Calling All Guinea Pigs!

Astra-CloseFirst look at my new artist.

“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “to talk of many things: of shoes and ships and sealing-wax, of cabbages and kings.”

It’s funny, what sticks with you. My father wasn’t big on literature for literature’s sake; he read like a fish (whatever that means), but read what he liked. And once in a while on a family night he’d gather us around and read the poetry that mattered to him; Lewis Carol’s stuff was one of his favorites, and those nonsense lines still come back and tickle me when I’m feeling especially whimsical.

Wearing the Cape: the Roleplaying Game is another one of those things that stick. Not that I’ve been planning it for decades–just that RPGs where such a huge part of my creative life for so long that I still find myself thinking in terms of character stats (and I’ve mentioned before how much the “methodical” approach influenced the way I have portrayed breakthrough powers).

Thus I find myself launched in the fascinating and frightening venture of creating an RPG–figuring it out as I’m going along, much as I have done for indie-publishing my stuff. The good news? The picture above is part of the good news; I have found at least one artist willing to work with me in my price-range and timetable, and he is very good. Very shortly I intend to have a new Wearing the Cape site up, where among other things prints of his stuff will be coming available as he completes them (he’s starting with illustrations of all the Sentinels in the first book). Every print sold will pay him over and above what I’m already paying per work–and I hope there will be enough sales to motivate him to do lots, enough to comfortably fill a game-book.

More good news!

I have “finished” the roughest of drafts of The Rules for WtC: the RPG. I am looking for playtesters willing to commit some serious weekend time and prepared to give lots of feedback. However, before everyone who loves the idea of the game jumps aboard, let me explain how I hope to do this.

First, I would like three or four playtest groups who have already played a game using a Cortex Plus System. There are three that I know of: Leverage, Smallville, and Marvel Heroic Roleplaying. This is important, because the Cortex Plus system uses an interesting and interlocking series of mechanisms (the Dice Pool, the Opposition/Doom/Trouble Pool, and Assets/Complications) which are not simple to grasp if you’ve never seen them. I’ve been over and over the different options available (as laid out in Cortex Plus Hack), but am not sure I’ve gotten it right–so first I want players who can spot my mistakes/omissions and work with me on them.

Second, once I’m confident that the system is working as it should and isn’t broken in ways I can’t see, I’m going to do a thorough rewrite. The second draft will be The Rules explained for players who have never done Cortex Plus–or even played a pencil-and-dice RPG before. They will be the second control group, able to tell me where my explanation of The Rules is…less than clear.

So that’s two layers of playtesters. Now, for anyone daring or foolhardy enough to take me up on this, here’s what you get:

1.) The Rules (as is for now) and Background (also as is). You will get unlimited email-posting time with me–I want to make sure I hear everything that everyone has to say, and I am good at responding. I want to get this right.

2.) All playtesters are becoming part of the Post-Event world. When the game is published, I will be listing all Playtesters (everyone who takes part) and Contributors (anyone who kicks back something neat that I want to add into the game, such as lists, new powers/skills, rules-changes, etc.)–along with their Hero Names and the names of their teams.

Playtesters who ground their games in other cities or run a Chicago-CAI Campaign may find their teams appearing in the Post-Event background section (I intend to include a brief gazette of interesting places/people). The new website is going to include a Google Map of Hope’s world with labeled locations of teams and events.

Major Contributors–I haven’t decided what that means yet, but I’ll know them when I see them–will either get free signed editions, or a picture of their heroes if I can talk my artist into doing them at that point. I can promise no more than five “slots” for this particular Thank You!, but I want to do something.

This is all very exciting. And don’t worry–I haven’t forgotten about Book Five in the process of working on this; if anything, going back over everything to write the world background has given me even more ideas for Astra and Company’s next adventure.


14 thoughts on “Calling All Guinea Pigs!

  1. Volunteering for the first play testing group as we discussed previously. We’re excited to give the rules a good stress test!

  2. You mentioned book 5. Do you know, or can you share, if any of the upcoming books will be another Artemis, (or other hero) stand-alone? Or – will it be another Sentinels adventure?

  3. I haven’t played with Cortex, but I’d love to be part of the second group! I do have years of experience with RPGs and a stable group to play with.

  4. I seldom leave responses, however i did a few searching
    and wound up here Calling All Guinea Pigs! | Marion Harmon, A Writer in Vegas..
    And I do have a few questions for you if you do not mind.
    Is it simply me or does it look like some of these remarks come
    across like they are left by brain dead visitors?

    😛 And, if you are writing at additional online sites, I would like to follow everything new you have
    to post. Would you list of the complete urls of all your social
    sites like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

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