Well now... Where does all of this leave me and why is it taking so long to be introspective?
Arcana Creations came to be largely because of my knowledge and love of roleplaying games. I was first approached by John (Brave Halfling Publishing) to head up the editing and technical proofreading for the first C&C module BHP published. This was the early digest version of the adventure entitled 'The Secret of Ronan Skerry'. When we decided to take the module into wider distribution, Arcana Creations was born. Shortly after, a C&C version of 'The Ruins of Ramat' was released in digest form followed by 'A Trick on the Tain'. Arcana Creations had been slowly growing even though sales had decreased overall. With this last module out, work had begun, stalled, restarted, and changed for Victorious. Despite the best of intentions we all had going into the project, unexpected challenges at the start of the project continued to plague it until the very end when the Agreement was dissolved. Personal and real life issues towards the last quarter of 2010 and the first couple months of 2011 only prolonged this nebulous period.
Things had started to turn around in 2011 as I realized a need to work on a few cool ideas I had floating in my head. I also began anew to reign in and sort out some lingering issues with Victorious. Of course being just one man, When I perceived that certain things with Victorious had begun to get back on track and resolved, my other efforts (namely Ballista) got shelved to ensure a Fall release of Victorious.
Things did not go to plan.
As elements of putting Victorious were coming together, other things did not. The details don't really matter but I was committed to having this released in the Fall. Ideally, it would have come out towards the end of November (before the new Holmes movie was released) and, if I was lucky, surprise some people with the first issue of Ballista. Managing the release of Victorious would have been a great success for Arcana Creations.
As it stands, 2011 was an abject failure for Arcana Creations. No single product was actually released last year. Even my own campaigns are on hold. But I choose to look on 2012 as opportunity.
Instead of just forging ahead and releasing what I had for Ballista since, Victorious was no longer on my plate, I decided to hold back the release of Ballista for a couple of reasons. One, I just needed a break and some time to think. Two, having suffered what I view was a significant setback, was beginning looking at releasing what I had envisioned for Ballista in different ways.
Working on Victorious had started as something I really wanted to do but towards the end, other concerns forced my hand and direction on that project. The reason I got into doing this in the first place was my love for the game and finely put together projects. Just looking at the first module we sent into distribution and then the second one (Skerry and then the Tain module), the quality in terms of layout, art use, maps, etc were significantly improved. That's not to say Skerry was bad -- in fact Skerry was AC's best selling project. But ultimately, I enjoyed doing these even if they each had their challenging moments in putting it together. The challenges I kept on coming up against with Victorious kept on taking away any pleasure I was getting from the endeavor. Now that I have a chance to think about it, I can honestly say what, while I was still giving it care and was doing my best to put out a product that *I* could be proud of, it certainly was something that was not giving me any more enjoyment.
Quite simply, I really need to have some fun with this again and still put out material I can be proud of. I need to put out my own projects as well as some stuff that others have submitted that, not only would I want to play, but I genuinely want a hand designing. I also want to go back to my roots a bit.
With WOTC reprinting AD&D and putting out 5th Edition, I decided to change how I'm putting out Ballista. I've decided to take the opportunity and compile that material intended to be a series of rules options and replacements meant to be compatible with a variety of games and put out a single 'Rules Companion'. The Ballista Rules Companion is just that, a companion book which can be used and adapted with your OSR game of choice (or the games that various OSR efforts derive from) or, used as it's own little system. It's not meant to 'compete' with the multitude of options that now exist but rather complement and to be used in conjunction with. Ballista was originally conceived as a periodical which included articles and adventures and perhaps this may happen still but will save to support the Ballista system as well as other compatible games.
However, with 5th Edition and the reprints coming out way, Ballista may also serve as a complement to these efforts as well. Or at least, one can only hope anyway. By the sounds of it, 5th Edition is looking kinda promising (though similar to other things we have seen published elsewhere).
I also will be doing some more C&C specific material -- I love the game and I love the fact that it can be readily used with other similar games. And who knows? Maybe I'll be able to wrap up my 'Zombie Siege' game since part of the design uses some of the concepts the Ballista system has in place.
Well... there we have it folks. I spent time figuring this out because part of me genuinely wanted to toss in the towel after 2011. I will be doing a lot of cleaning in my own personal collection and plan on getting rid of some of this stuff. Books I just don't use for games I don't really play anymore. I'm cleaning house and getting back to basics and it's probably about time.
Thanks for reading!