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ContraFlow

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  This weekend was spent at ContraFlow. It was a smaller con in Kenner, LA. The con has a really good feel to it and had the potential to becomes something much bigger. However, the organizers decided this would be the last year.   ContraFlow was marketed as a Relaxacon, meaning it had a few minor guests and lots of after-hour parties. For vendors, these are typically low performing conventions. Most vendors who attended also attended previous shows, so the layout was not a surprise. I was not one of those vendors. Admittedly, we were caught off guard by the small attendance and laid-back attitude.   Due to the financial burden of hiring two workers, food for three people, and all the accompanying incidentals, we decided it best to shut down after the second day and return home. As a vendor, I absolutely hate leaving a convention early. However, when the financial weight overshadows the possible gains, it’s the only decision.   Fortunately, the convention organizer runs other sho

Crossing a finish line to start a new race

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I have to begin this article with an apology. It's been a rough few months since my last entry. To begin with, the books are published. We've turned out the next three books in the series: Tortured Earth Core Rule Book, The Travel Journal of Mica Greer (Supplement), and The Unofficial Account of Gavin Harris (Supplement). In addition, we've produced a line of modules designed to get people playing the game. Each is a one-shot ending with a transition into another reality. In all, we've managed to produce four mini-modules with a fifth in editing at this point. Kevin is currently working on his first module and I'm outlining more creatures for the next two supplements. On top of all the writing, we've decided to take a leap of faith and make our works available in PDF format. As of now, we have the GM guide and both supplements on DriveThruRPG.com. We've even made a few sales.  The main hesitation with releasing PDFs has been security. After speaking with oth

Expanding the Tortured Earth multiverse

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Over the past few weeks, Kevin and I have been working to add stories to the Tortured Earth collection. At the moment, we are converting some of the convention modules into boxed sets - each set containing a Rules Lite GM Guide, Rules Lite Player's Guide, Story booklet, Fold-out maps, Character sheets for 10 people, and two sets of dice.  The current design of the Rules Lite set allows players to run the boxed scenario but also opens the doors for a broader storyboard if a GM is creative and wants to get a little extra mileage out of the set. Each boxed set is designed to serve as a story starter for a larger campaign and can be used by GMs as a means of introducing players to more advanced game mechanics. With all that said, allow me to inform you of the reality of a small game company producing said boxed sets. Due to the uncertainty of customer interest in the boxed set, we have been producing the sets ourselves. This means we have a spiral binding machine and assemble the sets

A Never Ending Cycle

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Part of launching into this industry is the continual creation process. The development of Tortured Earth was a means to an end - the development of a framework in which a broad range of stories could be told. Now that the system is finalized, the process of storytelling must begin. Kevin and I are currently focusing on the development of one-shot adventures. These kits are retrofitted from the 2.0 Core Ruleset and give players a taste of the system without having to invest in multiple books. Other game systems have developed similar products for the same goal. The Rules Lite versions allow for replayability while the core books provide the full flexibility of the system. A creative GM will be able to adapt the Rules Lite version for homebrew adventures fitting in the world setting for which the kit was built. Currently in the editing phase are four such adventures. Two have been completed and are already in production and being distributed through the convention circuit. Eventually, t

Northwest Arkansas Comic Con

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Rogers, Arkansas is an amazing place for gaming. The community is supportive, the convention was well attended, and the scenery was really nice. Overall, the convention was a huge success. The convention team is looking forward to attending next year's show and seeing how it grows! Getting to Rogers is another matter. Traveling as much as I do, I've become rather dependent on Google! Maps. The problem with Google Maps is the complete lack of road-hazard awareness. Google! faithfully calculates the shortest distance between two points and plots a course from where you are to where you are going. It doesn't matter to Google! if the roads are broad, expansive highways or stretched like noodles on the edges of ridges that pitch at impossible angles as you are barreling down the highway at 65 mph at 11 PM. The path we were directed on meandered between Oklahoma and Arkansas, giving us the most challenging roads both states had to offer. At one point, the road seemed to simply dr

Promoting a Game

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Since June of 2020, we've been refining Tortured Earth 2.0. The process hasn't been easy: making sure the document is clear and concise while maintaining a degree of interest. Rules must be checked in play tests, written, rewritten, examples created, and checked for compatibility with all other rules in the system.  The editing process alone has taken fifteen months to complete. Once the document is prepared, the fun job of finding a publishing house begins. For those not familiar with this little joy in the process, allow me to enlighten: each publishing house has its own set of standards and terminology. Aside from the standard publication jargon, setting margins, spine width, page counts, and all the other components required to produce a professional copy must be learned and sorted through.  Novelists reading this will recognize some of the heartaches. The main difference between the struggles of a novelist and a game developer falls in the degree of art associated with the

Mountains of Mists and Mystery

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With the publication of Tortured Earth 2.0, production of minimodules, and the dreadful editing of our upcoming modules, Mountains of Mists and Mystery is now available as a download to fill the span between releases. For those wishing to launch into a post-apocalyptic campaign, please enjoy the story. As always, Tortured Earth is looking for module writers willing to contribute to the mad multiverse we propose. The current phase has Kevin and I converting the game demos into minimodules for our Game Night in a Box line. We are also writing and editing our own projects. We are also gearing up for a busy convention cycle, having been admitted into Origins in Columbus, OH and PAX - Unplugged in Philadelphia, PA. It's difficult to contain the excitement of being able to present at such large conventions.  After speaking with our caster, we are told the first line of miniatures is still a few weeks away. The ultimate goal is to have modules, books, and minis ready for Origins and pres