Importantly, one big jump forward is having a concrete plan with timelines for the written sourcebooks. Yes, that's right, books plural. As writing has progressed one thing I have noticed is that when you aim for a great, big comprehensive book with a focus on granular detail you end up with a crap ton (.6 of a metric “butt-load”) of pages. Who would have thunk it?
Seriously though to ensure that the project is manageable I am breaking the book into three booklets. Breaking it all up has the added advantage of both re-emphasizing the modular plug-in nature of the work and making sure something real that you can hold in your hot little hands actually comes to pass.
Here's an overview of where the project is heading:
Sourcebook content. Still-unnamed Sourcebook One will be the flagship product and contain the most meaty portions involving wilderness carving and the ruling of a fledgling realm (this would be Layers 2 and 3 I had mentioned in my previous update).
Substantive portions of the first part of the book have already been developed and written in an Art of the Shitty Draft kind of way. Some of that work (a comprehensive hirelings list, farming/foraging rules, construction rules, etc) has premiered here on the blog in recent weeks. All of it has been evolving organically out of the actual worldgame play in Nowhere—immensely satisfying really.
Sourcebook publish date. Sourcebook One is slated to be in a “dress rehearsal” beta version by June 1, in time to be distributed to interested supporters of the project at the old school North Texas RPG Con blow-out (which is looking more and more fabulous by the day than the previous two years). After that limited release—and a third round of play-testing—I am expecting it to go to press by July 15.
Artwork. On the Sourcebook One art front we already have our talented old school blogging brethern, Johnathan Bingham and Stephan Poag, on the job. It's still early in the process, but I think you will see a bold and different look to the books than your typical work from the DIY end of this hobby. See my post last week here and here for some of the thinking behind the look we are going for.
Worldgame experiment. On the game end we have a few more fits than starts. Due to some pokiness on both the player and GM ends the turns are becoming something more like one real-life month equals one game month than the two week to one month schedule laid out. Of the 14 starting expeditions, we have had only one actual drop-out (though a few players have been a little incommunicado about their turn actions).
I have finished playing most of the actions on the second month-turn and there has been some exciting turns of events including a giant free-for-all battle on a mysterious golden barge (fought out with miniatures). One of the coolest elements in the game so far has been the role-playing of diplomatic efforts between players.
I have been holding off on doing detailed report-backs here on the blog to keep the mystery and fog of war going for the players—but some of this stuff is just to good to sit on. Expect to see some blow-by-blow reports in the coming weeks. (And yes, players expect your turn reports by next Monday.)
Skype game. The Tetrarch game experiment I announced last week is looking to be a bit of a bust. While it was standing-room only for the worldgame we had only three potential players come forward on that one. Unless we can get a critical mass of say 6-8 players I am likely to put this on hold.
Can't win them all...