Shotguns & Sorcery RPG: Robert Schwalb’s Journey

Shotguns & Sorcery RPG: Robert Schwalb’s Journey

Matt Forbeck already enlightened us on his latest interview, but we also wanted to hear directly from the other man of the RPG game: Robert Schwalb.

Forbeck & Schwalb have worked closely to finish the first of the S&S RPG manuscript. With around 180,000 words and a little over 300 pages long it seems it’ll be one of the biggest game books of the year.

Let’s find out what they’ve exactly been up to while working for the upcoming Roleplaying Game based on Forbeck’s IP Shotguns & Sorcery.

 

How was it to integrate the Cypher System™ seamlessly with the S&S setting?

It was a whole lot of fun to be honest! As my fourth RPG adaptation of fiction to game material, the process was really comfortable and made easier having Matt just an email a way to answer all my finicky questions. Plus, Cypher is a flexible game engine and can handle a wide range of stories, so that was a benefit.

 

Was it an organic process?

To some extent, yes. The novels have a some strong world-building elements, but they are short, so we inferred a lot about the world from the books and Matt filled in a lot of the blanks. As far as adapting the game system, we didn’t have to make many significant changes. Cypher uses a universal mechanic for dealing with narrative complications, regardless of what those complications are.

 

Was it more difficult to adapt an already existing IP into the rules of the RPG universe or is it the same as when you start a game from scratch?

I wouldn’t say it’s more difficult. Rather, it’s a different kind of difficult. Building a game from the ground up presents its own challenges—you have to nail down the kinds of stories you want to tell, the stakes involved, and build the system to meet the story’s needs or build the story to match the game system as in the case of original creations bolted on to an existing game system. With fiction adaptation, the author creates a world without thought given to game balance or telling stories outside the story involving the protagonists. So the challenge really is to look at the world around the protagonists and find stories and characters that could exist within the same story and then building the game for them.

System work is also tricky since the objective is to match the mechanics to the narrative. For example, the novels show a wide range of magical effects, from enchanted bullets to nets of blue magical energy that catch falling people to astral projection. The characters in the book don’t “grow” into these things. Rather, they just have them. While Cypher does not place an emphasis on growing one’s individual power, it does feature a system of Tier advancement and from those tiers, characters gain additional benefits and options. It was a bit difficult pinning certain effects found in the story to particular tiers and/or character building blocks such as focus and descriptor, but it wasn’t an insurmountable difficulty.

 

What exactly was your job on this specific part of this big venture?

It was my job to put the Cypher System through its paces, bending and adapting the core rules to fit the needs of the game and to create new mechanical content to help players and GMs express the story in play. Sometimes, I took existing mechanical content from the Cypher System rulebook and embedded them in new story wrappers. Others, I rebuilt certain rules to make them more suitable for Shotguns & Sorcery. And I also spent a great deal of time creating new content for the game, such as new horrible creature, descriptors, cyphers, and more.

 

What was the biggest challenge or even obstacle you found?

Shotguns & Sorcery places a considerable amount of importance on race and the tensions of disparate peoples forced to live together under the tyrannical reign of the Dragon Emperor. As the Cypher System doesn’t sweat race/ancestry/people/whatever too much—though there are guidelines in the Cypher System Rulebook—I had to find a way to make the race choice important within the system’s framework. After four or five attempts, I finally settled on extracting a few game elements granted by type and presenting them in a second adjectival choice point called race. This approach allows race a greater impact on how characters take shape and helps differentiate characters who share the same type.

 

Did the results so far assume the form you wanted?

Oh yes! I’m quite happy with how the game turned out and I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing it in its final form.

 

What is it that you’re most looking forward to show the audience as soon as the RPG is available?

Fans of the novels are going to find out so much more information in this game and Matt added a lot of detail to Dragon City, which really brings the place to life. I’m just excited to get this game in the hands of the customers so they can start playing!

 

Can you give us any scoop on a favorite character, magic, cypher…?

So many things! But let’s talk about magic. Spells operate as benefits gained from your Type choice. You can access spells from one of two types, the Wizard or, if you want to be a dabbler, the Freelance. Now, anyone can pick up additional spells too by selecting a magical focus such as Conjures Monsters or Commands the Dead. And then there are cyphers. We introduce a subcategory of cyphers called Words, which are spells in written form. They can be written on pages in books, on scrolls, etched onto tablets, or painted on the walls of an ancient, ruined building. Magic is fully integrated into the game, so it’s pretty easy for most characters to have a bit of mojo.

 

People are already wondering about GM advice you could give them. What’s the one recommendation you would share?

Make Dragon City your own. While we go into detail about the city, there’s plenty of room to add your own creations and characters. Don’t feel locked into the story told in the novels. This is your city now and you can do with it whatever you like!

 

Thank you, Robert! We are very excited to be part of the 1st third party game licensed with newCypher System™ from Monte Cook Games.

S.G.

Shotguns & Sorcery RPG: Matt Forbeck’s Journey

Shotguns & Sorcery RPG: Matt Forbeck’s Journey

A lot has changed since the last time we spoke. Matt Forbeck has worked closely with Robert Schwalb to finish the first draft of the S&S RPG manuscript. With around 180,000 words and a little over 300 pages long it seems it’ll be one of the biggest game books of the year.

Let’s find out what they’ve exactly been up to while working for the upcoming Roleplaying Game based on Forbeck’s IP Shotguns & Sorcery.

 

Matt, could you explain to us how it is to transform a universe you made famous in novel format into an RPG?

It’s fantastic fun. The world of Shotguns & Sorcery actually started out as an RPG setting in my head, although the world first got to see it in fiction, so it’s a real thrill to watch it develop into a full-blown RPG.

 

Was it an organic process?

As organic as anything can be that comes from people typing at each other. For me, it felt very natural. I started out as an RPG developer over two decades ago, so working on another RPG again felt like coming home.

 

What exactly was your job on this specific part of this big venture?

I wrote the background for the book and supplied all of the details about the world. My pal Rob Schwalb did all the heavy lifting with the rules, while Outland’s CEO Jeremy Mohler is creating all the art.

 

What was the biggest challenge or even obstacle you found?

It’s been a while since I wrote the Shotguns & Sorcery stories, so I actually had to back through and read them, taking notes as I went. This gave me all sorts of ideas for new material for the setting, but it’s kind of odd to study something you once wrote.

 

Did you have to compromise a lot? Did you feel like the S&S characters and universe had to change a lot to fit the RPG model?

Not much at all. As I mentioned, I originally developed Shotguns & Sorcery as an RPG setting, so bringing it back to its roots left it fairly well intact.

 

Did the results so far assume the form you wanted?

So far, I’ve been thrilled with every part of it. I can’t wait to see the finished book. There’s nothing quite like holding a book like that in your hands.

 

What is it that you’re most looking forward to show the audience as soon as the RPG is available?

Jeremy’s artwork. It’s really going to breathe new dimensions of life into the world and draw players right into it.

 

Can you give us any scoop on a favorite character, magic, cypher…?

I really like what Rob did with the cyphers overall. That’s something new to Shotguns & Sorcery, and he made it fit well.

 

Any future plans regarding this I.P.?

After re-reading all the books, I have ideas for lots more Shotguns & Sorcery stories. I don’t know when I’m going to get to writing them, but hopefully soon.

 

Thank you, Matt! We can’t wait to delve even further into the Shotguns & Sorcery‘s Universe!

Stay tuned for Robert Schwalb’s interview comming to you on April 27th!

S.G.

Press Release: Shotguns & Sorcery RPG Kickstarter Campaign with only two more days till finish

Press Release: Shotguns & Sorcery RPG Kickstarter Campaign with only two more days till finish

Press Release: Shotguns & Sorcery RPG Kickstarter Campaign with only two more days till finish

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SUMMARY: Shotguns & Sorcery RPG broke through six stretch goals and only has two more days to go.

DECEMBER 30, 2014, KANSAS, UNITED STATES — With just two more days left in its Shotguns & Sorcery RPG Kickstarter campaign, Outland Entertainment is proud to report that the drive funded in under a week and swiftly broke through six stretch goals. The entire drive ends at 9 PM CST on January 1, 2015.

“I’ve been blown away by the support from both fans and backers. Thank you all so much. I cannot wait to have this game in your hands!” stated the award-winning author and game designer Matt Forbeck.

This tabletop roleplaying game based upon Forbeck’s fantasy noir novelshas a 320-page core book with 40 pages of full color artwork. In addition, there are also a 64-96 page Players Guide, 20 Full-Color Printable Character Cards and a 64-page Monster Folio.

“The response from the gaming community has gone above and beyond what any of us expected and we’re extremely grateful for the trust you have all shown us.  We truly appreciate it!” said Outland Entertainment’s CEO and S&S RPG illustrator Jeremy Mohler.

During these two final days there are still a number of stretch goals available, such as a 32-page S&S adventure, a 5-page comic from Forbeck and Mohler (to be included in the core book), and 10 more monsters to add to the Monster Folio.

Backer are still rushing to make sure theyget to be part of the first third-party standalone game to use the rules system featured in NumeneraThe Strange, and the recently announced Cypher System rulebook from Monte Cook Games.

We would like to thank everyone who has supported this project so far, by backing it and sharing it on their blogs, social media feeds, news sites, and podcasts. With one final push and your continued help, we will ring in the new year with a triumph!

Visit the Shotguns & Sorcery RPG campaign page for more details.

Shotguns & Sorcery: Cover Preview

Shotguns & Sorcery: Cover Preview

Hey folks!

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!

S&S_Cover_72

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!

JM

Shotguns & Sorcery: Moira

Shotguns & Sorcery: Moira

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!

JM