Updates and Musings


Atlas Close-Up

First, good news! The alpha-draft of Small Town Heroes is finished and off to my readers. Since I rewrite as I go along, there will be some changes after I get all the comments in but no major ones. Which means even with final rewrites and edits I am still on schedule for a September 30th release date (I had hoped to have the cover to show you here, but will post it soon). So for all my frustrated readers–I am so, so sorry and I feel your impatience. The wait will be over soon.

Second, I’ve been taking a break from the book for a couple of days to decompress while waiting for comments from my alpha-readers, and that gave me time to think about other things. One thing I should share is some good news/bad news: the bad news is I have decided to drop the project to make Wearing the Cape: the Roleplaying Game using Margaret Weis Productions’ Cortex Plus game system. Which is a shame: I spent quite a bit of time over the last year mastering the Cortex Plus system and put together a trial-balloon “rulebook” for some willing playtesters so that I could field-test a few rules modifications and see how Astra’s world looked as the background for a tabletop RPG, and a dedicated band of playtesters devoted some good evenings and weekends to testing it out for me.

However, due to miscommunications (mostly on my part), I misunderstood the nature of the Cortex Plus Licensing Program: I cannot make a stand-alone game using their system. For awhile I thought I might be content to wait MWP’s release of their forthcoming Heroic Roleplaying corebook and then release a WtC sourcebook for it with the company’s blessing. However, they have not made any representations concerning the release-date of Heroic Roleplaying other than “by the end of the first quarter next year if not sooner.” And even those representations are not set in stone; nothing official has appeared on their site.

So: in the interest of not wasting all the work done so far (I have a great artist and a graphic designer, and of course the background pages for the Post-Event world are mostly done), I have decided to proceed with the project using the Open Game License system Fate. It was a close look at another RPG property, The Dresden Files Roleplaying Game, that convinced me the Fate system could do the job handily. The good news is that that is what will occupy my time the last quarter of ’14. And even the playtesting done on the Cortex Plus WtC will not go to waste: after MWP finally releases Heroic Roleplaying, I can and will produce a WtC sourcebook for it.

So now I’ve been entertaining myself with dreaming up Hero Aspects for the game: Aspects are a huge part of Fate (and BTW, if you’ve never played a Fate game but are curious, you can download Fate Core for free and with its producer’s blessing at DrivethruRPG.com). Looking on TV Tropes for inspiration, I have come up with: The Paragon, The Anti-Hero, The Action Hero, The Driven Hero, The Company Hero, The Celebrity Hero, and The Reluctant Hero. Thinking about it, the Post-Event World has a lot of Company Heroes and Celebrity Heroes, something you don’t see too often in the comic books (Booster Gold is the only one I can think of off the top of my head, although I’m sure there are more).

So that’s all for now. Everyone have a great September, I promise to post the cover as soon as I get the finished piece, and trust that I am counting the days!



20 thoughts on “Updates and Musings

  1. Oh wow, too bad about the licensing issues. Fate is a great system, though, and very tweak-able. And you can come up with character aspects by reading lyrics or poetry and hunt for evocative phrases. What other system can compete with that?

  2. Have you given any thought to which iteration of Fate to use? I would highly recommend Strange Fate, it’s specifically built for supers and the use of “Tiers” of abilities is custom made to show different levels of the same ability. It would translate perfectly into the class system from the novels. The system was originally used for Kerberos Club a Victorian supers game but I believe there is an SRD floating around as well.

    1. Looking into several, actually. But while I’m taking inspiration from different sources I’m sticking close to Fate Core/Fate Toolbox and the other releases by Evil Hat. This allows me to take full advantage of the Open Game License and not have to worry about stepping on any toes.

      1. The power tier system could probably be ported fairly easily into a Fate Core game, I like that it adds a little crunch and (in my opinion) elegantly shows the difference in levels of ability despite having similar trappings. Im glad to hear you’re still loving forward with the project despite encountering some difficulties!

      2. Looking over the Strange Fate tier system, I decided it was too different from Fate Core/Toolbox. However, there is a tier system in Fate Toolbox, called Scale. Making Scale into a Stunt gets this:

        Breakthrough Scale (-2 per level)
        Scale may range from 0 to +X, 0 being Human Scale. Breakthroughs may purchase Breakthrough Scale as D class +1, C Class +2, B Class +3, and A Class +4. The Scale Bonus will apply to all Attributes/Skills relevant to the breakthrough’s Power Aspect, but may only be only applied to your roll once, regardless of how many Attribute/Skills might be involved. (For example, Astra’s relevant Attributes/Skills are Alertness, Physique, and Flight. Rush’s relevant Attributes are Athleticism and Fight.) If opponents with different Scales are in direct competition or conflict, the opponent with the higher scale will get a +1 per difference in Scale to his roll with relevant Attributes/Skills and may also deal +2 shifts of harm on a successful attack or reduce incoming harm by 2 if the Scale difference reflects damage or toughness. The Guide must sign off on which Attributes/Skills are affected.

        Since it uses tiers but sticks to the Fate Dice, this is what I am considering at this time. Thank you very much for turning me on to the possibility of using tiers/scale. It looks like a winner.

      3. Glad I could help! The scale system looks interesting as well; Fate does a great job of hitting the sweet spot between narrative and crunchier gaming systems. Looking forward to hearing more!

    1. Even those that don’t play the game can enjoy the extra background detail that comes with it. I’ve bought a number of roleplaying supplements for just that reason.

  3. How hard would it be for you to setup a pre-order on Amazon? I’d love to reserve a my copy now, and have it just appear on my Kindle device when the book hits the Amazon servers.

  4. Check out Strands of Fate, if you can, if only just to see how finicky someone can make Fate. That sounds like a backhanded compliment, but it’s really not. I like that incarnation of Fate a lot.

  5. Will you be opening up Beta Test playing on the new system? I have a small group of friends who have also read the novels and I think they are willing to play test with me. 😀

  6. As a newcomer to “Wearing the Cape” but a not-so-newcomer to Fate, I say, “Awesome!” I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  7. I think an example of Celebrity Hero would be Critter. My memory is a bit fuzzy so forgive if the facts aren’t 100 percent. Critter herself is also what I’d call a Legacy Hero, in that her mom had been one before her, and had diappeared/died in action. So to carry on her mom’s work, Critter joins a prepackaged and celebrity famous cat girl themed super model group Purrrfection. Unfortunately the fit into the team is shaky and Critter uncovers a murder cover up. The girl whose role she is replacing had been murdered in a publicity event gone wrong.

    I really liked the comic when it first came out, but it sort of lost its steam and I had to make cut backs on my comic intake because the issues are four bucks a pop these days. Even a few titles make a dent. Here is her Comic Vine entry:


  8. Yaaay!!!

    I’m sorry for whatever problems having to shift to the FATE system might cause but I have to say I actually prefer this. Having used the Dresden Files RPG to play superhero games many times now, I can tell you that the mechanics of the system work quite well for it.

    I have actually built both Superman and The Hulk as characters for such games and the results worked well. At least if by “well” you mean “can take on entire armies as they’re supposed to”.

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