Thursday, March 27, 2014

Frequently Asked Questions - Suggestions from Peter Robbins

Stuff, in the basement.


One of the really wonderful thing about the Internet is that I get to talk to some really smart and clever people. One of them, Peter Robbins, asked me some questions recently on Google+ and had some suggestions; I thought that they deserved a longer answer, and I thought that they were also worth sharing with people:

One suggestion would be to possibly put out the 2nd/Revised Edition miniatures rules as a Kickstarter before the 1st Volume of your Recollections (my name not yours I gather) project ; ONLY in that it would be a smaller project (layout wise most likely) than a full large volume book. I think you'd be able to finalize it much quicker than sifting, editing, and re-writing what you've already done on your volume work. This is entirely conjecture and strange commentary based on guessing that your rules may be in a more final form (and shorter form) than your recollections project. - Peter Robbins


Let me address your comments, if I may...

The miniatures rules will need to have something like two to three years of play-testing, both with me and in blind testing, before they are ready for publication in any form. While I am not really changing much of the game engine from the original, the past thirty years of game play have mandated some additions that should be extensively tested 'on the table'.

As for the format, I had planning on it being much the same as the original edition, but with color photographs of the actual miniatures in actual play - one of the major complaints that I have received over the years was that gamers didn't like the  line drawings. Kathy Marshall, Craig Smith, Ken Fletcher, M. A. R. Barker, and Dave Sutherland were (I have been told repeatedly) "not professional enough" for "proper Tekumel publications". Doing photos would also be, quite frankly, much cheaper then hiring professional artists as I can do those myself with the in-house equipment I own.

Likewise, I am planning on having a video 'tutorial' to accompany the game showing how the game is played; since I normally can't be there in your game room to run a game for you, I thought that a video presentation would be the next best thing. Again, this is something I can do with in-house equipment; I still own a professional three-camera shoot set-up with all the trimmings, left over from my career in technical production for stage shows and broadcast television.

In any case, the miniatures rules are a good two to three years away from seeing the light of day.

I might also point out that in the past thirty years that the original edition of the game has been in print, it has sold a whopping 300 to 400 copies, all told. I am basing my plans on this being the likely 'market' for the new edition.

"To Serve The Petal Throne", on the other hand, is not one large volume; it is divided into six separate 'volumes' or 'books', as Chirine's career in Phil's game sessions falls into six distinct phases. Each book will run, I suspect, something like 50,000 words; the total work, as of today, is up to some 101,225 words across the set. ( I have specific page counts for each volume on my blog.)

What is driving the word count are the log books and audio tapes I made of our game sessions with Phil; his stories about his world, as I participated in them, are what's driving the plot(s) and the word count.

It has been my plan all along, as I have mentioned on both the Tekumel Yahoo group and here on my own blog, to 'publish' both the book of our adventures and my miniatures rules as e-books; I do not think that there is enough of a market for the miniatures rules to justify a hard-copy version, and I have gotten such a very poor response from 'mainstream' Tekumel fandom over the book that I have doubts that a hard copy version of it would sell; the Tekumel fans seem to think that the book(s) are too long - one comment was that "I don't have time to read that!" and that I should do something for them along the lines of a 250 to 500 word forum post instead. Another objection is that the book is too 'non game'; I am told that I need to include spell lists, encounter tables, character statistics, and other such things in the book in order for it to have any appeal to Tekumel gamers.

I should at once note that the response to the book outside of Tekumel fandom has been very, very positive; I have had non-gamers and gamers look over the text over the past several years, and they have all been very excited by it. The book(s) is(are), I will admit, very 'Sword and Planet Romance", but people seem to like that.

In any case, "To Serve The Petal Throne" is expected to be done early next year; my devoted team of a half-dozen editors feels that this is possible, and I'd like to have it out on the anniversary of Phil's passing as a tribute to somebody I enjoyed hearing stories for many, many years... - chirine

Sounds like a good plan (in both project cases). Thank you for spelling all of that out. - Peter

1 comment:

  1. You could publish on Lulu.com or similar, that way the customer can choose ebook or print as they wish.

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