Last week, and the week before, and okay, I'll admit, all the previous weeks before that going way back to January 2023, I intended to write a blog.
And I didn't.
I got very busy in January with plans for the year and setting up files, research programs and working with Ryan to produce The Oracle and work on the various projects.
And then the big one landed on my desk - Vastral's Guide to Magical Oddities Vol 3. That's a 192 page book, and, no matter how fast you type, that takes quite a bit of time. Not to mention the illustrations, the layout, and the raw ideas that have to be turned into something polished and finished.
The work on that had begun last year, but it wasn't as far advanced as it could have been - present me blames past me for that and hopes past me is hanging his head in shame...
So, it took a LOT of work, and then I was sick in February and so on... leading us to today. Between us, Ryan and I have done a ton of work this year, but unless you have bought all of it - thank you to those who have - you might be unaware, because I don't write enough about what I write! I plan to change that.... and have been planning to do so since January. Ahem.
Right, secret guilt revealed, preamble over, what is currently, right now, on the workbench in Frog HQ?
New Campaigns and Products
A Rough Guide to Neo-City
This is a complete location guide to a cyberpunk city called Neo City and features:
18 Creatures / Mechs / Robots
Brief Backstory and History of the World
Yes, a cyberpunk location guide. Technically, it would have made more sense to put this under the new imprint The Arcane Muse, as that is covering all genres but The Frog has now done, zombies in modern times (two versions), zombies in the middle ages and I have a hardcore sci-fi game being play tested at the moment... so a bit like realising I don't update this blog enough, I realise that The Grinning Frog leapt beyond the fantasy boundaries a while ago.
Kickstarter link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thegrinningfrog/neo-city-a-cyberpunk-location-guide-for-rpgs
The campaign will also feature the second pocket quest game - see https://www.thegrinningfrog.com/product-page/pocket-quest-fantasy which is still on discount as it's brand new! The new game is set in Neo City and is called Tiger Hunt, which is a play on words as you play a gene-spliced human who is effectively an anthropomorphic tiger, and you are looking for your sister - hence Tiger Hunt. Again, it fits inside a card case and is completely pocketable!
The Oracle RPG Magazine
As far as I know, this is still the only monthly print RPG in the world... let me know if anyone finds another one that is current and active.
#35 is being written. That's for this month and later today I'm writing the gaming advice article on ways to rejuvenate your game sessions. That's been a fun article to draft up.
#36 and #37 have been plotted. Kickstarter campaign is being approved as I write.
The themes are celebration, and dragons respectively:
We've never had an issue dedicated to a single creature type before. Saying that, there will be more than just dragons as we are covering dragon cultists - who obviously don't have to be dragons themselves.
For #36, which is our third year birthday edition, we are outlining a whole carnival including games, sideshows and NPCs etc. There will also be a mini game you can play within the game session, or as a time filler outside of it. (The back of the magazine will form the game-mat for that.)
Previous Campaigns, Progress
You Ask I Write 2
This is due to be with backers next month. I'm working through the last of the requests. I did save some of the longer/trickier ones to the end of the project as I wanted more mental space to work on them. Always a fun challenge, I'm very happy with the questions/answers and all being well, this will go out nicely on time for backers.
One of the requests actually sparked the Neo City project above as one idea led to another...
Zilight Original, Zilight Seattle and Zilight Dark Ages
Are all back from the printers, and whilst I have a small niggle with the printers on this particular job, all has ended fine. They are being posted out this week and I'm just hoping that Ryan counted the envelopes correctly because there sure are a lot of boxes of printed zombie games to post out!
Vastral's Guide to Magical Oddities Vol 3
That's gone out as a beta pdf. The finished, final pdf version will be released today and it is with the printers now. I have a final read through of their proof to do, then I press the big green 'go' button.
I've finally admitted to myself that the planned cover wasn't good enough and I've designed something much nicer. It would be a spoiler to share it here at this point and in a moment of good sense, I have sent it to two folks who's opinion I value to check that it isn't just me who likes it. Once they've said yes, I will share it with the campaign backers and assuming I'm a good writer and come back and update my own website promptly, you can see the cover here soon!
(They replied whilst I was writing this and they both loved it.)
The Arcane Index
The first volume of the index which is being published under The Arcane Muse imprint from The Grinning Frog has gone to backers in PDF format. It will be sent to the printers later this week, and likely posted out at the end of next week.
The Arcane Muse is a collaboration between Ryan and myself which occurs outside of his contracted Grinning Frog hours. In other words, he's now making a living as an RPG author. The first project is The Arcane Index, which is the spiritual successor to the GMs Toolkit that you will find in the shop.
The first volume of the Index was a collection of NPCs, and came with optional supplements which consisted of Pets, Hangouts and Rumours. The whole thing was great to write - even if Ryan did steal a funky elf picture from me. I had plans for her... (not like that - I was going to make her an arms dealer, he took the picture and made her respectable.)
We have asked backers of the campaign whether they want us to stick to our planned Volume 2, which is Flora and Fauna (fantasy) or would they like some sci-fi NPCs. We are awaiting their replies.
Ramboldi Art Subscription
The backers for this were wonderfully patient as I managed to miss a month entirely - I made up for it by providing double the content when I realised they were missing out. I also need to put this into the store so that people can actually join up!
I also have collaboration with Loke Battle Mats which is moving along in the background but I'm not sure if we are sharing the details yet so you'll have to wait for that.
I think that's everything, although I'm writing this at home, not in the office so can't check the whiteboards. As you can imagine, co-ordinating all of this takes some effort.
I have neglected the discord group a little recently, my apologies to the group. I'll drop some more bits in there going forward.
Another key task is to update the front page of the website with new links, and to get recent publications into the store. I was made aware the other day that numerous physical products that we have in stock are not listed on the website. The Midnight Ball adventure being a prime example. I will be doing that soon.
Right, the cat needs to be fed, then I've a book to proof.
Until next time, stay safe and keep gaming.
P.S. Oh, and staying up late last night, I might have cracked icon making, more on that soon.