, just avoid posting a lot of supplemental material about your story or idea. Stick to posting specific, unconnected pieces from each project so you don’t reveal the whole picture.
- Whatever happens, you own the original. Whether it’s created using traditional or digital media, you can prove to a court of law that you are the creator. That always puts my mind at ease.
I’m not saying that nobody steals art or ideas. It happens. But you’ll find that the community is small and word spreads quickly if someone is ripping off other artists. Artists tend to protect their own because we all know what it takes to create something. We don’t tolerate stealing.
So please, don’t hesitate to post your work online. Start now. The sooner the better.
Check back next week, where I’ll discuss in more detail why it’s so important to post online and provide a list of places to start posting. Thanks for reading!