State of Play

In which the author appraises his readers on various small matters that don’t merit their own posts.

Work on Vaults of Vaarn #3 is ongoing. It’s shaping up to be longer than the previous two issues. My printer have dropped their prices this year, which is pretty exciting, as it means I should be able to offer longer Vaarn print products for non bank-breaking prices.

Content-wise, the third issue is planned as an ‘expansion pack’ to the first issue. You get more ancestries, more vehicles, more exotica, some new monsters, and a procedural region generator that lets you create entire areas of Vaarn’s desert, ready for adventuring. The region generation material takes up the bulk of the third issue, and takes the form of a lot of random tables (surprise surprise). There’s a few odd bits and pieces in #3 as well, like a weather generation system and more detailed rules for overland travel and foraging for food, in case you wanted to know how I run it.

I’m going for a bright yellow aesthetic for issue three:

Not totally sure when this one will be finished. I have another secret Vaarn-related writing project that I’m busy with this week (all will be revealed soon I hope). I think optimistically I’d like to have #3 ready for the printer by the end of May. We’ll see how that goes.

Secondly, work on Bloodheist is also progressing. I have a first draft of the zine typed up, and I’m talking through the art design with Lewis. I’m play-testing most weekends, and I’m happier with the ruleset now than I was at the start of the year. I’ll likely release a bare-bones version of the rules and chargen pages this month or next, to let backers and curious blog readers have a gander at the game as it stands. Hopefully I’ll have some new artwork to show off here soon as well. I’d imagine Bloodheist will be launching after the summer.

Thirdly, I wanted to highlight an entry into the ongoing Troikafest! 2021 game-jam, Liquid Science Doom, which is a Troikan remix or echo-setting of Gnomon – a parched desert city, the citizens of which can only drink cursed water that flows from an ancient ziggurat. It has some fun shopkeepers and city gods, and takes the water shortages and uneasy power balance of Gnomon in a different direction entirely. Super interesting work from Roz.

Fourthly, I’m thinking about where I want to take the blog in future. I think more solo plays are definitely on the cards, as people seemed to enjoy the first Vaarn solo session I wrote up. There will be a sequel, continuing the adventures of Ffflaa, Seeks-the-Path, and Xhiva. I may also look at solo-play games from other creators. Having enjoyed delving into my creative influences with The Lost Bay Podcast, I’m also considering starting a ‘Vaarn book club’ series, where I look in more depth at the novels, artists, and videogames that inspire my own writing. I’d definitely like to write more about The Book of the New Sun, Rain World, and how contradictory and fragmented lore is delivered in Dark Souls and other FROM Software games.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Hope everyone has a good week!

6 thoughts on “State of Play”

  1. I’m a huge fan of #1, it’s flexibility is making it our “go to” game for everything from gonzo post-apocalypse to serious science-fiction to weird fantasy. For me and mine, you’ve hit upon a sweet spot and that’s not easy to do, we are a picky lot, especially regarding anything made past 1990. I like the random tables in #2 as well, especially the Pit Fighter Weapons and Armour lists, they’ve been a great source of inspiration for us. The campaign info reminds me a lot of the Cryptic Alliances in Gamma World, but we haven’t explored it much. I’m really looking forward to #3 and would humbly ask, as others here have, to please keep printing options available, particularly Lulu. I also hope you aren’t tempted to outsource any art or writing, Vaults of Vaarn feels rather different than the current crop of indie OSR titles out there…and that’s a very good thing to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello again, thanks for writing. I’m glad the zines have hit the spot for your group. I’ve actually never read Gamma World, although I’m a big fan of Caves of Qud which I know is heavily inspired by GW.

      I am aware people want to keep POD options available, so I’m going to make sure #3 is available on Lulu from release day. It will be perfect bound, as the page count is going to be higher than Lulu allows for saddle stitched booklets.

      I can assure you that VOV will be a one-man show now and forever. It’s a point of pride that I write every word and draw every line in the zines myself and I’m going to keep it that way.


  2. Excellent news all around and despite being a gamer for over 40 years and Gamma World being my first rpg, I think your not delving into standard source material is a *good* thing. It’s keeping your material different and refreshing.


    1. Thanks for commenting, always really interesting to hear what people are making of the material. I can’t claim to be much of an original, I’m hugely indebted to Gene Wolfe and the other writers and artists I reference. But I’m not very interested in elves and halflings etc so I don’t think you’ll see much of that from me. I’m going to be plowing the science-fantasy furrow for a while hopefully.


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