The last stretch of Fever-Dreaming Marlinko has been..well...a stretch. My natural impatience starts showing in this last part of the cycle, but another round of layout and proofing (disrupted by the fact that nearly all of the Hydra Collective is packing up and heading to North Texas for the week) is something readers will appreciate--so it's looking like we will go to press somewhere around June 12-13 (or later, such are things in our hobby).
(If you are going to North Texas RPG Con, track me down and say howdy, I am friendly-ish and likely to be running a pick-up Marlinko session or wargame.)
Inevitably I hate most everything I write with a reflexive hatred as soon as it clears my keyboard. It takes months, some times years for my own stuff to become rehabilitated in my own eyes.
But I feel pretty good about Marlinko. Ironically I think this stretch adventure, which was supposed to be a relatively disposable 20-page Kickstarter supplement to Slumbering Ursine Dunes, is not only a thing in its own right but is stronger than the thing it supplements (and longer even).
Pulling in Luka Rejec to do maps at the 11th hour turned out to be better than I imagined. All three of his maps went beyond even what I imagined. I mean just check out this beauty, the backcover map. I'm also way happy with both Jeremy Duncan and Jason Sholtis's art in the final product.
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But one of the reasons why I am genuinely excited beyond the required “fake it to, make it” enthusiasm small DIY publishers are supposed to project is that you will find several urban adventure mini-systems stuffed into Marlinko that I am pleased as punch about:
- A Chaos Index with escalating events/triggers scattered throughout the city. Meeting an NPC when things are stable might be a wholly different experience than when it's escalated into high weirdness later (and things in the city go from being a bit eccentric to hallucinatory as play progresses)
- And because one cannot have enough whirly bits in a sandbox, I threw in a whole news generator with full news brief like the campaign news I have been writing for years for the eponymous Hill Cantons campaign.
- A tiger-wresting mini-game,
- A weird nickname generator,
- A section on running scams, hoaxes and grifting activity in a city that loves the Mountebank (the player class is in there too).
- A (often very funny) carousing system tied into the quirky city quarter (contrada) by Robert Parker,
- A“fair play/pay” guild system for hirelings (solidarity!) also by Robert/