Ragnarok Publications and Outland Entertainment merge to expand publishing and creative services

Ragnarok Publications and Outland Entertainment merge to expand publishing and creative services

Crestview Hills, Kentucky (Feb. 22, 2017) Genre fiction publisher Ragnarok Publications and creative services company Outland Entertainment announced this week that the two will be merging into one, with Ragnarok Publications as the publishing branch and Outland Entertainment continuing to offer creative services.
Ragnarok Publications began releasing titles to market in January 2014, providing epic fantasy, urban fantasy, and supernatural/paranormal fiction to readers. As of 2016 they are distributed by IPG Books into the trade market.
Outland Entertainment’s expertise lies in illustration, graphics, and comic development, branching into publishing in 2014. The merger has come about to expand both companies’ creative opportunities, leading Ragnarok Publications to come under the banner of Outland Entertainment to oversee Outland’s comics and games, in addition to continuing to publish novels. Outland Entertainment will remain dedicated to creative services.
“We are thrilled to partner with Outland,” said Joseph Martin, former Creative Director of Ragnarok Publications and now Publisher with the Outland merger. “It lets us expand our publishing repertoire by adding more staff and a diversification of comics and games properties, at the same time utilizing the strength of Outland’s design services and contacts. Jeremy [Mohler] and I have been talking since late 2014 about this merger. It’s nothing but upside.”
“We’re excited about the partnership,” added Jeremy Mohler, former Outland Entertainment Founder & Creative Director and current Creative Director at Ragnarok. “Joe and his team have an impressive reputation for publishing quality products and an amazing library of novels and anthologies. Merging our two companies, more importantly our teams, will only increase the quality of our products, and we’ll be able to create, manage, and tackle more projects and, best of all, reach more markets together rather than on our own.”
Martin and Mohler will remain the heads of the merged company. Ragnarok and Outland’s teams will combine, resulting in the following:
Joe Martin Publisher, responsible for project acquisitions, and production supervision of novel and anthology published titles.
Jeremy Mohler Creative Director, responsible for project acquisitions, overseeing all creative services, and supervising graphic novel and game projects.
Alana Joli Abbott Editor in Chief, responsible for story development, editing, production, and overseeing projects to publication.
Edward Lavallee Chief of Comic Operations, responsible for all aspects of graphic novel production schedule, submission, and distribution.
Gwendolyn Nix Office Administrator, responsible for manuscript editing, public relations, liaison with clients and authors, and novel production administration.
Shawn King Director of Design, responsible for design solutions, including website graphics, novel covers, comic page layout and games.
William Ward Director of Games, responsible for game idea and development and overseeing them through to publication.
Susana Grilo Director of Digital Marketing, responsible for marketing, overseeing digital technologies and social media trends, and ensuring strong company presence.
Nicolas Giacondino In-House Illustrator, responsible for illustration development for graphic novels, games, and comics.
# # #
Ragnarok Publications, founded in 2013 by Joseph Martin and Tim Marquitz, publishes genre fiction and have released about 50 titles and worked with dozens of authors. They specialize in genre fiction and can be reached at www.ragnarokpub.com. Outland Entertainment was founded as a creative services company in 2008 by Jeremy Mohler. Since then, Outland has worked for a wide variety of clients across the world. Outland specializes in assembling creative teams and managing projects. Contact them via their site form or go to www.outlandentertainment.com. For more information, contact Gwendolyn Nix at g.nix@ragnarokpub.com.
Hearthstone: RPG or TCG?

Hearthstone: RPG or TCG?

 

You should already know I’m a noob in the game universe. Following my post “RPG: Hearthstone, my  newest addiction,” some of our readers pointed out to me that Hearthstone isn’t exactly an RPG, but first and foremost a TCG.

I made my case, they made theirs, and in the end we still had doubts.

While Hearthstone is based on as hardcore a roleplaying game as World of Warcraft undoubtedly is—or is it? We’ll get back to this—Hearthstone itself is more of a card game. You do get into character, but you don’t create the whole persona—I mean, you can’t even edit or change their speech bubbles during games. You’re stuck with the personality that each class has been given.

You can’t actively trade cards with other players either. You can disenchant yours, get dust and then craft new ones, but it’s not like your friend can entice you with three awesome cards just so he can have your Ragnaros.

However, when you’re playing against your friends, be it a friendly banter or the ultimate challenge, you’re not “you.” There’s this Mage, Warrior, Hunter, or Rogue who molds your actions—and therefore how your personality comes through. Of course you will have a determined gaming strategy that sets you apart. Maybe you like to attack the Hero directly from the very beginning instead of wiping all its minions off the table. Nevertheless, one can argue that you are indeed playing a role. You don’t have as much creative freedom as you get in other RPGs, but you are in character nonetheless.

“How about the cards?” I can hear some of you shouting. “How can you not see that you’re playing freaking cards?!?”

Well, yes, cards are the gateway to your actions, they’re how you express yourself—outside of the speech bubbles. You can change the backs of the cards, and you can choose whether or not to use the golden ones, giving your personal touch to the game. Hey, you can even buy new characters that will, in turn, grant you access to new card backs.  And don’t forget that you can interact with the different settings where you’re playing.

Then again, what makes an RPG or a TCG? Wait. You didn’t think there were just these two terms did you? Because there are more to count, starting this small list—and this is just concerning the CG part as a constant:

BCG: Battle Card GameCCG: Customizable Card Game
ECG: Expandable Card Game
LCG: Living Card Game
OCG: Official Card Game
OCG: Original Card Game
TCG: The Card Game
XCG: Expandable Card Game

This IS confusing.

Even worse, did you know some people claim that WoW goes by the name of TCG? Hey! Don’t crucify me! I have yet to play it to reach any conclusion.

If you look for definitions of each of the aforementioned terms, they vary from source to source. Opinions differ and the rules get hazy when you scan through different forums.

So… Here I am. New at this and without certainties about nomenclatures. But you know what? Even though most of you would probably smack me in the face for saying this, I do have to admit that I don’t really care what it is called. The important word on that fancy and—sometimes confusing—pot of acronyms is the G word. I simply want to enjoy myself playing GAMES, no matter if they’re slightly more TC based or RP oriented.

May I just add how interesting this whole acronym thing is? It makes you feel like you’re an old soul gamer. No? Is it just me? Well, at least it impresses non-gamers… Anyway…

What do you think? RPG or TCG? Weigh in with your opinion in the comments and see if you can convince me!

S.G.

RPG: Hearthstone, my newest addiction

RPG: Hearthstone, my newest addiction

For a long time, RPG was a foreign word to me. I knew it from my so called geek friends, from the newest CGI games, and from hearing references of classics like Dungeons & Dragons. But I didn’t really know what it meant.

This summer, I was introduced to Hearthstone. It had something to do with the universe of World of Warcraft. Ok: a familiar name. I had never played it myself, but had seen people addicted to it and talking about how awesome it was.

hearthstone_scre

And…I’m dead…

My first reaction: cool graphics, but… so many cards with… numbers… and what do they all mean? There’s the little diamond shape thingy and then the other two on the bottom… And the ones with a skull have “Deathrattle”? My inner monologues ended pretty much with “Wait. Why did that monster die? No! Wh-why am I dead?!?”

Yup. Not the easiest game ever, I give you that. Especially if you have no experience with card games or RPGs in general. But I was hooked. I continued to try. I had help building my first decks and got used to playing with the same character: Mage (c’mon, you’ve got to love a good Flamestrike!).

hearthstone_flamestrike02-pc-games

Flamestrike: Deal 4 damage to all enemy minions

But besides the everyday ranked games, daily challenges and solo adventures, there’s something that, sometimes, is incredible: the Tavern Brawls!

These consist of a weekly challenge that changes its rules every time and is only available for three days. You get games that go from cooperating with the other player in order to destroy a common enemy to using only one type of card to destroy your enemy—or even to using chess pieces.

Something that captured my attention was the cooperation game. In a question of seconds—and without the use of chat—strategies were made and put into action. Just by playing a certain card and maybe highlighting your partner’s hero power, you gave each other signals and you were in fact working towards a common goal from across the world. It seems something ridiculous, right? What’s so important about destroying an imaginary monster in a fantasy game?

co-op_tavernbrawl

Co-op! Co-op!

Well, picture this: it’s not a random monster, it’s a problem that two people who have never met are joining forces to solve. Within seconds, tactics are created and acted upon.

This shows how we are more than capable of solving problems and collaborating. We just have to be on the same side—and that’s the tricky part of any conflict.

See how this quickly went from mere game to world cooperation? Ok, ok, I’m not preaching RPGs as a solution to World Peace—everyone knows that the answer to that is tickling; we are just afraid because it’s so obvious, as comedian T.J. Miller pointed out.

Anyway, back to Hearthstone!

I am now proud to say that I have conquered my good share of victories, currently trying to push myself beyond my comfort zone by playing with other characters. I know the difference between a Battlecry and a Deathrattle and more or less how to prioritize my mana spending and energy losses.

card

Deathrattles and Battlecries: let’s mix it up!

I love that it is a game that needs more than sheer luck, that you have to actually think when playing if you want to create certain combos and get cool cards.

But there was another thing that helped me get addicted: the possibility of playing with friends from around the world! It’s fine to chat on a regular basis to keep tabs on how everyone’s doing, but it’s much cooler when you’re able to share these funny moments in an RPG. Challenging your friends for battles, arguing about what characters have the best powers and cards, giving tips and advice on how to improve your decks or what web pages to visit for extra news—it’s all part of a shareable experience. It’s something that takes the game to a new level and makes it less impersonal.

It’s almost like having that cosy boardgame night where you just goof around and have fun, using the game as an excuse.

The funny characters, the subtle humor on the card descriptions, and the whole sound and graphic landscape make Hearthstone an enjoyable experience for anyone wanting to give the digital RPG world a try. It’s free, so why not take a chance?

cardshs

Are you an avid player of online RPGs? Which ones would you recommend?

Let us know! I’ll be playing the ones you suggest and writing my impressions here. Yes, I’m a complete newbie but that’s why it’s going to be fun for you to hear the struggles and nonsenses of a rookie in worlds you’ve traveled so many times.

S.G.

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.

How to convert your family to Board Games & RPGs this Holiday Season

How to convert your family to Board Games & RPGs this Holiday Season

Well,  tomorrow is Christmas Eve! Yep, already another round up of eating copious amounts of food, giving presents and being surrounded by the ones you love.

On Xmas day, you’ll probably go through the same routine every year: the cheesy movie playing on the background, the kids trying out their shiny new toys AND the small group that turns to board games. But I’m talking about Monopoly and Party& Co.. And this is where you come in and introduce them to the magic and awesome world of cool board games and RPGs!

Be prepared to face resistance. Unless you’re family is already cool and geek there’s a big probability that Monopoly will win. But don’t get discouraged just yet!

Here’s your plan:

1- Prepare your favorite(and also newbie friendly ) game.

2- Take it with you (Too obvious, right? But when your kids are screaming and your wife is asking if you got everything in the car, you’ll thank me for this dull in your face advice.)

3- Casually, mention the game as much as you can. Namedrop subtly, though.

4- Find the most likely person to turn into an ally and stuck with them. When you feel they’re ready, mention what a  great time you had playing that game (over&over again = brainwash them).

5- Make it relatable to something they’re interested in: politics, mystery, deducting, fantasy…

6- When the time comes to pull that dusty moustachy cardboard box, Pitch Your Game!

Point number 5 is probably the one that will get everyone excited and playing it through the afternoon. So make sure you know what your dear one like!

So?  Are you prepared?

I’m going to conduct my own experiment: “Avalon the Resistance”. I’m in love with this game and how it really changes people while they’re in character – it tends to be a bit scary to see your bestie lie to your face with utter most ease.

Anyway, this will be my project: me, my cousins, my grandmother and her sister playing Avalon.

Let the Games Begin!

Oh! And Merry Xmas everyone!! 🙂

S.G.

 

P.S.: Thanks to Clever Move Games, Rachel Kremer Xmasy pic!

P.P.S.: If you need something to read during a flight or a drowsy afternoon, try our blog posts from interviews to opinion & advice articles.

LARP : living in a made up world

LARP : living in a made up world

I won’t pretend to be an expert on RPG, let alone live action role-playing or “LARPing”. However, even I can easily see why LARP is considered a descendant of games like Dungeons & Dragons. The catch? Here the players physically act out their characters’ actions. [ Awesome, right? ]

 

Fortunately, a few weeks ago I saw myself in the middle of a LARP for the first time.

I have to say I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the whole process from building the setting to fleshing out your own character.

There was so much to explore after you got the little paper with your character’s description! It didn’t just motivate me to pursue the tasks I was given, it made me want to explore the other characters involved in the game. And not only the ones I was directly connected to, but everyone that crossed my path.

For as little as an hour and a half I was someone else, living in a post-apocalyptic world – yes, you guessed it: there was a zombie threat. I wasn’t seeing my friends running around in extravagant outfits and saying the most weird things. No, on the contrary, I saw people starving, people looking for jobs that didn’t exist. I watched refugees seeking shelter afraid of being sent back to the outside where the zombies were waiting. I didn’t trust people easily. In a camp like this, inhabitants could be persuaded to work for the enemy, be it an outside emissary that says they have better military skills or even your brother who unfortunately has just brought the first zombie into the camp.

But setting all of this aside, it’s not just the story we built together during that period of time. What matters is the fact that we were putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes. On that moment, we were living in a camp, there was little to no hope for a better future and what shaped our reactions were the problems of this post-apocalyptic existence.

I’m sure that if you have taken part in a LARP before, you will identify with at least one or two things I’ve mentioned. I believe that there is much more to it and that my experience was very limited compared to the five hours even the whole day LARPs that exist out there. But for me, as a newbie in this gaming world, I found it extremely interesting to say the least and it has made me look for other LARP experiences for sure.

None of this would have been possible without the people who wrote the setting and the characters and, of course, the awesome group who played it all out and made the game as crazy and funny as it was.

 

And how about you?

Have you ever taken part in a LARP? If so what was your favorite one? And how about the worst…hmmm…I mean your least favorite?

Tell us all about it in the comments and if you’ve got pictures don’t hesitate to share them on our Pinterest board or on any of our social media platforms!
We want to see YOU in character!

 

S.G.

Warlock 5  by Christopher Helton

Warlock 5 by Christopher Helton

Warlock 5 is an interesting comic, with an apparently interesting story behind it.

Originally published by Aircel, written by Gordon Derry and drawn by Denis Beuavais, Warlock 5 is one of those comics that could probably only have been created in the 1980s. The opening scene of the first issue features a fight between knights and a sorcerer on one side, and robots that could charitably be said to be influenced by The Terminator movie on the side…taking place in a parking garage. Add into this mix a punk rock vixen leading a group of the undead, and a seeming sorceress along with a man who shape changes into a dragon and a barbarian carrying an assault rifles as other groups.

What is this wonderful thing?

There is a lot of violence in this first issue, which wasn’t unusual for indie comics of the time. One character is killed by having a broken spear handle shoved into their head. This obviously isn’t for everyone, but what makes Warlock 5 interesting is the fearlessness with which it mixes and bends genre conceptions.

Warlock 5 01-07                                      Warlock 5 01-11

I love a good interdimensional comic story, it is a favorite thing of mine probably since I first saw Steve Ditko’s art create surreal magical realms in early issues of Marvel’s Doctor Strange comics. On a level, this reminds me of that same sort of energy and excitement. The creators of Warlock 5 weren’t trying to duplicate those Doctor Strange stories, but I think that is why they succeeded…they weren’t trying to be derivative of other comics. Too often we see comic creators try to recapture lightning in a bottle and either copy themselves, or the works of others, in order to do that. However, one of the reasons why Aircel still lingers in the minds of so many comic fans is because of the fact that they did do their own thing and made their own, original, books and stories.

Part of why this comic appeals to me, I think, is because I play tabletop RPGs, and in a lot of ways the story comes across to me as someone’s RPG game. The ultraviolence. The bizarre mix of characters just thrown into a blender together. The disregard for genre purity. The story in Warlock 5 could have just as easily been someone telling about the game that they are playing in. I mean this in a good way.

I can easily see Warlock 5 brought to life as the setting of an RPG. It easily lends itself to that sort of thinking. Next time, I will talk a bit more about the world and the characters of the comic and draw some parallels to why I think that it might be a good game world to play in.

 

Christopher Helton writes about pop culture, comics and gaming at his long-running Dorkland! blog, and as a writer for the Bleeding Cool website.

Check out last weeks’ posts: Barry Blair 101 by Christopher HeltonBarry Blair: What to read first? by Christopher Helton,Barry Blair’s Samurai by Christopher Helton, Elflord: Past & Future by Christopher Helton!

 

Open Call for NPCs: Pathfinder® Roleplaying Game Compatible Villain Codex

Open Call for NPCs: Pathfinder® Roleplaying Game Compatible Villain Codex

Swords for Hire Development (Jacob W. Michaels and Mikko Kallio) is excited to announce its first project, The Villain Codex. This PDF, being done in conjunction with Outland Entertainment, will feature a series of antagonists for gamemasters to pit against their players. The NPCs will be fully fleshed out, with stat blocks, letting a GM simply drop one into an adventure when he needs a statted-up opponent or build an adventure or even campaign around.

The first Villain Codex will feature 12 opponents of CRs 3-8 for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Finished villains will be 600 words, including a stat block and a description of the villain, his/her motivations, plus potential plots, lairs and minions.

Right now, we’re looking for your best ideas. Send us a pitch that describes your villain and potential plots, as well as expected build. Please include at the top the villain’s name, race (please use core races only), gender, alignment and class. Also please include what CR you think the villain should be; a range of CRs is fine at this point, and we can assign what we would like you to build him/her at if we pick your submission. Finally, remember that the villains should be setting agnostic. If they use a bar as their headquarters, feel free to name it, but don’t put it in a city in an existing campaign world.

We expect to pick six villains, though obviously if we’re bowled over, we could select more. We’ll be approaching designers to produce the other six villains, so if your pitch is good enough, it could lead to more work immediately.

How do I submit?
Please send your pitches to swordsforhire.dev@gmail.com with your submission in the file (NOT as an attachment).

How many pitches can I submit?
You can submit up to 3 pitches. If you have more good ideas, save them. There will be follow-up Villain Codexes for higher CRs coming through 2016.

If I submit, will I get published?
Unfortunately, not necessarily. We’re including 12 villains in this first Codex, so only the best selections will get published. Any pitches that are accepted become property of Swords for Hire Development, which retains sole ownership.

What books will I be able to use?
Villains will be limited to rules from the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook, GameMastery Guide, Advanced Player’s Guide, Ultimate Magic, Ultimate Combat, Ultimate Equipment, Ultimate Campaign and Advanced Class Guide.

Will I get paid?
We’ll be paying a flat rate of $6 per entry that we publish, which will work out to about 1 cent per word.

Alright, I’m ready to get started! When you do you need this by?
Pitches are due by the end of the day (Eastern time) May 1. We’ll get back to you and let you know if your pitch has been accepted within a week and will need your finished villain by June 1. Payment will be received at this time.

Wait, I have more questions!
For more information stop by the Sword for Hire blog.

 

Creatures of the Outlands: Aitvaras by Nicholas Wasko

Creatures of the Outlands: Aitvaras by Nicholas Wasko

Fiery orange feathers cover the wings and tail of this ink-black, serpentine dragon. Its dark eyes dart about, and its claws fidget with nervous energy.

Aitvaras CR 2
XP 600
CN Tiny dragon (shapechanger)
Init +7; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +8

DEFENSE
AC 16, touch 15, flat-footed 13 (+3 Dex, +1 natural, +2 size)
hp 22 (3d12+3)
Fort +4, Ref +6, Will +5
Immune paralysis, sleep; SR 13

OFFENSE
Speed 10 ft., fly 60 ft. (good)
Melee bite +4 (1d3–1)
Space 2-1/2 ft.; Reach 0 ft.
Special Attacks breath weapon (5-ft. cone, confused, Will DC 12 negates, usable every 1d4 rounds)
Spell-Like Abilities (CL 3rd; concentration +6)
At will–hold portal
3/daygreater invisibility (self only), unseen servant (within domain of fortune only)
Spells Known (CL 3rd; concentration +6)
1st (6/day)–cause fear (DC 14), silent image (DC 14), ventriloquism (DC 14)
0th (at will)–flare (DC 13), ghost sound (DC 13), mage hand, open/close, spark

STATISTICS
Str 9, Dex 17, Con 13, Int 16, Wis 14, Cha 16
Base Atk +3; CMB +4; CMD 13 (17 vs. trip)
Feats Deft Hands, Improved Initiative
Skills Appraise +9, Bluff +9, Climb +5, Disable Device +8, Fly +17, Perception +8, Sense Motive +8, Sleight of Hand +8, Stealth +17
Languages Common, Draconic, Halfling, Sylvan
SQ change shape (cat, beast shape II), domain of fortune

ECOLOGY
Environment any urban
Organization solitary or pair
Treasure standard

SPECIAL ABILITIES
Breath weapon (Su) 5-foot cone, confusion for 1d4 rounds, DC 12 negates. Creatures compelled to attack the nearest creature never target the aitvaras or creatures benefiting from its domain of fortune. An aitvaras can use this breath weapon once every 1d4 rounds. The save DC is Constitution-based.

Domain of Fortune (Su) An aitvaras can adopt a structure as its domain, blessing it with supernatural luck and hindering enemies within its walls. Creatures that live in the bonded structure receive a +2 luck bonus on all skill checks within its walls. Non-chaotic intruders suffer a –2 penalty on attack rolls, damage rolls, saves, and caster level checks to overcome spell resistance within the structure.

An aitvaras can only have one bonded domain at a time, which can be no larger than 100 squares. If the aitvaras ends its connection to a structure, it must wait 24 hours before it can adopt a new domain.

Spells An aitvaras casts spells as a 3rd-level sorcerer.

Mischievous, honorless cousins of pseudodragons, aitvaras (singular and plural) thrive in the bustling chaos of the city, where their actions often go unnoticed. An aitvaras uses the form of a stray cat to find a residence or business which it can claim as its domain. Once it adopts a home, the aitvaras works tirelessly to bring prosperity to its inhabitants, using its magic to bless residents with luck while stealing from neighbors and sabotaging competitive businesses. The residents’ new fortune is short-lived, however, for if the aitvaras’ mischief is traced back to its home, the dragon abandons its former benefactors to face the consequences of its actions while it slinks away in search of a new domain.

An aitvaras typically follows some kind of pattern when choosing homes, though these predilections vary widely between individuals. Some favor certain races or professions, while others have more unusual preferences, such as a specific number of children or musicians who play a unique instrument. Their chaotic nature makes it difficult to attract an aitvaras to one residence or predict where it will go next. Even those who successfully win an aitvaras’ favor find its blessings fickle, for the dragon often has unspoken expectations when adopting a domain, and those who violate its “terms” risk drawing the beast’s ire. As a result, even the most amicable relationship with an aitvaras is typically brief and disastrous to the hosts.

Aitvaras are territorial and never share a domain. Mated pairs fight to decide which domain will hold their eggs, though the parents forget about their young once they move to a new domain, leaving the hatchlings to fend for themselves.

A chaotic neutral arcane spellcaster of at least 7th level who has the Improved Familiar feat may select an aitvaras as a familiar.