How The Bloody-Handed Name of Bronze Works

I’m really proud of The Bloody-Handed Name of Bronze. It’s the best roleplaying game I’ve ever designed and I think that I’ll be able to look back and see its publication as a watershed moment for the playable parts of my creative output. This is where it came from.

Continue reading “How The Bloody-Handed Name of Bronze Works”

Intellectual Property and the Newly Professional Creator

If you’re a backer of the Mobile Frame Zero 002: Alpha Bandit, you know that I changed the name mid-campaign to Intercept Orbit. I changed the name as a part of an surprisingly functional trademark agreement with a surprisingly awesome guy named Matthew Rivaldi of Wiggity Bang Games, who was about to launch a campaign for his own, near-identically-named game, Alpha Bandits.

I want to talk a bit about how intellectual property law works from the point of view of a serial crowdfunder, why Matthew and my dispute went well, and how it might be a model for such interactions as creator-publishers become the primary creative force of the 21st century.

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It’s Hard to Find Someone

xenoglyph on Patreon

This week, I’m starting my Patreon campaign to help me get back to the fun stuff on this blog. The alien lifeforms, the languages, and the critical analysis of our favorite media and the fore-ripples of the bow shock of the future.

I’m adding a goodie, though: prose science fiction. To inaugurate the campaign, I include here a story of mine, called It’s Hard to Find Someone. It takes place on a planet called Ejtḧangh in the major cultural center of Tetej where, sadly, the people are no more enlightened than we are when it comes to the vagaries of sex and relationships.

A note on pronunciation: The language of Tetej and its surrounding culture uses a lot of aspiration, so  one would pronounce “Ejtḧangh” a bit like “Edge to hang uh”. The hs are both pronounced in the back of the throat, as in Arabic. Th is therefore not a digraph, but two separate sounds. To avoid confusion, I have used a diaeresis (¨) to separate the letters as a reminder to native readers of English.

It’s Hard to Find Someone

Hjatḧa woke up in the late morning and stretched before opening her eyes. The sun, trailing a string of the smaller moons, poured light through the window. It was a friendly but sudden awakening as the sun rose through the feathertree outside the window. Beside her lay Kwatḧash, the impregnator she’d met last night. He was beautiful and sleek, asleep there on her pillow, his chest rising and falling, snoring unselfconsciously. Hjatḧa was still struck by his pretty face, lit now by the dappled light as it was last night by the flickering light of the incense candles, his eyes flashing as he composed little poems about the rhyme in their names. As the night went on, they both found looser tongues under the influence of incense, and the poetry turned more direct. Kwatḧash promised to rhyme all night, and he did. Continue reading “It’s Hard to Find Someone”

Pay What You Want for Shock:!

Until I get tired of doing it this way, Shock:Social Science Fiction, the literary SF RPG, is Pay What You Want Dollars for the PDF! The average payment is about $13, but you can give me any amount you want!

I’ve seen players use Shock: to make stories in the style of Kurt Vonnegut, Ursula K. Le Guin, Philip K. Dick, C.J.Cherryh, and Octavia Butler. It works with your group’s sense of humor for playing tragedies, comedies, and adventures, so long as they appreciate the irony that defines science fiction.

I do ask that you sincerely pay what you feel you can afford. Game publishing is my living and, while I’m very happy about every download, I can only make a living at it if you help.

Enjoy it, and may you never experience the vast and terrible worlds you create!

Mobile Frame Zero Success

The Mobile Frame Zero Kickstarter was a huge success! Thanks to the thousands of backers, enormous creativity of my co-creators, and big ups from Tycho and Kotaku, the game is under full-steam production!

You can expect me to be a little quiet — it’s a huge project — so if you’re curious about what’s going on, please follow me! I’m also on Facebook and G+, though I don’t really have time to interact there very often.

You might want to keep an eye on everything in the Community sidebar on, especially the Mobile Frame Hangar. There’s amazing creativity going on over there, from creation of mobile frame companies to fan art and t shirt designs.

I’ve got a whole ton of work to do. Hope I get to build some robots soon!

Want to see how to play Kodrek?


Hurricane Irene really set me back on finishing up Kodrek. But I managed to get a video of play up in time to get it into the Thousand Year game Challenge!

Also excitingly, I’ll be printing up booklets and sending out games in the coming week!

Kodrek rules, version 1.0

The 1.0 rules of Kodrek are complete! I’ll be sending boards out to all the Kodrek-level Kickstarter backers just as soon as printing is complete.

The timing means that I’ll also be entering the game in the 1000 Year Game Challenge. It’s got some stiff competition!

Kodrek is a game with a funny background. It comes from an actual game of Human Contact. Because HC is about cultures and their expressions in contrast with other cultures, we needed a game that summed up the part of the culture we were soaking in during a particular scene. In this case, it was an Academic (a bit of a dick, that guy) who was gambling. Now, keep in mind, the Academy doesn’t have money; its members trade in ideas because of their post-scarcity environment. So the guy was gambling with money that he was manufacturing. But he considered all the marines and pirates around him murderers, so he figured it all came out it the wash.

My specification was that it be a three-way game with shifting alliances. Vincent wanted it to be a game where you committed to plans in secret and then revealed them to each other, then dealt with the consequences. You can actually see the scene in Human Contact on page 84. We described the triangular board, the move-slapping, and that was about it.

After the game, Rob had to go home and Vincent and I went for a walk. We kept going back to the board game idea and rough-sketched play. I’ve thought about it for a few months and have come up with these final rules.

The game has a lot of variables and the rules discuss some of the things you might do differently if you lived with a different clan. I look forward to seeing the variants that players come up with!

I’m considering publishing the game. For the time being, it’s Creative Commons, Attribution, Noncommercial, Share-Alike though I might loosen it up a little bit, allowing commerical products and derivatives once I’ve decided.

Download the rules here!