What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:

What I'm Backing on Kickstarter:
After Winter Dark Campaign Setting

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cleaning & Sorting

Well, this weekend has been a bit relaxing and probably the last one till sometime in the New Year since the countdown to the holidays have begun!  Since my last blog entry, I had begun a general cleanup and sorting of various files on my computer.  I had, for instance, a variety of files scattered across my hardrive and numerous emails concerning Victorious as well as an assortment of other files for other projects that have graced my desktop.  After some sorting and purging, I spent a bit of time talking and cleaning up the Brave Halfling forums along with John Adams.  BHP has underwent a few changes the past couple of years and various sections were just not relevent anymore.  Actually the forums who is a very small community hasn't seen much activity of late and between blogging, tweeting, not much attention has been given to it.  Hopefully we'll turn this around in the next couple of months.  BHP is a bit tied down with the Delving Deeper release but seeing that it's just around the corner, plans are in motion for 2012.

I also have plans for the AC lineup in the months ahead and while I won't go into much detail yet, I will say that they include various issue of the Ballista I had mentioned months ago as well as a few digest adventure releases.  I'll be securing a more finalized plan of action once I've discussed details with a couple of authors who had submitted material to AC and BHP in the past.  The AC website has been ignored for months now and since I created the domain a couple of years ago, I don't think I've updated it more than a couple of times since the beginning of AC.  I'm not sure what I'll do with it yet bit I am considering rolling the blog up with the site.  We'll see but I expect I'll sort it out over the holidays.

Between cleaning up the files on my desktop, I had also noticed a variety of posts of peoples blog about publishing and professional vs hobbiest considerations.  I will weigh in a bit on this later in the week but in some cases, I find myself disagreeing with some of the sentiments being shared.  There are some very good points being made though so it has been interesting reading.  More later...


Monday, November 14, 2011


I know that the past few months have been relatively quiet and my last 'real' update was around four months ago.  Best possible laid plans can often suffer changes resulting from unforseen complications.  In certain instances, choices had to be made.

First of all, it is with regret that I announce the Arcana Creations and Brave Halfling Publishing will not be publishing Mike Stewart's "Victorious RPG". Since July, a fair bit of work had been accomplished on the project but it had also gone through a variety of changes.  With some of these changes though, the vision of Publisher was no longer the same as Writer and while we all had the best intentions for the game, a mutual decision was made to dissolve the publishing agreement.  I wish Michael all the best.

Secondly, while the Pathfinder conversions I had assigned are moving forward, the person I had working on C&C conversions has pulled from the project.

Where does all this leave us?

Well, the Ballista was put on hold earlier this year and the increased demands of Victorious the past couple months left the project completely unattended.  This is one project I am anxious to sink my teeth back into and I have already begun to review some of this material.  Besides that, at least one of the ealier modules we released needs to be reprinted and a few changes will need to see this and other modules back to layout.  Since I have lost the additional support I initially had to assist with some of the C&C material, I will be tackling that bit of work myself once the Ballista is back on track.

It's been quite some time since I have made a release and the end of the year is fast approaching but it's not too late to see at least one release by then.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Recent Fantasy Doubleshot

I finished running a two part fantasy story arc this weekend -- the first part of which was done a couple of weeks ago. I ran it for a group I am normally a player in.  It was fun and was not connected to any existing campaign I ran but I ran the story around a basic premise: X-Files meets Fantasy.  A very medieval setting... low magic... a demon conspiracy as opposed to the show's alien one.  I kept it relevatively 'free-form' and allowed the characters to follow whatever avenues they saw fit to pursue while being mindful of what the various factions were doing in the background. Of course this led to multiple threads and even I was starting to have some difficulties in sorting everything from one session to the next. A special thanks goes to Todd Pote for acting as a soundboard as I was planning the second part.

The session ended with a partial victory -- the party (members of the guard tasked with this investigation) lived where as other player characters ended up killed / murdered in the pursuit of other agendas.  The villian of the story (my equivalent of the 'smoking man') got what he was seeking with the player characters none the wiser for it. One threat was eliminated but a crucial piece of the puzzle was snatched away.

The players has fun ... the were able to excercise their roleplaying talents and I was able to share my story where they did not feel constricted in what they could or couldn't do and where they could go.

Now that I've been able to give myself a bit of creative fun -- I need to get back to work.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Long Delayed Updates

Well, it's been a while but Arcana Creations has NOT remained idle. Arcana Creations has always been largely a one-man operation but earlier this year I realized that I couldn't afford to continue working in this manner. Ironically, I've argued that I also couldn't afford to expand. A bit of an impass I suppose but I figured that certain projects couldn't advance without the 'man power' to keep the ball rolling -- a ball which has been rolling very slowly up to now.  One of the things I have been doing is looking at ways to bring more people in with the goal to better allocate the work load so that things could get rolling again. With that in mind, I have spoken to a few people, made a few arrangments, and started bringing in the reinforcements.

I have someone who is going to be doing some work on the next C&C module release ... the majority of the work is already done for this project as it is actually a conversion of an adventure to the system.  Once the technical conversion is done, I will need to worry about the layout and then we can rapidly release it thereafter. There is no firm ETA on this and, this person has asked to remain annonymous to see how the first project works out. If this trial run works, and I hope it does, this annonymous person will officially become part of the Arcana Creations / Brave Halfling Publishing family.

Speaking of conversions, I have another person I am in discussions with to convert existing material Arcana Creations has put out to Pathfinder.  Now, I've never been big on Pathfinder but a lot of people are. It's a solid system and there have been recent rumblings that Pathfinder is now outselling the Dungeons & Dragons brand. I have friends who do run Pathfinder that have expressed at how much they would love to see something like 'A Trick on the Tain' for Pathfinder. The same could be said about 'The Secret of Ronan Skerry'. I would be a fool to ignore this and the fact of the matter is, these conversions could outsell the original C&C versions of the adventures. Much like the previous project, aside from the conversion, I'll need to concern myself with layout only.

So, right there -- two people doing some work for Arcana Creations. However these aren't  what people have been waiting for. One large project has been a bit like a millstone around my neck. That is Victorious and aside from Mike Stewart (the writer), no one is more anxious to get this project out. However, there have been a few issues and unforeseen challenges in meeting some of the goals I initially set out. Aside from everybody having real life issues to sort out, the project got off to a rough start when it came to a bunch of the art we had for the project -- one of the principal artists pulled out and took all his art and design concepts with him. The other principal artist we had was happy to offer to step up but sometimes things don't always go according to plan. Art concerns isn't the only problem we had but it was one that hasn't been resolved. This necessitated certain changes on my approach with the project. Towards that end, I have decided to tackle a few issues head on. I have a new artist who is doing a couple of 'trial pieces' for the long delayed Quickstart (which was one of the things we were awaiting art for). Should all concerned parties be happy with these pieces, we will continue to use him for the rest (and as it turns out, the majority) of the work on the QS and the corulebook. Being a large project, I have arranged to get some back up to layout out the rulebook itself. Different people will the laying out different chapters based on a template I create and my direction as project manager. All in all, three people will be handling at finishing up the layout and all that stuff will be happening within the next couple of months. The longest delays will be the art of course but, what can you do? The point is that the project is moving once more and it might mean a 'staff artist' for Arcana Creations.

Finally there is the Ballista. Not forgotten though a big delayed due to concerns with Victorious and other projects, it is almost complete. The main delay has been with one article which I am finishing up. However, now that my immediate concerns with Victorious has been resolved, at least for now, I can focus on releasing issue one "guilt free". I know that BHP is doing a bit of reorganizing with John's move but once that process is done in the next week or two, I expect issue one will finally be released and available. Issue 1 is *still* the Sping issue and I do have some material for issue 2, our Summer issue as I get Ballista back on track.

Well, I hope this answers a few questions and I thank all of you that have been holding on and following our progress. Till next time!


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

For the Love of Technology...

I love my gadgets. In fact, I am writing this on my latest gadget right now. My typing isn't as fast as a conventional keyboard but I'm still quick enough to meet my needs. I just got my hands on a tablet, and no, it's not an ipad. In this case, it's the Motorola Xoom -- an Android based tablet using the new Honeycomb OS.

But why do I need one considering I also recently acquired a decent little netbook? Well, the netbook is to do some writing when I am out and about, and I have already put it to great use. The tablet on the other hand is to game!!!

I never cared much for a laptop at my gaming table. I've tried it a few times but being required to plug it in is a nuissance. Even a smaller laptop ot even the netbook is a pain and takes up too much space. Besides, lugging it around along with some books and supplies becomes quite a burden when you are a GM on the move.

I remember when I was in highschool and gaming was plentiful. I ran an AD&D 2E campaign but never in my own home. I would load up my bag with dice, the PHB, DMG, Monstrous Compendium (that binder was always a pain to load up), and my own campaign binder filled with notes. This was often supplemented with another book or two as necessary. It wasn't really heavy but it was bulky and I got around on my bike back in the day.

I have always longed for lighter and portable -- especially during those 3rd Ed. days. Switching to C&C helped a lot but it wasn't quite perfect.  Now, I could feasibly (and finally) rely on my tablet instead of carting around books.  The tablet is quick enough to switch between various PDF's without having to wait on loadtimes and finding a particular page is extremely easy. When you also get 10 hours on a charge (to watch video), worrying about the battery isn't going to be a concern for me given that an average session is a little less than half that.  ;)

My next game will include my tablet, my CK screen, my clipboard of notes with pencil and eraser, and some dice. This will be really handy when I run a demo or two this summer.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Taking a Break Tonight.

The past few weeks have been busy. April is just a really busy month. During this month, I have moved furniture, worked more than I care to with my regular 9-5 (overtime), attended various gathering with family and friends (aka social obligations), ran a few sessions of C&C (players demanded it), and finally did some work on Victorious and a bunch more on issue one of the Ballista.

This past week alone has had me staying way too late in getting issue 1 done and to my satisfaction. Last night i spent more time working on the Ballista than my actual paying job earlier that day. In short tonight I am taking a break and goin to bed early.

I figured it was a good opportunity to blog a bit too as I have made a couple of decisions. First off, the Ballista is going to be a quarterly periodical. Working on this has been great and realtively stress free but still time consuming. Mind you, part of that also has to do with the size of the project. In the early stages of the project 4-6 weeks ago, the projected page count was about 20 pages. As of right now, it's grown to over 30. More content means more time but It is only days away from completion.

At over 30 pages, it might get a bit of a price bump but if it does, it'll probably be just 50 cents making the new total $2.00 instead of $1.50 but this isn't set in stone yet. I'll discuss this first with John (BHP) and see what he thinks.

The biggest snag is the time it would take to get the POD setup for it once we submit the PDF. This brings me to a few questions. Do we wait to release both togther which means the customer can possibly get a deal on both at the same time or just release the PDF version ASAP and release the POD option once it becomes available? Will people care about the dead tree version for this sort of product?

I know I want a print copy but that's just me.

Anyway, that's it for now. I have a lot of stuff to do before this week is done and none of it has to do with the Ballista. This means even more stuff is going to be juggled. ;)


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Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Great progress is being made with the Ballista and the article which had given me a few issues last week is really flowing and coming together nicely. This article, which I won't reveal what it entails yet is what I hope others will perceive as the gem of the first issue. It still has to be fine tuned (in other words, edited) and put into layout. The layout will be quick enough with only a few tables to challenge me. :)

I have also come to realize that my recent $80 acquisition of a used netbook a real boon to the work I have been doing with Arcana Creations. It gives me a chance to do some editing and writing during my lunch hours. I have quickly come to realize how much more productive I have become as a result of this. Not because I have some extra time to work but because I find myself already in a groove to continue working despite a departure of the nature of the work when compared to my day job.

The April issue of the Ballista continues to be on track for a release sometime this month but there is a bit of a catch. I know some may be looking to get a physical copy but the process using the RPGNow POD service may mean that people wanting a deadtree copy may have to wait a little more (to the tune of a couple of weeks). I think I have an idea for those who want an electronic copy and a physical copy while ensuring fans don't pay for the material twice but I will have to check on that. It's not like we're breaking the back though but I appreciate what loyalty the fans are willing to provide and try to reciprocate whenever possible.

I'll try to get a few more answers toward the end of the week.

As to narrowing the release of issue one to a particular day, I am not quite ready to do so but will once the Ballista is ready for a final proofing. At that time, I will also post the table of contents of the first issue and article summaries.


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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pieces Continue to Fall in Place

Well, another section has been completed for the Ballista.  It's not something I wrote but a piece by John Adams.  It is a short but nice forward he agreed to do for the first issue of the Ballista.  I have to say, reading that made me feel good about the work I've been putting into it.  I'm trying to finish off a couple of key things but things are starting to finally wrap up on various bits of it. What's kind of cool is I'm also starting to accumulate some material for the second issue (which, if things continue well enough would be the June issue).


Monday, April 4, 2011

Hitting the Wall

Sometimes you work on resolving a few issues with some gaming design and mechanics. Working on a great piece for the Ballista but hit a small stumbling block in terms of the design. I start working the problem and then I fall into the trap of some circular logic. After a couple of hours of getting nowhere fast, I figure I need to get back to the Basics of what i was trying to accomplish and also put it aside fo a day or two and try and come back with a fresh perspective. Time ti switch gears and do a bit of work on a few other things that need finishing in the meantime.



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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Arcana Creations Presents...

Arcana Creations, in collaboration with Brave Halfling Publishing is pleased to announce the development of 'Ballista' -- a periodical geared to support and expand one's preferred Fantasy Role Playing Game.

Ballista is about providing both the basics and various options which can be applied or used with a variety of games which are, at the very least, inspired and derived by the original fantasy role playing game pioneered in 1974.

Despite the various versions and editions published since then, much of the core has remained the same. The game simply continues to be played and enjoyed. It is our hope to provide a gaming journal that will appeal to fans of this sort of RPG due to the high adaptability of the material we hope to introduce. With this in mind, Ballista will continue to support TLG's "Siege Mechanic" while still be completely adaptable to other rule sets such as BHP's upcoming "Delving Deeper".

The first issue will be the April 2011 issue and will be available exclusively through the Brave Halfling Publishing storefront at RPGNow! and DriveThruRPG (part of OneBookShelf.com) with each issue following every second month thereafter. Purchase options will include PDF and/or Print-on-Demand. Price has yet to be finalized but it looks like the PDF version will be making its debut at $1.50

On a personal note, I am very excited about this project. I was an early supporter with the fan community effort which put together the issues of the Domesday fanzine for C&C -- an effort which unfortunately never saw the release of the fifth and final issue. I have always believed that there was more in common with all the various game flavors we played than there were differences. I sincerely wished for the Domesday to reach a wider audience than it did but, being a community project, many different factors played against each other. With the Ballista, and Brave Halfling Publishing's support, I believe I can now successfully move forward with some of my ideas.

Here's hoping that many others will take the trip with Arcana Creations and myself!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Announcement Tomorrow

Earlier this month, I alluded to a project that I hoped would be released this month and that I was likely to give details within a couple of days. I was waiting for something before I could go ahead with the announcement though and it ended up taking a bit more time than I expected.

My wait appears to be over and I'll finally be sharing the news tomorrow.



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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Assault on Blacktooth Ridge: REDUX

Well, tonight saw the first session of my streamline run-through of TLG's A1 Module for C&C. I intended to run this module over the period of only 3 sessions though we didn't get as far as I would have liked. This didn't matter. The group had tons of fun and are anxious to play again soon.

This is what counts -- all of us having a good time. In a few weeks time when module comes to a close, I will gladly outline my changes to the scenario. I will detail why and how I shortened the scenario creating what I hope to be a much more action-filled campaign while allowing the story to continue in a seemingly fluid manner.

I can't wait to continue and it looks like the next game is only two weeks away. :)


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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Testing... Testing...

Just thought I'd test the feasibility of blogging remotely on a smartphone with an app I'm trying out. Not too shabby. It helps that I have a physical Qwerty keypad on the phone.

Aside from that, more work continues as Arcana Creations inches closer to a couple of releases. Official announcement to come soon.

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Work Continues

Work is still continuing on two things right now:

One is Victorious and admittedly isn't really news but things are still coming together on that front.

The other is something which hasn't been announced yet but with continued success, efforts, and a pinch of luck, will see production *THIS* month.  An official announcement will be made hopefully in the next few days once I have a few things turned in to me.  Suffice to say that I am excited, and I know John Adams from Brave Halfling Publishing is equally exited.  We hope that fans of games such as Castles & Crusades and other games which are at least derived from earlier editions of D&D will be equally pleased by the prospect.

Of course, time will tell but that day is rapidly approaching.

A gentle remind to my readers -- I'm on twitter and check through my feeds a few times a day as opposed to the opportunity to blog which may be once or twice a week.  You can follow my tweets @arcanacreations


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

That Blue Bird

Just a quick note tonight folks...

In an attempt to have Arcana Creations and my work become a bit more prominent as far as an online presence is concerned, I have finally caved and signed up on Twitter.  I figured it was something I would do when I got my new phone (smart phone making social networking a lot easier) and that was about a week and a half ago.

I still need to figure a couple of things out... Hell, I still need to change my avatar on Twitter to be something other than an egg.  All in good time.  As of today, I have started to tweet (twit?) and I think Twitter will be a good way to do quick announcements or post various gaming related links.  There are a few things happening (all good) between Arcana Creations and Brave Halfling Publishing and Twitter will be a great way to spread the word when time for blogging isn't all that available.

People who are interested can follow my tweets @arcanacreations


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Gaming Fun!

Well, last night I ran and finished of the first part of my newest C&C campaign that I've started where we completed the 'Rising Knight' by TLG.  This was an excellent starter for the campaign and I treated it much like a 'pilot' for a TV series.  The audience in this case were the players themselves.  Essentially I tried to pick up cues from the players in term of the type of game they were looking for.  When I first started the adventure (it went on over a period of 4 sessions) I presented plenty of opportunities for roleplay as well as a lot of combat.  As it turns out -- they like a good story (and who doesn't) but they seem to be a bit shy on the roleplaying.  Now I want roleplaying and character development to happen but I've always found that this depends on the strength and confidence of the players.  Sure, it helps if the GM goes all out and tries to develop memorable characters but in this case, as I soon learned, they had been trying to pick up cues from me.  It's been a learning process for everyone concerned.  That said, what they wound up getting was plenty of action -- maybe too much action as I proceeded to put the party through the grinder.

Everyone had fun though it was almost a TPK at the end.  Now that the first part is done, I will begin to prepared the next adventure (I'm running the Umbrage Saga) and will be doing a few things.  One... each subsequent part of the adventure will be reduced to 3 sessions which will constitute a module.  Yes... it will mean that certain things will be cut but it will enable me to keep the pace very quick.  At most, there may be a bridging session from one session to another to keep the flow relatively smooth.  All in all, only core concepts and events will be kept ... there will be a bit more narrative to help fill in the blanks and tell the story... but I hope that the essence of what the adventure sage will be successfully distilled and enjoyed.

What I hope to do, once this is done is to post what / how this was done in case others wish to adopt some of my ideas.  Suffice to say, last nights game was F-U-N.

On a related note, last night was also the night where I started to include a couple of ideas from the CKG.  I figure there will be some material which will be adopted for the campaign going forth though I think there needs to be some work in terms of HOW we choose to integrate this new material.  Since getting a physical copy of the CKG is a bit of a pain, I adopted to go for the PDF edition (despite it being a bit overpriced IMO).  Shipping to Canada is a bit of a deal breaker so a dead-tree copy can wait (making the digital option strangely economical by comparison).  There is some neat things about the book but I confess at being disappointed initially.  I am warming up to it and while I am underwhelmed with a lot of the material in the first part of the book, I am enjoying other parts of the book.  A review will be coming along once I finish digesting the material.  At any rate, there are certain things I will be adopting and making available to my players for the rest of the campaign.

On a different note (but still in the fun category), I also scored these at the dollar store a couple of days ago:

12 crocs of different types ... all of a good scale in relation to the 25 mm used (aka 'Heroic Scale' such as what is used for the D&D minis) all for $1.  I suspect there will be some swamps in the near future.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

After the Siege ...

Well, it's been more than five months since my last update.  The Fall Season was a very rough one with work (9-5 job where overtime took on a new meaning) and generally a day to day stressful and taxing routine became the norm.  Arcana Creations was the first to suffer with all this as various plans and ambitions fell to the wayside.  Many things have continued to change in the gaming industry but things have started getting back on track and my online presence has been beginning to re-assert itself since the new year.

The nicest compliments I have received have been from people who remember the work I have started to do and there have been a couple of offers of encouragement along the way.  As I predicted (though for different reasons) half a year ago, Arcana Creations is changing how it will go forward.  Thankfully, I have the full support of my publishing partner as well people who have worked with me in the past on various things.

It's time to rebuild.

It's time to start outlining a couple of the ideas I have and get the ball rolling on some of these.

First of all, Victorious is still being done.  Work had stalled largely last fall but I've been in communication with the author and things are still a go.  I hope to have some exciting news on this front soon enough as various aspects of this are still getting sorted out.  But I have a much clearer vision of what this should be and what it needs to be as it moves forward.  The fuse has been lit on this...

Secondly, while my love for Castles & Crusades has not diminished, I have never been one to be in complete agreement with the way that TLG has been developing the game nor have I been satisfied at what has happened with the fanbased Society.  I can't really change either of these but I can try and offer support in other ways.  While I don't exactly think it is the 'Rosetta Stone' of Role Playing Games, it has at least indirectly helped fuel the creation of other similar games which draw inspiration from classic Dungeons & Dragons.  With all this in mind, and the support of Brave Halfling Publishing, a small periodical will be produced which will support C&C (yet be compatible with others).

The idea of developing a periodical through Arcana Creations is hardly new and I have discussed this on and off shortly after the start of 2010.  However, I realized that the scope of that project is much too large and resource intensive to even contemplate taking on.  This periodical shall be short, inexpensive, and regular.  More importantly, it is secondary to regular projects Arcana Creations is working on.  I had a working title for it -- until I realized it was already a registered trademark of another periodical.  I guess it will remain unnamed for now.  :)

Aside from those two projects, Arcana Creations will be converting some of its material for the Pathfinder RPG.  While it is not my game of choice, it would be foolish to ignore that many do play and buy Pathfinder products.  Talks are being finalized with someone who will be doing the actual conversion work which will leave me be to focus on the more important objectives.

At this point, I would like to extend my thanks to the following people (in no particular order) who have encouraged me in these difficult times:

John Adams, Keith Hackwood, Bill De Franza, Mike Stewart, Todd Pote, and Robert Doyel