Sunday, March 21, 2010

Updates Finally!

Well, it's been quite busy of late, so here are some updates.

The web presentation for "The Captain's Table" is up and you can find it here.

I took this with me down to California for Nova Albion. Quite a few people got the chance to see it and we've heard some great comments about it. We are all very pleased with it considering it is very much a "version 1" which we'll be tweaking in the future. Guy and Mike did a great job on getting this put together.

The web serial is now in production, we shot the first footage for it yesterday with Teapot doing a fantastic job in the role of Professor Wayneright. If you're interested in knowing more about the web serial, you can look us up on Facebook under Steam punk productions.

San Francisco, actually Emeryville to be specific, was a load of fun, got to socialize with our two Sarah's down there. Sarah Roark, who is one of the Seattle Steamrats who transplanted down to Irvine, Ca. and Sarah Dungan who is in the Bay area proper. Sarah Dungan runs Industrial Fairytale ( and is a wonderful illustrator. As of now, she is Rise of Aester's stake in the ground in San Francisco. Sarah Roark is a writer who has done work for White Wolf and is the writer of the Rise of Aester web comic "Children of the Reclaiming" that is in production and will hopefully post its first page in the next month. She is looking into finding like minded folks in southern California for Steampunk and Rise of Aester stuff.

The Rise of Aester history for California is being firmed up with Sarah Dungan taking a lead in some of that history.

I got the chance to see the folks from Botta Secreta do their Bartitsu demonstration at Nova Albion. It was a great demo overall. Later that evening, I got a chance to sit and converse with some of the folks over drinks. It was nice to talk to others who share and interest in Bartitsu and talking with Tom Badillo was really a pleasure. I also got the chance to talk about historical saber with Maestro Sullins. Apparently, the level of sword geekery that ensued was sufficient to send some of the ladies present into near comas. It was a really great experience. I would recommend Botta Secreta to anyone in the Bay area who has an interest in Bartitsu or other historical combat forms.

Development on the first edition book continues with my primary concentration right now on the history of British America. We want there to be loads of context for people to work with and that starts with the history. We are hoping to have the first edition book out by the end of the year.

The local group here in Seattle is getting ready for a showcase event at the Northwest Regional Event for the Camarilla. We are waiting on final information from the convention, but as it stands we are already in plot development and building on set pieces for the informal game that will be there. The idea is to have something going on that people can get involved in at whatever level they are comfortable with which allows them an intro into the world, characters they can interact with and a bit of story to play with.

Eric Pope, Kate Arsenault, Jordan Blake and Matt Evans are heading this up and have really taken the ball and run with it. We will post more information up on the website as we have it available.

Well, that's it for now.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Captain's Table FINALLY up!

After fighting with the dot net nuke interface, the Captain's Table is finally, actually up for download. We still have not figured out why it's pitching a fit about the music files, but I'll take what I can get right now.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Forums and things!

Some days it just doesn't seem you can stay out of trouble. Somehow, in a fit of end user brainlock, I managed to dump the entirety of the Forum module into the recycle bin. How this occurred is still a bit of a mystery as the folks that rescued said forums from the gnashing teeth of the recycle bin were at a loss to figure out how I managed to do it without realizing what I was doing.

Needless to say, there was a wee bit of embarrassment that accompanied my merry delving into end-user idiocy. However, the forums have been rescued and are now safely at home on the website with a nice cup of cocoa and a blankey.

Due to further investigation by those who are wonderful with our forums, IE, not myself, we now have the avatar functionality worked out. So, feel free to put up your APPROPRIATE photo or image. Remember, that as intelligent and upstanding web citizens you will, of course, not put up offensive or pornographic material as that will result in the "Das Interwebs" equivalent of jack-booted thugs dragging you into the alley for summary pummeling.

I am looking forward to getting the DIY part of the website up so that we can put up visual instructions for building and making things.

We are presently getting the Outpost structure worked out so that all those who are in a myriad of far flung locations can set up their own games and local organizations. More to follow on that.

Now that I have completed my rampage through the website with little or no idea of what I was apparently doing, we are now concentrating on getting the Captain's Table content put up for folks so that you can see about running this episode yourselves as well as the complete Triptych Fast Play rules set so that you can run games of your own. We intend for these rules to be complete enough for you to be able to run games until we finalize the full rule set.

So, until I find a different way to torment, torture or burn down the website, I will bid you all good eve.

Marshal - Tormentor of Forums

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Steamcon Post Mortem - sorta

Well, this is the first chance I've gotten to really sit down since Steamcon. The episodes were a success, everyone enjoyed themselves thoroughly. I was a bit surprised but also immensely pleased by the number of folks who played that had never done any kind of Live Action Role Playing before. I say BRAVO! to them. =)

We had tech issues as well as paperwork issues with every episode, but we persevered and although we were a bit delayed at every turn, it all worked out for the best.

We were running three channels of sound at each episodes. Or, we were supposed to have three channels for each episode. We did not have it for the first game and only had it from halfway through the second episode on. Not having it for the first episode really made its impact later on clear. There was a Radiant (radio) channel. As a result of the creativity of Molly Friedrich and Jordan Blake, be looking for more from our variety hour host Jimmy Muttonchops in the future. There was the ambient channel which had things like the sounds of the ship's engines and then the ship's public address channel. When these were running, it was impossible to hear anything outside the room and when certain timed sound queue events happened, the players were totally surprised and it made their reactions even more real. Note for the future, SOUND IS CRITICAL to immersion.

We are now talking with folks from Portland, Tacoma, Chicago, New York and Arkansas about getting episodes going in these areas. We are going to be getting the Triptych Fast Play rules up on the website as a .pdf for people to download so that they can get episodes started in their own areas. These will be the interim rules while we finalize the full up Live Action rules. The forums will also be back up by the end of the week for people to compare notes, talk about story and characters, and talk with us. We'll also be having a special forum for those who participated in the episodes to give us feedback on them, and be able to socialize with others who've had the experience of playing in our world.

There will be more to come with photos, stories and other things as we get them pulled in. Be looking for the first page of the web comic to be up in the next week or so and in the next month we should be getting our hands-on section up with instructions on how to build or create a variety of things. The first installments will have to do with building set pieces such as the "Porthole panel" which is a wood wall panel with a porthole where images passing by the window can be seen. So, the plans will include the construction of the panel and frame behind it to allow mounting a flat panel monitor. As we get more things worked up, there will be hands-on entries for making costume pieces, props, and a variety of other things of interest for our players and the artistic community.

As a result of exhaustion, and post-con punchiness, several in-world products have come into being. Needless to say, these are...silly. The RoA staff largely degraded into fits off silliness and laughter at the end of the convention. Strange things were born from this wild and uncontrolled creative energy. I will leave the surprise for later about exactly what these products will be. But, let me just say, they were born from exhausted silliness and so they represent a slightly unhinged sense of humor.

Well, that's it for now. I'll have more later as things become clearer in my addled brain from the con.


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Building for Steamcon

Well, it's been a while since I've posted. It's been a crazy couple of months as we try and get our legs under us and to get prepped for Steamcon.

Steamcon is less than a month away and we've got a boatload of work to get done before then. The scenario is worked out, the pre gen characters are worked out but we still have to get the timing of the scenario nailed down and get the character stats finalized. On that note, we'll give you a bit of a preview of what a pregen character might look like.

Medicine – GREAT
Surgery – GREAT
Bedside Manner – GOOD
French – GOOD
Oratory – GOOD
University Science: Biology – GOOD
Gambling – FAIR
Guns: Pistol – FAIR
Finishing School: Latin – FAIR
University Science: Chemistry – FAIR
University Science: Entomology – FAIR
Writing – FAIR

The idea for the pre gen characters is that the system is simple enough that it can be taught to someone who knows nothing about it in about 10 minutes. To that end, the characters will all have a total of twelve skills with only three levels; GREAT, GOOD or FAIR. There will be no traditional Stats such as Strength, Social or Mental. Similarly, the sytem for conflict resolution will be simple and very fast. The idea is to get the rules out of the way of the role play.
Now, we've pretty well worked over the rules and character ideas and came to the realization that a set of rules for a demo game that would be simple enough to pick up in minutes and fast enough to play are unlikely to be the same rules you would use for a long term series of episodes lasting over a year. So, the decision was made to work up the "Fast Play" rules for the demo games. Now, these will be part of the larger rules system but obviously are a grossly stripped down version. The Series rules will be much more in depth and include things such as rules for constructing in game items. Props and gadgets are a fundamental part of Steampunk and that is something we very much want to promote and so once the Series rules have been finalized there will be a fully developed component to support gadgetry.

At Steamcon, we will have the "Fast Play" rules available which will allow people to take them home and start games of their own. Additional content will be available on the website to help further flesh out the games you create. Most of this information will have to do with setting and suggestions about how to expand the fast play rules to give them more longevity when played outside the tightly constrained format of a demo game. These simple rules will be what allows people to begin to enjoy and create within the Rise of Æster world until we get the Series rules finalized.

So, on to Steamcon. We are working hard on getting set pieces built to allow us to create an immersive environment for the game. The setting will be the interior of the observation lounge on the Æster liner Princess Arianrhod. We are building and staining wooden panels that will transform the room from average con room into this observation lounge. The folks from B. Fuller's Mortar and Pestle will be joining our endeavor to provide tea and service to add to the ambience of the setting. Those who attend will be party to a very different sort of experience than they have probably had before. Opening the doors of the conference room, you will be greeted by a wooden wall with signage directing you to the entry way. It is not until you pass through the curtain at the end of a short entry way that the room will be revealed. The sight lines into and out of the environment have been cut. This will allow people to feel fully immersed in the game and the environment.

Each game will only allow 15 participants due to the constraints of space and we will run the game five times over the course of Steamcon. Twice on Friday and three times on Saturday. In between the games, when we are not preparing for the next game, the room will be open for people to relax and roleplay in the environment.

We will be signing people up for particular game slots at Steamcon to give everyone an equal chance to participate. These slots are likely to fill quickly and so we encourage folks to register early to ensure participation.

Well, I hope this successfully brings you all up to speed on the madness that has been our lives for the last several months. The team has been exceptionally busy trying to keep on top of things and it doesn't seem that it going to change any time soon. Look forward to further updates from myself or others in the near future.

I look forward to seeing those who will be attending Steamcon. I hope to meet those who will not be at Steamcon during our travels in the next year.

Fair Winds and may the Lady be kind on your journeys,

Marshal Hunter

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

More web comic stuff!

Just got done emailing with Tony and Sarah and the web comic is going swimmingly. We discussed some new content information that will feed into the overall City of Light feel in the future.

Some quick headers on stuff that was discussed that will be coming out in more detail later on.

Lightkeepers are officers of the Cities of Light who draw a salary and can be recognized by the sun symbol badge on their hats with their license number engraved on it.

Rat Catchers are a group of independent contractors who work in the Cities of Light by hunting vermin for particular bounties and individual for-pay contracts. They are highly individualized without uniform or standard issue equipment. Individual Rat Catchers can be identified by personalized and the unique configurations of their equipment.

The farms outside the Cities of Light are enormous greenhouses that grow most of the staple foods required for the cities. Vermin within are controlled by specially bred and trained raptors, and insect are controlled by songbirds and bats. Intensive training to curb the natural instincts of the raptors allows they and the songbirds to operate in the same environment. Training can only go so far and some songbirds do become additions to the raptors diets.

Ravens are the most common bird species seen in and around the Cities of Light.

Snippets and stuff!


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Web comic in work!

It's been a busy couple of weeks in the Aeroplex.

Tony and Sarah have gotten the first few pages for the web comic sketched out and I'm hoping to get the first one posted in the week or so. I'm very excited about this.

We are beginning preparations for Gencon and Steampunk University #2. SPU2 looks like it's going to be a hoot. Look for more information on that as we get it. Unlike our previous Steampunk U, this one is being designed with outdoor space so that we can do live gun modding classes, and other things that can't be done indoors.

The Beta rule set is in the finishing stages in prep for our Beta test games. Hooray!

And in a slightly off topic note, some of our folks here in Seattle will be participating in the 2009 Zombie Walk. The target is a Guinness Book of World Records record for the largest Zombie gathering or some such thing. Other than that, there will be Zombies, Shaun of the Dead at the Fremont Outdoor cinema and a fine beer to be had across the street! Photos of the undead invasion should be forthcoming!