Monday, February 28, 2022

You All Rock (Seriously)

Thank you for the robust comments yesterday. FYI, I am a little (okay, a lot) zony from the meds I'm on, so please excuse any particular rambling that follows...

Rather than posting a response to everyone from yesterday, I thought I'd do a general idea dump about my thoughts on Resolute.

It started as a supers game, and then was adapted as a fantasy game... and then again as a supers game... and I think then again as a fantasy game. I came back to it several times over maybe a five year period.

Your posts yesterday made me realize how insulated I am in terms of my game design work. I read very little in the way of other game systems - I really do sort of work in a vacuum, which is good (because I am not really influenced by other systems), but bad (because I probably am missing out on some great ideas that I could adapt, and that would improve my games).

That said, today, I did a little bit of reading of some of the free stuff for BoL, and I can see places where we overlap, and places where I am taking a fundamentally different approach. I suppose the biggest difference is that I am thinking of making this game a solitaire system by nature; the expectation is that you are playing alone, and the game provides the challenges. There will be notes for scaling the game up for additional players, but the default will be geared to one player.

The current draft has only four stats: Attack, Defend, Talent, Hits. As I mentioned yesterday, you have a rating between 0 and 4 in each of these, which is a modifier you add to a 2D6 roll. I like BoL's idea that you have the character and gear you want, and that is reflected in your stats; if you have high Defend, you must carry a shield or be fleet of foot; if you have high Attack, you might be particularly strong or skilled in weapons; you might carry a great sword or a rapier you wield with great precision. Talent is how good you are at 'stuff' - my experience is that smart people are smart about a lot of things; people who are good at stuff are good at many things. Talent reflects that. Hits are your life; if you have greater hits, you have tremendous stamina or you wear heavier armor - or both.

I was already working on an advantage/disadvantage system that (it turns out) is very much like BoL. I will file it under 'great minds think alike'; you get to focus on one of your first three abilities (not Hits), and you roll with advantage whenever you use that ability. If your focus is on attack, you roll 3D6 and keep the better two results any time you attack.

Random thought: I might swap out the terms focus and talent. Focus would be the ability (you focus on something; additionally, focus is the general stat for awareness, perception, and is used for initiative; focus makes a bit more sense in this context). I also like that it is an active verb; attack, defend, focus, and .... I need a better word for hits. I use the online thesaurus a lot, and a quick search brought me to endure, and that brought me to persist... and that brought me to 'be resolute'. Since that's the title of the game, it makes sense that you would have that find stat be 'resolve', which is both a noun (a thing you have) but can also be a verb (I resolve to get better at this...). So, the revised four abilities are:

Attack, Defend, Focus, Resolve

That is pretty sweet. You suffer damage, and it hurts your resolve; you have wounds, but the bigger deal is that you just give up. Your mind and body can no longer persist, and you fall. It's more the vibe of the game, and it opens up more possiblities; at zero resolve, you can no longer fight, but that doesn't mean you are necessarily dead; you might surrender to your foes, or turn and run. You might decide to fight on for another few rounds, knowing that you have already suffered wounds that are going to kill you (going all Boromir). It could be random (roll 1D6 and see how you respond), or it could be a choice you make in play. Regardless, I like the dramatic effect of changing it from hits to resolve; it's better storytelling - and it presents an opportunity for your character to survive. I would have to build some sort of penalty for turning and fleeing at 0 resolve; you lose some XP, or your renown drops. I almost want to add renown as an ability; NO - that is your level! Instead of levels, you have renown; once you hit certain thresholds of renown, you upgrade your character a bit. That's nifty, and it also becomes a sort of default social interaction stat as well - your name and reputation are more important in this world than your natural charm. People don't care if you are cute; they care if you have slain the Red Wyrm of Govin's Gap.    

Random non-secuitur - you do not make a seperate roll for damage; an attack always deals 1 hit (if successful) unless you have some ability that upgrades this; a magical sword may deal 2 hits, or you could have an ability that allows you to deal +1 hit if you roll high enough. A dragon's bite might always deal 3, while its breath weapon deals 2 to all in the area of effect. 

You will select focus as your talent if you want to be a thief or a wizard; you then focus your raw talent in a particular field of study, gaining a range of abilities. 

The game will then presume that you use your focus ability in some meaningful way to overcome obstacles. You come across a locked door; your focus in being a thief allows you to attempt to pick the lock, while your attack talent encourages you to break the door down or rip it off its hinges.  

A monster then is a static set of abilities. There are critters and then there are true monsters; the critters always have 1 hit, and have minimal special abilities. Origionally, I was thinking of this as a card game, so I was thinking that critter cards would have a spot for how many critters you are facing; you place a die on the card to represent how many are left (you will never encounter more than 6 critters at a time). Characters and true monsters would have a similar spot designated on the card to place a die to represent how many hits remain. While the card game presumed a player has no more than 6 hits, I've expanded that a bit. I liked the idea that when you pull a dragon card, there are squares for two dice, since that thing would have 12 hits. 

Reviewing this post, I'm not sure how I got from one idea to the next. This is pretty rambly, but I trust you to make sense of it... Thanks again.

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Updating Time - Bloody, Bold, and Resolute (or at least 2 out of 3)

I am a week into radiation treatments, which are not going too poorly. I have been warned that the worst is yet to come, but for now I'm doing okay. The biggest thing I’m dealing with are the side effects of the medicine I am on to dull my nerves and senses; it's basically for pain suppression, but it makes me really, really loopy. However, it works. I smacked my toe the other day, split the toe nail, and was bleeding pretty good, and I had a moment of ‘ouch’ before my brain just said, 'nope. doesn't hurt' and it suddenly stopped hurting altogether - even though I'm pretty sure it hurt like a mother.

That said, I know that projects make my happy. Okay, projects at least distract me from being unhappy, so that's just as good, right? Anyhow, I started tinkering with Cupcake Scouts just to do it, and then realized I had a whole new way to look at the 2D6 system, and then decided this would make a wicked sweet update to the Resolute game system I did like a decade ago. For those who don't know (that would be pretty much everyone), It's a 2D6 fantasy game system. 
Let's try to summarize this...

Your character has only four abilities: Attack, Defense, Talent, Hits. In each, you have a rating of +0 (meh) to maybe +4 (super duper mighty fine). Hits work a little different, starting at 3 and going as high as maybe 7. You attack? Roll 2D6 + your attack rating. Want to avoid being hit? (or avoid a spell effect, resist that toxin, or dodge the falling stone?) Roll 2D6 + your defense rating.

Monsters, enemies, and situations have static ratings; a goblin might have an attack 8 (so you roll defense trying to equal or beat that 8), while that dragon with defense 13 is going to be pretty hard to land an attack on.

However, I realized that I have always viewed the numbers as expanding east and west along the number line (can I push this to +5? Will +6 unbalance the game?) but never viewed it as north-south orienting the numbers. What I mean is, you have ways to interpret the numbers beyond just their basic value. Here's some examples from my rough notes:

You can choose to focus one ability; this means that you have advantage, rolling 3D6 and keeping the better 2 dice any time you check this ability. So, a fighter type is going to favor attack, and will get to roll 3D6 (keeping 2) to hit, while everyone else rolls a boring old 2D6. Same number scale, but a different way to get to the result, and a marked advantage within that same scale. Furthermore, the fighter can select a 'tag', a way that they want to specialize in combat. Here are the three options I have right now:

-        Archer. Any time your total attack result is 12+ with a ranged weapon, you immediately attempt another attack on the same action. 

-        Might. Any time your total attack result is 12+ with a melee attack, you deal 2 hits instead of 1. 

-        Savagery. At will, add 1 hit of your own to damage you deal on a successful melee attack. You may add up to your Att rating times each turn.

So, the numbers are still in the same scale, but there are different ways to interpret the results.

I have some working solutions for magic and skills like thievery that I like as well… I’ll save those for another blog post…

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Webcomic Page 1

Mary and Grace both think that my Sky Stalwart story should be a webcomic instead of a novel. So, I made the first page. I don't know that I disagree with them...

Friday, February 18, 2022

The Dreaded Kynslayer Mark I

You don't have to worry about these unless you have mutated DNA from the experimentation done by Kyndaron of Q'o in the 1960s. If you DO have that mutated DNA, then you might need to be concerned.

Just sayin'.

By the by, I like that these are Mark I... because that implies a Mark II... and a Mark III... and a Mark IV... bwahaha.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Progeny of Kyn's 1985 Press Release

For Immediate Release: April, 1985


Coming this weekend from Stalwart Press, the creators behind the popular Mighty Doc Stalwart, comes a new team of heroes for a new age. When Doctor Kyndara recruits four teenagers for her new university, things are not as they seem. Will these four young adults learn to control their new powers, and themselves, or will evil triumph over them?

Find out in Progeny of Kyn #1, this weekend at your favorite newsstand. If your local vendor doesn't sell Stalwart Press Comics, ask for them by name!

Please direct any inquiries about this solicitation to our intern Mike Desing. Thank you.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Never Not Working

I just keep chugging along. I met for a few minutes online with my colleagues from school, and they asked me how I've been so productive. I said that my choice is either wallow in self pity or use this time to get stuff done. So... I just keep working.

Here's the next thing I've got some notes for. I'm going to try another way to supplement The Stalwart Age and keep that game going. This is a team that is going to be my version of the 80s X-Men / New Teen Titans: the Progeny of Kyn. I plan to release their 'issues' starting from issue 1, but each will be a summary and cover (as I do for the Doc Stalwart page) with some historical notes, but it will also have a significant amount of game material - some heroes, some villains, a few animals or weapon or vehicles or new powers... or a little bit of all of that. 

Here's the 'in world' context:

In 1985, New Stalwart Press was riding a wave of success. “Team Stalwart”, the anonymous creative group behind the Mighty Doc Stalwart from issue 251 forward, had seen sales slowly climb. Issue #250 had brought several new readers into the fold, and many stayed with the series going forward. “Team Stalwart” added another artist to their group, launching a second series set in Doc Stalwart’s world, but featuring a new, younger cast of characters. This book premiered in April 1985 as Progeny of Kyn: Issue 1.

Here's the basic pitch:

Kyndaron of Q'o was a rogue alien scientist who came to earth in the 1960s, experimenting on hundreds of humans without their knowledge. Now in the mid-1980s, some of their children are coming into adulthood, as their mutant powers emerge. While the High Council of Q'o has sent robotic assassins to destroy the mutants and undo the work of Kyndaron, his younger syster Kyndra has come to earth to rescue the mutant teens and help them. Meanwhile, Kyndaron wants to return to earth to claim his creations for himself, and he's bringing along a number of mutant aliens he's created on other worlds. The first four mutants have become Kyndra's core team, the Progeny of Kyn. 

By the way, getting the color scheme and design for these costumes took like an hour. I had the line drawing done, but I just couldn't get a costume design where the colors worked, and where it had the aesthetic I wanted. I'm pleased with how they turned out. By the way, I always preferred my X-Men in matching costumes, as you can see.

I figure that Doc Stalwart has the whole Avengers / Fantastic Four / Justice League aspect of the game covered, but I've got a whole Teen Titans / X-Men undercurrent that I haven't really tapped in to. The idea is to do stories here that wouldn't work for Doc Stalwart. Furthermore, the I hope that GMs could use these 'issues' and the way they are presented as a campaign setting. There's a short plot summary of what happened in the 'official' version of events, but there's enough flexibility to play your own version of each scenario. As the characters 'level up' in the comics, I will be updating their character stat blocks.

Shards Print Edition Now Live

Well that was easier than I expected! The print edition for Shards of Tomorrow: Second Edition is now live. You can go ahead and order that bad boy. I ordered two for myself (okay, one for me, and one to lend out to friends as needed).

Unfortunately, I had to increase the cover price from 14.95 to 15.95, and I'm not able to offer a discount for those who downloaded the pdf... the prices on LULU went wayyyy up from a few months ago (they warned me a price increase was coming, but yikes). 

Thanks so much for supporting my work!

Sunday, February 13, 2022

How Meta Can You Go?

If you like Easter eggs, and fan service, and obvious pop culture references, then you might have liked Doc Stalwart Annual #1. I mean, probably not, because almost nobody liked it. But somebody somewhere probably cites this as their favorite Doc Stalwart story of all time. But that person has problems.

As an aside, I want to thank several people who have been particularly inspiring, supportive, and kind to me as I've been doing this whole creative thing. You'll know who you are when you see. If you've really wanted to see yourself referenced in a Doc Stalwart story and you aren't here, I still have about 200 issues to write up at some point, so I can probably find a place for you. Special thanks to Rob Hudson for suggesting this idea to begin with.

Aside #2: Marvel's What If stories are about what would happen if things didn't happen as they did... but Spider Man is not a real person. I mean, there isn't really a guy named Peter Parker who really got bit by a radioactive spider, so aren't all comics just some level of 'what if'? I mean, when I open a comic book, I'm basically reading what if... so it's like Hamlet watching a play and commenting on acting - while it's an actor playing Hamlet playing the part of a person who does that. I like it that my comics are stories from a world that doesn't exist - but that's what comics are.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Doc's First Story Arc is Done!

Over on the Stalwart Age page, I have (at long last) posted the final chapter of the first Doc Stalwart story arc. I was tempted not to post it there, and to just put it in the collection I'll be publishing in the next day or two on Amazon, but I wanted to thank those of you who've been supporting and following along, so you get to read it for free. I mean, anyone can read it for free, because I'm going to leave it up, but only a few people know about my page. I WANT more people to know about it, but I have no idea how to make that happen. So, I'll post the complete novella to Amazon and see if that gets more traction.

To say I'm proud of how this came together would be underselling it. I managed to pull together all of the threads I wanted to from the previous nine installments, and I feel like it's a very satisfying and complete ending. As you'll see, I do an whole MCU post-credits scene thing, so you know I've got the next story in my mental pipeline somewhere, but not sure when I'll be getting that started. I have notes and ideas, but it's pretty vague right now. A few major beats, and that's about it.

I'm going to spend a little time reading this over and checking consistency; I think there might be a few things I want to tweak in the earlier chapters just to make sure I maximize the payoff at the end, but as is it's pretty solid. I'm putting the cover here for the trade, so you know how that turned out, too.

By the way, the book is 96 pages and 23,771 words, so it's pretty substantial. It's about 1/3 of a novel, but I'm happy with that. I don't need to write novels. I just need to be me.

A Doc Trade Paperback

I figure that I have my Doc Stalwart first story arc almost complete (at like 10 issues long), so I may as well finish that bad boy off and publish it as a 'trade paperback' on Amazon. It's going to be pretty significant, so I figure this would be a good next step into the world of publishing prose works. I mean, the stories were already posted at the Stalwart Age site, but nobody reads those... if I post them on Amazon, I might be able to generate more interest in my work, and maybe make a little money too. That sounds like the classic win/win (for me at least).

Friday, February 11, 2022

Amazon Takes a Kidney, but I have Two

The guide to worldbuilding is up on Amazon. It's good to be Amazon with your 2/3 cut of the cover price (DANG SON). If you would buy a copy and give it a nice review and say nice things about me and maybe give it 5 stars, that would be swell. 

Worldbuilding Part 13: Dominoes and Always In Motion

So, I've gathered all of these posts together, cleaned them up, added a short final thought, and published the darn thing. This sets a record: I have never released two products on the same day before. I've got it up at DrivethruRPG as a pay what you want, but I'll be posting it to Amazon once I figure that out, and it will be a dollar there, but might reach a larger audience (crosses fingers). At least, I might be able to get my non-gaming friends to buy a copy; they know Amazon; they don't know no DrivethruRPG. If you are willing to throw a dollar my way, I'd prefer you wait and get it on Amazon... then you can leave a review :)


Eventually, you will begin to see your setting as interconnected pieces of a large puzzle rather than as individualized pockets of information. This ‘independent nation’ here is not truly independent; they rely on the money that wealthy uplanders bring to their markets. When the nation of the uplanders is defeated, it is going to have an effect on that independent nation, whether they like it or not.

      To me, this is key to what makes the MCU so good, but it is also going to ultimately consume it. The Thanos snap, even though they eventually reversed it, had profound changes on the MCU. It was an event that mattered. Characters die, and they don’t come back. It’s why I love the battle between the two Captain Americas across time so much: we can see in stark contrast how much this character has changed because of circumstances. This is the problem the most recent Spider Man movie ran into; where do we go from here? The answer: backwards. We do a hard reset.

      That’s not an answer. That’s trying to get more movies out of this franchise. A Golden Age is a golden age because, as Robert Burns tells us and the Outsiders reminds us, “nothing gold can stay”.

      ‘And they lived happily ever after’ can only happen when you’ve decided to retire from the writing life and you no longer have any stories to tell, at least in this setting. For an RPG, this is most challenging, because the PCs are the ones who are going to go mucking about. However, when they take over that little keep on the borderlands and declare marshal law, there are going to be consequences, and some of those are going to be unintended. They didn’t realize that the baron had an agreement with the goblin tribes to never cross the blood river, but now that he’s dead, they no longer believe the contract valid? Too bad, so sad for you. There is no ‘undo’ button.

      As Ferris Bueller tells us, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Once you get your setting going, it should keep on moving forward.

It's Away!

What are you going to be doing this weekend? I hope that it will be spending some time reading and playing around with the core rules for Shards of Tomorrow: Second Edition that are now live on DrivethuRPG.

What am I going to be doing all weekend? Probably refreshing my publisher page a hundred times to see how many books people have downloaded. I mean, maybe not. 

But probably.

Updated Character Sheet

Made a few tweaks to the sheet. Final edits are almost done... I think the rules will be up for sale later today (fingers crossed)...

Thursday, February 10, 2022

The Randolorians

Before releasing Shards of Tomorrow: Second Edition into the wild, I wanted to give my character generation system a good test drive; I figure I will make up four characters completely at random (hence, the randolorians), including their bots (if any) and their junker. I’m going completely random with everything; I’m going to trust the dice for every step of this. I expect that at some point, players are going to say “hm. That STR 12 is kind of wasted if I’m a tech with INT 4. Maybe I’ll swap those scores…” No such luck for me. All rando all the time. That is the randolorian way, after all.

Character 1 

Attributes: STR 10 | INT 7 | WIS 7 | DEX 9 | CON 8 | CHA 12

Rogue (+1 to CHA so now 13)

1 Gift: Body Armor +4 

Limitation: Small 

Deviation: 2 (slight deviation) (looks like a leprechaun) Red-haired male, battle sense gives +4 to AC

Bot: 4+7=11 (no bot)

Profile: The Kinnickin are a race of mischievous folk dwelling on a small forested moon. They believe in magic and enchantments, and particularly love platinum, which they collect and make into crafts. 

Talents: Defense +2 (his AC will be 18 without any armor. Dang) 

Gear: (90 credits) Blast Pistol [20 c]; Flex Vest [35 c]: 35 credits remain 

Thoughts: He seems like he’d be fun to play. His high CHA works great with his rogue vocation (perfect synergy that I got lucky on), and his high AC should make him stick around a while, despite his lower hit points due to his size.


Character 2 

Attributes: STR 8 | INT 11 | WIS 8 | DEX 10 | CON 8 | CHA 8

Savant (+3 to WIS so now 11)

2 Gifts: Leap, Poison Attack

Limitation: Belief

Deviation: 1 (like a Gallan) Dark-haired female; toxic breath; can leap (descended from a spider-like race that cross-bred with gallans. Yuck)

Bot: 7+11=18 (no bot)

Intuitions (starts with 2): Object Reading; Remove Fear 

Profile: Descended from the Ohn, an ancient race of arachnid folk, she is more gallan than arachnid, but spider blood still courses through her veins. She adheres to the ancient belief to reject all artificial healing, including med pads and intuitions that heal. She is able to breathe on her own wounds, recovering 1 hp per round when able to do only this.

Talents: Quickness, Tinker

Gear: (150 credits) Blast Carbine [50 c]; Flex Armor [75 c]; 25 credits remain.

Thoughts: She ended up being interesting; the high INT with the tinker ability is a nice synergy which I didn’t expect (maybe she wanted to be a tech, but was forced to become a savant due to her gifts, and she ran away?) I could see her being some sort of priestess of her order, but rejected that calling to travel the stars and learn more about the technology that she is drawn to but that her people abhor.


Character 3 

Attributes: STR 9 | INT 4 | WIS 8 | DEX 7 | CON 6 | CHA 9

Myrmidon (+3 to CON so now 9)

1 Gift: Ceremonial Item

Limitation: Small 

Deviation: 2 (slight deviation) (Purple skin) Hairless male with purple skin; ceremonial item is tattoos that give him one extra talent (+1 die shift to resolve)

Bot: Natural 20! (gets a bot) (synthezoid; speech; navigation bot; mischievous)

      AC 15 | hp 10 | Feat +8 | Move 4

Profile: The Qin are a race of expert weaponsmiths. The secrets of their craftsmanship are jealously guarded, and their weapons are only sold to those they deem worthy to wield them.

Talents: Expert (weaponsmithing), Strike

Gear: (110 credits) Blast Pistol [20 c]; Flex Armor [75 c]; 15 credits remain

Thoughts: He’s a little purple dude who is a stoic warrior. I’m thinking he was in charge of protecting an important watch post, and failed at his mission. He travels the stars seeking redemption for his failure. His species undergoes a ritual that adds tattoos which contain supernatural powers; his tattoos give him a bonus to resolve. His bot looks like a ten-year-old gallan named Jimmy - he's a Eddie Haskell type - polite to your face but always trying to get away with something. He is good at starship navigation (making him useful), but also wants to put his keeper in situations to prove his bravery (I was just trying to helllllp).


Character 4 

Attributes: STR 9 | INT 6 | WIS 8 | DEX 12 | CON 7 | CHA 

Tech (+4 to INT so now 10)

3 Gifts: Flight (move 8), Natural Affinity, Sundering

Limitation: Enmity

Deviation: 3 (moderate deviation) - Looks like a female version of manbat. 

Bot: 19 +10=29 (gets a bot) (quite mechanical; speech; culinary bot; insecure)

      AC 14 | hp 17 | Feat +8 | Move 2

Profile: The batak are bat-like humanoids that dwell in caves and hills, far from civilized folk. Her family was ousted as the rulers of their species, and were hunted down; only she survived, but the others of her species continue to pursue her across the stars.

Talents: Expert (starship engineering), Tinker

Gear: (60 credits. Ugh). Vibro spear (like axe) [25 c]; animal skins [3 c]; tool kit [15 c]; 17 credits remaining.

Thoughts: The talents completely lined up with everything else. She is a balanced character. She would fight with a melee weapon (thinking a vibro spear) that she can spin in a 360 attack once per round, but she also is saving up for a blast pistol. I figure that her expertise can be in starships, since nobody has vehicles ability; she knows about vehicle engineering, but not actually piloting ships (but will probably pick that up later). Her bot is a little box that rolls around serving meals, REALLY hoping that you’ll like the taste.  


Junker (Character 4 piloting)

Rel +10 | Cntl +1 | Velocity 3 | Jump 1

AC 12 | Shields 2D6 (2 zones) | Hull 6 | hp 34 (rolled REALLY well) | Carriage 10 (8 passengers + 2 tons)

Forward-facing blast cannon (+2 | 4D6)

Problems: The sensor array is burned out; the rear shields can only hold 1D of shield charge.

This was once an elite military dropship for a special forces group of 8 soldiers. It is called the Shadow Lancer. It was in the hands of the rival family of character 4, but she stole it when she escaped her homeworld. She (the junker, not the character) suffered heavy damage in the escape, destroying her sensor plate and doing damage to the shield projection pad. 


General Thoughts

Wow. This feels exactly perfect. I came up with a weird team of random misfits who seem to gel together well enough, who have a nice variety of abilities, and who I would not have developed at all without using a random system to do it. All four characters are entirely playable and seem like they’d be fun to roleplay. I like the ship that I rolled up for their junker, and was able to weave a narrative that connected the whole thing. Each of them has a motivation to be part of the crew (either working for or running away from something), and I see why they’d end up together. This would be a great starting crew for a game. This is so Guardians of the Galaxy that it hurts my head a little how well it fits.

Editing Update

Close final editing continues. I got through half of the book yesterday, but it was a slog. Editing is my least favorite part of the process. I cannot have music in the background. I cannot vibe out. I cannot get into a zone. I have to pull apart each sentence, ask my brain if what my eye just read is what is what is actually on the page, ask if that aligns with everything that is on every other page, if I always capitalize that this way or phrase it that way, and if I'm missing something someone else might need. Over time, I've become better at this earlier (do you 'attempt a Feat', 'make a Feat', or 'try a Feat'? I don't know, but I better decide the first time I write it and then write it the same way every time, or I'm going to spend an extra few hours later in editing purgatory).

It's the least fun part of the process, but vitally important. The worst feeling in the world is when you release a game and seventeen minutes later someone in the discussion is like 'why aren't there any starship rules'? Oh. There were GOING to be, but I guess I forgot to actually, you know, write those.

Anyhow, back to editing.

And here's a rat I drew, because your game has to have rats. I think that's a rule somewhere. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Final Piece of Art: Veth Tundra

My poor little Surface Pro struggles with a file size this large (I had to restart a few times because my computer kept crashing), but I finally got it done. This one is scaled way down for the web, but this is the back cover art, with the campaign setting of the Veth Tundra.

I am on to final edits. I did a first round of edits yesterday and caught a lot of the little clean ups for language and conciseness; now I'm doing a deep read for clarity and consistency throughout. I might have this thing done and posted by the weekend.  

Monday, February 7, 2022

Character Sheet

I put together a character sheet, so only the back cover remains, along with maybe two rounds of edits. I don't trust my eyes enough to only do one round of edits.

Worldbuilding Part 12: From a Certain Point of View

One of the biggest things my entire doctoral journey revealed to me is this basic truth: we as humans tend to look at complex things in simple ways. We want to take a nuanced problem like funding inequalities in schools and solve them with a simple solution – let’s take money from here and put it there. Ta da! But that simple solution would, by its nature, create a whole other set of inequalities. Oh, and it wouldn’t actually solve the original problem either. One of my least favorite conversations is when someone who has not stepped foot in a school in twenty years decides to tell me what is wrong with schools and how to fix it. Um. I have a doctorate in ‘fixing schools’, and I have no idea how to do it. However, tell me again how if we just bring back shop classes, we’ll fix the deep flaws in the fundamental social and economic forces that underpin the vast majority of problems that schools face.

This relates to setting design. I promise. Because settings aren’t simple, and we have different views on what’s happening in our setting. I look at a complex array of interconnected problems; my (imaginary) uncle looks at an empty shop classroom that just needs kids getting more splinters.

Our perceptions are the reality. What you believe about something becomes your truth about that thing. One of the interesting things about people is that we more often don’t agree, even on basic stuff. I cannot understand how someone would look at a certain former US president and see anything but a pathological liar and world-class con artist. Others (who I consider intelligent people worthy of deep respect) see a prophet from God who is doing His work in the world. We look at the exact same thing and see two different realities, and it’s not because ‘I’m smart and they’re dumb’. It’s more complex than that.

In doing some of the more discrete setting work for Shards of Tomorrow, I realized that different peoples populating the moon of Banquo’s Tooth would see events and natural phenomena in fundamentally different ways. Rather than choosing to present the ‘real’ way and the ‘imaginary’ way, I present both perspectives, and let the GM decide (or not) what is ‘really’ going on. Maybe it’s both. Maybe it’s neither. Is that salt river cutting across the frozen tundra a naturally occurring deposit that bubbles up, or is it the tears of an ancient god buried deep in the moon that well up to the surface? I have no idea, but both ideas are presented. For key events or unusual phenomena, ask what each of the groups that interact with it thinks. How might they have different views? I use the previous post on history to guide some of this; historically speaking, how did people perceive this? What cultural or social or philosophical filters did they use to process this? Did they look at it through a scientific or supernatural lens? By the way, the more I read and study, the more credence I give to the supernatural; I come back to Hamlet’s line, “there are more things and heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy” line to Horatio. Horatio is a smart, scientific thinker – and he doesn’t get how it all works together at all. I like that inherent tension; science can sometimes only take us so far. What you think about the thing, whatever it is rooted in, becomes your truth in how you respond to it.

That’s all that really matters.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Elsinore Station

I started drawing this as an addition for the first supplement, but as I worked on it I realized it would be a great addition to the core rules... so this (with its description) has claimed one of the three remaining slots I had. I have a page and the back cover left, which is almost sure to be a character sheet and a map. Here is Elsinore Station, a small but bustling space station (150 meters from top to bottom) where any number of things can go down. 

Since it's only 100 meters at its widest, the largest transports are going to dock at the top or bottom of the station, and could easily dwarf it. I like it as a relatively compact location where a lot of roleplaying opportunities could arise.

It is this game's "Keep on the Borderlands", which means that in short order the PCs will be trying to overthrow its leadership and take control of the whole. Best of luck to them.

Utility Walker

As I said I would, I'm trying to stay away from looking at the core rules today... but that doesn't mean I have stopped working on the game! I started a few notes for the first supplement, got this image in my head and decided to draw it. The core rules (at this point) don't include any rules for walkers, but I figure that should be one of the first things I add. This guy is among the largest of walkers, a utility vehicle for mining and exploration purposes (but which can have military applications with a few well-placed cannons). I picture these crawling around the volcanic surface of Banquo's Maw, adorned in the colors and flags of the various guilds that work the surface there.

Worldbuilding Book?

On the suggestion of my good friend Robert (soon to be Dr. Robert), I started reviewing the blog posts from the worldbuilding series. This morning I pasted them all into one document, played with formatting, did a first round of edits... and I have a book that is 34 pages and just shy of 10,000 words long. Dang. Then I threw together a cover, and I may have my first Amazon / DrivethruRPG release in the pipeline... I want to at least give it a few more days to simmer, but this feels pretty far along, and covers most of the bases that I think are important. It also includes the post that I'll be putting up tomorrow, and I think there might be one or two more in here somewhere before it's all done. However, this feels like a cool little book that might find an audience. 

I thought it would be neat to do a new drawing, but have the cover show the 'in process' sort of work, since that kind of what the whole blog and series is about :)  

Worldbuilding Part 11: Lessons from History

I’m shocked (shocked, I say) that I had two more of these entries come to me, but here we are. Today, we’re diving into some real-world history. Okay, we’ll be wading into the shallows (shal-al-al-al-ows) of real-world history. But it’s still something. 

A warning, though: writers have gotten into trouble by relying too much on history for their setting material, so I want to start with this... check yourself before you wreck yourself. Actual history can provide many opportunities for ideas to help with worldbuilding, but you want to make sure to hew as far away from racist tropes or cultural appropriation as you can.

For example, I’ve long been fascinated by the idea that the Chinese at one point had the greatest armada in the world, and then sunk it to the bottom of the ocean. That’s just boss level. So, I borrowed that idea for what the Gallan did with their own starships. The Gallan are not the historical Chinese. The motivations for the event were different. I’m not trying in any way to cast their culture in this role. I just took the historical event and ran with it.

For the Mirdan Rimewatchers, it’s been a little trickier. I work with Native American students, and I have more personal knowledge of Indigenous cultures and some of the atrocities they have experienced just based on where I live and who I’ve met, so that has crept into my setting. The Mirdan Rimewatchers have been subjected to an aggressive colonizer from elsewhere. They have sacred creatures and a sacred river. They consider the lands being infringed upon theirs by birthright. These are historical patterns. I am comfortable including them in the game. When it comes to the specific responses of the Mirdan Rimewatchers, or specific events in which they are involved, I’m going to use my imagination and my knowledge of characters rather than specific historical events to explore this further. I think if I was to include the idea of schools where Mirdan were forced to abandon their culture, I’m wading into very dangerous waters. If I gave them specific dances or religious observations that are based on real-world belief systems, I’m treading into unintended racism by distilling a genuine, complex culture to a few rough brush strokes.

I read an article the other day that said, in effect, we’ve had enough cis white men creating stories in sci-fi worlds, and we should stop supporting them and support other voices. As a cis white man, I guess I saw that as a little hurtful, but also completely understandable. People who look and sound like me have shaped the collective narrative for a predominant part of history, and maybe we should be talking less and listening more. However, as an individual I am a creative person who wants to make stuff. I can be responsible in that process so at least I can follow the medical practice of ‘do no harm’. Maybe I’m not in a position to really push the collective narrative forward, but that doesn’t mean I will be pushing it backwards by default - and the first step of that comes with actively building awareness of what I’m putting in my setting, and where I got it from.

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Shards Working Layout Finished

I've just crossed an important milestone... the entire book for Shards of Tomorrow Second Edition is written and the initial layout is done! It looks pretty sharp. It actually clocks in at 46 pages and almost 26,000 words right now instead of 48 pages, which gives me room for a little more stuff. I have a few options for those two pages, plus a back cover... the back cover could just be a standard back cover, but I've liked using the back cover for some additional content on the last two books, so I could keep that going here. Options for things to add include:

More monsters for the Veth Tundra. I have three monsters right now, but could expand that to six or seven with another page.

Maps. I'd like a map of the Veth Tundra, maybe of the star system that Banquo II is in, maybe of the starter town of Relay Station, or maybe a hybrid map page that includes a few (or all three) of those. I'm leaning that way for the back cover.

An index. I had one in Tales of the Splintered Realm, but didn't bother for Stalwart Age. I think that the table of contents will be thorough enough that an index is not needed. 

The character sheet. That probably needs a page. I don't think I want that as the back cover, but maybe as the final page of the book. I like how I did that for Stalwart Age (rather than inserted earlier) because I think it is easier for someone to either print it out or to put it on a copier and make copies from the physical book if it's right inside the back cover.

That said, I want a few days away from the book to let the layout simmer a bit before I go back with fresh eyes in a few days. However, I still plan on starting work on materials for the first few issues of Dispatches from the Pale. I would like to release the core rules maybe around two weeks from now, and Dispatches from the Pale #1 and the print edition around March 1. Those seem like reasonable targets for me right now. 

The Messari

The messari probably have set some sort of personal record - they are the most frequently mentioned creatures in any of my games, but they are also the ones I have waited the longest to actually 'flesh out' (which is ironic, because they have no flesh). I mean, they are sort of quasi-undead / demons / dementor / Stranger Things Upside Down inhabitants. They are kind of all of that. But, I never had clear pictures in my head, other than 'like Mind Flayers but not Mind Flayers'. I ran a campaign in college where the heroes ended up in a city of the Mind Flayers, and there were all of these strange minions of the Mind Flayers that I'd created quickly and had rough stats for - strange things that tried to eat their brains and devour their souls. I had so much fun running that city - they ended up at the heart of the city battling a giant brain creature that was trying to consume their life force. Good times. I've always wanted to get back to that city and realize it properly. This morning, I finally took the first step and committed some messari designs to paper. These guys will be in the core rules. I finally know how they are mechanically different from undead or demons; they feed on fear. They can cause fear, but when they do, they get to regenerate based on the level of the creature upon whom they have projected this fear. Your fear, quite literally, makes them stronger. I think they actually might be able to create reserves of something like resolve (or maybe I'll steal the idea of tenacity from Stalwart Age - the ability to completely ignore an attack). They need to soak up some yummy fear first, but once they do they get some tenacity to use that turn. I think it would make encounters with messari different from encounters with other creatures, which is kind of the point.  

Parenthetically, the only real cartooning advice my mom ever gave me was when I was maybe 13 or so. She was looking at a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon, and she pointed out to me that the lines often didn't connect. As I pulled the newspaper up to my face, I could see that there were all of these little squiggles that just hung in space. Hobbes' fur was just a collection of free-floating curves and loops. My mind was blown. How do you draw and not connect the lines together? I kept thinking about my mom's advice as I drew this morning. So many lines just hang in space.

Friday, February 4, 2022

Layout Continues

I keep dotting I's and crossing T's, and I have suddenly found that the draft of the book is about 95% of the way there. I have a few small sections still to write, and possibly a little spot art to do, but this thing is pretty far along. It is going to be 48 pages. Here is a preview of the Veth Tundra Howler, which is not at all like a Wampa from Empire Strikes Back and I cannot believe you keep saying that. Anyhow, this gives you an idea of what a stat block looks like, and the kinds of information contained. I am defnitely going a little deeper with detail on each stat block, and I provide a drawing for any monster I add. With Tales of the Splintered Realm, I wanted to get 8-10 monster stat blocks per page, assuming on some level that many players would have preconceived notions of how these monsters might operate beyond what the rules provide. If you play RPGs, you know how goblins behave. I make no such assumptions here, and try to give an interesting or unusual twist for each creature so they are not just 'generic' monsters. A typical page is going to contain 2-3 creatures. The core rules give as much weight to rules for how to generate your own monsters as to giving samples.


Thursday, February 3, 2022

Planning Ahead

I'm pretty good at publishing games. I know how to go through the process at this point, and can feel my way through the steps along the way. However, once I release that bugger to the wild, there is invariably a little drop. I send it out and just sort of wait. And wait. And noodle some drawings. And wait. And think about what I might do next. And then wait some more. Because I'm never quite sure what to do.

Remember when I said that worldbuiding starts with a vision? Well, that's true for every project - it starts with a vision.

The vision (at this point), is something called Dispatches from the Pale. It is a series of short (4-6 page) supplements for Shards of Tomorrow. Each one will be themed in some way, and will expand the game in some direction. It might detail a moon, six of the common creatures that dwell there, 2 NPCs who are important players in this place, a vehicle used here, and maybe an adventure or reason to go there. One dispatch might be a deeper dive into the messari, and another might just have blueprints for a battle cruiser with the full specs for the entire thing, including all of its resources, crew, random tables for what's in its cargo bay... I think of it like 'the Cloud City Primer' or 'Into Jabba's Palace'. The first would have the city, the Ugnaughts, Lando, cloud cars, rules of carbon freezing... the second would have sail barges and skiffs, the Sarlaac, Jabba, his guards, and maybe some rules for bounty hunting for fun and profit. I obviously cannot do THOSE books, but that's the general idea. These are also important, because they would be posted to DrivethruRPG, which is where people actually see that I'm coming out with things. It's my most direct way to routinely say to the gaming world at large "I MAKE GAME STUFF".  

These would be short enough to:

- Be able to be produced in a timely manner and with some consistency. I think at least every two months would be a minimum, and more frequently would be ideal. Monthly is a bit of a dream, but I'm very productive very quickly when I want to be.

- Stay focused on really exploring one thing well. It would lock down some facet of the game and add a layer of detail somewhere. It would give a meaningful piece to the larger puzzle.

The reason that this is important to think about now is because I'm starting to generate content that may or or may not belong in the core rules. For example, I don't know yet if the core rules include full details for Banquo II and its three moons, or if it focuses primarily on Banquo's Tooth, with the other moons and planet mentioned, but with details for each saved for a later resource. I'm leaning towards the latter, because I want to give each one the time and attention it deserves. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Sky Stalwart 2.0

I am really enjoying the process of writing a story about Kirby and Sky Stalwart, Nisa Montrel and Vex Kalar. I have some moments I love, and the whole story is moving in a great direction. However, I have had one big problem; all of my characters are male. I mean, Nisa is not, but I am ending up with the story starting to go in the direction of a love triangle between Sky and Nisa and Vex. And, to be honest, I don't want it to go that way, but that's kind of what would happen. Because, I realized, I'm not writing Sky as a unique character - I'm just writing him as Doc Stalwart. I really love Doc, and I love writing about Doc and writing his character, but I'm already doing that elsewhere. If I want to write a Doc story, I should write a Doc story.

Thinking further, I realized that Sky Stalwart isn't this character, and is not Doc's grandson. Sky Stalwart is Doc's daughter. That is how I originally conceived her, and that is the character I knew she should be the whole time. So, I'm throwing out the design for Sky Stalwart, grandson of Doc Stalwart, and replacing him with Sky Stalwart, daughter of Doc Stalwart. Now, instead of trying to skirt along the edges of some of the more sexist tropes of the genre, I can lean into them and have my main character fundamentally challenge them by her very presence. I change the whole dynamic of all of the characters. I make my other characters more interesting, because now I can frame them even more as foils. I was struggling to find out what made Vex and Sky (boy version) different on a fundamental level. Now, that problem is gone. 

Because this is not just a female version of Doc Stalwart. She is a very different character. Doc is wise and patient, willing to gently bring others along. Sky is smarter than everyone in the room, and struggles to sometimes put up with their stupidity. Kirby wants her to wear fancy dresses and drink champagne, but she's too busy pulling apart the blast engine because she noticed it lags a little upon re-entry, and she thinks there's a problem with the transitional booster. I had my Luke in Vex, I have a Han in Venn Golrik (who will eventually make an appearance I presume), and now I have my Leia who is not a princess at all, except (of course) to her father. But this is her story. 

I think I'm going to love the change.

A Shards Preview: Preliminary Layout

I thought I'd share quick snaps of two pages in process for layout. I haven't done final edits on these, and things like hitting the small caps on Feats and inserting page numbers for reference still need to be done, but these are pretty far along. This is how the game is shaping up, and I'm quite liking it.

Practicing What I Preach: More Questions Than Answers

I decided to do a piece of spot art for a section that needed it, and started doodling... and then added some things... and then came up with a name. So, I'd like to introduce you to Idrys the Prophetess. I mean, I'd like to introduce you to her, but I can't. Because I literally know nothing else about her. I mean... her name is Idrys. And she's a prophetess. And. Um. 

So. Many. Questions.

I mean, I have theories in the form of questions. Is she the last of the Naru? The first of a new species? Is she descended from Yahalla? Is she one of Yahalla's handmaidens who survived the nexus? Is she from another galaxy? Another realm altogether? Is she the greatest of intuits, or not really an intuit at all? How do the messari feel about her? How does she feel about them? Does she feel? Does she ever open her other two eyes, or is it only the third eye in the middle? Does that third eye only see into the supernatural realm? Can she see in this realm at all? 


I have no answers. And, not only am I comfortable with that, I embrace it. I'm going to drop her into the core rules as is with no further explanation, and I suppose we'll figure it out together as we go.

Worldbuilding Part 10: More Questions Than Answers

First, a revised image for the book. I cleaned up the picture and also found a new font to use throughout for titles and headings. I like it. It's snazzy.


I suspect that this is the final entry in the series of worldbuilding posts, although I suppose I could surprise myself with an epilogue or two. We'll see. I held off for a little while (by my standards at least), but Shards has gone into the first stages of layout. It is not completely written; it's maybe 80%. However, the first 2/3 of the book is pretty close to locked down, so I felt comfortable starting to play with layout, and have run into a happy problem to have - I'm never going to fit all this art. I'm going to try, but some pages are laying out quite nicely with no art, and I'm managing to get a whole section or topic into one page with minimal remaining white space, so I don't want to force in art just to do it, or spread a concept to a second page when I don't need to. Good problems to have, I suppose.

Okay, let's wrap up some worldbuilding. 


This might sound egotistical, but I used to equate creating a setting with, in effect, being its god. If I was the god of this place, I would put this here and that there. I would set up rivers this way, and have the forests grow over there. I would put these creatures here, and those over there. But the problem is I'm not a god. I don't really think like one. I don't have that intellectual capacity. And besides, how much fun is that, anyway? Everything ends up the way you want it, and that's just boring.

So, I've instead learned to view myself as the world's greatest explorer. Yeah, it's still an ego trip I guess, but not quite as bad as casting yourself as the almighty creator of all things. I end up asking far more questions than I do supplying answers. How does this work? Why did they do THAT? If this is true here, then how can that be true over there? In some ways, I think of it as the rapid-fire questioning of a five-year-old, who wants to know everything about every part of the engine when he sees it for the first time, and you are in the middle of trying to explain how oxygen is necessary for combustion when he's pointing at the connectors to the batteries and asking about that. There's a good reason that my avatars in the last two games I have written are scientists and explorers. I am trying to think like them as I engage with the setting.

Rather than trying to know everything about your setting, enjoy the discomfort of realizing that you will never know everything about your setting. There has to always be some path leading off into the woods or a door in the basement the beyond of which you have no idea about. Once you get comfortable with leaving unanswered questions and loose threads, the more confident you will get, and the more intentional you will ultimately get. Here are the three things we know for sure about the messari, but here are the ten biggest questions about what they do and how they operate.

It comes down to flexibility. You want a setting that can grow and evolve as you think of new things.

That is better game design, as far as I define it. My best adventures have been those that have at least three ways into the adventure, and at least three things that can happen after the adventure. I might actually, now that I'm thinking of it, put that as some advice in the GM section. If you have to get the note from the princess that is carried by the caravan master and which is hidden in a secret compartment in the floor of the carriage for the adventure to begin, then you are already off to a rocky start. If, however, I'm not sure how the PCs are going to get involved, but these are three pathways that could lead into the adventure (unless something else comes up), I've written a better adventure, and I've got a more flexible setting.

There is one more really, really practical reason to do this, and this comes from my experience doing this for 30+ years now. If you know too much about your setting, and you lock everything about it down, you will get bored. Okay, I know that I'll get bored. I suspect you would, too. That was part of the problem I ran into with Army Ants. It was a small setting - the back yard - and I had figured how all of it worked together. There weren't any big pieces of real estate that were unexplored, or new species to discover. I knew everyone who was there, what they were up to, and how it would all interact. At that point, what more is there to do? What more is there for me, as the creator of the whole thing, to discover?

It is, ironically, a problem that the creative people behind Star Wars have run into. Yes, it's an entire galaxy - but we know how it all fits together. We have defined all of the important, and the vast majority of the unimportant, parts. The Mandalorian, again, has solved this by going smaller rather than bigger. Yes, we know about the big picture stuff. But what about that hole over there, or what's inside of this egg right here? It has to go to the micro level, because the macro is so well defined. They've done such a good job defining the setting, that they have very little new to discover.

Make sure you always have something new to discover.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Worldbuilding Part 9: Thin Slices and Snapshots

We use the term 'thin slice’ at the middle school where I teach, and it’s a term I just learned this year, but I kind of like it. The idea is that you get a single sample of student work, and you use this to make some large-scale holistic evaluations. You understand when you do it that this is an incomplete profile of what’s going on with this student. In my class, I present this as a snapshot. I explain to students that this writing today is going to be a selfie; it is a picture of where you are right now, today, at this moment, but it’s not the whole thing. I won’t know everything there is to know about you as a student from this, but I’ll get at least an idea. I’ll be able to get a good initial sense of who you are as a writer from this sample.

When moving into the more intricate parts of setting construction, my temptation was always to work in layers. I wanted to figure out what was happening at the national level. Then I would work out the local level, and how this is impacted. Then, I’d look at the micro level; how does a family live within this? I suppose I was inspired by (or maybe overwhelmed by) the World of Greyhawk setting books, and the details therein on what different nations were producing as resources, and who they traded with, and how that sort of socio-economic system worked. Now, it might have been a carefully-crafted interconnection of balanced concepts, or (more likely), Gary made a list of things that societies might have of value, and sort of randomly assigned these to different nations (hmmm…. Four countries already trade silver. I guess these guys get copper. Sorry, Pomarj). Regardless, it made an impression on me; your setting must have this huge level of interconnectivity to really be ‘alive’.

And it does, but not necessarily in that way. I have learned instead to do the deep dive in a small area. That’s what I’m doing with the core rules for Shards. I don’t know (yet) how the macro economy works in terms of trade between hundreds of worlds. However, I am really, really starting to understand how the guilds on the moons around Banquo II interact, how resources are gathered and distributed, and how important contracts and writs and land rights are. I can see how the mandates of the guilds and off-worlders really rub locals the wrong way, and lead to all sorts of land skirmishes between the more tribal native species who have dwelt there for generations and those who showed up one day with skim miners and started tapping gas wells a hundred kilometers below the surface. I can see what life is like for a day laborer on Banquo’s Maw (it kind of sucks by the way). However, the other benefit in this is that I’m working out a form of template that I can apply to other worlds and other locales. Once I really understand how this one micro system works, I will be able to generate a sort of grid to plug information into. I will then be able to move to the next planet and fill in the details. Once I know how the various forces interacting in one of these micro systems work, I can jump to the next planet over and start the process over again. I don’t have to figure out how all that other planet’s resources interact with everything else; I only need to tie a few threads back to my first snapshot. When I detail the planet called Prospero (if that’s what it’s called), I only need figure out how it links to Banquo II.  

It also helps me to make very concrete decisions. I know that bounty hunters like Gat Parmetheon here often do the dirty work of taking out tribal leaders who openly resist guild force, or who a family might hire to take out their own nephew who won’t fall in line, a nephew who keeps making noise about wanting to break off and form his own guild. There are some jobs you don’t want your own crews doing. He’s not generic bounty hunter doing generic jobs; there are very specific types of things one calls a bounty hunter like him for.

Oh, and a side note, I found for myself that I wanted there to be consistency of naming planets and moons. I wanted it to be easy to remember, and evocative. I like that the planets of our solar system are named after Roman gods. It gives the whole thing a nice uniformity. So, I’ve picked Shakespeare character names. Each planet is a Shakespeare character name (a lot of them end in ‘o’ by the way), and then the moons around that planet are a facet of that character (hence the planet Macbeth might have moons named Macbeth’s Eye or Macbeth’s Fist). I find having this consistency creates an automatic sense of uniformity to the setting. If you’ve got the city Ko next to the city of Vilizainatkhwona, you’ve got some consistency problems.