Sunday, January 20, 2013

Goblinworks, Bandits High!

Welcome back to my blog! I’m game designer and author Rich Baker, and every week or two I post some thoughts on what I’m working on, gaming topics that catch my interest, and current events. So, enjoy!

It’s been a busy few weeks for me, which is why I haven’t been keeping up as well as I would like. I spent the last five weeks or so working on a short contract with Goblinworks to help out with their Kickstarter project for Pathfinder Online. Now that the Kickstarter’s succeeded, the folks at Goblinworks have offered me a position as a writer/developer on Pathfinder Online, and I’ve accepted.
It’s been 13 months since Wizards of the Coast decided they could no longer afford to retain my services, and it’s been an interesting experience. Obviously, I’ve had some periods of great anxiety about what I would do next. I’ve worked furiously hard on a variety of writing projects I never could have done while I was at Wizards, and I’ve learned a lot about being a self-employed freelancer and a business in Washington state. It’s not as scary as I feared it would be when WotC sent me on my way, and I already think I’m going to be better off for it. Anyway, while I feel like I am a lot more self-reliant than I was a year and a month ago, I’m looking forward to being part of a team again, and learning lots of new things!

In the next couple of months, I’ll be doing a lot of work in Kickstarter fulfillment. One of the big projects promised in the Kickstarter is the Emerald Spire super-dungeon, an all-star offering from sixteen of the industry’s most famous names. I’ll be taking point on wrangling the Emerald Spire into shape, coordinating the contributions of the various authors, and of course working on my own contribution to the project. In addition, the Emerald Spire includes a decent amount of source material on Fort Indomitable, one of the major base areas that will be covered in Pathfinder Online. Much like I did for the Thornkeep book, I’ll be helping to build one of the major start areas of the game. After we get the Emerald Spire off to a good start, I’ll be moving into more traditional design work for the MMO. I’m looking forward to playing around with a new tool set!
The folks at Goblinworks know that I’ve got a busy writing career going “after hours,” and they’re fine with my moonlighting. That’s good news, because it means I can pursue creative projects on the side. Right now, I’m working on writing comic book scripts for a new series. (I would say exactly which company and what project, but I don’t think it’s been announced yet.) This is a new medium for me, and I’m learning a lot as I’m translating my story document into scripts and art suggestions. I’m also working with my agent to shop around a new military thriller. With a little luck, I’ll have a big sale to announce sometime soon.

Newly Released: Speaking of my writing…  a number of my Forgotten Realms books have been released as audio books. Here are a couple of links:

If you have a long commute and you’re looking for a way to pass the time, well, maybe this is something you would enjoy! And if you happen to try out of ‘em, let me know what you think of the audio experience. It’s a new format for me, and I’m curious how my work holds up.
Soon to be Released: And, in case you’re curious what’s coming up next in my game design, keep your eyes peeled for Axis & Allies Air Force Miniatures: Bandits High. This is set 2 for the Air Force minis game, and it includes a bunch of new models for aircraft that didn’t appear in set 1. In addition, there are some very creative uses of aircraft that flew in different air forces, so that you’ll see some familiar planes in some very unfamiliar national markings. Did you know that the Romanian air force flew Hurricanes? Or that the Finns flew Brewster Buffaloes? It’s a fascinating bit of history, or so I think. Anyway, AAAFM Set 2 should be released on or around February 19th, so get your orders in.

I’m hoping that A&A Air Force Minis continue into a set 3 sometime in late 2013 or 2014, but I’m afraid I can’t make any promises about that: Wizards of the Coast parted ways with me just when I was starting work on that project, and I don’t know if they’re still planning on it or not. But I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
Politics/Current Events: Just one thought this week… if you think that sensitivity demands that we avoid any insult to or defamation of Islam, why would you go see Book of Mormon and laugh your ass off? If you think Book of Mormon is all in good fun, then you ought to be okay with a musical making fun of Muhammad and the writing of the Koran. If on the other hand you think one religion shouldn’t be mocked, then you ought to be respectful toward all of them. Refusing to tolerate criticism of Islam but laughing at Mormons because you know they won’t kill you for it is simply cowardice.

I’m sure Book of Mormon is a funny show. But it’s a cheap shot, and I’m not going to see it.
The Finer Things: Big Bang Theory. There aren’t many sitcoms that can hold my attention for more than an episode or two, but boy, I love this show. Maybe it’s because it hits dead center in nerd culture, and that’s pretty much where I live.