Thursday, June 26, 2008

Why Oz?

Before I answer the question posted above, I just thought you'd like a little progress report. Gillikin, Munchkin and Winkie Countries are complete and available for download on the Adventures in Oz website.

If you've been reading my blog, you'll notice that I have large areas where my weekly post is just a lot of hooey letting you know that I'm still here. And it's a lot of hooey and not interesting reading. So I've decided to change that. Every week, I intend to offer you something. A new piece of art, design notes, or Oz commentary.

Now to the big question: Why Oz? Why try to publish an Oz RPG?
It all started when I bought some trade paperback comic books at a used bookstore some time ago. They were collections of a series called "Oz" published by Caliber Comics. It featured a very gritty story set in a dark Oz that was conquered by the Nome King. An interesting story, with quite a bit of researched detail (including some things that I didn't get until I started doing serious research). However, it wasn't very "Ozzy."

That just begged the question in my mind: "What is Ozzy?" Since I'm an avid gamer, the answers to that question began expressing themselves as RPG rules.

Publication wasn't part of the initial goal, since it was largely intended as a thought experiment. But as I thought about it, and did some checking, it became more and more possible. The original stories had fallen into the public domain, so I wouldn't have to pay for a license. Print-on-demand technology has reduced the need to shell out for massive print runs at the outset like in the old days. My only real expenses would be minor business and publishing expenses, and whatever content I couldn't generate myself. This last one is turning out to be a killer because I am not an artist. A single piece of art isn't too expensive, but the amount of art that a project like this will take lets it add up quickly.

It was out of this interest in being published that I attended a seminar on game publishing at DunDraCon back in February. There were two main bits of advice that I took away from that: #1 Don't bank on success. It's unlikely, and won't make you a millionaire in any case. #2 If you're going to do it, do it. If it's going to succeed, it needs to do so in the marketplace. If it's going to fail, it should probably happen before it becomes your baby.

So I resolved to put nose to the grindstone and get this baby published by the end of the year, so I can appear at DunDraCon next year as a dealer. While my timing may not be as good as I'd like, my dedication to getting this done has not changed.

Next Week: Combat

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Magic Belt has arrived!

It's finally here! "The Magic Belt of Oz" is complete and ready for download.

Well, not totally complete. I would like to make this a lovely debut product, with a sexy layout and all that jazz. But I'm not going to do that until I can be sure that it's a good product, so I need your feedback to help me out with that. Either drop a comment on my blog (you can do it even if you're not a blogspot member, so don't be initimidated) or send me an email at I'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

It's coming, it's coming!

For those of you who are worried that my last few posts haven't had a whole lot of substance, I apologize. This is very much a one-man show here. While I am commissioning art from professional artists, I'm paying for them out of my bi-weekly paychecks from my drudge of a day job. And content generation is all me. It's easier with the help of a few online resources, but it still takes time and effort. And it's not the only thing on my plate at any given time.

There's also the fact that I want to do this right. I mean, anyone can put out a book these days, but if it's not any good, than people won't buy it. I want this little beauty to have the best chance it can at success. Which is one of the reasons that I'm compiling a fastplay adventure: to help market the game.

Once people see what I'm doing, I think they'll like it. I am trying to treat the whole Oz realm with the respect and detail that it deserves. I'm trying to make a game that will appeal to the casual Oz fan as much as the hardcore gamer.

Coming next week: The official announcement of the completion of "The Magic Belt of Oz." I'll probably put it up for peer review for a while. Once that's done, I'll get a layout guy on it, and try to shove it in as many hands as possible as a free download or handout.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Art Keeps Rolling In

For a long time, Bryan Fowler was the only artist who was producing art for me. You all saw his interpretation of the Winged Monkeys a few posts back. Now I've got two other artists getting started. Brad McDevitt has done some really nice pieces depicting the characters from "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz", from the Tin Woodman to the Queen of the Field Mice. The talented Amanda Webb has also gotten started on a few pieces. I haven't seen her final drafts yet, but her preliminary sketches look rock solid.

The main reason that you're not seeing any of this yet is that the pieces aren't fully paid for. Unfortunately, reality has forced me to fulfill my publishing dream by nickel-and-diming my way there. As I get this work paid for, I'll start posting some of it up here. I really want you to see this stuff.

The other reason that you're not seeing all the art that I have is that I don't want to give away the whole thing for free. If you saw all the art here, you'd have no need to buy my books when they arrive.
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